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What’s in a name?

Many of the surnames found in County Wexford today have a connection with medieval Pembrokeshire. These names include: Walsh, Roche and Prendergast. The connection dates back to the time when King Diarmait McMurchada required help retaking his lands in Leinster.

Diarmait McMurchada sought help from the Anglo-Normans and Cambro-Normans living in Pembrokeshire. In return they were given land to settle in County Wexford. Over eight hundred years later these Pembrokeshire names are still strongly connected to the area. For example, the surname Roche is believed to come from Godebert ‘the Fleming’, who held Roch Castle in Pembroke in 1130. The surname Prendergast comes from the name of a village in Pembrokeshire which is now a suburb of Haverfordwest.

The name Walsh or Wallace means Welsh man. Those that bear the surname ‘Walsh’ in the southeast of Ireland are believed to be descended from Philip ‘the Welshman’ who settled here in 1172. Other surnames that have connections to Pembrokeshire and Welsh connections include Keating, FitzGilbert, FitzStephen, Montmorency, de Quincy, de Barry, Carew and Caunteton.

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