O'Neill

From Academic Kids

O'Neill (also spelled O'Neil) is a common surname of Irish origin.

Its original Gaelic form is Ó Néill or Ua Néill, meaning 'grandson of Niall'. The surname Ó Néill was taken from a much later man of the same name, Niall Glundubh of the Uí Néill.

In past usage, it refers to an Irish kinship group based in Ulster, descended from a family from which a number of High Kings of Ireland sprang in medieval times. The progenitor of the dynasty was Niall of the Nine Hostages (Niall Noigiallach), said to be High King and died c.450. The O'Neill was the traditional title of the head of this family, and during early English rule the holder of this title was considered by many to be the rightful High King of Ireland.

Spelling variants include O'Neil and O'Neal.

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