Saturday, 1 October 2016


Caisleán Coillearnach Ruadh

Coat of Arms of the 
Mac Egans

Inscription above the entrance showing dates of occupancy

A modest entrance

A druid admires !

The other day we took a detour off our normal route to visit Redwood Castle [Caisleán Coillearnach Ruadh] on northwestern edge of County Tipperary, near Lorrha and situated about 1.5 miles/ 2.4 km from the banks of the River Shannon.

The reason for the visit was because of my interest in the Irish Celts. The family/clan who lived in Redwood Castle were the Mac Egans, the hereditary Brehons of Connaught. 

One of my great grandmothers was a member of the O’Doran family who were also Brehons. 
The O’Dorans were one of the seven septs of County Laois, the others being O' Devoy, O'Dowling, McEvoy, O'Kelly, O'Lalor and O'Moore, and together they were known as "The great Brehon families of Leinster". 

The word "brehon" refers to the Gaelic legal system in force before the Norman Invasion of 1170. 

For more information on Redwood Castle and the Brehons please visit the link -

Do you have ancient family connections with Ireland ?


  1. Very interesting. But one thing I notice in Irish and or Scottish Surname...They all seem to start with an O'....Mc....Mac...What does this all mean.
    My Mothers maiden name was...McCalmant and there been quite a few different spellings.
    Coffee is on

  2. A very good question Dora.
    Mac or Mc means 'son of' and Mac was originally used to denote that the person was a Catholic and Mc was a Protestant.
    Correctly in Irish ' ní ' precedes the last name when the person is female for example Bernadette ní Ghabhann.
    When the O' precedes a last name it is 'person of the clan'
    I trust that this provides you with clarification Dora.

  3. An impressive looking castle with lots of history. My grandmother was born in Oranmore in Co Galway back in 1870. She moved to America around the turn of the century and my father was born there in 1905. I have her birth certificate and that's a start. She died in 1966. I would love to find out about our family way back then.

    1. Well Bill I guess you can do the research on line or make a visit to Oranmore and very best of luck.

  4. Replies
    1. Simon :-) !
      Windows were kept to minimum to prevent enemy arrows and such from causing damage; of course you knew that didn't you ;-)

  5. Is it still home to anyone?

    1. Naughty Sue didn't read the link did you :-(

    2. Oops, sorry, I blame it on the jetlag!

    3. Ok Sue you can come out of the corner now :-) xx

  6. Hi Mel - fascinating castle - and restored in its much smaller state by a lawyer I see ... cheers Hilary

    1. Thank you Hilary and The Brehons even today could teach this modern world a great deal.

  7. i do love it when you post photographs of the incredibly beautiful buildings of Ireland - more please.

    1. Thank you Pat and your wish shall be obeyed m'aam :-)

  8. I remember being told in Scotland many years ago on our visit that Mc and Mac were interchangeable (my married name at the time being MacDonald). The Scottish versus Irish spelling is largely a myth, and I wonder if the Catholic vs Protestant may also be an exaggeration. In any case, I found this interesting blog entry that I just wanted to share with you, Mel, as I know you love history and all its quirks.

    Thanks for the castle tour!

    1. Anne- Marie thank you for your input.
      Mc and Ma are contractions of Mac and which mean according to the Irish language 'Son of' why otherwise would we use
      Ní which means daughter of ?

      Further more in relation to the spelling of some common last names there are centuries old differences in the spelling
      of the names according to whether a P or a C - I will put another in the melting pot 'Mathews is C and when it belongs to a P it is spelt with two TT as in Matthews.
      One can think the differences in the spellings rather silly (and perhaps they are) however those who had a belief in
      Christianity made the differences for their own reasons.
      Personally I do not subscribe to any religion.

    2. The definitions of Mac, and the contractions of Mc, Ma and also that for Ní as stated and reiterated above are correct and to the definitions in GEARRFHOCLÓIR GAEILGE-BÉARLA which is the standard Irish-English dictionary.


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