Recorded as Moroney, Maroney, Mulrooney and Rooney, this is a surname of Gaelic origins. It derives from the original O' Maolruanaidh which translates as the descendant of the follower of Ruan, an early Christian holy man who is believed to have lived and preached in both Ireland and Scotland in the 7th century a.d. Most Gaelic surnames originate from the nickname or occupation of the original chief, and there is a wide group which have religious significance based upon being a devotee or follower of a saint. Perhaps surprisingly although the caln was renouwned for its literary skills, in later times this did not prevent them from taking on a more warlike approach far removed from any apparent religious persuasion. In this case the clan were particularly strong in County Fermanagh in Ireland, where they fought a continuing "war" with the MacGuires over several centuries. Today the name survives in Ulster mainly as Mulrooney, although west of the River Shannon in County Clare and to some extent County Galway, where found it is generally recorded as Moroney or Rooney. The first nameholder was probably Ceallach O'Rooney who died in the year 1079 or thereabouts. He was called the Chief Poet of Ireland at a time when the Gaelic civilisation was far ahead of almost anything else in Europe.
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