Desmond / Family History
The ancient origin of the name Desmond was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. The Irish name Desmond is derived from the Gaelic O'Deasmhumhnaigh sept that was located in Munster Province in the very south of the country. This sept name is taken from the words 'deas' meaning 'south' and 'Mumhan' meaning 'Munster'. A sept or clan was a collective term describing a group of persons whose immediate ancestors bore a common surname and inhabited the same territory. The name has always been closely associated with Cork, the name being acquired by migrants from Desmond to the northern and eastern parts of County Cork, around Mallow. Kingwilliamstown, in the Newmarket district of County Cork, has been renamed Ballydesmond. In 1659 the name MacDesmond appears as a principal Irish name in the Barony of Kinalea, County Cork. Between 1329 and 1583 the leading southern branch of the Fitzgeralds were the 'Earls of Desmond' so some descendants of these families may also have taken Desmond as their surname.The Desmond 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 Desmond descendants.