The Armiger & his sons
are descended from the Ó Catháin sept of Ulster, (Occasionally
incorrectly spelt O’Cahan or Anglicised as Kane), a sept of the
Cenél nEógain branch of the Northern Uí’Néill in medieval Ireland.
The Ó Catháin sept held the lordship of Keenaght, Coleraine &
Limavady in County Londonderry until the seventeenth century, to
which it was commonly referred to as "Ó Catháin's country". The
Ó Catháin sept of Keenaght-Glengiven, first appear on record in
1138. The first Chieftain of the Ó Catháin sept was Cathán (‘Cath’:
Irish, a battle, and ‘án’ one who), from which all descendants of
the Ó Catháin sept bear his name. The prefix ‘Ó’ meaning descended
from. Other notable Chieftains include Manus-Cath-an-Duin Ó Catháin,
killed at the Battle of Down and his son Cú-Maighe-na-nGall
Ó Catháin, buried at Dungiven Priory in the Ó Catháin tomb.
The armiger is a
descendent of the Sir Donnell-Ballagh Ó Catháin line of the
Ó Catháin sept. Ó Catháin, the eldest son of Rory-Ruadh Ó Catháin,
was a major Ulster landholder and the last Chieftain of the
Ó Catháin sept that ruled the area between the River Bann in Belfast
to the River Foyle in Derry, which he held off the Ó Néill Earls of
Tyrone as their liegeman (Ur Rí-or Under King-in Irish). He also
obtained a grant of escheated lands in County Waterford. His main
property was Dungiven Castle in Dungiven. He was knighted in
September 1607 by Sir Arthur Chichester, the Crowns Lord Deputy in
Ireland. The musical air ‘Derry air’ (Later known as ‘Danny Boy’)
was originally called ‘Ó Catháin’s Lament’ & was written for Sir
Donnell-Ballagh Ó Catháin after his death in 1627.
The armiger’s arms
are the ancient arms of Sir Donnell Ballagh O’Cahan, of which the
armiger is a descendant and which first appear in the records of the
College of Arms in 1754 when a family pedigree was placed on record
in the Office of Ulster King of Arms. The armiger’s descent from the
family has been confirmed by the Genealogical Society of Ireland.
In a “Report, of
research into the armorial bearings of Sir Donnell Ballagh O’Cahan”
by Adam Tuck, Rouge Dragon Pursuivant, College of Arms, extensive
searches were conducted among the official records of the College of
Arms for entries which might shed light upon the armorial bearings,
if any, of Sir Donnell Ballagh O’Cahan (knighted 1607). While no
mention was found of Sir Donnell O’Cahan himself, marriages to
O’Cahan daughters are featured within several eighteenth-century
pedigrees of other families, and these pedigrees consistently assign
the family arms which may be blazoned: Gules three Roaches [or
sometimes simply Fishes] Haurient Argent. The report goes into great
detail and concludes that “It is therefore possible that the Kings
of Arms who made these later confirmations were aware of, or at
least open to the existence of, the earlier coat borne by Sir
Donnell O’Cahan and the other members of his family.”
The armiger was born in 1961 in Dublin, Ireland, the son of Terence
Patrick Timothy & Laura Elizabeth Bridgid Ó Catháin (née Bryne). He
is married to Sharon Maria Bernadette Ó Catháin (née Scully)
daughter of William Desmond Anthony Scully & Mary Anne Theresa
Scully (née O’Gorman).
The armiger, Terence
Patrick Stuart Timothy & Sharon Maria Bernadette Ó Catháin married
1998 have had the following issue.
1.) Diurán William
Terence Francis Ó Catháin, b. 1999.
2.) Killian Timothy Peter Ó Catháin, b. 2002.
3.) Lorcán Patrick Michael Ó Catháin, b.2004.
The three Roach fish represent the family’s Christian faith, as the
charge of a fish is commonly used as a symbol of Christianity. There
are three fish to represent the Holy Trinity. The motto ‘Felis
Demulcta Mitis’ is a Latin version of an Irish Proverb that
translates into English as ‘A Stroked Cat is Gentle’; although it is
sometimes rephrased as ‘Gentle in Peace, Fearless in war’.