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The Irish Clans

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            CHAPTER

                   III

        The Irish Clans 

Since Michael O'Hair left Ireland in 1762, Irish history after that date has been purposely omitted. Little is known of the O'Hare family in Ireland after 1762. It is not known whether Michael left behind any brothers or sisters who could have continued the family there. Many O'Hares, as the family name is spelled in Ireland, live today in County Down.  More information follows relative to the first known O'Hare families living in Ireland.

The Chicago Tribune reproduced a rare old map in the March 17, 1958 issue, depicting the  origin of ancient Irish families.  The map is divided into the five kingdoms of the ancient Milesian Kings: Meath in the east, Ulster to the north, Connaught in the west, Leinster in the southeast and Munster in the south. The old Irish family names of the 11th to 17th centuries are printed within the counties where they lived. The name O'Hehir appears in County Clare. The name O'Heir appears in County Armagh. Such names are listed as chiefs, meaning the head of a clan. The original map, the work of Philip MacDermott, physician and cartographer, first appeared in Connellan's famous Irish history, "The Annals of Ireland," translated from "The Four Masters." The map is based upon ancient studies, some dating back nearly three thousand years.

In the 16th century O'Hehir families were located in counties Armagh and Clare.  Armagh was formed in 1586, and Clare in 1565 during the reign of Elizabeth. Clare derived its name from the deClares who were lords of that country, formerly a part of the Kingdom of Thomond in Munster. This

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county is celebrated for its orchards and production of cider.

The territory which presently comprises the counties of Armagh and Down was named Ulidia or Uiadh in the 12th century. In this territory there lived a chief named O'Heire in the barony of Massareene. According to O'Dugan's topography, this O'Heire was the chief of the Hy Fiachrach clan.

In the 16th century the MacRannall family was located in the county of Leitrim. "Mac Raghnaill or Mac Rannall, a name anglicized to Reynolds, who were chiefs of Muinter Eoluis. This territory was sometimes called Conmaicne of Moyrein, and comprised almost the whole of the present baronies of Leitrim, Mohill and Carrygallen, in the county of Leitrim, with a portion of the north of Longford. The MacRannals were powerful chiefs, and are often mentioned in the course of these Annals. They were of the race of Ir, or Clanna Rory. . ." 1

According to O'Hart's "Irish Pedigrees," the Reynolds family were related to the O'Hare family. "In Reynolds we have an example of a fine old Gaelic Irish surname which has been given as its usual anglicized form a common English one. In Irish it is Mac Raghnaill, Raghnall being the Gaelic equivalent of Randal and Reginald. The forms Mac Rannal and Grannell, also used in English, are, of course, nearer the original. The sept belongs to Co. Leitrim: their territory was Muintir Eolasis in the southern half of that county. They remained influential as long as the Gaelic order survived and indeed up to the end of the seventeenth century. . . An excellent memoir on the MacRannals in the "Journal of Royal Society of Antiquaries" (Vol. XXXV) gives much valuable information. . . about the family of Lough Scur Castle, whence came several notable members of parliament as well as James Reynolds, whose diary (1658-1660) is of great interest. The Elizabethan Mac Rannal of this line who was the first to change the name to Reynolds was known in consequence as Mac Raghnaill Gallda (i.e. the English MacRannal). Their estates were very extensive: after the Restoration and the Act of Settlement they were in possession of no less than 6,600 acres in Co. Leitrim and 1,000 acres in Co. Roscommon. Quite a number of Irishmen called Reynolds have distinguished themselves in various fields of activity. " 2

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Among the families mentioned in "The Four Masters" as being located in Thomond are the O'Hehirs, O'Kennedys, MacNamaras and MacArthurs. According to "The Four Masters," a branch of the Heremonian Milesian race from Ulster settled in Munster about the year one A.D. Some of the principal families of Thomond were among these settlers. Also, some of the Irians, or Clanna Rory, of Ulster settled in Munster in the first century A. D., in the territory now located in County Clare. According to Seamus MacManus, the Ithians and Heberians ruled Munster until a half century before the year one. They were then defeated by a tribe called Deagades from the north who had been forced out of Ulster by the Clanna Rory. The Deagades ruled for about two hundred years. The Deagades were defeated by 'Conn of the Hundred Battles,' who was of the race of Heremonians. Conn's daughter married Oilill Olum, the only son of the slain leader of the Deagades who was of the race of Heremon. Thus the races of Ithians, Heberians, Hermonians and Deagades were united by family tie.

When Oilill Olum was the King of Munster, about the beginning of the third century A.D., his will decreed that the kingship of Munster should alternate between his two sons, Cormac Cas and Eogan Mor. The word, Dalcassian, probably originated at that time. According to Webster, the word Dalcassian is composed of the Irish word, Dal, meaning division; and from Cas, an early Irish King. Webster defines the word, "One of the two great families from whom alone were chosen the Kings of Munster, the Eoghanachts being the other family." 3

Based upon the foregoing information, it is the opinion of this writer that all of the O'Hare and O'Hehir families in Ireland are descendants of Ir, were members of the Clanna Rory, and were originally settled in Ulster. The O'Hehir clan named Ui Cormac in County Clare derived its name from the parish in which they lived. It had previously been known as Magh Adhair and became the inheritance of the O'Hehirs long before the reign of the Cormac Cas who was the son of OUill Olum. Ui Cormac is still known by that name in County Clare to this day. The O'Hare family of Ulster were descendants of the race of Ir, or Clanna Rory. Ir was the son of Milesius who, with his two brothers, conquered Ireland in the year l000 B.C. Ir settled in Ulster and became king of

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this province. Some of his descendants moved to Munster territory, presently located in County Clare, in the first century. According to O'Hart's "Irish Pedigrees," the O'Hares were progeny of Ir. They were descendants of Ior, who was the 118th descendant of Ir.

The "Michael O'Hair Family" book informs us that the O'Hehir family of County Clare were descendants of the race of Heber, or the race of Heremon. There is no blood relationship between the O'Hehir families and Cormac Cas, the King of Munster, or Cormac Mac Art, the King of Ireland. As previously stated, the O'Hehir family descended from the race of Ir, according to O' Hart and other Irish historians. The O'Haras in the following quote are not to be confused with the O'Hares or the O'Hehirs. "The O'Haras are an important Irish sept of distinguished origin. They are descended from Eaghra (pronounced Ara), who was chief of Leyne in County Sligo, a scion of the family of Oilioll Olum, King of Munster. . . A branch migrated to Route, County Antrim. . . The O'Haras of to-day are chiefly found in Counties Sligo and Antrim." 4

            In reviewing the preceding information, and giving due consideration to the geographical locations of the two families of O'Hara and O'Hare, there appears to be no blood relationship connecting the two families. There is no indication that the two families sprang from the same source when Ireland was first inhabited by the Celtic race.

Sir William Petty, in his" Political Anatomy of Ireland," estimated that "the wars had reduced the population of Ireland from 1,466,000 in 1641 to 616,000 in 1652 - so much more than half of the population of the whole country at that time had been exterminated. . . That, whereas before 1641 the British in Ireland were to the Irish as two to eleven, when the Cromwellian Settlement was effected, three-fourths of the lands, and five-sixths of the houses belonged to the British settlers." 5 By 1668 many of the Irish ventured forth from the barren Connacht, and as fugitives, roamed the lands that once had been theirs.

Because it is known that many Catholic inhabitants of Ulster were moved to western counties - most of them to County Clare in the Province of Munster, a census of Ireland taken in 1659, was obtained for the purpose of locating the O'Hare families, then spelled O'Hehir or O'Heire. This

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census revealed the following:

"Downe County, Province of Ulster,
     Barony of Upper Iveagh - 21 O'Heires
Clare County, Province of Munster,
     Barony of Burren             -   2 O'Hehirs
     Barony of Island              - 14 O'Hehirs
     Barony of Bunratty          - 10 O'Hehirs
     Barony of Tulla                -    7 O'Hehirs
     Barony of Inchiquine       -  21 O'Hehirs, " 6

A barony was approximately the size of an American Township.

In 1653, just six years before the census was taken, the country was completely subjugated after twelve years of war, famine and pestilence. The population in 1659 was further reduced to 500,091; therefore, much more than half the population of the whole country had been exterminated at that time. Seamus Pender, when he edited the papers comprising the census, published the words of the Keeper of the Landed Estates Record Office in 1659, "It will not surprise me if it yet turns out that the complaints made by Adventurers and soldiers of the evasion (Cromwell's men) of many persons falling within the rule to transplant into Connaught and Clare, and the consequent continuance of these persons on the lands distributed to the Adventurers and soldiers, were the originating causes of the census of 1659."7 Ulster, in 1659, had a ratio of one and one-half Irish to one English and Scotch.

As previously stated, the 1659 census revealed that there were 21 O'Heires living in County Down. Whether they remained upon their lands or were living secluded in the mountains is not made clear; however, all the available information indicates they were in hiding in County Down and not transplanted.

The 1659 census revealed that 45 members of the O'Hehir family were living in County Clare.  Other information also indicates that the O'Hehir family of County Clare had lived there since the 5th century. This appears to be the earliest date the O'Hehir name is recorded in history.

             An old atlas and geography published sometime before 1890, the exact date not shown on the title page, also gave interesting information regarding the family of O'Hehir in County Clare. "Clare anciently belonged to Connaught, but

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was annexed to Munster in the 4th century A.D. It formed a portion of the ancient Kingdom of Thomond. The old territory of Coro-Baskin included the whole of the southwestern peninsula, namely, that portion now occupied by the two baronies of Moyarta and Clonderalaw. . . Hy Fermaic or Kinel-Fermaic, the district of the O'deas, was in the present barony of Inchiquin. Immediately south of Hy Fermaic was the old district of Hy Cormac, the territory of the family of O'Hehir, lying between the river Fergus and Slievecallan, and comprising the whole of the barony of Islands." 8

The surnames of the counties of Antrim and Down are the subjects of a detailed analysis made in 1857-8, published in the "Ulster Journal of Archaeology," accompanied by maps and statistical tables which show the location and numerical strength of some two hundred fifty family names in Down. The majority of the people of Antrim and Down were of British origin. The Gaelic element, however, was numerous. Among the principal Gaelic names was the name of O'Hare. The O'Hares were concentrated in the Barony of Iveagh. O'Hare is one of the few surnames which resisted the general tendency in the 18th century to discard the "O" in their name. The O'Hares outnumbered the Hares and Haires by three to one, even before the propaganda of the Gaelic league and resurgence of 1916 - 1921 resulted in the widespread resumption of the "Mac" and "O" prefixes. The great majority of O'Hares' were descendants of the Oriel family of Ohir or Oheir, who were kin to the O' Hanlons and seated in the Barony of Orier, County Armagh, where, with the adjacent counties of Antrim and Down, the O'Hares are still found. The O'Hehir family is found in County Clare, and is the O'Hehir family referred to by Woulfe in his book, "Irish Names and Surnames."

Any Hares belonging to the counties west of the Shannon river are properly Mac Garrys. The Mac Garry name was mistranslated from the supposed derivation from the Irish word, girrfhiadh, meaning a hare. Haier, however, found in west County Clare is probably a synonym of O'Hehir. The name Hare is an adopted name in England and quite common there. They are not related to the Hares or O'Hares in Ireland. There does not appear to be any relationship between the O'Hare and O'Hara families. The O'Haras presently are mostly found in the Counties of Antrim and Sligo, and the

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O'Hares are found in County Down.

Condensed information regarding Irish names follows, taken from the book, "Irish Names and Surnames," written by the Rev. Patrick Woulfe who was Priest of the Diocese of Limerick. In the preface, Father Woulfe said that he had collected Irish names for twenty-five years and had been urged to write a book listing those names. The results of eight years of research were published in 1906, but was not then complete. A new edition was published in 1923. Father Woulfe claims to have left nothing undone to make the new edition as complete and reliable as possible. He explained that investigation into the meaning of ancient and personal names is, in the most favorable circumstances, surrounded with great difficulty. To give anything like a detailed history of the various families would be manifestly impossible within a single volume.

In the early times, when the population of Ireland was small and scattered, one name generally sufficed to designate each individual, and one name, as a rule, is all that we find. A man was known to his neighbors by his personal or given name, and as long as there was no one else of the same name in the locality, nothing more was required to complete the identification. Surnames or family names, as we understand them, were unknown. The Irish had, indeed, from a remote period a well-established system of clan-names, formed from the names of distinguished ancestors. These names were ordinarily used in the plural and as a common designation of the whole clan. For the individual the single name was the rule. Surnames in the modern sense are the growth of the tenth and three succeeding centuries, and gradually began to assume the permanent and hereditary character of a family name. Hence what had been but an occasional and irregular custom became a fixed and general practice. Surnames first became fixed in the reign of Brian Boru (A.D. 1002-1014) and in obedience to an ordinance of that monarch. Previous to that time there was no general system of family names in Erinn (Ireland); but every man took the name either of his father or his grandfather for a surname. Brian himself, as the originator of the system, never adopted a hereditary surname. Nor did his sons. It was only in the time of his grandsons that the surname O'Brien first came into existance, and it was two centuries after the death of

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Brian before the process of fixed surnames was complete. The oldest surname is recorded in The Four Masters: in the year 916 A.D. When the "O" was first affixed to a name, it was to designate "grandson of Brien." Generally speaking, "Mac" surnames are of a later date than the "O" surnames, but by the end of the 12th century surnames were universal among Irish families.

The main sources from which names were originally derived may be enumerated under the headings: religion and mythology; circumstances connected with birth; physical, mental or moral qualities or defects; animal characteristics; dress; rank, occupation or office; trees, fruits, flowers or weapons; and abstract ideas. Animal names form one of the elements, the wolf and the bear being prominent. [The name O'Hair was derived from the hare or rabbit and is correctly spelled O'Hare. The name O'Hare was erroneously changed in America during the lifetime of Michael, when someone entered his name on a public record as O'Hair.] The 11th and 12th centuries must, however, be assigned as the period within which the great bulk of our Irish patronymics became fixed and began to assume the hereditary character of family names. The practice of forming surnames with the "O" had almost certainly ceased before the coming of the English, and it is doubtful whether any "O" surnames can be shown to have arisen at a later date. [From this information it is reasonable to assume that the surname O"Hare arose sometime between the 11th and 12th centuries.] Surnames grew out of descriptive appellations, and the date at which they originated varied according to the locality and the person's rank in life. In the south they are found at the beginning of the 12th century. In the northern counties they were not universal at the end of the 14th century.

The distinctive mark of a real Irish surname is "Mac" or "O", according to the well-known lines: Per Mac atque O, tu veros cognoscis Hibernos; His duobus demptis, nullus Hibernus ades; which have been translated:

By Mac and O
You'll always know
     True Irishmen, they say;
But if they lack
Both O and Mac,
     No Irishmen are they.

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The only difference between a surname commencing with "Mac" and one commencing with "O" is that the former was taken from the name of the father and the latter from that of the grandfather who bore the surname.

The old Irish system of nomenclature was a very marked one. Down to the Anglo-Norman invasion, the personal names in use in Ireland were almost purely Celtic. The Irish had been very slow in adopting either Scriptural names or the Latin and Greek names of saints. The English policy once deemed it of such political importance to force Irishmen to conform to English ways that the Irish were forced to adopt English surnames. The matter was thought worthy of special legislation. Accordingly it was enacted by the statute of 5, Edward IV (1465), that every Irishman dwelling within the Pale, which then comprised the counties of Dublin, Meath, Louth and Kildare, should take an English surname. There must have been very few who did change, because about a century later the Irish were as Irish as ever.  After the fall of Limerick, the Irish people were brought completely into subjection. Thenceforward an "O" or a "Mac" in a man's name was no recommendation in the eyes of the powers that ruled the country. The people were taught or forced to believe that they must have an English surname, or at least an English version of their Irish surname. Hence the almost wholesale rejection of the "O" and "Mac" during the long night of slavery and oppression through which Ireland passed in the century of the Penal laws. Fortunately, however, the original surname continued to live on, unaffected by any changes in the English form, wherever the Irish language continued to be spoken, and thus we are able to recover the Irish form of many surnames that otherwise would have long since disappeared forever. [The O'Hehir and O'Hare families did not drop the "O", nor did they adopt an English version of their surnames. The record of the family in Ireland reveals that they opposed the English intrusion into Ireland's affairs and then had to endure extreme hardship and suffering because of such opposition .]

In the chapter on surnames, Father Woulfe gives this information concerning the O'Hehir family. It is the name of a Thomond family who, at the end of the 11th century, were lords of Magh Adhair, between Ennis and Tulla, but afterwards settled in Ui Cormaic, on the west side of the Fergus, be-

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tween Ennis and Slieve Callan. Though long settled in Thomond, the family was not of Dalcassian origin, but a branch of the Ui Fidhgheinte, in the present Co. Limerick. The name is still common in Clare. Father Woulfe provided further information concerning the O'Hare family who lived in County Armagh and spelled the name: O'Heir, O'Hire, O'Heere, O'Hear, O'Hare and O'Haire. It is the name of an Oriel family who were chiefs of Oirtheara, now the baronies of Orier, in the east of County Armagh; to be distinguished from O'Hehirs of Thomond .

Besides personal names, our Irish ancestors had from an early period, and even from pre-historic times, a complete system of fixed clan-names by which each family-group and its subdivisions had its own distinct name.  These clan-names are of great importance in tracing the early history of families. Though long obsolete as people-names, they still survive in many instances as baronial and parochial designations, in the same way as Norfolk and Suffolk, which were originally people-names. North-folk and south-folk became the names of two English counties. 9

Copies of many public records relating to the O'Hare, O'Hear and O'Hehir families in Ireland, were obtained at the Public Record Office of the Government of Northern Ireland, Law Courts Building, Belfast, Ireland. Such records included wills, indentures, agreements, leases, deeds, bonds and assessments. Such records are not included here because it is not known definitely which one of these families were ancestors of Michael O'Hair. Personal inquiry among the numerous O'Hare families presently living in County Down have not revealed the answer to this question. It was interesting to note that the Valuation Book for the year of 1836 for Newry Parish (P.R.O., N.I. Val. IB/389) revealed that the following O'Hare's owned land:

Jas. O'Hare, Saval Beg Townland,
     8 Acres.
Felix O'Hare, Corcreechy Townland,
     12 1/2 Acres.

Small holdings, indeed, when compared to the average size of farms in the United States. However, they were near the average size of farms in Ireland which seldom were more than fifteen to twenty acres. In ancient and modern times, a majority of the O'Hare families in Ireland were farmers and

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stock raisers; however, presently there are many O'Hare families living in the city of Newry in County Down.

This writer requested that a researcher be employed to search the public records at the Genealogical Office in Dublin, for any recorded information concerning the O'Hare family. Pursuant to his request the following information was received:

OIFIG GHEINEALAIS,             GENEALOGICAL OFFICE,
AN CAISLEAN,                       (office of arms)
BAILE ATHA CLAITH.              DUBLIN CASTLE.

Le dei-mhein an Phriomh-Arailt. 

With the compliments
of the
Chief Herald

 

Reference 1.12.   -    O'HARE
The earliest reference to the clan O haichir (now O'Hare or Hare) is to be found in the Annals of The Four Masters . There were two distinct septs of the name listed in the Annals - one being chiefs of Magh Adhair in the County of Clare, and the other the "Airthera" translated "East Parties" from Ulster, and the references are concerned with the southern sept. The Annals of Ulster are more precise and an entry A.D. 800 describes Airthera as "a tribe inhabiting a district the name of which has been latinized "Orientals" and "Regio Orientalium" a territory represented by the Baronies of Lower and Upper Orior in the east of Co. Armagh ."  As the Annals of Ulster make little reference to the Co. Clare sept it is fair to assume the following brief entries refer to the tribe in question:

A.D. 799: "A destructive battle between the Airthea themselves in Magh-Lingsen, where Maelochtaraigh, Abbott of Daire Eithrigh and Cormac, son of Cernach were slain."
A.D. 820:
"Devastation of the Airthera as far as Emham-Macha."

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A search of the Calender of State Papers (1171 - 1625) proved unsatisfactory, mainly because of the many variations (14) of the name used. Most of the references, on scrutiny, proved irrelevant, except the following:

Fiants of Elizabeth: (No. 4897) 1586. Pardon to Rorie Ballagh O'Harre, Chief of his name. (20 June XXVIII).

Fiant s of Elizabet h : (No.6633) 1602. Pardon to Rourie O'Hara, with five others of his name.

The following entry may be of interest:

"The Rowte was sometime inhabited with English, for there remaineth certain defaced castles and monasteries of their buildings. The non captain that maketh claim thereto is called M'Gwillyn but the Scots hath well nigh expulsed him from the whole. . . . . . . . . . till likewise they were banished by Her Majesty's forces, but now have come back and possessed all in usurped manner as before. The Chief Ancient followers of this country are the O'Haires and the O'Quinns."

-Vol. 1608-10. p.XIV

An entry in the Fiants of James I dated 9th April 1615, describes an examination taken by the Provost Marshall of Londonderry of one Teage O'Lennan where there is evidence that at that date the O'Haries (six) were with others "conspiring with the O'Neils and O'Donnells in a plot of treason against the British.

The Index of the Prerogative Wills of Ireland contains a couple of references to persons of the name O'Hare and as these may be of interest they are appended hereto. Also are attached entries taken from the Hearth Money Roll for Armagh, although here the name is listed consistently as O'Heere.

     It is possible that more data could be found in a search of the MSS. in the Registry of Deeds and in the Public Record Office which have not been used.

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If querist wishes to have a further search made it would be helpful to have some details re place of birth.

An Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland contains a couple of references to persons of name of O'Hare:

(1) Daniel O'Hare of Newry, Co. Down   Will dated 3rd Oct. 1757.

                           Wife                                         Catherine
           ______________________I______________________

           Henry               John                        Daniel                 Philip

(2)  Henry O'Hare of Ballywelland Will dated 6th June 1789. Unmarried at time of will - but two brothers, Patrick and Daniel, 2 sisters, Judith and Mary Anne.

        Hearth Money Roll for Armagh. Archurun Hibernicun - Vol. VIII.

Barrony of Orrier.
Denomination
              Inhabitants
of Lands.
                      Names.                                    Hearth

   Ballykeele                Hugh O'Heere                                1
                                   Edmond 0' Heere                          1
                                   Patk. O'Heere                                1
   Duberne                  Patrick O'Heere                               1
Barony of Fewes
.
   Lurgentul-linaboy.   Hugh O'Heere.
   Lower Fewes           Patt O'Heere.

Sources consulted:
Annals of Four Masters.
Annals of Ulster.
Woulfe's "Irish Names and Surnames."
MacLysaght's "Irish Surnames."
Hart's" Irish Pedigrees."
Calender of State Papers (20 Vols.).
Archivum Hibernicum - Vol. VIII.
Journal Irish Memorials.
Index Prerogative Wills of Ireland.
Registered Pedigrees of Ulster, V. 469.
Unofficial Pedigrees. Vol. 470.

********************

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The Ulster-Scot Historical Society of Belfast, Northern Ireland, provided information that registration of births did not become compulsory in Ireland until 1864, and prior to that date recourse must be to church records.  Roman Catholic Church registers for the town of Newry do not commence until 1818. The name O'Hare is to be found in various estate and other records for the Newry district for the late 18th and 19th centuries.

Records of Wills and tithe taxes listed the name of O'Hare many times in the 18th and 19th centuries, but there is no information to indicate a young Michael during the years he was growing up in Ireland. The record of Administrative Bonds revealed the following:  

                        Francis O'Hare died in 1762 (the year Michael left Ireland),

                      Timothy O'Hare died in 1767,

                      Bryan O'Hare died in 1779,

Bryan Donagmore O'Hare died in 1789.

Without copies of the wills there is no way to tell which, if any, of the above named O'Hares were related in any way to Michael O'Hair. Possibly one of them could have been his father.

The following copies of two letters received from the Ulster-Scot Historical Society throw some light upon the history of the O'Hare family prior to the birth of Michael.

ULSTER-SCOT HISTORICAL SOCIETY

President: His Grace The Duke of Abercom, H. M. L.
     Chairman: Sir William Scott, C.B.E.
                                Law Courts Building,
                                      Chichester Street,
                                            Belfast,
       Reference G. 279.              Northern Ireland,
                                                      December 19, 1958.

Dear Mr. O'Hair,

As requested, I have made a thorough search of all the available records and books in the Public Record Office, Belfast, which I considered would be most likely to be of help in connection with your enquiry about Michael O'Hare.

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In the Burke Pedigrees formed from Wills proved in the Prerogative Court, Ireland, I found two O'Hare references. One of these concerned a Daniel O'Hare; a merchant in Newry - he died in 1757 but there is no mention of a Michael amongst his children. The other reference was to a Henry O'Hare who died in 1789 but he was not married.

Newry and a district in south Co. Down had a separate probate jurisdiction of its own, but as you will see by the enclosed notes only three O'Hares are mentioned in the Wills index and none of the testators belonged to Newry. O'Hares were fairly numerous in the Diocese of Dromore which included Newry for all but probate purposes. Some of the places given as the addresses of the testators are not too far from Newry. Unfortunately, all the original Wills to which the indexes refer, were lost in 1922 when the Public Record Office, Dublin, was destroyed by fire. The same remark applies to the Dromore Administration Bonds.

      It is unfortunately not possible to seek for Michael O'Hare in Church registers since I find on consulting lists of the R. C. registers in Co. Down that none of them in the neighborhood of Newry goes back far enough.

The Registry of Deeds documents are in Dublin. In the Public Record Office here there is a microfilm of the index to lands only, covering the period 1708-1785. I did not consult this since there is in the same office a manuscript index of persons who granted lands and who were registered. The index was made by the late Mr. P. Crossle whose family was connected with Newry and the names he listed were those of people in the Co. Down. A few O'Hares are mentioned and those in or near Newry given in the accompanying notes. We have no agent in Dublin who could examine the books in Registry of Deeds but perhaps if you wrote to the Registrar he may be able to put you in touch with someone who would be willing to do so. At the same time I should like to warn you that these registered deeds may not be very helpful. It is

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only when a deed takes the form of a lease for lives renewable that it may be useful, for example, a grant of land for the life of a lessee and some of his children who are named.

I regret that I have not been able to be of more assistance to you, but if I hear or come across any information which might be of use in connection with your research, I will let you know.

                                                     Yours sincerely,

                                                    (signed) Heath

                                                    for Miss Embleton

                         ****************************

 

ULSTER-SCOTT HISTORICAL SOCIETY

President: His Grace the Duke of Abercorn, H. M. L.
     Chairman: Sir William Scott, C.B.E.
                                Law Courts Building,
                                      Chichester Street,
                                           Belfast,
         Reference G.1489.         Northern Ireland,
                                                      25, July, 1966.

  

Dear Mr. O'Hair,

Our research into the O'Hairs of Armagh, for an early period, is now complete and we present our report .

The earliest reference we found of the name O'Hair in Co. Armagh occurred in the Armagh Manor Court Rolls, 1625 - 27.  Here we noted a Patrick O'Haire.

From the Census of Ireland (1659) it was noted that the name 0' Hehir was to be found in Co. Clare and in Co. Down, in the Barony of Iveagh, where it is stated that twenty-one of the name were resident.

The Hearthmoney rolls for Co. Armagh (1664) list the name O'Heere in three parishes. The townlands, in which those recorded were resident, are also noted. Hearthmoney was a tax of 2s. paid on each hearth or fireplace and the Roll lists those

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early settlers who paid this tax.

In order to obtain an idea of the later distribution of the name O'Hare in Co. Armagh, we consulted the Index to the Tithe Applotments c. 1824 - 1836. As you no doubt know, Tithes were dues paid to the Established Church, for land held, regardless of denomination.

Unfortunately, we cannot pursue our research further because of shortage of records. Church Registers for any of the parishes in which we noted the name have not been preserved for early times. However, we hope that the meagre amount of information we have obtained will be of interest.

                                                         Yours sincerely,

                                                         (signed) J. M. Codshere

                             ***************************

 

Originally Ulster was comprised of the nine counties of Donegal, Londonderry, Antrim, Down, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Monaghan, Armagh and Cavan. Presently six counties comprise Ulster, Northern Ireland, which is part of the British Empire, namely; Londonderry, Antrim, Down, Tyrone, Fermanagh and Armagh. The majority of the population is Protestant. However, in County Down the population is closely divided between Catholic and Protestant. The counties of Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan were united with the Irish Republic (Southern Ireland). The public record of the O'Hehir family goes back farther in County Clare than the record of the same family in the counties of Armagh and Down; however, according to the Four Masters, this family originated in Ulster, Northern Ireland, and were descended from Ior, the 118th descendant of Ir.

This writer's grandson, Richard Z. Gumm, went to Ireland in September, 1970, for the purpose of obtaining information pertaining to the O'Hare families in Ireland. He contacted several members of the O'Hare family in the counties of Clare and Down, and other people who were well informed on Irish history.

            Father Sennan, of the County Clare Friary located in

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the town of Ennis, gave Richard considerable assistance in obtaining information about the O'Hehir family of County Clare. Father Senan said it was "very unlikely that any Hehirs migrated north or east if they were pure Irish." More likely that migration was from Ulster in the north to County Clare as revealed by the Four Masters. This tends to indicate that any relationship between the O'Hehirs of Clare and the O'Hares of Down would necessarily date back to a very early century. Father Sennan also said, "O'Hehirs were in the territory presently comprising County Clare long before the Normans, even before the Dalcassian clan. O'Briens were the Dalcassians and the O'Deas were descendants. O'Briens were the overlords and kings." Webster defined the word Dalcassian as a division, coming from the Irish word, dal, and from Cas, an early Irish King. The descendants of Cas comprised the O'Briens, MacNamaras, O'Deas and various other families.

Frost's "History of Clare," on page 221, gives an account of the struggle between rival families of the O'Brien clan under the year 1317 and names the O'Hehirs among the septs of Thomond who came to the aid of Dermod O'Brien. According to Frost, the O'Hehir families have lived in the territory presently comprising County Clare since the 5th century. Frost wrote, "Shortly before the time of St. Patrick (432 A.D.), Cas, the King of North Munster gave the name Ui Caisin to a district in Clare. It had previously borne the name of Magh Adhair, signifying the plain of Adhar, who possessed it in the first century of the Christian era.

"Adhar was the son of Umor, the brother of Aengus who built the cyclopean fort of DunAengus in the great island of Arainn. Afterwards Magh Adhair became the patrimony [inheritance] of the OHeirs, but they in turn were driven westwards to the present Barony of the Islands by the MacNamaras. " 10

Father Sennan had done research on this subject and gave Richard access to his notes which revealed, "Long before the clans which claimed descent from Cormac Cas had settled in Thomond (Thuagh Muan - North Munster) other peoples existed whose history is lost in the obscurity of the past. Since written history in Ireland dates only from the time when Christianity came (5th century), what we do know of the various Irish tribes and septs has come down to us from tradition. This tradition was handed down carefully through

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the bards and chroniclers of the various families, and had to be very strictly preserved on account of the system of electing the chieftain according to ancient Irish law. The mound which was used as the place of inauguration of the kings (overlords) of Thomond, named Magh Adhair is still to be seen. It is some short distance from the village of Quin - about six miles from the town of Ennis. "

Under the heading of Ui Cormaic, Frost wrote, "This territory was the patrimonial inheritance of the O'Hehirs , and its name in Irish is still well known to the natives.  The parish of Kilmaley is still locally called Ui Cormaic and the parish of Drumcliffe is called Ogormuck in ecclesiastical documents. . . The family of O'Hehir was not of Dalcassian origin. They were of the race of Daire Cearb, the ancestor of the Ui Figinthe, who were located at the other side of the Shannon, in the present Barony of Kenry in the County Limerick. About the year 1100 we find them seated at Magh Adhair, in Ui Caisin, but in after times they were driven westwards by the MacNamaras. . .

"The clan O'Hehir is mentioned as having taken part in the battle of Dysert O'Dea, in which battle the Normans led by De Clare were routed with slaughter, and the threat of a Norman invasion of Clare ended for all time.

"The Ui Cormac territory corresponded with the parish of Kilmaley and extended (roughly estimating) from Mount Callan to Ennis. In the list of 'Forfeitures and Distributions' (following the 'reducing' of the inhabitants of the county of Clare by the Cromwellian commissioners) we find that in Kilmaley parish the following proprietors were dispossessed and their lands disposed to others:

"Teighe O'Hehir of the townland of Cahimore,
Conor O'Hehir of the townland of Cappalea,
Murthagh and Owen O'Hehir of the town land Derrygarruff. . . &c .

(In all more than fifty of the clan OHehir were deprived of their lands by the English government under this act of settlement alone).

"In the Franciscan Abbey, built c. 1250, many of the noblemen of the County - the OBriens, MacNamaras, Considines &c had erected monuments to commemorate their dead

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ancestors. Many of these were destroyed by the Cromwellian soldiery. Among these families that of the OHehir is included. On the north wall of the nave is a slab in memory of Laurence OHehir of Drumcarhin, 1622. A franciscan priest, Fr. Teighe O'Hehir was arrested in 1666 as a member of the Franciscan community of Ennis Friary." 11

Father Sennan's notes indicated, "That the distance from Mount Callan is about eleven miles. The present parish of Kilmaley doesn't extend that distance." Father Sennan's notes of research also included information from, "Eugene O'Curry who wrote on the topography of the County for the Ordnance Survey (1839) has this note on the parish of Kilmaley: Hi Cormaic: The name of this territory which was the patrimonial inheritance of the OHehir family is still well known to the natives of the parish. They all agree that it comprises the entire parish of Kilmaley. The parish is still locally called Ui Cormac. The origin of the name and its history cannot be written. . . for all we know of this territory is that its chief was called O Hehir, now Hare, and that he was not of Dalcassian origin, but of the race of Daire Cearb, the ancestor of the Hy Figinte, who were located on the other side of the Shannon (river) in the present County of Limerick. "

Richard Gumm visited the County Clare Council Library while he was in the town of Ennis, County Clare, in his quest to obtain information of the O'Hare families in Ireland. From an O'Hart book at that library he learned more about the family in County Clare. "The district of Hy-Cormac, comprised the Callan mountains, and extended to the town of Ennis. In A.D. 1094, Amlaobh O'Hehir was slain; and, in 1099, Donogh O'Hehir, lord of Magh-Adhair, died. This Magh-Adhair was the place of the inauguration of the O'Briens as princes of Thomond, and the O'Hehirs always assisted at the ceremony.

"In 1197, died, Gilla-Patrick O'Hehir, Abbot of Inisfallen, in the 79th year of his age; and, in two years afterwards, Auliffe O'Hehir, a religious of the same establishment. By the late Dr. O'Donovan, the 'O'Hares' are set down as a tribe of the Hy-Feigeinte, of the race of Eoghanmor...

            "We believe this family is now (1887) well represented by various gentlemen in the County Clare." 12

On page fourteen of the same book, under the heading of Families in Ireland from the 11th to the End of the 16th Century, O'Hehir was listed as chief in County Clare. O'Heir

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was listed as chief in County Armagh. The name of O'Hare was not mentioned. On page twenty, under the heading of Families in Ireland in the 17th Century, O'Hehir was listed in County Clare, but no Hare or Heir.

Richard Gumm made personal inquiry among several O'Hare families presently living in County Down. He obtained no definite information leading to the identification of the family of Michael O'Hair. Most of the O'Hares he interviewed had no information about their ancestors beyond their grandparents, or in a few cases, their great- grandparents. Most families in Ireland depend upon Church records for family genealogy. The Church records in County Down do not go back prior to the 19th century. Among those interviewed were two Catholic Priests who were members of the O'Hare family, but they did not know of any O'Hare family records dating back to the time Michael lived in Ireland. The O'Hares of County Down stated that they have no known relatives in County Clare. Richard's inquiry at the Courthouse of Newry, County Down, did not disclose any desired information. Without knowing the exact location of any land Michael's parents might have owned, the clerks were unable to offer any assistance.

From the information Richard Gumm did obtain in Ireland, it remains the opinion of this writer that the O'Hare family originated in Ulster, Northern Ireland, and were descendants of Ir; that a branch of Ir's descendants migrated south to territory presently included in County Clare in the 1st century, and these people were the progenators of the O'Hehir family of County Clare; that a branch of the O'Hare family of Ulster migrated to the territory presently included in County Down, from their clanlands in territory presently included in County Armagh in the 16th century during the reign of Elizabeth, when a complete break-up of the clans took place. During her reign the Munster Plantation was instigated which confiscated six counties in Ulster, including the County of Armagh, but not the County of Down.

Several months after writing the foregoing conclusions, this writer employed a certified genealogist in Washington, D.C. to examine a book at the DAR Library compiled by a writer employed by Mrs. John Jelke of Chicago. Mrs. Jelke, a great great granddaughter of Michael O'Hair, employed the services of many genealogists to collect material

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used in the book. The O'Hair chapter of this book contained the following: "The name O'Hair appears in different forms very early in Ireland. It seems to have first been spelled O'hir, and to have later been modernized into such spellings as O'Hir, O'Hayer, O'Hare and O'Hair. According to the traditional Irish pedigree, the family is descended from Slioch Ir, who was the son of Ior and the grandson of Cathal Ruadh, who was killed in 1401. The pedigree is carried back in their typically careless manner by the Irish genealogists who state that Cathal Ruadh was fifteenth in descent from Biobhsach, who, in turn, was sixty-fourth in descent from Milesius of Spain, the Irish monarch." 13 The notes from O'Hart's book, "Irish Pedigrees," made by my grandson, Richard Gumm, while he was in Ireland disclosed the following: "The surname O'h-Ir is derived from Slioght Ir, a branch of the Reynolds family." Richard's notes traced the line of Ir starting with Eimhin, #101 on the line of Ir, who had three brothers one being Biobhsach who was the ancestor of MacRadhnaill (anglicised MacRannall, Macgrannell, Reynolds). The line stemming from Biobhsach starts with:

Eolus, after whom his part of the territory of Conmaicne Rheine was called Muintir Eoluis (eolus being the Irish word for knowledge),
Maolmuire,
Maoldun,
Flann,
Maolruanaidh,
Iomhar, had eleven sons, one of whom was,
Muredach,
Radhnal, (or Randal) a quo Mac Radhnaill    (radh: a saying) was first anglicized MacRannall,
Iomhar,
Fergall,
Muredah,
Cathal Mor, first of this sept who assumed the surname MacRannall, who had four sons, one of whom was,
Raghnall, the second MacRannall, who had four sons, one of whom was,

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Iomhar, had seven sons, one of whom was,
Terge, slain in 1328, and who had six sons, one of whom was,
Cathal (Charles) Ruadh, who was slain in 1401, and who had six  sons, one of whom was,
Ior, a quo (from which) Slioch Ir, a quo (from which) O'h - I r, anglicised O'Hare.

Research, by both the professional and amateur genealogists, does indeed confirm the fact that O'Hares are descendants of Ir.

The Philip MacDermott map depicting the origin of Irish families during the 11th to the 17th centuries, locates the O'Heir clan in the southeast part of County Armagh. This location is a few miles west of the City of Newry, County Down. The map also locates the O'Heir clan in the Barony of Orier in the eastern part of County Armagh. This map does not locate any of the O'Heir or O'Hehir clan in County Down.

The census of 1659, taken after the Cromwellian Settlement, reveals twenty-one O'Heire families in County Down. This census does not reveal any O' Heir families in County Armagh. Therefore, it must be presumed that the members of the O'Heir clan migrated to localities in County Down when their lands were confiscated in the 16th century. The same census located only forty-five members of the O'Hehir family in County Clare. The spelling of the name in County Down was slightly different from the spelling in County Clare. It is reasonable to believe the clan in County Armagh were descendants of members of the Clanna Rory, the original clan of Ir, to which the O'Heirs belonged.

"Among the ancient Irish, according to the Irish historian O'Donovan: 'even the lowest in rank of a great tribe traced and retained the whole line of their descent with the same care which in other nations was peculiar to the rich and the great... for it was from his own genealogies that each man of the tribe, poor as well as rich, held the charter of his civil state, his right of property in the cantrel in which he was born, the soil of which was occupied by one family or clan, and in which no one lawfully possessed any portion of the soil if he was not of the same race with the chief. '. . .

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For one thing the Irish system, though the oldest, has no snobbery in it: an Irishman regards his coat-of-arms as a sentimental heirloom rather than a claim to some inscrutable kind of fame. . . Irish heraldry is not supervised by a government body. While the Irish family groups are often called clans, 'Sept' is a better word to describe the Irish practice. One of the Chief Heralds of Ireland, Edward MacLysaght, defines the Irish sept as simply 'a group of persons who bore a common surname and inhabited the same locality.' Unfortunately, many Irish coats-of-arms have been lost forever in successive invasions of which Ireland was victim. As recently as 1922, an immense amount of genealogical lore - particularly from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries - was lost when the Public Record Office in Dublin was destroyed." 14