The Irish surname Neal is of patronymic origin being a reduced form of Irish Gaelic Ó Néil ‘descendant (or son) of Niall’, a personal name of Irish origin, thought to mean ‘champion’. They claim descent from Domhnall, grandson of Niall Glun Dubh (Black Knee), King of Ireland, who was killed by the Norsemen circa 890 A.D. The family are said to have the oldest traceable genealogy in Europe, a remote ancestor being Niall of the Nine Hostages, the legendary 4th Century High King of Ireland. Church recordings include Michael O'Neill who married Ellen Sherry at Bridgetown, County Clare on 13th July 1865.
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