Photo Credit Kamil Krolak Photography /

The Athenry Dominican Priory graveyard is an interesting piece of our genealogical history, containing grave slabs of Brennan, Nolan, and Higgins families.

Most Brennans in Co. Galway descend from an Ó Branáin lineage from Killogilleen parish. One in Athenry reads: Pray for the soul of Mary Brennan who departed this life on the 30th October 1867 at an advanced age Erected by Mrs. Bodkin Annagh as tribute of respect for great worth and long and faithful services.

 Lios Uí Uallacháin/Lisnolan, Manulla parish, Co. Mayo, was the home of a Nolan lineage, who by the 1490s were goldsmiths living in Galway town. Their coat of arms can be spotted in Kilkenny shop on High street. The graveyard features one inscribed 1858 Erected by Patk. Nolan in memory of his father Thos. Nolan who died Aug 1831 age 89 years and his wife Pinny.

The Ó hUiginn lineage of Meath migrated to Co. Galway before the 16th century. A Higgins grave slab reads: Sacred to the memory of the ALICE HIGGINS wife of THOMAS HIGGINS who departed this life on the 10th day of March 1811 this was erected by Him in memory of her and his posterity may she rest in peace.  

Adrian Martyn recently launched his book on ‘Irish Surnames: Origins and Development’ in November 2019 at Charlie Byrnes Book Shop Galway.