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GILLIGAN Family History

MacGilligan, or more usually in Ireland, Gilligan or Galligan, derives from the Old Gaelic "MacGiollagain". The translation is almost certainly "the son of the Chiefs attendant", literally a "page", one who was training for Knighthood. "Giolla" implies one who was a devotee or close follower, and was often used as a prefix to a saints name, although not in this case. Here the diminutive "gain" emphasises the "page" to create "the future knight". Curiously, although the name has clear Scottish origins, it is not found in this spelling in the early records of the country. The clan has always been prominent in County Derry where their territory was known as "MacGilligans strand, whilst the village of Tamlaght Ard was originally known as Ard MacGilligan...

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