McBrinn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname McBrinn was "O Broin," in its Gaelic form, which means descendant of Bran. The family is descended from Bran, the king of Leinster who died in 1052, who, along with King Conn of the Hundred Battles descended from Cathair Mor, an earlier king of Leinster, who was also monarch of all Ireland around 200 AD.

Early Origins of the McBrinn family

The surname McBrinn was first found in Leinster, where they were descended from Bran, the King of Leinster who died in 1052. [1] He was descended from Cathair Mor King of Leinster, who was also Monarch of all Ireland about 200 A.D. From this stem King Conn of the Hundred Battles was also descended. During the Strongbow invasion in 1172, the family, along with the O'Tooles, were driven from their original lands in county Kildare, settling the wilder territory between Rathdrum and Shillelagh, in south Wicklow.

"The O'Bymes anciently possessed the greater part of the Barony of Ballinacor, County Wicklow, and wore powerful Chiefs in that part of the country. Byrne is the leading name now in the Counties of Wicklow, Dublin, and Louth." [2]

The sept increased in importance, and like their similarly displaced neighbors, were especially noted for their lengthy and tenacious resistance to the English invaders. Their successes in this struggle were numerous. Their military exploits of this time are celebrated in a compilation by some thirty-five authors of Gaelic poetry called the Leabhar Branch (Book of the O'Byrnes).[1]

Early History of the McBrinn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McBrinn research. Another 35 words (2 lines of text) covering the years 1580, 1574, 1598, 1544, 1597, 1591, 1744, 1830, 1775 and 1799 are included under the topic Early McBrinn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McBrinn Spelling Variations

Pronunciation, rather than spelling, guided scribes and church officials when recording names during the Middle Ages. This practice often resulted in one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname McBrinn are preserved in these old documents. The various spellings of the name that were found include Byrne, Byrnes, O'Byrne, O'Byrnes and others.

Early Notables of the McBrinn family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name at this time was Nicol Burne ( fl. 1574-1598), a Scottish Roman Catholic controversialist; Fiacha MacHugh O'Byrne (1544-1597), best remembered for helping in the escape of Hugh Roe O'Donnell from prison in Dublin Castle in...
Another 39 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McBrinn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States McBrinn migration to the United States +

The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families leaving Ireland for the distant shores of North America and Australia. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute due to the policies of England. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United States and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the McBrinn family relocated to North American shores quite early:

McBrinn Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Andrew McBrinn, aged 21, who arrived in America, in 1902
  • Patrick McBrinn, aged 29, who arrived in America from Gilvord, Ireland, in 1905
  • Charles McBrinn, aged 23, who arrived in America from Carrick Fergus, Ireland, in 1910
  • Andrew McBrinn, aged 29, who arrived in America from Newry, Ireland, in 1911
  • Delia McBrinn, aged 49, who arrived in America from Dromore, Ireland, in 1920
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McBrinn (post 1700) +

  • Joy McBrinn, American actress, known for Jack the Giant Slayer (2013), Blood Creek (2009) and A Shine of Rainbows (2009)
  • Róisín McBrinn, Irish former Associate Director of Sherman Cymru in Cardiff
  • Dr Joseph McBrinn, Irish Lecturer in History and Theory of Design, Art and Design Research Institute, University of Ulster


The McBrinn Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Certavi et vici
Motto Translation: I have fought and conquered.


  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. ^ Matheson, Robert E., Special Report on Surnames in Ireland with Notes as to Numeric Strength, Derivation, Ethnology, and Distribution. Dublin: Alexander Thom & Co., 1894. Print


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