O'Gara family genealogy

Chiefs of Coolavin and Sliabh Lugha

Arms: Three lions ramp. az. on a chief gu. a demi lion ramp. or. Crest: A demi lion ramp. erm. holding betw. the paws a wreath of oak vert. acorned or. Motto: Fortiter et fideliter.

BEICE, who is No. 101 on the "O'Hara" pedigree, had two sons—1. Eadhradh, and 2. Saorgus: this Saorgus was the ancestor of O'Gadhra; anglicised O'Gara, Geary, and Gerry.

102. Saorgus: son of Beice.

103. Claonachan ("claon": Irish, prejudiced): his son; a quo MacClaonachain, anglicised MacClanaghan and MacClenaghan.

104. Gadhar ("gadhar:" Irish, a mastiff, which means that in battle he was fierce as a mastiff): his son a quo O'Gadhra.

105. Rorc O'Gara: his son; first assumed this sirname.

106. Conor: his son.

107. Dunsleibhe: his son.

108. Dunsleibe Oge: his son.

109. Roger: his son.

110. Dunsleibhe (3): his son.

111. Congal: his son.

112. Ragnach: his son.

113. Dermod (3): his son.

114. Tumaltach (or Timothy): his son.

115. Timothy Oge: his son.

116. Eoghan: his son.

117. Dermod (2): his son.

118. Olioll: his son.

119. Teige: his son.

120. Fargal O'Gara: his son. This is the Fargal O'Gara, lord of Moy-O'Gara and Coolavin, to whom Michael O'Clery, their chief author, dedicated the Annala Rioghacta Eirionn[1] and who was one of the two knights elected to represent the county Sligo in the Parliament held in Dublin, A.D. 1634. The family was, in 1648, dispossessed, consequent on the war of 1641-1652.

The O'Garas were lords of the territory of Luighne, now forming and giving name to the barony of Leyney or Lieny, in the county of Sligo, whence they were expelled by the MacSurtains (or Jordans,—known in the co. Cork as Lordans) and MacCostelloes, families of Anglo-Norman descent; and they were obliged to remove into Cuil-Ui-Fionn, now the barony of Coolavin, in the same county. They are sometimes styled lords of Sliabh Lugha, a district on the confines of the counties of Sligo and Mayo, comprising, besides lands in the former, a large portion of the barony of Costello in the latter county. Sliabh Lugha, as well as the country of Luighne, derives its name from Luigh, son of Cormac Galeng, son of Teige, son of Cian, the third son of Olioll Olum, King of Munster, who is No. 84 on the "Line of Heber." From Cormac Galeng, here mentioned, the Gailenga derive their descent and tribe-name. O'Dugan says:

"Let us proceed into the Lienys,

Let us leave the country of Carbury,

Let us treat of the race of Cian,

In the warlike Lienys of trenchant blades.

The princes of Lieny of wide-spread fame,

Are O'Hara and O'Huathmaran;

Let us visit Lieny of sword-armed heroes,

And bear O'Kearnahan in memory,

Good is each mansion of that tribe—

Of these is O'Gara."

The following notices of this family are collected from various sources:—


964. Tiachleach O'Gara was slain; he was lord of South Leyney.

1056. Rory O'Gara, tanist ot Leyney, was slain.

1059. Rory O'Gara, heir presumptive of the lordship of Leyney, died. His uncle, Conal, died, 993.

1067. Donlevy O'Gara, lord of Leyney and Magh-Ui-Gadhra, was killed by Brian O'Hara.

1128. O'Gadhra, lord of Leyney, was slain on an expedition into Leinster. His kinsman, O'Gara of Moy-Gara, was slain at the battle of Ardee.

1206. O'Gara, lord of Sliabh-Lugha, died.

1207. Connor O'Gara, lord of Leyney, flourished.

1217. Donal O'Gara, died.

1226. Ferghail O'Teighe, Captain of the House of Cathal of the Red Hand O'Connor, and Aodh, son of the said Cathal, were slain by Dunlevy O'Gara, lord of Leyney; and Dunlevy himself was slain in the year following, by his own nephew, the Giolla-Roe O'Gara; and Giolla-Roe was slain soon afterwards at the instigation of Hugh O'Connor.

1228. The sons of Teige O'Gara slew Murtogh O'Flanagan.

1237. A prey was taken by Connor MacCormac O'Gara, whose brother was killed on that occasion.

1241. Teige, son of Rory O'Gara, died.

1254. Manus O'Gara was killed.

1256. Rory O'Gara, lord of Sliabh Lugha, was slain by David FitzRickard Cuisin; but Hugh, son of Felim O'Connor, plundered the murderer's lands, demolished his castle, seized his possessions, and slew himself in revenge for the murder of his friend.

1260. Teige, son of Cian O'Gara, was slain at the battle of Dromderg, at Dun-da-Leath-glas or Downpatrick, fought between the English, commanded by Stephen, Earl of Salisbury, and the Irish Nation under the command of King Brian O'Neill; Hugh O'Connor being second in command. In this sanguinary struggle the Irish King lost his life in defence of his people.

1285. Rory O'Gara, lord of Sliabh Lugha, was slain by De Bermingham on Lough O'Gara, in the barony of Coolavin.

1325. Brian O'Gara, of Coolavin, died.

1328. Donogh Roe O'Gara and five of his name were slain. Dermod O'Gara slew Teige O'Connor.

1435. O'Gara was killed by his own people on Inis Bolg, an island in Lough Techet, now Loch O'Gara; his own brother, Connor Cam, was the principal in the murder. This Connor Cam was slain in the year following, in an attempt to repel the MacDonoghs from Coolavin. Felim O'Connor preyed the country of O'Gara; and the latter in revenge preyed the people of Ballymore-O'Flynn.

1461. Fergal O'Gara, tanist of Coolavin, was killed by MacCostelloe.

1464. Tomaltach O'Gara was killed in a nocturnal attack on Sliabh Lugha, by Maurice MacCormac MacDermott Gall, and by Edmund MacCostelloe of the Plain.

1469. Eoghan O'Gara, son of Tomaltach Oge, son of Tomaltach Mór, lord of Coolavin, died between the two Lady-days, in Autumn; and his son, Eoghan, died soon afterwards; and Dermod, son of Eoghan, son of Tomaltach, succeeded to the lordship.

1478. The son of Fergal O'Gara, above mentioned, and Manus, son of David, were slain.

1495. Teige, son of Donal, son of Eoghan O'Gara, and Cian, son of Brian O'Gara, were slain. Cian, son of Eoghan, son of Tomaltach Oge O'Gara, was "rhymed to death" by a bard. Dermod, son of Eoghan, son of Tomaltach Oge, lord of Coolavin, was taken prisoner by O'Donnell, at the battle of Bel-an-droichet, near Sligo. His son, Eoghan, died in 1537.

1648. FARGAL O'GARA, the last name on this family pedigree, lord of Moy O'Gara and Coolavin, to whom Brother Michael O'Clery dedicated the Annals of Ireland (the Four Masters), was M.P. for the county of Sligo, from 24th March, 1628, till 30th May, 1640. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin; and he was the first of the family who conformed to the Protestant religion.

1716. Bernard O'Gara, a native of Sligo, was appointed to the archiepiscopal see of Tuam. He died in 1740, and was succeeded by his brother Michael O'Gara, who died between 1752 and 1755.

This is the last entry we find of this family.

A friary was erected at Knockmore, in the 14th century, by O'Gara, of which the doorways and windows are in good preservation; and it is still a favourite burial place. Here are also the ruins of Gara Castle, the residence of that O'Gara whose descendant, Colonel O'Gara, left Ireland, after the battle of Aughrim, and entered the Austrian service.


[1] Annala Rioghachta Eirionn: This name means "The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland; now known as the Annals of the Four Masters.