The Irish surname O’Keefe, found mainly in counties Cork and Kerry, is an anglicized form of the Gaelic name Ó Caoimh meaning “descendant of Caomh,” a personal name based on the Gaelic word caomh meaning “gentle.” Originally the clan occupied territory throughout the Glanmore and Fermoy areas of County Cork. Eventually it is said they were driven further west by the Norman invaders after 1170, moving to Duhallow where in time their lands were given the name Pobal O'Keeffe meaning the O'Keeffe county. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Father Eoghan O'Keeffe. He was the president of the bards of Ireland, and appears in the records of North Cork, in 1680. Today there are approximately 17,000 bearers of the surname O'Keefe living in The United States.
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