The documents are listed in chronological order - oldest at the top and newest at the bottom.  These documents show that Griffins have lived in County Kerry, Ireland, specifically in the Baronies of Trughanacmy and Corkaguiny, since the late 16th century.


The Desmond Survey ( recorded Ballygriffin, near to Kenmare and Dunkerron Castle, as Ogriffin's lands circa 1599.  At that time, O'Sullivan Mór was the Lord of Dunkerron Castle.


To the left is an excerpt from Fiant 6555 which recorded the 1601 pardon of the Lord of Dunkerron, Owen O'Sullivan Mór, and approximately 450 of his followers, by Queen Elizabeth I.

The highlighted text shows that as of 1601, Griffins (spelled Griffen or Grifen in the Fiant) were living in what is now the Civil Parish of Kilgarrylander, Co. Kerry  Kilgarrylander stretches westward from Castlemaine to the eastern end of the Dingle Peninsula.

The Griffins are recorded as living in Castledrom and Kilcalloe.  Castledrom is now spelled Castledrum.  Kilcalloe no longer exists as a placename but it is nearly certain that it represents the location of the current adjoining townlands of Keel and Laghtacallow.

These are the names of the Griffins listed in the pardon (names in parentheses are modernized):

Note:  The castle at Castledrum was destroyed during the 17th century Plantations of Ireland as were the castle at Castlemaine and many other Irish castles and abbeys.

Locations of persons listed in the 1601 pardon of O'Sullivan Mór

Many of the place-names in the 1601 pardon have unconventional spellings.  The place-names from Fiant 6555 when seen on the above map give the impression that O'Sullivan Mór had abandoned his traditional stronghold in Dunkerron Castle near Kenmare, Count Kerry and that the Griffins had abandoned their townland of Ballygriffin (also near Kenmare).  In 1601 it appears O'Sullivan Mór and the Griffins were manning a defensive line against invasion from the south.  This allows us to make assumptions for place-names places such as Kilcalloe, for which we have no other records, and for place-names that are common throughout Ireland such as Drumovallie.  Note that Castlemaine is obscured on this map by Brackell (Brackhill).

Place-names and references:

Irish-language placename data by Logainm © Government of Ireland and licensed under CC BY 4.0. 

Pender's Census of Ireland, 1659

A Census of Ireland circa 1659 (Pender)

Pender's Census recorded that in 1659 fourteen Ô Griffens were residing in the BARRONY OF TRUGHANAC and thirteen Ô Griffens were residing in the CORCAGUINY BARRONY.  No other Griffins or Griffens were recorded for County Kerry.

Flax Growers (1796)

Search Results: ( search on names starting with the letters GRIF in the province of Munster, county of Kerry.  All of the flax growers named Griffin, recorded for County Kerry, were residing in the baronies of Trughanacmy and Corkaguiny.

Locations of Griffin families in 1901

300 years after the pardon of O'Sullivan Mór, Griffins continued to live in County Kerry, Ireland in an area broadly centered around Castlemaine, in the baronies of Corkaguiny, Trughanacmy, Clanmaurice, and Iveragh.  The map to the left is a visual representation of the results of the 1901 Irish Census compiled and rendered by

Locations of Griffin families in 1911

This view of the 1911 Irish census from Historic Stats shows us that the highest concentration of Griffin families in Ireland were in the Dingle and Iveragh Peninsulas (specifically in DEDs Kinard, Kilgobban, and Glanbehy),