10.. Ancient Dowlings

The DOWLINGS were one of the "Seven Septs of Leix." In the confiscations that were part of the English policy in Ireland after the "flight of the Earls" the leading members of the Dowling clan were transplanted to Tarbert in north Kerry in 1607 A. D. Although they never established in this new home the power and influence they held in their ancient territory of Leix, some of them prospered and from these the DOWLINGS of Kerry and Limerick spring.

Not withstanding this breakup of the ancient clan holdings and traditional way of life, many of the rank and file of the DOWLING family managed to remain near their ancestral possessions in Leix, and not only flourished but spread out to the adjoining counties of Carlow, Kilkenny and Wicklow. The fact that there are four place names called Ballydowling (or Dowling’s town) in Wicklow is ample evidence of their vitality and power in these areas.

Love of learning which marked many of the ancient Celtic families was a characteristic tradition among the DOWLINGS. Thady Dowling (1544 - 1628) was one of the most renowned of Irish annalists and an authority on Irish grammar. And while this devotion to bardic lore suffered eclipse during the bitter persecutions of the Penal Laws which aimed at destroying the Irish language, culture and way of life, it came back with renewed vigor after Catholic Emancipation in 1829.

Among the DOWLINGS who gained prominence in the field of letters during the nineteenth century were: Vincent Dowling (1778 - 1844) prominent judge and learned author; Vincent George Dowling (1787 - 1852) founder and for thirty years editor of BELL'S LIFE and FISTIANA; his son Frank Lewis Dowling (1821 - 1867) who carried on his father's publications; Richard Dowling (1846 - 1898) novelist and editor of Dublin's witty journals: ZOZIMUS and IRELAND'S EYE and Doctor Jeremiah Dowling (1830 - 1906) author of THE CLADDAGH BOATMAN.


[* I have no idea what this signifies. WDW]

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