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Irish Surname - O'Dwyer

The original form of the O'Dwyer name in the Irish language is O'Duibhir (descendant of Duibhir). The meaning of this ancestral name is believed to have meant 'black and dun-coloured', likely referring to a mixture of hair colouring as a personal characteristic. The origins of the name were from the native Gaelic Sept, located in County Tipperary sometime around the tenth century. Their lands were in Kilnamanagh, a mountainous area lying between the town of Thurles and the County of Limerick, and the clan leaders occupied fortified castles in Dundrum, Killinure and Clonyhorpe. The O'Dwyer sept were famed for their steadfast resistance to English attack and many are recorded in connection with this in medieval and early modern times.

Annacarty, County Tipperary, is part of the ancestral home of the O'Dwyers and forms a stage of the Beara-Breifne Greenway which is based on the historic march of O'Sullivan Beara in 1603.

Noteable People with O'Dwyer as their Surname

Joseph O'Dwyer (1841-1898) was an Catholic American physician who pioneered a valuable system of intubation in diphtheria cases.

Most Reverend Edward O'Dwyer (1842-1917), was born at Holycross, Co. Tipperary and was ordained at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, in June 1867. He was appointed bishop of Limerick in May 1886 and was to become one of the most famous and most controversial Irish bishops of the late nineteenth century. He endeared himself to the people of Ireland by his brave stand against General Maxwell in the wake of the 1916 Rising.

William O'Dwyer (1890-1964) was the 100th Mayor of New York City, holding that office from 1946 to 1950. He was born in Bohola, County Mayo, emigrated to New York where he worked as a labourer, then as a New York City police officer, while studying law at night at Fordham University Law School. He built up a successful law practice before serving as a Kings County (Brooklyn) Court judge. He was regarded as one of the most notable of United States ambassadors.

Paul O'Dwyer (1907-1998), younger brother of Mayor William O'Dwyer, was born in Bohola, County Mayo and emigrated to Brooklyn, New York where he gained fame as a politician and lawyer. He was a law partner for some time in the firm of his eldest brother, New York City Mayor William O'Dwyer, who was 17 years his senior. He was elected New York City Council President and served in that capacity from 1974 to 1977. Paul O'Dwyer's son Brian is also a noted New York City lawyer and former national President of Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

The O'Dwyer Family Crest

A hand couped at the wrist and erect grasping a sword all proper.

O'Dwyer Motto

Virtus sola nobilitas - virtue alone enobles

Please Note

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.

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