Origin of the Doyle Clan Name


In the year c 800AD the first Vikings ploughed their boats into the sands just north of Howth Head, near our now capital Dublin. Members of the Doyle Clan or Clann O Dubhghaill were born.

The Doyle name is one of the most common names in Ireland today. The name Doyle is derived from the gaelic Ó Dubhghaill which comes from the irish “Dubh” meaning Dark and “Gall” meaning stranger. Dark Stranger is a description given to describe the invading Vikings. It was also used to make a distinction between the dark haired Danes between the fair haired Norwedians. 

Doyle coat of arms

In Scotland the name “Dougall” and “MacDougall” come from the same source as Doyle and are more accurate in pronunciation. In Ulster, in the north of Ireland the names McDowell and Dowell are present and were carried there from by the descendents of immigrant Scottish mercenaries (Gallowglasses).

DubhGilla was a son of Broder and was a King of Idrone which was in the County of Carlow in c 850 AD. This is an interesting origin to trace you family name back to. Broder is a name significant in irish history as he was the Viking that slayed Brian Boru at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.

The strongest association to Doyle in Ireland however is in the southeast of Leinster in the counties of Wexford, Wicklow and Carlow though is it fairly strong throughout the whole country.

In modern days, probably the most famous bearer of the name is Jack Doyle who was an American boxer also known as the “Gorgeous Gael”.

Variations of the name include O Dowill, Dowyll, O Dowile, O Doule, Duggal, McDuggal, McDowell, Dowell, mcDowall and Dowall among many others.

In the coat of arms the 3 stags are portrayed as a symbol of endurance which is a theme reflected I none of the Doyle family mottos,” Bhí mé beich mé”, which means I was and I will be!