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Dowling Family HistoryÓ Dúnlaing- anglicised Dowling, Dooling, Doolan, also Dowley etc. is from an archaic personal name.
Ó Dubhlainn - anglicised Dowlan, Doolan and Dowling. Woulfe ('Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall' 1923) says this comes from 'descendant of Dubhfhlann (black Flann)'
Ó Dubhláin - anglicised Doolan, Dolan, Dowling, Delaney,etc. from meaning 'black defiance/challenge.
The Ó Dúnlaing (pronounced Ó Dúllaing) probably form the majority of this name. Once Lords of Leix (modern Co Laois), their homeland was known as Fearann ua n- Dunlaing 'O' Dowling's Country'. One of the 'seven septs of Leix', they were a powerful and numerous sept, spreading east into Carlow and Kilkenny. Several leading members of the sept were transplanted to Co Kerry by the English in the early 17th century. Another sept of the name were in south-west Ireland; they were of the Corca Laoighde, they also were numerous.
The Ó Dubhlainn were of the Uí Maine in present day Co Galway.
Ó Dubhláin was the name of many families in different parts of Ireland. The anglicisations of all these names, as with so many others, had a habit of 'falling together' from the 17th century on.
In Petty's '1659 Census' the following occur as 'Principal Irish Names':
Co Leix, Ossory Barony, Dooling (8 families) Dowley (17); Upper Ossory, Dowling (4) Dowley (9); Maryborough Bar., Dooling (8) Dowling (7) Dowley (5); Cullenagh Bar., Dowling (5) Dowley (5): Ballyadams Bar., Dowling (12):
Co Carlow, Catherlagh Bar., Doolin (6):
Co Kilkenny, Galmoye, Dowley and Dooley (7); Gowran, Dowling (16); Fassagh Deinin, Dowling (9); Crannagh, Dowling (11); Kilkenny City/Liberties, Dowling & c (17).
All of these would be of the Leix sept. The returns for Co Galway are missing. I could find no entries for the west Cork families, although some folios are missing.
By the time of Griffith's 'Primary Valuation' (1848-1860) most Dowling households were in counties: Kilkenny (228) Laois (158) and Kildare (99).
For Doolan, most occur in Laois (159) and Kildare (70)
In the Registrar's Report on Births in 1890, showed most Dowlings in Cos Kilkenny, Laois and Dublin.
Most Doolan births were in Cos Louth, Dublin and Cork.
Two Famous Dowlings:
Thady Dowling (1544-1628) Irish scholar and grammarian.
Bartholemew Dowling (1823-1863) a Kerryman, of the transplanted Leix sept, wrote 'The Brigade of Fontenoy'.
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