This essay on the origin and evolution of the Munster surname of Irwin (Ó Ciarṁacáin) was an effort of almost terrifying complexity. I say this because much of the subject matter is based on myth, local lore, legend, pseudo-history and patently forged genealogies which were a product of ancient political and territorial considerations.
Furthermore I am not an Irish speaker and research work performed in an unfamiliar language, written in an unfamiliar alphabet and dealing with illogically anglicized surnames posed other great difficulties.
In addition much of the data used to compile this essay was derived from an early Gaelic ascendancy mindset, which, by today’s standards, seems so unorthodox as to be incomprehensible.
Finally this essay has required long and patient study and I do not say that it is free from error in every detail. But I can honestly claim to have left nothing undone to make it as complete and reliable as possible.
Toirdealḃaċ Ó Ciarṁacáin
San Francisco, California, USA
June 1, 2010