Recorded in the spellings of MacLysaght, McLysaght, and Lysaght as well as possibly Lycettt and Lysett, this is a surname of Irish origins. It is derived from the pre 10th century Gaelic 'Giolla Iasachta' meaning 'loaned people'. The MacLysaghts were a sub-set of the Dalcassian sept of O' Brien of Thomond, and it is believed that the original namebearers may have been 'loaned' by the O' Briens as fighting men. The surname is mainly found in Counties Clare, Limerick and Cork. To some extent the prefix 'Mac' has fallen into disuse down through the centuries, but however spelt name holders have been well represented in the history of Ireland. William MacLysaght, an officer in Clare's Dragoons on the side of King James 11nd, is said to have distinguished himself at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Edward Lysaght (1763 - 1811), also widely known as "Pleasant Ned", wrote poems in both the Irish and English languages and was one of the celebrated characters of Dublin at the time of Grattan's Parliament, whilst probably the most prominent historian of Irish families and family names was Edward MacLysaght, Chief Herald of Ireland in 1922. The first recorded spelling of the family name is possibly that of John Lyssett, who was christened at the church of St. Martin Orgar at Eastcheap, London, on April 4th 1540. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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