This surname QUINNANE of is a west Clare name which is also quite numerous in north Tipperary and Offaly where it is spelt O'Guinane. The inland Munster county of Tipperary is second only in extent in Ireland to the Ulster county of Donegal, covering as it does over one million acres. The county is bounded on the east and north-east by the province of Leinster, having boundaries with the counties of Offaly, Leix and Kilkenny. On the south side County Tipperary has a boundary with County Waterford, marked for some distance by the River Suir. The community which mushroomed beside one rich colliery, which opened in the 18th century, one of the earliest to be exploited in the county, was named Coalbrook. Ironstone metal was also found in the pits there. As this county covered a large territory it accommodated anciently a number of septs; by the time of the arrival of the Anglo-Normans, branches of several Dalcassian septs from Thomond had also established themselves in the area. The name in Irish is O'Cuinneain and O'Cuineain. The tradition of surnames in Ireland developed spontaneously, as the population increased and the former practice, first of single names and then of ephemeral patronymics or agnomina of the nickname type proved insufficiently definitive. At first the surname was formed by prefixing 'Mac' to the fathers Christian name or 'O 'to that of a grandfather or earlier ancestor. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in Ireland or Scotland at this time. Those of nobler blood, however particularly those who went on Crusades felt early that a need for a second name would add prestige and practical advantage to their status, and additional names were added during the reign of Edward II (1327-1377).
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