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Clanricarde c. 1450, entitled Burkes

Clanricarde (English: /klænˈrɪkɑːrd/; klan-RIK-ard), also known as Mac William Uachtar (Upper Mac William) or the Galway Burkes, were a fully Gaelicised branch of the Hiberno-Norman House of Burgh who were important landowners in Ireland from the 13th to the 20th centuries.


The territory, in what is now County Galway, Ireland, stretched from the barony of Clare in the north-west along the borders of County Mayo, to the River Shannon in the east. Territories Clannricarde claimed dominion over included Uí Maine, Kinela, de Bermingham's Country, Síol Anmchadha and southern Sil Muirdeagh were at times at war. Those clans excepted the family’s claims on varying occasions as well, and many family members were ceremonially brought into the Irish heritage.


The Clanricarde, was a Gaelic title meaning "Richard's family", or "(head of) Richard's family". The Richard in question was Richard Mór de Burgh, 1st Lord of Connacht (died 1243), son of William de Burgh, whose great-great grandson became the first Clanricarde in the 1330s. The title was first recorded in 1335, and had probably been being used informally for a few generations. However, with the advent of the Burke Civil War (1333–1338) it came to denote the head of the Burkes of Upper or south Connacht based largely in what is now east and central County Galway. Simultaneously it was used to describe the lands held by the family.[1]

The title Mac William Uachtar was also used as a synonym. It was a Gaelic title meaning "son of the upper William (de Burgh)". It was used to differentiate the Burkes of upper or south Connacht from their cousins, the Burkes of lower or north Connacht, who were known was the Mac William Lower.

However it was never used as popularly as the term Clanricarde and was in any case abandoned by the end of the 16th century.

In 1543 the then Clanricarde was created Earl of Clanricarde by Henry VIII.

The Clanricardes or Mac William Uachtar 1333–1544[edit]

Family tree[edit]

de Burgh Genealogy
Clanricarde (Mac William Uachtar) Genealogy

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Burke, Donald G. Burke’s East Galway: the culture, history, and genealogy of the families of east Galway. Burk of Clanricarde 1280 – 1333, (2013), [pedigree table of selected branches of the Burkes]. Retrieved 4 May 2020.

Further reading[edit]

  • A New History of Ireland, volume IX, Oxford, 1984;
    • Earls of Ulster and Lords of Connacht, 1205-1460 (De Burgh, De Lacy and Mortimer), p. 170;
    • Mac William Burkes: Mac William Iochtar (de Burgh), Lords of Lower Connacht and Viscounts of Mayo, 1332-1649, p. 171;
    • Burke of Clanricard: Mac William Uachtar (de Burgh), Lords of Upper Connacht and Earls of Clanricard, 1332-1722.

External links[edit]