Origin of the Name Reilly
The ancient history of the name Reilly
was found in the allfamilycrests.com archives.
Over the centuries Surnames developed a wide number of variants. Different spellings of the same name can be traced back to an original root. Additionally when a bearer of a name emigrated it was not uncommon that their original name would be incorrectly transcribed in the record books at their new location. Surnames were also often altered over the years based on how they sounded phonetically and depending on the prevailing political conditions it may have been advantageous to change a name from one language to another.
Variants of the name Reilly
include Riley and O'Rahilly. This Irish sept had their territories in County Cavan, being the most powerful family in Breffny. They were kinsmen of the O'Conor Kings of Connacht, through Maolmordha, whose great grandson was Ragheallach from whom the O'Reillys took their name. Their Chief was head of Breffny-O'Reilly, and in the middle ages his influence extended into Meath and Westmeath. To this day they are still numerous in Breffny, heading as they do the County list both in Cavan and in Longford. In 1878 O'Reilly landlords possessed over 30,000 acres. Five O'Reillys have held the position of Archbishop of Armagh.
The Reilly coat of arms came into existence centuries ago. The process of creating coats of arms (also often called family crests) began in the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this. The new art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own coat of arms, including all Reilly descendants.