The Doyle Family

Do you know someone with the last name “Doyle”?  They may think they’re Irish.  But. . . .

In my post of December 16, 2011, I spoke of the Viking era (790 A.D. – 1066 A.D.).  And I mentioned that the Vikings who raided – and remained behind in — Ireland (usually because they had met a young lady) – were given the name “Doyle” which is from the Celtic Ó Dubhghaill, which means “son of the dark (or evil) foreigner.”  This is the name that indigenous Celts called Danish Vikings who started settling in Ireland and Scotland beginning in the 9th Century. 

Researchers in Ireland have distinguished two separate groups among the Viking raiders in Ireland.  The Lochlainn were the Norwegians who were described as “fair.”  The Danair were Danes who were described as “dark” because they wore chain-mail armor.  Beginning in 830 A.D., the Norwegians began sporadic raiding of the British Isles.  In 852 A.D., the Danish Vikings took control of Dublin and founded the Danish Kingdom of Dublin which continued for 300 years until the coming of the Anglo-Normans.  As might be expected over the course of occupation, the Vikings were absorbed into the social, religious and political life of Ireland.  They adopted the language and customs.  And they intermarried.  And it was those Danish Vikings who remained behind when their brethren left who were given the name “Ó Dubhghaill” or “Dubh-Ghaill.”  Or “Doyle” for those who want the translation.  The names McDowall, McDowell, McDuggal, Dowell, and McDougal all have a relationship to the Dubh-Ghaill – Doyle – family.  So you know someone named “Doyle”. . . . ?