The Chieftain Clan O'Flaithbheartaigh {O'Flaherty}


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The Clan O'Flaithbheartaigh

Posted by Ladybug Lafferty on July 3, 2011 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (1)

A history of the proud Clan O'Flaithbheartaigh, including family crest and motto, castles, Brian Boru--High King of Ireland, and Grace O'Malley--Pirate Queen of Connemara, who married an O'Flaherty chieftain, and became a chieftain in her own right, in a time when women were not permitted chieftancy. 

The O'Flahertys were a powerful chieftain clan for a period of 1000 years, related to the last High King of Ireland, Brian Boru, through his mother, who was the daughter of the king of Maigh Seola.  Maigh Seola was a term used to describe the land along the east shore of Lough Corrib in County Galway, Ireland.  It was bounded by the Uí Maine vassal kingdom of Soghain.  Its rulers up to the 1220s were the Muintir Murchada, who took the surname O'Flaherty.  The Normans pushed them back from the eastern shore of Lough Corrib, and they moved into Connemara, retaining control of the western shore of Lough Corrib, using the lake as a buffer zone.  The O'Flahertys were accomplished boatmen.  The Norman invaders greatly feared them as fierce warriors, and referred to them as the Ferocious O'Flahertys.  In 1562, Mayor of Galway, Thomas Óge Martyn of the Hiberno-Norman family, had the ominous prayer: "From the Ferocious Ó Flahertys oh lord deliver us," erected over the west entrance to the city. 

The territory controlled by the clan O'Flaherty (O'Flaithbheartaigh) extended from Killary Harbour on the north, Lough (lake) Corrib and Lough Mask on the east, and Galway Bay on the south, including the Aran Islands and the smaller islands that dot the length of the coastline.  Connemara was named for a 2nd century king, Conn Cetchathach (Conn "of the Hundred Battles"), and mara: 'from the sea'.  The O'Flahertys controlled the sea ports and all international sea trade along the west coast, and used this power to control the Norman intruders who occupied Galway. 

The first inhabitants in the Galway area arrived over 7000 years ago. Shell middens tell us about the existence of people as early as 5000 BC.

The county originally comprised several kingdoms and territories which predate the formation of the county. They included Aidhne, Uí Maine, Maigh Seóla, Conmhaícne Mara, Soghain and Máenmaige. County Galway came into official existence c. 1569.

A number of inhabited islands are administered by the county; they include Oileáin Árann (Aran Islands) and Inis Bó Fine (Inishbofin).

 County Galway is home to the largest Gaeltacht Irish-speaking region in Ireland. There are over 45,052 people living within this region which extends from Galway city westwards through Connemara. All schools within the Gaeltacht use Irish language as the medium of instruction.

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