Ireland, a nation of only five million
people, has made a disproportionate contribution to the
world of the arts, theater, industry, commerce,
literature, and the sciences. It is this nation which
holds the birthright of the distinguished family name
Professional analysts have diligently
researched Irish records using such authors as O'Hart,
Woulfe, McLysaght, O'Brien, and the Four Masters, and
public records of baptismals, parish records, charters,
and ancient land grants. Sufficient data are still
available despite the loss of records caused by the fire
in the Dublin Public Records Office in 1922. (an
irreparable disaster to Irish history) to produce a thumb
nail sketch of the McDonough history. It was found that
the family name McDonough was first revealed in county
Cork where they had been seated from ancient times.
The name McDonough occurred in many
references, from time to time, the spellings Donaghey,
McDonogh, McDonnogh, McDonagh, and McDonnagh, were
included in the records. Changes in spelling often
occurred, even between father and son. Preferences for
different spelling variations sometimes distinguished a
branch of the family name, a religious preference, or a
national identity. Church officials and scribes who
recorded names, spelled names phonetically, sometimes
based on the Gaelic. A named could sometimes be recorded
several different ways during the lifetime of one person!
The prefix Mc n front of a name, meaning "son of" is
popular in Irish names, although this is no guarantee
that a name is Irish. The Scottish also use Mc as well as
Mac. The prefix "O" is however almost always Irish.
Traditionally, the ancient Kings of Ireland
were descended from King Milesius of Spain, the grandson
of Breoghan (Brian), King of Galicia, Asndalusia, Murcia,
Catile, and Portugal. Milesius, a great general/king, was
instrumental in defending Egypt from the King of
Ethiopia. Milesius later turned his attention northward
to Ireland, fulfilling an ancient Druidic prophecy. He
sent an army to explore this fertile island. On finding
that his son had been murdered by three resident Irish
Kings ( the Danans),Milesius gathered another army to
take his revenge on the Irish. He died before he embarked
on the trip. His remaining eight sons conquered
Heremon, eldest son of Milesius, reigned in
Ireland for fourteen years, along with his brothers
Heber, Ir, Ithe. They named the land Scota or Scotia,
their mothers name, the land of the Scots. This name
would later be taken by the Irish King Colla in 357 when
he was exiled to Scotland, leaving the name Ir-land, land
of Ir, youngest of the four sons of Milesius, to the
Emerald Isle. The four Irish kingdoms eventually broke
into five separate nations under the High King, or Ard
Righ. These royal lines would later produce such great
kings as the 4th century King Niall of the Nine Hostages
who died in France while cutting of the retreat of the
Romans from Britain, and King Brian Boru who died in the
Battle of Clontarf in 1014, finally expelling the Vikings
from Dublin and Ireland.
The great Gaelic family McDonough emerged
in later years in the counties of Cork, Sligo, and
Roscommon. The McDonaghs were descended from the
McDermotts, the Kings of Leinster, and Chief of Sligo and
Roscommon, who were descended from the Heber line of
Irish Kings. The McDonagh or Donagheys were Lords of
Coran and Tireril in Sligo and also held the strong
Castle of Kanturk in the county of Cork and they were
know as the Lords of Duhallo. When the Clann was
dispossessed and moved north to Tyrone and Derry they
mostly assumed the name Donaghey and O'Donaghey. Notable
amongst the family at this time was Thomas McDonough who
distinguished himself at the battle of Plattsburg.
Invasions by Strongbow in 1172, Cromwell in
the 17th century and the devastation of the great potato
famine in 1845, caused continued widespread misery and
poverty, and the exodus from Ireland began: first a
trickle, then a flood. Fifty years after the famine, the
population was reduced to less than half of what it had
Irish immigrants joined the armada of
sailing ships which sailed from Belfast, Dublin, Cork,
Holyhead, Liverpool, and Glasgow, bound for the New
World, or Australia. Some called these ships the White
Sails, others, more realistically, called them the
"Coffin Ships", as 30% to $0% of the passengers died of
disease and the elements during the crossing.
In North America some of the first migrants
who could be considered kinsmen of the Sept McDonough
were James Donaghy who settled in New York in 1804; John
(six of this name) arrived in Philadelphia between 1811
and 1867; Alexander Donaghy settled in New York in 1804;
Charles, Cornelius, Daniel, Henery, James, John, Nancy,
and Sarah Donaghy all arrived in Philadelphia between
1840 and 1865; Henry, Hugh, James, Mary, Patrick, Paul,
Richard, and Thomas McDonagh all arrived in Philadelphia
between 1810 and 1840.
The Irish played an important part in the
New World in building the nation; the railroads, coal
mines, bridges, and canals. They lent culture to the
arts, sciences, commerce, religion, and the professions.
They moved westward with the wagon train, and settled the
mid west, some trekking as far as the west coast.
During the American War of Independence
some Irish settlers fought on the American side, while
others remained loyal to the British Crown, The latter
moved north into Canada, becoming known as the United
Empire Loyalists. They were granted lands on the banks of
the St. Lawrence and the Niagara Peninsula. During the
American Civil War many Irish formed Irish Brigades and
fought in the great struggle of the Union versus South.
Remembering their own servitude in Ireland and their
history of fighting in the European continental wars as
mercenaries made them formidable opponents.
Over the centuries, many bearers of the
McDonough surname became prominent people, and the family
continues to make important political and cultural
contributions to society on both sides of the
Heraldry arose in the 12th century,around
the time of the Crusades. In battle, a knight dressed in
armor would be barely recognized by friend or foe, so a
new method of identification became necessary. This
resulted in special markings being painted on the
knight's shield and in the coat he wore over his armor
(hence the phrase Coat of Arms). A son would inherit the
marking of his father, carrying them into battle with
pride. After a battle, the knight returned to his castle
or manor and hung his shield and helmet on the wall. The
colorful tournaments of jousting competitions of the
Middle Ages helped greatly in the development of
However when jousting was no longer in
fashion, the individual markings used by knights began to
appear on the seals ,in stone, and on objects of value.
This was particularly important in an age when very few
people could write.
Heraldry has its own special language which
comes from the Norman French. It was introduced to
Britain and Ireland after the Norman conquest of 1066.
The Coat of Arms is itself described as the
"Blazon", and in most descriptions the first word
is the color of the shield. Above the Blazon is found the
knights helmet on which is placed the Crest. a decorative
feature. The markings on the shield are referred to as
"charges" or" ordinaries". As time passed
and people learned to read and write a " motto"
was sometimes added to the Blazon.
So what does this mean for the Mcdonough's
of the world? Do we have a Blazon of Arms, a Crest, or
even a Motto? Well of course we do. Actually if you don't
know what your McDonough Coat of Arms is you would
probably be better off making a brand new one. Remember
since the whole idea of heraldry is to have a unique
symbol for your family. Do you really want to use someone
Generally the family mottos are written in
Latin. One of the oldest Mottos used by McDonough
"Virtutis Gloria Merces" meaning
"virtue, fame, and reward"
The most ancient grant of a Coat of Arms
green and gold with a silver boar at the
base and two red lions at the top.
the Crest was:
An Arm holding a dagger on which there
is a salamander.
If you use your mouse and right click on
the coat of Arms below you can save it and maybe modify
it into your own unique Coat of Arms.
Hope this helps you a little in your research.