Irish Surname - Crowley
The surname Crowley derives from the Gaelic 'O'Cruadhlaoich' meaning 'descendant of the hard hero' or 'descendant of the hardy warrior'. With the suppression of Gaelic it was anglicised to Crowley or O'Crowley.
The Cruadhlaoch, from whom the family takes its name, lived in the mid-11th century and was one of the MacDermots of Moylurg (County Roscommon). Some time later, in the late 13th century, descendants of the Cruadhlaoch migrated from Connacht to County Cork, and settled in an area north of the Bandon river in the barony of East Carbery. Tradition has it, in the locality, that they acquired this territory by marrying into the ruling family of the Coughlans, whom they subsequently ousted. The townlands of East and West Curraghcrowly in that area record their presence.
The Cork branch of the family earned a formidable reputation as fighters and, as a result, prospered and multiplied rapidly, while the original Connact branch of the sept went into decline.
The vast majority of Irish Crowleys nowadays are connected to the Cork branch, and that county is still home to most of them. In the mid-19th century there were 1061 Crowley households recorded across Ireland and almost 80% were in County Cork.
Famous Irish Crowleys
- Aleister Crowley: An English occultist, writer, and ceremonial magician who is known for his involvement in various mystical and esoteric organizations.
- Maureen O'Hara Crowley: An American actress who starred in numerous classic films, including "The Quiet Man" and "Miracle on 34th Street."
- Tito Jackson (né Toriano Adaryll Jackson): An American musician and member of the famous Jackson family, which includes his siblings Michael and Janet Jackson. The Jackson family's original surname was Crowley.
- Nicholas Joseph Crowley was born in Ireland in 1819, and was a distinguished portrait painter. He was elected a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1838 and his works were to be seen regularly in the Royal Academy Exhibitions. He exhibited his first picture in London, in 1835, 'The Eventful Consultation,' it had been sent from Belfast, where he then resided. He was highly esteemed as a portrait painter, and was especially clever in painting portrait groups. His death occurred in 1857.
- Eugene Crowley (1926 - 2009), from Ballineed, County Cork, was Commissioner of the Gárda Síochána from 1988-1991.
The Coat of Arms of the Surname Crowley
The Crowley surname first appeared in France in 1667 - where it was written O'Cruoly, similar to the Gaelic pronunciation. When Irish gentry went to France, they brought with them their pedigrees and heraldic arms, and as high-ranking warriors of high status, the Crowleys did this. There are three O'Crowley coats of arms registered in France - for the branches in Connacht, Munster and France. These coats of arms differ from each other only in color and crest. The MacDermot lineage is apparent from the boar and crosses that appear in the arms of both clans.
There is also a Crowley surname in England, around East Anglia. It is believed that the name derives from the Old English meaning "wood of the crows". This line has no coat of arms registered in France, only a crest which is a wolf passant sable (black). Some heraldic or family gifts firms market this crest as the Irish Crowley coat of arms.
The Crowley coat of arms features a shield with three black crows on a silver background. The crest features a crow rising from a coronet.
The Crowley Motto
"Spero In Deo - "Hope in God"
"Non Degener" - "Not Degenerate."
There is often limited information available on a specific coat of arms and motto for an Irish surname. Sometimes there are many variations, sometimes none, we have compiled a representative, but by no means exhaustive, selection. Please visit our Coat of Arms and Motto page for more information.
DNA And Your Irish Roots
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