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DONNELLY Family History

Ó Donnghaile- anglicised as Donnelly, Donneely, O'Donnelly, the root is the personal name Donngal or Donnghal, which according to Ó Corráin & Maguire ('Irish Names', 1990) who are experts in the field, means possibly 'of princely valour'. Woulfe et.al. gives 'brown-valour' as the meaning ('Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall', 1923).

The (O) Donnellys are of the Cenél Eoghain, who in turn descended from Niall Náigiallach (Niall of the Nine Hostages), the legendary 4th century king of Ireland. The (O) Donnellys' remote ancestor Domhnall was brother to Niall Glúndubh, the eponymous ancestor of the O Neills: thus they are akin to the O'Neills. The Donnellys' original territorial holding was around Drumleen, Co Donegal, but they were expelled from there by the Cenél Conaill, who descended from another son of NIall Náigiallach! The Annals of Ireland bear eloquent witness to the internecine squabbles and fratricidal strife of early medieval Ireland, long before the arrival of the common enemy, the Anglo-Normans. Soon after their expulsion they settled in the present Co Tyrone, Baile Uí Dhonnghaile (Ballydonnelly) to be precise. This place is now called Castlecaulfield, just west of Dungannon, where the hereditary inauguration stone of the O Neills is located.

It was in service to the O Neills that the famous Shane O Neill was fostered by the (O) Donnellys. A cohort for Hugh O Neill's army was provided by the Donnellys, and fought to the last man at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601. Post Kinsale, the holding of Ballydonnelly was confiscated and awarded to the settler Caulfield family.

Two other Donnelly families are on record, neither of which are related to the above: of Sligo and of Cork. The former were of the Uí Fiachrach, the latter of the Corca Laoidhe, and seated around Dunmanway in West Cork.

By the time of the 1659 'Census' of surveyor Sir William Petty, Donnelly appears as a 'Principal Irish Name' in the following counties:

(Numbers after names are for families not individuals)
Co Donegal
None

Co Tyrone is missing from the 'Census'.

Co Armagh
Armagh (all Baronies), O Donnelly (10); Tarrany, O Donely (8); Orryer, O Donnelly (7); Neyland, O Donnelly (8).

Cos Sligo & Cork, none found.

A fuller picture appears in the mid 19th century 'Primary Valuation' of households by Griffith. Top counties for Donnelly households were Tyrone (600), Armagh (241), Derry (122), Louth (104) and Dublin ( 92 + 48 for Dublin city), Antrim (76 + 71 Belfast).

The Registrar General's 'Special Report on Surnames...' (1894, 1909) based on the birth registrations' distribution in 1890, shows most Donnelly entries on the register in counties Antrim, Tyrone, Armagh and Dublin.


Famous Donnellys

Michael Thomas Donnelly (1927-1982) born in Belfast. Irish missionary priest who spent much of his active life in Malawi, Africa, to whose people he was devoted.

Michael W. Donnelly (1959-2005) U.S. Major and Gulf War Veteran and activist/campaigner for the recognition of the affliction of Gulf War Syndrome. He led a 6 year campaign to prove a connection between Lou Gehrig's Disease (with which he was diagnosed in 1996) and active service in the Gulf. He was also an author, and wrote the book 'Falcon's Cry'.

The Black Donnellys were a family from Co Tipperary who emigrated to Ontario, Canada in 1845. They became notorious as the protagonists of a disregard for the law, resulting in crimes like arson and 'swearing at the police', viz. at Constable Carroll. All of which hardly justifies the act of mob revenge in 1880, which resulted in the deaths of 5 members, some of whom had their skulls smashed in by spades. Their assailants were, for the most part, other members of the Irish community. Evidence was produced of involvement in the massacre by the Biddulph Peace Society (sic), which included the Catholic parish priest, Fr John Connolly

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Donnelly

My interest is trying to find any further information on my (3) grand father, Peter Donnelly, born in county of Tyrone or Armagh, nearest large town is Dungannon, probably born near Blackwater Town. Peter was born c 1816, mother name was Anne, born 1797 (c). Peter had a brother name John, born 1832, Mary 1836 and a few more, names not available. Peter married Brigett McVeigh, do not know where Brigett came from in Ireland (unknown where the marriage ceremony took place), approx 1840/41 time period, migrated to Canada, Montreal for 2 years, had three children (twins) and then migrated to Waddington, New York (right across the border) total children 7. Peter died in 1882 and Brigett pasted away 1888. Buried in Old St. Mary's Cemetery, Wadding

Anthony Barrett

(Part 1 of 3) The Donnelly name has a long history in Ireland and now DNA can trace its origin to the north-western region of the Emerald Island. The Donnelly story [dominated by DNA tribal marker R1b-L513, Subgroup B1] can trace their beginnings to the Finn Valley in Donegal, Ireland from 50 BCE. Perhaps the journey begins with the Clanna Dedad; Deda, son of Sen or Deda Mac Sin. The Donnelly surname origin is from Clan Domnaill [DNA Tribe R1b-L513, Subgroup B1] and relations who remain in Ireland take the modern surname O’Donnelly, McDonald, O’Donoghue and Hughs in Ireland.

Anthony Barrett

(Part 1 of 3) The Donnelly name has a long history in Ireland and now DNA and some recorded history to the north-western area of the Emerald Island. The Donnelly story [dominated by DNA tribal marker R1b-L513, Subgroup B1] can trace their origins to the Finn Valley in Donegal, Ireland from 50 BCE. Perhaps the journey begins with the Clanna Dedad; Deda, son of Sen or Deda Mac Sin. The Donnelly surname origin is from Clan Domnaill [DNA Tribe R1b-L513, Subgroup B1] and relations who remain in Ireland take the modern surname O’Donnelly, McDonald, O’Donoghue and Hughs in Ireland.

Anthony Barrett

(Part 2 of 3) According to research, the Domnaill name is also found in Brittany, France. It is a very old name which appears in the 5th century Roman inscriptions as Dumnovellaunos in Brittany meaning “Deep Valour” equivalent to Irish Domhnaill. But how could this be? Recent discoveries from DNA testing are unlocking the migration patterns of Celtic tribes as late as 800 CE to 1200 CE. The Donnelly story begins in pre-history Ireland but relatives will then move to Wales where the family can be traced back to their Welsh tribe Cydifor Fawr. A descendant and many of his kin will then move to Brittany, France during the Dark Ages.

Anthony Barrett

(Part 3 of 3) Discover their newly found untold story and how forgotten texts bring their story back to life. From the ebook, “The Tribe Within” learn how DNA unfolds this amazing tale and if you look in the right places, how history narrates this evidence. There is another written account of their story, but it is camouflaged in smoke and myth – it will become the tales of King Arthur. Come follow in the footsteps of Deda Mac Sin and visit https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/401207

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