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Barrett


Barrett crestBarrett is a well known Irish clan which includes various septs including MacPadine, MacWattin, MacEvilly (Mac an Mhileadha), and MacAndrew.  There are two Barrett clans in Ireland which are believed to be completely unrelated.  The most common are the Munster Barretts of Co. Cork who are Norman in origin.  The other is the Barrett clan of Connacht, most numerous in the Mayo-Galway mountain region.  This clan is Gaelic in origin although they came to Ireland with the Norman invasion at the end of the twelfth century.  They were hired mercinaries from Wales.  To this day the Barretts and the Barrys of Connacht are known as "the Welshmen of Tirawley".  The similarity of the names of the two Barrett clans is purely coincedental.  The Barretts of Cork derived their name from the Norman-French "Barratt" while the Barretts of Connacht derived their name from the gaelic name "Bairéad" which means quarrelsome or warlike .  In fact, many daughters and sons of the clan, living in Connacht, are still called Bairéad (or mac Bairéad, as the case may be). In any case, both Barrett clans were fully assimilated into Irish culture and married into many old Irish families, they are said to have become "more irish than the Irish themselves". You will find many Barretts/Bairéads in Irish history serving the Irish nation such as Col. John Barrett who raised a regiment of infantry for King James' army in Ireland, afterwards he and his clan suffered a wrath of genocide and land confiscations dealt by the Williamite armies in 1691.  There was Ríocard Bairéad "The poet of Erris", a prominent United Irishman; to name a few.

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