Last name: McGovern

Recorded invarious spellings including MacGovern, McGovern, McGowran, Govern, and the original Magauran, this is an Irish surname of some history and reputation. It derives from the ancient Gaelic Mag Shamhradrain, translating as "the descendant of the summer person" "samhra" meaning summer. Quite why anybody should have such a nickname is unclear, but it is claimed that the first name holder was one "Samhradan" who lived about the year 1100. Certainly the clan held lands for many centuries in what is now County Cavan, at a place called Tullylaw, and also at the village of Ballymagauran. They seem to have had a long love-hate relationship with the Maguires. It is reported that in the year 1481 the Maguires descended upon the village and burnt it to the ground, in response to a "dishonourable act" by a McGovern. The wording suggests events leading to breach of wedding vows or similar. Amongst the early nameholders were Edmund Magauran, the archbishop of Armagh in the years 1588 - 1159, and Hugh McGovern, an 18th century poet who helped to awaken the interest in Gaelic literature. The name is also famous in the Argentine, the McGovern family being one of the largest land owners in that country, whilst Senator McGovern in the USA has twice stood for the presidency. The first recording of the surname may be that of Teag Magauran, the bishop of Armagh from 1588 to 1595.

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