Clare County Library
Clare Genealogy
Home | Library Catalogue | Forums | Foto | Maps | Places | Archaeology | History | Search this Website | Copyright Notice | Visitors' Book | Contact Us | What's New

Hynes, Hines, O'Heyne, Ó h-Eidhin

Hynes Family Crest

Per pale indented or and gules
two lions rampant combatant
Crest: A dexter arm armed
embowed the hand grasping
a sword all proper.

This name, which is of Irish origin, is quite numerous in counties Clare and Galway and has mainly been anglicized to Hynes or Hines. It is, however, a distinguished Irish name, bearers of which may assume they are descendants of the O'Heyne sept, whose territory corresponded originally with the Barony of Kiltartan in Co. Galway. The well-known Dunguaire Castle with its fine bawn near Kinvarra was once a stronghold of their chieftains. It is a name of long standing and said to have come down from Guaire the Hospitable, King of Connacht, from whose genealogical tree it is noted that Brian Boru took to wife More, the daughter of the O'Heyne, then chief of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne. The forces mustered in Connacht in response to Brian Boru's call to arms and which later engaged in the Battle of Clontarf were known to have been placed "under the command of the O'Heyne."

The O'Heyne continued to hold on to their extensive lands for several centuries, possibly in co-operation with the Norman barons and later shared power again with another powerful clan, The O'Shaughnessy, also named as Lords of Aidhne. The extensive monastic foundation at Kilmacduagh, with its perfect round tower, is an indication of the influence of this once local royal family. A kinsman, St. Colman is said to have founded this remarkable group of churches in the 13th century which includes the restored Abbots House and the O'Heyne Chapel which together represent the finest collection of mediaeval churches in the country.

East Window, O'Heyne Chapel, Kilmacduagh
East Window, O'Heyne Chapel, Kilmacduagh
The well-preserved O'Heyne Chapel with its fine east window stands north west of the main group. Many of its original features remain, the colums and capitals of the chancel arch are of a high quality and display a number of well-executed floral and animal designs. This fine example of an Irish Romanesque building is credited to Maurice O'Leaain who was Bishop of Kilmacduagh during the mid-13th century.

Its founder St. Colman is said to have been laid to rest in the centre of the adjoining cemetery, a site now marked by the grave of Bishop Edmund French O.P. who died in 1852. The O'Heyne clan gave many priests to the church and to the missions, notable among them being Father John O'Heyne O.P. (1715) who was historian of the Dominican order.

In the graveyard at Ardrahan, County Galway, there is an old gravestone on which is carved a detailed version of the O'Heyne arms. This stone is said to have been recovered from the ruins of Ardrahan Castle. The two lions rampant are represented but now hold a tower between them - also an Irish elk and minute impressions of insects.

Further Reading:
Fahey, Jerome, 'Some places of interest near Gort' in "Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland", vol. 34 (1904), and vol. 38 (1908).
O'Donovan, John and Eugene Curry, "The antiquities of County Clare: letters containing information relative to the antiquities of the County of Clare collected during the progress of the Ordnance Survey in 1839." Ennis, Clasp Press, 1997.

Back Arrow
Learned Families of Thomond