Coyle surname history

In appearance at least, Woods, together with Wood, is of course an English name, denoting a person who lived near a wood or, in some cases, a woodcutter. In Ireland, however, the majority of those bearing the surname are of native Irish extraction. The Irish for a wood is coill, plural coillte, and many Irish names containing elements which sounded similar in untutored English ears were mistranslated as "Woods". Among such names are: Mac Giolla Comhghaill ("MacIlhoyle"/"Coyle"), "son of the follower of St Comgall", found in Donegal and Monaghan; Mac an Choiligh ("MacQuilly"/"Magilly"), "son of the cock", from Co. Roscommon; Mac Giolla Chomghan ("MacElhone"), "son of the follower of St Comgan" in Co. Tyrone, and Mac Caoilte ("Quilty") in Munster. The only family whose surname actually did contain coill were the Mac Conchoile, "son of the hound of the woods", who were also anglicised phonetically as MacEnhill. They were based near Omagh in Co. Tyrone. The form Woods is more than ten times commoner in Ireland than in England and Wales.

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