Clan O'Dwyer

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Clan O'Dwyer (Ó Dubhuir)
Noble house
Ó Dubhuidhir.png
Parent houseLaigin (Dál Cairbre)[1]
CountryMunster, Ormond & Leinster, Ulster (One Branch)
Foundedc. 183 AD
FounderDubhuir mac Spealáin[2]
Current headBy sept chief
  • Lord of (Baron) Kilnamanagh[2]
  • Lord of Clonyhorpa
  • Lord of Drumdromy
  • Baron de Thory (France)
  • Graf (Count/Earl) O’Dwyer
MottoVirtus sola nobilitas : virtue alone enobles
  • Dundrum house
  • Moyaliffe house (formerly)
  • Killenure castle (formerly)
Cadet branchesLenihan,[2] Hayden,[2] O'Dwyer of Ulster [3]

O'Dwyer (Irish: Ó Dubhuir), also known as Dwyer, Dyer or Maguire is one of Ireland’s oldest Gaelic noble or aristocratic houses, based most prominently in what is today County Tipperary. The name means "dark coloured", in reference to their progenitor Dubhuir mac Spealáin's hair colour.[4]


A claimed ancestor of the O'Dwyer clan was King Milesius of Spain, who according to legend conquered Ireland for the Gaels.[5]

Documented paternal ancestors of the clan are of the Laigin, specifically, Cairbre Cluichechair, who was the son of Cú Corb, King of Leinster (himself the son of High King, Conchobar Abradruad).[6][7] Cairbre Cluichechair moved into Munster, founding the Dál Cairbre Aradh[8] at an early stage.


There are accounts of the O'Dwyer family participating in the Battle of Clontarf and Irish clan warfare.[9]

The O'Dwyers eventually emerged as Lords of Kilnamanagh in the High to Late Middle Ages, but they are not referenced by name as significant in the Annals of the Four Masters until the 15th century.[10]

Along with the O'Carroll of Éile, the O'Kennedy of Ormond and the Mulryan of Owney, the O'Dwyers of Kilnamanagh were one of a cluster of regional Gaelic clan powers in the High Middle Ages in the area of what would one day become County Tipperary who held out against Anglicisation with the arrival of the Lordship of Ireland. They interplayed with newer Norman arrivals on their borders who became significant powers, especially the Butler Earls of Ormond. Clan members Philip O'Dwyer and Anthony O'Dwyer captured the Rock of Cashel in 1641 during the Irish Rebellion of 1641. Subsequently, following the Cromwellian War in Ireland, the clan were punished and dispossessed of much of their land under the Act for the Settlement of Ireland 1652. Some were removed to County Clare, while others chose exile as Wild Geese on the European Continent. A significant number of O'Dwyer men found service in armies of Bourbon France, the Habsburg monarchy (including General Count John O'Dwyer, Governor of Belgrade) and even Romanov Russia (providing an Admiral).[11]

Throughout history, the O'Dwyers would prove themselves capable generals and soldiers, and would participate in many armed conflicts:

O'Dwyer conflicts (non-exhaustive)
Nation War Conflict Dates:
Ireland Battle of Clontarf[11]

Irish tribal warfare[11]

War of the Three Kingdoms[11]

Cromwell's Conquest of Ireland[11]

Nine Years' War[12]

Eleven Years' War[5]

Willamette War in Ireland[5]

Irish Rebellion of 1798[5]

7th century AD to 18th century AD
United Kingdom Anglo-Mysore Wars[5]

French Revolutionary Wars[5]

Napoleonic Wars[5]

- Battle of Waterloo

Venezuelan War of Independence

Shimonoseki campaign

Crimean War

Zulu War[5]

Anglo-Nepalese War

New Zealand Wars

First Anglo-Sikh War

Second Anglo-Burmese War



18th century AD to 20th century AD
France War of Spanish Succession

American Revolutionary War

- Siege of Savannah

Napoleonic Wars[13][14]

Franco-Prussian War

18th century AD to 19th century AD
USA American Revolutionary War[5]

American Civil War[5]

- Army of the Potomac[5]

18th century AD to 20th century AD
Spain Eighty Years' War 18th century AD
Austria War of Spanish Succession[15]

- Battle of Luzzara[15]

- Iberian Campaign[15]

Austro-Turkish War (1716–1718)[15]

18th century AD
Russia Russo-Turkish War of 1768–74[16]

Russo-Swedish War of 1788–1790[16]

18th century AD


In Kilnamanagh, the O'Dwyer built several castles, as part of their attempt to defend their lands. Today all of these castles are in ruin, but some of their remains can be seen in County Tipperary. Most were destroyed during the 17th century and all of them were confiscated during the times of Oliver Cromwell. These include:

  • Ballysheeda Castle
  • Ballagh Castle
  • Clonyharp Castle
  • Drumbane Castle
  • Dundrum Castle (now the location of the 18th century Dumdrum House Hotel),
  • Graigone Castle
  • Killenure Castle (still largely intact)
  • Milltown Castle.[17][18]
  • Moyaliffe Castle (now Moyaliffe House)

Naming conventions[edit]

Male Daughter Wife (Long) Wife (Short)
Ó Dubhuir[19] Ní Dhubhuir Bean Uí Dhubhuir Uí Dhubhuir
Ó Dubhuidhir[20] Ní Dhubhuidhir Bean Uí Dhubhuidhir Uí Dhubhuidhir

List of people[edit]

The name has variants including Dwyer. People with the name O'Dwyer include:

Pronunciation/ ˈdwaɪər/
Region of originIreland
Other names
Variant form(s)Dwyer

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Early Irish Population-Groups: Their Nomenclature, Classification, and Chronology". Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. 1911.
  2. ^ a b c d "Dwyer (No 1) family pedigree". Library Ireland. 5 December 2015.
  3. ^ O'Hart, John (1878). "Irish Pedigrees; Or, the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation".
  4. ^ "Irish Names". Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m O'Dwyer, Michael (1933). The O'Dwyers of Kilnamanagh;the history of an Irish sept. London. hdl:2027/wu.89096232079.
  6. ^ "The O'Dwyer Pedigree recorded by Dr. Keating". Clan O'Dwyer. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  7. ^ "The O'Dwyer Pedigree recorded by O'Hart". Clan O'Dwyer. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  8. ^ "Aradh Tíre and Aradh Chliach". Ireland's History in Maps. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  9. ^ "The Dwyer Family, Sydney, Australia".
  10. ^ "References to the O'Dwyers in the Annals of the Four Masters". Clan O'Dwyer. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Irish Chiefs and Clans of County Tipperary and Waterford". Library Ireland. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  12. ^ "Donal Cam O'Sullivan Beare", Wikipedia, 25 December 2019, retrieved 6 May 2020
  13. ^ "Napoleon's Irish Legion 1803–1815". Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  14. ^ O'Hart, John (1 January 1887). The Irish landed gentry when Cromwell came to Ireland. Dalcassian Publishing Company.
  15. ^ a b c d Abramovic, Vladimir. "An Irishman in Habsburg service – General Count John O'Dwyer, commander of Belgrade, 1718-1722". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  16. ^ a b Byrne, Angela. "The Irish naval officers in imperial Russia". The Irish Times. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  17. ^ "The O'Dwyer Castles". Dwyer Clan. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  18. ^ "Dwyer Castles". Dwyer Family. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  19. ^ "Ó Dubhuir". Sloinne. 5 December 2015.
  20. ^ "Ó Dubhuidhir". Sloinne. 5 December 2015.


  • Laffan, Thomas (1911). Tipperary Families : Being The Hearth Money Records for 1665–1667. James Duffy & Co.
  • O'Dwyer, Sir Michael (1933) The O'Dwyers of Kilnamanagh: The History of an Irish Sept
  • Callanan, Martin (1938) Records of four Tipperary septs: the O'Kennedys, O'Dwyers, O'Mulryans, O'Meaghers

External links[edit]