Fagan: Clann Faodhagain
When I helped my wife Sally to research her family tree, we found her great-great-grandmother was a Harriett Fagan. What was interesting is that my family name Keegan is written Mac Aodhagain in Gaelic and Fagan is written Faodhagain - basically Aodhagain with an F.
I began to do some digging on the origins of the Clann Faodhagain and found a number of resources.
The best I've seen is www.clanfagan.com/ and the webmaster has gone to a great deal of trouble, registering a coat of arms for the clan and even having the sword (pictured, left) constructed to reflect the family heritage.
The MacAodhagain (Keegan) clan was established in around 1200 by Aedhagain and his son Flann MacAodhagain who were members of the Ui Maine tribe of Galway.
The Faodhagain (Fagan) clan is of a similar vintage. Padraig O’Haodhagain (Patrick O'Hagan) lived from 1180-1233 in Meath. Patrick married Dorothea (dau of Cormac (Charles) O'Melaghlin, son of O'Melaghlin, Prince of Meath).
Patrick was the second son of John O’Haodhagain , Baron of Tullagh-Og in Tyrone.
John O’Haodhagain's wife Catherine was the daughter of Hugh Mac Mahon, Baron of Furney, and second brother of Bryan More Mac Mahon, Dynast of Monagan.
It seems that Padraig O'Haodhagain's changed his name to Faodhagain under orders from King John, for reasons that are unclear.
Some subsequant Fagans are:
John Fagan of Derry Fagan d1248
Patrick Fagan of Derry Fagan d1274
Richard Fagan of Derry Fagan d1348
John Fagan, Sheriff of Meath 1358
Sir Hugh Fagan of Derry Fagan 1399
Sir John Fagan, Sheriff of Meath 1423
Richard Fagan, Sheriff of Meath 1458
Christopher Fagan of Derry Fagan 1494
Richard Fagan 1494
Thomas Fagan of Dublin b1494
Christopher Fagan, Mayor of Dublin 1573
Thomas Fagan of Castle Fagan d1599
Many websites sites indicate that Fagan is an Anglicized version of Ó Faodhagáin from E. Airgialla (the ancient territory of Oriel). According to an Irish information website called GoIreland.com "ia Gaelic Irish family of Ó Faodhagáin, anglicized Fagan, which belongs to Co. Louth." ...[some scholars concur with] "a statement made by Fr. Woulfe that Ó Faodhagáin is a variant of Ó hAodhagan (O'Hagan) and other scholars disagree. They say it is a distinct sept of eastern Airghialla (Oriel). There Fagan, Fegan, Feighan and Feehan are numerous and much confused; probably these all derive from Ó Faodhagáin."
Is it possible that MacAodhagain ("son of Aodhagain") and O'HAodhagain ("grandson of Aodhagain") were related? It's certainly a possibility worth investigating.
Molloy: Family of Aodha?
Another Irish clan which contains the name Aodha is Molloy (my mother's mother's name) which in Gaelic was found as:
- Maolmhuaidh (meaning proud chieftain)
- Maoil Aodha (monk Aodha or Saint Aodha)
The eponymous clan founder (in the first instance) was Maolmuaidh who died in about 1019. He was descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, via his son Fiacha and grandson Eachaid Finn, but then there are ten missing generations before we get to Maolmhuaidh who was said to be a king of Munster. Maolmuaidh became Molloy.
The second group that anglicised the name to Molloy was the O MAOIL AODHA, descendant of the devotee to (Saint) Aodh', from Moal, literally meaning "Bald". A reference to the distinctive tonsure sported by early Irish monks. As well as MOLLOY, this surname has been anglicized as Miley and Millea. The name arose in east Connacht, in the Rosscommon/east Galaway region and remains numerous there today.
The Molloys are classed as Ui Fiachach (not to be confused with Ui Fiachrach) descended from the Ui Niall.
The Cineal Fiachach descend from Fiacha, son of Nial of the Nine Hostages. They were a great clan among the Southern Ui Neill, under the overlordship of Mide, and their original patrimony extended from Birr to the Hill of Uisneach in what is now County Westmeath. Their chief representatives in later times were the MacGeoghegans and the Feara Ceal ("the men of churches") or O’Molloys. The MacGeoghegans (Mac Eochagain) were chiefs of the Barony of Moycashel in the south of County Westmeath, though their ancient patrimony was much greater. They lost their estates in the Cromwellian confiscations of the mid-sixteenth century, and a branch of the family was transplanted to County Galway.
The O’Molloys (O Maolmhuaidh) were of the same stock as the MacGeoghegans, being originally of the same clan. At some time during the period of about 950—1050 the Cineal Fiachach divided their territory between their two great branches, the MacGeoghegans retaining the norther portion under the original clan-name of Cineal Fiachach, and the O’Molloys becoming lords of the southern portion under the clan-name of Feara Ceall. This territory, called after them Fircall, comprised the modern baronies of Fircall, Ballycowan and Ballyboy in the north of County Offaly, and remained in the hands of the family down to the first part of the seventeenth century.
Could one of the missing ten generations in the Maolmhuaidh lineage or the origin or Maoil Aodha be connected to Aodhagain?
Like the Clann MacAodhagain, the Clann Maolmhuaidh once again has an elected chief. Her website is here: