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Irish Surname - Doherty

The names Doherty and Dougherty in Ireland are derived from the Irish word "dochartach" meaning obstructive or hurtful. Descendants of the O'Dochartaighs now rank among the twenty most frequently found names in Ireland.

In the 4th century the O'Dochartaigh sept settled around the Inishowen peninsula in Donegal, where they have primarily stayed. The surname is also common in Derry.

The original homeland of the O'Dochartaighs was in the barony of Raphoe in Donegal and they were of the same stock as the illustrious O'Donnells of Tirconnell (Donegal), one of the most famous septs in Irish history. They remained powerful chiefs in the area for five hundred years, until the defeat and execution of Sir Cahir O'Doherty at the start of the 17th century. The power of the O'Dohertys was greatly reduced following this defeat and several of the sept fled to Scotland, the Isle of Man and England where the name was variously Anglicised as Do(u)gherty, Daugherty, Docherty and Docharty.

In Griffiths Valuation c1850s, there were 3033 Doherty households and 918 Doghertys - with the largest numbers in Donegal (1430 and 290 respectively) and Derry (319 and 155 respectively).

In Buncrana, County Donegal there are ruins of a castle built c1430 by the O’Doherty clan. The castle was burnt by the English in 1602 when the Irish chieftain, Hugh Boy O'Doherty, was preparing to welcome an armada from Spain.

Famous People

John Doherty, from Buncrana, was a renowned trade union leader in early 19th-century Britain. He founded the National Association of United Trades for the Protection of Labour, a forerunner of the Trades Union Congress in Britain.

Dubliner Ken Doherty (born September 1969) is an Irish professional snooker player. He was world Under-21 champion in 1989. Doherty is the only player ever to have been world amateur (1989) and world professional champion (1997).

Alternate Surname Spellings

Dougherty, Daugherty, Dogherty, Dogharty, O'Doherty, O'Dochartaigh

Researching Irish Surnames

We have researched many sources for the origins of Irish surnames and extracted a fair representation of the origins of each. As there are many variations we have compiled a representative, but by no means exhaustive, selection.

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