McNamara Family History
The ancient origin of the name McNamara
was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. The name McNamara is derived from the Gaelic Mac Conmara which translates as 'son of the hound of the sea'. There were two septs of this Irish name.
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.
One held the Chiefdom of Clancullen West and was called McNamara Fion. The other, McNamara Reagh, was Chief of East Clancullen. Their titles were taken from them by the invaders who drove them to seek outlets in Europe and the New World. The records of Clare are full of the history of the McNamaras. Among other notable acts, they founded the Franciscan Abbey of Quin in the year 1402. The McNamaras were great builders and created fiftyseven castles, fortresses and abbeys in County Clare, one being the famous Bunratty Castle.The McNamara
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 McNamara