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Surname O'Garah - Meaning and Origin

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O'Garah: What does the surname O'Garah mean?

The surname O'Garah is an Irish surname of Gaelic origin. It is derived from the native Gaelic Ó Gadhra Septs, which means "descendant of Gadhra". The O'Garah septs were located in the province of Connacht, in the west of Ireland, for many centuries.

The most common anglicized spelling of the O'Garah surname is O'Gara. In the translation from Irish to English, the "Gadhra" part of the name has been changed from its original form and is now represented by "Gara", due to the phonetic corruption of the early Irish form.

O'Gara is sometimes used as an informal variant of O'Gara, but the O'Garah form is more commonly seen in its traditional native Irish spelling.

The O'Garah septs were traditional allies of the O'Connors of Connacht. They held the lordship of the area of Tirerril, which is now incorporated as part of the modern County Galway.

Today, many people of Irish descent bear the surname O'Garah. It is found overwhelmingly in Ireland, with large numbers in the United States, Canada, Australia, and other countries all over the world where people of Irish descent live.

The Gaelic root of the O'Garah surname reflects a proud and ancient history of the Irish people. It is a surname which reflects the strength, the courage, and the spirit of a people willing to endure through the tough times, and to thrive during the prosperous ones.

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O'Garah: Where does the name O'Garah come from?

The last name O'Garah is most commonly found in County Clare, Ireland. It is a variant of the Gaelic name O'Gara, which is a patronymic meaning "descendant of Gara". The Irish language name was recorded as early as the 13th century and it is believed to have sprung from the native Gaelic Sept of Ui Gadhra, who held tribal lands in the region of Thomond (modern County Clare).

The O'Garah family settled in the south-west of County Clare and their lands were located to the north of Fergus and the south of the Shannon River. In the 1659 "Census", the O'Garah's were one of the principle Irish families of Thomond, indicating their lengthy presence in the region. In more modern times, the last name is most commonly found in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States.

Today, there are several notable individuals who carry the O'Garah last name. Colonel William Patrick O'Gara was a decorated United States Marine who was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroic actions during the Vietnam War. Additionally, former professional rugby union player Jon O'Gara played for several top teams in England and Ireland including Munster Rugby, Wasps, and Bath Rugby.

Overall, the last name O'Garah is primarily associated with County Clare, Ireland and is still commonly found within the region today. It is also found in other parts of the world, although in much smaller numbers, due to emigration from County Clare.

Variations of the surname O'Garah

The surname O'Garah is derived from the Gaelic form of the Irish and Scottish surname Mac Gearailt, meaning “son of the unfaithful servant”. This surname can be found in a variety of spellings and variations of O'Garah, including O'Geraghty, O'Grady, O'Gara, MacGara, McGara, McGarry, McGarry, MacGarry, MacGeary, MacGeraghty, MacGerry, Geary, Gearry, and Gargary.

The surname can trace its roots back to Gaelic aristocracy, as members of the O'Gara clan were the ruling family of Coolavin in County Sligo. Given the long ancestry and different spellings, it can often be difficult to trace the exact origins of the surname.

In the United States, the numerous spelling variants of O'Garah have been condensed over the years and are generally pronounced similarly regardless of spelling. Still, the surname has retained some of its original regional variants, such as McGarrey or MacGarra.

In Ireland and the United Kingdom, the surname can still be found today, although it is rarer than in other parts of the world. In England, Scotland, and Wales, the surname appears with the prefix ‘O’, while in Ireland, the prefix ‘Mac’ often appears.

In the United States, Canada, and Australia, the numerous variations of the surname have been absorbed by immigration and blended into a single spelling, typically either O’Gara or O’Garah. The name is common in all these countries, and can be found in political, historical, and civic records.

Famous people with the name O'Garah

  • Niamh O’Gara: Irish fashion blogger and model
  • Claire O’Gara: Irish radio presenter and blogger
  • Cillian O’Gara: Irish rugby union player
  • Conor O’Gara: Irish actor and talent agent
  • Senan O’Gara: Irish politician and senator
  • Stephen O’Gara: Australian singer-songwriter and music producer
  • Philip O’Gara: Irish freelance journalist
  • Enda O’Gara: Irish journalist and author
  • Gary O’Gara: former Gaelic footballer
  • Cian O’Gara: Irish cricketer and doctor

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