Calling All Farrells!

My good friends Brendan and Marnie Farrell were kind enough to share the following with me.  As you may or may not be aware - particularly those of you with Irish heritage, 2014 marks the Millennium Celebration of Brian Boru High King of Ireland.  Brendan wrote the following history, which will be of special interest to anyone with a Farrell branch in their family tree.  To learn more, check out this website about the year long celebrations. And should you decide to travel to Ireland, you might want to consider a stay at Brendan and Marnie's medieval Turin Castle!

The 23rd of April 2014 is a most auspicious date. For it will be 1000 years since the Battle of Clontarf and, 1000 years since the first Farrell, Fearghail fought alongside Brian Boru, the Ard Ri or High King of Ireland. The battle was a close run affair resulting in victory for Brian but also resulting in the deaths of both Brian and Fearghail who thankfully both had progeny with sufficient genetic fortitude to establish and propel  the o’ Brian and o’ Farrell clans into the next millennium.

The battle of Clontarf is generally regarded as the definitive battle between the native Irish and the Norse invaders or Vikings but, it wasn’t as simple as that; There were Norsemen and native Irish represented  on both sides - It was more of a Munster-Leinster final with the Farrells on the Munster side. However, the outcome was hugely significant effectively ending  Norse hopes of dominion over Ireland as had recently happened in England.

The Farrell name is synonymous with the county of Longford, the full name being Longphort U’ Fhearghall or O’Farrell’s fortress. Longford was the seat of power of the Farrell kingdom of Anghaile or Annaly .Anghaile was the Grandfather of Fearghail and according to the “Annals of the Four Masters”, Fearghail was King of Conmaicne and son of the legendary Fergus Mac Roigh and Queen Maedhbh (Maeve).

The Farrells were Princes of Annaly presiding over the kingdom for more than five hundred years until the English confiscations and subsequent plantations of James the 1st in the late 17th century, when Annaly was reduced to shire land.  Many Farrell’s chose exile over English domination seeking refuge in the continental armies of France and Spain. France, at one time, boasted an entire O’Farrell regiment and Farrells, over the centuries ,have also helped swell the ranks of amongst others, British, American, Canadian, Austrian, Mexican and Sardinian armies.

The Farrell name in all its many guises is a truly global phenomenon.  There are Farrells scattered all around the globe from Australia to Zimbabwe! The Caribbean island of Monserrat has many Irish descendants, amongst them, many Farrells who were possibly, transported as slaves by Cromwell l in the late 17c century.

So if your name is: - Farrell, o’ Farrell, (o) Farrall,(0) Farrelly,(0)Farell,(0)Farely,(0)Farel, (0)Farley,(0)Farill,(0) Ferrall,(0) Feraly,(0)Ferral,(0) Ferally,(0) Ferall,(0)Feraly,(0) Feral,(0) Ferrell, (0) Ferrill, (0) Frawley,(0) Fearghail ……..  Please raise a glass and enjoy a very happy millennium!    


Brendan Farrell

Turin Castle, Co. Mayo, Ireland