West Cork Historical Society


The sept of O’Crowley began as an offshoot of the MacDermots of Moylurg (Co Roscommon). Their ancestor was one O’Cruadhlaoich from which the name Crowley derives. It means Hard Hero! This branch settled near Dunmanway (Co Cork) and had a recognized chief living at Kilshallow. Many were professional soldiers. The O’Crowleys usually fought with the Mac Cartys. A large portion of the O’Crowley lands were forfeited to Richard Boyle, the First Earl Of Cork.

The name is so connected with Co Cork that 75% of Crowley and O’Crowley births are registered in that county.

In form, Crowley is English, a habitation name from an Old English term meaning “wood of the crows”, and no doubt some of those in Ireland bearing the name derive from English stock. However, the vast majority are of Gaelic Irish extraction, with Crowley an anglicisation of Ó Cruadhlaoich, from “cruadh” and “laoch”, meaning “hardy” and “warrior”. The Cruadhlaoch, from whom the family takes…

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