Origin of the Coughlan Clan Name

This surname originates from the anglicisation of 2 distinct Gaelic sept names:  Mac Cochlain and O’Cochlain, where Cochlain was a personal name which meant ‘hooded-one or one wearing a cloak’. Personal names often derived from some identifying feature and this was another example.  Surnames then used prefixes to signify their descendants. Here mac means 'son of' and Ó (Ua) means 'grandson of' or more generally 'descendants of….' 

Coughlan clan

These 2 lines can be traced to 2 separate locations:

MacCochlain to County Offaly and the barony of Garry castle and they also had many strongholds in the Banagher- Clonmacnoise area.  Clonmacnoise was an ancient monastic settlement, founded in 546 and it became a renowned centre of learning and craftsmanship, visited from scholars from Europe and beyond, much like a university in its day.

This name is first recorded in 1150 in the Annals of the Four Masters during the reign of Diarmuid Mac Murrough, King of Leinster until 1171, when the Normans arrived in Ireland largely at his behest.

There are records of 2 MacCoughlan families owning 3,400 acres in Co. Offaly in 1665.

The O’Cochlainns can be traced to Co. Cork and the territories of Carbery and Ballymore and again the name was popular and recorded in 1659. Many other clans had migrated to this part of Ireland following the arrival of the Normans and the Coughlains may have been associates of other clans from here, most notably the MacCarthys , O'Donovans or Condons. 

This name was possibly of Dalcassian descent and therefore may well have been involved in the Battleof Clontarf 1014 when Brian Boru marched on Dublin with his Dalcassian army (the Dal gCais) to face the rebel Kings of Leinster and Dublin and their Viking and Gaelic mercenaries.

The Coughlan crest includes 3 red lions on a white background. Red is the colour for military strength and the lion for fierce courage also and in Ireland this beast is thought to represent a great warrior or chief. Variations of this name include Coughlan, Coghlan, Coughlin,  O’Coughlain, MacCoghlain and Cohalan.