Ó Dálaigh - Irish Names and Surnames

Rev Patrick Woulfe
1923

Ó DÁLAIGH—I—O'Daly, Daly, Dawley, &c.; 'descendant of Dálach' (holding assemblies, frequenting assemblies). The O'Dalys derive their descent from Maine, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, and were originally chiefs of Corca Adain, or Corca Adhaimh, in the present county of Westmeath. In later times they became famous as a bardic family all over Ireland. "There is certainly no family," writes O'Donovan, "to which the bardic literature of Ireland is more deeply indebted than that of O'Daly." The first of the family to become famous for his learning was Cuchonnacht na scoile (C. of the school) who died at Clonard in 1139. He Was the ancestor of all the bardic families of the name. "From his time forward," says O'Donovan, "poetry became a profession in the family, and Corca Adain sent forth poetic professors to various parts of Ireland." About the middle of the 13th century, a branch of the family, descended from Donough More O'Daly, a celebrated bard, settled at Finavarra, in Burren, Co. Clare, where they became poets to the O'Loghlens. To this branch belonged the Dalys of Galway, whose ancestor settled in Ui Maine in the latter part of the 15th century. Raghnall O Dalaigh, who settled in Desmond about the middle of the 12th century, and became chief ollave in poetry to MacCarthy, was doubtless the ancestor of the O'Dalys of Muinntear Bhaire and O'Keeffe's country. Another branch settled in Cavan, and became poets to the O'Reillys; while other branches were poets to the O'Neills of Ulster and the O'Connors of Connacht. The name is now common all over Ireland.

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