Monaghan is the most common anglicized
version of the Irish word Manacain, meaning "Monk." Other versions would
be Monahan, Manahan, Maynahan, Magnan, and the full English translation
Monk. O'Manacain is the Gaelic or Irish Family name and is
literally pronounced O'Veenacon.
The family name of Monaghan is chiefly
found in the counties of Mayo, Galway, Monaghan, Sligo, and Fermanagh,
all of which are not far from the original habitat of the O'Monaghans in
that part of County Roscommon which lies between Elfin and Jamestown.
The Annals of the Four Masters record O'Manacain chieftains as Lords of
the "Three Tuaths" of Roscommon and indicates they were a power in the
land from the 9th to he 13th centuries. In 1249 AD, they were supplanted
in the lordship and declined in influence and power. The O'Monaghans
were also chiefs of Breech Magh which was a district in the parish of Kilmore
May on the eastern bank of the May river in County Sligo. There is
a remarkable Monaghan tomb in the Dominican Church at Athenry in County
The family crest includes the Latin motto
"Felis demulcta mitis" and the usual translation is "Gentle in peace, fearless
in war." The motto is actually an Irish proverb which literally translated
means "the soothed cat is gentle." The crest itself is made up of
a gold chevron and three gold stars on a background of blue with an armored
Some Monaghans in history include Manacain,
a noted Connacht warrior from the ninth century in the area of what is
now Galway and Mayo. Dick Monk also known as Richard Monaghan fought
with the Irish rebels in the battle of Arklow in 1798. James Clarence
Mangan was a famous Dublin poet born in 1803. James Henry Monaghan
was a controversial Catholic Attorney General during the Young Ireland
Movement who later became the Chief Justice that tried the fenian rebels.
James Monaghan was a noted Irish American poet born in 1862.
to Monaghans of Bohola, Co Mayo
to Monaghans of Belleville, N.J.