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FRIEL Family History

This early Irish surname is an anglicized spelling of the ancient Gaelic O'Firghil, a compound of the elements "fear" meaning "a man" and "gal" - valour, "The gallant man"! It is said that the sept have one of the most distinguished origins in all Ireland, and descend directly from Eoghan, the brother of St. Columcille, the original St Columba, in the 6th century. The latter exiled himself from Ireland being unable to rationalise between the warring tribes, and founded a monastery on the desolate Isle of Iona. The sept was, and still is, located in County Donegal, where they were known as 'coarbs', and held a hereditary position of trust, where in effect they maintained the church lands on behalf of the Primate of Ireland...
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    Barbara Friel Mitchell

    I was told my father Hugh Friel was related to Brian Friel , the Irish playwright. Story is there were 3 brothers, one became a priest, the other went to Dublin to become a hackney driver (Brian Friel's ancestors) and my ancestor remained in Donegal. Not sure how true all this is but my cousin who lives in Donegal told me this story.


    Brian Friel 1/9/1929-10/2/2015
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