Families of this surname have been distributed across the northern half and the east of the country since the dispersal of their ancestors from Ulster where, nevertheless, Coyle families are still more than twice as prevalent as in Leinster and much more so than in Connacht. Coyle, like the less common surname McCool, is found principally in County Donegal and County Tyrone, and the much rarer form Mac Ilhoyle which survived around Ballymoney, County Antrim, derives from the Irish MacGiolla Choille and Mac Giolla Comhghaill. It is not known exactly what date a region in north-eastern Ulster was erected into the county of Antrim, but in 1584 the Lord Deputy, who was then attempting to subdue Ulster and subject it to English government, divided the county into baronies. The chief town is the port-city of Belfast. Due to the growth of industry in the Lagan valley since the 19th century, there has been a heavy movement of population into the city and the surrounding area. Following the subjugation of the Irish chieftains in Ulster, Scottish and English settlers were induced to establish themselves in County Antrim as in the other counties of the province and many of these settlers were encouraged by the government to engage in the cultivation of flax, both for linen manufacture in the county and for export as yarn. Further encouragement was given in this industry at the end of the 17th and early 18th century when Huguenot refugees received grants to enable them to share their experience of textile manufacture and instruct those engaged in branches of their industry in Antrim, to improve their methods, so by the latter decades of the 18th century, County Antrim produced almost one half of the total Irish exports of brown linens. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definate nomenclature. The most notable man of the name was Most Rev. Anthony COYLE, who was bishop of Raphoe from 1782 to 1801; he was a Gaelic-Irish poet, yet is best remembered not for his religious works, but as the author of the poem on the find of Moses in the rushes, which was popularised by the celebrated character known as Zosimus
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