Medieval History


The name Ó Dochartaigh means "descendant of Dochartach". Dochartach was the 9th century legendary progenitor of the clann, whose name, meaning "hurtful", was likely given as a title of honor for his exploits in battle in the defense of his clansmen. While Ó Dochartaigh is anglicized as O'Doherty today, ancient genealogies and modern genetics indicate other Donegal families—the McDevitt or McDaid, the McMonigle, the McBride, and perhaps even others are also closely related or even at one time bore the Ó Dochartaigh name!

Clann Ó Dochartaigh, known as an "ancient and valiant family", was one of the powerful Uí Néill dynasty, descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, the semi-legendary 5th century high king of Ireland who captured the boy later known as Patrick on a raid. Our ancestor Conall Gulban, Nial's son, was the first Irish ruler to be baptized when St. Patrick later returned to Ireland. The descendants of Dochartach and likely those of his kinsmen, adopted the name Ó Dochartaigh within a number of generations, beginning one of the earliest existing hereditary surnames. During the medieval period, the Ó Dochartaighs assumed lordship over the territory of Kinel-Enda (later called the barony of Raphoe) and Ardmire (further west near Lough Finn) in Donegal. Near the dawn of the 13th century two notable Ó Dochartaighs ruled as kings of all Donegal. Soon after this, the Ó Dochartaighs, increasing in both power and numbers, moved their power base northward, where the family ruled as lords of Inishowen over the surrounding tribes for a number of centuries. During this time a network of castles or keeps were built to defend the territory.



The O'Doherty Heritage website is designed to be your place for all things Ó Dochartaigh. Whether your name or ancestry is from a Doherty, Dougherty, Daugherty, Docherty, Dogherty, if your family used another spelling of our name, or if you're from one of our related Donegal families, such as the McDevitt/McDaid, McBride, McConlogue, or others–we welcome you to the O'Doherty Heritage website!

The vision of the O'Doherty Heritage is "Telling our story, uniting us together." This was the same vision of our ancestors, the Ó Dochartaigh patriarchs, when they established our Clan motto, Ár nDúthchas–which means 'Our Heritage'. Below are the goals of O'Doherty Heritage:


  • Share our heritage with our entire Clan

  • Research, document, & bring our history to life

  • Curate a digital Clan genealogy research library


  • Encourage quality genealogical research

  • Promote clan identity and pride in our heritage

  • Facilitate communication amongst our clanfolk


This site is curated by Will Dougherty III under the direction of the Association of Ó Dochartaighs. ©2020 O'Doherty Heritage. Site Policies. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the site, answer your questions, or see you get involved! Email