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Irish Surname - Dooley

The Irish surname Dooley originates from the 12th century Gaelic 'O'Dubhlaoich' (descendant of Dubhlaoch), derived from the words 'dubh' meaning black, and 'laoch' meaning hero or champion. It was probably a reference to the first chief of the clan ie 'the male descendant of the dark hero'. This chief may have been Celtic or Breton, as the early history of the clan may suggest that they were 'blow ins'.

The first reference to the name was found in Westmeath where they held a family seat from very ancient times and the clan chiefs were also known as the Lords of Fertullagh. They were forced to move to the Ely O'Carroll, to the west of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, County Offaly, by the O'Melaghlins and Tyrells. The surname was also common in Counties Leix and Offaly in the 1659 Census of Ireland. Over the centuries Offaly has become the county where the surname is most numerous and where the majority of descendants can be found. There is also some evidence of the existence of Dooleys (by the ancient name of O'Dubhalla') in the past, in Muskerry in County Cork.

The surname became well-known world-wide through the creation of 'Mr Dooley', a fictional Chicago character created by US author Finlay Dunn. The fictional 'Mr Dooley' expounded on political and social issues of the day from his South Side Chicago Irish pub and in 1898, a collection of Dunn's sketches were published in 'Mr Dooley in Peace and War'.

One of the earliest refugees from the dreaded Irish Potato Famine of 1846 - 1851, was Patrick Dooley aged eighteen. He left Dublin bound for New York on May 11th of that year.

Alternate Surname Spellings

Dooly, O'Dooly, O'Dooley

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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