The O'Dwyer Clan
Virtus Sola Nobilitas     [Virtue alone enobles]



O'Dwyer Name

"The History of the O'Dwyers"

O'Dwyer Castles

Clan Territory

O'Dwyer Music

Distribution Map

O'Dwyer DNA

Clan Association

Clan Rally 2000 Report

Links to other Irish clans......

Ryan Clan

Meagher Clan

Kennedy Clan

Murnane Clan

Links to Irish genealogy sites...

County Tipperary Historical Society

Tipperary Heritage Unit

Tipperary Libraries

O'Corrain Heraldry

The O'Dwyer Castles

 The O'Dwyers ruled the ancient territory of Kilnamanagh, Co. Tipperary, and occupied several castles, which acted as defenses against aggressive neighbours. [To locate them please, see the map of Kilnamanagh]. Most of them were destroyed in the wars of the early and mid seventeenth centuries. All of them were confiscated as part of the Cromwellian settlements of the mid-seventeenth century. Those listed below still survive as crumbling ruins on the Tipperary landscape. [Photography: P. Charlton, Pallaskenry]

  • Ballagh Castle. Alas, only one wall remains of this rectangular towerhouse. It was occupied by Conor O'Dwyer of Ballagh until his death. His son, also Conor, was a minor at the time of his father's death, and was consequently taken to England as a Ward of Court to be educated in English ways and customs, until he came of age and could claim his father's inheritance. The castle and land was placed under the management of Sir Philip Percival, who came into full possession after the Cromwellian settlement.
  • Ballysheeda Castle, the most majestic of the remaining structures. This castle is of unusual circular shape, and in fine state of preservation. It is still possible to mount the stairs with care and enter the great hall. The garderobe (toilet) is still well preserved. Its upland position gives a commanding view of the surrounding countryside across the Tipperary plain to the Galtee mountains, and gave protection to the western border of the O'Dwyer territory.
  • Clonyharp Castle. Also of circular construction at one time, but only a small fraction remains. The outline of the circular internal stairs is still visible. This was the home of Dermot O'Dwyer, the second last clan chief, who served as Sheriff of Tipperary in 1600-1. On the marriage of Anthony, his son, he vacated it and moved to Milltown Castle until his death.
  • Drumbane Castle The ruins of this castle are of circular construction, somewhat similar to Ballysheeda, but on a much smaller scale. It is doubtful if it was ever completed, for the Civil Survey of 1654 refers to the stump of a castle 'intended to be built' at Drumbane. The interesting door lentil, though now partially collapsed, can still be seen.
  • Dundrum House Hotel, the site of the now-demolished Dundrum Castle. This was the home of Philip O'Dwyer the last clan chief, who died here in 1648 of a 'wasting disease', probably brought on by the strain of continual war following his attack on Cashel in 1641. Even with Philip dead, the castle put up very strong resistance to the vastly superior Cromwellian forces, but nonetheless it was captured and confiscated. It passed into the hands of Robert Maude of the Cromwellian Army, and remained with his descendants for many generations. The members of this family rose to great eminence, and were conferred with the titles of Viscount Hawarden, and later Earl of Montalt in the British peerage. The present magnificent Georgian structure was built by the Maudes in 1730.
  • Graigone Castle. Little is known of the ownership of this castle. Its destruction is of very early date, as it fails to appear in Sir William Petty's Down Survey. It may have been destroyed during the Elizabethan wars.
  • Killenure Castle, the most ornate of the castles, built in the Tudor style, and much of it is still intact. It was clearly of later construction date to the others, as it was designed more as a residence than a fortification. It dates from perhaps the end of the sixteenth century. It was originally oblong in shape, with semicircular towers at each corner. In 1641 it was in the possession of Charles O'Dwyer, son of Donogh, who forfeited it during the Cromwellian Confiscation. In 1665-7, it is believed to have been in the possession of Captain George Twogood. In 1745 it was purchased by the Cooper family, and it remained with this family until quite recent times.
  • Milltown Castle. This castle is quite difficult to reach from the access road. Only one wall remains, but the internal structure of the castle, including the arched ceiling of the great hall and the master bedrooms above, can be clearly discerned.
  • Moyaliffe Castle. This was in fact a Butler castle, rather than an O'Dwyer one, but nonetheless the castle ruins and surrounding lands were in possession of the O'Dwyers by the mid-seventeenth century, as evidenced by the Civil Survey of 1654. While the Butlers had been in occupation, it had been under constant attack by the O'Dwyers and their neighbours, the Ryans. An ancient record of 1500 AD records that Sir Pierce Butler was in possession of the castle and lands of Moyaliffe when a serious territorial quarrel broke out with Turlough O'Brien of the mighty O'Brien clan of Thomond, (with whom the O'Dwyers were traditionally allied). The fight reached its climax when Moyaliffe castle was surrounded by the O'Briens. The Butlers immediately sent reinforcements from their main stronghold of Kilkenny under the leadership of Robert Shea, to relieve their besieged brethren. A desperate battle ensued which resulted in the complete defeat of the Butlers and the fall of Moyaliffe on Aug 6th, 1500.
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18th - 20th September
Bru Boru

Cashel, Co. Tipperary Ireland

"The O'Dwyer Diaspora"
A book featuring experiences and stories of O'Dwyer emigrants

To enrol as a member of the O'Dwyer Clan, Click here to download membership form.

O'Dwyer DNA Project
The O'Dwyer DNA project is now up and running.
Click here for details