KEOGH (Mac Eochaidh) Information

Heraldic crests, coats of arms and other family devices are awarded to individuals not families per se. The ones shown are for example.

An original base for all Mac Eochaidh crests


MacEochaid – anglicised as MacKeogh, Keogh, Kehoe, Keough (and sometimes Hoey, Hoy, Haughey, Haugh or Hough or even Gough) Family Coat of Arms. Blazon: Argent a lion rampant gules, in the dexter chief a dexter hand couped at the wrist and in the sinisster a crescent both of the second. Crest: A boar passant azure.


Keogh, and its variant Kehoe, are the anglicisations of the Irish Mac Eochaidh, from eoch, meaning ‘horse’. It arose as a surname in three distinct areas. The first was in south Roscommon, around Moyfinn in the barony of Athlone, which used to be known as ‘Keogh’s country’. This family was part of the Ui Mhaine tribal grouping. The second was in west Tipperary, near Limerick city; the placename Ballymackeogh marks the centre of their territory. The third and most important, both numerically and historically, was in Leinster, where the original homeland was in north Kildare, whence they migrated first to Wicklow and then south to Wexford. It is in Wexford that the name has been most commonly anglicised Kehoe. The surname is now most frequent in Leinster, though it has become widespread throughout Ireland.


Keogh, including Kehoe and Mac Keogh, almost equally common forms of the same Irish surname – Mac Eochaidh – just misses a place in the hundred most numerous names in Ireland. It is chiefly found in the province of Leinster, the spelling Kehoe being usual in Co. Wexford. The present Irish spelling of this name is MacEochaibh. Formerly in Munster it was MacCeoch or Mac Ceoch which was retained while Gaelic survived there as the vernacular. Outside Leinster Mac Keoghs are mainly located in the neighborhood of Limerick; the place name Ballmackeogh is in Co. Tipperary a few miles from that city. This was the homeland of one of the three distinct septs of Mac Keoghs. The second was in the Ui Maine group. Their eponymous ancestor was Eochaidh O’Kelly; they were lords of Magh Finn and their territory of Moyfinn in the barony of Athlone, Co. Roscommon, long known as Keogh’s Country, was popularly so-called even in quite recent times. The place Keoghville in the parish of Taghmaconnell took its name from them. The third and most important sept were the Mac Keoghs of Leinster. These are of the same stock as the O’Byrnes and were hereditary bards to that great family. With them they migrated in early mediaeval times from north Kildare to Co. Wicklow, whence they spread later to Co. Wexford. The Four Masters describe Maolmuire Mac Keogh as chief professor of poetry in Leinster in 1534, and several fine poets of the name are cited by Douglas Hyde in his Literary History of Ireland.


In Griffith’s ‘Valuation’ there were twice as many with the spelling Keogh as with Kehoe, but there was no marked contrast in their geographical spread. Locally, both spellings have the same pronunciation and the prefix is never used.


Frequency of Name in Ireland (based upon Griffith’s Valuation Head of Family)


Keogh Kehoe McKeogh McKeough Keough
Antrim 2

Armagh 1

Carlow 30

Cavan 36

Clare 72

Cork 6

Down 1

Dublin 152

Galway 20

Kildare 72

Kilkenny 48

Laois (Queens) 11

Limerick 83

Longford 12

Mayo 11

Meath 21

Offaly (Kings) 17

Roscommon 47

Sligo 16

Tipperary 74

Tyrone 1

Waterford 9

Westmeath 29

Wexford 140

Wicklow 129

All Ireland Total 1040

Carlow 106

Cavan 2

Cork 3

Dublin 24

Galway 1

Kildare 26

Kilkenny 41

Laois (Queens) 28

Limerick 4

Longford 3

Offaly (Kings) 6

Roscommon 3

Tipperary 4

Waterford 31

Wexford 385

Wicklow 62

All Ireland Total 729

Antrim 3

Armagh 5

Cavan 1

Clare 4

Cork 1

Dublin 1

Fermanagh 1

Galway 7

Limerick 6

Londonderry 2

Longford 1

Louth 9

Meath 1

Monaghan 7

Roscommon 4

Tipperary 134

Tyrone 1

Waterford 1

Westmeath 14

All Ireland Total 203

Clare 22

Limerick 1

All Ireland Total 23

Clare 6

Down 1

Dublin 3

Kilkenny 2

Meath 1

Tipperary 5

Wexford 1

All Ireland Total