View category for people with the Dogherty surname
File:Doherty coatofarms.png
Origin: Ireland
Variant(s): Doherty
Wikipedia: Search Wikipedia

The Doherty Clan (Irish: Clann Ua Dochartaigh) is an Irish clan based in County Donegal in the north of the island of Ireland.

Like clans in other cultures, Irish clans such as the Dohertys are divided into many septs and regional families. In the modern day, there are 140 noted variations in spelling of the name Ó Dochartaigh, of which Doherty (with or without the "Ó") is the most common anglicisation[1].

The name can also be a mis-anglicisation of Ó Dubhartaigh, correctly anglicised Doorty, and occurring mainly in Counties Cork and Kerry[2]

Origins Edit

The Dohertys are named after Dochartach[1], the 12th in linear descent from Conall Gulban (d. AD 455), the son of the famous Niall of the Nine Hostages (Niall Noigíallach) the 5th Century High King of Ireland, and namesake of the powerful Uí Néill dynasty. Through Niall, the Dohertys can trace their heritage back even further, making the clan one of Europe’s longest descent lines. The origins of the family however, as with the Irish people and their ancestors, the Gaels, are obscured by Celtic mythology and folk tales.

The later chiefs of the clan, elected by tanistry under the Brehon Laws, were called the Lords of Inishowen as they were pushed from their original territory in the Laggan valley area of present-day Donegal, into the vacuum left by the end of Mac Lochlainn rule in the northernmost peninsula of the island of Ireland.

Modern history Edit

Following the Flight of the Earls in 1607, the chief of the Dohertys, Cahir O'Doherty, rose up in the following year against English domination in Ireland and the plantation of protestant settlers in what is known as Ó Dogherty’s Rebellion. Provoked by the English Governor[3], Cahir and his followers attacked Derry and burned several castles before ultimately being defeated. After this loss, Cahir was killed in 1608 and the family lost much of its power and influence. By 1784, the leading branch of the family fled the country. The chiefs have been absent from Ireland ever since.

During the 1990s, the Irish government offered some limited recognition to the Chiefs of the most ancient clans, calling them the Chiefs of the Name and operating under primogeniture rather than tanistry. The chieftainship of the Dohertys was claimed by Ramon O'Dogherty of Spain.

After a scandal[4] involving bogus claims of Terence MacCarthy, to be the chief of that clan, the status of the chiefs in Ireland is now uncertain.

Today there are Doherty families in many parts of Ireland and America, with primary concentration in their homeland of the Inishowen Peninsula, Co. Donegal and the vicinity of Derry. The Dohertys are an important part of the Irish diaspora. To this end, the family continues through voluntary organisations, exploring family and Irish history and hosting regular family reunions.

The Ó Dochartaigh Clann Association was formed in the 1980s by a collaboration of American and Canadian clanfolk with its base in Michigan. It operated from Inch Island, Co, Donegal from 1985 until 1999, and from Buncrana from 1999 until 2007. The association is now based in Michigan again, offering international membership and a newsletter.

Doherty reunions have been hosted in Ireland every five years since 1985, by the Ó Dochartaigh Irish Reunion Committee (an amalgamation of the reunion committees from Inishowen and Derry). A special reunion was held in July 2008, commemorating the 1608 death of Cahir Ó Dogherty. The next quintennial reunion will take place in July 2010.

Individuals with that surname but no separate pageEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b History of the Name
  2. ^ Woulfe, Rev. Patrick (1923). "Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall, Irish names and Surnames", p. 309. M. H. Gill & Son, Ltd., Dublin.
  3. ^ The Flight Of The Earls.Net - Historical Documents
  4. ^ Report on the Chiefship of O Doherty

External linksEdit

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.