O'Dea /ˈd/; (Irish: Ó Deághaidh, formerly Ua Deághaidh), is an Irish surname derived from Deághaidh, the name of a tenth-century clan chieftain.

O'Dea Clan Origins

The O'Dea clan came originally from County Clare where there is a fortified tower house over 500 years old known as O'Dea Castle[1] at the 80-acre (320,000 m2) townland of Dysert O'Dea (Irish: Dísert, meaning "hermitage").[2] The ruins of Dysert O'Dea Monastery, round tower, and St. Tola's high cross are 265 metres to the south-southwest of the castle in the adjacent 260-acre (1.1 km2) townland of Mollaneen (Irish: Molainín, meaning "the little hill"),[3] near Corofin.[4] (52°54′41″N 9°03′59″W / 52.911361°N 9.066381°W / 52.911361; -9.066381)this surname is popular with many Irish families.

The name O'Dea is normally pronounced oh-dee, and sometimes oh-day, in English. Clan descendants may have the surnames Alday, Allday, O'Dea, Dea, Day, Daye, O'Day, O'Daye, Dee, Dees, O'Dee, Godwin, or Goodwin.

Edward MacLysaght, the former Chief Herald of Ireland, writing in his book, Irish Families, began his discussion of the O'Dea family as follows:

O'Dea is a name associated alike in the past and at present almost exclusively with the County Clare and the areas such as Limerick City and North Tipperary which immediately adjoin it. It is not a common name anywhere and even in County Clare is not numerous outside the part of the county where it originated. This is indicated by the place names Tully O'Dea and Dysart O'Dea, the site of a famous battle in 1318. The head of the sept was chief of a considerable territory comprising much of the barony of Inchiquin. In Irish the name is Ó Deághaidh.[5]

In another book, The Surnames of Ireland, MacLysaght describes the O'Deas as "one of the principal Dalcassian septs", and about the name itself, he remarks, "The prefix O is now almost always used, but a century ago Dea was quite usual and the English Day was regarded as synonymous."[6]


The O'Deas, together with the O'Quinns (Irish: Ó Cuinn), belong to the Uí Fearmaic group, but it is not known if this kindred belongs to the Dál gCais or to the Uí Fidgenti.[7] Another possibility are the Corcu Baiscind.

Annalistic references


Christian Patrick O'Dea-local bassist of band Spectrum

See also the O'Day page for a listing of O'Days.

See also


  1. Dysart O'Dea Castle, Co. Clare by Risteard Ua Croinin and Martin Breen, The Other Clare, Volume 9, page 17. Shannon Archaeological and Historical Society, April 1985.
  2. Dysert townland at the Irish Placenames Database, logainm.ie. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  3. Mollaneen townland at the Irish Placenames Database, logainm.ie. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  4. Map of Dysert and Mollaneen at Ordnance Survey Ireland. Select Historic 6" option to see old townland boundaries. maps.osi.ie. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  5. Irish Families: Their Names, Arms and Origins, by Edward MacLysaght. Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1957, rev. 1972, page 112.
  6. Surnames of Ireland, by Edward MacLysaght. Shannon: Irish UP 1969.
  7. The Kingdom of Thomond
  8. "Bishop Cornelius O'Dea". Diocese of Limerick. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
  9. "Bishop Cornelius O'Dea". catholic-hierarchy.org (unofficial site). Retrieved 1 December 2009.
  10. "Connor O'Dea, Bishop of Limerick (poem)". The Irish Monthly. 49: 507–509. Dec 1921. JSTOR 20505775.
  11. "Bishop Edward John O'Dea". catholic-hierarchy.org (unofficial site). Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  12. "Bishop Thomas O'Dea". catholic-hierarchy.org (unofficial site). Retrieved 5 May 2010.

Further reading

External links

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