- The O'Reillys at Cavan
- Myles the Slasher and His Progeny
- Count Alejandro O'Reilly
- Reilly and O'Reilly
- Jon Riley and the San Patricios
- Andrew and Michael O'Reilly
The O'Reillys at Cavan
By the late 1300's the O’Reillys had secured their land and moved their seat from Clogh Oughter Castle to Tullymongan Hill. The castle they built there attracted settlers and a new town grew up in the hollow beneath Tullymongan Hill and the surrounding hills. No one gave the town a name. It was simply known as an Cabhan, Gaelic for “the hollow.” To English ears the “'bh” sounded like “v” and so the name Cavan emerged.
The O’Reilly Chief or Breifne was known simply as "The O'Reilly" in line with Celtic tradition. The ancestral inauguration site of the Chief was at an ancient stone circle on Seántomon Hill three miles northeast of Cavan town. The stones were fondly known as the fingers of Fionn McCool, a legendary Celtic hero.
Myles the Slasher and His Progeny
Myles O'Reilly, better known as Myles the Slasher, led the Irish resistance to the English during the 1641 rebellion. For a time the whole of Cavan fell to his insurgents and Myles defeated a Scottish army under General Munro at the battle of Benburb. But the Scottish fought back and Myles died in 1644, bravely standing up against their cavalry on the bridge at Finea.
son Colonel John
Reilly lived at Baltrasna in county Meath and was said to have been the
member of the sept to drop the "O" prefix from the name.
He raised a regiment of dragoons for King
James and served in the Jacobite army in the Williamite war. He was allowed to keep his lands after the war
was lost and he died at Batrasna in 1717.
left a son, Thomas, who was the father of Alexander or, as he became,
Alejandro O’Reilly in Spanish service.
from Baltrasna in county Meath had fought for Spain with the Irish
Brigade. He rose in Spanish ranks to
become a Field Marshal, Governor of Madrid, Captain General of
Governor of Cadiz.
1769, he was
dispatched to New Orleans with a strong military force to put down a
uprising. His affability allayed all
suspicion and, after checking out the leaders, he invited them to a
where he had them all arrested. Five
were put to death and the others were imprisoned in Havana. That put an end to the rebellion.
O’Reilly's rule in Spanish America was
regarded as liberal and enlightened. His
descendants have been in Cuba for two centuries where, as the Counts of
Castillo and Marquis of San Felipe y Santiago, their lineages can be
found in the
archives of Havana.
Reilly and O'Reilly
Today it is O'Reilly more in Ireland, Reilly more outside. The table below shows the approximate numbers:
John Riley and the San Patricios
John Riley led the San Patricios in five major battles against the Americans, ultimately establishing his unit as a force to be reckoned with. To this day, the flag of the San Patricios continues to fly in his hometown of Clifden in county Galway and a sculpture stands there in honor of John Riley and the men who served under him.
Andrew and Michael O'Reilly
It was thought that Andrew had a brother named Michael. But nothing more was known about him. However, Chip Hutchinson, a great great grandson of Michael, managed to track down Andrew’s descendant Bill in 2008, thereby reuniting the two sides of the family.