Clare County Library
Clare Genealogy
Home | Search Library Catalogue | Foto: Clare Photo Collection | Maps | Places | Archaeology | History | Search this Website | Copyright Notice | What's New

Some Historical Notes on the Guerin Surname in Co. Clare by Pat Guerin
French (Huguenot) Connection: Huguenots in Ireland

The name Guerin(sic) is of French origin. Huguenots refugees left France in four waves.
The first three waves of 1572, 1628 and 1685 came from the business and landed classes; most likely these would have been the most highly educated of the Huguenots. In addition the 1685 wave had a high military content as many of the Huguenots serving in the French army of Louis XIV were attracted to the Protestant cause under William III and they formed a large contingent of William’s army at the Boyne, Aughrim and Limerick. The fourth and final wave were driven out by the persecution of 1745-54 and were principally from the peasantry, small farmer and small manufacturing classes who had lacked the wealth or opportunity to escape as their richer co-religionists had done earlier.

As early as 1662 the Duke of Ormond introduced into the Irish Parliament “An Act for Encouraging Protestant Strangers and Others to Inhabit Ireland.”

  • The ports of Dublin (4 French Churches), Waterford (1 French Church) and Cork (2 French Churches) were centres where the Huguenots established themselves as entrepreneurs of business and commerce (import/export of wines and other goods, goldsmiths, spinners/weavers, glassmakers). The permanency and relative size of these settlements can be gauged from the numbers of their own French Churches, which these refugee settlements were able to support.
  • Portarlington (1 French Church) was a new model town built to host those army officers, from the French(Huguenot) regiments of William of Orange, who were pensioned off at the close of the war in Ireland(1691). Subsequently it was also home to pensioners from those same regiments who went on to serve in Marlborough’s army on the continent.

“The (Portarlington)settlers, who were of varied origin, coming from Normandy, Languedoc, Saintonge and Dauphiny, were mainly military in profession, and were nearly all aristocratic in rank.”[11]

  • Youghal, Co. Cork had a similar but much smaller military pensioner settlement.
  • Lisburn, Co. Down. Spinning and weaving of flax; manufacture of linen. This was to grow into the successful linen industry of the North of Ireland.

Other lesser settlements and their activities (some short-lived) were:

  • Innishannon, Co. Cork. Cultivation of silk worms and silk weaving.
  • Clonmel/Carick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary. Spinning and weaving of wool.
  • Kilkenny City, Wexford. General trading.
  • Dundalk and Collon, Co. Louth. Linen manufacture and farming settlements resp.
  • Belfast. Some military pensioners; however in contrast to the aristocratic pensioners of Portarlington and Youghal those of Belfast were made up of the rank and file of Schomberg’s army.
Back Arrow
Freeholders List
Up Arrow

Forward Arrow
Huguenot Guerins