© Donal G. Burke 2013
The Fureys appear as a minor landholding family in the parish of Ahascragh in the barony of Kilconnell in east Galway in the early seventeenth century. Early references to individuals of the name use the Gaelic prefix ‘O,’ attesting to their Gaelic origin.
About 1581 or 1582 one William O Fury was listed alongside a number of individuals such as Dermot O Daly of Larha in County Galway and others of Counties Roscommon, Longford and Westmeath granted pardons by the Crown but no address was given for this O Fury.[i]
Brian O Fury ‘of Barowre’ was the only landholder of the name among the many landholders in the vicinity of Kilconnell and Fohenagh who surrendered their lands to the Crown about 1617 ‘in order to obtain a re-grant thereof according to the King’s letter dated 21st July, in the thirteenth year of his reign.’[ii] The location of ‘Barowre’ is uncertain. It may relate to the mid seventeenth century denomination identified as ‘Ahaskragh and Lisbower,’ the property of the Bishop of Elphin, about which appears to have grown the later village of Ahascragh but this is unclear and a sub-circular mound known as ‘Lisburn’ in the townland of Ahascragh East appears to be the ‘Lisbower’ of earlier.[iii]
James Fury was the only landed proprietor of the name in east Galway in the late 1630s, proprietor of the lands of Lissigigane in Ahascragh parish, half of the quarter of that denomination being arable and good pasture at that time and contained bogland of a similar area, a sixth of which only was profitable.[iv] This denomination appears to be the modern denomination of Lissyegan in Ahascragh parish between the village of Ahascragh and the River Suck, divided into the adjoining townlands of Lissyegan Hodson and Lissyegan Mahon, the latter for the most part bogland.
The Furys lost possession of their lands in this area as a result of the Cromwellian confiscations and transplantations in the mid seventeenth century. Following the turmoil of that period and the restoration of the monarchy in the person of King Charles II in 1660, an Act of Settlement was passed in Parliament, in an attempt to address the complaints of those whose lands had been taken or divided by the Cromwellians and to placate those who had acquired lands at that time. Under the Act of Settlement the townland of Lissigigane was confirmed in the possession of others.[v]
[i] Calendar of Fiants Queen Elizabeth I, The thirteenth Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records in Ireland, 12 March 1881, Dublin, A. Thom & Co., 1881, Appendix IV, Fiants Eliz. I, p. 152, No. 3822.
[ii] Cal. Pat. Rolls, Chancery, Ireland, 15 James I, p. 356.
[iii] MacGiolla Choille, B. (ed.), Books of Survey and Distribution, Vol. III, County of Galway, Dublin, Stationary Office for the I.M.C., 1962, p. 146.
[iv] MacGiolla Choille, B. (ed.), Books of Survey and Distribution, Vol. III, County of Galway, Dublin, Stationary Office for the I.M.C., 1962, p. 145.
[v] MacGiolla Choille, B. (ed.), Books of Survey and Distribution, Vol. III, County of Galway, Dublin, Stationary Office for the I.M.C., 1962, p. 145.