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McDermott is Irish in origins, but is also found in Scotland. It is classified as of being of both patronymic and nickname origins. It is thought to be an Anglicisation of an ancient Irish name "O'Duibhdiorma". Its derivation is simple - Mac Diarmada (son of Diarmuid or Dermot). Dermott is a personal name with one of two meanings

  A number of derivatives based around the following concepts - "envy free" or "free man" or "free of jealousy"
  dia: Irish, "a god," and "armaid," of "arms," and signifying a great warrior

The name is numerous - it is included in the hundred most common in Ireland. It is the second most common in its home county (Roscommon) and is also found frequently in Counties Donegal and Tyrone. It is seldom used without the prefix Mac, except in Co. Leitrim where the simple form Dermott is not uncommon. Other derivatives and corruptions of the name include D'Ermott, Darby, Darmody, Deermot, Deermott, Dermid, Dermody, Dermond, Dermoddy, Dermott, Dermoty, Deyermond, Deyermott, Diarmid, Diarmod, Diarmond, Diermott, Diurmagh, Durmody, Dyermott, MacDermott, Mack, McDermott, McDiarmod, Mulrooney, Mulrony, O'Dermott, Rooney and Kermode (found in some parts of Connacht due to accent)

The MacDermots are one of the few septs whose head is recognized by the Irish

Genealogical Office as an authentic chieftain, that is to say he is entitled in popular parlance to be called The MacDermot; and in this case this is enhanced by the further title of Prince of Coolavin, though of course as titles are not recognized under the Irish Constitution the designation is only used by courtesy.

Irish MacDermotts
The family descends are a branch of the O'Connors, descended from Tadhg O'Connor (Teige of the White Steed), who was King of Connacht before the Norman invasion. Tadhg has a son Maolruanaidh, and it is from him that the tribe got its name - Clan Mulrooney. The sept took its name from Mulrooney's grandson, Diarmuid O Maelruanaidh Mor, King of Moylurg from 1124 to 1159 and brother of Conor, King of Connacht.

Tradition has it that the two brothers came to an agreement that, in return for surrendering any claim to the kingship of Connacht, Maelruanaidh and his descendants would receive the territory of Moylurg, an area in the north of the modern Co. Rosscommon roughly corresponding to the baronies of Boyle and French park. The ancient chiefs of Moylurg (before the time of the MacDermotts) were MacEoach (or MacKeogh), MacMaoin (or MacMaine), the great and MacRiabhaidh (or Magreevy). Certainly this is the area with which the descendants of Maelruanaidh, the Mac Dermots, have been closely associated down to modern times. The MacDermotts had their chief fortress at the Rock of Lough Key, a large castle on McDermot's island in Lough Key (also Loch Ce), near Boyle; and they are the only Milesian family who have preserved their title of Prince, namely, the hereditary "Prince of Coolavin" a title by which the MacDermott is to this day recognised in the county Sligo.

Inevitably, the MacDermotts split into a number of other branches also formed over the centuries. The three main families were The principal families of the MacDermotts in Connaught are

  The MacDermotts 'Princes of Coolavin',
  MacDermott Roe of Alderford in the county Roscommon.
  Mac Dermot Gall - the ('foreign'), who usurped the chieftainship for a time from their base in east Rosscommon. This line was based in Airtech. It was their lands that were later acquired by the Dillon Family
  MacDonaghs - a tributary line of the MacDermotts, who took their name from Tomaltach MacDermott King of Moylurg (1197-1207).

The MacDermott Gall sept quickly accepted English domination and was all but disregarded in the clan history, leaving MacDermotts Roe and MacDermott of Moylurg.The territories of both septs are in County Roscommon. In addition, of course, many other families of the name established themselves over the centuries.

Coat of Arms & Crest - Irish

The accepted version of the MacDermot Coat of Arms is described as

"argent on a chevron gules between three boars' heads erased azure tusked and bristled or as many cross crosslets of the last".

The Crest is described as

"a demi-lion rampant azure holding in the dexter paw a sceptre crowned or."

Crest Motto "honor et virtus" (honour and virtue)

Coat Motto "honor probataque virtus" (honour and proven virtue)

There is some conjecture about what the emblems on the MacDermott Coat mean, however it is likely that MacDiarmada chose the boar symbol because of the legend of the Fianna in which Diarmuid has an encounter with a boar or it could simple be because the boar was considered a symbol of potency and of unswerving and fierce determination. The MacDermot was O'Conor's chief military vassal and therefore would need to reflect this attribute on his Coat of Arms. The lion is a later addition and would complement the already stated qualities of the boar. The cross, in its various forms, is a clear affirmation of the piety and observance of Catholic values and virtues of the holder of the Coat.

Scottish MacDermotts
The Scottish McDermots, appear to be completely unrelated to the Irish MacDermotts, however, the source of the name, however is probably of similar meaning, given the Gaelic origins of both the Scots and the Irish. Alternate, derivative or corrupted spellings of the name in Scotland include: MacDermid, MacDermot, MacDiarmid or MacDormand MacDearmid MacDiarmond MacDermand MacDhiarmaid MacDermaid MacDarmid MacDermont MacDairmid MacDairmint. MacDermot and other spellings with a terminal `t' are most likely Irish and only individual research can tell whether of an Irish or Highland origin. Some Highland families took Irish spellings on moving to Ireland or emigrating to the Americas or Australia

The MacDiarmids of Kenknock may have had the best claim to being the leading family of the name. According to the Rev. William A. Gillies, there were three branches of the MacDiarmids in Perthshire;

  the ‘Royal’ MacDiarmids who had the right of burial in Cladh Dobhi, Morenish
  the Dubh-bhusach (‘Black -lipped) MacDiarmids
  the Craiganie MacDiarmids who went by the name of the ‘Baron MacDiarmids’

The family is noted as an subsept of Clan Campbell, and recognised as a full sept of Clan Campbell of Breadalbane. Clan Campbell were often referred to as ‘Clan Diarmid’ because they attributed their ancestory to the mythical Diarmid O’Duine, slayer of the great Boar of Caledon, who was of the royal Houses of Darriada and Pictland. However no link has yet been found between the MacDiarmid name and the 17th century re-naming of Clan Campbell as Clan Diarmid.

The MacDiarmids are supposed to have been the earliest settlers of Glenlyon in Breadalbane. It is believed that the sept were part of the Dalriadic tribe of Loarn who went to Moray from which they were expelled in 1160. They then moved to Strathtay and onto Glenlyon, Loch Tay and Killin and into the lands of the Earls of Breadalbane in Perthshire. It is to here that the great majority of the family can trace its roots.There has never been any doubt as the MacDiarmids their being latterly the people of the Campbells of Glenorchy and Breadalbane.

The progenitor of Clan Campbell of the Breadalbane, was Sir Colin Campbell, the third son of Duncan - the first Lord Campbell of Lochow. The estate was settled on him by his father prior to his death in 1454. It had formerly been the possession of the warlike MacGregor Clan and had come into the Campbell family during the reign of King David the Second by virtue of the marriage of Margaret Glenurchy to John Campbell. It was here that Colin founded the first house of the great family of the Campbells of Glenurchy, Earls and Marquesses of Breadalbane.

Coat of Arms & Crest - Clan Campbell
There are over two hundred coats of arms of Clan Campbell. The two major ones are

The Arms of the Chief - Mac Cailein Mor, the Duke of Argyll.

Quaterly, 1st and 4th, Gyronny of eight or and sable (Campbell); 2nd and 3rd, argent, a lymphad sails furled, oars in action sable (Lorne).

CREST: A boar’s head feassways erased or, armed argent, langued gules.
MOTTO: Ne Obliviscaris, which is Latin for Forget Not or Do not forget
LOWER MOTTO: Vix ca nostro voco Translation: I scarcely call all this mine own SUPPORTERS: (Dukes of Argyll only) Two lions rampant guardant gules, armed or.
CLAN WARCRY - Cruachan (Pron. Croo a hn) From the hosting ground accross Loch Awe, overlooking the original lands of the Campbells in Argyll.

The Coat of Arms of the International Federal of Clan Campbell Societies.

Gyronny of eight or and sable - A gyronny is a section divided into eight pieces

These arms are commonly used with the badges of the major families accompanied by the appropriate Clan badge

  Cawdor - a Crowned Swan with motto, "Be Mindful"
  Loudoun - a Double Headed Eagle with motto, "I Bide My Time."
  Breadalbane Badge: A boar's head, erased ; Motto - : "Follow me" (Below)

Famous MacDermotts
There are a number of very well known MacDermotts

  Brian MacDermot (d. 1592), learned owner of the famous manuscript "The Annals of Loch Ce"
  Hugh MacDermot (1834-1904), leading barrister and politician
  Martin MacDermott (1823-1905), Young Irelander and poet of The Nation
  Hugh Hyacinth O Rorke MacDermot (1834-1904) was Solicitor General for Ireland, Attorney General and a member of the Privy Council.
  Sean Mac Diarmada (1884-1916) was executed in May 1916 for his part in the Easter Rising.
  Madam Mary Fitzgerald MacDermot (1659-1739) wife of MacDermot Roe noted for her patronage of O'Carolan the harper at the time when aristocratic patronage of the bards was almost a thing of the past. O'Carolan was buried in the MacDermot family vault at Kilronan.



Check out some photos below


Tartan - Clan Campbell of Breadalbane


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Page Last Updated: June 13, 2006

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