Clan History

The Farrell or O’Farrell clan (Ó Fearghail in Irish) is an Irish clan that traces its origins back to the battle of Clontarf in 1014. The descendants of Fearghal, who fought alongside Brian Boru at the battle of Clontarf, took the surname of Uí Fhearghail (descendants of Fearghal). The Uí Fhearghail went on to become Princes of the territory of Anghaile (Annaly), roughly corresponding to present day County Longford, their chieftain sitting at Longphort Uí Fhearghail (O’Farrell’s stronghold), present day Longford town. Another site associated with the clan was Moatfarrell (Móta Uí Fhearghail), in the east of Annaly between the present day towns of Ballinalee and Edgeworthstown.
The clan’s control of Annaly was disrupted by the English invasions of the 12th and 13th centuries, but by the 15th century, the clan had reasserted control over the territory. They had divided into two family subgroups, Uí Fhearghail Bán (White O’Farrell) and Uí Fhearghail Buí (Yellow O’Farrell), controlling the north and south of Annaly respectively.
The clan lost most of their lands during the colonial confiscations of James I in the early 17th century, with many of the clan members becoming tenants of the new English and Scottish landlords in what was now County Longford.
The family name is still common in the midland counties of Ireland, especially in County Longford, where it is second only to O’Reilly in number.
The O’Fearghails were one of the four chief clans of the Conmacne {race of Conmac (son of legendary Fergus MacRoigh and Queen Maedhbh (Maeve)}. They were the princes of Annaly (roughly the Irish midlands); their chief seat of power was Longphort Ui’ Fearghail (O’Farrell’s fortress) (present-day Longford town).


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