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Celtic Roots

In Irish Soil


The Lalor FamilyOf Laois

Laois, ( Queens County ) Ireland.

Blazon Of Arms: A lion Rampant Guardent Gules

Crest: An Arm Embowered Vested Jules, Cuffed Vent. The Hand Proper grasping a short Sword also Proper.

Fortis Et Fidelis: meaning: Brave and Faithful

Origins of the Name The Irish form is O LEATHLOBHAIR (pronounced OWE LAL-OW-IR) and means descendant of Leathlobhar (half leper), the name of a Ulidian family, descended from Leathlobhar, King of Ulidia who died in the year 873. The Ui Leathlobhar are mentioned in the Annals in the early part of the 10th century as the kings of Dalradia and Ulidia, but after that they disappear from history. They lived at Dysart Enos, near the Rock of Dunmase, from which they were driven by the English family of Piggot in the reign of Elizabeth 1, and dispersed through Leinster.

Other meanings of the name are as follows;

Leath-half, semi-discrict, countryside


Leabhar- book, oath, declaration

Leabhar-long and graceful( as in hair)

Leabhar-Battle-staff. The name could have any combinations of the above meanings.

A variety of spellings can be found in the 14th and 15th centuries and since these were by clerics and not English officials, they may be spelled more like the original Irish. For example; 1419. Dermit Olelobair, monk of the Cistercian Abby of Saint Mary, Leix (De ledgedei) in the diocese of Leighlin, the son of a priest and an unmarried woman.

According to the Crosbie Agreement of 1607, Co.Kildare Arch. some 87 Lalors/Laulors were moved to Kerry from Laois. Of the total 264 listed "rascals" of all the septs of Laois (Queens County) they made up the largest number to be transported. The transportation document was signed by Teig Lalour, one of the few who could sign his name, the remainder used X's. The clan was placed under the care of Patrick Crosbie for the purpose of transportation. In the 1600's under the reign of Queen Mary Co.Laois was annexed to the English crown and the name was changed to Queens County. In general the transported people had their names anglicised to "Lawler"/ "Lawlor", and the remaining Laois people kept the name "Lalor"


Click on images for larger detailed maps.

The 1601 map clearly details how Laois once taken over was caught between the English Pale and the Gaelic "wild" Irish to the West, which caused it to be ever in a state of turmoil and unrest. Also shows the areas inhabited by all the main septs of Ireland.

A Brief History of the Lalor Clan or Sept.

The O 'Lalors were located near the Rock of Dunmase, which from pre historic times was the stronghold and chief residence of the kings and rulers of Laois. The ruins on it's summit are the remains of a castle which was the twelth century King of Leinster's (Dermit Mac Murrough) fortress. It was the scene of many conflicts in the centuries after the Anglo-norman invasion and was destroyed in 1650.The Lalors were prominent in the massacre of Mullaghmast in 1517 when many of their clan were killed by the O' Dempsys and English planters who had formed an alliance. Other families of the seven septs of Laois that suffered similar fates were the O'Moores and the Kellys. * Other septs of Laois were the O'Kellys, O'Devoys or O'Deeveys, MacEvoys, ODorans and the O'Dowlings. These are the more native names of Laois, in the sense that they have lived in the county for the longest period.

Sept : meaning; 1. Clan, originally with reference to tribes or families in Ireland. 2. Anthropology: A group believing itself derived from a common ancestor.

* From Irish Roots Magazine. "Surnames Of County Laois"

Some of the above historical notes were taken from the Official Lawlor Page, courtesy of Jeff Lawlor. Most of the research was done by Father Paul Lawlor, Dominican Priest.

The remains of the fortifications, Rock of Dunmase or Dun Masg on which stood an earthen fort, or stone cashel.The later ruins (pictured) are those of the 12th century castle of Dermit MacMurrough. The fort was destroyed by Cromwell.