Scanlon / Family History
The family history of the ancient name Scanlon was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. The variant of this name is O'Scannell. There are at least two quite distinct Septs whose descendants are now known as Scanlan or Scanlon. One is O'Scannlain of Munster and the other is McScannlain of Oriel, Louth, neither of which has retained the prefix O or Mc in modern times. The latter are perpetuated in the placename Ballymascanlon near Dundalk. The widespread distribution of these names is indicated by the fact that there are six Ballyscanlans in Ireland as well as a Scanlansland and a Scanlan's Island. Two of these are in County Clare and one in Mayo, which lends colour to the statement that there was also a North Connacht Sept of O'Scanlan. In Ireland the name is chiefly associated with a most tragic event, the Scanlan murder in County Limerick in 1819, which was the theme of several novels and plays, the best known of which is 'The Colleen Bawn'.The Scanlon 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 Scanlon descendants.