The Mooney Family

Mooney family crest

(Crest No. 297. Plate 18.)

THE Mooney family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son Heremon. The founder of the family was Daire Barrach, son of Cathire More, King of Ireland, A. D. 144. The ancient name was Meangach, meaning “The Wise.” The possessions of the sept were located in Kings County and Queens County. The Mooneys were also chiefs of Clan Murthiule, a district in Ballintubber, County of Roscommon.

This family was also seated in the east of the barony of Tireragh, in the County of Sligo. The name is still extant in this barony, where it is Anglicized Meery and Meary without the prefix O. The name Mooney is found in various parts of Ireland, but variously Anglicized. Generally speaking, in Connaught it is made Meeny; in Meath and in the north of Ireland, Mooney, and in the south of Leinster and in Munster, Mainy. Many of this name were distinguished as bishops, abbots, and learned men.

The late Stephen Joseph Meany, patriot and writer, was a member of the Munster branch of this family. He was imprisoned for nearly a year for his participation in the Forty-eight movement, and again in 1867 he was arrested and tried in Ireland for words spoken in America. He was condemned to fifteen years’ imprisonment, but was subsequently released and sent to the United States. He was arrested again in 1882, when on a visit to Ireland, but was promptly released.

Of the Mooneys in the United States, one of the best known was the Rev. Father Mooney, Chaplain of the Sixty-ninth Regiment in the late Civil War. He was a thorough type of the Irish priests of the old school, devoted, zealous, fearless, pious, generous, and learned. Another worthy descendant of this Irish family is Mr. James Mooney of Buffalo, N. Y., former President of the Irish Land League in America, and one of the most prominent Irish-American citizens of the State.