The O'Fogartaigh sept from which the families names Fogarty descend, held a territory named Eile ni Fhogartaigh whence the name of the barony of Eliogarty, County Tipperary. There is still a strong representation of the surname Fogarty in County Tipperary and in the region of Thurles close to their former stronghold, Castle Fogarty. The inland Munster county of Tipperary is second only in extent in Ireland to the Ulster county of Donegal, covering as it does over one million acres. The county is bounded on the east and north-east by the province of Leinster, having boundaries with the counties of Offaly, Leix and Kilkenny. On the south side County Tipperary has a boundary with County Waterford, marked for some distance by the River Suir. The community which mushroomed beside one rich colliery, which opened in the 18th century, one of the earliest to be exploited in the county, was named Coalbrook. Ironstone metal was also found in the pits there. As this county covered a large territory it accommodated anciently a number of septs; by the time of the arrival of the Anglo-Normans, branches of several Dalcassian septs from Thomond had also established themselves in the area. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (a Sept who possessed the territory of Eile-Hy-Fhogartaigh, now the Barony of Eliogarty, County Tipperary, deriving their name from their Chieftan Fhogartaigh). 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.
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