The O’Harte Name


The name Hart literally means bear, stone, or noble.[1] The translation of the motto Fortiter at Fidelitur is Bravely and Faithfully.[2]

O’Harte is a native English name, numerous in that country but in Ireland the Harts (usually spelt Harte in Connacht) are nearly all of the Sept O’Hart [4]. Some families have always retained, others have recently retained preserved the prefix O. In Irish the name is O’hArt, i.e. descendant of Art who was son of King Conn of the Hundred Battles. The O’Harts were the Southern Ui Neill and were one of the Four Tribes of Tara (Co. Meath) in early times. Their chiefs were lords of Tiffia (Co Meath) but after the Anglo-Norman invasion they were pushed westward and settled in the territory now known as the barony of Carbury, Co Sligo. O’Hart is included in the Composition Book of Connacht.

Sligo, with the adjacent counties of Leitrim and Roscommon, is their principal home today though the name is found in considerable numbers in Co. Cork. The O’Harts of Newton Andtarmon rather extensive estates in Co. Sligo were until the XVII Century one of the leading families in north Connacht but like other Catholics proprietors were reduced to straightened circumstances by the two great confiscations of land in that century.[3]

According to Michael Harte, whose family has for generations resided in Luggawannia, Cargin Parish, Co. Galway, his family originally came from Co. Sligo. Another of his ancestors dropped the "e" in Harte both in Ireland and when they migrated to the United States. His grandfather Michael retained the"e" but his great Uncles John who remained in Ireland and Eamon who migrated to the Wilmington, Delaware in 1848 did not.


[1] Rev. Patrick Woulfe, Irish Names and Surnames, [Baltimore: Genealogical Press, 1967] 552

[2] The correct Latin form of the motto for the crest is Fortiter et Fildeliter. Edward McLysaght, Irish Families, Their Names, Arm, and Origins [Dublin: Hodges and Figgis & Co., LTD, 1957]

[3] Ibid.

[4] The heraldic achievements are shown as a matter of interest, and are not intended to suggest that members of the families discussed here have any right to bear them. Arms are personal property, and can be borne heraldically--for example, on a shield, banner, monument, dwelling, vehicle, china and silver, visiting card, stationery, or servants' livery by only a single individual at a time, since the purpose of anotherís arms is to distinguish that person from all others. To use coat of arms in a way that implies relationship to the owner or entitlement to bear the arms in one's own right can only bring embarrassment.