The ancient name Walsh is found throughout Ireland
and is especially prominent in Counties Mayo,
Galway, Cork, Wexford and Kilkenny. The Walsh
Mountains are located in County Kilkenny and there
are as many as 24 placenames associated with the
Walshs throughout the country.
This is one of a number of names that have their origin in the Anlo-Norman invasion of the twelfth century, led by the famous Strongbow. The name Walsh means 'welshman' and is rendered as 'breathnach' in Gaelic. Thus it is easy to see how a number of variants of the name have come into existence including Walshe, Welch, Welsh, Brannach, and Brannagh.
An original bearer of the name was Haylen Brenach who was the son of 'Philip the Welshman', and who was one of the first invaders of 1172. This individual was not the only originator of the name however with several other of the new arrivals being labelled 'the welshman' after they arrived and settled in the country. No prominent Gaelic sept was formed which is somewhat unusual as most of the invading families eventually integrated into Irish society and formed septs along Gaelic lines. The families descended from 'Philip the Welshman' settled at Castlehowel in Kilkenny and at Ballykileavan in Leix, as well as at Bray and Dublin. The County Mayo Walshs are derived from Walynus who arrived from Wales in the year 1169.
Famous bearers of the name include Rev. Peter Walsh (1618-1688), author of 'The Loyal Romonstrance' for which he was excommunicated. Rev. William John Walsh (1841-1921) was an Archbishop of Dublin. The descendants of the Walshs have for long been associated with the Church and religious matters. The actress Blanch Walshe (1873-1915) was well regarded as an inventor. Henry Walsh (1863-1927) was a famous explorer and first president of the 'New York Adventurers Club'.
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Coat of Arms for Walsh - click to view
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