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Presence in Co. Cork

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According to the Annals of the Four Masters, some Nolans in Co. Cork descend from a tribe of Leinster (i.e. Corca Laoidhe) dating back to the first millenium.

Based upon what is known about early known Nolan family i.e. banishment from Tara of brothers Eochaidh and Fiachra from Tara and subsequent settlement further south (e.g. Forth O’Nolan in Co. Carlow for Eochaidh) it is believed that Eochaidh’s brother Fiachra (i.e. ancestor of. modern-day Whelans, etc.) drifted over time into Co. Cork but, having retained the memory of being descendants of a famous (i.e. “Nuall”) early ruler i.e. Ugaine Mor, Ard Ri of Ireland (c331-300) BCE, they adopted the O Nolan / O Nuallain family name sometime during the early Middle Ages when surnames began to be used in Ireland.

That being said it is believed that some Nolans in Co. Cork may trace their ancestry back to immigration from Leinster, most notably during the Reformation period when the two main ruling anglo-Norman families, the Butlers and the Fitzgeralds, went to war over land ownership.

Other reasons for immigration into Co. Cork may have been related to trade with the new world or religious intolerance and persecution. With regards to the latter, it is known that, already in the early 1700s there were Quaker Nolans (Nowlands) from Leinster who immigrated to Co. Cork, most notably Felix Nowland.

Roger Nowlan
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