Origin of the Name Heffernan
family history was found in the allfamilycrests.com archives. The names Heffernan and Hefernan are derived from the Gaelic O'hIfearnain sept that was originally located in County Clare.
A sept or clan is a collective term describing a group of persons whose immediate ancestors bore a common surname and inhabited the same territory. Irish septs and clans that are related often belong to even larger groups, sometimes called tribes.
Originally this Irish sept inhabited the territory of Corofin in County Clare but later became established in County Limerick where they were Chiefs of Owneybeg. They were later displaced by the Ryans. The ancient manuscripts 'The Book of Rights' describes the O'Heffernans as one of the 'Four Tribes of Owney'. Two distinguished members of the sept were Aeneas O'Heffernan who was Bishop of Emly, 1543-1553, and William Dall O'Heffernan, who was a Gaelic poet, 1715-1802. Hiffernan is another variant spelling of the name, carried by the noteworthy Dr. Paul Hiffernan, 1719.
The Heffernan coat of arms came into existence centuries ago. The process of creating coats of arms (also often called family crests) began in the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this. The new art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own coat of arms, including all Heffernan descendants.