THE RYANS OF TIPPERARY TOWN
Mary Ryan was born in about 1780 of Tipperary town, County
Tipperary, Ireland. Her birth predates the parish registers, so her
parents names are unknown. She married Peter Harrigan 31 October
1802 in Tipperary town.
The witnesses at the marriage were Matthew Quillinan and Richard
Mary's son, James Harrigan, lived on Bohercrow Street in Tipperary
Several Ryans were listed on the Tithe Applotment of 1828. The Tithe
Applotment listed the head of household for occupiers of land one
acre or more. Three Ryans are listed in Bohercrow townland: James
Ryan (over 23 acres), Michael Ryan (54 acres), and Thomas Ryan (over
19 acres). Possibly these were Mary's family, living in close
proximity to the Harrigans. No Harrigans are listed. James was a
barber, and leased only a house in later records. The same may be
true for Peter Harrigan.
Richard Sadlier is also found in the townland, occupying just over
seven acres. Possibly this was the same Richard Sadlier who acted as
a witness at Mary's marriage. Matthew Quillinan was not listed, but
the Ryan's neighbor was Charles Quillinane. Stephen Dwan is also
found in Bohercrow. He is likely a relation of James' wife.
Tithe Applotment, 1828, for Bohercrow townland in Tipperary
In the later Griffiths Valuation of 1850, 102
Ryans are listed in Tipperary town, several of them in
In earlier record, these Ryans are found in the Religious Census
of 1766 in Tipperary town:
Philip Ryan or Hogan
All of these Ryans were listed as Catholic. One of them may be
In Pender's Census of 1659
, 77 Ryan families are listed
in the Barony of Clanwilliam, which includes Tipperary town.
This is by far the largest number for any name.
The Ryans are a prominent family in the Tipperary area: "Ryan
is today one of the ten commonest surnames in Ireland. It is
an anglicised form of the old Gaelic O'Maoilriaghain /
O'Maoilriain, meaning 'descendant of a devotee of St Riaghan'.
The first recorded spelling of the name, which was dated c14th
century, is shown to be that of O'Maoilriain, in "Medieval
Records of County Tipperary", during the reign of Gerald, Earl
of Desmond, 1369 - 1374. The O'Maoilriain sept was very
powerful in Owney (formerly called Owney O'Mulryan), which
forms two modern baronies on the borders of Counties Limerick
and Tipperary. Even today the surname is highly concentrated
in this area. In the 1850s Griffiths Valuation, 8,871 Ryan
households were recorded, nearly half of which were in
"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."
O'Maoilriains, or anglicised Mulryans, are directly descended
from Fergus, ninth in descent from Cathair Mor and are said to
have settled in the 13th century in the rich pasturelands of
the Golden Vale bordering Tipperary and Limerick. The
O'Maoilriains, who were chiefs of Owney, settled in that
territory which is now known as the Baronies of Owney, County
Tipperary and Owney-beg in the east of County Limerick and
later moved in to the Barony of Kilnamanagh, County Tipperary,
where they became very numerous and powerful. Most of the
buildings constructed by the Ryans (O'Mulryans) when they
arrived in the Owney territory of Munster were demolished
prior to, or during the 17th century when their properties
were confiscated by Cromwellian forces."