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CONNOLLY Family History

Ó Conghalaigh- anglicised Connolly, Connelly,earlier O Connally & c. the root word is possibly 'Conghal', an epithet meaning perhaps 'valorous'. This name was also rendered as Ó Conghaile.

Mac Conghalaigh- anglicised Connolly, earlier M'Connolly; a rare Sligo/Leitrim name, according to Woulfe in 'Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall' (1923), of similar derivation to the above. But see parentheses below.

(Mac Conghaile- more usually anglicised Conneely, and primarily as such a Co Galway name).

Ó Coingheallaigh- anglicised Connolly, a Munster surname of uncertain derivation.

The first of these is probably the most well known, and the homelands would be in in Connacht and Co Monaghan. The leading sept were of the Southern Uí Néill, i.e. descended from the legendary Niall Naoighiallach (of 'the nine hostages'), the fabled late 4th century king of Ireland. They were one of the 'Four Tribes of Tara'. Their original territory was in Co Meath, from where they were driven by the Cambro-Norman mercenaries in the late 12th century, settling in Co Monaghan. This is also the name of a Co Roscommon family. The surname is found in later times also in Co Galway.

The second family seems to have appeared little in Irish history, although a search below in the 1659 'Census' of William Petty, the English administrator 'par excellence', will provide some instances.

The third, Munster surname, which MacLysaght ('Irish Families' series 1982, 1985) gives the form Ó Coingheallaigh, although Woulfe treats it under the form Ó Conghalaigh, is claimed to derive from Mahon, a brother of Brian Boru, the illustrious 11th century king, who curbed the power of the Norse settlers. They, like the O'Briens, are of the Dalcassian tribe of Thomond. According to MacLysaght (op. cit.) they were formerly strong in West Cork.

By the time of Petty's 1659 'Census', therefore, we find the following, listed as 'Principal Irish Name':

Co Monaghan, 9 (families) of McConoly.

Co Fermanagh, Clownish & c. parishes, 13 0f O Connelly; Aghaharcher & c. 5 of O Connelly.

Co Sligo, Barony of Leynie, 6 of Conelly

Co Leitrim, Barony of Rosclogher & Drumaheir, 6 of Connelly.

Co Cork, none of the name appear in Petty.

However, in Co Tipperary, Barony of Iffa & Offa, 9 of Connelly/O Connelly. (This area was in the Dalcassian sphere of influence).

The returns for Cos Galway and Cavan are missing from the 'Census'.

Griffith's 'Primary Valuation' of Irish households between 1847 and 1864, shows most Connolly households in Cos Monaghan (466), Galway (363),
Cork (264 + 15 city), Leitrim (156) and Cavan (127).

For Connelly, the highest counties are Waterford (41), Mayo (36) and Cork (25).

The Registrar's 'Special Report' (1909) on births distribution in 1890, show most Connolly births in Cos Cork, Monaghan, Galway, Antrim and Dublin. For Connelly, Galway.

Two Famous Connollys:

Tirlogh O Connola is mentioned in the Elizabethan 'Fiants' for 1591 as chief of his Monaghan clan. He was a military leader who opposed the English incursions of the late 16th century.

James Connolly (1868-1916) Edinburgh born Labour leader and Irish Revolutionary. His amazing life: born into poverty, joined the British Army, became a socialist leader and inspirational speaker and writer, was an organiser of the American I.W.W. (the 'Wobblies'), and later leader of the I.T.G.W.U. union in Dublin, founder of the Irish Citizen Army and co-signatory of the 1916 Proclamation. He had a leading military role in the Easter Week fighting. Wounded and suffering from gangrene, he was taken on a stretcher to Kilmainham Jail and shot by a British firing squad.
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    Michael S Connolly

    My grandfather Thomas Connolly came from Clifton, Ireland. His parents settled in Manchester, New Hampshire.

    Galway Connolly

    Connolly's from County Galway. My third great grandfather was Michael Connolly/Connolley. Michael Connolly was born around 1835 and died January 5, 1893 in Morgan County, IL. He and his brother, Martin Connolly came to the United States around 1850. The brother's married their spouses on October 29, 1854 in Jo Daviess County, Illinois. By the 1860 census, both were living in Morgan County, IL. Martin Connolly born 1829 to 1832 census varies on his birth year. Birth month: October (tombstone) or November (1900 Census). Martin died March 1, 1904 in Morgan County, IL. Both brother's and their mother, Mary (died 1884) are buried in Calvary Cemetery, Jacksonville, Morgan county, Illinois.


    Thomas Zacharia Connolly Born 1811 Ireland Married Mary Clara Larney both died in Manchester, Eng


    Patrick Connolly Born 1839 County Kildare Died 1903 Loyalton,CA USA


    My great grandfather

    Helen Connolly

    My father was from Holywell Ballyhaunis Co Mayo as was my grandfather My dad was one of five boys Peter James Martin John Francis and Michael my grandmother was Margaret Connolly ( nee Hart)


    Hello Helen My Grandfather Martin Joseph Harte b 1904 was Your gran Margaret's( b 1902) brother. They also had another sister name unknown who left young and possibly moved to the st Nee ates as a Doctor. Our great Grandparents on your Mothers side were James Harte b 1855 and Bridget Harte b 1864 Nee Lyons. Hope this helps. Kind regards John.

    Julie Hedge

    My Grandfather was John Connolly, had a brother named Patrick. Owen Connolly was his father

    Phil Pip Turner

    My Gr. Grandfather was James Connolly, born 1859 Cork. his father was Patrick Connolly. James was a Merchant Seaman, who lost his right? leg and he was a ship's cook. Can anybody relate to this James Connolly?

    Evelyn McGregor nee Conno

    My family were from Monaghan, where my father grew up. His father was Owen Connolly, and the family had a farm in south Monaghan in a place called Derrygooney.

    Kathleen Wieman

    My GGgrandmother was Mary Moan and gggrandfather was Edward/James Connolly. They met and married in Baltimore,MD 12/1866. Their Children's baptismal certificates list Fermanagh as their birth places.


    My Irish heritage is through my mother Billie Conolley. We are not sure when/why this unusual spelling of Connolly came into existence, but my mother was born in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Her father was Clarence Webster Conolley (1897-1982) also born in Baltimore, whose father was Charles Read Conolley (1861-1928), born in Maryland. I am trying to find out where in Ireland they might have come from.

    123margaret Connolly

    sorry should be limerick Connollys from Adare Kilmallock , Bulgaden , Knockainey and any area would like to hear from any Connolly families, Mgt Connolly.


    Hi, I am a Connolly from Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.


    Hello all if any one has a connection to co limerick of their Connolly family Id love to hear from them or any relations who left and went to other Countries. Mgt Connolly Irwin.

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