History of the surname:
The surname Hanley or Hanly is the anglicized form of the Irish O hAinle, which is possibly derived from the Gaelic word Aluinn, beautiful (we may also note that in modern Irish ainle means a swallow). It is found today principally in, indeed it is almost confined to, two areas, viz. in Connacht to Counties Roscommon and Galway, where it is usually spelt Hanly, and in Munster to Co. Cork and adjacent districts where the spelling is Hanley. The ancient sept of O'Hanly originated on the banks of the Shannon in Co. Roscommon where the place-name Doohyhanly perpetrates their connexion with that district. These O'Hanlys were tributaries of the royal house of O'Conor. Their establishment in Co. Cork was comparatively late: the name is almost entirely confined to Co. Roscommon in the census of 1659 and in earlier records. A family closely allied to the O'Hanlys of Connacht is the Hallys of Co. Clare whose name has a similar derivation. Since the end of the seventeenth century Henley, Henly, Hendley, Henely have been used in Munster, especially in Co. Cork, as variant forms of Hanely. For Hellenny in Co. Mayo see under Fennelly. Donal O'Hanley was Bishop of Dublin from 1085-1096 and Samuel O'Hanley the same from 1096-1111 when the bishopric became an archbishopric.
Last Updated : Tuesday, April 20, 2004 10:17 PM