Origin of the Name Tiernan
family history was found in the allfamilycrests.com archives. The name Tiernan is derived from the MagTighearnain sept which is taken from the Gaelic word 'toghearna' which translates as 'lord'. Variants of this name include MacTernan, MacTiernan, Ternan, Tierney and Kiernan. The most important sept of this name was that of County Mayo, where they were Chiefs and Lords of Carra.
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.
The name is widespread throughout every County but rare in Ulster. In Mayo, Tierney and Tiernan have been used as synonyms and cases of this are also found in County Clare. They were firmly established as a sept in Upper Ormond evidenced by the 'Ormond Deeds' in which a Fearnan O'Tyernie is mentioned several times. As early as the year 1273 a Florence O'Tierney is recorded as Bishop of Kilfenora. In 1372 a Cornelius O'Tierney became Bishop of Kerry.
The Tiernan 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 Tiernan descendants.