McGrath / Family History
The ancient origin of the name McGrath
was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. Meaning 'prosperity', the name McGrath was originally called MagRaith and MacGraith and was divided into two distinct Irish septs.
A sept or clan is a collective term describing a group of persons whose immediate ancestors bore a common surname and inhabited the same territory. It is also the case that many Irish septs or clans that are related often belong to a larger groups, sometimes called tribes. For example the 'Tribes of Galway' consisted of fourteen distinct families. The 'Tribes of Kilkenny' were ten families, etc.
The first sept of this name was from County Donegal and County Fermanagh and was based in Termon Castle near Pettigo. They were hereditary guardians of St. Daveog's Monastery at Lough Derg. The other sept was from County Clare and County Limerick, where they were poets to the famous O'Briens of Thomond. McGraths are still to be found in County Clare, but the present day descendants of the Thomond McGraths are mostly in County Tipperary and County Waterford. Ruins of McGraths Castle are still to be seen in Waterford City. McGraw is an occasional variant of the name in County Down.The McGrath
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 McGrath