Recorded in many spellings which are all loosely inter-related and including O'Looney, O'Lunney, Looney, O'Loonan, Loonan, Loonane, Lowney, Lunnen and Lunan, this is an Irish surname. The development is from the pre 10th century Gaelic O'Luanaigh or O' Luanain, both having the meaning of the "descendant of Luan", a personal name meaning the hound, and as such originally a nickname for a fast runner. There were originally two septs in Ireland, one belonging to the Munster counties of Cork, Kerry and Clare, and the other as Loonan, Loonane, and Lunan, to County Waterford, and also occasionally County Donegal. Lowney, a form of Looney is popular in the Castletownbere region of West Cork. The second sept of O' Luanaigh were important in medieval times. They were once chiefs of Cenel Moen in the barony of Raphoe, County Donegal. The territory of Manterlooney in County Tyrone is named after this sept. Early examples of the surname recording include those of Thomas Looney, which was dated January 31st 1636, at St. Dunstan in the East, Stepney, city of London, and Mark Lunan, who was one of the first emigrants from the Irish Poato Famine. He left for New York on the ship "Queen of the West" from Liverpool, on April 18th 1846. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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