Maloney


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Ua Maul Dhomhnaigh, meaning "descendant of a servant of the church" is an old Irish surname.  Maul in fact translates as "bald."  Early monks and priests had close cropped hair with their trademark shaven patch. Many legends and stories relate to the association of the name with the Moloney clan.

Ua Maul Dhomhnaigh has contributed a number of anglicized surnames, the main ones being Maloney, Malony, Moloney, Molony, Mullowney and Malowney (but not Malone or Mahony).  The surnames are to be found in Ireland in Clare, Limerick and Tipperary.
 
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Ireland.  The Moloneys, one of the oldest Irish septs, were the princes of the Dil gCais in county Clare and held a number of castles around their estate at Kiltannon.  Kiltannon House was and continued to be their ancestral home (until it was burnt down in 1920 during "the troubles"). 

They were a strongly ecclesiastical family, contributing many bishops.  Father Donough O'Molony was tortured to death for his beliefs in 1601.  Bishop John O'Molony held the diocese of Killaloe from 1630 to 1670 at a time when anti-Catholic legislation was at its height.  His nephew John continued his work at home and abroad.  The story goes that he was presented with an inlaid grey marble table by King Louis XIV of France as restitution for losing his temper over a game of cards. 

The O'Molony family vault was built in 1702 in the old St. Mochulla's church in Tuila.  The Molonys of Cragg in Clare were a related family who managed to survive the subsequent upheavals.   

There were land confiscations in Clare in the 1690's after the defeat of James II's supporters in Ireland.  James Molony narrowly held onto Kiltanon.  But others, such as Daniel Moloney of Sixmilebridge, lost their lands at this time.  And many Moloneys moved away to neighboring counties of Limerick and Tipperary.

The Moloneys suffered in Clare, as did other Irish families, after the potato blight struck.  Many tenant farmers like Michael Molony of Ballina were evicted from their lands.  Clare overall lost a quarter of its population.  Father Thomas Molony saw at first hand the sufferings in Clare in his own parish of Kilmurry Ibrickane:

"On last Sunday and Monday week, the broken-hearted clergyman had to drag his own tottering limbs, with scarce of interval of rest, from one corpse to another.  In the three subsequent days, overcome, feeble and faint, he had still to continue his attendance to the dying, to pass continually from townland to townland, to look on corpse on corpse, to behold renewed over and over all the agonies and horrors."

Father Molony subsequently did much to publicize the plight of his starving people to British officials.

Canada
.  Moloneys left, as did many other Irish families.  An early departure was William Moloney, conscripted into the British army in the 1770's to fight the Americans.  He ended up in Canada on Bonaventure island off Quebec's Gaspe Peninsula.  Various Maloneys settled in Newfoundland, as place names such as Maloney beach, Maloney hill, and Malloney river attest. 

America.  Many of the Maloneys in America also arrived as Moloney or Molony.  This was true of Joseph Moloney who came to Pennsylvania in 1772 and of William Moloney of Cork who came to Chicago in the 1860ís and later settled in Nebraska. 

Martin Molony arrived as a boy with his parents in 1854 from Tipperary escaping the potato famine.  He made a fortune in Philadelphia from his gasoline burner invention that was used by early gas lighting companies.  He then devoted huge sums to Catholic church building and repairs around the world and was made a Papal Marquis in 1904
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Australia.  The Maloney exodus from Ireland increased after the famine, with Australia being a favored destination.  The following were some of the Maloneys who set off for Australia in the 1840's and 1850's:
  • Jeremiah (Jerry) Maloney on the Neptune from Clare to Melbourne in 1841
  • Daniel and Catherine Maloney from Limerick to Sydney in 1849
  • Robert Maloney on the Kate from Limerick to Sydney in 1851
  • Thomas and Ellen Moloney on the Australia from Limerick to Sydney in 1853.
  • Thomas and Ann Maloney on the Glentanner from Tipperary to Sydney in 1859.
The Seed, an account of three generations of Maloneys, opened to great acclaim in Australia in 2007.  The playwright is Kate Mulvany and the play is based on her family history.

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If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:


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Bishop John O'Molony from Clare promoted the oppressed Irish Catholic Church in the late 17th century by re-establishing the Irish College in Paris.
Paddy Moloney is a member of the Irish musical group The Chieftains and the main composer and arranger of its music.
Father Francis Moloney is an adviser to Pope Benedict and is widely considered to be the leading authority on the Gospel of St. John.

Select Maloney Today
  • 8,000 in the UK (most numerous in Manchester)
  • 15,000 in America (most numerous in New York)
  • 26,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Ireland)



PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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