The O’Hart Family

O’Hart family crest

(Crest No. 226. Plate 15.)

THE O’Hart family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son Heremon. The founder of the family was Muiredach, or Mulrooney Mullethan, King of Connaught in the seventh century, and ancestor of the Clanna Mulrooney of the Hy Brune tribe. The ancient name was Airt, which signifies “Heart.” The possessions of the sept were located in the present Counties of Clare, Kings, and Sligo. In the last-named county the O’Harts were seated in the north of the barony of Carbery, between Grange and Bunduff, and opposite the island of Inishmurrey.

Airt-Ean-Fhear, the one hundred and twelfth monarch of Ireland, was the ancestor of O’Hart. The Harts took their name from O’Connor Airt. This surname has been modernized Hart, Harte, and Hartt. The O’Harts were Princes of Tara, and when, on the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland, they were dispossessed of their territories in Bregia, or the eastern portion of the Kingdom of Meath, they were Lords of Teffia, or the western portion of that ancient kingdom. The O’Harts were one of “the four tribes of Tara,” the others being the O’Kellys, the O’Connollys, and the O’Regans.

The Princes of Tara were also styled Princes of Bregia, a territory which extended between the Liffey and the Boyne, from Dublin to Drogheda, thence to Kells, and contained the districts about Tara, Trim, Navan, Athboy, Dunboyne, Maynooth, Lucan, etc. The territory comprising these districts and that part of the present County Dublin, north of the River Liffey, was known as O’Hart’s country.

Of this family John O’Hart of Dublin, Ireland, is especially worthy of mention. His work on Irish pedigrees is among the best and most complete that have been contributed to the subject of Irish genealogy.