Gormley

Gormley is a surname of Irish origin. The main sept of the clan originated in what was Tír Chonaill, now mainly County Donegal, in the west of Ulster, the northern province in Ireland. The Ulster branch of the clan seem to have originated in what is now the Barony of Raphoe in East Donegal, an area known in Gaelic times as Tír Moen, a territory that was ruled by the Cinel Moen. The common ancestor and progenitor of these Gormleys was Moen son of Muireadach, son of Eoghan (who gave his name to Tír Eoghain), son of Niall of the Nine Hostages.

Different septs and spellingsEdit

In the Annals of the Four Masters and in the Topographical Poems of O'Dugan and O'Heerin, the name is spelt Ó Goirmleadhaigh; the Annals of Loch Cé write it Ó Gormshuil and Ó Gormshuiligh: the editor (William Hennessy) writing in 1871 states that the latter was then anglicised O'Gormooly, but Gormley is universal today. The name means “blue spearman”.

In the Partry Mountains of County Mayo in the West of Ireland is found a sept also called Gormley, Gormaly and Gormilly. The Irish form of this family's name is Ó Goirmghialla or possibly Ó Gormghaille, both Irish forms meaning “blue hostage”. They were chiefs of this area along with the Darcy or Dorcey family. The present parish of Ballyovey, also called the parish of Party, shows the location of this ancient territory in Mayo. In the area of Lough Key, County Roscommon, we find families of the name (O') Gormaly or Gormally. O'Donovan says that these are quite distinct from the O'Gormleys of County Tyrone and that the Irish form of this name is Ó Garmghaile. It is likely that this family is of the same stock as the Mayo sept, but it is unclear if both are related to the main sept of Ulster. In seventeenth century records they are found both as O'Gormley and Mac Gormley, located chiefly in Counties Armagh and Londonderry, but also in County Roscommon and County Westmeath. Gormleys today are chiefly found in County Tyrone and surrounding areas.

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