Everything you need to know about the Irish surname Doherty (O'Doherty) - its meaning, origins, interesting facts, and famous people with the last name Doherty.

Irish derivation:


Name meaning:


Counties associated with the name:

Donegal, Clare.

Coat of arms motto:

"Ar nDutcas" or Our Heritage

Interesting facts: 

  •  The family descends from the son of Niall of the Nine Hostages
  •  Ranks 15th on the list of 100 most popular Irish Surnames.
  •  There are 140 variations in the spelling of the name.

Doherty name history:

The Doherty / O’Doherty family is an Irish clan based in County Donegal. Like clans, the O’Dohertys are divided into many septs and regional families.

In the modern-day, there are over 250 variations in the spelling of the name Ó Dochartaigh.

The O’Dohertys are named after Dochartach (c. 10th century), a member of the Cenél Conaill dynasty which in medieval Irish genealogy traced itself to Niall of the Nine Hostages (see Uí Néill). 

In Munster, O'Doherty is often a different surname, Ó Dubhartaigh, which has sometimes been anglicized as Doorty in County Clare.

The O’Doherty clan and family name is one of the most ancient in Europe. The clan traces its pedigree through history, pre-history, and mythology to 2BC. 

Some famous Dohertys:

  •  Gary Michael Thomas Doherty (1980-, Irish footballer)
  •  Ken Doherty (1969-, professional snooker player)
  •  Moya Doherty (1957-, Riverdance co-founder)
  •  Shannen Maria Doherty (1971-, American actress, producer, author, and television director)
  •  David O'Doherty (1975-, comedian)
  •  Brian O'Doherty (1928-, art critic)

* Originally published in 2016, updated in October 2022.

Are you a member of the Doherty clan? Let us know in the comments, below!