O'Higgins - Ó hUigin - d'Eguino
Ballynary ~ Baile an Fharraigh
Records held at the Chief Herald’s Office in Dublin show that a branch of the O’Higgins family held a title and lands at Ballynary on the shore of Lough Arrow in Sligo up to 1654.
According to the Place Names Commission in Dublin, the name Ballynary might be a translation from an anglicised form of Baile an Fharraigh “town (land) of the fodder” or less likely Baile an Earraigh “Spring town(land)”.
The Chiefly MacDonagh family were overlords in this area. Melaghlin MacDonagh was forced to surrender these lands in 1617 having them immediately re-granted to him by King James I.
Seán Duff O’Higgins (fl. ca 1590) was “styled as Baron of Ballynary” and records in Spain show that his family claimed possession of the seat for over 700 years prior to the Cromwellian occupation in the 1650s.
Seán Duff O’Higgins was married to a daughter of the Royal O’Conor of Ballintuber Castle. The dates suggest that this woman was a daughter of the Chieftain and Prince, Sir Hugh O'Conor Don of Connacht. In 1590 Hugh O’Conor Don, having incurred the hatred of his sept by accepting an English knighthood, was besieged in Ballintubber Castle by Hugh Roe O’Donnell who eventually deprived him of his chieftaincy.
In 1654 Cromwellian forces seized all of the lands at Ballynary and by 1665 the entire estate had been divided up and assigned to new inhabitants. At this stage the O’Higgins had been reduced to become tenants on their own lands.