This ancient surname recorded in the spellings of Luney, Lunney, Lunny, and Lonie, and often with the prefix O' is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic Irish O'Luanaigh, meaning "descendant of Luanach" . 'Luanach' was a personal name deriving from "Luan", meaning a warrior. Originally there were two O'Luanaigh Septs in Ireland, the first belonging to the Munster counties of Cork, Kerry and Clare, the Gaelic poet and scholar Brian O' Looney (1873 - 1901) was from this sept and born in County Clare. The second Sept of O'Luanaigh were important in medieval times, being chiefs of Cenel Moen in the barony of Raphoe, County Donegal. It is said that in the 15th century they were driven across the river Foyle into the barony of Strabane, where they remained. The territory of Manterlooney in County Tyrone is apparently named after this Sept. Today the name in all its variant forms can be found throughout the country, but it is particularly popular in Ulster. Examples of the surname recording include Frances Luney, christened at St Ann's Church, Belfast, on September 12th 1760, Eleanor Lunney, daughter of Hugh Lunney, christened at Ballinderry, County Derry, on March 14th 1859, and James Lunny, who married Eliza Fullerton at Plumb Bridge, County Tyrone, on August 8th 1864. The coat of arms has the blazon of per chevron engrailed, sable and ermine. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Looney, which was dated January 31st 1636, who was christened at St. Dunstans church, 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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