O'Kennedy family genealogy

Of Munster

Armorial Bearings: Same as those of "Kennedy," (ante, page 98.)

The O'Cinnidha, O'Kennedys or Kennedys derive their descent and sirname from Cineadh, the younger son of Donchuan (Doncha Cuan) who was brother of the Monarch Brian Boroimhe, who is No. 105 on the "O'Brien, Kings of Thomond" pedigree.

They were powerful chiefs in Ormond or North Tipperary, from the 11th to the close of the 16th century, and are mentioned in O'Dugan's toprographical poem:—

"O'Kennedy of the crimson arms,

Is chief of the smooth and extensive Glean-Omra."

According to Dr. O'Donovan, the district of Glean Omra was situated in the east of the county Clare, bordering on the Shannon, "whence," he says, "the O'Kennedys were driven into Ormond, in the early part of the 12th century, by the O'Briens and Clan-Coilean;" but in this he is mistaken, as the O'Kennedys of Glen-Omra are numbered among the clans of Oir-Mumhan (or Ormond) by O'Dugan, who wrote in the 14th century, and there is no authority to show that the "principality" of Glen-Omra ever formed part of Thomond.

Frequent mention is made of the O'Kennedys by the Annalists:—

In A.D. 1110. Flan O'Kennedy, abbot of Trim, a learned poet, died.

In 1117. Two chiefs of the O'Kennedys of Ormond were slain in an engagement with the people of Conacht.

In 1159. Giolla-Kevin O'Kennedy died whilst on a pilgrimage at Killaloe; and two chiefs of the sept, one of whom was the son of Giolla-Ciaran, lord of Ormond, fell at the battle of Ardee.

In 1198. O'Kennedy, abbot of Innisfallen, died.

In 1212. Donal O'Kennedy, bishop of Killaloe, died.

In 1240. Sadhbh (or Sabia), the dau. of O'Kennedy, and wife of Donogh Cairbreach O'Brien, died. (See "O'Brien" Stem, No. 111.)

In 1254. The monastery of Nenagh was founded by O'Kennedy, chief of Ormond.

In 1255. Donal O'Kennedy, archdeacon of Killaloe, who was raised to the episcopal dignity in 1251, dying at Limerick, was interred in the Dominican convent, in that city.

In 1371. Brian O'Kennedy, lord of Ormond, was treacherously slain by the English; and Edmond O'Kennedy, heir to the lordship, died.

In 1464. Mór, the dau. of James O'Kennedy, and the wife of MacGeoghagan, of Westmeath, died. James and Donal, sons of Bryan who accompanied this lady into the territory of Moycashel, settled there, and were the founders of the name of Kennedy, in Westmeath.

The close of the 16th century, found the O'Kennedys fast sinking into obscurity, as appears from the fact of their not having been summoned to attend Perrott's "Conciliation" Parliament, in 1585. A branch of this family removed to Dublin in the early part of the 16th century, and gave sheriffs to the city for the years, 1591, 1601, 1631, and 1688; and the office of Chief Remembrancer was filled by members of this branch from 1625 to 1634.

Sir Richard Kennedy, "counsel" for Sir Phelim O'Neill, in 1652, was in 1660, appointed Baron of the Court of Exchequer; and, having conformed to the Protestant religion, obtained large grants of confiscated land in the counties of Wicklow, Carlow, and Kilkenny. Alderman Walter Kennedy, brother to this Sir Richard, had a son, Christopher, whose son, Sir Thomas Kennedy, became Aide-de-Camp to Richard Hamilton, Duke of Tyrconnell; and colonel of a regiment in the service of Charles III., King of Spain. After his death, in 1718, his family returned to Dublin, where, in 1864, this branch of the family was represented by James Marinus Kennedy of Clondalkin; the elder line, Sir Richard's, becoming extinct in 1709.

In 1756. Hyacinth O'Kennedy, was abbot of Lorha, in co. Tipperary; in 1758 this saintly man became a missionary to the Island of St. Croix, then a dependency of France, where he died in 1761.

In 1757. Patrick Kennedy, a friar of the Dominican Convent of Roscommon, died.

In 1836. Patrick O'Kennedy was consecrated bishop of Killaloe; he died in January, 1857.


Fitz (or Mac) Madden, vivens A.D. 1088.

Murtogh, v. 1112.

Gilla-Kevin, d. 1159.

Gilla-Ciaran, v. 1160.

Amlaobh, v. 1164.

Donal, d. 1180.

Murrogh, slain 1194.

Murtogh, v. 1195.

Brian, sl. 1371.

Philip, d.. 1381.

O'Kennedy Donn, sl. 1403.

O'Kennedy Fionn, d. 1423.

MacDonal MacMahon O'K., sl. 1427.

Corry Roe, d. 1441.

James, sl. 1444.

Donal, v. 1448.

Conor an-Chuam, v. 1558.

Philip MacDermod O'K., v. 1585.

There are several respectable families of the O'Kennedys to be met with at the present day in the counties of Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, Wexford,[1] and Tipperary; they are also numerous, but in narrower circumstances, in the counties of Westmeath, King's County, Queen's County, Waterford, and Clare.


[1] Wexford: Patrick Kennedy was born in the county of Wexford early in 1801. Although he was a Catholic, he came to Dublin as Assistant at the Protestant Training School, Kildare-place, in 1823. After a few years he established the small lending-library and book-shop in Anglesea-street (corner of Cope-street), where he spent the remainder of his life. He was a man of considerable ability, and contributed several articles to the pages of the University Magazine. The best of these: Legends of the Irish Celts, Tales of the Duffrey, and Banks of the Boro, were afterwards published separately. In the graphic delineation of Irish rural life, as he experienced it when a boy in the county Wexford, he has seldom been surpassed. His works are singularly pure, and he cramped his prospects in trade by declining to lend or deal in works that he considered of an objectionable tendency. Mr. Kennedy was widely known and respected by the literary world of Dublin. He died 28th March, 1873, aged about 72, and was buried at Glasnevin.