Recorded as Branigan, Brannigan and Brangan, and originally O' Branagain, this is a famous Irish clan surname. It originates from a region which was formerly known as Oriel, and which in modern parlance constitutes the counties of Armagh, Monaghan and Louth. It is said that about the year 1400 some of the clan migrated west into County Galway, where they became known as the O'Brangan and O'Branigan. However they do not appear to have retained the Gaelic O' prefix for long, as in only 1497 Henry Branigan was recorded as being the warden of Galway. The name means the descendent of the son of the raven, the latter being a nickname for the first chief of the clan. As to why somebody should be called "The Raven" is open to conjecture, but as a bird of prey the raven was regarded with some awe by the ancient people, and was often used as a heraldic charge on a coat of arms. Later in the war between King James 11nd of Ireland with William of Orange in 1690, another William Branigan or Brannigan was an officer in Colonel Bellows regiment, drawn mainly from the Louth area. It is said that the clan do originate from the village of Ballybranan in County Armagh, and also from Ballybranagan in County Galway.
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