The Furey/Fury family name History

The Irish form of the name Furey is Ó Fiodhabhra, which has an old Irish meaning of "the man with bushy eyebrows" and has also been abbreviated to Ó'Fiura. In the Annals of Loch Cé it is given as Ó Furreidh, The Annals of Ulster spells it as Forréid(h) and the Annals of the Four Masters spell it as Ó Foirréidh ("Sloinnte Gaedhael is Gah", Patrick Woulfe, Dublin 1923).

The name had been changed to Fleury in County Longford in the centre of Ireland. Feore is the anglicized form of a variant of the same Irish surname Ó Feore, ("More Irish Families", Edward MacLysaght, Dublin, 1982 and "An Sloinnteoir Gaeilge & an tAinmneoir" M. & Ó Murchú Ó Droighneáin, Baile Atha Cliath, 1991). Ó Feore is pronounced phonetically the same as Ó Fiodhabhra and appeared in a Westmeath Fiant of 1578. Although this variant is rare today there are some families of the name in Limerick and Dublin. Furay, Furie Feury, Furrie and Fureigh are also more than likely derivatives of the name, sources unknown but they do appear as requests in the various Furey genealogy forums.

The Furey sept was first located in the barony of Clonlonan (Clann-Colman, Co. Westmeath) and was a branch of the royal O'Melaghlins. The O'Melaghlin family hails from Co Meath and is the descendant of the 10th-century high king, Maolseachlainn (King Malachi II - the 45th king of Meath and the 174th Monarch of Ireland) - of the southern Uí Néill, Clonlonan is also O'Melaghlin territory (The name O'Melaghlin was later corrupted to MacLoughlin and eventually, by the end of the 17th century, O'Melaghlin had all but disappeared as a separate form). This lineage can be traced back to tribes of Heremon son of Milesius, the King of Spain through Niall of the Nine Hostages, King of Ireland 379-406 AD. Heremon, along with his brothers invaded Ireland in 1699 BC. Milesius can in turn can be Biblical traced back to Adam! Milesius's wife, Queen Scota, said to be the daughter of an Egyptian pharoah, was killed in the fighting. Queen Scota was also supposed to have been the person to have saved the baby Moses from his basket and Scotland is named after her. Moses returned to her later and told her about a distant land that she should visit.

When Heremon and his brother Eber Finn had secured victory over the Danaans they turned to the Druid Amergin for a Judgement as to their respective titles to the soverienty. Heremon was the elder of the two, but Eber refused to submit to him. Thus Irish history begins with dissension and jealousy. Amergin decided that the land should belong to Heremon for his life, and pass to Eber after his death. But Eber refused to submit to the award, and demanded an immediate partition of the new won territory. This was agreed to and Eber took the southern half of Ireland, "from the Boyne to the Wave of Cleena," while Heremon occupied the north. But even so the brothers could not be at peace and after a short while war broke out between them. Eber was slain, and Heremon became sole King of Ireland, which he ruled from Tara. Our lineage to Heremon is through Niall of the Nine Hostages King of Ireland 379-406 AD.

Niall formed an alliance with the Picts and sent ships to plunder England, Scotland, Wales, and France. Niall's ships brought many captives back to Ireland. One of them, the future Saint Patrick, was the sixteen-year old son of a British Roman official. Patrick escaped from Ireland after six years of slavery, became a bishop, and returned to Ireland to convert its people to Christianity. When he defied High King Laoghaire by building an Easter fire on the Hill of Slane, the king tried to have him killed. But Patrick eluded the king's warriors and in time won Laoghaire's respect. The high king never converted, but he granted Patrick permission to continue his missionary work, and the royal court at Tara became Patrick's headquarters. By the time the persuasive Saint Patrick died, Ireland was almost completely Christian. Patrick founded the See of Armagh and became the First Bishop of All Ireland in 445. Interestingly (ironically?) two Furey/Fury descendants of Niall also became Bishop of Armagh, check here. The contents of the last three paragraphs, while having been researched over the last 200 years, could have some origion in legend - so be careful what you choose to believe.

Anyway, back to Furey/Fury name, by the end of the sixteenth century families had already travelled across the Shannon from Westmeath and settled in east Galway, where they are mainly located today. Like most of the Irish population in the 18th and 19th century many Fureys continued the move westwards - to America.

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