Variations — O'Harra, O'Hora,
Source - Given
Sometimes the change in spelling between
the real Irish form of a name and its Anglicized version is so great as
to throw you completely off the track. O'Hara is one of these names. Few
persons would think of associating it with the name of which in the Gaelic
is spelled "O'hEadhradh." But you will note that when the two "dh" compounds
are pronounced silently, as happens to be correct, and that the diphthong
"ea" takes more of the "a" than of the "e" sound, like this:
"O'H(e)a(dh)ra(dh)"; you see there really
isn't much left to it but O'Hara.
This clan name is derived from the given
name of "Eadhradh." The O'Hara clan was settled in Kuighne. It was a branch
of the 'Carrolls of Ely, and the clan must have come into existence about
the time of Brian Boru or a trifle later, for in the clan record of a long
line of chieftains there is mentioned in the 1067 one "Conaing O'h-Eadhradh"
who was a lecturer at Clonmacnoise. The O'Haras were a strong clan until
the time of Oliver Cromwell's invasion of Ireland.
O'Hir is the oldest patronymic in Ireland.
It is derived from Ir the son of Milesius. Oh signifies the
genitive mood, Oh therefore, meaning the son Ir and indicating the proper
pronunciation of the name viz: O'Heer. The clan O'Hir was always noted
for its freebooting propensities and in its early stages never remained
for more than a century in any particular county. The O'Heers came from
County Waterford in the south of Ireland whence they carried war into the
neighboring territories, marauding cattle, plundering property, and
constituting themselves dictators wherever they went.
Some centuries after their origin they
moved over to County Clare in the west where the name is still known as
Hehir. Two of the family were officers in the Irish army
under St. Ruth and fought against the
British in the Battle of Aughrin where a brother was chaplain of the forces.
Afterwards they moved to the southern portions of County Down and
County Armagh where the family is known now by the name of O'Hare.
It may be interesting to state that
the last of the Rapparees was a local hero named O'Hare who rivaled in
popularity with Redmond Count O'Hanlon, who was the Chief of the Rapparees
in South Armagh. This O'Hare was hanged by the English on the Eight
Mile Bridge, at Hilltown, County Down, and was the last of the Rapparees
executed by them.
The Christian names chiefly used in
the family are John, Michael, Cormac, Francis, and Mary.
The motto of the Clan O'Hair is "To
be - not to pretend" or "Not to seem, but to be".
The O'Hares were driven from Magh-Adhair
by the Ui Caisin and settled in Ui-Cormaic, west of the river Fergus
and near the mountains of Sliabh Callain. The tree of Magh-Adhair,
under which the O'Briens were crowned, was cut down and the roots dug from
earth 981 by Nealseachlainn, son of Donnell.
Founder of the O'Hare family was Cormac,
King of Munster, A.D. 483, and they are descended from Heber, first absolute
King of Munster, A.D. 177.
From the material of Judge James H. Swango and the "Irish News", Belfast,
August 2, 1930.