Daly – ranked alongside the High Kings

History of the Irish name Daly. Image copyright Ireland Calling

The name Daly comes from the Irish name Ó Dálaigh. The Ó Dálaighs were educated in literature and poetry and were a respected family in Irish history.

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As well as being the literary giants of their day, many of the Ó Dálaighs also held the important post of Ard Ollamh, a prestigious social position that ranked alongside the High King and allowed total control over your own court.

Those Ó Dálaighs that didn’t hold the post of Ard Ollamh were considered to be beneath the High Kings, but above all others in society due to their vast knowledge.

History of the Irish name Daly. Image copyright Ireland Calling

Poets in residence

The word Ó Dálaigh means meeting or assembly and the Irish government, the Dáil, is derived from the same word.

Many of the Ó Dálaighs were employed as hereditary poets in residence for the major families in Ireland from the 11th century right up until the 1700s.

They were respected poets, literary figures and teachers throughout Ireland. A school was set up in Westmeath by Cuconnacht Ó Dálaigh to celebrate great poets of the past and compose new work.

Daniel Ó Dálaigh was the most notable religious leader of the Ó Dálaighs. He was a Dominican friar who was forced to flee Ireland to avoid persecution. He moved into Europe and set up schools in France and Portugal.

Sergeant Major Daly
Sergeant Major Daly

The name Ó Dálaigh evolved over the centuries to several variations. Daly, Daley, O’Daley, Dawley are the more common ones still in use today.

Received the Medal of Honour twice

There have been several successful Dalys in politics, sport and show business. John Daly is an American golfer, famed for his flamboyant dress sense and short temper. He won his first major in 1991 when he only made the tournament as a qualifier after several players pulled out.

Sergeant Major Daniel Joseph “Dan” Daly is one of the few men to have received the Medal of Honour for two separate conflicts. He was a Marine for the USA and fought the Germans in World War One. He also led a group of men to safety after 400 Haitian insurgents ambushed him and his troop of 35 soldiers.

Carson Daly is a popular American TV host and radio personality. He has hosted NBC productions The Voice as well as his own chat show Last Call with Carson Daly.

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