Volume 1, No. 3 – May 1999

The Ryan Clan Association, U.S. Sept

P. O. Box 13241, Tallahassee, FL 32317

President: J. Terry Ryan

Treasurer: RADM Jim Carey

Secretary & Newsletter: Sharon Healey Bartholomew

Web Design: Jim Carigan

Web Page:


How sweetly lies old Ireland, emerald green beyond the foam
Awakening sweet memories, calling the heart back home


The Early Period

According to legend, various tribes first inhabited Ireland, the most important of which were the Nemedians, Fomorians, Firbolgs and Tuatha De Dannan. These tribes were eventually subdued by Milesians (Scots). Although Ireland is mentioned under the name of Ierne in a Greek poem of the fifth century B.C., and by the names Hibernia and Juverna by various classical writers, little is known with certainty of its inhabitants before the fourth century A.D. At that time, Irish tribes, called the Scoti, harassed the Roman province of Britain. These expeditions were continued and extended to the coast of Gaul until the time of the Loigare or King MacNeill (reigned 428-63), during whose reign St. Patrick attempted to convert the natives. Although Christianity had been previously introduced in some parts of Ireland, Patrick encountered great obstacles, and the new faith was not fully established on the island until a century after his death (circa 461).

From early times, each province of Ireland appears to have had its own king. According to legend these kings were subject to the ardri, or monarch, to whom the central district, called Meath, was allotted, and who usually resided at Tara, a hill in present-day County Meath. Each clan was governed by a chief from its most important family. Professional jurists, called brehons, who were endowed with lands and who were given special privileges, dispensed the laws.

In the sixth century, many monasteries were founded where religion and learning were zealously cultivated during the early Middle Ages of Europe. Missionaries were educated at these monasteries, and students of distinction from England and the continent visited them to further their education. The progress of Irish civilization was slowed by the influx of Scandinavians, which began towards the close of the eighth century and continued for more than two centuries. The Vikings established settlements on the east coast of Ireland and conducted raids in the interior until they were overthrown at the Battle of Clontarf, near Dublin, in 1014 by the Irish king, Brian Boru.

  The Anglo-Norman Period

King Henry II of England made the first step toward an Anglo-Norman conquest of Ireland. In 1155, Henry is said to have obtained an official document from Pope Adrian IV authorizing him to take possession of the island on the condition of payment of stipulated annual revenue to the papal treasury. This official document is thought to have been a forgery. In any event, nothing was done until Dermot MacMurrough (1110-71), the deposed King of Leinster, sought refuge at King Henry’s court and obtained permission to use English subjects to help recover his kingdom. Dermot returned to Ireland in 1169 with foreign mercenaries and numerous Irish allies. He was successful in recovering part of his former territories and also captured Dublin and other towns on the East Coast. After his death, his son-in-law, Richard Strongbow, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, claimed succession to the kingdom of Leinster.

In 1172, King Henry II, with a large army, visited Ireland and received homage from several minor Irish chiefs and the principal Norman leaders. As his subjects, he granted charters to the Norman leaders authorizing them to take possession of portions of the island. The chief Anglo-Norman adventurers encountered strong opposition before they succeeded in establishing themselves on the lands that they claimed. The government was entrusted to a viceroy, and the Norman legal system was introduced in those parts of the island that were obedient to England.

Prince John, later John, King of England, was sent to Ireland in 1185 by Henry, but the conduct of his council caused disturbances, and he was recalled to England. In 1210, John made a second visit to Ireland to attempt to curb the spirit of his Norman barons, who had become formidable through alliances with the Irish.

During the 13th century, various Anglo-Norman adventurers succeeded in establishing themselves in Ireland, either by assisting or suppressing native clans. The Fitzgerald clan acquired power in Kildare and East Munster; the Le Botiller, or Butler, clan in West Munster; and the de Burg clan in Connaught. After the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, Edward Bruce, the younger brother of Robert Bruce, King of Scotland, invaded Ireland and unsuccessfully tried to overthrow the English. The pope, at the request of England, excommunicated Bruce and his Irish allies. Although Bruce’s overthrow attempt failed, the general result of his invasion was a decline of English power in Ireland.

The descendants of the most powerful Anglo-Norman settlers in Ireland gradually became identified with the native Irish, whose language, habits and laws they increasingly adopted. To counteract this, in 1366, the Anglo-Irish Parliament passed the Statute of Kilkenny, decreeing excommunication and heavy penalties against all those who followed the customs of, or allied themselves with, the native Irish.

Although King Richard II of England made expeditions into Ireland with large forces late in the 14th century, he failed to achieve any practical result. The power and influence of the natives had increased so much at the time of the War of the Roses that the authority of the English crown became limited to the area known as the English Pale, a small coastal district around Dublin, and the port of Drogheda. In the War of the Roses and the struggle in England between the houses of York and Lancaster, Ireland supported the losing house of York.


See the August 1999 issue of the newsletter for Chapter 3 of the History of Ireland: The Period of English Supremacy and Increasing Religious Turmoil.


Thurles – County Tipperary

Thurles is located on the River Suir in County Tipperary between Templemore and Cashel and is mainly a market town. Thurles is 13 miles from the Rock of Cashel and is in the heart of the Suir Valley, which is rich in scenery and offers some of the finest agricultural land in Europe.

There is very little about Thurles in historical records until 1174 when Strongbow’s Anglo-Norman army was defeated there. It has been the cathedral town of the Archdioceses of Cashel and Emly since penal times.

Black Castle stands between the West Gate and Parnell Street and is thought to have been built in 1493. A Carmelite Friary was founded in 1300 and was granted to the Earl of Ormomd, James Butler, in 1540. In 1850, the Synod of Thurles was held, the greatest gathering of the Catholic Church in Ireland since 1642.

Thurles and the surrounding area are steeped in history, both ancient and modern. Its Irish name, Durlas Eile Fhotgartaigh, means the Strong Fort of the Eliogarty. The numerous castles and monastic settlements in the area bear tribute to its history. Thurles is associated with the founding of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in Haye’s Hotel in 1884.

Thurles is a very popular Irish town known for, among other things, its Feile (fair) and top class hurling games.

Using Thurles as a base, tourists can easily explore Killarney, West Cork or Clare and access many sporting facilities in County Tipperary. The Rock of Cashel, the beautifully restored Holycross Abby and the fortress of Cahir Castle are in close proximity to Thurles, along with scenic drives to places like the Glen of Aherlow, Lough Derg or the Vee.


Irish Sports - Hurling 

Hurling is a traditional Irish field sport in which a ball, called a slitter, is caught on a hurley, or stick, and is carried or hurled to the goal. Irish mythology tells of the warrior Cuchulainn and other legendary heroes who were expert hurlers. The rules of play were standardized in 1884 when the Gaelic Athletic Association was founded. Although hurling, the fastest of all team sports, is a rough game, serious injuries are rare. Today, the game is almost entirely restricted to Ireland, where the All Ireland Championship competition has been held since 1887.


Legend of The Shamrock

The trefoil or Shamrock, at one time called the "Seamroy," symbolizes the cross and blessed trinity. Before the Christian era, it was a sacred plant of the Druids of Ireland because its leaves formed a triad.

The legend of the Shamrock definitely connects it to St. Patrick and his teachings. Preaching in the open air on the doctrine of the trinity, he is said to have illustrated the existence of the three-in-one by plucking a shamrock from the grass growing at his feet and showing it to his congregation. The Legend of the Shamrock is also connected with the banishment of serpents from Ireland by a tradition that snakes are never seen on trefoil, and that it is a remedy against the stings of snakes and scorpions.

The trefoil in Arabia is called shamrakh and was sacred in Iran as an emblem of the Persian triads. The trefoil, as noted above, being a sacred plant among the Druids, and three being a mystical number in the Celtic religion, as well as all others, it is probable that St. Patrick was aware of the significance of his illustration.



HELD MAY 13, 1999

The minutes of the last meeting were approved.

Treasurer’s Report:

Beginning Balance $698.00

Six New Members @ $25 each $150.00

Less Sponsor Fee to RootsWeb - 25.00

Less Expenses to Terry Ryan - 72.81

Ending Balance $750.19

We now have 35 paid members!

We’ve been invited to attend and help organize a Ryan Clan Gathering in Year 2000 in Tipperary. We agreed to plan this trip for September based on airfares and other considerations. Additional information will follow when available.

Terry Ryan proposed Lee Ryan as our new vice president. Will be voted on at the next meeting.

Terry Ryan still working to obtain non-profit status. Byron Wallace volunteered to help with this project.

County coordinator volunteers were introduced:

Bill Lindsey County Kilkenny

Pat Connors County Limerick

Jim Ryan County Waterford

More volunteers needed!

The Ryan Clan database now includes over 3,000 names and 600 Ryans. Our programmer is ill and can’t continue helping with the database. Looking for a replacement volunteer.


May your blessings outnumber

The Shamrocks that grow

And may trouble avoid you

Wherever you go.




*** Interesting Sites***

The Famine

The Irish Times

Travel in Ireland



  Index to Griffith’s Valuation

This archive is an index to one of Ireland’s premier genealogical resources. It references more than one million individuals who owned property in Ireland between 1848 and 1864. Since no Irish census of the 19th century has survived, Griffith’s Valuation is a record of extreme importance. It is essentially the only detailed guide to where people in Ireland lived during the mid 19th century and what property they possessed. In effect, Griffith’s Valuation can be used as a census substitute for the years before, during and after the Great Famine.

Few other records can be used to identify an Irish ancestor’s exact place of origin, and only Griffith’s Valuation links them to a specific townland and civil parish. This information is very beneficial, since identifying an ancestor’s townland and civil parish is the first step in Irish genealogical research.

Listings include the individual’s name and the county and parish where they resided at the time of the valuation. Some records also contain information about an individual’s occupation, religion or relative’s names.

Available on CD from Heritage World & the Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. Sold through Family Tree Maker and other genealogical sites. There are sites on the web that will do lookups for a small fee. May also be available for use at LDS libraries.