The sept centre of the main O'hOgain sept was at Ardcrony in Lower Ormond barony, County Tipperary, whence the family spread into the surrounding counties of Munster and multiplied. Together with those Hogans who may descend from an O'hOgain sept which was located in West Cork the descendants of the O'hOgains bear one of the hundred commonest surnames in Ireland. The maritime county of Cork, in Munster, is bounded by the sea on the south-west, the south and the south-east. To the east it has land boundaries with the counties of Waterford and Tipperary, and to the north with Limerick and to the west with Kerry. Anciently the country formed part of the kingdom of Desmond. After the Anglo-Norman Invasion the whole of the present county, save the City of Cork (which had been founded by the Vikings) and its surroundings, was granted in 1177 by Henry II to Anglo-Norman knights who brought over their followers and established a military colony. 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. 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 draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. A distinguished Irish sculptor, John Hogan (1800-1858) was born at Tallow, County Waterford. 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. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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