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Crest & Motto

Crest and Motto

The O'Cahan coat of arms is given as "A crown and three stars, two flags of defence on each side of the crown, two rampant lions to support the standards, with bloody heart and the red hand of Ulster, sword, stag and deer, cat and monkey, river, otter, salmon, and bunch of shamrocks" . The O'Cahan herald bears the Latin inscription " Felis demulcta mitis " which translates " A cat-a-mountain rampant proper."

O'Kane Coat of Arms: Azure on a fesse per pale gules and argent between in chief out of the horns of a crescent, a dexter hand couped at the wrist and apaumée, surmounted by an estoile between on the dexter a horse counter-saliant, and on the sinister a lion rampant each also surmounted by an estoile, and in base a salmon naiant all argent on the dexter side three lizards passant bend sinisterways gules and on the dexter and oak tree eradicated vert, over all an escutcheon argent charged with a cross calvary on three grieces

O'Cahan Battle Flag

Gaelic Warriors had Bratach or banners; not dissimilar to those used in Asia by Japanese warriors. These banners were given names and carried sacred symbols, such practice predating medieval heraldry. The Sagas of the Fianna (from Gaelic Fiáin meaning wild or savage) include notation of the banners of the heroes. The wild cat is reputed to have been used on the battlefield of the O'Cathains in 850 AD. In 1542 a Gaelic battle flag captured from O'Cathain was described by the English who captured them (Bartholomew, York Herald, circa 1542, quoted in MacCarthy Mor, 1996). Of the five separate devices on the O'Cahan flag (a lizard, a salmon, a horseman, a griffon and a hawk), two were later recorded on the arms associated with that family (the lizard and the salmon). The other three were not recorded for that family, but maybe this was an Irish attempt at distinguishing a particular sub-sept from the main clan.

The Red Hand of Ulster

Red Hand of Ulster has its origins in a Biblical reference to the right hand being symbolic of God's power and authority. Interestingly, the story of Heremon O'Neil throwing his right hand ashore, though the legend usually says O'Neill cut off his left hand. The Hand displayed on the coat of arms of the O'Cahans displays a right hand.
The Red Hand of Ulster may be traced to Psalm 98:1


O Sing unto the Lord a new song;
For he hath done marvellous things:
His right hand and his holy arm,
Hath gotten him the Victory

Also, The Children of Israel in their passage through the Red Sea gave the power and glory for their deliverance to the Right Hand of God:

Thy Right Hand, O Lord, is become Glorious
In power : Thy Right Hand , O Lord, hath
Dashed in pieces the enemy.
Exodus 15:6

The Ulster flag combines the emblem of the O'Neills of Tyrone (the red hand) with that of the de Burgos (a red cross on a gold field) - the house to which the earldom of Ulster belonged until 1333 when the last de Burgo earl died.

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