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O'Hanlon is a name which is always associated with Co. Armagh. The sept was located in the baronies of Oneilland and Orior. For centuries their chiefs were known as lords of Orior. Ulster, of Course, was the last of the four provinces to feel the calamitous effects of English invasions, but the O'Hanlons were not without experience of war against the invader: in 1493, for example the celebrated Poynings led an expedition against the most important chiefs of east Ulster - MacGennis and O'Hanlon. In 1537 Sir Oghie O'Hanlon then Chief of the Sept, fell in with their policy of "surrender and regrant". On several occasions, indeed, their chiefs adopted a policy of conciliation, and this saved them from complete ruin at the time of the Plantation of Ulster, but later in the seventeenth century they suffered the normal fate of the Gaelic Catholic aristocracy. By 1675 we find the most noteworthy O'Hanlon of his time, not in the proud position of a chief, but as a rapparee: Redmond O'Hanlon (tl. 1681), called "Count" by courtesy (though actually when in French service he received no such title), was, perhaps, the most celebrated of the many picturesque tories, or highwaymen, to be found int he pages of Irish history. Best known of the name, in modern times, was the Rev. John Canon O'Hanlon (1821-1905), author of Lives of the Irish Saints (nine vols.), Irish American History and many other works.
It should be mentioned that O'Hanlons are now numerous in Co. Cork, but southern branches of the Ulster sept appear to have been established there only in comparatively recent times.