Ó Begléighinn

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Ó Beigléighinn or Beglin was the name of a hereditary medical family of County Longford.


The Irish surname of Beglin/Beglan is a rare name of Counties Meath, Westmeath and County Longford situated in the Irish Midlands, in the province of Leinster, originally these counties was situated in the province of Meath. The ÓBeigléighinn were an ancient Irish Sept of the clann of Tellach Cearbhallan from the kinship of Conmaicne rein in the Kingdom of Bréifne.


The name derives from the ancient Gaeilge surname Ó Beigléighinn, which translated means descendant of the little scholar, the Ó, Ua or Uí prefix meaning "descendant of", Beig or Beag meaning "little" and Leighinn meaning "Scholar or scholarship". The O'Beglin family were one of the ancient Gaeilge hereditary medical families of mediaeval Ireland first recorded in the ancient historic texts of Ireland which are now kept in Cork University.

This name should not be confused with the other Irish surname Begley which derives from the ancient Gaeilge name Ó Beaglaoich (meaning beag "little" laoich "hero"), which are a different Sept from Donegal.

The introduction of the letter H into the Irish language during the mid-20th century has changed the name again, before this the letter G with a dot above-accent was used for the spelling of the letter's "GH" together. This letter was known as a "gay", the surname is pronounced with a silent H and is pronounced as O-Beg-lay-inn. This is how we can see how the variant spellings of the name have occurred when the name became anglicised.


The first recorded spelling to be found of the surname Beglin in the history of Ireland is recorded in The Annals of the Four Masters in AD 1128 and is shown to be that of “Conaing Ua Beigléighinn, Abbot of Ceanannus, died in this year". Who was a Columbian monk from the Abbey in County Meath where the most beautiful of medieval manuscripts of Gospels, The Book of Kells was held in safe keeping before finally being moved to its new home in Trinity College, Dublin.

Coarb Conaing Ua Beigléighinn seems to have been the 43rd for successorship of Saint Colm Cille between 1117–1128 AD. His place as Abbot of Kells would have been the highest Columbian dignity at this period.

The title "Coarb" meaning "heir" or "successor of" was given to the head of the monastery following the rule of the Saint Colm Cille, who was of royal descent of the Irish high king Niall of the Nine Hostages. This coarbship of the Columbian monks was in a maner hereditary.

The honourable title "Fer Léighinn" or "Vir lectionis" in Latin, which came into use during the 11th century, was a title of the highest honour bestowed upon the Columbian monks at Kells Abbey for their teaching of penmanship and of the holy scriptures.

With this knowledge it is probably safe to say that when surnames came into use in Ireland in the 11th century, that Conaing Ua Beigléighinn may have been the founder of the surname Ó Beigléighinn, when he chose the surname to state he was a descendant of a little scholar of Kells Abbey, a scholar, who may have been a previous Abbot at Kells Abbey.

The second time we see the surname Beglin appear within the history of Ireland is shown to be that of "Maurice O'Beglin" that was recorded in The Annals of Loch Cé in A.D 1528 which records "Muiris, son of Donnchadh OBeigléighinn, an adept in medicine, who died this year". His death in A.D 1528 has also been recorded within The Annals of Connacht which shows "Muiris son of Donnchadh OBeigléighinn, an eminent physician, died with unction and penance".

The surname can be found within the Gaeilge book of Irish poetry the "Measgrá Dantra", where in the 13th century poem about a Franciscan monks exile's thoughts on his native land, which has been attributed to the Irish bard Tadgh Comchosach ODálaigh, we find the surname appears in the opening lines. "Dá grádh do fhágbhas Eirinn im bráthair bhocht Beigléighinn".

A more notable mention of the Surname in Irish History is that of a Rev. Patrick Beglin, as one of the Seven Wonders of Fore, where a legend states that in County Westmeath in Ireland, on a hillside above the old church of St. Fechin is a tiny chapel, the Anchorites church, an extension to a cell once occupied by hermits until the 17th century. Tradition states that the last hermit in Ireland was Patrick Beglin, who had stayed here living a life of a hermit for religious reasons and is commemorated on a stone tablet in the cell dated 1616 AD.

Bearers of the name[edit]

Later Beglins[edit]

The prefixes Ó or Ua of surnames was widely dropped during the period of submergence of Catholic and Gaeilge Ireland under penal laws which began in the early seventeenth century, when stronger English rule became effective and most Irish Surnames had to become Anglicised. But with the revival of national consciousness in the 19th century which was brought about through the Irish Gaeilge league, this saw a resumption of the discarded prefix Ó in many Irish Surnames.

The sept was located principally in the area of Counties, Meath, Westmeath and Longford, where it can be found located even today. Many of the various spellings of the surname, often with children within the same family having a different spelling, can be found recorded in the parish church records of Counties Longford, West Meath and meath throughout the 18th and 19th century are Beigleign, Beiglinn, Beglin, Beglan, Begline, Beglen, Begnal, Biglen, Baglin, Beglain, Begllin and Beglane.

Some more notable Beglin's in more recent times there is the former Irish international footballer and present day sports commentator for RTÉ Jim Beglin, the former field hockey player Beth Beglin of the United States of America who represented her country in the women's national team in the 1984 Summer Olympics and again 4 years later in Seoul and then there are the numerous other Beglin's that have done so much research and work within the medical & psychology field during recent years that probably unknowingly have kept in the tradition of the family name of mediaeval times.