The name GIBNEY is fairly numerous in the counties of Meath and Cavan, and although it is that of an ancient Irish sept, there are few early references to the name. In 1574 Dionysius GIBNEY of Loughcrewe, County Meath, obtained a pardon, and in James II's army there was a Thomas GUIBENNY. In 1590 Irgas Mac GABENAY of Ardcarne, County Roscommon. 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. Dr Matthew GIBNEY (1838-1925) was the Bishop of Perth, Australia from 1887 until 1910, and is remembered for his courageous attempt to rescue the outlaw Ned Kelly from a burning building in which he lay seriously wounded, and although some of the bushrangers lost their lives, Kelly escaped from it. Kelly's father was a Tipperary man who was transported to Australia in 1841; his mother was a Cody, a relative of 'Buffaloe Bill'. Sir John Gibney was the physician to George IV, by his advocacy of the salutary effects of sea-bathing, and was largely responsible for the subsequent popularity of Brighton in Sussex, till then a little known village and seaside resort.
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