McCourt (also rendered MacCourt, McCord, McCoard, McCard and occasionally Courtney) is an Irish surname associated with the province of Ulster. It derives from the Old Gaelic name "MacCuarta" or sometimes "MacCuairt", translating as "the son of Cuairt", a byname meaning "visitor".

McCourt is a surname of ancient origin, being first recorded in the Kingdom of Oriel, which comprised mainly the modern counties of Armagh and Monaghan, with parts of Down, Louth and Fermanagh, in the 9th century. Colla Uais, their ancestor, was King of Ireland from 322 to 326. Kinsmen of the O’Carroll Princes they were Chiefs of a considerable territory in the north of County Louth near the Armagh border. As a result of the Anglo-Norman invasions in the late 12th century, their patrimony was greatly diminished, but most remain in or near their homeland. A branch of the family who settled in County Tyrone, gave their name to the village of Cappagh (in Gaelic Ceapach Mhic Cuarta) near Dungannon in County Tyrone This is written in Gaelic as "Ceapach Mhic Cuarta", which translates as an outlying settlement of the Mac Cuarta's, one remote from the main sept.

As early as the 16th century, the surname was recorded as far south as Munster, where in several County Cork documents, it was equated with Rothe, i.e. a lease dated 1484, listed Elias Roothe alias Mc Cuarta. Others of the sept (badword) are found in the Hearth Money Rolls of County Armagh for 1664, under the spelling Mac Quorte and Father Ronan, in his Irish martyrs, gives the anglicized form as Mac Worth. The name has gained a permanent place in the literary history of Ireland, due to James Mac Court or Séamas Dall Mac Cuarta [1647–1733] whose poems were collected and published by Rev. L. Murray. Known as Courtney as well as McCourt, he was a friend of Turlough O’Carolan; and he has been described as “the greatest of the northern Gaelic Poets.” Mc Court households in each county in the Primary Valuation property survey of 1847–64:

In 1565, along with Roger MacCongall, a priest called Conacius McCourt was flogged to death in Armagh for refusing to acknowledge the Queen's supremacy.

In Northeastern Ulster, some McCourts may descend from the MacMhuircheartaigh (Son of the sea ruler) family. A sept of the powerful Clan Stuart of Bute, from the west of Scotland. Their surname, in addition to McCourt, has become McCurdy. Brought to Ireland by the Stewarts when they arrived at Ballintoy, having lost their lands in Bute in the mid 16th century, the name is now numerous in the glens and north coast of Antrim.

By Dean Hanley

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