The surname Kirkconel was first found in Kirkcudbrightshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Chille Chuithbheirt), part of the present day Council Area of Dumfries and Galloway, former county in Southwestern Scotland.
The family were first found in "the lands of Kirkconnel in the parish of Troqueer, Kirkcudbrightshire." 
As one would expect, the place name literally means "church of Connell," as "kirk" is Scottish Gaelic for "church."
"St. Connel, to whom the church was dedicated, appears to have given the name to the parish. The church at one time belonged to the monks of Holywood, who received the tithes, establishing a vicarage for the due performance of divine service." 
Saint Connell or Cennell was an Irish saint and missionary from what is now known as County Galway. He was a contemporary of Saint Patrick as was in fact, appointed Bishop of Aughrim by him. (c. 500.)
And the first on record was "William, son of Michael de Kirkeconeual granted to Holmcultran for the souls of himself and his wife half of all the land between Polleychos and Grenesiche from Polleroth to the Water of Nid, c. 1235-1253." 
Later, Thomas, son of Andrew de Kyrconeuel, was granted to the same abbey half of the land with the moss lying between Polchos and Grenescych in Kyrconeuel within certain bounds described, c. 1280-1290. One of the witnesses is Andrew de Kirkoneuill.
A few years later, Thomas de Kirconnel of the county of Dumfries rendered homage in 1296 to King Edward I of England and accordingly had his lands restored to him. 
"Fair Helen of Kirconnell" or "Helen of Kirkconnel" is a famous Scottish ballad by Sir Walter Scott. It tells the story of Fair Helen of Kirconnell (Kirconnel) who is claimed to have lived in the 16th century. She was apparently loved by two gentlemen at the same time. While with one of her gentlemen, she sacrificed herself to protect him from her other gentleman's attack from the other side of river. She died in his arms.
Kirkconnel Tower was a 16th-century tower house in what is now known as Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. This is thought to have been the home of Helen of Kirconnel. While there is record of the tower, there is no evidence found today.
Kirkconnel (1892-1916) was a British Thoroughbred bred racehorse and sire owned by Lady Stamford, wife of William Grey, 9th Earl of Stamford (1850-1910), the English peer born in Newfoundland. There is no record of why the horse was so named, but we do know that he had previously been known as Kirkconell, but after his acquisition by John Blundell Maple in 1894, he was officially renamed Kirkconnel prompting a comment that he was now owned by "a man who knows how to spell."