County Tipperary (Tiobraid Árann, "House of the well of Ara")


Before the Norman invasion, the county was divided between the old north Munster kingdom of Thomond - which also included parts of Clare and north Limerick - and the south Munster kingdom of Desmond. These were dominated by, respectively, the O'Briens and the McCarthys, and Tipperary was the front line of the endless battles between the two, ending only with the expulsion of the McCarthys from Tipperary into Cork. For most of the period Cashel, in the south of the county, was the seat of the kings of Munster. On the arrival of the Normans, the south of the county was granted to Philip de Worcester and most of the north to Theobald Walter, progenitor of the Butler family, who later became earls of Ormond, and played a large role in Irish politics over three centuries.

The county was created and named after the town in 1328, making it one of the earliest of the Irish counties.

Ex-President of the U.S. Ronald Reagan traces his family back to Ballyporeen in the south of the county. The father of the famous Australian outlaw, Ned Kelly, was born in Killenaule parish in 1820. (See the Fethard site for more information on his Irish ancestry, or the Australian Ned Kelly site for the man himself.)

Surnames strongly associated with the county include Ryan, Maher, O'Meara, Gleeson, Hogan, O'Dwyer, Quirke, Macken, Moloney, Tracy and Kelly.