Recorded in the spellings of O'Flatley and Flatley, and often confused with O'Flattery and Flattery, which is believed to be of the same origination, this name is Irish. It is an anglicised form of the ancient O'Flaithileadh, translating as 'The descendant of the prince poet'. This is surely one of the most dignified and pleasing of all Irish surnames, the Flatley clan being now principally associated with County Sligo in the west of Ireland, whilst the Flattery clan as spelt, is mainly to be found in County Offaly, formerly King's County. It is said that the name in the spelling of O'Flaithre is recorded at least four times in the Annals of the Four Masters, and is dated between the years 971 and 1166, just before the conquest of the country in the year 1170. At this time the chief was known as the 'King of Ulidia and Lord of Lecale', and as such one of the nine kings of Ireland. In so far as the clan has an epicentre it is the village of Carrowflatley in County Sligo. Petty's famous 'Census of Ireland' in 1659 records that the Flatleys or Flattery's were the principal nameholders and landowners or landholders, in three baronies of County Offally. Like most other clans the Flatleys did not escape the consquences of the infamous Potato Famine of 1846 - 1848. Amongst these emigrants bound for New York were John and Bessy Flatley on the ship 'Reliance of Liverpool' that left Ireland on May 8th 1846.
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