Conley / Family History
The ancient origin of the name Conley was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. Meaning 'valiant', variants of Conley include Connolly, Connelly and McConley. The two last variants of Connolly are found in the Oriel Counties and to a lesser extent Munster. The Conleys and O'Connollys are descended from two Irish Gaelic septs. They were O'Conghaile of Connacht and Monaghan and O'Coingheaiaigh of Munster. The sept associated with county Monaghan was one of the four tribes of Tara, later being forced out of its territory by the Anglo-Norman Invasion. The Munster Connollys were well established in Cork but found they were subject to the control of the O'Donovans. In modern times the name is most numerous in Counties Galway, Monaghan and Cork. The foremost Munster Connolly was William Connolly, speaker in the House of Commons, and reputedly once the richest man in Ireland.The Conley family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Conley descendants.