O'Ragan Clan

Mike Ragan - Contributor

 

              

 The Ancient History of

the Distinguished Surname RAGAN

The history of the distinguished Irish family name Ragan belonged to the green valleys and mountains of the Emerald Isle from very ancient times.  Documentary evidence in the books by notable historians O’Hart, McLysaght, and O’Brien, the Four Masters, baptismals, parish records, and ancient land grants, were researched by historians and they found that the family name Ragan was first revealed in county Meath where they had been seated from very ancient times.  Variations in the spelling of the name were found. The surname was from time to time spelt Reagan, Regan, O’Regan, O’Reagan, and these changes in spelling frequently occurred, even between father and son. Also translations from the Gaelic varied and there were preferences for different spelling variations usually from a division of the family, or for religious reasons, or sometimes for patriotic reasons. Church officials and scribes spelt the name as it sounded, sometimes several different ways in the lifetime of the same person

Traditionally, the ancient kings of Ireland were descended from King Milesius of Spain, the grandson of Breogham (Brian), King of Galicia, Andalusia, Murcia, Castile and Portugal. Milesius, a great general/king, was instrumental in defending Egypt from the King of Ethiopia. Milesius turned his attention northward to Ireland to fulfill an ancient druidic prophecy. He sent an army with his son to explore this fertile land. On finding that the three resident Irish kings (the Danans) had murdered his son Milesius gathered another army to take his revenge on the Irish.   He died before he embarked on the trip. His remaining 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 Scots. This name would later be taken by the Irish king Colla in 357 when he was exiled to Scotland, leaving the name ‘Ir-land’, land of Ir, the youngest of the four sons of Milesius, to the Emerald Isle. The four Irish kingdoms eventually broke into five separate nations under the High King, or Ard Righ. These royal lines would later produce such great kings as the 4th century King Niall of the Nine Hostages who died in France while cutting off the retreat of the Romans from Britain, and King Brian Boru who died in the battle of Clontarf in 1014, finally expelling the Vikings from Dublin and Ireland.

This great Gaelic family Ragan emerged in later years in the county Meath. This Royal distinguished Irish family was one of the four tribes of Tara, they were known as the Princes of Meath, and were descended Riagan, nephews of the famous King Brian Boru. They were very prominent in the campaign against the Vikings and their Chiefs were present at the Battle of Clontarf where Brian Boru finally expelled all the Vikings from Ireland. They forfeited their lands during the Anglo/Norman invasion of Strongbow in 1172 and were dispersed to many parts of Ireland, principally to county Cork and Limerick. They again lost much of their remaining territories during the Cromwellian invasion of the 17th century and are believed to be descended from the Heremon line, specifically Morris O’Regan who described the Anglo/Norman invasion of Ireland by Strongbow, The Earl of Pembroke in 1172. Noteable amongst the familly of this time was O’Regan of Meath.

A succession of invasions troubled the Irish people. Strongbow in 1172, Cromwell in the 17th century and then the devastation of the great potato famine in 1845, all caused continued widespread misery and poverty, and the exodus from Ireland began, first a trickle, then a flood. Fifty years after the famine, the last straw, the population was reduced to less than half.  Irish clansman joined the armada of sailing ships, which sailed from Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Holyhead, Liverpool and Glasgow, many bound for the New World, some to Australia.   In North America some of the first migrants which could be considered kinsman of the sept Ragan of that same family included James, John, Patrick, Thomas, and William O’Regan settled in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860. Charles, Daniel, Denis, Edmond, Jeremiah, John, Margaret, Thomas and William Regan all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860. John Regan settled with his wife and three children in Prescott, Ontario, Canada, in 1825. James, John, Michael, and Patrick Regan arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860 and John and Michael Regan arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.

In the New World the Irish played an important part in building the nation, the railroads, coal mines bridges and canals. They moved westward with the wagon trains, and settled in the mid-west, with some trekking as far as the West Coast.  During the War of Independence some were loyal to the cause, others were loyal to the Crown, and moved north into Canada. They became known as the United Empire of Loyalist and were granted lands on the banks of the St. Lawrence and the Niagara Peninsula.  During the Civil War they formed the Irish Brigades in the great struggle, the North versus the South.



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Updated: 16 JAN 2009 by Daniel O. Ragan from Coremeld
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