Coffey / Family History
The family history of the ancient name Coffey was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. Coffey is an Irish name and is O'Cobhthaigh in Gaelic. Variants of this name include O'Coffey, Coffee, Cowig and Caughey. Several distinct septs of the name were prominent in mediaeval times, of which two are well represented in their original homeland. These are O'Coffey of Corcalaoidhe, in South-West Cork, where local pronunciation often makes the name Cowig or Cowhey, as in the place Dunocowhey called after them. This sept is of the same stock as the O'Driscolls. A second minor sept was a branch of the O'Maddens of Ui Maine, whose descendants are found today in County Roscommon. A third sept, once of considerable importance but now scattered, belonged to County Westmeath where they were famous as a Bardic family. The most distinguished of these was Dermot O'Coffey, 1580, the Gaelic poet.The Coffey family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Coffey descendants.