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McKiernan Web Pages
MacKiernan - MacTiernan
No less than thirty-three MacTiernans are mentioned in the “Annals of
the Four Masters”, practically all of them Chiefs of Teallach Donnchadha
(modern Tullyhunco, in Co. Cavan) or their relatives.
Though not much information is given about their exploits, the mere
recording of so many obituaries indicates the importance of the sept throughout
the three centuries from 1250 to 1550. The
name is still found chiefly in the Cavan-Leitrim area but generally without the
prefix Mac; when the Mac is retained MacTernan is now the usual form.
Another sept of MacTiernan held territory in the northeastern part of Co.
Roscommon in medieval times. Their
origin is different from the Tullyhunco sept, being descended from Tiernan,
grandson of Turlough Mór O’Connor, King of Ireland, while the Cavan sept is a
branch of the O’Rourkes. This
being so, it is of interest to note that the large estate of Hugh MacTernan of
Heapstown House, Boyle, Co. Roscommon, in 1878 lay for the most part in Co.
The name in Irish is Mac Tighearnáin (derived from tighearna,
a lord). It is also spelt with the
"T" aspirated - MacTighearnáin - which was phonetically anglicized MacKiernan.
The Chiefs of Tullyhunco were occasionally called MacKiernan instead of
MacTiernan. Today the two names,
including their variants with and without the Mac, are about equal in numbers,
and Kiernan is numerous in the same area as Tiernan.
The latter is sometimes confused with Tierney, but there is actually no
connection between them.
FAMILIES”, Edward MacLysaght, page 273
Publishers Inc. 1972 70-184040