Recorded in several forms including Dreelan, Dreelen, Dreelin, and Dryland, this is an Irish and Leinster surname although possibly one of early medieval Norman-English origins. The occasional spelling as Dryland would seem to suggest a possible origin, and if so one that was topographical for a person who lived on high ground, or even an island, but certainly a place which was "dry" when all around was marsh or wetlands. The English influence in Ireland commenced from the year 1170, and many soldiers were given plots of lands as payment for their service, which may provide an original source. The famous Irish etymologist the late Edward MacLysaght suggested that the name was Anglo-Norman in original from Dreeland, but we do not have that spelling as English. Another Victorian etymologist suggested that Dreelan is from the Norman "du Druhull", but without any further explanation. The name is spelt in the 1659 census of Ireland as Dreiling from County Kilkenny, but this again provides no explanation at to its origin.
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