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The surname Mulcahy is of Irish Gaelic origin, being anglicised from "Ó Maolchathaigh". The Ó Maolchathaigh sept most likely originated in County Waterford, and 16th and 17th century records show that the family was most numerous in that county as well as Cork and Tipperary.



The surname refers to "a descendant of a devotee of Cathach"; the Cathach commemorated may refer to Saint Cadoc or Catwg, whose name is the Welsh equivalent of Cathach. It has been noted by such experts as Edward McLysaght that it is truly remarkable how little is heard of this family in any of the Medieval Annals or indeed by its modern representatives[1]. The earliest possible reference to any bearer of the surname is to be found in The Annals of Innisfallen where an individual going by the name gilla moenaig omolchatha is mentioned in an entry for 1317AD[2].

O'More theory

There exists a popularly circulated theory regarding the Mulcahy families origins. The theory first proposed by John O'Hart claims that the Mulcahy family descend from the O'More of Laois. O'Hart makes mention of a John O'More who he claims was a younger brother of Rory Caech O'More and who adopted the surname Maolcatha[3]. This theory is almost certainly wrong. O'Hart, intentionally or unintentionally had attributed the origins of the Mulcahy family with O'More on the basis of the name which John O'More had adopted. The name John O'More adopted was not Maolchatha as O'Hart had claimed but actually Maolchathail[4], and it is from him that the County Laois sept of Ó Maolchathail usually anglicized Mulhall, claim descent. To this day many commercial heraldic outlets continue to pass the traditional arms of the O'More family of Laois, which are "Vert a lion rampant or in chief three mullets of the last", off as those of Mulcahy when there is clearly no connection between the two families.

Fictional person

See also


  1. ^ E.MacLysaght, Irish Families, H&F Dublin 1957, p.232
  2. ^ The Annals of Innisfallen, folio 57r
  3. ^ J.O'Hart, Irish Pedigrees, Stem of the Irish Nation
  4. ^ The general armory of England, Scotland, Ireland, and wales, p.715