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In the north of Donegal we find an area containing three parishes, those of Tullaghobegley, Raymunterdoney and Clondahorky. This is believed to be the ancient centre of the Mag Fhionnghaile/McGinley clan. We are still very much represented in the area, being one of the commonest names there. It is a large area that includes the villages of Gortahork, Dunfanaghy and Falcarragh. According to the famous and well respected Dr McGinley of Glenswilly, the story within his family is that the McGinleys had a stronghold in the Dunfanaghy area but were besieged by the English at the end of the Nine Years War (1594-1603). To the north is the spectacular Horn Head peninsula with the equally wonderful Tory Island out at sea. It is on Tory Island that one of the earliest records of one of our clan is mentioned. Ciothruadh Mag Fhionnghail lived at the end of the 1400’s and early 1500’s. The noted Monk and Scribe lived here in the monastery. To the south the land sits in tight under the watch of Muckish Mountain. To the western side we have the Glenna River. Somewhere in this area was the beginnings of our clan. Family tradition suggests areas closer to the sea, probably towards the north eastern part of the 'cut off' section on the map below:

Map 1. Original homeland, c. 1250-1609.

Map 2. McGinleys dispersal within Co. Donegal, c. 1610.

Map 3. McGinleys dispersal within Ireland.




This branch of the family are usually called the Achill McGinleys, although they are fairly spread out around the neighbouring areas such as Burrishoole and parts of south Kilcommon Parish, a very large parish, and on the island of Kilmore in particular. The surname was at first recorded in this part of the world with the Mac-prefix (MacGinnally, McGinnally, McGinnelly, McGinnely etc.) but today it is generally found without the Mac/Mc-prefix. This is confirmed as far back as The Griffiths Valuations for Co. Mayo (1855) in which no Mac/Mc forms were recorded. The most common form then as now is Ginnelly.



This branch of the McGinleys remain the least recorded and researched of the clan. Very little is known about them. We do know, however, that they left north Donegal sometime in the 1500's. It is not known if this was part of an English dispersal. It was most likely a voluntary move to pastures new as we find no records relating to 'Pardons' or forced removals to the area. We have no information regarding clan territory belonging to them in the area, but they must have developed an area of their own since the timescale falls within the 'Celtic Period' or 'Brehon Period' when clan territory was the norm. The name was at first found as McGinnell but the prefix was dropped in the 1800's. The regular form today is Ginnell with a few other forms such as McGinnell, Gennell, McGindle, Gindle etc. The last two forms are common in Australia only.



Meaning of the Name

Clan Origins

Clan Territory

Surname Distribution

St Colm Cille

Native Clothing


Clan Leadership


McGinleys in America


Special Places

Neighbouring Clans

McGinley Placenames

Coat of Arms

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