The Flaherty Surname

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History of the surname:

The O'Flahertys possessed the territory on the east side of Lough Corrib until the thirteenth century when, under pressure from the Anglo-Norman penetration into Connacht, they moved west-wards to the other side of the lake and became established there. The head of the sept was known as Lord of Moycullen and as Lord of Iar-Connacht, which, at its largest, extended from Killary Harbour to the Bay of Galway and included the Aran Islands. The chieftaincy was continued until the beginning of the eighteenth century. The celebrated historian, Roderick or Rory O'Flaherty (1629-1718) author of Ogygia, was the last recognized Chief of the Name. There is a great deal of information about the O'Flahertys throughout Hardiman's edition (1846) of Roderic O'Flaherty's book Iar-Connaught, particularly pages 309-437 thereof. The Christian name Rory is associated with the family throughout the centuries. Other Christian names much in favor with them were Brain, Donnell, Hugh and Murrough. Birth statistics show that the Flahertys and O'Flahertys are still much more numerous in their original habitat (Co. Galway) than elsewhere. The name in Irish is O Fllaithbheartaigh. The same surname is found in Ulster, but there the initial F is aspirated thus altering the pronunciation and producing the form O'Laverty, and O'Laherty, which approximates phonetically to the aspirated Irish form which is Olaithbheartaigh (in modernized spelling O Laifeartaigh). Both O'Lafferty and O'Laherty occur in the Elizabethan Fiants relating to Co. Donegal. The chief of this sept was Lord of Aileach (modern elagh, Co.. Donegal). He is also described by the Four Masters as Tanist of Tyrone. The sept may be regarded as distinct from that of Iar-Connacht. The latter is now, and always was, the more important and more numerous of the two. Both have already been mentioned. Monsignor James O'Laverty (1828-1906) was another historian of note. At the present time there is Liam O'Flaherty whose works both in English and Irish are considered to be of great merit

Last Updated : Tuesday, April 20, 2004 9:15 PM

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