The surname of O'CONNOR was derived from the Gaelic O'CONCHOBHAIR. It was the name of a family which once ruled Connacht, and provided Ireland with at least two High Kings. It is the name of six distinct septs spread throughout Ireland. The Munster O'CONCHOBHAIR sept held sway in the Northern part of County Kerry, with the stronghold of their chief at Carriganfoyle Castle in the barony of Ireaghticonor. The O'CONCHOBHAIR held a large territory stretching from the borders of County Kildare to the Shannon. Yet another sept of the name was seated in the Northwest of County Clare in the barony of Coromroe. Today families names O'CONNOR or CONNOR are most heavily distributed in Munster where a descent from the Kerry O'CONNORS and the Corcomroe O'CONNORS may be presumed, but they are also numerous in the other provinces. 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 flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. A notable member of the family name was Feargus Edward O'Connor (1794-1855) the Irish Chartist born in Connorville, County Cork. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, was called to the Irish bar, and entered Parliament for Cork County in 1832. He devoted himself to the cause of the working classes in England. His eloquence and enthusiasm gave him vast popularity, and his Leeds 'Northern Star' (1837) did much to advance Chartism. Elected for Nottingham in 1847, he presented the monster Chartist petition in London in April 1848. In 1852 he became hopelessly insane.
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