This name, with variant spellings, Luney, (O) Lunney and (O) Looney is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic Irish "O'Luanaigh", meaning "descendant of Luanach" a personal name which comes from "Luan", a warrior. There were two O' Luanaigh septs in Ireland, one, belonging to the Munster counties of Cork, Kerry and Clare. The Gaelic poet and scholar Brian O' Looney (1873 - 1901) was from Clare. "Lowney", a form of Looney is popular in the Castletownbere region of West Cork. The second spet of O' Luanaigh were important in medieval times. They were once chiefs of Cenel Moen in the barony of Raphoe, Co. Donegal they were driven across the river Foyle into the barony of Strabane where they established themselves firmly. The territory of Manterlooney in Co. Tyrone is named after this sept. Today the (O') Looney's are popular in this region and in Co. Fermanagh. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Looney, (christened), which was dated January 31st 1636, in St. Dunstan, Stepney, London, during the reign of King Charles 1, known as "The Martyr", 1625 - 1649. 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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