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Clan History

Collins Clan History


The Gaelic version of the name Collins comes from the Anglicization of O'Cullane, itself derived from the name O'Coileain (the term Coilleain meaning 'young hound, a young fearless warrior' in the original tongue).


In Ireland, Collins may be regarded as a genuinely indigenous Irish name; ranked number 30 in Ireland it is one the most numerous surnames, with an estimated Collins population of 14,000 persons, the majority of which come from Counties Cork and Limerick.


The family derives its descent from Fiacha Fighinte, son of Daire Cearb, son of Olioll Flann Beag, who is No. 87 on the "Line of Heber". The name originated in North Desmond which extended into the modern County Limerick, where the Collins' (O'Cullane) were Barons of Upper Connello and Lords of Eighter Conghalach (Lower Connello) intermittently from the 9th to the 12th century.

In 1178 they were set upon by Norman invaders: the Fitzgeralds. In 1228 the "war loving O'Collins's" were driven southward by the Normans into West Cork near the territory possessed by their kinsmen Cathal, son of Crom O'Donovan.

Some of the remaining members in Limerick retained power in Claonglass until about the beginning of the 14th century when their power passed also to the Fitzgeralds.

The Irish Collins surname originated in Limerick, where they were lords of the baronies of Connello, until after the Norman invasion they fled to Cork.


The division of the family into the West Cork branch, and into those who remained in Limerick until driven out, caused the creation of two family crests.


The O'Coileains seem to have left no visible landmarks as no castles or towns are stamped with their name. There are also Collins families from the province of Ulster, most of whom were probably English.