Despite its French appearance, this surname is of Irish origin, and is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "O'Dulchaointigh", descendant of the Satirist. Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes, or some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by "O", grandson, male descendant, or, "mac" denoting "son of". The personal byname, Dulchaointeach, in this case, is composed of the elements "dul", satirist, with "caointeach", plaintive, and in medieval Ireland, the professional poet or satirist would have been held in high regard, and looked upon with awe, as it was thought that "the pen was mightier than the sword". This great sept was chiefly located in the ancient territory of Ormond, comprising much of Co. Kilkenny and north Tipperary, and the surname first appears on record there in the mid 15th Century (see below). In the process of Anglicization "O'Dulchaointigh" has acquired a great number of variant forms including: Dullahunty and Dullchanty (Crannagh, Co. Kilkenny, 1659) and Dolochany with Dulohonty (King's County, 1670). In the modern idiom the name is spelt: Delahunty, Delahunt, (O)Dulchonta, Dolohunty, Dulanty, Dulinty, Dulhanty and Delhanty. John Whelan Dulanty (deceased 1955), the best known of the name in Ireland, was Irish High Commissioner in London for eighteen years. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of O'Dolleghenty, or O'Dulleghyntie, which was dated 1441, in the "Ormond Deeds of Counties Kilkenny and Tipperary", Ireland, during the reign of King Henry V1 of England, known as "The Founder of Eton", 1422 - 1461. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was 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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