The Butler Society

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The Butler Society
Established 1967
Contact Info
Address 2 Evans Houses, Harbour Road, Arklow, County Wicklow, Ireland
Society Officers
President Sir Richard Butler, Bart.

The Butler Society is a one-name society. The name Butler is an occupational name, but it used to have a slightly different meaning. In large medieval households the Butler was the person in charge of the wine. Since many powerful nobles lived in fear of being poisoned, this was a position of considerable trust. There are a number of different families called Butler, some of which can be traced back to origins in different medieval households in the British Isles. On starting research, few will know from which group of Butler families their own particular family originates. For this reason, The Butler Society deliberately sets out to be a one-name society.


On 29 August 1965, the late Patrick Butler, 28th Lord Dunboyne, gave an address on "Butler Family History" in Kilkenny Castle, for hundreds of years the seat of the main branch of the Butler family in Ireland. The lecture was given to the Kilkenny Archaeological Society, at the invitation of the late Hubert Butler, the well-known man of letters of Co. Kilkenny, Ireland.

The lecture was so well attended that Lord Dunboyne, Hubert Butler and the late George Butler decided to found The Butler Society. The first meeting was originally planned for 1966 but the three men learned that the late Arthur Butler, 6th Marquess of Ormonde and 30th Chief Butler of Ireland, was planning to give Kilkenny Castle, his ancestral home since 1391, to the people of Kilkenny in 1967. The two occasions were combined. Butlers from many countries gathered at Kilkenny to witness the handing over of the Castle and The Butler Society was founded in August 1967.

Originally founded as strictly a society of descendants of the Chief Butlers of Ireland, the society evolved into a one-name society. It has grown into a truly international society since that time.


  • The Butler Journal
  • Access to Butler website databases including "Happy Families" datafile, pedigrees, Butler Testamentary records datafile and other records.
  • Notices of the tri-annual Butler Rally

Current Projects

The Butler Rally

  • A Butler Rally is held every three years in Kilkenny, Ireland to coincide with the Triennial General Meeting (TGM) of The Butler Society.


  • The Journal of the Butler Society was first published in 1968 and at variable intervals ever since. The Journal is now an integral part of the society and has established a reputation as a source of high quality material on the history of families called Butler.