About the Mooneys
In the middle ages there were five main septs of the name Mooney or O'Mooney. Of the three smaller septs, the first ranked as chiefs of Clann Muirthile in Roscommon, the second as chiefs of Ui Fiachrach (descended from Fiachra brother of Niall of the Nine Hostages, King of Ireland 379-406 AD) seated in Tireragh on the shores of Sligo Bay, and the third were chiefs of Siol Anmchadha (descended from Anmchadh, eighth in descent from Maine Mor, fifth century King of Connacht) seated in Galway.
The two principal septs of the name, however, were those of Donegal in the very north-west of Ireland, and Offaly in mid-Leinster: the former were a noted ecclesiastical family ranking as erenaghs (guardians of the church) of Shanaghan at Ardara in Raphoe, and the latter were seated at the town which now bears their name; Ballymooney.
Today the surname is widely found and has several forms, which between them have six to seven thousand bearers: Mooney is well represented in Antrim, Dublin and Laois, and Money and Monie are rarer synonyms in Down, while Meaney, Meany and Mainey are forms met in the regions of Clare-Limerick, Cork, Kilkenny-Carlow and parts of north Connacht.
The original Irish name was O Maonaigh, denoting 'grandson of Maonach', a personal name meaning 'dumb'.
The Ulster Mooneys take their name from the chief Maonach son of Ailill Mor. The Monneys of Offaly were custodians of the Shrine of St Monaghan at Clara.
Priest Maelisa O'Mooney died in 1233, Murtogh O'Mooney was slain in 1260, and Nicholas O'Mooney, priest of Caislean MacConchobhair, died in 1438, while a John O'Mooney, parson of Geashill, died in 1523.
Elizabethan submissions list a Shane O'Mooney (1597), Shane Beg O'Mooney (1602) and Murrough O'Mooney (1602) of Timahoe. A Thomas Mooney (died 1638) dwelt in Meath, and another Thomas Mooney was among the emigrants to America in 1652.
Coat of Arms
On a white field for Purity and Peace, and within a green and white border for Favour and Recompense, is an oak tree denoting Strength, Stability and Antiquity of Race; in the tree is a lizard denoting Chieftainry and Veneration.