Recorded in several forms including McCole, McCool, McIlhoyle, and the dialectal misspelling of McCold, as well as in Ireland - Cole, Coll, Cool, Coole and Coyle, this interesting and confusing surname, can be either Irish or Scottish. It derives from the ancient Mac giolla Chomhghaill meaning 'The son of the follower of St. Comhghall', a saint of 7th century origins, the meaning of whose name is uncertain. The surname is generally regarded in Ireland as being from County Donegal, although as Coyle it is better known in Roscommon. Indeed taking the country as a whole the most populous version is Coyle, followed someway back by McCool, Cole and McCole, with the others very distant. Irish surnames usually originate from the name of the original chief, but others such as this one have a religious begining. In Scotland the origin is much clearer with Duncan McKowle being the first holder of the name, and he was laird of Ardchattan in 1230, where he founded a priory. In Ireland Antony Cole also known as Antony McCol was the bishop of Raphoe in the late 18th century, and he seems to have been closely associated with the increase in Irish nationalism during the early Napoleonic Wars. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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