Power surname history

The first Norman settlers of name were in Co. Waterford, where Sir Robert Power was granted Lismore by Henry ll; members of this family also appear to have been responsible for the original Powerscourt House at Enniskerry in Co. Wicklow, now destroyed. Bearers of the surname Power or le Poer have been Earl of Tyrone, Marquis of Waterford, Counts de la Poer Beresford It is with that county that the surname is most strongly associated - it is the single most numerous surname in the county - although it has also spread into the adjoining counties of Kilkenny, Cork, Tipperary and Wexford. The family which founded Power's distillery, famous for its whiskey, were from Wexford, with their seat at Edermine near Enniscorthy.

This was also the distillery first responsible for the miniature bottle of whiskey, the "Baby Power" beloved of cold-sufferers throughout Ireland. Its introduction in the 1870s required a special act of Parliament.

William Grattan Tyrone Power (1794-1841)was a celebrated actor, comedian and playwright. His great-grandson Tyrone Power (1914-1956) swashbuckled his way through many Hollywood classics.

Albert Power (1883-1945) was best known for his scuptures of famous subjects and for his memorial to the Lusitania, sunk off Cobh, Co, Cork.

.Arthur Power (1891-1984) is best known now for his friendship with James Joyce (he published Conversations with James Joyce in 1974), but was a good painter in his own right and helped to introduce modernism to Ireland .

Richard Power (1928-1970) was a novelist and civil servant. His best works are The Land of Youth (1966) and The Hungry Grass (1969).

Power is originally a Norman name, which may derive from the Old French povre, meaning "poor", more likely to have referred to a vow than to involuntary destitution, or from pohier, meaning a native of the town of Pois in Picardy in France, so called from the Old French pois, meaning "fish", a name given it because of its rivers. The surname is also found in Ireland as "Le Poer", and in the Irish version "de Paor".

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