The Fallon family are of Celtic stock whose Gaelic name was O’Fallamhain.  Fallamhan in Irish means “ruler.”  O’Fallamain means the “descendant of the ruler.”

The Fallons were a noted Connacht family whose members lived in Counties Roscommon and Galway.  The heads of the sept were known as Lords of Clan Udach and ruled over a territory comprising the modern parishes of Camma and Dysart in Athlone in County Roscommon.  The family seat was at Milltown in the parish of Dysart where the ruins of the ancestral castle is still to be seen. Another branch of the family held estates in the neighbourhood of Ballinasloe, County Galway where lived in until comparatively recent times.  Their stronghold was Runnamoat.

Dysart Castle, Co. Kilkenny
Dysart Castle, Co. Kilkenny

When Henry V111 made himself Head of the Church of England, he passed laws banning Catholicism in Ireland as well as England. In most of Ireland, Henry’s laws were totally ignored. When Queen Mary succeeded Henry, she decided that the way to subdue Ireland was to send English settlers there. Mary’s colonists had little success but Elizabeth 1 strengthened the policy and began to enforce the ban on Catholicism. This led to an uprising of the Irish who were decisively defeated by the much stronger English forces.

The policy of sending English colonists to Ireland continued. Under Cromwell, all Irish landowners were expelled from the provinces of Ulster, Munster and Leinster and their land given to English soldiers. Poor Irish people were allowed to remain as tenants and labourers. In ten years of rebellion from 1641, the population of Ireland was halved. The Fallons lost their power and fortune at that time.

Irish Catholics were further suppressed by “Penal Laws” passed in 1692 and 1727 which banned Catholics from voting, sitting in Parliament, purchasing land, serving on a jury, holding any government office, practising law, teaching in a school, ordaining a priest or bearing arms. It was for breaking these laws that Thomas Fallon was convicted and transported to New South Wales in 1829. In the same year, the British Government, fearing a major rebellion, began repealing some of the Penal Laws. Irish tenant farmers were not allowed to buy land 1905. In 1921, the 26 southern counties were given the status of a self-governing dominion within the British Empire. They became the Republic of Eire in 1949. The six counties of Northern Ireland remain under British control.