The O' Driscolls were a great sea-faring clan in West Cork and their original territory extended from Courtmacsherry to the Kerry border. The family claim descent from one, "Eidersceoil", sixteenth in line from Lughaidh Mac Con Ard-Ri, 3rd Century High King of Ireland. The name means "intermediary" or "interpreter" and his descendants were known as O'hEidersceoil, later transposed to O' Drisceoil. Fineen, called O'Driscoll Mor, ruled over Creagh, Castlehaven and the islands of Cape Clear, Sherkin, Ringaroga and Innisbeg in the 15th Century, and founded Sherkin Abbey in 1460. The O' Driscolls were great castle builders and their strongholds included Dun na Sead (Baltimore) and Dun na Long (Sherkin). Sir Fineen O' Driscoll, the Rover, who "feasted, adventured and conquered" was renowned in song and story. He died circa 1629. The family Coat of Arms has an ancient galley with black furled sails on a silver shield. A cormorant is on the Crest. On July 28th 1955, John O' Driscoll, Schull, and Alice O' Regan, Sherkin Island, were married in the Church of St. Peter and Paul, Cork. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of O' Drisceoil, Bishop of Ross, which was dated 1017 - 1029, in the "Records of Corca Laoidhe", during the reign of King Malachy 11, High King of Ireland, 1014 - 1022. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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