Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Brennan Name

The Brennans of Connacht

By Pat Brennan


The Name of Brennan

The name Brennan is one of the 50 most common names in modern Ireland. It originated as the name of at least six completely different, completely unrelated, septs or extended families. There appear to have been distinct families from Westmeath, Kerry, Fermanagh, Kilkenny, Galway and Roscommon. Most of these septs seem to have originally used the Irish form UaBhrainain or UaBraonain, which was later anglicized as O'Brennan and later simply, Brennan.1 We know very little about most of these families.
    The Kilkenny UaBraonains, descendants of Braon, (Braon means sadness or sorrow), were chiefs of "Ui Duach (Idough) in the barony of Fassadinin and the lowlands of Glamoy and Crannagh adjoining the Noir. The level district about the Noir was also called Nagh Airgead Ros."2 They were prominent at the end of the Middle Ages and, of all the Brennan families, these Kilkenny O'Brennans seem to have survived in the largest numbers. The Brennan coat of arms which are most commonly seen in souvenir stores (two lions and a sheaf of wheat on a red background) are the arms of the O'Brennans of Kilkenny. It is not appropriate for members of other septs to use these arms.

My husband Greg's mother was a Brennan.

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