Recorded in many spellings forms including McGillooly, Gilhooley, Gilhooly, Gilhouley, Gillooly, Gilluley, and in some parts of the country Gilhool, this is a famous Irish surname. It originates from the pre 10th century Gaelic surname 'Mac giolla Ghuala', which translates literally as 'The son of the follower of the shoulder'. This was presumably a nickname as the majority of Gaelic surnames were originaly nicknames for the first chief of the family. These nicknames were very varied, many were clearly abstract, but others, like English nicknames, were probably more physical, referring to some particular appearance of this man.
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