Connolly Family History
The Connolly ancient family history was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. Meaning 'Valiant', variants of Connolly include Connelly, Conley and McConley. These two last variants of Connolly are found in the Oriel Counties and to a lesser extent in Munster. The 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 their territory by the Anglo-Norman invasion. The Munster Connollys were well established in Cork but found they were subject to the power 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, reputedly once the richest man in all of Ireland.The Connolly 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 Connolly descendants.