The Irish surname Donlan, also found in Scotland, is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Ó Domhnalláin meaning “descendant of Domhnallán,” a diminutive of the personal name Domhnall, anglicized in Ireland as Donall or Daniel and in Scotland as Donald. The Donlans were a sept of the Ui Maine who were settled in the south-eastern part of County Galway, where the placename Ballydonnellan perpetuates their connection with the district between Ballinasloe and Loughrea. The original castle of Ballydonnellan is reputed to have been built by them in 936 A.D., and was rebuilt in 1412, after being destroyed by fire. The family was from the 11th Century a notable bardic family seated at Ross-O'Donelan, near Elphin, County Roscommon, and many of the family are mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters, and Annals of Connacht.
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