Recorded as Mac Dwyer, Dwyer, MacDyer, McDyer, this is an Irish surname from County Donegal. Like the O' Dwyer clan to which it is not connected as far as is known, it derives from the ancient Gaelic personal name Duibhuidhir, meaning the dark and tawny one! Most early Irish clan names originated from a nickname for the first chief, and this is another example of the genre. The MacDwyers and McDyers are from the town of Glenties, and were an important sept in the area. It is said that the first proven or surviving record of the surname was in County Sligo, when three McDyers were pardoned for treason in 1593. In 1632 we have the recording of Patrich MacDavir, presumably a misssed attempt at the correct spelling, who is given as being a major landowner in the country, but recored as a "meere Irishman". Another early recording of the family name may be that of Denis Dwyre. He was apparently a christening witness on November 19th 1677, at the church of St. Peter and St. Kevin, Dublin, during the reign of King Charles 11nd of England. He was known with good reason to history as "The Merry Monarch", and reigned 1660 to 1685. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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