O'Connell Family History
The ancient origin of the name O'Connell was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. The Connells and O'Connells are a Kerry sept whose genealogy is traced back to Eremonian Aengus Tuirmeach who was High King of Ireland about 180 B.C. The powerful O'Donoghues pushed them towards the Atlantic coast in the eleventh century where they became hereditary castellans of Ballycarbery under the MacCarthy Mor Chiefs. At the time of the Cromwellian regime the head of the sept was transplanted to County Clare where a branch has remained ever since. The barony of Magunihy is still the homeland of the leading family, whose representative is Sir Morgan O'Connell. Friar John O'Connell composed the histroical poem 'Tuireadh na hÉireann'. Daniel Count O'Connell, 1743-1833, was 'the last colonel of the Irish brigade'. Perhaps the most famous of the sept was Daniel O'Connell, 1775-1847, who was known as 'The Liberator', and who spearheaded the campaign for Catholic emancipation in Ireland in 1829. His monument is to be found at the ancestral home at Derrynane in County Kerry.The O'Connell family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including O'Connell descendants.