The Name Breslin

Breslin Origin: Irish



The name Breslin in Ireland is derived from the native Gaelic O'Breaslain Septs that were located in the North West of the country and especially in Counties Donegal, Sligo and Fermanagh, and where the majority of descendants can still today be found. The name is taken from a Gaelic word that translates as 'strife'.

Spelling variations include: Brassil, Brassell, Brassilagh, Breasal, Brazil, Brazell and many more.

First found in in county Armagh where they had been seated from ancient times, they were descended from Fiachrach Casan, the progenitor of the Clann Brassil, he was the son of King Colla da Crioch, one of Ireland's greatest kings, who was banished to the Hebrides in 327 A.

Some of the first settlers of this name or some of its variants were: Daniel Brassell who arrived in New York State in 1756; Patrick Brazell arrived in Philadelphia Pa. in 1838; Thomas Breslin settled in Virginia in 1765; Peter Brasslan arrived in New York in 1805; Joseph Brazil ar and others.

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Breslin is an Irish surname, the anglicized form of the Irish Gaelic name Ó Breaslain.

The name means "Bless the land". The sept of O'Breislein, a branch of the Cenél Enda, possessed a district in the barony of Kilmacrenan called Fanad. O'Breslins were one of the principal brehon families of Ireland. Their power as chiefs of Fanad, frequently mentioned by the Four Masters, was broken by the MacSweeneys about the year 1260, but the rank and file of the sept remained in their homeland and it is there that the name is principally found today, as it was in 1659. The leading families migrated to Co. Fermanagh, where they pursued their profession as brehons under the MacGuires. They became erenaghs of Derryvullen, Co. Fermanagh. John J. Breslin (c. 1836-1888), a Fenian who effected the escape of James Stephens from Richmond prison, was of a Co. Tyrone family. There was also another sept of the same name, a branch of the Hy Fiachrach. Their territory lay on the east side of the river Moy at Killanley in the parish of CastleconnorCo. Sligo. They were of little importance compared with their Ulster namesakes, and they seem to be extinct today. In Co. Donegal some families of Breslin have changed their name to Briceand Bryce which is a common English surname. Canon Power in his History of Co. Waterford mentions O'Breslin with O'BrickO'Foley and O'Keane as the great families of theDecies, and the name appears in the Justiciary Rolls of 1306 and 1307 dealing with Co. Waterford.

 

History

The O'Breslins of the Cenel Enda were a smaller family that was known as erenaghs of church-lands and had in their possession a thousand year old bell of a saint. This bell is now in the British Museum. The O'Breslins of the Cenel Enda were not noted in history often but most if not all the Breslins living in Donegal today are of this sept. The other family were the O'Breslin-Fanad.

The O'Breslin-Fanad were descended from Congal Cennamagair Mac Fergus-Fanad, High King of Ireland, 700 to 710 AD. The O'Breslin-Fanad possessed the lands at the centre of the power of the Cenel Connail in the barony of Kilmacrenan called Fanad. From here came many High Kings of Ireland and Scotland and the ancestors of George Washington among others. The O'Breslins-Fanad lost a great deal of power two generations after Congal Cennamagair when the Cenel Connail lost forever their claim to be Irish High Kings. Closely related cousins of the descendents of Congal, the O'MaelDorry and the O'Concannon, became the kings of the Cenel Conaill and the O'Breslin-Fanad became one of the principal brehon families of Ireland. Their power as chiefs of Fanad, was frequently mentioned by the Four Masters. In the beginning of the 13th century, the old ruling families of the Cenel Connail, O' Concannon and O'Maeldorry, lost power due to their four hundred years of constant inter-family and inter-clann and inter-tribal warfare creating a power vacuum. The MacLaughlans, the O'Boyles, the O'Donnels and the O'Breslin-Fanad all having about the same claim by descent from earlier kings, contested for power. After three generations, the O'Donnals with their paid gallowglass, the MacSweeneys, were recognised as Kings of the Cenel Connail.

The MacSweeneys were rewarded with the O'Breslin-Fanad lands and the O'Breslin-Fanad were exiled from Donegal about 1270. The O'Breslins of the Cenel Enda were not the same sept and were not considered a threat to the O'Donnals. They were allowed to stay in Donegal. The leading families of the O'Breslin-Fanad migrated to Co. Fermanagh, where they pursued their profession as brehons under the MacGuires and Mayo-Sligo where they established themselves as brehons to the Burks.

One branch of the O'Breslin-Fanad later returned to Donegal to become the brehons to the O'Donnals. They also became erenaghs of Derryvullen, County Fermanagh. Some of the more adventurous of the O'Breslin-Fanad relocated to the lands of Co Cork, Co Waterford and Co Tipperrary where they won new lands by the sword. The O'Breslins in Co. Tipperarry were chieftains under the O'Carrols-Ely and the O'Brislanes of northern Co. Cork went there by about 1300 along with many other Donegal families as Gallowglasses in the pay of the McCarthys. John J. Breslin (c. 1836-1888), a Fenian who effected the escape of James Stephens from Richmond prison, was of a Co. Tyrone family. There was also said to be another sept of the same name, a branch of the Hy Fiachrach but they were in fact another branch of the O'Breslin-Fanad brehons to the Burks. Their territory lay on the east side of the river Moy at Killanley in the parish of Castleconnor, Co. Sligo.

In Co. Donegal some families of Breslin have changed their name to Breese, Bryce and Briceland which are a common English surnames. Canon Power in his History of Co. Waterford mentions O'Breslin with O'Brick, O'Foley and O'Keane as the great families of the Decies, and the name appears in the Justiciary Rolls of 1306 and 1307 dealing with Co. Waterford. Other spellings include,Brees,Brislane and Brislan

 

Breslin Coat of Arms / Irish Family Crest

Breslin Origin: Irish

Coat of Arms: Red with a standing gold lion.

The name Breslin in Ireland is derived from the native Gaelic O'Breaslain Septs that were located in the North West of the country and especially in Counties Donegal, Sligo and Fermanagh, and where the majority of descendants can still today be found. The name is taken from a Gaelic word that translates as 'strife'.

Spelling variations include: Brassil, Brassell, Brassilagh, Breasal, Brazil, Brazell and many more.

First found in in county Armagh where they had been seated from ancient times, they were descended from Fiachrach Casan, the progenitor of the Clann Brassil, he was the son of King Colla da Crioch, one of Ireland's greatest kings, who was banished to the Hebrides in 327 A.

Some of the first settlers of this name or some of its variants were: Daniel Brassell who arrived in New York State in 1756; Patrick Brazell arrived in Philadelphia Pa. in 1838; Thomas Breslin settled in Virginia in 1765; Peter Brasslan arrived in New York in 1805; Joseph Brazil ar and others.

Notable Breslins

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