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Irish Surname - Boyle or O'Boyle

The name Boyle is a variant of O'Boyle, derived from the Gaelic 'O'Baoighill', meaning the male descendant of the rash one! Because there is some uncertainty about the exact derivation of the name, it is also believed to have connections with the Irish word geall, meaning "pledge" combined with "baoi" meaning "treacherous".

Irish clan names were traditionally taken from a nickname of the original chieftain of the clan, and were often prefixed by an O', or Mac. In the Middle Ages the O'Boyles were powerful and respected chieftains in County Donegal, who shared control of west Ulster with the O'Donnells and the O'Dohertys. They were also known for their ruddy complexion!

Although generally regarded as an Irish surname of great antiquity, there is a possibility that it could be English of French origins brought to Ireland during the Norman invasion in the 12th century, The French origins of the name in England could derive from the Norman-French as'Boileau' meaning 'water wood' or 'Boille', a nickname of endearment for a small, rounded person, or possibly from 'de Boyville', meaning "from Boyville", a village in Normandy, France.

Famous People with the Boyle Surname

Some of the best-known Boyles connected with Ireland were of English origin.

The first Earl of Cork, Richard Boyle, came from England to Ireland in 1588 and went on to acquire the extensive property of the executed Sir Walter Raleigh in County Waterford. This formed the nucleus of the vast estates he was to bequeath to his extensive family on his death in 1643. The best known of his sons were Roger Boyle (1621-1679) Earl of Orrery, and Robert Boyle (1627-1691), chemist and experimental physicist.

Other Boyles of note:

Boyle Family Coat of Arms

The Boyle family coat of arms depicts a gold shield charged with green oak tree eradicated.

Alternate Surname Spellings

Boyles, O'Boyle, O'Baoighill, O'Baoill

The strongest association of the name is still in County Donegal, where (O)Boyle is the third most numerous name in the country. The Boyles can also be found in Kildare and Offaly.

Please Note

There is often limited information available on a specific coat of arms and motto for an Irish surname. Sometimes there are many variations, sometimes none, we have compiled a representative, but by no means exhaustive, selection. Please visit our Coat of Arms and Motto page for more information.

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