World history has seldom been influenced more by any other race than that of the Irish people. Not only does Ireland have the world’s oldest standing structure, became the earliest missionaries to Scotland and England, and was possessed of a refined culture but there is also reasonable claim to the statement that the Irish were the first settlers in North America.
Entwined amongst the romantic chronicles of this great land is the distinguished history of the Irish sept Corrigan. The works of O’Hart, McLysaght and O’Brien, the Four Masters and Woulfe, supplemented by church baptismal, parish records, and ancient land grants, have been used to reconstruct the family name history.
We found that the family name Corrigan was first recorded in Ulster where they were seated from very ancient times, long before the Norman Conquest in 1066.
Several spelling variations of the name were found in the archives and mainly these variations were the result of families translating the name from the Gaelic to the English. Recorded versions of the name Corrigan included Corrigan, Corigan, O’Corrigan, Carrigan Corigon, Corrigon, Corrigen, Korrigan, Korigan, Currigan, Courigan, Carigan, Carrigen, Currigen, Kurrigan, Corregan, Corregan, Corigen, Corigon, Korrigen, Korigen, Kurigan, Carrigon, Currigen, Currigon, and many more. Frequently a name was spelt several different ways during the lifetime of the same person, when he or she was born, married and died.
The legendary Kings of Ireland some 1500 years BC, were descended from King Milesius of Spain, the grandson of Breoghan (Brian), King of Galicia, Andalusia, Murcia, Castile and Portugal. Milesius turned his attention northward to Ireland to fulfil an ancient Druid prophecy. He sent an army to explore this fertile island. On finding that his son had been murdered by the three resident Irish Kings (the Danans) Milesius vengefully gathered another army. He died before he embarked on the voyage but his surviving eight sons conquered Ireland.
Heremon, eldest son of Milesius, reigned in Ireland for fourteen years, along with his brothers Heber, Ir, and Ithe. They named the land Scota or Scotia, Their mother’s name, the land of the Scots. This name would later be taken by the Irish King Colla in 357 AD, when he was exiled to Scotland, leaving the name ‘Irland’, land of Ir, the youngest of the four sons of Milesius, to the Emerald Isle.
NOTE: The Three Collas: The descendants of the Three Collas were called “The Clan Colla.” The word “Clan,” signifies children or descendants. The tribe being descended from some common ancestor, the Chieftain, as the representative of that ancestor, was regarded as the common father of the Clan, and they as his children.
The great Gaelic family of Corrigan emerged in later years in Ulster. The Corrigans, O’Coraidhegain or O’Corragáin in Gaelic/Irish are descended through the Donnellys and the Maguires, Princes of Fermanagh, who in turn descended from the O’Hart, from the ancient King Colla da Criock, King of Orgiall, which was ancient Ulster. Colla da Crioch died about the year 357 AD. At about the turn of the 9th century the sept of Corrigan held territories in the counties of Ulster, and the south in Leinster and Connacht. O’Corrigan is usually limited to Ulster and is rare. The name appears frequently in the “Annals of the Four Masters”, showing many of the family to be ecclesiastics, mostly Abbots. Carrigan was frequently used at this time as a variant. Ballycorrigan is near Nenagh in county Tipperary, giving further evidence of this name’s penetration into many of the southern counties, and there was still a family seated there until the end of the seventeenth century. But during the seventeenth century and the invasion of Cromwell, many of the Corrigans were forfeited of their lands again. Notable amongst the family at this time was The Corrigans of Ulster.
The sept belongs primarily to Fermanagh being of the same stock as the Maguires. Corrigans – the prefix O is seldom used – are still in that part of Ulster, but the name to-day is very scattered, being found in most counties, except in Munster. This was already the case in the sixteenth century when it appears in localities as far apart as Offaly, Roscommon, Meath and Monaghan. In the 1659 census Corrigan and O’Corrigan are among the more numerous Irish names in Offaly, Longford, and Fermanagh. The majority of the references to it in the Four Masters are to abbots and other ecclesiastics in Co. Fermanagh. The place called Ballycorrigan is near Nenagh in Co. Tipperary, indicating that a leading family of Corrigans was seated there not later than the middle of the seventeenth century. “The barony of Cremorne in Monaghan,” preserves the name of the ancient district of Crioch-Mughdhorn or Cree-Mourne, i.e., the county (crioch) of the people called Mughdorna, who were descended and named from Mughdhorn (Mourne), the son of Colla Meann.”
The following are among the families of Ulster and Hy-Maine descended from Colla da Chrioch: Boylan, Carbery, Cassidy, CORRIGAN, Corry, Cosgrave, Davin, Davine, Devin, Devine, Devers, Divers, Donegan, Donnelly, Eagan, Enright, Fogarty (of Ulster), Garvey, Gilchreest, Goff, Gough, Hart Harte, Hartt, Hartte, Higgins, Holland, Holligan, Hoolahan, Hort, Keenan, Kelly, Kennedy, Keogh, Lally, Lannin, Larkin, Laury, Lavan, Lalor, Lawlor, Leahy, Loftus, Loingsy (Lynch), Looney, MacArdle, MacBrock, MacCabe, MacCann, MacCjoskar, MacCusker, MacDaniel, MacDonnell (of Clan-Kelly), MacEgan, MacGeough, MacGough, MacHugh, MacKenna (of Truagh, co. Monaghan), MacMahon (of Ulster), MacManus, MacNeny, MacTague (anglicised Montague), MacTernan, MacTully, Madden, Magrath, Maguire, Malone, MacIvir, MacIvor, Meldon, Mitchell, Mooney, Muldooon, Mullally, Muregan, Naghten, Nawn, Meillan, Norton, O’Brassil, O’Callaghan (of Orgiall), O’Carroll of Oriel (or Louth), O’Connor of Orgiall, O’Duffy, O’Dwyer, O’Flanagan, O’Hanlon, O’Hanratty, O’Hart, O’Kelly, O’Loghan, O’Loghnan, O’Neny, Oulahan, Rogan, Ronan, Ronayne, Slevine, Tully, etc.
In 1172 AD Dermott McMurrough, King of Leinster, requested King Henry II of England for assistance in achieving the Kingship of all Ireland. Through treachery, many proud native Irish families lost their chiefships, territories and the spoils were divided amongst the Norman knights and nobles. This was followed by Cronwell’s invasion 1640 and later, Ulster in the north was seeded with Protestant Scottish and English.
In 1845, the great potato famine caused widespread poverty, and the exodus from Ireland began. Many Irish joined the armada of sailing ships which sailed from Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Holyhead, Liverpool, and Glasgow bound for the New World or to Australia. Some romantics called these ships the White Sails, others, more realistically, called these vessels the ‘Coffin Ships’, when 30% to 40% of the passengers died of disease and the elements.
In North America some of the first migrants which could be considered kinsmen of the sept Corrigan and the same family were Hugh Corrigan who landed in America in 1751, followed by James in 1764; Arthur, Charles, Cornelius, Henry, James, John, Joseph, Lawrence, Owen, Patrick, and William Corrigan, all arrived in Philadelphia Pa. between 1840 and 1877. In Newfoundland, Anstance Corrigan from Kilkenny, “an old offender”, was married at St. John’s in 1811; Martin Corrigan settled in Harbour Grace in 1815; Mary Corrigan settled in Trinity in 1817; James and Joseph Corrigan were fishermen of Trepassey in 1871.
In the New World the Irish played an important part in building the nation, the railroads, coal mines, bridges and canals. They lent their culture to the arts, sciences, commerce, religion and the professions.
The Irish moved westward with the wagon trains, and settled the mid west, some trekking over the Rockies to the distant west coast. During the American War of Independence some were loyal to the cause, joining the Irish Brigades. Others were loyal to the Crown, and moved north into Canada, becoming known as the United Empire Loyalists and being granted lands on the banks of the St. Lawrence and the Niagara Peninsula.
Meanwhile, the family name Corrigan produced many prominent people Robert Willoughby Corrigan, the noted American writer and educator; The Most Reverend Michael Corrigan (1839-1902), Archbishop of New York, came from a Meath family; and Sir Dominic John Corrigan (1802-1880), Bart., MD, of Cappagh and Inniscorrig, co. Dublin; Vice-Chancellor of the Queen’s University in Ireland, and formerly MP for Dublin. Sir Dominic’s Armorial Bearings were — Arms: Or, a chev. betw. two trefoils slipped in chief vert and a lizard in base, saltire, all ppr. Motto: Consilio et impetu (To Council And To Charge).
Roots and variations of the ancient Irish Gaelic name:
Carchan, Carekin, Cargan, Cargin, Carigan, Carkin, Caroken, Carroughan, Carragan, Carraghan, Carrason, Carregan, Carrigan, Carrigeen, Carrison, Carroghan, Carroocan, Carrookan, Carrucan, Carson, Carsons, Cherson, Chrisham, Chrisney, Coarigan, Coorakan,Cooregan, Corcam, Corcon, Corgan, Corican, Corigan, Corkan, Corkane, Corken, Corkens, Corken, Corkins, Corkmich, Corocan, Corogan, Corragan, Corriagn, Corrican,CORRIGAN, Corrigin, Corrikan, Corrison, Corrogan, Corskin, Courakin, Crackan, Cracken, Crackin, Craggen, Craghan, Craigan, Craqckin, Crawson, Creagan, Creaghan, Creaghane, Creaghmile, Creagmile, Creegan, Creeshon, Cregan, Creggan, Creghan, Creigan, Creighan, Cresham, Cresken, Criagan, Cricken, Crieghan, Criggan, Criggans, Criggeen, Crighan, Crisham, Crishan, Crishim, Crishnahan, Croakin, Crockan, Crogan, Croghan, Crogin, Croken, Crookshank, Crookshanks, Crosenton, Crosin, Croskan, Crosner, Crossan, Crossane, Crossaun, Crossen, Crossin, Crujm, Crushim, Currigan, Curraghan, Curraken, Currigan, Currisken, Cursan, Curson.