What's in a name? Early Tribal Names.
Surnames were not introduced into Ireland until the period 950 to 1050 AD. Before this, there were large Family Groups, usually called Tribes, who occupied separate areas and were ruled by a King. Because of the growth in population this system had become too unwieldy, and individuals were difficult to identify.
In the South West of Ireland we find a number of important Tribe Names which are useful to remember.
There are of course many variations in the spelling of these Tribal Names, but the ones below are typical.
1.Eoganachta. The Eugenians- descendants of Eoghan Mor or Eberians- descendants of Eber. They spread through Counties Tipperary, Kerry and Cork. The most successful, powerful and numerous of the Gaelic Tribes in the South West. The surnames they adopted included McCarthy, O'Sullivan, O'Callaghan, O'Keefe, and MacAuliffe.
2.Uí Eacha. A branch of the Eoganachta who migrated to North Carbery. Split into two Families, the Kinel Aedha, later known as O'Mahoney; and the Kinel Laoghaire, later known as O'Donoghue.
3.Corca Laoidhe. An earlier, non-Gaelic, or Errainn Tribe. Occupied South Carbery. Their later surnames included O'Driscoll, O'Leary, O'Coffey, O'Fihelly, and O'Hea.
4.Uí Liatháin. Related to the Corca Laoidhe and lived in what is now Barrymore. Their surname became O'Liatháin or Lyons.
5.Uí Baghamna. Or Muscraige Muitaine. Lived in Muskerry. Their later surnames included O'Flynn.
6.Ciarraide. Occupied Central Kerry. Their later surnames were O'Conor Kerry, and O'Cahill.
7.Corca Duibhne. Occupied the Corkaguiney Peninsula, (Dingle Peninsula). Later surname O'Falvey.
8.Clanna Degadh. Or Degadians. Had migrated previously from the North to Limerick. Later surnames were O'Shea, and O'Connell.
9.Dal gCais. Occupied the South Clare area. Another highly successful Tribe. Later surnames included O'Brien,and MacNamara.