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This surname is anglicised from the Gaelic name Ó Catháin in English it also became Cahan and Keane. It was one of four septs that were decended from Muirceartach Mór Mac Earca, son of Muireadach, son of Eoghan, son of Naill of the Nine Hostages, the fifth century founder of th Uí Néill dynasty.The Ó Catháin came from the Laggan district of East Donegal in the twelfth century and drove the O' Connors out of Glengiven now Dungiven in Co. Derry where they built a priory which is still show on modern maps. It is a prominent West Ulster sept. The heaviest distribution of Kane's in Ireland is in Ulster and County Derry.

Ua Catháin conquered the Ciannachta (Barony of Keenaught county Derry.) and extended his sway to the banks of the Bann.

The Ó Catháin supported Robert the Bruce when he invaded Ireland the Ó Catháin were a uirrí of Ó Néill the invasion failed because of a famine by 1317 the Ulster army was so hungry they raised bodies from the cemeteries to eat, and mothers were eating their children.

The priory that is associated with the Ó Catháin at Dungiven has a Ó Catháin tomb. The Ó Catháin chieften Cooey-na-Gal who died in 1385 is buried there. In the chancelry of the church there is a stone effigy dressed in a padded aketon (coat of mail) with a pisson (large collar pointed at the front) the effigy is armed with sword and axe although the axe is said to have been the favoured weapon of the time.


A new history of Ireland Medieval Ireland 1169-1534. Edited be Art Cosgrove, Published by Claredon Press, Oxford (1993)

[Main Menu.] [Tyneside History.] [Tyneside & Family Photographs.] [ Kane Family History.]

Tyneside Family and Community History.

This web page is part of the Tyneside Family and Community web site. The site is a history of colliery villages in the North East of England, in particular the area of Weetslade in Northumberland in the 19th Century. Pages on the site include Migration, Irish, Housing, Education and Work. There are many surnames included in the pages, which may be of interest to family historians.

Also include is my own personal family tree interests the surnames:- KANE, WAKE and DINNING.

This is a Genealogy Site