This is a famous Irish surname. Originally O'Flynn it is now almost always recorded as Flynn, although recently some named holders have re-adopted the Gaelic O' meaning the male descendant of Flynn. The surname was originally a nickname given to the first chief of the clan. It derives from Floinn itself from flann meaning 'ruddy faced'. Whether he liked a drink or two or was naturally ruddy, remains a mystery. Several branches of this clan held independent settlements in various parts of Ireland, with one important sept belonging to Skibbereen and Baltimore in County Cork and another to Muskerry, where they were lords of the land extending from Ballyvourney to Blarney in the same county. Another family settled on the borders of Connacht and Ulster chiefly in counties Roscommon, Leitrim and Cavan, and the head of the Roscommon family had the curious privilege of "mounting the same steed as the royal O' Connor". The territory of the Ulster branch lay between Lough Neagh and the sea, where the name also took the form of O'Loinn. The name spread abroad in the 16th century and early recordings in London for instance, include Kathleen Fline, the daughter of William Fline, who was christened at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, on January 16th 1596, whilst Anne Flynn, was christened at St. Anne's, Blackfriars, on December 26th 1708. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Fiacha O Flynn, Archbishop of Tuam. This was dated 1255, when he was the emissary of the Irish Church to England. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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