Ryan Homelands The current day Tipperary and Limerick are the counties most associated with the Ryan clan. Situated in the province of Munster in the Southern half of Ireland, they are landscapes steeped in history and heritage.
Tipperary, the Premier county, or ‘Tipp’ as it is known to many, is a large inland county which was traditionally split into North and South for governmental purposes. The baronies of Owney and Arra in the North of the county are considered to be the homelands of the Ryan clan.
Newport, Co Tipperary is situated in the baronies of Owney and Arra, the historical home of the Munster Ryan clan. The Ryans lost their lands during the Cromwellian land confiscation; however there are several Ryan related heritage sites in the area.
Ballymackeogh House, Newport Co. Tipperary is said to have been associated with the Ryan clan. An old church and burial ground are located nearby.
Cully Castle (Castle Waller), Newport Co. Tipperary is now a ruin. It was the homeplace of Teige Ryan until taken over by Cromwell’s army.
Thurles is a market town and hosts one of Ireland’s main GAA stadiums – Semple stadium – the scene of many a hard fought battle of hurling and football. It’s a town that has many links to the Ryan clan. Land at Inch near Thurles belonged to the Owney branch of the Ryans and still has Ryan
connections . Check out the Tipperary studies centre to see if you can find something about your ancestors.
Holycross Abbey a few miles from Thurles is a national monument. It is situated in the heart of Ryan countryside. A 15th century Mulryan was Abbot.
Toomevara, Templederry , Upperchurch and Hollyford in the Thurles area are acknowledged places with strong Ryan roots. They form a stage on the Beara-Breifne Greenway which is based on the historic march of O’Sullivan Beara of 1603.
Clonmel sits on the river Suir beneath the wooded Comeragh Mountains. The South Tipperary County museum is located there and tells the story of the town’s development. The parents of Father Abram Joseph Ryan (1838-1886), born in Maryland and an advocate of the Confederate states of America, are said to have come from Clonmel or Clogheen, County Tipperary. He was a poet and soldier and is accredited with writing ‘Lost Cause’, ‘ The Conquered Banner’ and ‘In memory of my Brother’ .
Darby Ryan (Diarmaid O Riain) (1770-1855) was born near the village of Bansha. He wrote the satire ‘The Peeler and the Goat’. His grave is marked in Bansha graveyard.
They say it’s a long way to Tipperary. Even if it is, it’s worth it. Lying in the heart of the Golden Vale and a few kilometres from Bansha, on the N24, Tipperary, the town, which gives its name to the county, comes from the Irish Tiobraid Arann meaning the Well of Arra - the name of the river which flows through the town. It grew up as an Anglo Norman settlement in the 12th century. It’s not far from Knocklong, home of the Scarteen hunt and its Ryan connections.
The Sologhead memorial near Tipperary town. It is said that there was a large castle in this area that was a major seat of the Ryan clan. It was also the scene of an ambush during the Irish war of Independence, hence the memorial that can be seen to-day. Even if there is nothing to be seen of the Ryan castle, a visit to the area to view and absorb the landscape could give a Ryan descendant a sense of the place where their ancestors once lived.
The Augustinain Priory in Tipperary town also has Ryan connections through William Ryan who was granted it during King Henry the Eighth’s reign. An arch exists as a memorial to the priory.
Many of the towns in County Tipperary have heritage and genealogy centres which may help you to find local connections.
Limerick County is known for its rich farmland and the major urban area of the region. The city of Limerick is the second city of Munster province (after Cork). The River Shannon, its main waterway reaches the Atlantic Ocean at Tarbert, just inside the Kerry border. The river has given rise to industry along its banks on the city outskirts and port facilities at Foynes. The drive from Limerick to Tarbert along the N69 road opens up a fascinating view of the Shannon Estuary with its wildlife and heritage.
Limerick city is fortified by King John’s castle.
It was the scene of The siege of Limerick and the Treaty of Limerick signed in 1691. A fierce battle took place and the marks of the cannon balls can still be seen on the city walls. This was followed by the first of the Wild Geese, the name given to the Irish who left the country to avoid prosecution. It is said that a descendent of the Ryan ‘Wild Geese’ was found in Argentina in recent times and could converse in the Irish language.
Glenstal Abbey near Murroe village was built in the 19th century as home of the Barrington family.It was taken over by the Benedictine Order in 1927 as a school. Noirin Ni Riain, a native of Murroe, is a musician and theologian who has sung with the monks of the abbey.
Following Cromwell’s land confiscation in the late 17th century, many Ryans from North Tipperary found a new home in County Clare.
The site of Cragg Castle, near Killaloe, Co. Clare. The castle which overlooked the River Shannon was demolished in the 15th century . However an ancient burial ground remains where graves of Ryan families can be seen.
Killaloe cathedral which is still in use is said to have been part of a castle granted to a member of a Ryan clan.
The Gaelic sports of Hurling, Football, Camogie (women’s version of hurling) and Handball are strong and popular activities in Tipperary, Limerick and Clare. See the Ryans and their countrymen and women in action on the sports field. Check out the local GAA websites to see if there is a game on when you are in the area and meet some locals. The county team colours of Tipperary are blue and gold, Limerick wears green and white and Clare blue and saffron. Visit in the spring, summer and early autumn and marvel at the countryside and villages ablaze with the colours of clubs and county as they battle to achieve the highest honours of Gaelic games.
Other Counties with Ryan connections
Other counties with Ryan Clan connections include County Carlow and Wexford.