years many people have asked about where the name
Kavanagh comes from, then there is always the concern of
its spelling. I have provided here a Frequently Asked
(FAQ's) of what I have found over the years. Keep in mind
that I am no genealogy expert. For more history and research stop by the
Family Links page.
What Nationality is Kavanagh?
Kavanagh is a VERY Irish
name. Kavanagh's originated from the County Carlow.
Where does KAVANAGH originate from?
The Kavanagh's originate
from the MacMurrough Family. The Kavanagh clan started in
the 12th Century by Donal Caomhanach (later Kavanagh),
illegitimate son of Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster.
The Gaelic name Caomhanach (or modern Kavanagh) means
follower of St. Caomhan. Caomh translates into gentle or
How do you spell KAVANAGH?
This is a heated debate
particularly in the US. Kavanagh can be spelled in the
following ways: Kavanagh, Cavanaugh, Cavanagh, Kavanaugh,
Cavenaugh, among many other variations. According to 1890
birth records in Ireland the predominate spelling in
Ireland out of 274 Kavanagh births, 230 were spelt: K A V
A N A G H. The common misconception is that Kavanagh must
start with a C and come from the county Cavan. The
Kavanagh's do not originate from there. Since
Kavanagh is a relatively "new" name, the lack
of a Gaelic "K" is not applicable.
What are Kavanagh's famous for?
The Kavanagh and MacMurrough families were the Kings of Leinster owning
much land. Even today, many former castles bear the
Kavanagh and MacMurrough name. The clans had worked closely with
the king of England, even receiving dues form the English
crown for helping the English in Ireland. Art MacMurrough
Kavanagh of the 15th Century precipitated this. Power of
the families was broken in the 17th century when England
took over Irish rule.
Kavanagh's can be found
throughout the world. In Ireland they are predominately
in Dublin, County Wexford & Wicklow. With the famines
of the 1800's many Kavanagh's immigrated to the United
There are a lot of famous
Kavanagh's, here are a few:
- Arthur MacMurrough
Kavanagh: King of Leinster, 15th Century
- Charles Kavanagh:
Governor of Habesburg Prague, mid 18th Century
- Brian Kavanagh: Last
duly inaugurated Chief of the name
- Arthur MacMurrough
Kavanagh: 1831-1899 Born without limbs he was a
father of 7, a member of Parliament, and Artist,
poet, & sailor. He was dubbed MacMurrough
Kavanagh. The Borris House is the Family
- Patrick Kavanagh
(1904-1967) Modern Irish Poet
- Morgan Peter Kavanagh
- Julia Kavanagh
(1824-1877) daughter of Morgan, also an author.
Coat of Arms:
The Coat of Arms displayed
on this page is the CoA of the Kavanagh Clan. Heraldically
it is: Silver, a red lion passant, and in base two red
The crest is: Out of
Silver crescent a gold wheatsheaf
Family Motto: Siothchain
Agus Farisinge Translated it means: Peace And Plenty (thanks to all who
replied with the translation!)
Any more Questions or answers?
One good website would be http://www.kavanaghfamily.com
If you have any questions
or would like to add to or correct this FAQ, please fill
Feedback Form or e-mail me at:
edited on: 01/01/10