- Recorded in several spellings including Kennally, Keneally, Kenealy, Kennelly, Kinneally, Quinnelly, and others , this is a famous Irish surname. It derives from the pre 10th century Gaelic O' Cinnfhaelidh, meaning 'The male descendant of the Wolf (or Wolfs head)' and they originate from the lands known as the barony of Connello in County Limerick. The majority of Irish surnames of true Gaelic origin are forms of patronymic, and usually refer to some warlike appearance of the original chief, and intended to strike fear into the opposition. This is a good example of the genre. Accordings to the late Edward MacLysaght who wrote the definitive histories of the Irish clans, the name is recorded in the Annals of the Four Masters from the 12th century, which is the effective commencement date of surnames as we know them today. It seems however that the clan fell foul of the Fitzgeralds, and were dispersed from their original lands although not very far as even today they are most numerous in the province of Munster between Limerick and Waterford. It is said that a Lieutenant O'Kinneally was an officer in King James Regiment of Foot at the battle of the Boyne in 1690, and he may have been the same person who later joined the Itrish Brigade of the King of France. Edmund Kenealy (1818 - 1880) was a Cork barrister and a prominent public figure in both England and Ireland.
Surnames reference. 2013.