The Irish surname name Danaher is believed to be an Anglicized version of the Gaelic surname O’Danachair or O’Duinneachair  and derives from the Gaelic personal name Duineachar which signifies ‘descended of Duineachar’. This personal name means a ‘loving man’, the first element of his name being derived from the old Irish ‘duine’ meaning ‘person’. Another explanation is that the surname derives from the ancient pre 10th century Gaelic "duineachaidh", meaning pure, but it has to be said that this is not accepted by many scholars.


Danaher belongs to Co. Limerick: it originated in north-west Tipperary, where the chief was lord of a territory near Nenagh until dispossessed following the Anglo-Norman invasion. 


Many, perhaps the majority of Irish surnames, originated as a nickname for the first chief of the clan, effectively the first name holder. Some of these nicknames were "robust" to the point of physical directness, and others in the tradition of nicknames may well mean the reverse of the translation! In this case we also have confusion with the English surname Denny. 



Much of County Limerick was part of the ancient Kingdom of Thomond, while parts of the west of the County was part of the Kingdom of Desmond. In the mid 9th Century the Vikings took control of Limerick City and retained it until the 11th Century when they were defeated by the O’Brien chieftan Brian Boru.  Because the Norse did not use surnames there is little evidence of the Viking heritage among the family names in the area.

From that time it was the seat of the O’Briens, rulers of Thomond until the English took control of Limerick in 1174. Following the Norman invasion the county was granted to the DeBourgs, ancestors of the Burkes, the Fitzwalters and the Fitzgeralds, The Norman influence is still evident among the names which are still common in the county, Fitzgerald, Fitzgibbon, deLacey, deCoursey, Woulfe and Wall.



In 1649 Charles 1st was executed in London and Cromwell came to power. A brilliant and brutal general he came to Ireland that year and quickly exercised control. In 1641 the English Parliament had passed ‘the Adventurers Act’ a money raising venture that allowed land to be confiscated from disloyal Irish Landlords and sold to investors. The Cromwellian campaign in Ireland cost £3.5m. To make this back he had similar legislation passed in 1652. Sir William Petty carried out a government survey to establish the land available. In all, 11m out of a total of 20m acres was confiscated and reassigned, mainly in Dublin, Kildare, Carlow, Cork, Armagh, Down, Antrim, Laois, Offaly, Meath, Westmeath, Tipperary, Waterford and Limerick. This was a massive shift in land ownership. The benefiting  ‘adventurers’ were mainly London merchants or soldiers in Cromwell’s army. Many became absentee Landlords for whom the newly acquired estates became sources of profit. 


From the 15th to the 18th century, Irish prisoners were sold as slaves. For centuries, the Irish were dehumanised by the English, described as savages, so making their murder and displacement appear all the more justified. In1654 the British parliament gave Oliver Cromwell a free hand to banish Irish "undesirables". Cromwell rounded up Catholics throughout the Irish countryside and placed them on ships bound for the Caribbean, mainly Barbados. The authorities in the West Indies, fearing the Irish would resist servitude, treated the prisoners harshly. Records suggest that priests may have been routinely tortured and executed. By 1655, 12,000 political prisoners had been forcibly shipped to Barbados. 




The Encumbered Estates' Court was established by an act of the parliament in Westminster in 1849, to facilitate the sale of Irish estates whose owners, because of the Great Famine, were unable to meet their obligations. It was given authority to sell estates on application from either the owner or an encumbrancer (somebody who had a claim on it) and, after the sale, distribute the proceeds among the creditors, granting clear title to the new owners. In 1858, the court's functions were assumed by the Landed Estates Court, which, in turn, was replaced by Land Commission that was set up under the 1881 Land Act.

In the nineteenth century, agriculture was the biggest industry in Ireland. In 1876, the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland commissioned a survey to find who owned the land in Ireland; it was found that almost all of it was owned by just 10,000 people, or 0.2% of the population. The majority were small landlords, but the 750 richest landlords owned half of the country between them. Many of the richest were absentee landlords, living in Britain or elsewhere in Ireland and paying agents like Charles Boycott to manage their estates.  

As a result of the Famine the value of land plummeted due to non payment of rent and the overall state of the Irish economy. Many estates became bankrupt due to burdens created in good times to family members combined with falling rental income. Many Irish farmers saw this as an opportunity to buy out their holdings and to set up their sons in farms which could be bought at knockdown prices. The Land Acts provided further incentives to spread the cost over a long number of years.

The county of Limerick was badly affected by a local famine in 1820 also caused by potato blight and by the Great Famine in 1845. Between 1845 and 1852 one million Irish people died and another million emigrated. Although the potato crop failed the country was still producing enough grain to feed the population. Records show that during this period we were exporting 30 to 50 shiploads per day of food produce. Bad Government, absentee Landlords, the effects of the 1690 Penal Laws and a number of other factors give rise to it being viewed by a number of Historians as direct or indirect genocide.  The famine was a watershed in Irish history. Its effects permanently changed the islands demographic, political and cultural landscape.

 famine in 1845-47. According to Samuel Lewis (1837) the population, in 1821, was 218,432; and in 1831, 248,201. Almost 17% of the County’s population emigrated between 1851 and 1855. Almost 30,000 people had died between 1847 and 1850. The population was 330,000 in 1841 falling by 21% in 1851 and a further 21% to 152,583 in 1871. By 1891 it had stabilized at 160,000 and is currently 122,000.famine in 1845.






Home Rule became certain when in 1910 the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) under John Redmond held the balance of power in the Commons and the third Home Rule Bill was introduced in 1912. Unionist resistance was immediate with the formation of the Ulster Volunteers. In turn the Irish Volunteers were established to oppose them and enforce the introduction of self-government.

In September 1914, just as the First World War broke out, the UK Parliament passed the Third Home Rule Act to establish self-government for Ireland, but was suspended for the duration of the war. In order to ensure implementation of Home Rule after the war, nationalist leaders and the IPP under Redmond supported with Ireland's participation the British and Allied war effort under the Triple Entente against the expansion of Central Powers. The core of the Irish Volunteers were against this decision, but the majority left to form the National Volunteers who enlisted in Irish regiments of the New British Army, the 10th and 16th (Irish) Divisions, their Northern counterparts in the 36th (Ulster) Division. Before the war ended, Britain made two concerted efforts to implement Home Rule, one in May 1916 and again with the Irish Convention during 1917–1918, but the Irish sides (Nationalist, Unionist) were unable to agree to terms for the temporary or permanent exclusion of Ulster from its provisions.

The period 1916–1921 was marked by political violence and upheaval, ending in the partition of Ireland and independence for 26 of its 32 counties. A failed militant attempt was made to gain separate independence for Ireland with the 1916 Easter Rising, an insurrection in Dublin. Though support for the insurgents was small, the violence used in its suppression led to a swing in support of the rebels. In addition, the unprecedented threat of Irishmen being conscripted to the British Army in 1918 (for service on the Western Front as a result of the German Spring Offensive) accelerated this change. In the December 1918 elections Sinn Féin, the party of the rebels, won three-quarters of all seats in Ireland, twenty-seven MPs of which assembled in Dublin on 21 January 1919 to form a 32-county Irish Republic Parliament, the first Dáil Éireann unilaterally declaring sovereignty over the entire island.

Unwilling to negotiate any understanding with Britain short of complete independence, the Irish Republican Army, the army of the newly declared Irish Republic, waged a guerilla war (the Irish War of Independence) from 1919 to 1921. In the course of the fighting and amid much acrimony, the Fourth Government of Ireland Act 1920 implemented Home Rule while separating the island into what the British government's Act termed "Northern Ireland" and "Southern Ireland". In July 1921 the Irish and British governments agreed to a truce that halted the war. In December 1921 representatives of both governments signed an Anglo-Irish" Treaty. The Irish delegation was led by Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins. This abolished the Irish Republic and created the Irish Free State, a self-governing Dominion of the Commonwealth of Nations in the manner of Canada and Australia. Under the Treaty, Northern Ireland could opt out of the Free State and stay within the United Kingdom: it promptly did so. In 1922 both parliaments ratified the Treaty, formalising independence for the 26-county Irish Free State (which renamed itself Ireland in 1937, and declared itself a republic in 1949); while the 6-county Northern Ireland, gaining Home Rule for itself, remained part of the United Kingdom. For most of the next 75 years, each territory was strongly aligned to either Catholic or Protestant ideologies, although this was more marked in the six counties of Northern Ireland.


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