This interesting name of Medieval Irish origin. It is one of the forms of the famous clan name O' Daly, itself a derivative of the pre 10th century Old Gaelic name O' Dalaigh. The prefix O' indicates male descendant of, plus the personal nickname 'dalach' from 'dail', meaning an assembly or meeting place as in Dail Eireann. The chief O' Daly clan belonged to County Westmeath, and several namebearers distinguished themselves in the field of literature, including the first recorded namebearer (see below). From County Westmeath and the bordering parts of County Meath the clan spread to County Clare in the 15th century. It is said that one of the first nameholders was Donagh Mor O'Daly, who lived in about the year 1220. He was born at Finvarra in County Clare, and was known as the Irish Oved. Other recordings taken from surviving registers include Richard Daley who was christened at St. Mary at Hill, in the city of London on November 1st 1583, Johanna Dally, aged seventeen, an Irish Famine Emigrant, and a passenger on the ship Arabian bound for New York on June 19th 1846, whilst the first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Curonnacht O'Dalaigh. It is said that he lived in about the year 1150, and presided over a bardic school in County Meath, during the reign of what is known in Ireland as the High Kings with opposition, 1022-1166. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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