This is regarded as the most famous and illustrious Irish surname. Recorded as O' Connor, O' Conor, Conor, Connor, Connors, Connar and Conner, all nameholders were originally descendants of Conchobhair, the King of Connacht, who died in 971 a.d. He was the predecessor of Turlough O'Connor and Roderick O'Connor, the last High King of Ireland, who died in 1198. The name translates as the male descendant of "Hound-desire", the latter being a personal name which owed much to the Viking influence of the pre 8th Century, when Ireland was invaded by the Norsemen. The clan O' Connor has six distinct septs, and was originally found in the province of Connacht, although today in the 20th century the largest sept is now to be found in County Kerry, in the province of Muster, in the far west of the country. Early examples of the surname recordings include Cabrach O'Conor (1584 - 1655) and Hugh O'Conor, who were both prominent leaders in the various wars which culminated in their defeats by Oliver Cromwell in 1650 and 1651. Sir Luke O' Connor served with the British Army in the Crimea, and was one of the first holders of the Victoria Cross, awarded at the battle of Alma in 1854. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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