The Regan Family

Regan family crest

(Crest No. 110. Plate 27.)

THE Regans are descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of Heber, third son of that monarch. The founder of the family was Cormac Cas, son of Olliol Ollum, King of Munster, A. D. 177, and Sabia, daughter of Con Kead Caha, or Con of the Hundred Battles, King of Ireland, A. D. 148. Thus the blood of both Heber and Heremon is united in this family.

The ancient name was Raegha and signifies “Choice.” The title of the head of the sept was Prince of Bregia, a territory which extended between the Liffey and the Boyne, from Dublin to Drogheda, thence to Kells, and contained the districts about Tara, Trim, Novan, Athboy, Dunboyne, Maynooth, Lucan, etc. The O’Regans were chiefs of Hy Riagain, now the barony of Tinehinch, in the Queen’s County. Connellan styles O’Regan, O’Kelly, and O’Connolly, Princes of Tara, and O’Donovan states that they were of the four families who, by pre-eminence, were known as the Four Tribes of Tara. The other family was that of O’Hart.

Of the ancient clan of the O’Regans was Maurice Regan, secretary to Dermod MacMurough, King of Leinster, who wrote an account of the Anglo-Norman invasion under Strongbow and his followers, which is published in Harris’ Hibernica.

Sir Teigue O’Regan was a distinguished officer in the Irish army of King James the Second. “When Schomberg determined on capturing the fort of Charlemont, which overlooked the Blackwater and commanded an important pass on the border of Armagh, it was defended by Teige or Teigue O’Regan. Schomberg summoned O’Regan to surrender the fort in the name of King William, and was told in reply that he was “an old rogue, and should not have it.” Schomberg, finding force unavailing to effect the surrender of the stronghold, sat down before it with the intention of starving out the garrison.

An Irish officer, named McMahon, at the head of five hundred brave men, fought his way through the besieging forces with relief for the garrison. O’Regan gladly accepted the provisions but resolutely refused to admit McMahon or his men inside the fort declaring, that he was able to hold it against the enemy and the introduction of any more men would only help to consume the provisions more quickly. McMahon made two desperate efforts to fight his way back, but was finally compelled to seek refuge under the walls of the fort. All entreaties to be taken inside were in vain. Old Governor Teigue swore that if they were able to fight their way in they should fight their way out, and “if they could not they should have no lodging or entertainment from him.” McMahon and his men had accordingly to take up their station on the counterscarp between the fort and the besiegers, where they remained in a perilous and miserable condition until O’Regan was finally compelled to capitulate from hunger.