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Irish Surname - Tobin

The surname Tobin derives from 'tóibín', the Irish version of St Aubyn, which is of Norman-French origin. The Anglo-French St Aubyn family arrived in Ireland in the wake of the Norman Invasion in the 12th century and settled in Counties Tipperary and Kilkenny, and subsequently spread to the neighbouring counties of Cork and Waterford.

By the 1440s there were three major Tobin clans established in south east Tipperary, as well as the senior line in Kilkenny. The Tobins were an eminent family in County Tipperary in medieval times, and the head of the family was known as the Baron of Coursey, although this was not an official. The 14th century Annals of Ireland, by Kilkenny Franciscan John Clyn, described the Tobins as 'a turbulent sept more dreaded by the English than the native Irish'. The placename Ballytobin near Callan in County Kilkenny was named after the family.

Several Tobin family members were among the Wild Geese who settled at Nantes. The best known of these was Edmund Marquis de Tobin (1692 - 1747), who was killed in action in the War of Austrian Succession, while in the service of Spain. Another branch of the Tobins settled in Newfoundland and prospered there.

James Tobin represented the Tipperary town of Fethard in the Parliament of 1689.

Famous People

Irish actor Niall Toibin was born in Cork in 1929. He quit his day job at the civil service in 1954 and joined the Radio Eireann Repertory Company where he played many different acting roles during his 14 years there. By the late '60s, he had become one of Ireland's most distinguished actors at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, with roles in The Iceman Cometh, The Field, The Hostage and The Borstal Boy, which he also played in New York, as well as Fearless Frank in the Princess Theater in New York. Niall Toibin remains one of Ireland's best-loved actors to the present day. His film credits include Ryan's Daughter, The Country Girls, Children in the Crossfire, Eat the Peach, Rawhide, Fools of Fortune, The Outsider and Far and Away.

Irish novelist, playwright and journalist Colm Toibin was born in Eniscorthy, County Wexford in 1955. He studied English and History at University College Dublin and moved to Spain in 1975 after graduating, where he taught English in Barcelona before returning to Ireland, three years later. Recollections of his experience in Spain can be read in the book Homage to Barcelona. He is the author of three works of fiction that make up a loose trilogy: The South (1990); The Heather Blazing (1992), and The Blackwater Lightship (1999). Another famous book that he did in collaboration with Diarmuid Ferriter is entitled The Irish Famine, A Documentary, which explores the different treatments of the famine by Ireland and the U.S.

Coat of Arms

The Tobin Coat of Arms depicts three silver oak leaves on an azure shield. The Crest is a red demi-lion rampant holding between the paws an oak branch proper.

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