Recorded in the spellings of Lailey and Lally, this most interesting and unusual surname is almost certainly a short form of the Irish surname Mulally. If so it is of pre 10th century Old Gaelic origins, and a development of O'Maolalaidh. This was composed of the prefix O', meaning descendant of, and a personal name meaning "The piebald chieftain" from "maol" and "-aladh", speckled or piebald! The clan were a branch of the Ui Maine and were of some importance in Connacht, where after the coming of the Anglo-Normans in 1170, they were at constant feud with the de Burgos or Burkes.Because of this, they were obliged to move westwards to what is now County Galway. Two O'Mullallys became Archbishops of Tuam, between 1211 and 1611. After the siege of Limerick, however, the name is prominent among the Wild Geese and other exiles. In London Mary Lailey married Frauncis Roberst at the church of St Christopher le Stocks in the city of London, on August 25th 1580, whilst Thomas Arthur O'Mullally (1702 - 1766), better known as "Count Lally de Tolendal", had a distinguished and romantic career in the French Army. The "Arms" granted to the family depicts three red eagles displayed, each holding in its beak a sprig of laurel proper, between three silver crescents on a silver shield. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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