Recorded as MacAlinden, McAlinden, MacAlindon, McAlindon, McAlinion, McElenan, McElyan, McLyndon, Glendon, Leonard, Linden and possibly others, this is an Irish surname of great antiquity. It is believed to derive from the pre 10th century Gaelic 'Mac giolla Fhindein', given as meaning 'The descendant of the follower of St Finnen of Clonard'. According to the late Edward MacLysaght, the foremost etymologist of Irish surnames, the name is centered upon the province of Ulster. In the 17th century in particular many Irish surnames were greatly altered, simplified and shortened. The 'long' spelling of Mac being largely replaced with Mc, or dropped completely, as well as being confused and integrated with English and Scottish settlers surnames of the same or very similar spellings. It is said that the MacAlinden's of Fermanagh like the O'Gallaghers and the O'Doherty's claim descent from the famous Niall of the Nine Hostages, and that they were originally styled the Lords of Loch Erne. The clan featured in Petty's 'Census of Ireland' in 1659, and produced Padraig Mac Giolla Fhionndain,the foremost Gelic poet of his age, who flourished in 1690.
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