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Clan History

With a rich and varied history behind us, the Murray Clan has reason to be proud of our heritage and of our contribution to the annals of Irish history.

Clan Murray History: Murray shield

It is believed that  “the Irish Murray dates from an early time in Ireland. The Siol Muiredhaigh (pronounced Sheel Murray) was the territorial and dynastic name for clans descended from Muireadhach Muilleathan (Murray the long-headed) who died around the year 700; and the name Muiredhaigh, meaning "lord" or master," was a fairly common personal name in The Annals of the Four Masters.”


“The motto for Murray is "Imperio" and "Murrays" trace their heritage back to the 12th century and take their name from the great province of Moray, once a local kingdom.

It was during this time that the Flemish lords crossed the North Sea and established themselves in the Scottish realm. Among them was Freskin.

It is possible that either Freskin or his son William intermarried with the ancient royal house of Moray. The senior line of the Murrays took the surname of Sutherland and became Earls of Sutherland by 1235.”

The Roscommon Sept - Murray Clan History

“Donogh O'Murry of the Roscommon sept in Ireland was the Archbishop of Tuam in the late 15th century. The most important Gaelic sept was based in the south Galway / eastern Roscommon area, and was part of the Uí Máine Tribal Grouping. “


“As the Irish Murrays were losing their lands, the Scots Murrays were stepping in. The Murrays of Broughton obtained a plantation grant in SW Donegal in 1610 and held onto these lands against competing claims.

They remained mainly absentee landlords. Later, another Murray gained some notoriety in the area. In 1860, a Scottish land steward at the Adair estate, James Murray, was brutally murdered by tenants who were upset at being evicted from their lands.


Meanwhile, the Murray name was becoming established in Ulster through Scots Protestant immigrants. County Wicklow was also a Murray outpost, but of Scots Catholics who had fled Scotland after the defeat at Culloden.”

Murray Clan History - Plantations in Ireland


“The O'Muiredhaighs or Siol Murrays who took their name from the ancient Siol Muiredhaigh were to be found in northern Roscommon, as place names there such as Ballymurray, Cloonmurray, and Kilmurray testify. The clan seat was at Moate Park in Ballymurray. But it was confiscated by the English in the late 17th century. The Irish Murray surname has also appeared in Monaghan and County Down.”