Facebook News

Clan History

Lynch Clan History

“There were at least three unrelated families of this name in Gaelic Ireland, located in what is now County Clare, Cork, Louth and south-east Ulster. All are unrelated.

The most famous Irish Lynch family were one of the Tribes of Galway, and of Anglo-Norman origin. The original Norman-French form of the surname, de Linch, indicated a now unknown place of origin, probably in Normandy.”

“In Ireland the Coat of arms was used by the whole extended 'family', although most Irish did not really see the need for elaborate heraldry so it was not actively displayed. Most Irish coats of arms date back to well before English times. Originally each 'clan' would have their colours (for the Lynch's this was blue (azure) and yellow/gold), then it became 'fashionable' to adopt a motif that was significant to the clan.”


“In 1172 A.D., Dermott McMurrough, in his fight for the position of Ard Righ, requested Henry II of England for assistance.   Henry of England commanded the Earl of Pembroke, nick named Strongbow, to help Dermott in his fight for the crown of Ireland.  Strongbow recruited 2000 trained mercenaries of Norman, Welsh or Cornish background from south Wales and sailed for Ireland. 

The battles against the untrained, badly clad Irish were short, swift and sure, but, in the end, it was Henry and Strongbow who held the reins of power in Ireland, not Dermott McMurrough.  Strongbow doled out to his army commanders much of the confiscated Irish land in southern Ireland.  Ironically, after several centuries, the invaders became as Irish as the native families.  Those Anglo/Norman surnames such as Burke, Fitzpatrick, Fitzgerald, Power, Prendergast, Walsh, including the family name Lynch became the backbone of southern Irish society.”


“An indication of the power of the Lynch family in Galway can be seen from the fact that there were 84 Lynch mayors in the period 1485 to 1654. One of the castles of the Lynch family, in Galway City, is still occupied. Appropriately for a merchant family, it is used as a bank.”

“The Norman invasion was followed by Cromwell's invasion in 1640, when further loss of land befell the unfortunate Irish people, including the Anglo/Norman settlers.  Ulster in the north was seeded with Protestant Scottish and English families.  And, again, the sept of Lynch was amongst the great Irish families to lose their ancient territories.

The now Irish family Lynch emerged in later years as a distinguished family in Galway in Ireland.  This ancient Norman family arrived with Strongbow and became one of the 'Tribes of Galway'.  They were very influential in the local politics, no less than 84 Mayors of Galway were from the family Lynch, as were many of the Wardens of Galway.  Gradually the religion changed from Protestant to Catholic and they became staunchly Irish patriots.  Lynch Castle was built in 1320 and they formed many branches of the same name.”


The second root of the name Lynch is from the Gaelic O'Loinseach. Families of this name are historically associated with Cork, Clare and Sligo. The word means mariner, and it is interesting that many Lynches have made their name as mariners. Among these is Patrick Lynch, one of the heroes of the Chilean Navy.

Another is Sir Thomas Lynch, who was the British Governor of Jamaica in the period 1670-76, during which time his brief was to make it a haven for Buccaneers. These were effectively pirates who were allowed by the British to use Jamaica as a base in return for their attacks on Spanish ships, and for a cut of the booty obtained. In 1682, when European politics had changed, he was sent back to suppress these same pirates, which he did successfully.

Another Lynch mariner was Henry Blosse Lynch (1807-1873), one of several brothers who distinguished themselves as explorers and naval officers. Henry joined the Indian Navy and served in the Persian Gulf, where his talent for the Persian and Arabic languages caused him, within a few years, to become the official interpreter for the Gulf Squadron. In this capacity he was involved in negotiations with local sheiks. Later he commanded expeditions to explore the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. In the latter expedition he traveled as far as Baghdad. One of Henry's brothers died in a hurricane during one of these expeditions.

Another brother, Thomas Kerr Lynch (1818-1891), was also on this expedition and subsequently established steamer services on the Tigris linking Baghdad with India. He traveled extensively in Persia, was decorated by the Shah, and was later made Persia's consul general in London.”