About half of the McCLOSKY families in Ireland survive in County Derry, the homeland of their ancestral sept, Mac Bhloscaidh, a branch of the O'Cahans. Bloscaidh was a favourite forename. Others have spread to the east of Ulster and to the capital. McCLUSKEY is a common variant spelling. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames: they came into being fairly generally in the eleventh century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. The surnames in Ireland originally signified membership of a clan, but with the passage of time, the clan system became less distinct, and surnames came to identify membership of what is called a 'sept'; a group of people all living in the same locality, all bearing the same surname, but not necessarily descended from a common ancestor. Adoption of the name by people who did not otherwise have a surname and by dependents was not uncommon. Just over one hundred years after the Norman Conquest of England, the first Normans arrived in Ireland. Richard de Clare, Second Earl of Pembroke (died 1176), was known as Strongbow. He was invited to Ireland by Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster, whose daughter he married, to help him in his wars with his neighbours. He was accompanied by several retainers whose names, like his own, have become well established as surnames in Ireland. The Normans established themselves in Leinster and paid homage to Henry II of England. Some of the Norman settlers acquired surnames derived from the Irish. A minor notable of the name was Chester Martin McCLOSKEY, born on the 21st July, 1918. He was a chemist and his appointments included Research Fellow in Chemistry to the Consultant of Industrial Associates at the California Institute of Technology. He is the author of numerous publications in professional chemistry journals. John Clement McCLOSKEY, was born on the 16th January 1905. He was an Educator, and his appointments included Instructor of English at the University of Oregon from 1938. He was the author of articles on American literature and William Shakespeare. He was awarded the Fulbright Lectureship to India in 1961.
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