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Irish Surname - Conlon

The surname Conlon and Conlan are anglicised versions of a number of Irish names of Medieval Irish origin.

The principal septs were the O'Connallains, who originated in counties Galway and Roscommon - O'Connallain is a derivative of the personal name Conall, 'strong as a wolf'; the O'Coinghiollain sept, whose derivation is unclear, originated in County Sligo. Another version of the Sligo 'O'Coinghiollain' is O'Caoindealbhain, (anglicised 'Quinlan') which comes from caoin, 'fair' or 'comely' and dealbh, meaning 'form'. This variation is mainly associated with the midlands of Ireland and parts of County Meath, where the descendants are from an important sept near Trim, which traces back to Laoghaire, King of Ireland circa 432. O'Coindealbhain was also anglicised 'Quinlivan' in Munster.

'The Book of the O'Connellans', a medieval work in Irish, deals with the genealogies of the Tirconnell families and is a very valuable source of historical and genealogical lore.

The first recorded spelling of the surname dated 1247, is that of Abraham O'Connellan, Archbishop of Armagh, during the reign of King Henry 111. Thomas O'Connellan was Bishop of Achonry from 1492 to 1508.

The most common forms of the name, 'Conlon' and 'Conlon', are distributed throughout Ireland, with the majority still in the original homelands of north Connacht and the midlands.

Famous People

Thomas O'Connellan (c1620-1685) who was born at Cloonmahon, County Sligo was a great bard and musical genius, sometimes referred to as "Tom Conlan, the great harper". His brother Laurence was well known in Scotland as a wandering harper after 1700.

Owen Connellan (1800-1869), another north Connacht man, born in Sligo, was a great Irish scribe and translator.

In more recent times, Joseph Connellan was a nationalist politician, one of the pioneers of the Sinn Féin movement, the Gaelic League and of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Ulster. He served as shadow Minister of Education until his death in 1967.

Alternate Surname Spellings

Conlan, O'Conlan, Connellan

Researching Irish Surnames

We have researched many sources for the origins of Irish surnames and extracted a fair representation of the origins of each. As there are many variations we have compiled a representative, but by no means exhaustive, selection.

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