The famous Neill sept of Ulster was not the only sept of the name in Ireland. A distinct O'Neill sept held a territory in Munster, in the barony of Bunratty, County Clare, and some of its descendants survive in that county. Another O'Neill sept was located in the barony of Rathvilly, County Carlow, and descendants of that sept are found in that region. The Ulster sept which furnished kings and high-kings of Ireland belonged to a territory covering County Tyrone, most of County Derry and part of County Donegal, called Tir Eoghan, from which County Tyrone takes its name. Sir Neill O'Neill of Killeleagh, died 1690 in the Battle of the Boyne. Eugene Gladstone O'Neill (1888-1953) was the American playwright, author of 'The Emperor Jones' and 'The Iceman Cometh' amongst many others. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Killeleagh, Ireland. Descended from Hugh McPhelim Baccogh O'Neill, during the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603). The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. At first armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms first became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413-1422), a proclamation was issued, prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'. The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, although indeed a few were formed before the year 1000.
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