• Molloy surname history

    Molloy surname history

    Molloy, along with Mulloy and O'Molloy, is the anglicised version of a number of distinct Irish names. The O Maolmhuaidh, from maolmhuadh meaning "proud chieftain", in earlier times anglicised as O?Mulmoy, were part of the southern Ui Neill, the southern branch of the large tribal grouping claiming descent from Niall of the Nine Hostages, the fifth-century king who supposedly kidnapped St. Patrick to Ireland. They held power over the ancient kingdom of Fercal, covering a large part of what is now Co. Offaly, where the surname is still very common. The family were prominent in the early English administration of Ireland. One of their number, then Bishop of Ferns, helped to officiate at the coronation of Richard l, (although he later excommunicated the Earl of Pembroke) and the chief of the family became hereditary standard bearer for the English in Ireland.

    A second family were the O Maoil Aodha, "descendant of the devotee of (St.) Aodh", from maol, literally "bald", a reference to the distinctive tonsure sported by early Irish monks. As well as Molloy, this surname has also been anglicised as Mullee. The name arose in east Connacht, in the Roscommon/east Galway region, and remains numerous there today.

    In Ulster O Maolmhaodhog, "descendant of the devotee of (St.) Maodhog", more usually rendered into English as Mulvogue, or Logue, has been confused with Molloy, particularly around the Glenties area. Molloy is now common there.

    In 1890 there were 153 births of the name, concentrated in counties Donegal Dublin Galway and Mayo.

    James Lynam Molloy (1837-1909) was a composer of popular ballads, many of which are still sung. "Love?s Old Sweet Song" is the best known example of his work..

    M.J. Molloy (1917-1994) was a small farmer near Milltown, Co. Galway, and a successful playwright. Many of his plays, including his best known The Wood of the Whispering, were produced by the Abbey in the 1930s and 1940s. They enjoyed a revival in the 1980s, in the Druid theatre.

    Bobby Molloy (1936 - ) has been member of Dail Eireann, the Irish parliament, for over 30 years, and a minister in four governments. He was one of the founders of the Progressive Democrats in 1986.