The Clan/Sept History
Many variations of the name O Kirwan have evolved since the time of its initial
creation. In Gaelic it appeared as O Ciardhubhain, which is derived from the
words "ciar" and "dubh," both of which mean "black."
Irish names were rarely spelled consistently in the Middle Ages. Spelling
variations of the name O Kirwan dating from that time include Kirwan, O'Kirwan,
Kerovan, Kyrvan, O'Quirivan, Kirwin, Kerwin, Kerwan and many more.
First found in county Galway, where they held a family seat from ancient times.
A massive amount of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th
century for North America and Australia in hopes of finding more opportunities
and an escape from discrimination and oppression. A great portion of these
migrants arrived on the eastern shores of the North American continent. Although
they were generally poor and destitute, and, therefore, again discriminated
against, these Irish people were heartily welcomed for the hard labor involved
in the construction of railroads, canals, roadways, and buildings. Many others
were put to work in the newly established factories or agricultural projects
that were so essential to the development of what would become two of the
wealthiest nations in the world. The Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s
initiated the largest wave of Iris immigration. Early North American immigration
and passenger lists have revealed a number of people bearing the name O Kirwan
or a variant listed above: William Kirvan, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1853;
Elizabeth, Maria, Michael, and Thomas Kirwan, all arrived in Philadelphia
between 1820 and 1844; John Kirwin settled in Philadelphia in 1851..
Motto Translated: My God, my king, and my country.
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