The Sionagh Family

Sionagh family crest

(Crest No. 58. Plate 27.)

THE Sionagh family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, hrough the line of his son Heremon. The founder of the family was Maine, ancestor of the Southern Hy Nials and son of Nial of the Nine Hostages, King of Ireland, A. D. 379. The ancient name was

Cahaney and signifies “The Fox.” The possessions of the clan were located in the present Counties of Donegal and Westmeath.

The O’Sionnaighs, or Foxes, were Lords of Teffia in the latter county. O’Dugan, in his topography, gives O’Catharnaigh as head prince of Teffia; hence the name Sionnaigh has been rendered Catharnaigh, or Kearney. The chief branch of this family took the name of Sionnach O’Catharnaigh, and the word Sionnach signifying “A Fox,” the family name became Fox, and the head chief was generally designated Au Sionnach, or the Fox.

They were, as stated, of the race of the Southern Hy Nial, and their territory was called Muintir Tadhgain, which contained parts of the baronies of Rathconrath and Clonlonan, in Westmeath, with part of the barony of Kilcourcy, in Kings County. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth the Foxes got the title of Lords of Kilcourcy.