Ó Tuathail

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The Ó Tuathail coat of arms

Ó Tuathail, or O'Tuathail, is an Irish surname commonly found in Wicklow and Kildare. The family, also known as O'Toole, (an anglicization of the Irish Ó Tuathail), was one of the leading families of the province of Leinster. They are descended from Tuathal Mac Augaire, King of Leinster (died 958), who belonged to the Uí Dúnlainge dynasty. The first to use the surname in true hereditary fashion appears to have been his grandson Doncaon, slain at Leighlin in 1014.


Although the original territory of the Ó Tuathail family lay in Co Kildare, in the 12th century they were displaced by the invading Normans and migrated into the adjoining county of Wicklow, where the area they controlled was roughly identical to the old diocese of Glendalough, with the centre of their power in the region around the Glen of Imaal. Despite the proximity of Dublin, the centre of English rule in Ireland, the Ó Tuathail's maintained a fierce independence and, were a source of great fear to the inhabitants of Dublin and the Pale for almost four centuries. The descendants of the sept took the name O'Toole, although the name is now rare without the prefix 'O'. The tradition of surnames in Ireland developed spontaneously, as the population increased and the former practice, first of single names and then of ephemeral patronymics or agnomina of the nickname type proved insufficiently definitive. At first the surname was formed by prefixing 'Mac' to the father's Christian name or 'Ó 'to that of a grandfather or earlier ancestor.

Notable people from the O'Tuathail (O'Toole) Clan[edit]

  • Colonel John O'Toole of the Irish Brigade in France was created a count and is the ancestor of the present Count O'Toole of Limoges.
  • John Lawrence Toole (1830–1906) the comedian, born in London. He went to the City of London School, and in 1853 gave up his desk in a wine merchants to become an actor. He first played at Ipswich and in London at the St. James's Theatre in 1854. In 1874-75 he played in the United States, and in 1890 in Australia. In 1879 he became lessee of the Folly Theatre, which he enlarged, changing the name to 'Toole's Theatre'.
  • Gerard Toal (Irish: Gearóid Ó Tuathail) (born 1962) is a Professor of Government and International Affairs in Washington DC

Related names[edit]

The following is a list of names that are related to O'Tuathail. This is not a complete list; there may be other names.

  • O'Toole
  • O'Tool
  • Toole
  • Tool
  • Toil
  • Tooley
  • Toal
  • Toale
  • Tohill
  • Towle

See also[edit]

External links[edit]