Aherne History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Many Irish surnames can be traced back to their Gaelic forms. The name Aherne originally appeared in Gaelic as O hEachthigheirn or O hEachthigheirna, made up of the words "each" meaning "steed," and "thighearna," meaning "lord." This was first Anglicized O'Hagherin, which was later changed to O'Aherne before the prefix was eventually dropped. [1]

Early Origins of the Aherne family

The surname Aherne was first found in County Clare (Irish: An Clár) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat as a Dalcassian sept from before the year 1000. However, with the disruptions of the Strongbow Invasion of 1172, they migrated southward to counties Cork and Waterford. In Waterford the name is predominantly Hearn and Hearne.

Early History of the Aherne family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Aherne research. Another 116 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1420, 1566, 1754, 1769, 1797, and 1806 are included under the topic Early Aherne History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Aherne Spelling Variations

One explanation for the many variations is that scribes and church officials frequently spelled the name as it sounded: an imprecise method at best. Understandably then, various spellings of the surname Aherne were found in the many archives researched. These included O'Aherne, O'Ahern, Hearne, O'Heffron, Haveran, Hayveren and many more.

Early Notables of the Aherne family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Aherne Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Aherne family

A great wave of Irish migration occurred during the 19th century as a direct result of English colonial rule and tight-fisted absentee landlords. Many of these Irish immigrants boarded passenger ships bound for North America. Those who migrated early enough were given land in either British North America or the United States; those who came in the late 19th century were typically employed in industrial centers as laborers. At whatever age they undertook the dangerous passage to North America, those Irish immigrants were essential to the speedy development of the two infant nations to which they arrived, whether they broke and settled land, helped build canals, bridges, and railroads, or produced products for consumer consumption. An examination of immigration and passenger lists has uncovered a large number of immigrants bearing the name Aherne or one of its variants: James Hearn from Carrick on Suir in County Tipperary settled in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, in 1798; James Heurn escaped from an Irish prison ship and settled at Bay Bull, Newfoundland, in 1734.


Contemporary Notables of the name Aherne (post 1700) +

  • James "Jim" Aherne (b. 1922), Irish Gaelic footballer
  • Richard Aherne (1911-2002), born Vincent Richard Ahern, an Irish actor, active from 1943 to 1957
  • Fergus Aherne (b. 1963), Irish former rugby union international player from Cork
  • Thomas "Bud" Aherne (1919-1999), Irish professional footballer and hurler
  • Caroline Mary Aherne (1963-2016), English BAFTA Award winning writer and actress
  • William de Lacy Aherne (1867-1945), English architect, best known for his Arts and Crafts styles in the Moseley area of Birmingham
  • Patrick "Pat" Aherne (1901-1970), English film actor, son of William de Lacy Aherne
  • Brian Aherne (1902-1986), born William Brian de Lacy Aherne, English stage and film actor, son of William de Lacy Aherne
  • Gerald Aherne, Irish Lieutenant Colonel


The Aherne Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Per ardua surgo
Motto Translation: I rise through difficulties.


  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)


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