24 January 2017

The name O’Dea

The O’Deas on my maternal side came from County Clare. This piece below, now published on several websites, appeared in The Freeman’s Journal of 1882. The journal was first published in June of 1850 with a focus on Catholic and Irish issues. It continued with this title until a name change in 1932.

The O'Deadhadhs, or Deas, are of Milesian extraction, springing from Aenghus Cinnatrach, fifth son of Cais, of the race of Oliol Ollum, King of Munster. The O'Deas were formerly chiefs of Triocha Cead Cinal Fermaic, otherwise Triocha Ougbterach, or the upper district, and Diseart ni Dreadbadth, now the parish, of Dysart O'Dea, in the barony of Inchiquin, and county Clare, comprising about 24,000 acres statute measure.

The chiefs of this territory are thus mentioned by O'Heerin is his topographical poem:
With due respect we first treat
Of the higher lands of Triocha Oughter;
O'Dea is the inheritor of the country
Of the nut producing plains.

In very early—times a branch of this family removed to the county of Tipperary, where, in the barony of Slieveardagh, they became possessed of an extensive estate, as we are informed by O'Heerin m these lines —
Slieve Arde of the fair lands
O'Dea inherits as his estate.

The O'Deas had several castles in their original territory of Cinel Fermaic, the tribe name of this family, where at the present day some ruins of their castle of Dysart may be seen. The following notices of the O'Deas are collected from the "Annals of the Four Masters," and various other sources : —
A.D. 1106, Raghnall O'Dea died.
A.D. 1151, Flaherty O'Dea was slain at the battle of Moin Moir, in the county of Cork.
A.D. 1311, Lochlin Riavach, or the Swarthy O'Dea, was slain by Mahon son of Donal Conochtach, I.e., the Conacian O'Brien.
A.D 1400, Cornelius O'Dea, Archdeacon of Killaloe, was consecrated Bishop of Limerick in this year, and obtained possession of the temporals of the see in the year following. He resigned his sacred office in 1426, and lived in seclusion until his death, which took place on the 27th July, 1434. He was entered in the cathedral, where a monument of black Marble was erected to his memory by his worthy successor, John Mottel, Canon of Kells.
A.D. 1588, Mahon O'Dea, son of Lochlin, son of Rory, son of Murrogh, son of Mahon Boy, lord of Cinel Fermaic, died.
A.D 1589, Dermod O'Dea, son of Dermod, son of Denis, son of Dermod son of Conor, son of — I.e., the Bishop of Limerick— son of Murrogh-an-Dana, died, and was interred in the church of Dysart-Tola, in the town of Dysart.

To some of our readers it may seem strange that Conor O'Dea, being Bishop of Limerick, should have a son ; but to the reader of ecclesiastical history this is a matter of no surprise, several of the religious establishments in their country in Ireland are the foundations of kings; princes, and chiefs, who to leave their names inscribed on Fame's emblazoned roll when Glory's proud fane blazed brightly from afar, wasted their patrimonial estates, and shed the life-blood of some hundreds of their subjects in useless strife ; and now, when the fire of youth, the heat of passion, or the love of revenge had ceased to burn in their bosoms, and their beloved consorts, the parents of their joys and sorrows, are called to their last resting place, their younger sons are scattered over the land, and the eldest son takes a stranger's daughter to wife, and entrusts her with the government of his ancestral hall, the old chief lays aside the glittering armour stained in many a well-fought field, and takes the habit of a friar in some time honoured convent, endowed by his ancestors, whence he is taken in the course of years, and invested with the episcopal dignity.

A.D. 1548, Dermod, son, of Edmund, son of Rory O'Dea, of Tully O'Dea, was slain by the insurgents of the country of Clare, in the month of July, in this year. ODEA.

In the countries of Clare and Limerick the name O'Dea in the Irish is erroneously pronounced as if written "Dha;" in the county of Galway it is correctly enough pronounced "Dhia" and Dhea. The O'Deas were hereditary standard bearers of Thomond, where numerous families of the name are to be met with at the present day.

1862 'O'DEA.', Freeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932), 26 March, p. 2. , viewed 20 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article115762909

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