This is an anglicized from of the Gaelic (Irish) name O'Cathalain. The Gaelic prefix "O" indicates "male descendant of", plus the personal name Cath(g)alain - a compond of the elements "cath", a battle, "gal", brave and the diminutive suffix "an". There were three distinct septs of this family in Ireland. The most important belonged to the ancient territory of Oriel (comprising the modern counties of Armagh, Monaghan and parts of South Down, Louth and Fermanagh), Co. Limerick was the orginal homeland of the Munster sept.
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