The McLoughlin, O’Loughlin or Loughran Family

McLoughlin Family crest

(Crest No. 40. Plate 20.)

THE McLoughlin family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son Heremon. The founder of the family was Fergus Kerbeoil, son of Conal Crimthine, ancestor of the Southern Hy Nials, and son of Nial of the Nine Hostages, King of Ireland A. D. 379. The ancient name was Lochluin, and signifies “Having Spears.” The heads of the sept were styled Princes of Aileach, and their possessions were located in the present County of Donegal.

O’Loughlin Family crest

(Crest No. 55. Plate 23.)

Ancient Tirowen was peopled by the race of Owen, son of Nial of the Nine Hostages, and on the introduction of surnames they took the name of O’Neill, from their ancestor Niall Glundubh, the one hundred and seventieth monarch of Ireland, and some of them took the name of MacLoughlin and O’Loughlin, from Lochlin, one of the kings of Aileach. Some of the McLoughlins, during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, were Princes of Tirowen, and others of them were monarchs of Ireland.

O’Loughlin Family crest

(Crest No. 20. Plate 4.)

One branch of the O’Loughlins was founded by Fiacha Araidhe, King of Ulster, in the third century. Their chiefs were styled Lords of Creagh, and the possessions of the sept were located in the present Counties of Clare, Galway and Donegal.

There were many distinguished members of this family, both before and after the Anglo-Norman invasion, and the Loughlin sept were at all times noted for their resolute resistance to the intruder. In recent times, also, many of this name have acquired honorable distinction. Sir Michael O’Loughlen, born in 1789, in the County of Clare, was the first Catholic who occupied a seat on the Irish Bench since 1688, having been appointed Baron of the Exchequer in 1836. He was created a baronet two years later. His son, Sir Column O’Loughlen, was also a prominent lawyer and politician.

Of the many worthy descendants of this family in the United States may be mentioned the late Bishop Loughlin of Brooklyn, N. Y. Few among the Catholic hierarchy contributed more materially to the progress of the Church in this Republic. He has been aptly called “the Church Builder,” having built more houses of divine worship during his episcopate of nearly forty years than any other prelate since the foundation of the Church in this country. Another prominent representative of this name is the Hon. Hugh McLoughlin, also of Brooklyn, N. Y. Mr. McLoughlin has been for many years the chief political leader of that city, and an influential factor in the politics of the State. A man of acknowledged ability, of integrity of character, and manly qualities, he has always commanded the esteem of his fellow citizens.

The O’Loughrane or Loughrane branch of this sept were also noted for their devotion to their Church and their country, both before and after the English invasion. Of the many noble martyrs who suffered during the period of the Penal Laws, none was more remarkable for zeal or courage than the saintly Father Patrick Locheran, a priest of Ulster. He and the Venerable Cornelius O’Dovany, Bishop of Down and Conor, who was over eighty years of age, were captured, and after a period of imprisonment each was sentenced to be “hanged on the gallows, and cut down while alive, emboweled, and his heart and bowels burnt; his head out off, and his body divided into four parts.” The prisoners were repeatedly offered pardon and every possible worldly inducement if they would renounce the Catholic faith, proposals that they resolutely and indignantly rejected. On the day of the execution the hangman, who was an Irishman, fled from the city, and no one of the Irish race could be induced by threats, fears or reward to act as executioner, whereupon an English murderer, under sentence of death, was released from prison and pardoned for performing that office. When on the scaffold, the Bishop requested the executioner to put Father Locheran to death first, as he feared the sight of the tortures about to be indicted on himself would fill the priest with horror, and distract his mind at the moment of death. Father Locheran replied that there need be no fear on that account; and that, besides, it would not be fitting that a holy Bishop should die without having a priest to attend him. The mutilated bodies of the martyrs were exhumed by the Catholics during the night and buried in a Catholic chapel.

There are many of this name to-day in Ireland and in the United States, and it is numerously represented in the ranks of the clergy. The late Rev. Dr. John Loughran of Brooklyn, N. Y., a man of remarkable ability and acquirements, and his father, Mr. John Longhran, a banker, and one of the most respected citizens of Brooklyn, are descended from this ancient family.