Menu Check out your Irish Roots and get help with your genealogy research

Irish Surname - Ahearne

Ahearne is an Anglicised form of the Old Gaelic name Ó hEachighearna, meaning 'lord of the house'. It later became O'Hagerin in English, which in time changed to Ahern or Hearne. The Ahe(a)rns were originally Dalcassian, from a sept in counties Clare and Limerick. In the 10th century this was an important sept, whose chieftain was Mathghamhain, King of Thomond, who was an older brother of the Irish High King, Brian Boru. At that time the territory of the King of Thomond covered County Clare and parts of County Limerick.

They later migrated southwards to Cork and Waterford and in the 1659 Census of Ireland, (also known as Petty's Census), the surname was widespread in these counties. To-day the name takes the form Hearn or Hearne in County Waterford.

Famous People

John Ahearne (circa 1769-1806) was a United Irishman and friend of Wolfe Tone, who after the latter's death became an officer in Napoleon's Irish Legion.

John Aheron was the author of the first book on architecture printed in Ireland (1754).

Among well-known holders of the name was Patricio Lafacadio Hearn (1850-1904), a journalist who emigrated to Japan in 1890 and spent the rest of his life there. He explained Japan to the western world, the first person to do so and accordingly, is greatly honoured in Japan today.

Fianna Fáil TD and former Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Bertie Ahern is probably the best known bearer of the name in modern Irish history. He served as a TD from 1977 to 2011 and he was Taoiseach of Ireland from June 1997 to May 2008. His daughter Cecelia Ahern is a novelist and the author of many best-selling books including P.S. I Love You, Where Rainbows End, A Place Called Here, The Gift and many others.

Dermot Ahern (b. 1955), former Irish Fianna Fáil politician served as a TD for the Louth constituency from 1987 to 2011. He served as Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs between 1997 and 2002, Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (2002-04), Minister for Foreign Affairs (2004-08) and Minister for Justice and Law Reform (2008-11).

Variations of the Name

Ahearne, Ahern, Aherne, Aheron, Hearn, Hearne.

Coat of Arms

Three silver herons on a green field.

Motto

Motto: Per ardua surgo - I rise through difficulties.

Researching Irish Surnames

We have only scratched the surface with information on Irish surnames. If you have an interest in helping to develop this area of our site contact surnames@irelandroots.com for more information and how you could be remunerated.


Ireland Roots Message Board

Leave a message on our Facebook page if you're researching this surname