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Kelleher Coat of Arms / Kelleher Family Crest

Kelleher Coat of Arms / Kelleher Family Crest

This surname KELLEHER was derived from the Gaelic O'Ceileachair, a name meaning one who was the dear companion. The families of the name descend from the O'Ceileachair sept of County Clare, which migrated southwards to re-establish itself in the fourteenth century in County Cork. 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. The majority of the name have remained in this area until the present day, the next highest representation being in the adjacent county of Kerry. The name is sometimes abbreviated to Keller, which, however, is normally of German origin, and brought into Ireland by settlers from that country. The tradition of surnames in Ireland developed spontaneously, as the population increased and the former practice, first of single names and then of ephemeral patronymics or agnomina of the nickname type proved insufficiently definitive. At first the surname was formed by prefixing 'Mac' to the father's Christian name or 'O 'to that of a grandfather or earlier ancestor. 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. The name has variant spellings which include Kelleher,Kelliher and Keliher. According to extracts made from the census of 1921, by Jeremiah King, the Kerry historian, there were about 165 families of Kelleher in the country at that date. The acorn in the arms is the seed of the oak tree, which is the emblem of virtue and strength.

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last updated on: September 13 2018

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