The Clan/Sept History
There are many Irish surnames being used today in forms that are quite different
than their original, ancient forms. O Holohan originally appeared in Gaelic as O
hUallachain, which is derived from the word "uallach," which means "proud."
Many spelling variations of the surname O Holohan can be found in the archives.
One reason for these variations is that ancient scribes and church officials
recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being
recorded under several different spellings. The different spellings that were
found include Holohan, O'Holohan, Mulholland, Highland, Hoolohan, Houlihan,
Hooligan, Whelton, Oulihan, Oulahen, Whoolahan and many more.
First found in Thomond, where they held a family seat from ancient times.
Irish Families left their homeland in astonishing numbers during the 19th
century in search of a better life. Although individual reasons vary, most of
these Irish families suffered from extreme poverty, lack of work opportunities,
and exorbitant rents in their homeland. Many decided to travel to Australia or
North America in the hopes of finding greater opportunities and land. The Irish
immigrants that came to North America initially settled on the East Coast, often
in major centers such as Boston or New York. But like the many other cultures to
settle in North America, the Irish traveled to almost any region they felt held
greater promise; as a result, many Irish with gold fever moved all the way out
to the Pacific coast. Others before that time left for land along the St.
Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula, or the Maritimes as United Empire
Loyalists, for many Irish did choose to side with the English during the
American War of Independence. The earliest wave of Irish migration, however,
occurred during the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. An examination of early
immigration and passenger lists has revealed many people bearing the O Holohan
name: Daniel, David, John, Michael, Patrick and Owen Hollahan and David and
Michael Mulholand, who all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.
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