GILHOOLY and GILHOOLEY families are an offshoot of O'Mulvey. prominent in County Leitrim and County Roscommon, from the earliest time on record. Many of the families still living in their ancient homeland derived their name from the Irish Mac Giolla Ghuala, the name of a branch of the O'Maoilmhiadhaigh sept of County Leitrim. Ireland is one of the earliest sources of the development of patronymic names in northern Europe. Irish Clan or bynames can be traced back to the 4th century B.C. and Mac (son of) and O (grandson or ancestor of) evolved from this base, the original literal meaning of which has been lost due to the absence of written records and linguistic ambivalences which subtly but inexorably became adopted through usage. Genealogists and lexographers accept that the patronymic base does not refer to a location, quite the contrary. The use of the prefix 'Bally' (town of) attaching to the base name, identifying the location. The base root was also adopted by people residing in the demographic area without a common ancestor. These groups called 'Septs' were specially prevalent in Ireland. The first Normans arrived in Ireland in the 12th and 13th centuries to form an alliance with the King of Leinster. Under Elizabeth I in the 16th century, settlers from England established themselves around Dublin, then under English control and Presbyterian Scots emigrated to Ulster, introducing English and Scottish roots. The Mac Giolla Ghuala were a sept of sufficient antiquity to appear in the ancient Annals of Loch Ce. Early records include those of three priests name Gilhooly, who served in Kiltoghert in County Leitrim between 1461 and 1505, a tradition which has been maintained in more recent times by the Gilhooly man who served as Bishop of Elphin in the early 1900's. The lion depicted in the arms is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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