The O'Rielly surname originally appeared in Gaelic as O Raghailligh, which means descendant of Raghallach.
Early Origins of the O'Rielly family
The surname O'Rielly was first found in County Cavan
. They were known as the Princes of East Breffny
, descended from Raghallaigh, Prince of Breffny
in 981. They maintained their territory during the Anglo/ Norman invasion
, Earl of Pembroke, in 1172, but Sir John O'Reilly, Prince of Breffny
surrendered the principality to Queen Elizabeth I thereby ensuring that his territories remained intact.
Early History of the O'Rielly family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Rielly research.Another 95 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1598, 1669, 1630, 1695, 1689, 1640, 1703, 1689, 1646 and 1691 are included under the topic Early O'Rielly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Rielly Spelling Variations
People who were accounted for by scribes and church officials often had their name recorded many different ways because pronunciation was the only guide those scribes and church officials had to go by. This resulted in the problem of one person's name being recorded under several different variations, creating the illusion of more than one person. Among the many spelling variations
of the surname O'Rielly that are preserved in archival documents are O'Reilly, O'Reilley, O'Reily, O'Rielly, O'Riely, O'Riley, O'Rilley, Reel and many more.
Early Notables of the O'Rielly family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family name at this time was Count John O'Reilly; Edmund O'Reilly (1598-1669), Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh; Hugh Reily (Reilly or O’Reilly) (c.1630-1695) Irish Member of Parliament for Cavan Borough in the Patriot... Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Rielly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Rielly family to the New World and Oceana
A great mass of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century, seeking relief from various forms of social, religious, and economic discrimination. This Irish exodus was primarily to North America. If the migrants survived the long ocean journey, many unfortunately would find more discrimination in the colonies of British North America and the fledgling United States of America. These newly arrived Irish were, however, wanted as a cheap source of labor for the many large agricultural and industrial projects that were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the western world. Early immigration and passenger lists indicate many people bearing the O'Rielly name: the families who settled in Newfoundland - in St. John's, Tilton Harbour, Placientia, Tickle Bay, Tilt Cove, and many more, between 1805 and 1871; James O'Reiley settled in New York in 1823.
Contemporary Notables of the name O'Rielly (post 1700)
- Michael O'Rielly, American Member of the Federal Communications Commission (2013-2014)