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For the town in Ireland, see Quilty, County Clare.

Quilty is an Irish family name which has spread throughout the English-speaking world.

Origins and history[edit]

The name "Quilty" is an Anglicized form of the ancient Gaelic name of "Caoilte" (pronounced: Kweelteh). There was a mythic Celtic warrior (c. 3rd Century A.D.) by the name of Caílte mac Rónáin, who was a member of the Fianna and the nephew of Fionn mac Cumhaill. According to legend he lived long enough to be baptized by St. Patrick (c.389-461). The book "If You're A Wee Bit Irish: a chart of old Irish families collected from folk tradition" by William Durning (1978) recounts an alleged ancestry of Caoilte back to Adam. James Joyce (1882–1941) in chapter twelve of his masterpiece, Ulysses, (1922) has "The tribe of Caolte" as one of the twelve tribes of Ireland in a biblical parallel to the twelve tribes of Israel.[citation needed] Quilty is also a small town in County Clare Ireland, though this quilty is an anglicization of a different Irish word "coillte" meaning "woods". The name is considered a sept of the dynastic Dál gCais of the Kingdom of Thomond, and has the motto "Lámh Ládir an Nachtar" meaning "the strong hand uppermost."

There are various spellings of the name: Caoilte, Caolte, and Cuallta in Gaelic, and Kielty, Kealty, Keelty, Keilty, Kelty, Kilty, and Quilty (with or without an O' or Mc or Mac) in English. The most common variants are Kielty and Quilty. The name is possibly a derivation of caol meaning slender.

In 1850 there were over 75 families bearing the name of "Quilty" in Ireland, over half of them in County Limerick. As of 2005, there were about 300 families bearing the name of "Quilty" in the United States alone, almost half them in the northeast, with the highest concentrations in the states of Massachusetts, New York, Florida, Illinois, and California.

Notable individuals with the name Quilty[edit]

Fictional characters with the name Quilty[edit]

Other uses of the name Quilty[edit]

In music
  • Quilty was an Irish folk group named after the Clare village, mainly hailing from County Londonderry, who released one album entitled "Music of Ireland" through Arfolk/Escalibur[1] in 1979.
  • Clare Quilty is a rock group from Virginia, USA, named for the character from Lolita
  • Quilty is a group from Sweden who focus on traditional Irish folk music. They have created three albums since they formed in 1993. Their latest album, "Apples in Winter", was released in March 2015.
In fiction


External links[edit]