Please be aware that there is more than one O'Keeffe coat of arms for this surname. If you would like this particular coat of arms, you must describe it on your order form. If you don't describe it on your order form, we will provide you with the oldest coat of arms on record for this surname, which may or may not be the one pictured above.
The O'Keeffes not only originated in Co. Cork, but they also stayed there. It is still an out-and-out Co. Cork name, judging by birth registrations, voters' lists, directories and such like tests. It is true that, like so many powerful native Irish septs, they were forced out of their original territory by the invading Normans early in the thirteenth century, but in their case it was only a trek westwards within the bounds of what is now Co. Cork. So firmly did they establish themselves on the lands they then acquired in the Dunhallow country that their new territory got and kept the name of Pobal O'Keeffe. O'Keeffe, in Irish O Caoimh, is derived from the personal name Caemh. The eponymous ancestor of the sept was Are Caemh whose father, slain in 902, was King of Munster. Unlike most O names, O'Keeffe is one which has retained the prefix fairly consistently: even in the 1880's, when Gaelic ideals were at their nadir, registration of O'Keeffes and Keeffes was about equal and to-day the O'Keeffes largely predominate. Though, as already stated, not numerous outside Co. Cork, they total enough to be included in the list of the hundred most common names in Ireland. The two most famous O'Keeffes in the story of Ireland were Father Eoghan (or Owen) O'Keefe (1656-1726), who was president of the bards of north Co. Cork, and John O'Keeffe (1747-1833), the playwright: the latter's daughter Adelaide O'Keeffe was a well-known authoress in her day. Exiled O'Keeffes, from Pobal O'Keeffe, which prominent in France, particularly the family of the intrepid Irish Brigade officer Constantine O'Keeffe (1671-1745) which was admitted into the nobility of France; General Patrick O'Keeffe (1740-1809) of a later Irish Brigade, continuously on active service for forty-seven years and four times severely wounded, is also worthy of mention.
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