Larkins in Ireland

The Irish Larkin Families

 Our Irish Arms:  Our clan emblem represents a papal knighthood awarded to Sir Teig Ó Lorcáin, recorded as having “died in Genoa in January 1589 A.D., coming from Rome”. Checquy gules and argent, a cross azure. Burke's General Armoury p585; Heraldic Scroll of Ireland - Mullins. This would appear to be the only officially recorded Larkin arms for Ireland. The Heraldry Society of Ireland suggests it to have "the highest probability of being native Irish." O'Lorcáin - O'Lurkaine, Lorkan, Lorkin, Larkin, Larken, Larkings &c... descendant of Lorcán (diminutive of Lorc -rough or fierce). The name of several distinct families in different parts of IRELAND.

The origins of the original name Ó Lorcáin arise from its use as a forename for a considerable period before emerging as a surname late in the 9th century. Lorcán is a diminutive of Lorc, an ancient name meaning “fierce”. The first documented use of the name was a King of Leinster known as Labhradh Lorc (Lowra the Fierce), who flourished about  250 BC; and was a son of Enna Aighneach, the  84th King of Ireland from 312-292 BC. Ireland was then divided into five provinces or kingdoms; although the whole island shared a common culture. The forename Lorcán was in widespread use throughout the island. This led to different families who are not necessarily related to one another genealogically, adopting the name as a surname during the 9th and 10th centuries; so that we now have five separate septs of the name, one in each of the old provincial kingdoms. 


O'Lorcáin of Leinster:


The only Lorcán family of royal status were the Leinster Larkins, originally of Kildare, and later Wexford. The eponymous ancestor was Lorcán Mac Felim, king of Leinster 923 to 941. His sons were kings of Leinster and lords of Ui Mureadach; Ui Dunchadha & Ui Ceinnselaig. Tadg Ó Lorcáin was King of Ceinselaig 1024 to 1030, and died at Glendalough; and Ruaidri Ó Lorcáin was heir of Leinster 1036. Following their dispossession in Kildare, the family moved to Kilkenny, where the parish of Ballylarkin is named for them. By 1420 they were recorded as Chiefs of Carnsore Point, Wexford. Larkinstown near Wexford; Ballylarkin in north Wexford & Larkin's Cross all take their name from this family.

O'Lorcáin of Oriel:



The Ó Lorcáin of Oriel were lords of Farney in Monaghan and lords of Ui Niallain in Armagh. The eponym was Lorcán Mac Coscrach who was lord of Farney in 879. Cenfoyle Mac Lorcán was Dean of Clogher and successor to the Abbot of Armagh in 931. The first of the name was Ruaidri Ua Lorcáin, Lord of Ui Niallain, slain at Callan river, Armagh in 1037. Mac Gilladhide Ó Lorcáin lord of Farney and Seneschal of Armagh died with his son Cumidhe Ó Lorcáin in 1079. Flann Ó Lorcán noble priest of Louth died 1081. St. Muiredach at Monasterboice 1547-1551 was succeeded by Laurence Ó Lorkan. The Larkins of Lough Lorkan (Moyrourkan lake) were hosts to the Earl of Tyrone during Mountjoy's campaign in 1601. The chief of this family in Elizabethan times was Turlough Duff Ó Lorkan granted a pardon in 1621.

O'Lorcáin of Uí Máine:



More than half of all the Larkin's of Ireland are of Galway stock. These Larkin families are the direct descendants of the warrior princes of the Kingdom of Hy-Many, the Gaelic kingdom that lasted over 1,000 years. Their association with many monastic settlements shows that these were warriors who became stalwarts of the Christian church in Ireland, endowed several establishments and continued a lengthy clerical tradition. This clerical tradition led the Larkin families to become Ollamhs to the powerful Ó Madden Clan in medieval times. The role of Ollamh (professor) was the highest of seven levels of file (scholar) and it took a minimum of twelve years to achieve this honour. Bards on the other hand were organised into sixteen levels forming a separate but related lower occupation. During the wars with the Norsemen in the 9th and 10th centuries the bards suffered greatly in their number and from this time onwards the lines of distinction between poet and bard were less distinct. For the most part it seems that the file would employ a bard to announce his poems and satires at the Chief's court reserving for himself the recitation of family genealogies at royal inaugurations. The records name Lorcán Mac Morán, who flourished about 905. Donal Mac Lorcán Lord of Aidhne, died at Clonmacnois in 937. Maelróin Ua Lorcáin is believed to have been guardian of St. Ciarán’s relics at Clonmacnois; and seems to have died defending them in 1038 AD. Nimeas Mac Mahon Ó Lorcáin died at Clonfert in 1363; his son Tomas Ó Lorcáin is mentioned in 1414. Another Tomas Ó Lorcáin, Ollamh to Ó Madden died in 1490. Our clan emblem represents a papal knighthood awarded to Sir Teig Ó Lorcáin, recorded as having “died in Genoa in January 1589 A.D., coming from Rome”. Several of the family are mentioned in the 1653 transplantations, these taking place entirely within County Galway. The Meelick friars divided their chalices, vestments and books among ten people, including Doctor Simon Lorcán, during the period of the Penal Laws.

O'Lorcáin of Meath:


The Ó Lorcáin of Meath are numerically a small sept. The head of this family resided at Kells, and they spread to adjacent territories of Lugney and Morgallion. They descend from Lorcán Mac Cathal Mór - king of Meath 861-2. Lorcán's son was killed in 896 by Leinstermen after he had blinded and set fire to the house of Mulrooney, son of the High-King Flann Sinna. Giollachriost Ó Lorcáin, lord of Caille Fallamhan was killed by the Ó Neills at Kells in 1016. The family have not been very prominent in public life since then.

O'Lorcáin of Tipperary:


The Ó Lorcáin of Tipperary are an ecclesiastical family of royal Dal gCais blood. The family descend from Lorcán Mac Lachtna, abbot of Killaloe in 900, and king of the Dalcassians. His son Cennedigh became king of Cashel 942 and was the father of Brian Boru, King of Munster, and famously High-King of Ireland 926-1014. Duffslaine Ó Lorcáin was  abbot of Emly 1003. Murtogh Ó Lorcáin was abbot of Lorrha where he died in 1014. The sons of Lorcán Mac Lorcán of Ballymackeogh slew Brian Ó Brien of Ara in 1350.


Copyright © 2008 Pádraic Ó Lorcáin. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Jan 2009 11:08:33.

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