Families of this name CORCORAN may be descended either from the O'Corcrain sept whose homeland was around Lough Erne in County Fermanagh, of the Mac Corcrain sept which belonged to County Offaly. The Connacht Corcoran families, mostly in County Mayo, are more likely to descend from the Fermanagh sept while the Leinster and Munster families of the name would appear to be descendants of the Offaly sept. There is evidence also that in County Kerry Corcoran was used interchangeably with Corkery or Corkerry which derived from O'Corcra. Mac Corcrain and O'Corcra derived from the Irish word, corcair, meaning purple or ruddy. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. As early as the year 1100, it was quite common for English people to give French names to their children, and the earliest instances are found among the upper classes, both the clergy and the patrician families. The Norman-French names used were generally the names most commonly used by the Normans, who had introduced them into England during the Norman Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066. Early records of the name mention Cathasach Ua Corcain, who was documented in the year 1045, and Donagh Mac Corcrane appears in 1576. Corkan (without surname) was recorded in the year 1611. The lion depicted in the arms is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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