Galway and French Connections

The first of this name (Lynch) who came to Ireland with Henry II or with Strongbow (Earl of Pembroke) was a General whose name was Andrew Lynch, and to whom Henry II gave large possessions and estates at Knock, Trim, Co. Meath. This castle remained in the possession of the Lynch family until the Cromwellian forfeitures in the middle of the 17th century.

Andrew’s son, John, settled in Galway where he married the Earl of Pembroke’s (Marshall) daughter. Their descendants intermarried with the other noble and ancient families of rank in the province. John’s son, Nicholas, commonly called the Black Marshall (Nicholas Duff Lynch) because of the dark colour of his skin, built the great gate of Galway according to corporation records in the year 1312.

The town of Galway was built before the year 1270. Thomas Lynch (or De Linch) was the earliest recorded Chief Magistrate of the city in 1274 and from then onwards 72 Lynches were Mayors up to the year 1641 – 1654 when they were stripped of their lands, houses and possessions by Oliver Cromwell, because of their loyalty to the King.

It is understood that the Lynches built most of the fine houses and churches in Galway, the most famous to this day being the church of St Nicholas, which bears their coat of arms on the exterior as well as on the Lynch window and tomb. Lynch’s Castle, built in the year 14th century, is now used by Allied Irish Bank, having been acquired in 1930 and carefully restored to its former glory.

There were 14 Lynch tribes in Galway each with their own crest. Some of the Lynch tribes (or branches) are Carton, Drimcong, Lavally, Moycullen, Barna, Currandulla and Castlecarra. The first settlers were known as the house of Cranmore.

The following are some versions of the Lynch name which were used at the time – Lynchy, De Lench, McGlinhy, Lynskey, Delinch, Lintz and De Lench.

In 1692, Patrick Sarsfield, a soldier in King James II army, led twelve thousand of his soldiers in the failed Siege of Limerick. Most of the soldiers were from the Lynch tribe of Galway. Patrick and most of his army fled to France except for two thousand men who remained in Ireland.

Among the men who fled to France which later became known as “The Flight of the Wild Geese” was a young officer named John Lynch. He was born in Galway in 1669 and settled in Bordeaux, a small town where they landed. He married a local beauty queen on 26th November 1709. Their son, Thomas Michael Lynch, born 12th November 1710 (and died 4th October 1774) married Elizabeth Drauillard. As a wedding present her father gave them his Vineyard “The Bages” and they went on to have 6 children. Thomas later married a second time and had another 2 children.

Thomas and Elizabeth’s son Michael, inherited the Vineyard. As he held high positions in Government and had no descendants, he gave the vineyard to his brother Jean Baptiste Lynch, who was born in 1749 and died in 1835. As both brothers died without any male heirs, the vineyards were sold in 1824. It was then, and still is known as the Lynch-Bages vineyard and their wines are sold worldwide under the name Michel Lynch (


Courtesy of research gathered by Mgt. Curtis (nee Lynch).