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02-07-2019, 14:28   #1
Seanachai
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Gaelic surnames that could be Norse

I've read in some articles and heard from various people that surnames like Foley, Murphy etc relating to 'sea-raiders', 'sea-warriors' etc could actually be of Viking origin. Is there any evidence to back this up?
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02-07-2019, 14:33   #2
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It is also said that Galvin is a viking name.
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02-07-2019, 15:41   #3
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It is also said that Galvin is a viking name.
It seems a bit of a coincidence that the names are so prominent in former coastal Viking counties.
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02-07-2019, 16:48   #4
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Consult The Surnames of Ireland by MacLysaght - the definitive source.
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02-07-2019, 23:27   #5
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Consult The Surnames of Ireland by MacLysaght - the definitive source.
Hmmm. He's good, but not always correct.

Another Norse one there is a question mark/ debate over is Mac Abhlaoibh/Mac Olave/McAulliffe
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03-07-2019, 08:34   #6
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Hmmm. He's good, but not always correct.
Really? I hadn't heard that before.
Is there a source that now supersedes it or has that book yet to be written?
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03-07-2019, 09:04   #7
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If the sea-faring surnames aren't Norse then could they be the sea people that sacked Egypt I wonder?
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03-07-2019, 09:36   #8
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Hmmm. He's good, but not always correct.

Another Norse one there is a question mark/ debate over is Mac Abhlaoibh/Mac Olave/McAulliffe
Yep, bring on the evidence for this statement, Pedro!
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03-07-2019, 11:08   #9
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Yep, bring on the evidence for this statement, Pedro!
He was very wrong on my own surname and when contacted about it did have the good grace to correct the entry for subsequent reprints (albeit with some qualification). I also dislike and do not agree with much of what he did to Irish heraldry, particularly his views on ‘family crests’. (I’ll send you a pm about my surname.)
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If the sea-faring surnames aren't Norse then could they be the sea people that sacked Egypt I wonder?
The sea people of Inbher Sceine? That’s going down the route of General Vallency, he who tried to make out that Staigue Fort in South Kerry was a Phoenician amphitheatre and further proof for his favourite theory of the colonization of Ireland by the Phoenicians.
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03-07-2019, 11:43   #10
Seanachai
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He was very wrong on my own surname and when contacted about it did have the good grace to correct the entry for subsequent reprints (albeit with some qualification). I also dislike and do not agree with much of what he did to Irish heraldry, particularly his views on ‘family crests’. (I’ll send you a pm about my surname.)

The sea people of Inbher Sceine? That’s going down the route of General Vallency, he who tried to make out that Staigue Fort in South Kerry was a Phoenician amphitheatre and further proof for his favourite theory of the colonization of Ireland by the Phoenicians.
There are linguistic connections to that part of the world, there are also some pretty dark-featured Irish people with no history of recent Mediterranean mixture in their families. The Spanish Armada theory has been debunked so the Irish being part Phoenician doesn't seem that far-fetched to me.
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03-07-2019, 20:50   #11
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I agree totally about the heraldry stuff. When I was at UCD, Sean Murphy indicated the DeValera leaned on him quite a bit there.
I maintain that coats of arms have no place in a Republic, but I don't have a problem with families who already were granted arms continuing to use them.
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04-07-2019, 00:45   #12
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There are linguistic connections to that part of the world, there are also some pretty dark-featured Irish people with no history of recent Mediterranean mixture in their families. The Spanish Armada theory has been debunked so the Irish being part Phoenician doesn't seem that far-fetched to me.
I agree that there are many loan words in Irish and English that emanate from Old Norse; also, all of us come out of Africa so there is bound to be a genetic connection(U5b?) with the Phoenicians plus the common link of PIE languages. Dubhthach's territory, best left to him!
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I agree totally about the heraldry stuff. When I was at UCD, Sean Murphy indicated the DeValera leaned on him quite a bit there.
I maintain that coats of arms have no place in a Republic, but I don't have a problem with families who already were granted arms continuing to use them.
Not sure about Dev – maybe Lemass? My recollection is hearing that the pressure emanated from the Irish Tourist Board?
I also take issue with the ‘bold’ above – arms are personal, they do not belong to a family, which is my big issue with McLysaght - I've no major argument with his family name work. Arms are granted to an individual and are “real property,” i.e. they belong to that individual, cannot be appropriated by another and are governed by the same laws as taking somebody’s car and using it. (I’m ignoring cadency and differencing as it is irrelevant in this case.) The Scrope-v-Grosvenor case is the reference. The granting of Arms has nothing to do with nobility, as Arms can be granted to companies, guilds, clubs, etc. Even the GAA has its Arms!
As for republics, many of them hand out both arms and honours. Although there is no state role in granting arms, French law recognises them as real property. France however grants ‘honours’, e.g. the gradations of the Legion d’Honneur – Officier and Chevalier. In Ireland Article 40.2.1 of our Constitution prohibits the conferral of a title of nobility by the State, and Article 40.2.2 prohibits acceptance by any citizen of any title of nobility or honour "without the prior approval of the Government” which is why citizens (if they remain citizens) such as Sir Bob Geldoff had to ask permission to accept (the Govt here is sounded out through diplomatic channels before the actual honour is conferred.) Sir Tony O’Reilly was born before the 1947 cut-off date so I cannot recall if it was necessary for him to request permission.

I don’t see any incompatibility between the status of a Republic and granting arms – they can be purchased by anybody, it’s a question of cash. IMO it also is a sign of national maturity to accept and co-exist with ‘relics of a colonial past’. I’d hate to see heraldic emblems being torn down by the zealots; they, like old estate walls and follies are part of our heritage and serve several purposes.
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04-07-2019, 10:37   #13
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To clarify what I meant by family: an individual or particular family gains arms and those arms can be used by his or her descendants. I don't mean anyone with that surname.

MacLysaght and DeV were friends - the former lived in Clare and he was appointed Chief Herald in 1943 (during DeValera's tenure) and this lasted until 1954. Lemass didn't take office as Taoiseach until 1959.

Last edited by pinkypinky; 04-07-2019 at 10:45.
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04-07-2019, 12:59   #14
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To clarify what I meant by family: an individual or particular family gains arms and those arms can be used by his or her descendants. I don't mean anyone with that surname.

MacLysaght and DeV were friends - the former lived in Clare and he was appointed Chief Herald in 1943 (during DeValera's tenure) and this lasted until 1954. Lemass didn't take office as Taoiseach until 1959.

Will respond later - I'm entertaining yanks who are celebrating what I refer to as their 'first civil war'.
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05-07-2019, 00:53   #15
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MacLysaght and DeV were friends - the former lived in Clare and he was appointed Chief Herald in 1943 (during DeValera's tenure) and this lasted until 1954. Lemass didn't take office as Taoiseach until 1959.
I don't doubt that Dev and McLysaght knew each other. Also, McLysaght’s family had a long connection with Clare, he wrote somewhere (possibly in ‘Irish Life in the Sixteenth Century’?) about one of his surname obtaining land along the Shannon in the six(?)-mile belt during the 1650’s. Perhaps it was pressure from Dev, but Lemass was Minister for Supplies during WW2; that effectively was the Department of Industry and Commerce, which had oversight of the Irish Tourist Board, established by the Tourist Traffic Act in 1939.

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To clarify what I meant by family: an individual or particular family gains arms and those arms can be used by his or her descendants. I don't mean anyone with that surname.
That is not fully correct either. I agree armorial bearings are hereditary and can be borne and used by the descendants in the legitimate male line of the person to whom the Arms were originally granted or confirmed. BUT that right must be established by proving descent from that specific armigerous ancestor. Furthermore, the Arms should be differenced each generation for younger sons by marks of cadency, i.e. slight changes depending on the position of the son in the family, although that has been and today is largely ignored.
Several of my surname have Arms by inheritance, all of them with common features but I cannot just ‘pick’ one of them and assert it as mine; I must prove which line I descend from before I can claim a right to bear those specific Arms. Daughters can incorporate arms (and for their own, use a lozenge rather than a shield) but grandchildren in the female line of an armiger may not use his arms or crest but may display his Badge, which if requested is included with a Grant of Arms.

What McLysaght did IMO was to take that the Badge and/or the Crest and use it/them as the basis for a ‘makey-uppy’ ‘Family Coat of Arms’. In heraldry the Crest forms part of the blazon, it cannot exist on its own and generally remains the same across a family name. However, the Badge may be used by those who want to show allegiance to the entity or the individual to whom it belongs. Golf or yacht club ties are an example.

In doing his work McLysaght did a disservice to heraldry, he should have called them ‘Family Badges’ not ‘Arms’. It was the commencement of sloppy work in the Chief Herald’s office, culminating in the farce of the McCarthy Mór affair, for the unmasking of which your above-mentioned Sean Murphy deserves our eternal gratitude!
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