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Irish Eyes - Vol 8

Welcome to this addition of Irish Eyes, 14 February 2008, I hope you enjoy reading it.

The Irish Type III Website was set up in December 2006 and to date, the website has received nearly 3,100hits.

Over 230 records of Irish Type III cluster members have been gathered in that time. You are receiving this email as you are a member of this cluster.

A County in Ireland

Several members have contacted me to upgrade their origins from "Ireland" to a specific county. I welcome these updates if you have additional information that we can include on the website, but please don't guess ... if the database is going to remain accurate, we need correct data.

Check your Data

While on the subject of accurate data, would each of you please check your data on the 'Results' page as I am only human and can make mistakes too! I welcome emails correcting errors.

Setting up Ysearch IDs

As I have said previously there are benefits in setting up a Ysearch ID, but some are not sure how to go about it. If you would like some assistance, please drop me a line and I will walk you through it. Email address at the bottom of this newsletter. Remember, for privacy reasons, I will not publish any of your data on the website, unless and until you have published your results in Ysearch.

Celtic Toes

On a couple of the Genealogy email lists recently there has been discussion on the so-called "Celtic Toe". One of the first references was http://www.electricscotland.com/familytree/magazine/octnov2002/celts.htm
"They found that there were burial sites across Britain where the skeletons were completely of one ethnic group, such as Celtic burial sites on islands along the Scottish northwest coast, and pre-Celtic burial sites in southern England. Results from studies of those burial sites showed that to a 95% probability Celtic remains had a big toe the same length as, or shorter than, the next toe, while pre-Celtic remains had a big toe longer than the one next to it. That study was expanded to cover burial sites in other parts of Europe and Asia, with the same results. Because the so-called Celtic toe can disappear after many generations of intermarriage, it is not a necessary condition to having a Celtic ancestor, but it is a sufficient one: if a person has the Celtic toe, he or she is almost certain to be of Celtic descent."

Apparently this has been known for quite some time as the following extract from Discover Magazine of June, 1996 shows.

"Discover, June, 1996
The Germanic tribes of Angles and Saxons who invaded Britain in the fifth and sixth centuries A.D. left a significant legacy. Their language evolved into modern English, largely replacing indigenous Celtic tongues. Some of their laws formed the basis of English common law. And their feet, it the basis of modern Englishmen.

Or so says Phyllis Jackson, a retired Gloucestershire podiatrist. Jackson got her first inkling of a distinctively Saxon foot during World War II, when Hereford, the small city in western England where she then lived, was flooded with refugees from more significant cities (which were being bombed by latter-day Germans). Some of these evacuees became Jackson's patients, and some of them turned out to be of Celtic descent - Scottish, Irish, Welsh, and Cornish. "Poor things were coming to me with awful bunions," recalls Jackson. "I realized that the foot shape I was dealing with was quite different from the English one I was accustomed to."

Traditional English feet, Jackson says, tend to be broad and somewhat pointed - the toes form a steep angle from the first to the fifth. The Celtic evacuees, in contrast, had toe tips that were almost level with one another, and their feet tended to be longer and slimmer - except for a bulge at the base of the big toe, where bunions form. The English shoe being modeled on the English foot, many of Jackson's new patients "couldn't cram their feet into that shape of shoe." Hence they developed the bunions.

After retiring from podiatry, Jackson took up amateur archaeology but kept her focus on feet. Examining the skeletal remains of a few dozen Saxons and Celts from a sixth-century cemetery in Lechlade, Gloucestershire, she found she could readily tell them apart. It wasn't just that the Saxons were the ones buried with bronze brooches and amber necklaces - they also had feet shaped like modem English feet. Jackson also found a distinctive feature in the cuboid bone, just beneath the fourth and fifth toes: it was slightly scrunched on one side in Saxon feet, but more square in Celts.

Aside from stimulating people of British descent to take a closer look at their extremities, Jackson's research - which has not been subjected to formal peer review - may help British archaeologists. They have traditionally relied on burial artifacts to distinguish Celtic from Saxon skeletons, thus glossing over the likelihood that some Celts adopted Saxon ways. "What she is offering is a possibility of being able to sort out the immigrant from the indigenous population," says archaeologist Barry Cunliffe of Oxford. "She needs a bigger sample, but she's spotted differences that are very real and very well worth following up."

So shoes off, everyone - and examine those toes!

Irish Astigmatism

My Grandson Finn who is 3˝ has just had his eyes tested and has been found to have astigmatism. I also have astigmatism as does his Irish maternal grandmother. I have been told that astigmatism is more common with those of Irish descent than English. Does anyone have any information to support or refute this theory?

I wondered how they test small children's sight and apparently they used pictures of animals ... Finn's 18mth old brother Tadhg, who was in the room at the time thought he was helping by making the sound as each animal was displayed!

Some Notes from Janet Crawford

It does appear that the Irish III is some kind of mutant marker that comes down from one man, but putting a name to him will be hard. The genealogies are bad and when you get to working with them, obvious things jump out at you. The Quinn's, for example, descend by name from a woman named Quinche, as do a lot of other surnames. They said they were "of the mother's name" and not the father's. Since the genealogies almost always skip daughters, it takes a lot of work to dig out the information. The genealogies also tend to skip over the less important men in the line, and that can often span a few generations. Often enough the men would adopt their fosterer's name in lieu of their own. The genealogies are also quite corrupted and scribal errors are to be found. One of the O'Brien wives may have had a child with a slave from anywhere and the child was called O'Brien. One of the aunts/sisters/daughters may have married a man from anywhere in Ireland and their children adopted O'Brien as the surname as he was their most famous relative. Could be Brian had a child with a concubine or ardent fan, and that never mentioned child was the mutant Irish III source. The possibilities are enormous.

Let's see, however, if we can come up with a few generalities. The marker appears to begin with a single man, so, so far, it appears as if it could be a mutant marker of some sort. He appears to have been located in the west of Ireland at some point for an unknown period of time and left descendant's there. This man may have been a normal descendent in the line that came to be called O'Brien, or it may have come from an outsider coming into the area, of nobility, and leaving children who had reason to call themselves O'Brien at some point. The time period appears to have been around the time of Brian Boru + or - 100 years - that gives approximately 10 generations when it could have happened, and I would guess that could be your approximate time fix. If an outsider, it will show up eventually IF he left children in another area; if he didn't, it will not and appear only in the main O'Brien territory as the original cluster. If an outsider, it may have been a druid, a mercenary warrior, a physician, a poet, or any of the other professions that surround a king, or even a slave or another man living in the area and having contact with the leading family members.

It cannot be called Dal Cais as that is specific to a single line and you haven't been able to assign it to a single line YET. I think you could say it appears to be associated with Western Ireland/Co. Clare and appears to be associated with the O'Brien genealogy, however, I think it safest to continue calling it Irish III for the time being. What you do know is that the marker will lead to the O'Brien family and/or its immediate territory at the moment. Shame one has to be so scientific as I'd love to call it "O'Brienish" and when not being formal, that is a great way to describe it.
It has been said that the "Dal Cassian" genealogies were forged. I would disagree with the word forged. What can happen is that one can manipulate one's genealogy to include any one of one's closer ancestor's. For example, I can give my paternal ancestry, if I am proudest of my father. If I think my mother's line was more important, I can totally drop my mother's name out and go to her father's line and use that as my genealogy. Or I can drop several generations and go back to an important ancestor on either side and use that. None are forged and all are real but very deceptive and confusing. This is how one can get several genealogies for the same person, making one think they are forgeries.

Surname information (Part 2)

I have received considerable information from Janet Crawford where she has scoured historical records for origins of the surnames that occur in our cluster. I have tried to summarize them for you.
These are areas where surnames of people currently in the cluster existed in Ireland centuries ago.


O'Hara is interesting for several reasons, the first being that they were brehons (judges) in the ancient days. Supposedly from Uí hEaghra, a sept of Sligo that migrated to Armagh [some of them]. It is a sept mainly of Connaught and Ulster. In Irish, it is similar to Ui Eaghrain, or Haran in all its variations, and found in Clare, supposedly from Ui Earain, or the Eireann, an ancient group. Possibly this is the Irish Type III branch.


My book starts me out saying that Crowe in Ulster is of English origin, which I highly doubt and find no evidence that it could be English. It also says it was from MacConchradha of Clare, or an Anglicisation of Mac Enroe/Enchroe.
It has great similarity to Mac Conchruachan [Croghan or Crowne] of Roscommon.
A better clue comes from Mac Enroe, anglicised as Roe in Tipp, from Mac Conruabha - b's and h's and d's are often interchanged from Old Irish to the modern Irish, and the two names are easily a corruption of one to the other.
They think Ruabha is a placename.


Probably a corruption of Heran/Hogan/Horan.


O'Dea is special. They were Ui Fearmaic and cantered pretty much along the Limerick Road between Pallasgreen and Oola, Oola being just on the Tipperary border. The Ui Fearmaic and Ui Cormaic migrated together with their cattle from here in Tipperary over to Clare with their cattle every year, and each sept was overlord of a good bit of Clare.


Pretty straight forward, from O Brosnachain, a Kerry name but found in Clare, Limerick and Cork, and other places. Probably from the place name Brosna, and that from a man's name.
1 Brosna, residence in parish of Ettagh, which parish includes part of the West skirts of Slieve Bloom, King's Co.
2 The river Brosna, which runs for 16 m. through King's Co., and falls into the Shannon at Shannon Harbour.
3 The (Little) Brosna, which runs by Birr to the Shannon, below Banagher.
4 Brosna hamlet, 2 m. NE of Shinrone, near source of the Little Brosna.
5 Brosna parish 8 m SE. of Listowel, Co. Kerry.
6 Brusna, in the parish of Castlemore, Co. Mayo.


Cusack is a small sept in Clare called Mac Iosog, and thus different from the Norman Cusack's. That is straight out of the books, but I can't quickly pin down a place in Clare for them.


Found heavily in Connaught, from O'Ceallaigh; Ceallach


Noonan is a Munster sept, numerous in Limerick, from the book says is O Nuandain, a corruption of O h-Ionmhaineain, which they say means "dear, beloved", but that is not correct. "Ionmunain" was the nasty bloke who advised my King Cormac to go to war and into the battle where he fell off his horse, at age 72, and broke his neck and lost the battle of Ballymoon in 908 AD.


First, there is a rare Clare/Galway name that probably by now has become totally confused with O'Connell - Connole from O Coineoil. Connell from Mac Dhomhnaill and/or Conaill and found in Connaught. Mac Connon has been changed to Connell, but that is up in Ulster.


Maloney, Moloney is a Connaught name from O Maoldhomhnaigh, a sept of Clare. From Mathghamhna - everywhere else connected to Mahoney but in Clare, Mahon. Mahoney in Clare is probably a surname tweaking of Mahon.

Parish of Clooney

Janet Crawford believes Irish Type III may be Clooney Parish oriented. It may be oriented to St. Breccan or one of his ancestors. Or could still be O'Brien oriented from one who lived there. In looking at this parish, many of the Irish Type III surnames appear there in the Tithe. http://tinyurl.com/2kmzbu
This parish is a vicarage, and part of the benefice of Quin, in the diocese of Killaloe.

If you go back before the Cromwellian War, there were lots of O'Brien's there:- http://tinyurl.com/2grqs4

St. Ricin, according to tradition, is the patron of this parish. The word Clooney is not a word of ecclesiastical origin. It simply signifies a plain or meadow, and the church is called in Irish the church of the meadow. The building is in good preservation and presents no characteristic requiring description here. Two other burial grounds are found in the parish, the one named Killoghan, concerning the patron of which no information has come down to us; the second has no name, and is used as a place of sepulchre. Besides these, there is a graveyard in which unbaptised children only are interred.

Three holy wells are in the parish, viz.: Tober-cill near Killoghan church, Tober-buran, and St. Patrick's well. The wholly ruined castle of Toonagh is situate in Clooney. It belonged in 1580 to a MacNamara. Castletown castle is also in the parish. In the same year it was the property of Bryan O'Brien, while the castle of Corbally belonged to Shane son of Mahone MacNamara, and that of Clooney to Donogh O'Grady. In this parish is the townland of Ballyhickey, so called from the O'Hickeys, hereditary physicians of the O'Briens.

The name in Irish is O'h Icidhe, which signifies the Descendant of the Healer from the root ic 'to heal'.

S25 Testing and the search for a new SNP for our Cluster

Still no results from EthnoAncestry of our testing ... let's hope that the delay is because our elusive SNP is upsetting their primers used in their testing. Better to wait a little longer and find the SNP than rush things or give up and miss it.

If any members have comments, suggestions or an article that you would like to write for Irish Eyes please drop me a line .... warning, this flyer may not be too regular !!!

Slainte, Dennis Wright