O’Fallons’ Country

‘The sept of the O’Phelans is recorded in the earliest annals of Ireland. They were styled Princes of Desies, a territory comprising the greater part of the County of Waterford, with a portion of Tipperary. Malachy O’Phelan was their chief at the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion, and his was the principal native force that, in co-operation with the Danes of Waterford, sought, but unsuccessfully, to hold that city against the newcomers. Malachy was taken prisoner, and condemned to die, but his life was spared on the intercession of Dermod McMurrough, who had on that day come down from Ferns to celebrate the marriage of his daughter with Strongbow.’ 

‘A King of the Desies was long after recognised, and was summoned, as such, in 1245 to aid Henry the Third in the Scottish war; but the sept, having been subsequently expelled from their old homes, some, after a brief sojourn in Westmeath, crossed the Shannon into Connaught, where they spelt their name, O’Fallon, and a district in Roscommon, between Athlone and the County of Galway, was hence known as O’Fallons’ country, while the sept was distinguished as the O’Fallons of Clanhudach.’

‘In the time of Queen Elizabeth Redmond O’Fallon was the Chief. Of his estates Edmund O’Fallon had livery, as his son and heir, in 1606, of which in the ‘unsettling’ settlements of James the First, he thought it prudent to take out a fresh patent. It bore date in 1612, and confirmed to him the manor, castle, town, and land of Miltown, in the barony of Athlone, with sundry lands and a water-mill annexed; part of Ballyforan near the Suck, its island and fishing weir, the castle of Turrock, ‘moieties’ of the castles of Newtown and Ballyglass, with lands and chiefries in the County of Roscommon, and markets and fairs at Miltown, besides other premises at Balrath, in Westmeath. These interests he was obliged to claim on petition to the Commissioners at Athlone after the civil war of 1641, as were eight other proprietors within the O’Fallons’ country, the claims of all seeking restoration as to their ancient ancestral estates. The Supreme Council of Catholics in 1646 was attended by two members of this sept, William Fallon of Miltown and Stephen Fallon of Athlone. In 1677 another Edmund O’Fallon, styled of Mote, passed patent for 344 acres in Galway, as did a John Fallon for 131 in Roscommon.’

Text taken from King James II’s Irish Army List, 1689 by John d’Alton (published 1855). Pictures show the now-ruined – and thoroughly pillaged – remains of Cloonagh, County Roscommon, an early 18th century house which was built and occupied by a branch of the O’Fallon family. James O’Fallon, who was Roman Catholic Bishop of Elphin for thirty years, lived in the house, dying there in December 1786. A pity to see this link with the area’s history about to be lost.

12 comments on “O’Fallons’ Country

  1. Kelly says:

    Oh my word. That magnificent building hurts my heart. Such rich history in that family, what a true shame.

  2. Emma Richey says:

    Must have been a very fine house. Do you know when it was last lived in?

  3. As previously commented, the remains of another fine house.

  4. Colm Owens says:

    An even greater pity to see Cloonagh House about to be lost.

  5. Emma Richey says:

    There is a bit about this house on The Landed Estates of Co. Roscommon’s Facebook page

  6. WBH says:

    No related outoffices?

  7. Erin O'Fallon says:

    I am an O’Fallon and have been able to trace our family back to Athlone. Are you able to email me any of the information you have on this history. (Aside from what you’ve written here). When things calm down in the world my dream is to finally see Ireland in reality (and not just Google earth).

    Thank you in advance!!

  8. William mcnally says:

    I have a link to this family , my great grandfather was William Redmond ofallon and great great grandfather was mathew Redmond ofallon

  9. Cheryl Fallen Bush says:

    I bought your book The Irish Aesthete hoping to get more information about this house. I have some links to Redmond Fallon (or O Fallon). Unfortunately I cannot find this house in the book and this doesn’t indicate what page its on or what section it might be in. Can you assist me in finding this?

  10. Dave says:

    Hello there. I too have been interested in finding out more about my ancestry. I have a Fallon coat of arms which I came across either in Dad´s house or Grandma´s house. Been so long now I don´t remember but it is bronze on a mahogony background. It doesn´t look or feel like 16 century…more like 1970´s…but I am going to carve my own version out of oak or another hardwood. I think it is difficult to find actual Fallon family connections from before the 1700´s. There were Fallons from´Roscommon, Galway, Wexford…etc when I was growing up. I guess this is what happens to every family at some stage. Someone somewhere knows someone somewhere. My next trip home to the Emerald will surely be a start by travelling to the west. I believe my first stop will be Roscommon as that is my childhood memory of conversations between the Grand old Aunts and Grannies at the table for Sunday lunch.

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