|About The Driscoll Family
The Driscoll or O'Driscoll clan comes from County Cork in the south of Ireland, particularly the area
around Baltimore and Skibbereen. They were part of the Corca Laoighde tribal grouping which was
descended from the Érainn or Fir Bolg, Celts who settled the area before the arrival of the Gaels. The
name comes from O hEidirsceoil, from eidirsceol, meaning "go between" or "bearer of news". The
Driscolls were a powerful seafaring clan until about the 17th century, a history which provides the basis
for their Coat of Arms. A number of castles and ruins of the O'Driscoll strongholds still exist today in
the area around Baltimore and Skibereen, one of which, Dun na Sead (the Fort of Jewels), still stands in
The original Eidirsceol, from whom the family is descended was born in the early 10th century.
According to one legend, Lugh Ith was the leader of an expedition of Celts who arrived in the Baltimore
area seeking to escape Roman domination. He was given the name Hy Drisceoil or O hEidersceol which
comes from the Irish Eidersceol meaning "go between" or "bearer of news".
The O'Driscolls, Princes of Corca laoigdhe, were one of the most powerful families of southwest Ireland.
Of ancient origin, their forebearer, Eidersceól [b. 910], descended from the Lughaidh Laidhe,
grandfather of Lulghaidh Mae Con, a third century King of Ireland. During the early Middle Ages the
O'Driscolls were Admirals who commanded the fleets of the Kings of Munster. They also controlled a
huge territory encompassing all of Bantry, Carbery and Beara baronies; an area co-extensive with the
diocese of Ross. Around the close of the 12th century, pressure from the O'Sullivans drove them
eastward, and they settled in the vicinity of Baltimore. Further encroachment by the O'Donavans and
the O'Mahonys reduced the septs holdings to a narrow strip of seacoast around the Bay of Baltimore.
Here in the year 1460, the Chief of the Sept founded a Franciscan monastary. Although their patrimony
was vastly diminished, the O'Driscolls remained one of the leading maritime families in the region,
retaining a number of strong fortified castles, down to the destruction of the Gaelic order in the 17th
century. Many of the name played an important role in the Munster wars during the reign of Elizabeth I.
Staunch supporters of James II, several O'Driscolls were officers in his Irish army. As a result of the
Jacobites' defeat at the Battle of Kinsale in 1690, the O'Driscolls' property was regranted to Lord
Castlehaven. At this time, the name was also prominant in the roles of Irish Brigades in the service of
France, Austria, and Spain. One of the exiles, Col. Cornelius O'Driscoll, greatly distinguished himself at
the Battle of Ondara in 1707. Although the O'Driscolls suffered extensive losses in the Cornwellian and
Williamite confiscations and resettlements, today in Ireland, the majority of this sept reside in or not far
from their ancestral lands.
Information on the Driscoll Clan comes from family documents of unknown origin. Additional
information including the Coat of Arms comes from "Clans and Families of Ireland" by John Grenham
(The Wellfleet Press - 1993).
Special thanks to Lauren Neild for all her hours of hard work in researching the information used on