An Index to Wolfe records in Ireland

Researching all Wolfe / Woulfe families in West Cork -- including Wolfe families in the townlands/parishes of Ballylangley, Clonakilty, Skibbereen, Tawnies, Coolerheen, Inchnatin, Bandon, Beanhill, Ashgrove, Lisselane, Bawnlahan, Meil, Coolcraheen, Rosscarbery, Derreen, Kilvurra, Kilgariffee, Fanlobbus, Kilbrogan, Kilmaloda, Kilnagras, White Church, Ballineen, Schull, Castleventry, Inchigeelagh etc.



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5bl.jpg (939 bytes)My Wolfe Family Tree Kilvurra and Inchnattin  5bl.jpg (939 bytes)Ancestry and History of Major General Wolfe
5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Wolfe Books for Research 5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Chicago Irish   (Limerick Woulfe)
5bl.jpg (939 bytes)The Siege of Limerick 5bl.jpg (813 bytes)The Wolfe  Flanagan Family of Co Clare
5bl.jpg (939 bytes)Wolfe Surname in Ireland  5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Wolfe Arch Deacons and Prebendaries
5bl.jpg (939 bytes)Queries - Wolfe Forum 5bl.jpg (939 bytes)Wolfe enquiries in Mailing lists/GenConnect Update.gif (1754 bytes)
5bl.jpg (939 bytes)Vickery's Inn Bantry 5bl.jpg (939 bytes)Co and City of Cork General Directory of 1842-3
5bl.jpg (815 bytes)The 1st Lord of Derreen 5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Documents taken to Canada by James Haggertie
5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Slater's Directory, 1856 5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Miscellaneous names: relationships not established
5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Cork Evening Post1794 5bl.jpg (939 bytes)History of Bandon & Early Protestant Settlers
5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Flax Grovers List 1796 5bl.jpg (939 bytes)Wolfe connection to the Skibbereen Wine Vaults
5bl.jpg (815 bytes)1659 Census and Poll Tax 5bl.jpg (815 bytes)British Military Barracks in Co Cork
5bl.jpg (939 bytes)Wolfe Family Webe Sites 5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Important Links plus dedicated Cork links
5bl.jpg (939 bytes)Wo(u)lfe Coat of Arms  5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Wolfe: Griffith's Valuation entries Co Cork
5bl.jpg (939 bytes)Wolfe entries from the IGI 5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Wolfe: Griffith's Valuation entries Co Limerick
5bl.jpg (939 bytes)Letters from home  5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Bennett Family Tree with Wolfe connections7
5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Cork Marriage License Bonds 5bl.jpg (815 bytes) Newspaper Biographical Notices  for Wolfe 
5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Famous Woulfe / Wolfe People 5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Description of County Cork, 1931
5bl.jpg (815 bytes)1901 Census Derreen Co Cork 5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Descriptions of Cork, Limerick and Dublin Parishes 
5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Cork & Ross Wills 5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Buttimer Tree of Derreen &Wolfe connection
5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Wolfe Obituaries 5bl.jpg (939 bytes)Wo(u)lfe Placename Database [file 41 not active]
 5bl.jpg (815 bytes)General Wolfe Family Tree  5bl.jpg (815 bytes) Wolfe connections in  Smith O'Brien (1848-49) petition
5bl.jpg (815 bytes) Ballymoney BDMs -- extracts   5bl.jpg (815 bytes) Deeds, Rentals and Marriage settlements  
5bl.jpg (815 bytes)1641 Depositions New3.gif (26402 bytes)   5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Ballymodan and Bandon or Bandonbridge

5bl.jpg (815 bytes)The Will of Abraham Buttimer

5bl.jpg (815 bytes) Buttimer or Buttimore - miscellaneous records 
5bl.jpg (815 bytes) Mayors & Sheriffs Clare & Limerick  5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Clergy of Cork Cloyne & Ross    
 5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Newspapers entries 5bl.jpg (939 bytes)Will of Rev. Richard Wolfe of Forenaghts
 5bl.jpg (815 bytes)BDMs (related) from Australia   5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Rchd Wolfe, Aughadown - Stout connection
 5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Tithes & Tithe Defaulters New3.gif (26402 bytes)  5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Griffith's Val. Wolfe in Ballymoney Parish
 5bl.jpg (815 bytes) Wolfes of Forenaghts, Co. Kildare   5bl.jpg (815 bytes)Famine, Mortality and Emigration in Skibbereen
5bl.jpg (815 bytes) Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland (Names of Adventurers) 5bl.jpg (815 bytes) The  Inhabitants of Co Cork and Cork City 26th March 1768 (for Wolfe and related family names)
5bl.jpg (815 bytes) Wolfe Entries from LDS Civil Reg. Data  5bl.jpg (815 bytes)  Early Wolfe entries in Co Cork (1663+)
5bl.jpg (815 bytes)  Walker's Hibernian Magazine 1771-1812 5bl.jpg (815 bytes) Protestant Inhabitants  Cork 1778 - associated names

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  Ralph Wolfe & Arabella Daley 
 James Wolfe & Charlotte Levey/Levis
 Henry Wolfe & Susanna Joseland
 Edmund Wofe & Priscilla Watson


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Patrick B Wolfe, son of John & Honora Buckley (Co Kerry & USA)
  The Beamish FamilyNew3.gif (26402 bytes)


An Introduction

It is hoped that (Irish) Wolfe/Woulfe researchers will contribute to this home page so that we can all share our research and resources—as it is only by the process of elimination that we will unravel all the connections of this family.  Over twenty years I have collected a large amount of data: Deeds, Wills, Marriage Licence Bonds, Griffith's Valuation entries, some 1901 Census data, Cork and Ross Wills and entries from directories and books.

Initially my focus was strictly on the Wolfe family from the townland of Derreen, Parish of Kilmeen, and Kilvurra in the Parish of Ballymoney.   I ignored all other Wolfe families, so now it is time to look at it again from a far wider perspective.   What a jigsaw puzzle — so many names connected because of intermarrying between family cousins.

I will be gradually adding more material to my home page—deeds. wills etc.   Contributors will be acknowledged and a link to your home page added.   Please share.


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Research of the Author  (home page)

Kate Press (C/O Tony Press), 71 Claremont Ave., Malvern, Victoria 3144. Australia.   


5bl.jpg (939 bytes)‘Wolfe Family Tree Kilvurra’

Researching all Wolfe / Woulfe families in West Cork -- including Wolfe families in the townlands/parishes of Ballylangley, Clonakilty, Skibbereen, Tawnies, Coolerheen, Inchnatin, Bandon, Beanhill, Ashgrove, Lisselane, Bawnlahan, Meil, Coolcraheen, Rosscarbery, Derreen, Kilvurra, Kilgariffee, Fanlobbus, Kilbrogan, Kilmaloda, Kilnagras, White church, Ballineen, Schull, Castleventry, Inchigeelagh etc.

Other co-lateral family names include Bennett, Nash, Fleming, Castle, Kingston and Buttimer

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The Wolfe Surname in Ireland

The Woulfes, or Wolfes, are a family of Norman origin who first came to Ireland at the time of the invasion at the end of the twelfth century. In Irish the name is usually written de Bhulbh, but ‘le’ would be more fitting than de since the Norman form is Le Woulf (the wolf). Though both influential and fairly numerous they never actually formed a sept on the Irish model, as did several of the Anglo-Norman invading families. From the beginning they settled in two widely separated areas. In Co. Kildare they became so well established that their territory near Athy was known as Woulfe's Country; the Wolfs of Forenaughts, Co. Kildare were still extensive landowners in that county and also in Co. Limerick in 1880. In modern times their homeland is in Co. Limerick, the second of their original settlements.

They held extensive lands in the modern Counties Cork and Limerick, much of which was lost as a result of their participation in the Geraldine War towards the end of the sixteenth century. Two generations later they were identified with the resistance to Cromwell, two of the name being expressly exempted from pardon after the famous siege of Limerick in 1651. The name also occurs frequently in the records of that city up to that date. One of these, Capt. George Woulfe, was the qreat-great-grandfather of General James Woulfe (1727-1759), the hero of Quebec, who was thus of Irish (Limerick) descent.

Distinguished Irishmen of the name have been numerous, including Rev. David Woulfe, S.J. (1523-1578), Papal Legate, whose description of Ireland written in 1574 is of great interest; Father James Woulf, O.P., hanged after the Siege of Limerick in 1651, Peter Woulfe (1727-1803), mineralogist and inventor of Wolfe's bottle; Stephen Woulfe (1787-1840), advocate of Catholic Emancipation but later an opponent of Daniel O'Connell - all of the Limerick branch, as was Father Patrick Woulfe (d. 1933), author of Irish Names and Surnames.

Arthur Woulfe (1739-1803), killed in the Emmet Rising, John Woolfe (B.C.. 1740), a notable architect, and Rev. Charles Wolfe (1791-1823), author of the well-known poem The Burial of sir John Moore", were all from Co. Kildare.

Irish Woulfes were also prominent in France at the time of the French Revolution both as military officers and churchmen. While it can be said that Irish Woulfes to-day are of the Norman stock, dealt with above, it should be mentioned that there is a surname Ulf, anglice Woulfe, which according to Professor Edmund Curtis is of Norse origin and pre-Anglo-Norman. There is also an indigenous Gaelic surname 0 Mactire, belonging to East Cork, which was anglicized as Woulfe or Wolfe, mactire being the Irish word for Wolf.

A bishop ‘Oonahan 0 Mactire’, probably of Cloyne, died in 1099, and another Mactire also appears in the Four Masters as ‘tanist of Teffia’, but there appears to be no record of this name in its Gaelic form since early mediaeval times.

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  • WOULFE or WOLFE: de Bhulbh. The Woulfes were amongst the earliest of the Norman settlers but never formed a sept on the Irish model. Bibliography of Irish Families Edward McLysaght. See also Wooley and Nix
  • Wooley: Patrick Woulfe mentions Wooley, colloquially called a Bhula in Irish, as a synonym of Woulfe.
  • Nix: Mac Niocais. An Irish patronymic assumed by some families of Woulfe in County Limerick. The two names were synonymously used up until recently.



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The Surname Woulfe/Wolfe in Ireland


     Paul MacCotter


This research was undertaken by Paul MacCotter on behalf of  Michael Woulfe <>   of USA.  This work, the most serious and detailed research which has ever been undertaken on the Woulfe name (and its many spelling variations), gives a clear insight into the origins of the family.  A sincere thank you Michael and Paul.   Michael's home page can be found at

Le Lou/Wolf of West Limerick
Ulf/Wolf of East Limerick
The Woulfes of Ballyphilip and Limerick City
Major General Wolfe, the hero of Quebec
The Woulfes of Co. Clare
The original Woulfes of 'Woulfes Country', Co. Kildare
The 'New English' Woulfes of Co. Kildare
The Woulfes of Co. Wexford
The Woulfes of Co. Cork
The Woulfes of Dublin/Wicklow
The Woulfes of Co. Kilkenny
The Woulfes of Co. Louth
The Woulfes of Co. Down
The Woulfes of Co. Tipperary
The Woulfes of Co. Waterford




This work details the histories of the various Wolfe/Woulfe families in Ireland, under headings of each county. Historically the surname is chiefly associated with counties Limerick and Kildare, but in the medieval period the surname was also found in Kerry, Tipperary, Wexford, Waterford, Kilkenny, Dublin, Louth and Down. As will be shown below, the surname has a number of different origins and not all Woulfes are related or come from the one stable.

If you are a modern Woulfe wishing to read the history of your family of Woulfe in Ireland the following is a guide as to which county to study. In the modern era the surname has a wide distribution within Ireland, but is principally found in West Limerick and West Cork. The Woulfes of West Limerick and North Kerry descend from the Anglo-Norman le Lou family of West Limerick, while those of Cork are descended from 17th century English settlers. Despite the wonderful history of the Woulfe surname in Kildare, dating back to the 12th century, most, if not all, modern Woulfes in that county appear to be associated with the later English Woulfe family, who settled in Kildare in the mid-17th century. Tipperary Woulfes also appear to be connected with this English family. The Woulfes in East Limerick and Limerick City are descended from the Anglo-Norman Ulf family, as well as the distinct West Limerick line. The Woulfes of Co. Clare are also true Ulfs. There are also some Woulfe families in Dublin and Meath, but it is difficult to say whom they descend from.


This surname originated in England and Normandy and came to Ireland from there, firstly during the Anglo-Norman invasion which began in 1170 and again later, during the English plantations in Ireland during the 17th century.

Early records in both England and Ireland indicate that there were at least two distinct origins for the surname, from the personal name Ulf and from the nickname or cognomen, expressed in the various languages then spoken. Most later Woulfes (I use the more usual form throughout this work) must descend from the latter category, first recorded as "le Lu" (or Lou), from the Norman French "The Wolf" and latinized as "Lupus", that language being the principal legal language of the period. By the late 13th early 14th century we begin to find the change from le Lu to Wolf, mirroring the decrease in spoken French in place of the English of the lower orders, although this change is a little slower to occur in England, where some le Lus never made the change and are the ancestors to the modern English surname Low or Lowe. Those Woulfes who were originally Ulfs were much rarer in this early period.

The earliest period from which very complete records survive is the 14th century. In the records of that century we find Wolfe or le Lu families of substance - freeholders of some decent quantity of land - in eight English counties and in at least six Irish ones, with lessor families in many other English shires and in several additional Irish counties. This sheer volume of such families at so early a period indicates that le Lu was originally used as a common nickname by many individuals, several of whom must collectively be ancestors to the later Woulfes of Britain and Ireland, and the surname does not derive from a common ancestor. There are many other examples of such surnames, such as Savage, Fox and Dollard to name a few, the latter deriving from "dullard", idiot.

We can see why the wolf was such a popular choice for a cognomen by reminding ourselves today just how often this animal features in our depictions of people or human qualities. A man 'wolf whistles' at an attractive girl while a lascivious man is often compared to a wolf. Again we have "wolf's in sheep's clothing" while a series illness, Lupus, is called after the vulpine features it brings to the face of its sufferers. No doubt the wolf was just as popular a folklore animal back in the medieval period. In England the cognomen occurs as early as the 11th century when one of the sons of Richard d'Avranche, an early Norman magnate, was nicknamed Hugh le Lu, although he had no descendants and so cannot be the ancestor to any later Woulfes. The use of the wolf in the business of surnames is not alone confined to Britain and Ireland: witness the common Spanish surname Lopez.

Turning to Ireland, we find landed branches of the le Lu family established by 1300 in Kildare, Dublin, Meath, Louth, Kilkenny, Wexford and Limerick with lessor families of the name found in counties Cork, Waterford and Tipperary. In addition to these there was a Wolfe family established in what is today Co. Down who appear to descent from a man bearing the nickname "Pel de Lu", i.e. wolf-skin. In Limerick we have the interesting situation of a le Lu family established in the western part of the county while in the east and in Limerick City a family of Ulf were prominent; these latter would also become Woulfe at a later stage.

County Limerick

In this county we need to differentiate between the le Lus of the west and the Ulfs of the eastern parts, quite unrelated families, and I will begin with the former.

Le Lou/Wolf of West Limerick

In 1298 William le Lou occurs as a juror at Newcastle (West), Co. Limerick. This first reference to the surname in Limerick shows that the later West Limerick Woulfes were true Woulfes and not Ulfs. Newcastle was a manor of the Shanid Geraldines. In 1308 the head of that family, John fitz Thomas, had as his receiver in Oconyl one William Wolf, probably the same man who occurs ten years earlier as le Lou as it is around this time the general switch from the French to English style occurs in Irish documents. Oconyl was a general term for the western third of Limerick, all of which lay in the lordship of the Shanid Geraldines, the ancestors to the later FitzGerald earls of Desmond. Three years later we find a non-specific reference to a Thomas Wolf in Co. Limerick and then have to wait until 1359 when another "Thomas Wolf of Ardagh" was appointed a collector for a tax subsidy being raised in Co. Limerick. Then, in 1375, we note the appointment of Thomas Ulfe as parliamentary collector for the cantred of Ardagh. This latter reference is certainly a scribal mistake for Wolf. Each county had its own clerks and here a Limerick clerk was confusing the very prominent Ulf with the less conspicuous Wolf. Finally, in 1420 a west Limerick jury was empanelled to extend the Desmond lands there, among the jurors being Patrick Wolff.

What is so strange about these references is that a family so prominent in the locality left absolutely no trace of landed possessions in the relatively plentiful records of the century after 1252. A likely explanation is to be found in the above reference from 1308. The Shanid Geraldines had extensive estates in several counties in addition to their Limerick lands and employed many officers such as bailiffs, serjeants and seneschals to manage their manors. The William Wolf of 1308 would have been responsible for the collection of all incomes from the four or five Geraldine manors in Oconyl, a lucrative position it its own right and which must explain the prominent position of the family locally despite no Wolf families occurring as freeholders in any of these manors. Both Ardagh and Newcastle were places in the cantred of Ardagh, the former place apparently the residence of the family.

No further trace of the family can be found until the 16th century, when we find the family prominent in the Rathkeale area and at nearby Croagh. What is strange here is that these places lie in the cantred of Iniskifty, a territory only acquired by the first Earl of Desmond around the 1330s. The explanation here may be that the early Wolfs moved to Rathkeale while still in the employ of the Geraldines or that the Rathkeale Woulfes were an offshoot of the earlier Wolfs of Ardagh, where we do not find the name present later. The pattern of landholding of the Rathkeale family, essentially holding lands in the burgagery of an incorporated borough, i.e. as wealthy townsmen rather than as country knights, is indicative of an origin as officials of a wealthy lord, just as the earlier family are known to have been.

In 1573 pardons were issued by the English administration to hundreds of followers of the last Earl of Desmond, then engaged in a last desperate effort to keep the English out of Munster. Among those pardoned were Patragin Wolf of Williamstown, Horseman, and Edmund Wolf of the same place, Footman. This is modern Ballywilliam near Rathkeale while the rank of horseman was close to that of gentleman, footman being a lessor one. Patragin represents the Irish Padraign, "little Patrick". This seems to refer to the family head, Patrick Wolf, who, on July 12, 1580, in Co. Limerick, was one of those attainted as rebels for joining the last Earl's forces, where he was killed fighting the English. His elderly father, John Wolf, who must have settled his lands on his son before the latter's death, in July of 1584 mortgaged the lands of Balywinteryework to Rory McSheehy of Ballyallinan for 53 milch cows. At this time Patrick's lands were extended as "Gortnemonymore, Nahakrye, Farranaglon, 50 acres, the two and a half quarters of Ballywilliam, the 60 acres of Enyskoysh, all part of Rathkeale". From another quarter we learn that Patrick possessed the half-quarter of Ballywolane and the ten acres of Russell's Burgages, both in Croagh. Croagh was another Anglo-Norman borough and lies about four miles east of Rathkeale. Ballywolane is, of course, the present Milltown in that parish. Yet another source adds "Clonlegan and Krynashellagh". These lands can be identified with the modern townlands of Ballywinterourke, Ballywilliam South, Ballywilliam North and Ballywilliam Demesne, and Enniscoush in Rathkeale parish, while the first three denominations must be the present Wolfesburgess East and Wolfesburgess West, which straddle the town of Rathkeale at either end. The Croagh lands may be identified with Ballylin and part of Croagh itself. The acreage suggested by these lands is around 2,200 acres, a modest estate, most of which lay around the town of Rathkeale itself, of which the Wolfes must have been the leading family.

After the conquest of the Desmond territories the lands of all who had supported the Geraldines were taken by the English and given to new English planters. Many of the older freeholders opposed this, as a consequence of which they were allowed to retain a portion of their old estate. In the case of Rathkeale Henry Billingsley was the new English landlord and, in 1588, one Edmund Wolfe "of Ballywilliam" claimed these lands as his ancient property. Among the lands claimed was "ten gardens and ten tenements in Rachkelly", no doubt part of Wolfesburgess. This Edmund may be the man of that name pardoned in 1573 and was probably the late Patrick's brother. Patrick also had a son, John or Sean, who is the Shane Mac Patrick Voulfe of Co. Limerick pardoned in 1590. He next occurs as "John Woolf of Ballywilliam, Gentleman", in a pardon of ten years later.

As the Woulfes here had lost their lands after 1588 there is no further record of them as landowners, but they certainly remained in the area as tenants of the New English landowners, as evidenced by the Patrick Woolf who held 50 acres of the Earl of Cork at Moneregan near Rathkeale in 1630. As dispossessed landowners the family hardly occur in records of the period of "The Hidden Ireland". The only significant 18th century reference is to that of the will of Francis Woulfe of Askeaton, a merchant, who died in 1730. The surname expert, McLysaght, gives Nix as an early interchangeable form of Woulfe in West Limerick and derives this from MacNiocais, presumably from a corruption of "son of Nicholas". Strangely, about 15 households of this surname can be found in 19th century Clare and Tipperary but none in Limerick, so he may be wrong here. Whatever of this, it is certain that Woulfes continued to flourish in West Limerick down to the present day, as more Woulfes/Wolfes can be found here than anywhere else in Ireland today. Probably the best know of these was Fr. Patrick Woulfe (1872-1933) or, as he preferred to be known, An tAthair Pdraig de Bhulbh, born in Cratloe to Seamus Woulfe, a farmer. (A James Woulfe of Cratloe made a will in 1831). Fr. Pdraig was the author of the first major work on Irish surnames, his famous Sloinnte Gaedhal is Gall, published in 1923. De Bhulbh also published extensively on local history topics.


Ulf is not a nickname like le Lou but a patronym, i.e. the christian name of a direct ancestor. It derives from the Anglo-Saxon ulf or the Scandinavian ulfr, both meaning Wolf. Therefore the first Limerick Ulf was either of native English or Danish settler descent. The modern form in England is Ulph. The only substantial family of the surname to be found in 14th century England were located in Lincolnshire. The first reference to the name in Ireland occurs in Wexford in a charter of around 1177, witnessed by one "Elias son of Ulf". While the father of this man may well be the ancestor to the Limerick Ulfs we cannot prove this.

The earliest reference to the surname in Limerick occurs in 1260, when Sibil, widow of Adam Ulf was claiming her dower from his lands in Kacherfinwer and Lechmony from his overlord, Robert Summerville. Unfortunately these are both lost placenames and so we cannot locate this first Limerick reference. The next occurrence is non-specific and merely refers to Richard Ulf of Co. Limerick, in 1287. Ten years later this man obtained a lease of the lands of Caruekytel and Kyltyl (see below) from Richard de London, apparently upon the marriage of London's son to a daughter of Ulf's. Following this we come to a period from which much record survives and these lead us to the figure of Sir Philip Ulf, family head during the period 1307-1317, about whom much is known, and who was the son of the Richard above.

Philip first occurs in 1295 as clerk to the then sheriff of Limerick, and was thus an educated man. He had been made a knight of the shire by 1306, indicating him to have held land by military tenure and thus a freeholder of some property. He occurs in two contexts in this period. In 1307 he was in court in connection with a debt of animal hides owed to another and this, in association with his education, suggest him to have been a merchant by profession. The second context was that of landowner. Ulf held several parcels of land in the manors of different lords but in at least two of these cases we know these to have been acquired in his own lifetime and not inherited, again reinforcing the mercantile connection, as he would seem to have speculated in property with his profits. Some, but not all of the lands in question were inherited. We know that by 1358 at the latest the Ulf family held property in Limerick City, and it is my speculation that Philip Ulf was already established in the city as a merchant two generations earlier, albeit one with extensive country properties.

Evidence of Ulf's speculations is abundant. In 1306 he is known to have had lands in the manors of Croom and Athlacca which he later parted with while the next year a court found him to have disseised another of lands at Cahercorny, which Ulf had bought in collusion with the original wrongful taker. We also know him to have held three ploughlands at "Thurlis next Garthe" of Roger de Lees (now de Lacy), which he later disposed of. (This is now Doorlus in Ballingarry Parish). He also held 40 acres and a weir at an identified place called Lysmolo from Robert White of Adare, Ulf in turn renting these to one Roger Longus. Ulf's wealth is illustrated by his inclusion among those powerful men called to support and join the army of king Edward I in his Scottish campaign of 1301. After Ulf returned he was pardoned various debts by a grateful administration. He was certainly also clever; when found guilty of debt the sheriff was unable to distrain his lands for the amount as he had already vested these in a relative, Richard Ulf, who will be met with again below. This litigation had little effect on Ulf's continued activity as a knight of the shire, showing him to have remained in good standing with the government until his death around 1317. In the latter year his widow, Juliane, through her new husband, Nicholas de Lees, sought her dower in the normal way through the courts from Nicholas Ulf, "custos and heir of the lands of the late Philip Ulf". This litigation shows that Philip died seized of "the manors of Carukytil and of Clothuraletham, 30 acres in Clothururgyn and two ploughlands in Kyltil".

In fact the first two do not appear to represent the entire manors here but merely a portion of each. The first is Carrickittle in Kilteely parish, where the Kyltil of the pleading represents Kilteely itself. These are, of course, the lands of Caruekytel and Kyltyl which Richard Ulf obtained in 1297 and which, in 1307, Sir Philip obtained a new lease upon for his life and that of Sir Richard de London the owner, covenanting not to sell them "except to his nephew, William de London, or his father, Richard, of any of his (Philip's) brothers". Clothuraletham can be identified with the "two ploughlands of Cloghyriwolisan" which Sir Philip Ulf held in Peter Daundon's manor of Coulbalysiward (now Howardstown, Bruree Parish) in 1314. The place in question must be represented by the modern townlands of Cloher East and Cloher West in Dromin Parish. I cannot identify Clothururgyn.

The lands in Carrickittle manor are of especial interest to us. Carrickittle lies just south of the ancient manor of Grene, which gives its name to the cantred in which both are situate. In 1300 Philip Ulf gave pledge for a wrongdoer in Grean while in 1314 we read that "the haggard of Sir Philip Ulf at the Oldton near Grene was burned by Richard de Burgh". This is the only actual reference we have to a probable residence of Ulf's. The manor of Carrickittle seems to have consisted of the parishes of Kilteely and Aglishcormack, perhaps with small associated parts of the neighbouring manors of Grene and Caherconlish. In the latter parish is located the townland of Ballyphilip, which lies just 1 miles west of the town of Pallasgrean, the modern successor to the ancient town of Grene. Very significantly, the mercantile Woulfe family of Limerick City, in a pedigree composed in the early 17th century and based on old family records, give this very Ballyphilip as the residence of their earliest known ancestor, Thomas Woulfe, who was an adult about 1450. It would seem from this that the residence of Sir Philip Ulf descended via Nicholas Ulf to his descendant, Thomas Woulfe, in a direct line. Just as intriguingly, bearing in mind that many townland names actually originate in the 13th-14th century period, does Ballyphilip ("Philip's home") actually commemorate Sir Philip Ulf?

Sir Philip's relative and heir, Richard Ulf, first occurs in 1306 when he is already in legal possession of the Ulf lands, and may have been one of "his brothers" mentioned in the deed of 1307. The same year his address is given as Kylfytheny, which seems to be the parish of Kilfinny, just north of the Doorlus mentioned above. Richard was at law with the bishop of Emly for unspecified lands the following year, and these may have been part of the Ulf estate in Carrickittle and Grene which lay in that diocese. By 1317 Richard had succeeded Sir Philip as family head but is not heard of again. In 1326 his son, Nicholas, was among the followers of the first Earl of Desmond then engaged in war in Munster, and in 1339 was being sued by William Poyns for two messuages, three ploughlands of arable, 200 acres of moor, and a mill in Clonchyrynsin, Co. Limerick, a place which I cannot identify. By 1346 Desmond had made his peace with the administration, as had his follower, Nicholas Ulf, who in that year was appointed a custos pacis for the county, a law enforcment position. In the course of carrying out his duties here he was slain, an event which occurred sometime before 1355. Nicholas must have been succeeded as family head by his son, John Ulf, who, as John son of Nicholas son of Richard Ulf, is first recorded in 1339. Seven years later he was appointed a custos pacis for the cantreds of Grene and Any, once again linking him with the later Woulfe lands here. John was a member of the sheriff's posse in the county (posse comitatus) in 1355 and was dead by 1363 when, his unnamed heir, a minor, was in royal custody along with his estate, described as the lands of Philpynston, Co. Limerick. (This reference, of course, gives us an alternative derivation for Ballyphilip to that given above). He was probably the Philip Ulf who was appointed a custos pacis for Co. Limerick in 1375.

Meanwhile we find the first evidence of a Limeick City connection with the family. This emerged in 1358, when the administration "took into the kings hand" various lands and houses in the city and its suburbs which had been originally part of the estate of the Crutched Friars Hospital and Priory of St. Mary and the Holy Cross. Some years before these had been alienated by the prior, Walter Ulf, (deceased by 1358): in one case three houses had been sold to Edmund Ulf of Caherkonlish - yet another connection with the later Woulfe lands here - who passed them on to Richard Ulf who held them in 1358, while in another case several hundred acres of lands and rents at Galrotheston, Huberdston and Cnokanpovyr had been improperly leased by Walter to David Ulf for 30 years.

The power of the Dublin administration collapsed in Munster around 1400 and was replaced by lawlessness and the rule of the local magnates. With this collapse went the administrative system of law with its clerks and their standardised form of spelling of surnames. By now Gaelic was the lingua franca and the three-quarters of a century which elapsed between the Philip Ulf of 1375 and the Thomas Woulfe of the mid-15th century saw the change in surname take place against the background of a different language. Only a few generations are at work here but we have no record of these. The earliest record of the new usage occurs in 1447, when John Wolfe is recorded as vicar of the parish of Any, just west of the Ulf/Woulfe lands near Grene.

The Woulfes of Ballyphilip, Corbally and Limerick City

The later Woulfe pedigree, committed to writing in 1770 upon the occasion of a grant of arms to James Woulfe of Paris and authenticated by Hawkins, Ulster Herald, begins with Thomas Woulfe of Ballyphilip, probably to be identified with the man of that name who held the office of bailiff of Limerick City in 1476. (A Garrett Wolfe held that position in 1470). While, as I have shown above, the family may have been established as merchants in the city since the time of Sir Philip Ulf, and were certainly so established by 1358, it is only with this reference of 1470 that we begin to see the family established at a sufficiently high level to partake in the city's governance. Between 1470 and 1647 fourteen Woulfes held the office of bailiff while one was mayor. These municipal records can be used to authenticate the later pedigree. The Thomas who was bailiff in 1476, was the father of a second Thomas, bailiff in 1520, in turn the father of the John Woulfe, bailiff in 1567 and mayor in 1578. John, the mayor, was the father of Richard, bailiff in 1591, who was in turn the father of James, who held the office of bailiff in 1605 and about whom more information survives than from the earlier generations.

This James is described as a merchant of Limerick and of Corbally, (now Longstone, Grean Parish). As one of his younger sons was already a parent by 1627 James may have been born as early as the 1570s. He married a Harold, a member of another old Limerick mercantile family. While the old Ulf lands must have been retained by the family until at least the time of the first Thomas of the pedigree (circa 1476), described as of Ballyphilip, the local Burke lineage - already exerting pressure on Sir Philip Ulf in 1314 - must have eventually dispossessed the Wolfes here. The latter must have retained some paper title to the lands however, and, in 1611 James Woulfe of Limerick advanced 108 and 12 milch cows of three years of age to Edmund Burke of Garranekishy, and thus regained control of the lands. In 1614 Woulfe bought a quitclaim from Burke's son to establish complete title.

Amounting to perhaps 1,500 acres, this modest estate lay together forming an "L" shape with Ballyphilip at the end of the bottom arm. While these lands included Ballyphilip, James' residence was at nearby Corbally, indicating a change since the time of his ancestor, Thomas Woulfe, two centuries before. As these lands do not extend as far south as Kilteely it is clear some diminution of the ancient Ulf estate had occurred by the 17th century. While most of the names of the lands are now obsolete it is possible to identify all of them thanks to the Down Survey parish maps of 1656. These are set out below.

Original Name Modern Name(s) Civil Parish Acreage

Garranekishy Baskethill and Clashbane Caherconlish 436
Carrowroe Ardroe Grean 221
Corbally Longestone Grean 91
Cahirconreiffy (pt. of) Caherconreiffy Aglishcormack 80 ?
Culnashamroge Coolnashamrogue and Aglishcormack 171
Cloverfield Aglishcormack 196
Ballyphilip Ballyphilip Aglishcormack 299
Gortflugh Part of Ballyphilip Aglishcormack

While James' sons would play a prominent part in the defence of Catholic Limerick during the religious wars of the Confederate Period the most famous Limeric Woulfe was from an earlier generation. This was Fr. David Woulfe S.J., one of the leaders of the Counter-Reformation in Ireland. This Jesuit was born during the first decades of the 16th century in Limerick City. Both his education and his fosterage by an O'Brien - an ancient Irish custom only practised by the wealthy - indicate his patrician status and he must have been one of the Woulfes of Ballyphilip. He first comes to attention in 1550 when in Rome on a Papal pension. Already a pupil of Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, he was duly ordained and appointed Papal Nuncio to Ireland. By 1560 he was back in Ireland, where he played the important role of papal superintendent of ecclesiastical affairs, essentially the leader of the church, always just one step ahead of the Protestant English, eager for his head. Such was his influence that Queen Elizabeth, when giving her reasons for not attending the Council of Trent, spoke of Woulfe as "having been sent to Ireland from Rome to excite disaffection against her crown". He continued to lead the Catholic effort in Ireland until his betrayal and capture at Carrickfergus in Antrim, in 1567. In 1573, "by great skill and cunning" he escaped imprisonment in Dublin Castle and took ship for Lisbon, where he wrote the treatise for which he is most famous, his "Description of Ireland", commissioned by the Vatican. He was later active in the preparations for the Vatican sponsored invasion of Ireland by the Catholic leader, James fitz Maurice, and is last recorded alive in 1578. Fr. Woulfe signs himself "Dibhd de Bhulbh" in 1576, giving us our first record of the later customary form of the surname in Irish as applied to an individual, although the Kildare Woulfe territory was known as Crich Bhulbach as early as 1489. It is most interesting to note, however, that another Woulfe, a Co. Clare scribe and poet, Denis or Donnchadha Woulfe as he usually described himself, who lived in the early 19th century, sometimes signed himself "Donnchadha Ulf", showing that knowledge of the ancient origin of the family was not completely lost.

To return to James Woulfe of Corbally, he seems to have been a fractious and difficult man to judge by his testimentary affairs. About 1620 he made his first will, leaving all his property to his eldest son, Patrick Woulfe. He later twice revoked wills and changed their conditions, leaving the estate to other sons each time, the last time in 1635, and appears to have died before 1638. Yet despite this the estate did pass to Patrick after his father's death. These documents are useful as contemporary proof of the number and names of James's sons.

Patricks inheritance coincided with the wars of 1642-52 in Ireland, when the Catholics revolted only to be crushed with great brutality by Cromwell's forces. For most of this war Limerick, with its strong walls, held out for the Catholic side. Patrick did not long survive his father and was in turn succeeded by his son, James, two of whose uncles were prominent in the defence and leadership of the city. These were Captain George Woulfe and Fr. James Woulfe O.P. George is first described as a magistrate, in 1643, and later, in 1646, as a merchant, when in favour of negotiating a peace treaty being offered by Ormond, but later again took up military leadership as Captain George Woulfe and led the defence of the siege which began in 1650. His brother, James, was Prior of the Dominican monastery in Limerick and led the anti-compromise party in the city in 1646 and again in 1650. When the city eventually fell to the Cromwellian siege in 1651, after enduring months of starvation and disease, both George and James were excluded from the articles of surrender and were duly hanged by Ireton, the Cromwellian general. Fr. Woulfe was beatified by Rome in 1915 as a martyr. Another prominent cleric and leader of the Catholic cause in the city was Fr. Francis Woulfe, O.F.M. He occurs as guardian of the Franciscan monastery of Limerick as early as 1639 and disappeared when the Cromwellian's entered the city, according to one story strangled by the Catholic owner of the house in which he was hiding for fear that, if found, everyone in the house would be hanged. While he is claimed to be yet another son of James of Corbally I have been unable to find any proof of this connection. Another cleric who was certainly a son of James was Fr. Andrew Woulfe alias Andreas Lobo, who was a student in the Irish College in Rome in 1628 and moved to Madrid after ordination.

Meanwhile James (son of Patrick, son of James) Woulfe of Corbally disappears after 1648 and the estate passes to his brother, Richard, who duly forfeited his families ancient patrimony when the Cromwellians dispossessed all Catholic landowners, after 1653. Richard is known to have had just one son, Patrick, born in 1668, who went to Paris and eventually married his much younger cousin, Mary Woulfe of Ennis, Co. Clare. Patrick died in Paris in 1747, aged 79, leaving just one son, James Lawrence Woulfe of Paris, born in 1743, to whom William Hawkins made a grant of arms in 1770, and who subsequently disappears from the pages of history. This is not the end of the story, however, as at least some of the Co. Clare Woulfes are descended from another son of James of Corbally (dead by 1638) while it is possible to trace the existence of several junior branches of the family in Limerick down to the early 18th century, and later in Co. Clare. (These are treated under the Co. Clare section below).

It is hardly surprising to find other branches of the family in Limerick given the centuries old connection with the city. Among members of these may be Nicholas Woulfe, bailiff in 1562, and the others who held this office later, such as Patrick (1585, 1587; perhaps the man of that name who lived in Mungret Lane in 1594), Thomas (1590 - he may have been the leading citizen of that name who occurs in 1608), David (1592), and Pierse, who was removed from office in 1613 for failing to take the Act of Supremacy to the Protestant king. Others who occur were Philip, who witnessed a deed in 1596, and Gaspar, a leading citizen in 1643. One Maria Wolfe was the widow of Oliver Burke, a wealthy merchant of the city who died in 1592. The record of the Cromwellian confiscations after 1653 indicate that there were at least four additional Woulfe propertied families in Limerick apart from the mainline. One of these was represented by the Patrick Woulfe, a city burgess who favoured surrendering the city in 1651, and whose daughter, Katherine, married the Richard Woulfe who forfeited Corbally. There were in fact three Patrick Woulfes in the city at this time for, in addition to Patrick of Corbally there was a Patrick son of Richard Woulfe and a Patrick son of Stephen Woulfe. The second of these owned a cagework house (in modern terms, "tudor style") adjacent to St. Nicholas' Churchyard and valued at 8 while the third Patrick owned a small house and garden valued at 2 at Boherkeagh in the South Liberties of Limerick. Yet another Catholic landowner to forfeit was Nicholas Woulfe, who owned two cagework houses in St. Mary's Parish - one on the High Street, with a combined value of 18. Finally, another forfeiting Catholic was John Woulfe, who lost the lands of Ballynightenmore in the North Liberties from which a small head-rent was payable to the heirs of the old Priory of St. Mary's, yet another connection with the Ulf past, as these very lands may be among those involved in the litigation of 1358 where several Ulfs had obtained portion of the estate of this Priory.

Even after the Cromwellian confiscations some Woulfe merchant families managed to re-establish in Limerick. In 1687 the Catholic king, James II, briefly re-established the Catholic Irish to positions of authority and, among his burgesses appointed in Limerick were James, son of Bartholomew Woulfe and Robert Woulfe, presumably representatives of those lessor branches discussed above. Both of these were outlawed by the Williamites and, after the Protestant capture of the city in 1692 James fled with his family among the Wild Geese to the continent. His son, another Bartholomew, had been baptised in St. Mary's church, Limerick, in 1686, and later married another Irish refugee, Ann Aylward of Waterford City, in Spain. In 1726 Ann gave birth to a son, Don Nicholas Wolfe alias Lobo, in Cadiz, who later became a soldier in the Spanish Army, a knight of the Order of Santiago and a captain in the Granaderos Provinciales, a position he held in 1770 when having his pedigree registered in Madrid. Are there perhaps Spanish "Lobos" descended from him today? Robert Woulfe followed a different path, remaining in Limerick and practising as a merchant, following upon his pardon under the articles of Limerick, in 1699, along with John Woulfe, perhaps his son. In 1703, Robert was among a group of renegade Catholic merchants who converted to Protestantism in order to gain competitive advantage over those who remained Catholic. He last occurs in 1712 and was connected in some way with one of the Co. Clare families, as was Thomas Woulfe of Limerick, another merchant who had Ennis connections and who occurs in 1705. Much later, in 1749, a grant of administration was granted to Richard Woulfe, of the goods of his brother, the wealthy Limerick merchant, Francis Woulfe, "late of Limerick but deceased in America". The last mention of the family in connection with Limerick trade was the reference to Patrick Woulfe, a wollen-draper who operated from the Main Street in 1769. He is probably the man meant by Burke when he stated that Richard Woulfe, one of the sons of James Woulfe of Corbally (dead by 1638) had descendants living in Limerick in the time of George III.

Mention must be made of one further Limerick branch of the family. In 1588, among Sir Edward Fitton's "tenants of English descent" was one David Wolfe, who held three ploughlands of Fitton in the latter's seignory of Any. Fitton was one of the category of chief landlords of the Munster Plantation, who were obliged to settle their lands with English planters, but often substituted Irishmen in their place. David is recorded as holding Castlegar in the town of Any in 1610, and the next year his son and heir, George, inherited. In view of the earlier connection of the Ulf/Woulfe family with Any these men are probably another branch of this line.

Major General Wolfe, the hero of Quebec

Several authors, commenting on the ancestry of this famous soldier, killed while commanding the subsequently successful British siege of Quebec, in Canada, in 1759, claim Irish ancestry for him, usually as one of the Woulfes of Limerick City. Such claims first occur in the early 19th century. The exhaustive researches of R.T. Wolfe of Kildare, however, (see "The New English Wolfes of Kildare" below), do not uncover any evidence at all for this, and the most likely ancestry for the Major was as the scion of a minor Protestant Woulfe family of Dublin origins, although even this is not completely certain. It is not even certain if he was Irish!

The Woulfes of Co. Clare

The principal branch of this family were those of Teermaclane, near Ennis. These were descended from Stephen Woulfe, one of the sons of James of Corbally (dead by 1638), and are thus a branch of the Limerick City Woulfes. This Stephen was living in 1635 but little else is known about him. Some sources claim the line descends from his son, another Stephen, but there is a possibility that there was in fact, only one Stephen. In 1659 a Stephen Woulfe, gentleman, was resident at Teermaclane, and I suspect him to have been the man of that name resident in Limerick in 1635. These lands were part of the Thomond estate, and the family were able to ride out the Cromwellian Confiscations as Catholics due to their status as middlemen under the Thomond earls. Stephen was succeeded by his son, Nicholas, who obtained another lease of Teermaclane, along with other lands at Caherush and Emlagh, near Milltown Malbay, from the Thomonds in 1664. Nicholas supported the Jacobite cause in 1689 and was pardoned in 1692. He lived to a ripe old age before dying in 1725.

The line continued through his son, another Stephen, who converted to the Established Church in 1758 in order to save his lands from confiscation under the Penal Laws. He was father to Nicholas of Teermaclane, who died in 1765, in turn father to Stephen, who died in Liege in Belgium in 1794, whose heir was his son, Peter Woulfe of Teermaclane, who died childless in 1865. Peter's younger brother, Stephen, was the most famous member of this family. Qualifying as a solicitor in 1814, he went on to a distinguished career in the law and government, holding the positions of solicitor-general, chief baron of the court of exchequer and attorney-general. In 1838 he became lord chief baron of Ireland and died in 1840 at the pinnacle of his career. Stephen was succeeded by a son, Stephen Roland Woulfe of Teermaclane, who, while living during the 1860s, later died without heirs bringing to an end the mainline of the Teermaclane branch. Burke's Family Records records a descent in the female line through Joanna Woulfe, daughter of Stephen who died in 1794. She married Terence Flanagan in 1813 and had several sons who adopted the style Woulfe-Flanagan. One of these was Stephen Woulfe-Flanagan of Co. Roscommon, a judge in the court of chancery until his death in 1885. His son, John Woulfe-Flanagan, a barrister born in 1852, was still alive in 1885 but my source for this genealogy does not extend beyond the latter date and I do not know if he left descendants.

There were a number of offshoots of the Teermaclane family, principally those of Ennis. This branch was descended from Patrick Woulfe, younger brother to the Nicholas of Teermaclane who died in 1725. Patrick died in 1697 and was succeeded by his son, James Woulfe of Ennis, who emigrated to Paris where he died in 1749, leaving a son, Lawrence and a daughter, Mary, who married her distant cousin, Patrick, of the mainline there in 1747, and whose son was still living in Paris in 1770. Yet another branch of the Teermaclane line descended from Patrick Woulfe of Emlagh, a younger son of Nicholas of Teermaclane (obit 1725). Patrick was a Jacobite pardoned in 1694 and who died in 1719 leaving several sons. One of these was Anthony of Lifford, Co Clare, who became a Protestant in 1738 and who died in 1754 leaving a son, James, who disappears from history soon afterwards. Other sons of Patrick were Ignatius of Emlagh, who converted in 1758, and James of Cahirash, who died in 1758 leaving a bastard son, John, who was still at Cahirash in 1772, when he became a Protestant.

In addition to those above there appears to have been yet a second branch in Ennis who, based on their christian name pattern, must have been another line of descendants of the Limerick Corbally family, but we do not have full details of the pedigree of this line. One Andrew Woulfe was a Jacobite burgess of Ennis and father to Alice, who married the James Woulfe who went to Paris. She was buried in Ennis in 1748. Another daughter may have been the Anstance Woulfe of Ennis who married in 1712, her bondsman being Thomas Woulfe of Limerick. In 1738 Anthony Woulfe, an Ennis merchant, converted to the Protestant Church.

There are a few other references to Woulfes in Clare which cannot be tied in to the above branches. In 1659 one Thomas Woulfe, Gentleman, was a titulado at Poulaforia near Tulla, but the most interesting of these branches is represented by the Peter Woulfe, the famous minerologist and chemist, born 'at Tircullan near Limerick' in 1727. (There is a record of such a place in Co. Clare and it may represent a corruption of Teermaclane). He studied in England and the Continent and was the inventor of "Woulfe's Bottle", an apparatus for passing gasses through liquids. He died in London in 1803, having become rather insane, spending his last years trying to turn base metals into gold. He began his education in Madrid "where his brother lived", and this brother must be the Estevan Woulfe, a Madrid merchant on record between the years 1769-1774, who was stated to have been born in Co. Clare. The Griffith's Valuation of the mid-19th century lists nearly one dozen Wolfe/Woulfe households in Co. Clare, and this represents the only significant occurrence of the surname anywhere in Ireland which can be connected with the old Limerick Ulf/Woulfes, although a few of these may be West Limerick Le Lu/Woulfes who crossed the Shannon.

The Original Woulfes of Co. Kildare

Kildare is unusual in having early Woulfes of Anglo-Norman origin and later, 17th century English planters quite unrelated to those who went before.

The original Woulfe lands in this county lay along a five mile stretch of the River Barrow, from the town of Athy upriver to the great bog of Monovullagh, mostly on the east bank of the river but with some lands on the western one. Here the family were powerful freeholders, one of the largest landowners in the barony of Reban and the most prominent inhabitants of the medieval town of Athy. The association of the family with this territory eventually conferred the native title, Crich Bhulbach, or Woulfe's Territory, upon it.

The ancestor of the Kildare family must have been the William Lupus/le Lou who donated the ecclesiastical tithes of his lands to the Archbishop of Dublin in 1190. While the lands are not identified in the actual deed a later diocesan register identifies these as "Clonard in Agory", and further identifies the latter place with the Tullygory, near Athy, later held by the family. The actual church site here must be that demarcated on the first edition Ordnance Survey map in the townland of Geraldine, adjacent to Tullygory. Over a century passes before mention of his descendants occurs.

In 1297 a servingman of John le Lou was convicted in court of stealing property near the town of Athy. A second reference to this case, heard the next year, saw Isabella, the wife of John Wolf, fined for receiving Robert le Wolf and other serving-men of her husband who had stolen goods in his absence near Athy. Note here the interchangability of le Lou with le Wolf. Records of the same period record the civic duties of both John and Thomas le Lou in this area. In 1296 a John, son of Richard le Lou held lands at Ballyregan in Co. Wexford, and this may, perhaps, be John of Athy. A detailed pedigree can be traced from this first John, almost uninterruptedly, until the last of the 'Woulfe's Country' Woulfes lost their lands under Cromwell in the 1650s.

John le Lou was dead by 1308, as also was his eldest son and heir, Robert Wolf, when Robert's younger brother, David Wolf, had succeeded as family head. In the Kildare feodary of 1315 he occurs as David le Lou, holding the fee of Kilcolyn of the lords of Kildare by half a knights' fee. This fee must represent the Wolf territory here, and Kilcolyn itself appears to be a corruption of the 17th century Kilcolman, now Tomard, Barrowford and Paudeenourstown in Kilberry Parish, and where the first manor house of the family may have been located. In 1326 the last use of the French style occurs when, "David le Loue" witnessed a deed; he is "David Wolf" in the Kildare feodary of 1331. Other early references from this period usually use the style Wolf but one Stephen le Lou does occur in 1306. In 1330 David "son of John Wolfe" was claiming, as heir and kinsman to Roes, daughter of Roger de Lychfield, le Milton next Castleton of Reban which she died siezed of, and, in 1335 an acre in Befford which had been his mother, Agnes Nyemans, property (marriage and divorce were commonplace at this period among the wealthy). The former place is now Millton, in Churchtown Parish. Befford is most interesting, being more usually written Beauford. This is one of the very few examples of a French placename in Ireland, being derived from Beau Ford, "pretty ford", does it perhaps indicate a Norman French origin for the Woulfes of Kildare? This placename has become corrupted over the centuries and is now Beart, in Kilberry, a few miles north of Athy, where a bridge spans the old ford, at the very centre of the old Woulfe territory here.

David was sheriff of Kildare in 1336 and must have been old by 1345, when he made over to his son and heir, James, his lands. In 1339 James was seeking a mill and 15 acres at Balysothenan (?), Co. Kildare, as heir to his unnamed mother, one of the daughters and co-heiresses of William Alesaundre, and, in 1358, was appointed a collector for the barony of Reban. James must have been dead by 1360, when his son and successor, John, is styled "of Beauford". Three years later he is described as "of Wodestock". This is Woodstock in Athy, where the family may have had an urban residence. Soon we find an interesting light being thrown on the frontier nature of the Wolf possessions here. While originally the area of colonial settlement would have extended much farther westwards from 'Woulfes Country', taking in much of eastern Laois, the famine and lawlessness of the 14th century had resulted in the native Irish pushing eastwards the frontier of settlement - by overrunning and driving out those settlers in east Laois, almost to the River Barrow and the Woulfe lands. In 1372 the government ordered John and Ralph Wolf to return to the O'More chief of Laois the cattle they had taken by force from his lands when he was outlawed, as he had now made reparation and was inlawed. Some echo of this situation may be reflected in the sale by John, in 1378, to the earl of Ormond of the lordships of Balymacgillewan and Loghdyok in Laois. Ormond was a powerful Norman lord and probably had more resources to extract a rent from the Irish who had overrun these lands and now occupied them then the Wolfs. The places themselves cannot be identified. John served as custos pacis (keeper of the peace; a paramilitary position akin to sheriff in the Wild West) for Kildare in 1369 and was dead by 1390 when his widow, Anastasia, was claiming her dower from his lands at Stroulan. This is the modern Srowland in Kilberry where later generations of the family maintained a castle.

John's successor was his son, Roland, who first appears in 1382, when appointed a custos pacis for Co. Kildare. The following year he occurs in a pleading in connection with "Beaford", where he may have resided. Before leaving the 14th century we should mention the various offshoots of the family who occur, for there appear to have been several junior branches established in 'Woulfes Country' at this period. Some of these can be connected to the mainline. In 1337 one John, son of Thomas Wolf was claiming an interest in the lands of Stroulan, Clonegan and Corkfalyagh. This Thomas was a younger brother to family head, David, and John was his nephew. I cannot identify the middle place but, if Cork here represents the Gaelic Corcach, Corkfalyagh may represent an older form of the later Monovullagh, the great bog on the northern boundaries of Woulfes Country. As well as his heir, Roland, John Wolf had at least two remaining sons, Richard and Gerald. In 1360 Gerald, who had married Isabella Gaydon, leased her inheritance, the lands of Gaydonston, in the barony of Rathangan, to the Earl of Kildare for 12 years. Richard Wolf was dead by 1383, leaving a young son, John, as heir. Other branches were represented by the Richard Wolf, a minor whose lands were in the custody of family head David in 1337, Richard being the son of Richard son of Robert Wolf, the latter perhaps the Robert le Wolf of 1298 noted above, and the John son of William Wolf who held lands at Corkfalyagh in 1339.

Family head, Roland son of John Wolf, is certainly to be identified with the "Roland son of John Wolfe of Weusford" who sold the lands of Wolfeston and Castelueth in Co. Wexford to John Roche of Deps in 1410, the lands in question having earlier been mortgaged to another local family, the Synnots. This Roland is the only man bearing this rare christian name to occur in association with the Wolfs in the medieval period and there cannot have been two individuals with the same rare name and father's name. Indeed, the spelling "Weusford" here looks suspiciously like a scribal misreading for "Beauford". As noted above, Wolfeston is the civil parish of Ballyvalloo (*Baile Bhuilbhach), an area of around 2,000 acres. The increasing lawlessness of the period made the possession of widely separated lands difficult to manage and the more outlying were often sold, as in this instance. Roland must have been dead by 1420, when his son and successor, Thomas, occurs. The 15th century is a time of little surviving record yet, even here, we are able to discern the dim outline of a likely descent. Record of an interesting nature is a complaint, undated apart from being located within the reign of Henry VI (1422-1461). In this, Thomas and James Wolff complain of a new government policy of appeasement towards the native Irish of the west which saw their captive, Shane Boy O'Conner (of Offaly) being released from their custody without payment of the usual ransom. This is yet another example of the milieu of frontier politics in which the Woulfes operated. By 1489 one James Wolf occurs as family head, then apparently in middle age or later, to judge by the succeeding generations, and from whom the later descent is clear. It is just chronologically possible that he was the son of Thomas of 1420 - then a young man - and that both men, as father and son, are those involved with the O'Conner complaint.

The record of 1489 involves a complaint by the diocese of Dublin against "James Wolfe alias de Lupo, sue nacionies capitaneus" ("chief of his nation", a standard formula for a lineage head at this time), for detaining tithes due from his lands to the church. The same year the Annals of Ulster record the death of "Mac an Bhulbaigh, tiarna Crich Bulbach a cois Bearbha" (the son of Woulfe, lord of Crich Bulbach on the Barrow). (A second reference occurs to Crich Bulbach in the same annals four years later, when an event is recorded as occurring at a castle at Baile na mBathlach there, perhaps Ballynabarna).

The ecclesiastical record of 1489 can be seen as yet another effect of the gradual social changes brought about by the effective collapse of law and order as the 15th century wore on. If lessor lineage heads such as the Woulfes could break the increasingly non-existent law even more so could the great lords. In Co. Kildare the local magnates were the FitzGerald earls of Kildare, one of the most powerful families in Ireland. One of the practices which became common in this period was for these magnates to demand -with the power to enforce - exorbitant rents far in excess of what had been customary from the freeholders under them, resulting in the freeholders selling parts of their ancestral estates to offset the debt. This practice only ceased with the renewed English presence and the re-establishment of the common law around the middle of the 16th century. This phenomenon appears to account for the serious reduction of the Woulfe estates in Woulfes Country during the first half of the 16th century.

In 1506 "Arland le Wolffe of Beuford" sold to Sir Gerald son of Earl Gerald of Kildare all his lands in Tullaghgori, Russelston, Blackwood, Carhaliagh and Percevalston. Then, in 1518, "Walter Wolfe of Bewford" also sold these lands, in addition to the Wood of Sawell, Clonenart, Fanederry, Oldrath, "and all lands the Earl [of Kildare] has in his hands this day". Finally, in 1531, "Nicholas son of Walter son of James Woulfe" sold the lands in the original deed, as well as Woodstock, Ardscolle, Kilmyde, Youngestown and Skyeris to Kildare. Some of these lands can be identified with modern townlands or places, viz. Tullygory, Shanrath,, Russelstown and Preswelstown, all in St. Michael's Parish around Athy, Blackwood in Kilberry, Woodstock in Churchtown, Ardscull in Moone, and Kilmeede and Skerris in Narraghmore.

By adding additional information it is possible to chart a probable pedigree of these men. It seems certain that Walter and Arland (a local form of Arnold) were both sons of James of 1489, accounting for they both selling the same lands or rather, their claim to these lands. Both are described as of Beauford, where a castle existed, and which would seem to have the chief residence of the chiefs of the family since at least the mid 14th century. (The nearby townland of Oldcourt, whose name suggests it to have been the original site of the ancient manor house, does indeed contain a rectangular earthwork of Anglo-Norman type which may locate the actual site of the original le Lu site here). Walter of 1518 occurs five years earlier, when he received a gift of a harness from Kildare, while his son, Nicholas, received a similar gift in 1531.

Later chiefs do not descend from this Nicholas, however, but from one Thomas Woulfe, whose parentage is uncertain but who was most likely Nicholas' uncle and a brother to Arland and Walter, sons of James of 1489. This is suggested by Thomas' address as given in a later inquisition, "Beafforde", and by the gift he received in 1525 of a horse from Kildare, such gifts being only given to clients of important status. Thomas was among the commissioners appointed to the task of detailing the rents due to the Earl of Kildare in Laois in 1542, and must have succeeded Nicholas as family head by this time. It is certain that Thomas came into possession of all remaining Woulfe lands in Woulfes Country as these are found in the possession of his descendants, from which it would seem that Nicholas died childless. Later inquisitions show Thomas to have been succeeded by his son, Arland, who occurs on a jury in 1540 when described as of Kilcolman. This Arland had at least two sons, the eldest, John, of Beafforde or Beart, as it was becoming known, his heir, and a younger son, Edmund, who seems to have been given Kilcolman as his portion, although held of his older brother. A later inquisition extends John's lands as Kilcolman, where there seems to have been a village ("13 messuages and 13 gardens"), one third of Tollgreti (Tullygory?) and other lands in Athy held of the manor of Athy by suit, the manor of Beafforde with its castle, containing Newton, Oldcourt, Shanrahin, Ardscul, Ballybarnie, Youngstown, Kilmide and Sroland with its castle.

In a later inquisition John was said to have died in 1552 but such sources are notoriously incorrect as to earlier dates and are certainly so in regard to John's son, Thomas, who was alive long after 1568, the date given for his death. It may well be that it was John who died in 1568. John was the father of Thomas Woulfe of Beart. In 1578 this Thomas mortgaged the lands of "Beaffort alias Bearte, Newtown and half of Ballenebearme, viz., one castle, twenty messuages [homesteads], sixty tofts [small farms], one water-mill, one dovecote, twenty gardens, 100 acres of land, 500 acres of pasture, 500 acres of woodland, two salmon weirs, and 1,500 acres of moor" to James Eustace, Viscount Baltinglass. Not happy with this virtual sale, Woulfe then sold the lot a second time to Humphrey Mackworth, an English officer in the Elizabethan Army of the period, this in 1582. A few weeks after the sale to Mackworth Thomas Woulfe died without heirs. As Baltinglass forfeited his lands as a rebel Mackworth's son was able to get possession of the lands in 1592. The inquisitions show that the lands had been held by Thomas of the Earl of Kildare. By comparing the boundaries of these lands in 1656 with their modern equivalents it is possible to show that the lands Thomas Woulfe sold were Bert Demesne, Newtownbert, Oldcourt, Clogorrow, Smallford and half of Ballynabarna, in total about 2,500 acres.

To judge by subsequent litigation, the Wolfe estate here was held under entail, meaning the portions not sold by Thomas passed to his nearest male relative, in this case his uncle, Edmund (son of Arland son of Thomas) Wolfe, of Shrowland Castle. Edmund died in 1593, to be followed by his son, Arland, born around 1559, who married Ros, daughter of John Lalor of Naas, and who himself died in 1599 leaving as heir a ten year old son, Nicholas Wolfe, whose mother later died, in 1605. Arland's lands are listed as Kilcolman, Shrowland, Ardskoll and half of Ballynabarny. Kilcolman was held of the Earl of Kildare while the others were held of the king in chief. Something is known of this last chief of Woulfes Country, principally through his efforts to recover the lands earlier sold by his cousin, Thomas Woulfe, who may not have had clean title through the Irish partible inheritance system. Nicholas certainly had some claim and, in 1610, when he came of age, began legal moves to recover these lands, resulting in the holding of a county inquisition which found that Gerald, son and heir of Humphry Mackworth had sold his right in the manor of Beart to Thomas Hoyser who in turn had leased the lands to Thomas Dongon of Tubberogon. Among the other findings of this inquisition was that Isabella Brown, late widow of the earl of Kildare, had disseised Nicholas, while a minor, of the Shrowland lands, one Thomas FitzGerald had possession of Kilmeed and Shanrahin since 1568, and Youngestown was in the possession of Maurice fitz Edmund of Burtown since 1588.

On this occasion Nicholas was unsuccessful in recovering all but the Shrowland lands, as was the case in 1619, and was claiming overlordship of Kilmeed in 1625, when styled as of Kilcolman. Some time after this he must have succeeded in having his superior title to Beart manor recognised as, in 1641, he occurs as joint owner of the Beart lands in company with one Thomas Pilworth - Mackworth's heir? - as well as sole owner of the Shrowland and Kilcolman lands, with his address given as Shrowland.

As an "Irish Papist" Nicholas joined in the rebellion of 1641 against English rule, and was duly outlawed by the English, along with Gerald Wolfe of Mote (Ardscull?), gentleman, and Fr. Edmund Wolfe of Athy. These men were probably related to Nicholas, and may be descendants of Nicholas' uncles, Robert, James and Thomas. The rebellion was finally crushed in 1650 and, in 1654, Nicholas Woulfe of Shrowland, then aged about 65, was transplanted to Connacht with his goods and family as a forfeiting Catholic proprietor by the Cromwellians and his lands given to an English soldier. Nothing more is known of him. In 1664 a list was drawn up of lands to be returned to the heirs of those who had lost them ten years before but the weak English king failed to act on this and the Woulfe lands were lost forever. The heir to the Woulfe lands in this list was Thomas Woulfe "of Greenswolfe" (?) who must have been a son or grandson of Nicholas.

In modern terms, the lands forfeited by Nicholas Woulfe consisted of Srowland, Willsgrove, Bellview, Salisbury, Tomard, Barrowford, Paudeenourstown, one third of Ardscull, half of Ballynabarney, and Youngstown, in all about 2,000 acres, as well as the Beart lands. When we add to these lands those of the head-rent and those sold by earlier Woulfes to Kildare we get a total acreage for Woulfes Country of around 9,000 acres.

Other Wolfes occur in Kildare who must represent offshoots of the main Beafford line. A Peter Wolff was a Kildare priest in the period 1497-1512 as earlier, was one John Wolf, in 1433. In 1518 Ellen Wulf was the prioress of Temolyn nunnery in Kildare while one Robert Wolfe was the last prior of the Blackfriars (Dominicans) in Athy at the time of its suppression, in the 1540s. Not all such were clerics however. In 1553 Walter, son of James Wolf was a kern (footsoldier) with an address at Boleybeg, just north of Woulfes Country, while another kern was Nicholas Wolff of Brownestown in Woulfes Country, in 1570. Other contemporary kerns included Oliver Wolf of Kildare and Nicholas Wolf of Dowganstown, Co. Carlow. In 1575 Nicholas Wolf was a large farmer at Moireagh, Co. Offaly, just west of the Barrow while, in 1587 one John Wolf held lands at Newtown in Woulfes Country. One Robert Woulf of Athy was pardoned in 1599 while Gerald Woolfe of Naas was a merchant, in 1610.

The New English Wolfes of Co. Kildare:

Mc Lysaght and other authorities, seduced into error by the presence of the same surname in the same county, have not realised that the original Woulfes of 'Woulfes Country' and the later Wolfe 'Protestant Ascendancy' family of Kildare have no connection whatsoever with each other. 'Woulfes Country' lies around Athy while the ascendancy family are associated with the other end of the county, around Naas. R.T. Wolfe, in his excellent work The Wolfes of Forenaghts, Kildare and Dublin, written in 1885, proves this beyond any shadow of a doubt. Wolfe, a highly able historian and genealogist, makes extensive use of documents subsequently destroyed in the PRO fire of 1922 and no longer available to us, and the quality of his work, unusually for the period, is beyond reproach.

The ascendancy or New English Wolfes descend from one Richard Wolfe, and there is abundant evidence that he was a native of Durham in England and arrived in Ireland in 1658. He was essentially a yeoman, or large farmer holding lands on lease, at Huttonread, Co. Kildare. After his death, in 1678, these lands and others at nearby Baronrath are found in the possession of his son, John Wolfe. This John, who died in 1715, was the father of Richard Wolfe (1675-1732), who purchased the lands of Forenaghts, near Naas, during the 1690s, marking the elevation of the family from yeomen to landlords. Around 1720 Richard built the first 'big-house' at Forenaghts.

From Richard's three sons descend the various later branches of the family. His eldest son, John (1700-1760), inherited Forenaghts and the mainline descend from him. From another son, Thomas of Blackhall (1705-1787), descend the Blackhall line, which later succeeded to Forenaghts upon the male extinction of the Forenaghts line, while from yet another son, Richard of Baronrath (1712-1779), descend the Baronrath line.

The Forenaghts line flourished until 1841, when it became extinct upon the death of Richard Wolfe of Forenaghts, great-grandson of John who died in 1760. A junior branch of this family became the most famous of all the Irish Woulfe families. These were founded by one of the younger sons of John of Forenaghts, Arthur Wolfe (1738-1803). Arthur qualified as a solicitor and was later called to the bar, going on to become a kings counsel. He continued to rise and became Irish solicitor-general (1787) and then attorney-general (1789), the senior legal position within the Irish government of the day. In 1796 he reached the apogee of his career, being appointed lord chief justice of the kings bench, the most senior judge in Ireland. Upon his elevation to the bench he was created Baron Kilwarden of Newlands. A few years later he was killed in Thomas Street, Dublin, by the rebels during the rebellion of 1803. Arthur was succeeded as Lord Kilwarden by his son, John, upon whose death without heirs, in 1830, the title became extinct.

After Richard Wolfe's death, in 1841, the Forenaghts estate passed to his distant cousin, Theobald Wolfe (1815-1872), great-grandson of Thomas Wolfe, founder of the Blackhall line. The estate in turn passed to his son, Richard, killed in the battle of Abu Klee in the Sudan in 1885, who was succeeded by his brother, George. George Wolfe was TD for Co. Kildare in the Irish Parliament (Dil) between 1923-32 and died at Forenaghts in 1941. George's only child, a daughter, Maud Charlotte Wolfe, born in 1892 and who never married, was still resident at Forenaghts in 1976. It would be interesting to discover who has the house today.

The third line of the family, the descendants of Richard of Baronrath who died in 1779, chiefly distinguished themselves in military and colonial service, and their descendants were chiefly found in England and South Africa by 1885. Baronrath itself passed out of Wolfe possession upon the death of William Standish Wolfe, in 1869. His younger brother, John (1787-1858), inherited lands at Rockford, near Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, from his mother, and from him descend the Rockford branch of the family.

By 1885 R.T. Wolfe traces 24 families descending from the first Richard Wolfe of Huttonread. Four of these are of the Blackhall line while twenty are of the Baronrath line, living in Kildare, Tipperary, and Cork in Ireland and in England, America, Australia and South Africa overseas.

Perhaps the most interesting link with this family is not mentioned at all by R.T. Wolfe. This concerns Theobald Wolfe Tone, (1763-98), one of Ireland's greatest patriots and a leader of the United Irishmen rebellion of 1798. Tone was imprisoned after being captured after arriving with French reinforcements for the rebels, and was poisoned in prison by the English. Tone was not in fact a Wolfe at all but did have an association with the family in so far as his grandfather had worked for the Kilwarden branch of the family at Castle Warden and was so impressed that he added 'Wolfe' to his surname, which was carried down to his grandson.

The Woulfes of Co. Wexford

As both Kildare and Wexford lay in the original lordship of Leinster it may be that the Woulfes in both counties shared a common ancestor. In light of the later possession of Ballyvalloo in Wexford by the Kildare Woulfes (see above) it is interesting to note that the first Woulfe on record in Wexford is Robert le Lu, who witnessed a Roche charter regarding Begerin Island around 1182. This is near Ballyvalloo, of which the same Roches were certainly landlords. This Robert must have been one of the first Kildare Woulfes. Apart from the Kildare connection, the earliest Wexford reference comes from around 1226, when Simon and Robert Lupus occur as witnesses to deeds concerning lands in Bantry, that part of Wexford north of the town of New Ross. Another early connection was with Crosspatrick in the very north of the county, where John and Robert Lupus witnessed charters of around 1230. Finshoge in the parish of Old Ross in Bantry is the Ballydermod of 1247, where Luke le Lu held a quarter fee of the lord of Leinster. While this fee had descended to another family by 1284 a branch of this family must have settled in the nearby town of New Ross, where resided Walter le Lou, in 1307. In 1330 Thomas le Lowe purchased the seven ploughlands of Clonshenbo in Rosbercon parish, Co. Kilkenny, from William de Bermingham, for 14 marks of silver. These lands lay near New Ross. Six years later, as Thomas "Wolfe", he sold them to the archbishop of Dublin, the charter being given at New Ross. In 1376 another Thomas Wolf was a juror in New Ross while, in 1394, one John Wolf was accused of interfering with the king's bailiff at nearby Dunbrody. In 1408 Maurice Wolf was the reeve or mayor of New Ross, and is probably the Maurice son and heir of Thomas Wolff who sold a property on Bothestreet in the town in 1416.

Two other significant branches are found in the county. Henry le Lu held half a knight's fee of the lord of Leinster in 1247 in a place which Brooks identifies with Ballyhine in Kilbrideglyn Parish. The second branch are associated with the manor of Ballyregan in Ballymore Parish, near Wexford town, where in 1296 Richard le Lou held one ploughland and John son of Richard le Lou held three. Just one further record of the surname survives, from 1658, and concerns one Nicholas Woulf of New Ross. While it is tempting to suggest he may have been a descendant of the earlier family it is more likely he was a New English settler, as the surname does not appear in the county in modern times.

The Woulfes of Co. Cork

In this county the surname is derived purely from New English settlers of the 17th century. The likely ancestor of many Cork Woulfes was John Wolfe, one of the original settlers to found the walled Protestant plantation town of Bandon, around 1613. He witnessed a Bandon will in 1629 and was named as one of the town's chief citizens two years later. He is described as of Kilbrogan, just outside of the town, in 1637, the year of his death. Later Cork Woulfes maintain a tradition that he was their ancestor but there appears to be no pedigree showing this actual descent. While the surname is not subsequently associated with the town the next generation occur in the port town of Kinsale, a little downriver of Bandon.

Here lived one William Woulfe, whose will was proved in 1649. He may have been the ancestor to the later Woulfes of the town, who included Judith, whose will was proved in 1688, and Aretus, who died in 1707. The latter man, in 1694, had been admitted a freeman of the corporation while seated in his own home as he was crippled. One Thomas Woulf was a wollen draper in the town in 1789. The surname eventually spread into Cork City. The wills of Philip and Margaret Wolfe were proved in the city in 1738 and 1765 respectively while a John Woulfe, a merchant, was admitted a freeman in 1773. His address was Fish Street in 1789. Other Woulfe merchants in the city in the latter year were Michael, of Bachelors Quay, Patrick, of Paul Street, and Michael Robert, of Ann Street. In 1830 the Southern Reporter records the death of "Miss Maryann Woulfe, daughter of the late Michael Woulfe, formerly an eminent merchant of this city".

It was in rural West Cork, however, that the surname chiefly flourished. Wills of John Wolf (1766) and William Wolf (1797), both of Dunmanway, are recorded, while William Woulfe senior of Coolcraheen, near Clonakilty, died in 1794. His widow, Elizabeth, lived much longer, living until 1835 in Rosscarbery. In the same year, Ellen, daughter of John Woulfe of Coolcraheen, married Stephen Daly. In the 19th century the only important landowners of the surname in the county were located in Bantry, where, in 1876, Robert and Philip Woulfe held 1,500 acres between. A smaller landholder was William John Woulfe of Skibbereen, who held 82 acres near the town. He was the father of Jaspar Travers Wolfe of Skibbereen, a solicitor, (1872-1952), the second bearer of the surname to serve as a TD (public representative) in the Irish Dil or parliament, between the years 1927-1933.

The Woulfes of Dublin/Wicklow

Dublin has been Ireland's largest city since the12th century so it is not surprising that a long history of Woulfe presence exists here, as it does in Dublin county, which originally included northern Wicklow, another area with a Woulfe presence.

Sometime between 1228 and 1255 one William Wulf dwelt in New Street in Dublin. He may be the William Wolf of Dublin mentioned in 1270. Nine years one John Wolf occurs as a juror in the city, after which we find regular occurrence of the name Henry Wolf in Dublin. Between 1277 and 1280 he was also the constable or keeper of the important march castle of Newcastle McKinygan, now Newcastle in North Wicklow. Just south of medieval Dublin lay the village of Crumlin, where, in 1400, one Thomas Wolf sold a house.

In the north west of Co. Wicklow lay the lands of the manor of Ballymore. An extent of this manor, taken around 1260, lists one Robert Lupus as a tenant at Tirmokes, near Senkyll (now Shankill, Kilbride Parish, Co. Wicklow), which he held by payment of one pound of wax and one pound of incense each year. His successor here, in a later inquisition taken in 1326, was John Wolf. In 1540 one Nicholas Wolff was a small tenant of Baltinglass Abbey, a few miles to the south.

A Woulfe with an unusual trade was William Wolff, pardoned in 1578 as a gallowglass in the employ of the O'Toole chieftains of north Wicklow. A gallowglass was a professional or mercenary soldier. Three years later he was again pardoned, when his address was given as Fercullen, the old name for the district around Bray, Co. Wicklow. Brittas Bay lies around 20 miles south of Bray, and in 1689 one Robert Wolfe, Gentleman, of the Glins, near Brittas, was outlawed as a Jacobite. These men are probably linked and it may be possible to uncover additional references to the surname here.

During the 17th century Dublin saw a huge influx of English settlers and it is not possible to distinguish older Irish Woulfes from newer English arrivals after this time. The 1665 landgable roll lists two Wolfe households in the city, in Cooks Street and in Keysers Lane, while R.T. Woulfe gives a pedigree of a Wolfe family descending from a Wolfe who arrived in Dublin around 1750, from Kent or Cornwall. Some branches of the 'New English' Woulfes of Fornaghts and Baronrath, Co. Kildare, later moved to Dublin.

The Woulfes of Kilkenny

The most prominent member of this family was the John Lupus alias le Lou who was dean of St. Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny, between 1293-1312. Hamond son of William Wolf was a juror in the county in 1303 and must be the Hamond Lupus who, with his daughter, sold 18 acres in Kells to another in 1310. The final reference is to William Wolf of Kilmaynan of 1346, which must be Kilmanahin in Fiddown Parish. One of the Wexford branches of Woulfe also held lands in Kilkenny.

The Woulfes of Louth

Deeds of the period before 1271 show one Mathew Lupus seized of Balisconan, a place which cannot be identified but which lay in Co. Louth. In 1307 mention occurs of the land in Dundalk belonging to Adam Wlf while, in 1370, one John Wolf was a collector for the barony of Coly [Cooley] and Dundalk. In 1418 William Wolf was a juror at Ardee in Co. Louth. The Sir Walter Wolf who was pardoned at Dunboyne, Co. Meath, in 1320 may have been of the Louth family.

The Woulfes of Co. Down

Around 1224 Ralph Pel de Lu witnessed a deed concerning lands here, and in 1245 was granted the lands of Invur and Dumnal by Hugh de Lacy. This is another nickname type surname, from Pel de Lu, the French for Wolfskin. He may have been ancestor to the later Wolfs who occur in a court case of 1336, when Richard Wolf of Newton of Blathwyk was claiming the inheritance of his late aunt. The litigation gives Richard's pedigree as son of Hugh, son of John, son of David Wolf. Newton of Blathwyk was the old name for Newtownards, Co. Down. Much later, in 1578, one Thomas Wolfe occurs as sheriff of Co. Down. As the records are very poor for this area it is not possible to reach any certainty in the matter of whether he was a descendant of the earlier family.

The Woulfes of Co. Tipperary

The few early references to the surname in this county are vague and amount to little. In 1313 one Traharyn Wolf was acquitted of the charge of burglary in the county; this appears to be a Welsh christian name. Four years later Walter Lupus was a canon of the diocese of Cashel while, in 1334, Maurice le Woulffe was a cleric of Emly diocese, which lay in South Tipperary and parts of East Limerick. Finally, note the Alice Wolf of the latter diocese who obtained a plenary indulgence from the Vatican in 1398.

The Woulfes of Co. Waterford

The sole reference to the surname here occurs in a court-case of 1363, in which Nicholas and Gilbert Wolf, sons of Laurence Wolf, contested their father's will. The reference to the lands in question has not survived.




Published works

Affairs of Ireland before the Kings Council
Analecta Hibernica (periodical, 1933-)
Annals of Ulster
Beathaisneis iii
Begley's History of the Diocese of Limerick
Bennett's History of Bandon
British Sources for Irish History, 1485-1641
Burke's General Armory
Burke's Family Records (various)
Calendar Documents of Ireland
Calendar of Archbishop Alen's Register
Calendar of Christ Church, Dublin, Deeds
Calendar of Inquisitions, Co. Dublin
Calendar of the Liber Niger and Liber Albus, Proc. RIA 27
Calendars of Carew Mss.
Calendars of Inquisitions Post Mortem and other Analogous Documents
Calendars of Justiciary Rolls, Ireland
Calendars of Ormond Deeds
Calendars of Papal Registers and Letters
Calendars of State Papers, Ireland
Cartulary of St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin
Cartulary of St. Thomas' Abbey, Dublin
Census of 1659
Chancery Inquisitions, Leinster
Charters of Duiske Priory, Proc. RIA 35
Civil Survey, volumes for Kildare (8) and Limerick (6)
Commentarius Rinnucinnianus
Crown Survey of 1542 and Kildare Rental
D'alton's King James' Irish Army List
Dignitatus Decani of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin
Dowdall Deeds
Extents of Irish Monastic Possessions, 1542
FitzGerald and McGregor's History of Limerick
Frost's Toponomy and History of Co. Clare
Gilbert's Contemporary History of Affairs in Ireland, 1641-1652
Gilbert's History of the Confederate War in Ireland
Gormanston Register
Hayes' Mss. Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation
Hore's History of Wexford
Index to Dublin Grants and Wills
Irish Fiants of the Tudor Sovereigns
Irish Genealogist (periodical, 1940-)
Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society (periodical, 1894-)
Kings Inns Admission Papers
Knights' Fees in Counties Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny
Landgable Roll of 1665, Dublin City
Landowners of Ireland, 1876
Lenihan's History of Limerick
Liber Louvainensis
McLysaght's Surnames of Ireland
O'Kief, Cosh Mange, etc.
Parliament and Council in Medieval Ireland
Reany's Surnames of Britain
Red Book of the Earls of Kildare
Register of the Hospital of St. John, Baptist, Dublin
Repertorium Viride of 1533
Reportorium Novum 3.
Spanish Knights of Irish Origin
The Irish Dominicans, 1536-1641
Tresham's Irish Patent Rolls
Wadding Papers
Wolfes of Forenaghts, Blackhall and Kildare, by R.T. Wolfe
Worthies of Thomond


National Archives, Dublin:
RC 4/8
RC 7/1, 7/3, 7/12
RC 8/4
RC 9/6, 9/12
Fergusson Mss.
Prerogative Grant Book, 1749
Index to Limerick Wills
Mss. M 2550
Genealogical Office:
159, 165, 189-193
National Library:
113-118, 761
Index, Griffith's Valuation
Publi Record Office of Northern Ireland:



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Other Wolfe (Irish) Family Web Sites


5bl.jpg (815 bytes)    Wolfe Family Genealogy Forum  

The Wolfe Forum Finder is used for finding forums (message boards) within this web site.


5bl.jpg (815 bytes)    Wolfe Ancestors of Ginni Swanton

Ginni Swanton's home page outlines her Swanton ancestry in Co Cork and also includes Co Cork Wolfe connectionsThis home page also has County Cork databases and is a must for all Co Cork researchers.

5bl.jpg (815 bytes)    Map for Cork

Ginni Swanton's home page also provides a Co Cork map  where the Wolfe family resided.

5bl.jpg (815 bytes)    Mail list  for County Cork

To subscribe to this mail list send an e-mail message to
that contains in the body of the message the command-   subscribe   and no other text. No subject line is necessary, but if your software requires one, just use-  subscribe  in the subject as well.

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Early Wolfe Entries in Co Cork

Thomas Wolfe and Kathn, Cork City had children Mary b 1661 and Thomas b 1663

Cath Wolfe married 1679 Cork to John Hopkins [possibly one of the Puritans who settled at Bandon.]

Jane Wolfe m  1713 Cork to Patrick Water 

Patrick Wolfe m Cath Jenkins, had twins 
male b 1767 and Mary b     1767 christened  at Ballyhay Parish

John Wolfe admin bonds 1675 Bandon Bridge

Source e-mail: Barbara Clark <> Sun, 05 May 2002


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The County and City of Cork General Directory of 1842-3

Nobility, Gentry and Clergy [Under Cork Post Office

Name Seat Post Town
Mrs Wolfe Cashell Rosscarbery
Ralph Wolfe Esq (Endowed School) Charleville
John Wolfe Coolerahun Rosscarbery


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Slater's Directory, 1856


Public Houses Skibbereen
Wolfe, Ann (North Street, Skibbereen
Wolfe, George  (occ. Baker) North Street, Cork



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Last Updated on 25 January 2012