The O’Hagan Family

O’Hagan family crest

(Crest No. 104. Plate 46.)

THE O’Hagan, or, as it is occasionally written, Hagan, Hagin or Hagen, family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the Heremon line. The founder of the family was Maine, ancestor of the Southern Hy Nials, son of Nial of the Nine Hostages, King of Ireland, A. D. 379.

The ancient name was Hagain, signifying “The Pleader.” The title of the head of the sept was Chief of Tullahogue, in the parish of Desertcreaght, barony of Dungannon and County of Tyrone. The possessions of the O’Hagans were located in the present Counties of Tyrone and Clare.

After the destruction of the ancient Palace of Aileach, A. D. 1101, the O’Neil princes took up their residence at Inchenny, in the parish of Urney, in the present County of Tyrone, and the stone chair on which they were inaugurated or proclaimed was located at Tullahogue—the Hill of Youths—now Tullyhawk, in the parish of Desertcreaght, barony of Dungannon. Here the O’Hagan family resided down to Cromwell’s time.

The O’Hagan was styled the Lawgiver of Tullahogue, and inaugurated the Princes or Kings of Tir-Owen on the Leac-na-righ, or Flagstone of the Kings. This stone was demolished by Lord Mountjoy in 1602. Fragments of the Flagstone of the Kings were to be seen in the orchard of the glebe-house of Desertcreaght till the year 1776, when the last fragment of it was carried away. Here, writes Dr. O’Donovan, the site of the ancient residence is to be seen on a gentle eminence, a short distance to the east of the village of Tullahogue. It is a large circular encampment, surrounded by deep trenches and earthworks. Within these stood the residence of the O’Hagan, the Rechtaire, or Lawgiver of Tullahogue, and here was placed the stone on which the “O’Neil was made,” until it was destroyed as above mentioned. According to the tradition of the country,

O’Hagan inaugurated O’Neil by putting on his golden slipper or sandal, and hence the sandal always appears in the armorial bearings of the O’Hagans. This custom of inaugurating the Irish princes resembled the ceremonial of putting on the buskins at the inauguration of the later Roman Emperors of Constantinople.

The O’Hagans were prominent in defending their country against the invader, and in the final struggle for Irish independence under the great Hugh O’Neil they were particularly distinguished. They furnished for that contest a hundred infantry and thirty cavalry. Henry O’Hagan was constable to O’Neil, and among his captains of foot were seven O’Hagans, commanding five hundred men.

The O’Hagans maintained their eminence down to Cromwell’s time, when they lost their estates. They were known as the Kinel-Owen of Tullahogue, not having to pay any tribute, inasmuch as the Princes of Tir-Owen assumed their sovereignty on the land of the O’Hagans. Many of this family have acquired honorable distinction in literature, notably the late Judge John O’Hagan, one of the men of Forty-eight, and the late Baron Thomas O’Hagan, Lord Chancellor of Ireland. The latter was the lineal representative of the O’Hagans of Tullahogue in the County of Tyrone, and was created Baron O’Hagan in 1870.