This famous Irish clan originates from County Sligo before the 10th century a.d. It is said that they descend from Eaghra, chief of Leyny, and a member of the household of Ollum, King of Munster. In the 14th century the clan was split into two septs, and the chiefs of each branch were known as O'Hara Buide (the brown faced one) and O'Hara Reagh, the rough faced one! The centre of each sept was at the villages of Colloney and Ballyharry, a transposed spelling of 'Ballyhara'. The O'Hara clan were very large landlords in Sligo, at one time having over 20,000 acres at Coopers Hill and Annaghmore. The O'Hara's have been both supporters of the government of the time and revolutionaries in equal measure. The clan have suppled at least three bishops, and were rewarded in 1706 by the granted of the title Baron Tyrawley. However in 1798 James O'Hara was one of General Washington's supporters in the American war of Independance 1771 - 1783, whilst Kean O'Hara was a participant with Lord Edward Fitzgerald in the 1798 rebellion. Both escaped to France, where they served as officers in the armies of Napoleon Bonaparte. The actress Maureen O'Hara, was born a Fitzgerald. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Dermot O'hEaghra, which was dated circa 1350, in the "Composition book of Connacht", during the reign of King Edward 111, of England, 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was 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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