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Irish Surname - Lynch

The surname Lynch is believed to be of dual origin. It is the anglicised version of the name O'Loinsigh, derived from the native Gaelic sept in the Province of Connaught. The Irish name O'Loinsigh comes from 'loinseach', meaning 'seaman' or 'mariner'. The Irish O'Loinsighs developed and spread in a number of areas, including Clare/Limerick, Sligo, west Cork, Cavan, Donegal and the north Antrim/Derry region, where they were chiefs of the old kingdom of Dal Riada in medieval times.

The other Lynch surname came from descendants of the Norman de Lench family who anglicised their name to Lynch also. The Norman Lynch family came to Ireland in the 12th century with the army of Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke. It is believed that this branch of the family is descended from the great emperor Charlemagne, who conquered most of western Christendom in A.D. 800. The family settled initially in County Meath, and a branch then migrated westwards and established itself in Galway in the early 15th century, where they rapidly became one of the most influential of the 'Tribes of Galway'. One of the most memorable stories about the Galway Lynches concerns James Lynch, the stern mayor of Galway who, in 1493, is reputed to have hanged his own son for murder, when no one else could be found to carry out the sentence. The spot where this took place is known as the gate of the Old Jail and is still pointed out and the story retold to visitors to the city. Nearby is Lynch's Castle which was built in 1320. Once the residence of the Lynch family, it is now a bank branch. The history of the family is documented inside the building.

In Griffiths Valuation c1850s, there were 658 Lynch households in Cork, 400 in Kerry, 274 in Limerick, 261 in Clare and 220 in Tipperary and Waterford. Other considerable groupings were found in Cavan (516) and Meath (300).

Famous People

Jack Lynch (15 August 1917 - 20 October 1999) was Taoiseach of Ireland, from 1966 to 1973 and 1977 to 1979. Prior to his political career Jack Lynch had a successful sporting career as a player of both hurling and gaelic football.

Col Charles Lynch (1736-1796), from whose name the American word to lynch, or "lynch law", was coined, was born in Virginia to Quaker immigrants from Ireland.

Thomas Lynch (1749 - 1779), came from an Irish family which had then been three generations in America, and was one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence as a representative of South Carolina.

Alternate Surname Spellings

Linch, O'Lynch

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