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MORAN
O'Muireain or Murrin



Depending which book you are reading at the time there seems to be more that one or two meanings of the surname MORAN.

1. MORAN or MURRIN is the Anglicisation of two Irish names, O'Morain, and O'Mughrain who are an ancient Connacht family of Ui Fiachrach and were located in north of County Mayo and County Sligo. Another branch settled in south County Galway. In latter times, the name became changed to Moran, in Irish, O'Morain, possibly deriving from the word mor, meaning big.

2. The Moran family is descendant from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of Ir, the fifth son of that monarch. They belonged to the Clanna Rory tribe founded by Heger Donn son of Ir.

The ancient name was Mordhan and signifies "Noble" taken from Murchadhain, a chief of the sept.

The chiefs of the O'Moran's held extensive possessions in Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo and Kerry. In Co.Roscommon they possessed the territory lying between Balanagare and Elphin and the head of the sept - O'Mughroin or Mora n-was, with Cathail or Cahill and O'Maolruahaith, Mulrooney or Roony, one of the three chief's of Crumthan or Cruffan, a district comprising the Barony of Killian and part of Ballymoe, in Co.Galway.

The O'Moran's were distinguished for encroachments of the Anglo-Norman power, and when resistance was no longer possible, they suffered the fate of other Irish septs of the place and period in the loss of their possessions. After the close of Williamite war in Ireland, many of them went to France where we find their names in the list of officers in the Irish Brigade and subsequently commands outside of that body.

There have been many distinguished Morans around the world over the years:

Major-General James O'Moran (1739-1794), who was born in the town of Elph in, Co.Roscommon on the 1st May 1793 and was the son of a shoemaker. He went to France where he grew up to manhood and enlisted as a private in Dillon's Regiment, Irish Brigade. He rose by his courage, skill and conduct to the rank of Marechal-de-Camp or Major General in 1784, and to that of Lieut. General in 1792.

He also for a time administered the Government of Conde. He was honoured with the distinction of Chevalier of the Order of St.Louis and the American Order of Cincinnatus.

In the famous defence of Dunkirk in 1793, when 3.000 French Army troops successfully resisted the 35,000 English and allies under the Duke of York, General O'Moran played a conspicuous part. The garrison was outnumbered by more than 10 to 1. General O\rquote Moran commanded the rig ht-wing of the French forces. and, by his skill and intrepidity, baffled all the attempts of the enemy directed against him, and largely contributed to the successful result.

This brave officer, having through his stern sense of justice and honesty, in-curred the enmity of some of the agitators in the French Revolution, who were at the time insane from blood and carnage, was seized and put to death by the guillotined.

Michael Moran (1794-1871), who was better known as "Zozimus", was blinded in infancy and made his living on the streets of Dublin with his recitations and ballads. A monument to him stands in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

Francis Patrick Cardinal Moran - Third Archbishop of Sydney, b. at Leighlinbridge, Ireland, 16 Sept., 1830; d, at Manly, Sydney, 16 Aug., 1911. He was the only son of Patrick Moran and Alice Cullen, sister of Cardinal Cullen. Of his three sisters, two became nuns, one of them offered her life to God in care of cholera patients whom she nursed, and died the last victim of the plague in Ireland. Both his parents died before his eleventh year. He left Ireland in 1842 to pursue his studies in Rome. His "Acta Publica" in universal theology was so masterful as to gain for him the doctorate by acclamation. Among the principal objectors was Cardinal Joachim Pecci, afterwards Leo XIII, who was impressed by the genius of his Irish student. He was appointed vice-rector at the Irish College, and also filled the chair of Hebrew at Propaganda, and was some time vice-rector of the Scotts College. In 1886 he was appointed secretary to Cardinal Cullen, and professor of Scripture at Clonliffe College. He founded the "Irish Ecclesiastical Record". In 1869 he accompanied Cardinal Cullen to the Vatican Council, and was appointed procurator for one of the absent bishops.  In 1886 he travelled 2500 miles over land and sea, and visited all the dioceses of New Zealand. In the following year he traversed 6000 miles to consecrate Dr. Gibney at Perth. In subsequent years he went to Ballarat, Bathurst, Bendigo, Hobart, Goldburn, Lismore, Melbourne, and Rockhampton for the consecration of their respective cathedrals. In 1908 he revisited and dedicated the cathedral of Auckland, and in the last year of his life he again covered 6000 miles to consecrate Dr. Clune Bishop of Perth. He consecrated fourteen bishops, ordained nearly five hundred priests, dedicated more than five thousand churches, and professed more than five thousand nuns. The thirty-two charities which he founded in the city of Sydney remain as the crowning achievement of his life.

David Patrick Moran (1870-1936), was a founder of the influential patriotic review, "The Leader".

Denis Moran (1870-?) He was a Quartermaster Sergeant Major in the Irish Army and probably served in the First World War. When he came home on leave he would walk the town in his uniform wearing his leggings, shoulder strap and cane. Denis was heavily involved in the local football team of Graiguecullen, Co/Laois in the 1930's (source: Parish of Graiguecullen, Killeshin by P. MacSuibhne 1974)

His Eminence Cardinal Moran was given the Freedom of the City of Dublin on 1 October 1888

In Killybegs, County Donegal, an important Irish fishing port, there is a suprising enclave of Murrin families living there. There most famous son being Joseph "Joey" Murrin, who for many years was a fisherman and in 1984, he became chairman of the Irish Fishing Board. He is a spokesman both at home and abroad for this vital Irish industry.

Other famous MORAN's around the world who deserve a mention has to be those who were listed as the builders of the world's largest tall ships, in the 1850's, out of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. This information comes courtesy of Cynthia Houston (Sept 2001) who says that someone once wrote a book about who founded the MORAN tall-ship builders company, but Canada has no early records of this event.

(If someone knows where a copy of this book is located and can be viewed by the public then please let us know of it's whereabouts. Thank you).

Send info to: Michael Brennan

Moran Brothers Shipbuilding

(The following is an extract from Bagley, History of Seattle From the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, vol. 2, p. 535).

Moran Brothers Shipbuilding Company produced many of the vessels constructed during the gold rush era. In early August of 1897, the North American Transportation and Trading Company ordered a fleet of 15 ships from this business. "A stroll through the extensive works of Moran Bros. discloses a veritable hive of industry," observed one reporter. "About 400 men are employed and separate forces are at work day and night." The "immediate cause" of this activity was the Alaska trade. Gold strikes in western Alaska at the turn of the nineteenth century - which required ocean-going vessels that could sail the Bering Sea - further stimulated the shipbuilding industry in Seattle.

The following is an extract from the

Museum of History & Art Moran Brothers Photograph Collection

Robert Moran

Robert Moran was born in New York City on January 26, 1857. In 1875, at the age of 18, he followed Horace Greeley's advice and went west, to San Francisco. The whole nation was economically depressed at the time, and Moran spent his last $15 for a steerage ticket to Seattle, where he arrived on November 17, 1875, with ten cents in his pocket. Moran found work as a labourer, and soon found success as a steamship engineer.

As he gained success, Robert's older brothers Edward and Peter followed him to the northwest. In November, 1881, Robert married Melissa Paul. He saved enough money to bring his mother, five younger brothers, and two sisters from New York. In 1882, at the age of 25, Moran quit steamboat engineering and started a marine shop with his brothers.

Mayor Moran

In 1887, Robert Moran was elected to the Seattle City Council. That next year, Moran's name was brought up as a possible Republican candidate for mayor and in July, 1888, Moran was elected mayor of Seattle.

On July 6, 1889, a fire wiped out 30 blocks of downtown Seattle, and destroyed an area covering more than sixty acres. Mayor Moran's actions in quickly rebuilding and remodeling the destroyed areas inspired confidence, and he was re-elected in July, 1889.

Over a six-month period after the fire, the population of Seattle doubled. Moran was responsible for the city's new municipally-owned water system.


Denis Moran

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