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The O’Neylons of Dysert and Austria
By Luke McInerney

This paper investigates the links between the O’Neylon family of Dysert, County Clare, and their descendants who left Ireland to seek preferment in the military ranks of imperial Austria.

The O’Neylons, in common with other land-holding Catholic families of the late 17th century were disenfranchised due to the Williamite settlement of the 1690s. They took advantage of of the terms of the Treaty of Limerick and pursued military careers in the forces of Continental sovereigns. The ‘Wild Geese’ as these families were known became a notable feature of these armies and played a leading role in some of the chief military engagements of the 18th century.

The O’Neylons established a dynasty in the Hapsburg imperial lands of northern Italy and Austria and were reputed not only for their martial qualities but also their former role and status in Ireland where their forebears acted as herditary physicians to the O’Briens of Thomond.

This paper was published in The Other Clare, Volume 42, 2018, at pages 25-32.
Clare County Library is grateful to Luke McInerney for donating this article. More papers by Luke McInerney can be accessed at

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