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(O)DRENNAN SKEHAN THORNTON,
Torrens Apart from occasional instances of Tarrant (Tarrant in Co. Cork and Torrens in Antrim and Derry are normally anglicized forms of the Gaelic Ó Torain, Thorn,Torrens etc., being so used, Drennan, Dreinan, Drinane, Drinan and also Meenagh and Meenaghan were interchangeable with Thornton in counties Galway and Mayo, where today Thornton is numerous and Drennan etc., are not. These are translations or pseudo-translations. Drennan is Ó Draighneáin in Irish (draighnéan means a blackthorn); Meenagh and Meenaghan are Muimhneach and Ó Muineacháin, neither have any connexion with the word muineach (thorny). The word sceach (a briar sceach geal is white-thorn) is the cause of making the Monaghan - Louth name Mac Sceacháin into Thornton as well as the normal MacSkeaghan, Skehan etc.
It is usually accepted that the sept of O'Drennan belonged to the Siol Anmchadha group, located in the barony of Longford, Co. Galway, where today it survives as Thornton. At the end of the eighteenth century Drynan was fairly widely used in Galway and Mayo. The name has early associations with Co. Westmeath: the Four Masters record the death of Gillachiarain Ó Draighnen at Fore in 1163. Families of O'Drennan were living in other Leinster counties, especially Kilkenny, and in Co. Tipperary. There are two Ballydrinans in Co. Tipperaryand a Dreynanstown in Co. Kildare. The United Irishman Dr. William Drennan (1754~-1820), the poet, was the first to call Ireland "the Emerald Isle," was the son of a Belfast dissenting minister.
Matthew Thornton (1714-1803), was a signatory of the American Declaration of Independence, was also from the north of Ireland and a doctor before he became a judge. Another Thornton of note was Robert Thornton, who established the Dublin News-Letter in 1685. Then there were a number of prominent citizens of Dublin called Thornton, mostly of English origin. Thornton is a common English name and many of our Thorntons outside Connacht are Anglo-Irish. George Thornton, the Provost Marshal of Munster in 1598, was an Elizabethan undertaker in Co. Limerick and Thorntons are found among the Cromwellian soldiers.
Sir Robert Richard Torrens (1814-1884)was the originator in South Australia in 1857 of a simplified land title registration known as the Torrens System, subsequently adopted by many other countries. He was born in Co. Cork. The River Torrens in South Australia is named after his father, Colonel Robert Torrens.