The Dunlevy Family

Dunlevy family crest

(Crest No. 162. Plate 29.)

THE Dunlevy family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son Heremon. The founder of the family was Conal Crimthine, ancestor of the Southern Hy Nials, and son of Nial of the Nine Hostages, King of Ireland, A. D. 379. The ancient name was O’Donnell, signifying “Grandson of the Destroyer.”

The possessions of the sept were located in the present County of Down. The dominant family in Ulidia, or Down, when, A. D. 1177, it was invaded by John de Courcy, was, according to Connellan, that of Cu-Uladh MacDuinnshleibhe O’h-Eochadha. This Cu Ula was brother of Rory, who was the last King of Ulster of the race of Clan Colla. The Cu Ula portion of this name has been Latinized Canis Ultoniæ, meaning that this chief was “swift-footed as a hound,” and the MacDuinnshleibhe (Dunsleive) portion implies that Cu Ula was the son of Duinnshleibhe—a name which Giraldus Cambrensis Latinized Dunlevus, and which is Anglicized Dunlevy. The O’h-Eochadha portion of the name signifies that the MacDunsleive here mentioned was descended from Eochy, the fifty-first King of Ulster. This Eocha was brother of Maolruana, or Rooney, who was the fifty-second King of Ulster, and was slain at the battle of Clontarf, A. D. 1014, while commanding the third division of the Irish troops on the side of the Irish monarch, Brian Boru. The epithet Duinnshleibhe signifies “the chief who had his fortress on the mountain.”

Rev. Dr. Andrew Donlevy, LL. D., a learned priest, born 1694, was a member of this family. He was educated in the Irish College, Paris, of which institution he subsequently became prefect. In 1742 he published in Paris in the Irish language a work entitled “Catechism of Christian Doctrine,” which still has an extensive circulation.