Recorded in many forms including O' Molan, Molan, Molen, Molian, Molen, Mollan, Molohan, and others, this is generally accepted to be an early Irish surname. It is said to originate from the pre 10th century Gaelic O' Mohlachain which is understood to translate literally as 'shaggy', or more precisely 'The male descendant of the shaggy one.' As this was almost certainly a nickname given to the first chief of the clan, it would seem to indicate a less than honourable treatment of the chieftain status. However this is not so, it was par for the course, many Irish surnames have a similar 'nickname' origin, and many are robust, Kennedy for instance meaning 'Ugly head'. It is however quite likely that is that 'shaggy' was not the original translation or that if it was, it had a different interpretatation, a thousand or more years ago. It is said that in the spelling as Molan or Moland the clan are centred upon County Tipperary, although there is some confusion as Moland is also an English surname, whilst as Molohan it is most popular in counties Leitrim and Longford, where it is also confusingly recorded as Mulligan! The first recorded of the surname in any spelling may be that of Dermot O' Molan, who was a chaplain in County Meath in 1553.
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