The surname of MAHER was originally derived from the Gaelic O'Meachair, an name which meant one who was kindly and hospitable. Their important sept is akin to the O'Carrols of Ely. The territory of the O'Meachair sept, from which Maher and Meagher families lineally descended, was in the North of the barony of Ikerrin in the County of Tipperary. That county is still the main homeland of these families, but they have spread into County Kilkenny in considerable numbers. Ireland is one of the earliest sources of the development of patronymic names in northern Europe. Irish Clan or bynames can be traced back to the 4th century B.C. and Mac (son of) and O (grandson or ancestor of) evolved from this base, the original literal meaning of which has been lost due to the absence of written records and linguistic ambivalences which subtly but inexorably became adopted through usage. Genealogists and lexographers accept that the patronymic base does not refer to a location, quite the contrary. The use of the prefix 'Bally' (town of) attaching to the base name, identifying the location. The base root was also adopted by people residing in the demographic area without a common ancestor. These groups called 'Septs' were specially prevalent in Ireland. The first Normans arrived in Ireland in the 12th and 13th centuries to form an alliance with the King of Leinster. Under Elizabeth I in the 16th century, settlers from England established themselves around Dublin, then under English control and Presbyterian Scots emigrated to Ulster, introducing English and Scottish roots. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Ballinkeele, County Wexford. Confirmed to John Maher Esq., and to the descendants of his grandfather, John Maher Esq., of Tully-mac-James, County Tipperary. The name is also spelt as O'Meagher and Meacher. The lion is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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