The surname of GALLAGHER was originally derived from the gaelic O'GALLCHOBHAIR - meaning foreign help, or valorous victor. The O'Gallchohbhair sept, from which Gallagher families are descended, held a territory in the south-east of County Donegal in the baronies of Tirhugh and Raphoe with a sept centre at Ballynaglack near Stranorlar. Although Gallgher and O'Gallagher rank among the twenty commonest surnames in Ireland, the distribution is still markedly concentrated close to the original territory of the sept. The maritime Ulster county of Donegal in the extreme north-west of Ireland is bounded on the west and north by the Atlantic ocean, to the south by Donegal Bay and an extending extremity of County Leitrim on the east by Lough Foyle which seperates it from County Derry and to the south-east by land boundaries with county Tyrone and County Fermanagh. The ancient name of the region was Tyrconnell or Tirconnell and its chief families were the ruling O'Donnells and O'Dohertys. The county was erected by the Lord Deputy in 1584, and after the forfeiture to the Crown of the O'Donnell estates, the lands of the county were included in the ambitious Ulster plantation scheme. About four-fifths of the cultivable land in the county was allotted for settlement in 62 portions, 47 for English and Scottish undertakers and servitors, and 15 for native Irish. The rest of the good land was assigned to the established church for its support to Trinity College, and for the support of schools in Derry and Donegal and to five corporate towns. The surname has been recently introduced into Scotland. The name is sometimes rendered as O'Gallchu, and is also spelt as Gallacher and Gallaher. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. They were a sept who possessed a territory in the baronies of Raphoe and Tirhugh, County Donegal, and held the castle of Lifford and Ballyshannon, deriving their surname from Gallchobhair, a warrior of the Sept, who, lived in the year 950. AD. Many Irish joined the armada of sailing ships which sailed from Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Liverpool and Glasgow, bound for the New World. In north America, some of the first migrants that could be considered kinsmen of the sept Gallagher arrived to help play an important part in building the nation.
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