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Driscoll of Cork

Often in a locality there would be so many persons of a given surname that a secondary name was added to distinguish one family from another.

The names CRONICANE and CRONAKANE are said to be O'Driscolls in Sherkin Island. Riobard O'Dwyer's series of books Who Were my Ancestors? connects the name MINIHANE with the O'Driscoll on the Beara Peninsula.

Marriage record showing the interchanging of Minihane for Driscoll

According to Nora M. Keohane Hickey the following are such secondary names for the surname O'DRISCOLL or more properly agnomina:

She also points out that BOHANE may also refer to an O'SULLIVAN.


O'Driscolls Past and Present by Eamon Lankford describes the first Driscolls and some of their cousins. Lughaidh Mac Con had three sons: from Óengus Bolg was descended the Uí Builg and the Uí Etersceoíl or O'Driscolls; from Duach was descended the Ua Cobhthaigh, which took the forms COHIG, COWHIG, COWEY, COFFEE, and COFFEY; and from Fiachra came Ua Floinn Arda or FLYNN? of Ardagh near Skibbereen.

There is a place called Knockanacohig ("hillock of O'Cohig") on Clear Island - evidence, perhaps, that the Cowhigs were situated close by.


According to Irish Family Names by Peadar O'Donovan, The Genealogy of the Corca Loidhe (printed in The Miscellany of the Celtic Society) mentions several O'Driscoll septs. Some of these septs may have spun off different surnames: Clann FINN of the Garry (an especially fertile land area) in Myross; Clann Lughaidh, which may have become known as LOOIG or LOOHIG; Clann Bouldera (which was situated in Revouler in Kilmacabea according to historian J.M. Burke, page 226 of the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, vol. 10, number 64, 1904); Clann Chiarmhic, which may now be KERWICK; Clann Dubhlaing, which took the forms DOOLAN, DOOLIN, and DOOLING. The O'Driscolls of Beara were descended from Aodh Garbh O hEiderscoil, who was killed by another Driscoll branch O Ceadagain, now recognized as CADOGAN or CADIGAN.


Edward MacLysaght stated in his 1964 Supplement to Irish Families: "In the Clonakilty (Co. Cork) district some O'Driscoll families acquired the agnomen WHOOLEY which has now become a hereditary surname."


According to JCHAS contributor J.M. Burke, writing under the pen name "Finnerty" for the Southern Star, in his August 13, 1932 newspaper column The Driscoll Sept, "O'Dunlaing - O'DOOLIN, was generally looked on as the distinguishing sobriquet of a branch of the Driscolls."


Peadar O'Hanrahan, who wrote the column "Our Dublin Letter" for the Southern Star, gave these insights in his December 6, 1946 column:

"The O h-Eidrisceoil clan had a big list of distinctive names of their own no doubt, just as the O Donnabhain people had, but I cannot claim a very wide knowledge of them. I know there was an O'Driscoll Ban in the Rath parish and the O'Driscoll Caedh which I assume is a worn down form of MacAodn, in Myross and Kilmacabea parishes, and the O'Driscoll Fuithil [note: FUHILL?] (which in my early days was like the others, considered a kind of nickname not to be used when anyone who bore the name was listening) in the parish of Killeenleigh.

"Here let me digress to state that students of the Celti Miscellany will observe that the O Fuithil was the name of one of the chief families in West Cork at one time, just as O Mothaile was, though that was abandoned later on and O'Brien substituted for it. My intellectual Killeenleigh and Caheragh-taught friend Batty O'Brien is, as he knows himself, and prides in the fact too, a descendant of that kingly line of O Mothaile. But perhaps the most ancient name of that sub-division was "Ludhaig," and some of the clan of the Rath parish bore that name until quite recently. Is there not some connection between "Ludhaig" and the ancient Corca Lugha as found in the Geinealach Corca Laidhe, and if so, the O'Driscoll people who can claim to belong to that branch of the sept have something very important to talk about and cherish.

"According to a note written by Micheal O Cuileanain which I found among my papers recently there was a branch of the O'Driscolls called "An Chlann Chron," some of whom live in Inis Arcain [note: Sherkin Island] still. Perhaps it was from that name the word CRONACHAN developed..."


If you dig deeper into the subject you will discover that many secondary names are adjectives such as RUA for red hair persons or BAWN for white haired persons. These names in some instances have evolved into ROE and BOHN respectively. Their use as an angomen for any given surname seems as likely to apply to one as another when one considers all of Cork but its use is likely to be unique when applied locally for otherwise it would introduce just more confusion and defeat its purpose.

See also: History

Possible Agnomina in Church Records

All this complicates our genealogy for in many vital records the entry might appear via the surname, via the agnomen or the two in concert. The extracted records below are for names said to be agnomina for Driscoll but it is not known if any of them in these records are in fact such an example. They are presented here in part for their stand alone value but also in hopes that someone can identify any of the individuals presented and state whether or not the surname is a name in its own right or an agnomen.

Roman Catholic Parishes
Belgooly or Clountead Carrigaline & Temple Brigid Douglas & Ballygarvan
Kinalea (Tracton Abbey) Passage West & Monkstown Father O Gara's Register

Driscoll Surname and Agnomen Inquiry Boards
(check spelling variants too)

Cadogan/Cadigan Driscoll Finn Minihane Whooly
Cadogan at
Cadigan at Genforum
Driscoll at
Driscoll at Genforum
Finn at
Finn at Genforum
Minihane at Whooley at
Whooley at Genforum

Susan J. Barretta, Administrator Colin Ferguson, Co-Administrator

Clan O'Driscoll is registered with the Clans of Ireland Ltd

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This page was last modified: Sunday, 25-Aug-2013 13:34:58 MDT