Barrett / Family History
The family history of the ancient name Barrett was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. Meaning 'bear mighty' the name Barrett is of Norman descent and was introduced into Ireland with the Anglo-Norman invasion of the twelfth century, that was led by Strongbow. The ancestors of the Barretts are of two quite distinct families who settled in separate parts of the country. The first of the name are very numerous in Counties Cork, Mayo and Galway and are known as the Munster Barretts, and although of less importance in the mediaeval period, were nevertheless influential enough to give their name to the territory called Barrett's country, in County Cork. The Barretts who owned a large part of north Mayo were Lords of Tirawley and founded there the sept with the Chief known as MacWattin. These families became completely integrated into Irish society with 'Baroid' and 'Baireid' being the Gaelic forms of their original name.The Barrett family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Barrett descendants.