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The 'de Lacey's' builders of the largest Norman castle in Ireland

The de Lacey family take their name from Lassy in Normandy. The family may well be descended from Viking settlers in Normandy and commercial ancestral DNA testing of people with this surname will determine whether this is indeed so.

Members of the family fought with William the Conqueror at the battle of Hastings in England in 1066. For their service they were granted lands in England. However by 1169AD they were on the move again and a 'Hugh de Lacey' (pictured) was recorded as part of the Norman invasion force of Ireland that landed in Wexford. The de Lacey's feature prominently in the subsequent Norman conquest of Ireland, and again and again they either conquered or recieved large tracts of land throughout Ireland. Where the de Lacey's settled is reflected in the areas where one finds the de Lacey surname in 1911 (pictured) and in the location of the castles they built (pictured). 

One of the most impressive Norman castles in Ireland (and also the largest) is Trim Castle in County Meath (pictured). It was built by the de Lacey family. I do not think that it is a coincidence that this castle is situated close to the hill of Tara; the sacred place where the ancient High Kings of Ireland were once crowned (see map). It must have come as an enormous shock for the native Irish to see such an impressive castle near their cultural heartland. From the Norman point of view their message in building Trim castle was two-fold; firstly that they we're here to stay and secondly that they were the new masters! Trim castle is very beautifful and very impressive. The walls alone, when they stood fully intact were approximately half a kilometer long! There was a water filled moat surrounding the walls and an immense inner Keep. The castle was occupied for hundreds of years and was garrisoned during the Cromwellian conquest in the 1600's. 

If your surname is 'de Lacey' (or Lacy or one of the many spelling variations) and you have Irish ancestry then there is a 50% chance that you are directly descended from the de Lacey's that landed in 1169AD and who conquered most of Ireland. Only commercial ancestral DNA testing will reveal the answer! The other 50% of 'de Lacey's' have an association with the surname that is a result of adoptions or infidelity, or they may just represent native Irish who assumed the surname of their new lords and masters! 


English Origenes

Scottish Origenes