O Mullen

O Mullen - what does O Mullen surname mean?

Recorded in several forms including O` Mullan, O` Mullane, O` Mullen, Mullan, Mullane, Mullen, and probably others, this is an Irish surname of great antiquity. It derives from the pre 10th century Gaelic surname O` Madain, meaning a descendant of Maolain, a personal byname from `maol`, meaning tonsured, and hence describing a monk or holyman. Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes, revered elders, or some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by `Mac` denoting `son of`, or `O`, grandson, male descendant of. Three distinct septs of `O`Maolain` existed in Ireland. The first, and most important, belonged to County Galway, and the eponymous ancestor, Mullan, was descended from an early king of Connacht. The second, O`Mullan or O`Mullen, held territory in the Ulster counties of Tyrone and Derry. The most famous of this sept was Shane Crosagh O`Mullan, the Derry rapparee, who flourished circa 1729. In Ulster, Mullan may also be an abbreviated form of `MacMullen`, a Scottish surname borne by many of the 17th Century settlers in that province. A third sept of `O`Maolain` was found in the Munster County of Cork where the name is Mullane or Mullins. The mother of the liberator Daniel O`Connell, was an O`Mullane. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Denis O`Mullane. This was dated 1608, in `Records of Ulster`, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to `develop` often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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