The original Irish for Hickey is O hIcidhe, from iceadh, meaning ‘healer’. The Hickeys were part of the tribal grouping, the Dal gCais, which produced Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland who defeated the Vikings in 1014. This grouping had its territory in the area now part of Co Clare and north Tipperary, and it is this area with which the Hickeys remain closely identified. Their surname arose because of their position as hereditary physicians to the royal O’Brien family. From their origianl homeland, the name spread first into the neighbouring Co Limerick, and from there even wider, so that Hickey is today one of the most common and widespread of Irish surnames.
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