Show ContentsO'Flaherty History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Irish surnames in use today are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name O'Flaherty originally appeared in Gaelic as "O Flaithbheartaigh," which means "bright ruler."

Early Origins of the O'Flaherty family

The surname O'Flaherty was first found in Connemara (Irish : Conamara), which derives from Conmhaicne Mara (meaning: descendants of Con Mhac, of the sea)), County Galway in Connacht where the name claims descent from Flaithbertaigh Ua Flaithbertaigh, King of Connacht, who died 1098. Flaithbertaigh was the first bearer of the surname O'Flaherty, and was Lord of Maigh Seola in what is now County Galway. 1

"The O'Flahertys were originally located in the Barony of Clare, County Galway, but in the thirteenth century, having been expelled from this territory, they settled in the Barony of Moycullen, and were styled Lords of lar Conacht or West Connaught. A large number of the Flahertys are now to be found in the Baronies of Moycullen, Ross, and Ballinahinch, in County Galway." 2

Another source gives this background about the family: "This family, whose tribe name was Muintir Murchadha, traced their descent from Flaibheartach, twenty-second in descent from Eochaidh Muighmeadhon, king of Ireland, who died in 366. They were at first settled in Magh Seola, to the east of Lough Corrib, but in the thirteenth century were driven from their original home by the O'Connors, and conquered a new territory in West Connaught from Lough Corrib to the sea. There were several septs of the clan." 3

Early History of the O'Flaherty family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Flaherty research. Another 135 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1377, 1407, 1589, 1593, 1629 and 1718 are included under the topic Early O'Flaherty History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'Flaherty Spelling Variations

Names during the Middle Ages were often recorded under several different spelling variations during the life of their bearers. Literacy was rare at that time and so how a person's name was recorded was decided by the individual scribe. Variations of the name O'Flaherty include Flaherty, O'Flaherty, Flaverty, Laverty, Faherty and many more.

Early Notables of the O'Flaherty family

Notable amongst the family name at this time was

  • Roderic O'Flaherty (1629-1718) who was an Irish historian. O'Flaherty was the last "de jure" or "Lord of Iar Connacht," and the last recognized chief of the O'Flaherty Clan. He inherited Maigh Cuilinn...

United States O'Flaherty migration to the United States +

In the late 18th century, Irish families began emigrating to North America in the search of a plot of land to call their own. This pattern of emigration grew steadily until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s cause thousands of Irish to flee the death and disease that accompanied the disaster. Those that made it alive to the shores of the United States and British North America (later to become Canada) were, however, instrumental in the development of those two powerful nations. Many of these Irish immigrants proudly bore the name of O'Flaherty:

O'Flaherty Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Frank H. O'Flaherty, aged 40, who landed in America from Cork, in 1892
O'Flaherty Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Harry O'Flaherty, aged 18, who immigrated to the United States from Clifden, Ireland, in 1902
  • Henry O'Flaherty, aged 20, who settled in America from Clifden, Ireland, in 1904
  • Hannah O'Flaherty, aged 23, who landed in America from Liverpool England, in 1908
  • John O'Flaherty, aged 56, who landed in America from Belfast, Ireland, in 1908
  • Eileen O'Flaherty, aged 25, who immigrated to the United States from Kingstown, Ireland, in 1909
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada O'Flaherty migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

O'Flaherty Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James O'Flaherty, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Daniel O'Connell" in 1834
  • Thomas O'Flaherty, aged 23, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Caronge" in 1838
O'Flaherty Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Adell O'Flaherty, aged 28, who immigrated to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1911
  • Gerald O'Flaherty, aged 5, who settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1911
  • John O'Flaherty, aged 20, who settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1911

Australia O'Flaherty migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

O'Flaherty Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Edmund O'Flaherty, aged 22, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Nugget" 4

Contemporary Notables of the name O'Flaherty (post 1700) +

  • Frank Woodrow O’Flaherty (1918-1942), American sailor, recipient of the Navy Cross, eponym of the USS O'Flaherty (DE-340)
  • Rev. Colman E. O'Flaherty (1874-1918), Irish-born, American recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross
  • Ensign Frank Woodrow O'Flaherty (1918-1942), American pilot with the USS Enterprise, eponym of the USS O'Flaherty (DE-340)
  • Colette O’Flaherty, Chief Herald of Ireland
  • Michael O'Flaherty (1891-1952), Irish politician, Mayor of Galway (1950 to 1952)
  • Liam O'Flaherty (1896-1984), Irish novelist and short story writer, author of The Informer (1925); Famine (novel) (1937), set around 1840's Great Famine (Ireland)
  • Patrick O'Flaherty CM (1939-2017), Newfoundland-born, Canadian writer, historian, and academic
  • Sidney Wainman "Sid" O'Flaherty (1886-1967), Australian politician
  • Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty (1898-1963), Vatican priest during World War II, saved many Jewish and POW lives and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

  1. MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. Matheson, Robert E., Special Report on Surnames in Ireland with Notes as to Numeric Strength, Derivation, Ethnology, and Distribution. Dublin: Alexander Thom & Co., 1894. Print
  3. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. South Australian Register. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Nugget 1858. Retrieved on Facebook