Recorded as Scallan, Scallon, sometimes Scullin, and originally O' Scallan, this is an ancient Irish surname. It originates from the pre 10th century O' Sceallain, which itself derives from the word 'sceall' meaning the stone of a fruit or the kernel. Many, indeed the majority, of Irish clan surnames originate from what was usually a descriptive nickname for the originator or first chief of the clan, perhaps a thousand or more years ago. Presumably this chief was a tough nut, as it is not very different in origin from the Danish personal name 'Cnut' of which its most famous holder was the legendary King Canute of Denmark and England.'Cnut' means literally 'nut' and there was a further development as Hardi-Cnut, meaning 'Hard nut.' It is said that in former times the surname as Scallan was very numerous in County Wexford, the name being well recorded in Petty's Census of Ireland in 1659. There is a place called Scallanstown in County Meath. However this is a mispelling which causes confusion. It is not the place of the Scallan's, but of the Scanlon's a completely different clan. In Northern Ireland the name has been transposed or confused with Scullin, although this name is a variant of (Mac) Scully or Scally, again a quite different origin from the ancient Gaelic 'scolaidhe' meaning student or scholar.
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