Ó hEidirsceóil

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Ó hEidirsceoil.

Ó hEidirsceoil (anglicised as Driscoll or O'Driscoll) is a Gaelic Irish clan who were rulers of the Dáirine sept of the Corcu Loígde until the Earl Modern period. The name is most prominent in County Cork and County Kerry. Their ancestors were Kings of Munster until the rise of the Eóganachta in the 7th century. At the start of the 13th century, three prominent branches of the family came into existence; Ó hÉidrisceoil Mór, Ó hÉidrisceoil Óg and Ó hÉidrisceoil Bhéarra. The Ó prefix was dropped by many in the Ireland of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Naming conventions[edit]

Male Daughter Wife (Long) Wife (Short)
Ó hEidirsceóil[1] Ní Eidirsceóil Bean Uí Eidirsceóil Uí Eidirsceóil
Ó Drisceóil[2] Ní Dhrisceóil Bean Uí Dhrisceóil Uí Dhrisceóil


The surname derives from the forename Eidirsceol, who was alive in the early-to-mid 10th century. The word itself, eidirsceol, means "go-between" or "bearer of news".

The original Eidirsceol from whom descent is claimed is reputed to have lived in the mid 10th century.

The family are of Érainn, descent, specifically the Corcu Loígde population group. By the time the family began using the surname, the territory known as Corcu Loígde (roughly the same as the diocese of Ross) in south-west County Cork, was identified as their homeland, with the town of Baltimore been their seat. From the 12th century the Ó hEidirsceoil's were recorded as kings of Corcu Loígde.

Been driven so far south by the Gaelic Eóganachta and the Anglo-Normans, the family became expert sailors and pirates. According to John Grenham:

  • From the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries they struck an alliance with the Powers of County Waterford in their long feud with the burgesses and merchants of Waterford city, and many of their leaders were killed in battle on land and sea. One of the best known incidents occurred in 1413, when the Mayor of Waterford, Simon Wicken, arrived in Baltimore on Christmas Day and was invited to join in the Christmas festivities. He did, and enjoyed the company so much that he took O'Driscoll and his family back to Waterford, as prisoners. From the fifteenth century on, the family struggled to retain their lands and power against the English. By 1610, Baltimore had become an English port and there is some evidence that the family may have had a hand in the notorious pillage of the town by Algerian pirates in 1631; a year earlier there had been reports of one Cornelius O'Driscoll "an Irish pirate with his rendezvous in Barbary"[1]. The notorious statistician Cornelius O'Driscoll is rumoured to be a modern day descendant of this pirate.

They are described by Donnchadh Ó Corráin as follows:

Though the landowners of the clan lost all of their possession during the 17th century, most of those bearing the name in Ireland are still to be found living in the old family homeland.

Forenames associated with the family included Finn and Con/Mac Con. From the late medieval era, they were anglicized as Florence and Cornelius.

Annalistic references[edit]

U=Annals of Ulster. AI=Annals of Inisfallen.

  • U944: Cairpre son of Mael Pátraic, king of Uí, Liatháin, and Finn son of Mután, king of Corcu Laígdi, were killed by the men of Mag Féine.
  • AI1103: Conchobar Ua hEtersceóil, king of Corcu Laígde, died in Ros Ailithir.
  • AI1103: The son of Ua hEtersceóil, king of Corcu Laígde, went to sea with a crew of twenty-five, {and unknown is their faring or their end thereafter}.
  • AI1126: Ciarmac Ua hEtersceóil died.
  • AI1178: Muirchertach, grandson of Domnall Ua Carthaig, was treacherously slain by Ua hEtersceóil {in Móin Cluana Cuarbáin and Hector(?)
  • AI1179: The son of Finn Ua hEtersceóil was slain.
  • AI1229: Donnchad Ó hEtersceóil, king of Corcu Laígde, died.

List of people[edit]

Fictional characters[edit]


  • Family Names of Co. Cork, D. O'Murchadha, Glendale Press, Dublin, 1985.
  • Driscolls and more Driscolls:from County Cork (Ireland) to Township York (Noble County, IN), Allen W. Driscoll, Wawaka, 1998.
  • Byrne, Francis J., Irish Kings and High-Kings. Four Courts Press. 2nd edition, 2001.
  • D'Alton, John, Illustrations, Historical and Genealogical, of King James's Irish Army List, 1689 2 vols. London: J.R. Smith. 2nd edition, 1861. (see under O'Donovan's Infantry)
  • Lankford, E. 'O Driscolls Past and Present' Cape Clear Museum (2005) ISBN 0-9534898-4-1
  • Ó Corráin, Donnchadh, "Corcu Loígde: Land and Families", in Cork: History and Society. Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County, edited by Patrick O'Flanagan and Cornelius G. Buttimer. Dublin: Geography Publications. 1993.
  • O'Donovan, John (ed.), "The Genealogy of Corca Laidhe", in Miscellany of the Celtic Society. Dublin. 1849.
  • O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees. Dublin. 5th edition, 1892.
  • O'Rahilly, Thomas F., Early Irish History and Mythology. Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. 1946.
  • Old Irish-Gaelic Surnames: A Supplement to Ireland's History in Maps
  1. ^ "Ó hEidirsceóil". Sloinne. 5 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Ó Drisceóil". Sloinne. 5 December 2015.

External links[edit]