Recorded in various spellings including O'Connell, O'Connel, Connell and Connel, this interesting surname is of pre 7th century Gaelic Irish origin. It is an anglicized form of O' Conaill, meaning the descendant of Conall. This is a personal name of uncertain origin, but possibly composed of the elements "con", from "cu", a hound, and "gal", meaning valour. The name was popularized by the fame of a 7th Century Irish saint, who was Abbot of Inis Caoil. The (O) Connell's claim descend from Aengue Tuirmeach, who was High King of Ireland in circa 180 B.C., the clan being from County Kerry in the south-west of Ireland. The Barony of Magunihy, in which the city of Killarney is situated, is still the homeland of the leading family of O' Connell. The list of famous namebearers include Daniel O' Connell (1775 - 1847), known as 'The Liberator". He played an important role in the fight for Catholic emancipation throughout Britain but specifically in Ireland. Dublins premier road is named after him. One of his ancestors, Friar John O' Connell, composed the historical poem "Tuireadh na hEireann" in circa 1700. A Coat of Arms granted to the O'Connells is divided per fess silver and green with a stag trippant proper between three trefoils slipped counterchanged. The Stag signifies fleetness and longevity, and the trefoil indicates fertility and abundance. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Teag O' Conaill, which was dated 927. He was the bishop of Thomond, in County Clare, and is recorded in the "Annals of Innisfallen".
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