Higgins

Higgins

Higgins is another family name with ancient royal connections. This name is an anglicisation of O hUigin, from uiginn, meaning Viking. The word also means knowledge, skill or ingenuity. The original hold er of the name was a grandson of Niall of the Nine Hostages, a High King of Tara. There is also a later English derivation too; Higgins as an English name comes from the medieval name Higgin, which was a diminutive of Hicke, a pet name given to anyone called Richard. In medieval Ireland, the Higgins were a sept, or clan, of the southern Ui Neills, who settled in Connacht, especially around Co. Sligo.

The most famous holder of the name was Bernardo O'Higgins (1778-1842), the first president of Chile and the founder of the Chilean Navy. The main street in Santiago is called Avenida O'Higgins in honour of the man who gave Chile its independence from Spain. O'Higgins was the son of Ambrosio O'Higgins, who came from a poor rural background near Summerhill in Co. Meath.