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MacInerney, MacEnery, MacKinery

MacInerney Family Crest
Argent three lions passant in pale gules armed and langued azure.
Crest: A mermaid proper.

There are several variants of this name the foremost being MacInerney which derives from "Mac an Airchinnigh" meaning, son of the "erinagh". This historic name denotes descent from the onetime steward or custodian of Church property and lands which was originally an ecclesiastical office. In later times this function passed into the hands of laymen and came to be regarded by them as a hereditary position.

By agreement with his bishop the erinagh farmed the termon lands attached to the church, and was responsible as well for the maintenance of church property and the custodian of relics and objects of piety deposited there from monastic times.

This role was maintained until the coming of the reformation. The coarb families are known to have provided several priests and some bishops to the various dioceses during the course of time. As a result this name as such is to be found in different parts of the country but it has not by any means become numerous, the exception being in County Clare.

Dr. MacLysaght states that the MacInerneys were once an important sept who settled in the old parish of Kilconry, now part of the R. C. Parish of Newmarket-on-Fergus, and whose ancestral estate was in the townland of Ballycally, which borders Shannon Airport. Their lands and property were lost during the Cromewellian confiscations but the extent of their influence may be drawn from the 1659 census when thirty families of MacInerney were recorded as living in the district around Bunratty. Clerical records reveal that priestly bearers of the name suffered greatly as did many others during the years of intense persecution, among them Fr. Laurence MacInerheny who was martyred by the Cromwellians in 1642. Nine years later two Franciscan brothers Jeremiah MacInerney and his companison Daniel MacClanchy where hanged near the village of Quin.

Dr. MacLysaght lists but a few who came to prominence during more recent times. Among the most distinguished are Revd. M. H. McInerney O.P., author of "The History of the Irish Dominicans", and the well-known journalists Michael MacInerney, author of "Peadar O'Donnell: Irish Social Rebel" and "The Riddle of Erskine Childers".

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Learned Families of Thomond