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> O'Finnegan, Irish
Posted: 04-Feb-2013, 10:38 PM
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Background: There are two distinct septs of Finnegan or Finegan whose name is O Fionnagain in Irish, which means the descendants of Fionnagan, an old Irish personal name derived from the word fionn, I.e fairheaded. One of these septs was located on the border of Cos. Galway and Roscommon where there are two places called Ballyfinegan - one in the barony of Balymoe and the second nearby in the barony of Castlereahg. The other is a Breffny sept. The present day bearers of the name - it is seldom found with its proper prefix O - hail chiefly from the localities of their origin; the majority belong to Cavan and adjacent counties, with a fair proportion to south Connacht. An entry in the "Annals of Loch Ce" telling of the destruction by the O'Byrnes in 1405 of a place called Newcastle O'Finnegan, as well as a reference in one of the Elizabethan fiants, suggests that in mediaeval times Finnegans were also located in Co. Wicklow. Finnegans have not been prominent in the cultural or political history of Ireland. The name is, of course, familiar on account of the novel Finnegans Wake by James Joyce: the title of his novel is that of an old Dublin ballad from which Joyce took it.

Variations: O'Finnegan, O'Fionnagain, fionn, Finnegan, Fionnagain, Fionna, Finigan, O'Finegan, Finegan.

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