Clan MacNamara

Decendants of Cu Mara Chief of Maghadhair

Origins of the MacNamara name

Prior to the arrival of the Normans and in turn the English, Ireland was made up of tribal kingdoms with many families belonging to the particular tribe that populated it’s individual kingdom. The ‘Dal gCais’ (race of Cas) or ‘Dalcassians’ were one of these early tribes and they occupied the Kingdom of Thomond which comprises large area of South Western Ireland.

 

The origins of the McNamara Clan can be traced back to around the end of the second century AD when Cormac Cas ruled as King of Munster and with it Thomond. It was Cormac Cas (D. 254AD) who was the ancestor of the Dalcassian tribe to which the MacNamara Clan belongs.

 

Six generations on from Cormac Cas we have Cas. Having twelve sons of which the second was named Caisin. It is from Caisin that Clan McNamara takes it’s earliest name ‘Ui Caisin’ the children of Caisin. The territory ruled over by the Clan came to be known as Ui Caisin. Which comprised of a larger part modern day County Clare. The territory it’s self was formally known as Magh Adhair meaning the plain of Adhair. This was the name given to it by it’s pre Celtic inhabitants the Adhar, or 'Firbolg', who possessed the land in the first century.

 

Seven generations on and another branch of the clan emerges. The Clan Cuilean named after Coilean, seventh in decent from Caisin. Whist separate names for branches of the Clan were emerging they all still identified as Dalcassian and of the same Clan.

 

Some time around the middle of the eleventh century Cu-Mara is born. It is from ‘Cumuir’ anglicized ‘Cu-Mara’ that the Clan MacNamara were to eventually take the name. Cu-Mara’s grandfather Meanma was a contemporary of the Brian Boru, progenitor of the O’Brien clan and High King of Ireland.

 

‘Cu’ which later became con, [a warrior] and ‘muir’, later became mara, [the sea Latin- ‘mar-e’ Arabic- ‘mar a’]. Means something along the lines of the Hound/ Warrior/protector of the sea. Not much is known of Cu-mara apart from his title of Chief of Magh Adhair.

 

Descendants of Cu-Mara took the name Macconmara meaning son of the hound/warrior/protector of the sea and in turn Cu-Mara’s own son Donal (D. 1099AD) assumed the surname name MacNamara.

 

Whilst variants of the name exist The title ‘Clan MacNamara’ is used to the present day.

Ancient times 200AD - 795AD

In ancient times the MacNamara Clan (then known as the Ui Caisin) belonged to a tribal yet highly organised Society. Gaelic society of the time was governed by a democratically egalitarian system of laws that influenced and directed the day to day lives of early Irish people. The Ui Caisin at the time lived in a world of rituals, warfare, farming and community. There was no thought of an Irish nation at the time, rather the country was made up of tribal kingdoms, some large and some small. Each of these kingdoms had a petty king or overlord and the chiefs of each family within a particular kingdom would contribute to the armies and wealth of the king.

Cormac Cas (D. 254AD) was one such king and during his thirty year reign he he ruled over much of Munster (South Western Ireland). In particular Cormac Cas ruled as King of Thomond (now modern day Co. Clare). Cormac Cas was married to Samer, the daughter of the Legendry Fionn MacCumhal (Fin MacCoole) and sister of the Poet Oisin. The Great Great grandson of Cormac Cas was Lughaidh Meann (B. 286AD), Lughaidh dispossessed the original inhabitants 'the Firbolg' of the lands now known as Co. Clare expanding Munster and with it the Kingdom of Thomond. The Grandson of Lughaidh, Cas (B. 347AD) had twelve sons and it is Cas for which the Dal gCais or Dalcassians are named.

The second son of Cas, Caisin give us the first name or identity for the clan, the Ui Caisin or children of Cas. Ui Caisin is the branch of the Dalcassians that would eventually become known as Clan MacNamara. With the dispossession of Firbolg the Ui Caisin established themselves on the Magh Adhair or 'plain of Adhar'. The plain was known as Ui Caisin for the next thousand years.

Eight generations on from Caisin we have 'Coilin' or Cullin. The Ui Caisin acquire another name at this time (date unknown), 'Clan Coilin' or Clan Cullin whilst many of the clan retained the title Ui Caisin, the descendants of Cullin became known as Clan Cullin.

The ancient histories of the Clan often read as lists of names and accounts of battles, but through them we can glimpse the evolution of the Clan and it's identity. Early tribal society was complex and rich in culture and during forth and fifth centuries AD witnessed dramatic changes in spiritual and religious beliefs and practices, farming methods and day to life for pagan Gaelic tribes. One of the most significant things to happen during this period was the coming of Christian monks from the then collapsing Roman empire. The monks brought with them literacy, new farming methods and an ideology that would challenge the Pagan Druids of Ireland. Whilst their coming and conversion of the Irish people to Christianity was slow the effects were profound and for centuries after Irish Kings and nobles kept both Pagan Druids and Christian monks in their households. Many powerful Irish clans built and financed monasteries that became places of wealth and learning. It was the prosperity of the Christian monks that attracted the dreaded Ossman (Vikings) to Ireland.

The Viking era 795AD - 1170AD

Arriving sometime around 795AD the Vikings (or Ostmen as the Irish called them) came from Scandinavia to find an Ireland with no apparent central ruler ship and many small territories constantly warring against each other. Coming at first to rob the rich monasteries the Vikings soon became a force to be reckoned with. They quickly took over territories establishing settlements and ultimately laying the foundations for the great Irish cities of Dublin and Limerick. Eventually the Vikings brought and provided trade to Ireland. They brought new knowledge in ship building war fare and the arts.

For a short time the Vikings were a dominant force on the island forcing the native Chieftains and nobles to put aside old feuds and unite. The Vikings were dealt a final blow putting to an end their dominance in 1014AD when Brian Boruma (king of the kingdom of Thomond and Hi King of Ireland) defeated them  at the battle of Clontarf (outside Dublin). Whilst this did not rid Ireland of the Vikings entirely I did put an end to their growing power on the Island. Brian Boruma was killed at the end of the battle and a power struggle soon arose which meant a return to the old 'in fighting' and warring of the Great Chiefs.

The Vikings were not expelled completely from Ireland. Viking communities remained and interbred with the Irish, eventually becoming Irish themselves. Much of the beautiful artwork of this time has Viking influences. and this is the time in which the great conical towers and high crosses spring up on the island

By the end of the eighth century The Ui Caisin (Clan MacNamara) had consolidated it's power in eastern Thomond, growing in numbers and wealth and rising to become a powerful clan second only to the ruling O’Brien’s. The clan had by this time forged martial ties and allegiances with the O’Brien’s and had attained the hereditary position of Marshalls to the O’Brien’s kings. This meant that it was the Ui Caisin that were responsible for ensuring that the men of Thomond were organised into ' war bands' fit and ready to march of to war for the king. Notably the Ui Caisin had the hereditary privilege of inaugurating the O'Brien Kings at Magh Adhair in the territory of Ui Caisin, This place is now known as Moyry Park in the township of Toonagh, Co. Clare.

Prior to the Viking presence in Ireland clans such as Ui Caisin would have constructed their strong holds by building up earthen embankments topped a wooden palisade. This would surround the dwellings and communal buildings affording protection to the people and livestock alike. The Viking style of warfare was such that these earthen defence proved of little protection against the well organised Viking raiders of the time. The Vikings were quite successful in defeating the Irish and pillaging their communities for valuables and potential slaves. Initially arriving with only  two of three ships at a time by the beginning of the ninth century the Vikings were coming with fleets of fifty to a hundred ships. One such devastating raid happened in Thomond in 837AD.

In addition to the devastating raids the Vikings had by 950AD established the settlements of Limerick, Cork, Vadrefjord (Waterford), Weisfjord (Wexford) and Dubhlin (Dublin). With the exception of Dubhlin the area controlled by the Vikings around each of these settlements was small but enough to put fear into the Irish population of the time.

By the end of the ninth century the Chief of Ui Caisin was known as the Lord of Ui Caisin, and Chief of Magh Adhair.  'Aodh' was one such Lord and was a contemporary of Brian Boru King of the Dal gCais and High King of Ireland.  In 1014AD the Ui Caisin fought along side their Dalcassian tribesman at the battle of Clontarf (near Dubhlin). Clontarf did not rid Ireland of the Vikings as many stories claim , but it did put an end to Viking expansion in Ireland. It would be wise to add that in fighting against the Viking threat Brian Boru and the Dalcassians used Viking horseman to aid in their efforts to win the day. Unfortunately at the end of the day Brian Boru High King of Ireland and possibly one of the greatest warrior kings of his day was slain by the retreating Vikings. It is said that the Irish were so enraged his killers were disemboweled and their insides and bodies hung from a tree for the crows.

Meanma the son of the Aodh, Lord of Ui Caisin died in 1014AD but it is not certain if his death was related to the Battle of Clontarf. The coming of the Vikings didn't result in the invasion and suppression of the native Irish, rather the Vikings lost over time their own culture and were absorbed into the Irish society of the time. Inter marriage between Irish and Viking families brought about new alliances, trade enterprises and cultural influences. Dubhlin flourished and continued to be ruled by a Viking King and many Viking sites can be found around Dublin today. Unfortunately for the Ui Caisin and their Irish countrymen there would be harder struggles to endure in the coming centuries.

 

Sometime before 1099AD 'Cumara' the grandson of Meanma was born. He would be Known eventually as Lord of Ui Caisin and Chief of Maghadhair. Cumara meaning hound/warrior/protector of the sea is the progenitor of the MacNamara name. His son Donal was the first to adopt a Surname MacConmara meaning Son of the hound/warrior/protector of the sea. The Name MacConmara was anglicized with the coming of the Normans and English to MacNamara which is the name used by the clan today. Some clan members still choose to use the Irish form of the name, 'MacConmara'. The title of Lord of Ui Caisin would remain despite the name changes until the fourteenth century

The Norman invasion 1170AD - 1400AD

In 1170 Richard De Clare, Earle of Pembroke, arrived in Ireland with a force of well armed professional soldiers. Known as Strongbow he came to Ireland at the invitation of Dermot McMurrough who had been fighting for the Kingship of Leinster. Defeated by his rival Rory O’Connell, McMurrough had fled to England to gather support for an invasion of Ireland. In return for military support he promised lands to Strongbow. The result was a well trained Norman army backed by McMurrough and his followers winning outright against O’Connell and the undisputed recognition of McMurrough as King of Leinster.

McMurrough cemented his new found alliance by marrying his daughter Aoife (pr: Eaf – Ha) to Strongbow. A year later McMurrough died and Strongbow ascended to the throne of Leinster in May of 1171 AD. Upon hearing of Stronbow’s sudden rise to power in Ireland Henry II king of England took affront to his ‘vassals’ sudden rise perceiving it as a threat and affront to his authority. In August 1171 AD Henry landed in Ireland with a large and well prepared army. Strongbow realizing the danger he was in, met with Henry on the way to Dublin and pledged his renewed allegiance. In Norman culture the act of making an oath was taken very seriously indeed.

When Henry II arrived, Rory O’Connell had been allowed to retain his nominal title of High King of Ireland but in effect Henry II now held the balance of power. Rather than enter into outright warfare many of the Irish Kings and Chieftains’ ‘Came into the House’ of Henry II. To the Irish this meant protection in return for allegiance and provision of fighting men when needed. To Henry however being a Plantagenet (Norman) king this meant that Ireland and all that dwelt in it belonged to him.

The Normans soon put in place Norman laws and customs and tried where possible to enforce feudalism (as system foreign to the Irish). Much of the Irish nobility was forced to pay rent for their lands. The people, who had farmed the clan holdings for generations (they had no concept of land ownership outside that of the communal Clan holdings) now paid rent and worked as tenant farmers. Norman lords were given lands and forces to impose Norman rule. The Celtic ways looked as if they would fade away. Norman rule was not easy and in time many of the Norman lords and landowners intermarried with the Noble Irish forging alliances and adopting Irish culture.

 

To the west of Ireland the old Irish families had retained their power and Norman rule struggled to gain a foothold. Old Kingdoms such as Thomond proved too hard for the Normans to suppress and as such remained ruled over by the Irish kings. Over time Irish language, dress and custom had been adopted by many Norman families in Ireland and by 1295AD the English felt it was time to push back and stamp out this assimilation into Irish culture. From 1295AD to 1365AD a series of 12 Parliaments was held at Kilkenny to decide upon laws to stamp out the ‘Irishness’ in Norman Ireland. The result was the ‘Statutes of Kilkenny’, which forbade the Normans and Norman Irish from obeying Irish Brehon Law, Speak the Irish Language, Marry into Irish families or give their children Irish names. The statutes were doomed to fail however and over time Norman English rule was ineffective only extending to a small area around Dublin and Drogheda. This became known as ‘The Pale’.

 

The pale by definition was the area in which Norman English law and customs were prevalent. Outside this area was ‘Wild Ireland’ where the great tribes of Ireland were seen as barbaric and degenerate. To the Irish the Norman English also seemed barbaric and degenerate, seldom washing and having no appreciation for the age old customs and social rituals of Celtic Ireland. The Normans even tried to erect a palisade around the pale region (without much success) in order to protect themselves. This situation remained in place until the late fifteenth early sixteenth centuries when the English decided it was time to sort out the 'Irish problem'.

 

During the Norman era the Kingdom of Thomond managed to repel attempts by the Normans to invade it thanks to a strong O'Brien rulership. Though not without their own issues the Dalcassians led by the O’Brien’s managed to keep the Normans at bay until the middle of the twelfth century. Henry II of England granted Thomond to one of his Norman knights, Phillip de Braose, but when the Braose together with Richard de Clare (Strongbow) and other Norman forces attempted to enforce his claim he was defeated at the battle of Thurles in 1174AD by Donal Mor O'Brien King of Thomond and his Dalcassians. Donal had welcomed the coming of Henry II as a way of suppressing his enemies in Leinster, Ossory and Desmond from advancing their martial exploits in Ireland. He had Submitted to Henry as Lord of Ireland but kept his title of King of Thomond, loosing his hold over much of Munster. To strengthen his position Donal married the daughter of Dermot McMurrough King of Leinster (the same McMurrough that invited Strongbow and the Normans to Ireland in the first place).  Donal also married his daughter to Richard de Burgh, a powerful Norman based in Galway.

 

The success of the Dalcassians in maintaining a ‘Norman free’ Thomond was short lived and when Donal Mor O'Brien died in 1194AD the Normans took the opportunity to make head way into the area thanks to disputes between Donal's three sons. Murtagh Dall, the eldest son, was blinded by the Normans, and thus rendered useless as a warrior or ruling monarch. Connor Roe, the second son, took the throne of Thomond but was deposed and murdered in 1198AD by his nephew. Donagh Cairbreach, the third son, invited his brother-in-law de Burgh and other Normans to help him suppress the McNamara and O’Quinn clans who were in revolt against his kingship. 

 

Following his success Donagh Cairbreach (now King of Thomond), rewarded his Norman supporters with grants of land in Tipperary (Eastern Thomond) and Limerick across the Shannon from Tradree. Further pressure was placed on the Dalcassians when the Norman Butler's began a push into Eastern Thomond. Perhaps this is why Donagh Cairbreach granted lands to Normans in that area in the first place (to help stem the advance of others in that area). Regardless of the strategy by 1200AD the Normans had taken the greater part of Thomond reducing it to what is now Modern day County Clare.

 

During these turbulent times the Clan MacNamara had managed to hold onto its Ui Caisin territories, despite disputes and martial encounters with the ruling O’Brien’s it maintained its Lordship over Ui Caisin lands. The period saw the Clan MacNamara respond to the Norman threat through the capturing, and building of many Castles and Towerhouse around the eastern part of Thomond. The Norman period also saw the power of the MacNamara Clan expand and claim new territory and titles.

 

The expansion of the Clan MacNamara peaked in 1318AD at the battle of Dysart O'Dea When together with the O’Brien’s The Clan McNamara met an invasion force led By the Norman ‘Richard De Clare’ and long time rivals the Ui Bloid Clan at in the district of Tradree. Defeating de Clare and the Ui Bloid the Clan MacNamara not only not only ran them out of Tradree but expelled them from the traditional Ui Bloid territories to the east of Ui Caisin. Ui Caisin was subsequently expanded and the lands Tradree and Ui Bloid were added to the Ui Caisin territories. In order to stop any chance of the Ui Bloid gaining back their territories the Clan McNamara started an unprecedented period of castle building in the area and by 1580AD no less than forty two castles and tower houses had been built.

 

Once they had defeated the Ui Bloid and acquired almost all of the eastern half of what is modern day County Clare the Clan MacNamara changed the traditional names associated with their now expanded territory and called it East and West Clancullen (from Clan Coiilin). The family by this time had evolved into two distinct branches and divided the territory between them. The older branch  (Traditionally known as Ui Caisin, Chiefs of Magh Adhair) became known  as MacNamara Reagh, Lords of West Clancullen and the younger branch became known as MacNamara Fionn, Lords of East Clancullen.

 

Evidence that Clan MacNamara had taken on some of the Norman influences of the period is the fact that they began to tax the towns and parishes that made up their territories. Traditionally land had been held as ‘communal holdings’ with all members of the clan having the right to farm crops and graze livestock. When the Normans arrived they attempted to impose feudalism and levy taxes on landowners, towns and parishes. When Dona Mor O'Brien submitted to Henry II of England he effectively became the chief tenant of Thomond though retaining his title of Kingship over the Kingdom. In turn clans such as the MacNamara's adopted some of the Norman customs in order to bolster their position and hold over their territories.

 

After 1318AD Thomond endured no further threat from the Normans. The O’Brien’s ruled as absolute monarchs and Clan MacNamara prospered from their recently acquired territories, burning the de Clare castle at Quin in 1320. The Clan’s fortunes were to remain stable until the disestablishment of Thomond in 1543AD.

English reign and the coming of Cromwell 1400AD - 1650AD

Information on the MacNamara clan from the middle of the fourteenth century is scarce. The little information we do have mainly concerns inter Clan disputes with the O’Brien’s and amongst the prominent members of the clan itself. What we do know is that around that time the English became preoccupied with domestic problems In England and furthering their campaigns on continental Europe. Whilst English rule still existed in Ireland it did not extend to Thomond at the time. The O’Brien’s and their Dalcassian allies managed to keep their foes at bay and Thomond and it's people remained in tact.

At the beginning of the fifteenth century England was to face more rumblings in Ireland to which the Dalcassians of Thomond were to be part. The English had been beaten back by this time to the Pale a region around Dublin. The Irish nobility had intermarried with Norman (old English) nobility and had many mixed loyalties. Henry VIII had begun his religious reformation and Ireland was a wash wish nobles on both sides of the religious divide. In addition a rebellion led by Thomas Fitzgerald 10th Earle of Kildare had failed to effect the expulsion of English forces from Ireland. Fitzgerald failed to rally the catholic support he anticipated and when the Crown sent Lord Leonard Grey as Lord Deputy of Ireland together with English forces he found his army melting away Leaving Fitzgerald in a very precarious position. Capitulating he was given safe passage to Face Henry VIII in England where In 1535 Fitzgerald was Hanged and decapitated in the tower of London.

After Fitzgerald’s defeat he retired for a short time to Thomond under the protection of King Connor O’Brien and the Dalcassian nobles. Initially the plan was for Fitzgerald to remain in Thomond until a ship could carry him to the safety of Catholic Spain. Fitzgerald faltered however and gave himself into the hands of Lord Leonard Gray. Whilst Gray had ensured Fitzgerald safety, Henry VIII did not. For his part in the Fitzgerald affair England had an alternative solution for O’Brien and his Dalcassian kingdom. Lord Leonard Gray was ordered to bring The Dalcassian King into submission, however Thomond was a formidable maritime Kingdom and taking it by warfare would not be feasible at the time. Instead Gray and his Allies made O’Brien and his Dalcassian noble an offer they couldn’t refuse.

As England gained power in Europe and it became obvious Clan of Ireland could not be controlled by warfare alone, England devised a ‘Divide and Conquer’ policy toward Irelands traditional nobles. The idea was offer Irish nobles English titles and land in addition to hefty payments in return for the relinquishment of the old Irish titles. This meant the old Kingdom would become Earldoms and counties and the higher ranking Irish noble’s places in the ruling parliament. O’Brien and The Dalcassian noble knew they could stem the might of England forever and so agreed to meet with Gray in July 1537AD. In return for a peace between the Kingdoms of Thomond and England O’Brien agreed to renounce the popes supremacy and acknowledge in stead Henry VIII, and to contribute to the expenses of Governance in Ireland. In addition O’Brien agreed to send a quota of men to every hosting of royal troops. O’Brien at the whim of Lord Gray suppressed his brother Murrogh (tanist to the Kingship of Thomond). Peace reigned for a year between Thomond and England and O’Brien was acknowledged as absolute ruler of Thomond, independent of Henry VIII and England.

After the Death of Connor O’Brien in 1539 he was succeed by his brother and Tanist Murrogh O’Brien.  In order to further their enterprise in the subjugation of Thomond the English offered huge bribes to Murrogh.  The English offered Murrogh all the lands he had previous received tributes from as king. This meant that land previously held by other chieftains in addition to his personal territories became his person property. They also offered him Land stolen from the church.  This would have been like winning the lottery fro Murrogh and he readily wrote to king Henry in his capacity of Tanist (he had yet to be inaugurated as king of Thomond) begging pardon for his part in the rebellion led by Fitzgerald and the northern Chiefs and surrendering his title of the O’Brien in return for the title of Earl with the privilege of sitting in parliament. His requests were acceded to and he was summoned to the English Court in Greenwich where he received the title and Earldom of Thomond, thus disestablishing the Kingdom of ancient kingdom of Thomond.

The English plan of Divide and Conquer worked as the Dalcassians now having no kingdom were forced to follow suite. Sheeda MacNamara, The Lord of Clancullen submitted and requested peerage and lands from which he had previously received tribute. The peerage was refused but he was given his request of lands. The title of Chief remained however as this suited the English idea of primogeniture, where title and possessions are handed down from father to son, rendering the notion of communal lands and responsibility for the clans folk ineffective. It was the beginning of the end for the Dalcassian clan system.

Over time the the English stratagy won out. The Cheifs and Nobles became distant from the people and in turn the people were put under the yoke of rent and taxes. Whist the Clan MacNamara had apparently been refused it's traditional title we find that in documents such as the Annals of the four masters the MacNamara's are still being refered to as the Lords of east and west clan cullen. Whist to the English admistrators of the day the Clan had only a cheif. To the clan it'self there was still a noble house hold.In fact during the time of Elizabeth we find the Clan MAcNamara still in posession of extensive lands in Thomond which was being renamed County Clare. The rents alone had Made the MacNamar's wealthy and they are stil refered to a gentlemen and Cheif of Clan Cullen.

Eventually as Ireland fell more and more to English administration the old Nobility of Ireland began to adopt Irish customs. The practice of wearing traditional clothing and speaking the Irish languange had falling by the way side and the Irish gentry of the time were adopting English clothing and speaking more of the English language. The Irish people in Thomnd, now Clare were still going by Irish tradition but changed was being forced on them.

Cromwell irrived in Ireland in 1649 with the intention of supressing the rebellion and stamping out all opposition to parliament Ctholic Ireland had risen and was known as the Catholic Confederacy. Cromwell, a Puritan, ‘believed he was an instrument of divine retribution for (alleged) atrocities committed by Catholics against Protestants in 1641 and as a result he would not afford mercy to Catholics. His views were taking to the extreme with the deaths of countless innocents and slavery of anyone thought to be of no residence, including orphans, widows and those made homeless by the actions of his 'Iron side' troops His campaign was brutal and is remembered for the slaughter of women and children as well as unarmed captives. He captured Drogheda and slaughtered the garrison. At Wexford the townspeople as well as the garrison were put to death without exception. Cork, Kinsale, Bandon, Youghal and Clonmel had surrendered before he returned to England in May 1650.  Cromwell not only slaughtered any the Catholics but presbyterians and anyone from any other religious monority as well. During his time in Ireland the Clan MacNamara finally met it's downfall. As with other Catholic nobility of the time it's lands (the source of it's wealth) were confiscated and and it's people scattered.  The Ancient tribe of Cas, it's Cheifs and clans were dealt a formidable blow that would take the better part of four hundred years from which to recover.

After Cromwell

After Cromwell the Clan MacNamara like so many others was scattered. Many of it's families were displaced after Cromwell with repeated efforts of the English and Irish admistrations of the time to subdue and gain controll of the people. Many people from the north of the Ireland that had fought against the English were moved from their lands transplanted in Clare. This meant over populating and displacing the local population. Some of the wealthier members of the Clan MacNamara managed to stay on, keeping small parcels of land and wealth, often by converting to protestantism. The cheifs for the most part had died out leaving the families without the traditiional system of clan leadership. During the 1700's various branches of the family had left Clare migrating to Australia, France, New Zealand and America. Many families also relocated themselves oin the sourounding counties. By the early eighteen hundreds Ireland was practicaly broken and with repeated acts of government to supress Irish language, customs and the Catholic faith (practiced by the majority) many families opted for new lives overseas. With the coming of the Famine years in the 1840's the population of Ireland was decimated, hunger and disease raged through the country resuling in many deaths, shattering of families and forced imigration to the colonies. As a result the Clan MacNamara became part of that great diaspora of Irish refugees that found new homes around the globe. The old Clan system was gone and the The once great Caln MacNamara entered the modern world.

Where to now?

Clan MacNamara like so many other Irish families is spread across the globe. Whilst once living in exile in far flung colonies and on the European mainland, the Clan today has once again taken it's place among the Dalcassians. The kingdom of Thomond may have long since passed into history but the Dalcassian families that once called it home still survive. Represented on the Dalcassian Council, Clan MacNamara together with other Dalcassian families preserves and promotes it's rich cultural heritage and history.