Further Notes on the Crowley Surname

Crowley genealogies trace the name to one Dermot MacDermot, who had been kept as a hostage by England's King John. Upon his return to Ireland, he seized the princeship of Moylurg by the sword (1215-1218), earning him the nickname of "chruadh laoich" or "hard warrior". (According to tradition, the nickname had also been given to one of Dermot's ancestors by King Brian Boru following the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 AD.) The sept subsequently migrated to Carbery (Munster) around 1280, and the Roscommon branch almost disappeared.

With the enforcement of English rules and the suppression of Gaelic, the surname was phonetically anglicized to O'Crowley from the Gaelic O'Chruadlaoich.

Crowleys first appeared on France in 1667 - the name here was written O'Cruoly, which approximates the Gaelic pronunciation. When Irish nobility came to France, they brought with them their pedigrees and heraldic arms. As warriors of high status, the Crowleys did, also. There are three O'Crowley coats of arms registered in France - for the lines in Connacht, Munster and France. They differ from each other only in color and the crest. The MacDermot lineage is apparent from the boar and crosses that appear in the arms of both clans.

There is also a Crowley surname in England, around East Anglia. Here the name may derive from the Old English for "wood of the crows". This line has no coat of arms registered in France, only a crest which is a wolf passant sable (black). Unfortunately, many heraldic or family gifts firms market this crest as the Irish Crowley coat of arms.

This content on this page was gleaned from
message 1607 of the Crowley family genealogy
forum at genforum.genealogy.com. The message
was posted by Michael-Patrick Crowley.