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Heraldry Database: Ahearne


Surname:  Ahearne
Branch:  Ahearne
Origins:  Irish
More Info:  Ireland

Background:  The name Aherne originally appeared in Gaelic as "O hEachthigheirn" or "O hEachthigheirna," "each" meaning "steed," and "thighearna," meaning "lord." This was first Anglicized O'Hagherin, which was later changed to O'Aherne before the prefix was eventually dropped. First found in county Clare where they held a family seat as a Dalcassian sept from before the year 1000.

Motto:  I rise through difficulties.
Arms:  Vertm three herons argent.
Crest:  A pelican in her piety proper.

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This Irish surname was first anglicized O'Hagherin, which is a fiar phonetic approximation of the orginal Gaelic O' hEachtighearna, derived from the Irish words 'each a horse' and 'tighearna' a lord. Later this was corrupted to O'Aherne and finally the prefix O was dropped. The O'Ahernes were originally a Dalcassian sept and up to the middle of the fourteenth century they were dynasts of Ui Cearnaigh, their territory being in the neighbourhood of Sixmile-bridge, County Clare, not far from the city of Limerick. In 1659, when Petty's census was taken, the name was numerous throughout Counties Cork and Waterford. At the present time it is almost confined to Counties Cork and Limerick; but in the form of Hearne and Hearne it is also well established in County Waterford. In this conn-exion it should be observed that Hearn is a fairly common indigenous name in England, so that persons so called in Ireland may be immigrants from that country.

The Bishop of Kerry from 1336 to 1347 is described in the records as Alan O'Hathern alias O Hachierane. The most noteworthy of the name in modern history were John Aherne (c. 1769-1806), United Irishman and intimate friend of Wolfe Tone, who, after the latter's death became an officer in Napoleon's Irish Legion; and John Aheron author of the first book on architecture printed in Ireland (1754).

The Gaelic name O hUidhrin. that of an Offaly sept, has also been anglicized Hearne, Heron etc., though Heffron and Haveran are more usual forms in English. Giollananaomh O hUidhrin (d. 1420), who completed O'Dugan's celebrated "Topographical Poem," is usually O'Heerin in English.

Name Variations:  O'Aherne, O'Ahern, Ahearne, O'Ahearne, Hearne, O'Heffron, Haveran, Hayveren, O'Hagherin, O'Hathern, Heron, O'Heerin.

One or more of the following publications has been referenced for this article.
The General Armory; Sir Bernard Burke - 1842.
A Handbook of Mottoes; C.N. Elvin - 1860.
Irish Families, Their Names, Arms & Origins; Edward MacLysaght - 1957.
The Surnames of Ireland; Edward MacLynsaght - 1957.
The Book of Irish Families Great and Small.


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