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The Irish Rose

Donnelly Name History

Donnelly Irish Coat of Arms

Donnelly is an Irish surname. It is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic "Ó Donnghaile", "O" meaning male descendant of ("Ní" is the female equivalent), and Donnghaile (or Donnghal), a personal name composed of the elements "donn" (brown), plus "gal" (valour). The name O’Donnelly is derived from the descendants of Donnghaile (Donnghal) (an individual who lived during 10th century in Ireland) who was the great grandson of Domhnall, King of Aileach. Early ancestors of this surname were a part of Cenél nEoghain and the Uí Néill as descendants from the line of Eógan mac Néill one of the seven sons of Niall Noígíallach.

It is most commonly found in County Tyrone in west Ulster. It was so common in Roscommon that at some point, a branch of people with the Donnelly surname took on the name of Briscoe instead.

Learn more about the Donnelly family

The Framed Irish Family Name History, (#1760) has more information on the Donnelly surname. There is a wide selection of Donnelly coat of arms products at The Irish Rose. Please visit the Irish Coat of Arms page.

Looking for a Donnelly Pub in Ireland?

We found Donnelly's of Barna in Barna, County Galway, a Bar of the Year award-winning establishment. If you can't visit in person, our personalized Donnelly pub gifts are the next best thing!

Notable people named Donnelly

  • Dick Donnelly, Scottish football player, journalist and broadcaster
  • Elfie Donnelly, children books writer
  • Gary Donnelly, Irish republican
  • Henry Edmund Donnelly, American Catholic bishop
  • Ignatius L. Donnelly, Minnesota politician
  • James S. Donnelly, Jr, historian
  • Jamie Donnelly, Jan from 1978's Grease
  • Jason Donnelly, Barrister & University Lecturer Australia
  • Jennifer Donnelly, American novelist
  • Joseph Francis Donnelly, American Catholic bishop
  • Laura Donnelly (actress)
  • Malcolm Donnelly, baritone singer
  • Mattie Donnelly (Gaelic footballer)
  • Mattie Donnelly (hurler)
  • Michael Donnelly (priest) (died 1982), Roman Catholic priest from Ireland
  • Major Michael Donnelly, Gulf War veteran, activist, and author
  • Mike Donnelly, professional hockey player
  • Phil M. Donnelly, Missouri governor 1945-49 and 1953–57
  • Ruth Donnelly, star of The Bells of St. Mary's
  • Scott Donnelly, English football player
  • Scott C. Donnelly, Chief Operating Officer of Textron
  • The Black Donnellys, a feuding Canadian family

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