O'Meara family genealogy

Of Lismisky, County Tipperary

Arms: Gu. three lions pass. guard. in pale per pale or. and ar. a border az. charged with eight escallops of the last. Crest: A pelican vulning herself ppr. Motto: Opima spolia. [1]

DONAL O'MEARA had:

2. William, of Lismisky, county Tipperary, his son and heir, who had:

3. Teige, of Lismisky, gent., who d. 30th April, 1636, and was bur. in the Abbey of Clonmel. He m. Honora, dau. of Robert Grace, of Corktown, co. Kilkenny, Esq., and had three sons and two daughters:

I. Daniel.

II. William.

III. Patrick.

I. Ellin.

II. Elan.

4. Daniel O'Meara: son of Teige.

THIS family derives its descent from Ailgeanan, the second son of Turlogh, who is No. 98 on the "O'Brien Kings of Thomond" pedigree. We find the O'Mearas settled in Ormond in yery early times, whence a branch of the tribe removed into Kilkenny, where they became hereditary physicians to the Butlers of the 16th and 17th centuries; and many of them were eminent literary men, and poets of no mean reputation.

The following were the possessions of the O'Mearas from the 12th to the close of the 16th century:—Hy-Fathaidh and Hy-Niall, districts in the barony of Upper Ormond, in the county of Tipperary, thus mentioned by Giolla-na-Neev O'Heerin, who wrote in the 15th century:—

"O'Meara, who is a good prince,

And chief of Hy-Fahy, obtained extensive lands;

And the Hy-Nialls of the race of Eoghan the fair-haired,

Are the lions of whom I treat."

Hy-Finach, otherwise Tuaim-ui-Mheara, or Toomavara, a district in Upper Ormond, adjoining Hy-Fahy and Hy-Niall, co-extensive with the parish of Aghnamadle, and deriving its name from being the burial-place of the O'Mearas—the word Uaim, signifying "a tomb," "a vault," or "place of interment;" Hy-Eochaidh Fion, a district adjoining Hy-Niall on the south, and other estates in Ormond, also belonged to this sept.

In A.D. 1540, Teige O'Meara, the last prior of the hospital, founded at Nenagh, A.D. 1200, for Augustinian canons, by Theobald FitzWalter, the founder of the house of Ormond, surrendered the same to the Inquisitors of King Henry VIII., and it was given to Oliver Grace of Nenagh, at the annual rent of 39, Irish money.

In A.D. 1541, 29th June, Donal O'Meara, "chief of his nacion," obtained a grant of English liberty.

In 1745, William O'Meara, bishop of Clonfert, was translated to Killaloe; he died in 1762.

Many gentlemen of this name took service in the Irish Brigade (vide pp. 555-6 of our Irish Landed Gentry); one of whom, a lieutenant in the battalion of Walsh, became General of Brigade in the French service, and Commandant of Dunkirk, as appears from the following correspondence between that officer and Frederick, Duke of York:—

Letter from General of Brigade O'Meara, dated August 23rd.

"CITIZEN-PRESIDENT,—I have the honour of addressing to you the subjoined copy of the summons just made to me on the part of the Duke of York, with a copy of my reply.

(Signed) "O'Meara."

Head Quarters of the combined army before Dunkirk, August 23rd.

"SIR,—I give you notice that the army I command is at your gates. Your city, destitute of any real defence, can oppose no resistance to the victorious arms which I might instantly employ against it, if I did not wish to prevent the total ruin of a flourishing city, and if humanity and generosity did not render me desirous of sparing human blood. I, therefore, summon you, Sir, to surrender the city of Dunkirk to his Britannic Majesty, before I employ against it the very considerable force at my disposal; apprising you, however, that I will listen to any proposition you make, provided they may be such as are not injurious to the consideration and the honour of the British arms, the interest of Great Britain, and those of her allies. I give you twenty-four hours to deliberate on the summons.

(Signed), "FREDERICK, Duke of York.

"Commander of the combined army before Dunkirk."

Copy of the answer to the Summons:

"Dunkirk, August 23rd, 2nd year of the French Republic, one and indivisible.

"GENERAL,—Invested with the confidence of the French Republic, I have received your summons to surrender an important city, I answer by assuring you that I shall defend it with the brave Republicans whom I have the honour to command.

(Signed), "O'Meara."

Amongst the writers of this family we may mention Dr. Dermod O'Meara, author of the Pathologia Hereditaria Generalis, published in Dublin, 1619; and reprinted in London, 1665, and in Amsterdam, 1666. This Dermod was a poet as well as a physician; he wrote some Latin pieces to Sir Walter Butler, of Kilcash, grandfather of James, 12th earl, and 1st Marquis and Duke of Ormond.

Edmond, son of Dr. Dermod O'Meara, like his father, graduated at Oxford; he was the author of a work entitled, Examen Diatribae Thomae Willisii de Febribus cui accesserunt Historiae aliquot Medicinae Rariores, published in London, 1665.

William, son of this Edmond, who flourished in the third quarter of the 17th century, wrote some Latin verses, which were published with his father's works. With some degree of probability he was the O'Meara mentioned in the following stanza, translated from the celebrated satire of Feardorcha (or Ferdinand) O'Daly, on Dr. Whalley, of Stephen's Green, Dublin:—

"Where are the ready satiric Druids?

Where is O'Meara, the prince of the literati?

In forests are they? Or in mountain glens?

Or did they fall altogether at Aughrim?"

Notes

[1] O'Meara: Dr. Barry Edward O'Meara, surgeon to Napoleon Bonaparte at St. Helena, was born in Ireland in 1770, educated at Trinity College, and at an early age appointed Assistant-Surgeon to the 62nd Regiment. He served for some years in Sicily, Egypt, and Calabria. In consequence of a duel, he was obliged to quit the army, but soon received an appointment in the navy. He was serving in the Bellerophon, when, on the 14th July, 1815, Napoleon surrendered himself on board of her. His professional skill and knowledge of Italian gained the favour of the ex-Emperor, at whose request he was sent with him to St. Helena, as his medical attendant. He died in London, 3rd June, 1836, aged 66.

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