University of Galway Students Discover the History behind their Surnames in Sloinne on TG4
Galway History//Good News//Irish Language

University of Galway Students Discover the History behind their Surnames in Sloinne on TG4

Get ready for an exciting journey into the heart of Irish heritage with Sloinne, a new seven-part series on TG4, which will feature current University of Galway student Hannah Ni Dhomhnaill from Donegal, and former student and Galway native Máirtín Seoighe as they discover the interesting history behind their surnames.

This series delves into the fascinating stories behind Ireland's most common surnames, bringing history to life in a way that's accessible and enjoyable for everyone. The first series showcases surnames like Ó Flaithearta, Ó Murchú, Ó Ceallaigh, Ó Súilleabháin, Ó Domhnaill, Seoighe, and Ó Conchubhair.

Sloinne paints a colourful picture of how our local areas and surnames are deeply intertwined. The rugged landscapes of West Cork, where the O’Sullivans have left their mark, the historic tales of the O’Donnells echoing through the hills of Donegal, and the ancient lineage of the Joyces of Galway.

above Máirtín Seoighe and Paul MacCotter

Each episode features a special guest exploring their family surname, taking us on a journey back in time. During the series, they'll visit ancient strongholds tied to these names, reliving epic battles and feuds over land and possessions. From the famous to the infamous, modern-day stories of surname bearers add a personal touch, highlighting our enduring connection to our ancestors.

Episode 5 will show TG4 this Sunday 18th February 2024

In this Sunday’s episode of Sloinne, the programme follows Hannah Ní Dhomhnaill, a Donegal student studying in University of Galway, as she goes on a journey back in time to trace the history of her surname and to find out about others with the same Ó Domhnaill surname. Hannah’s journey takes her to the beautiful Franciscan Friary (Rossnowlagh) and to Donegal Castle (Donegal Town). Donegal is well-known for it’s wealth of musical talent and on her adventure Hannah meets Finbarr Clancy to discuss the history of ‘O’Donnell Abú’, famously sang by the Clancy Brothers and also singer Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill who tells her all about her famous aunt Neilí Ní Dhomhnaill.

The episode features other conversations with Professor Nollaig Ó Muráile, who shows Hannah ‘The Great Book of Geneaologies’ in Dublin and with Dr Liam Mac Amhlaigh (University of Maynooth) who discusses Niall Ó Dónaill, the man behind the well-known Foclóir with her.

above: Hannah Ní Dhomhnaill 

Episode 6 will show TG4 on Sunday 25th February 2024

The sixth episode in the Sloinne series will follow Máirtín Seoighe (former NUIG student) as he finds out all about the Seoighe or Joyce surname. His journey takes him out to Maam, Co.Galway, where he ventures out on the Lough Corrib by boat with Seán Seoighe to visit Castlekirk. Máirtín visits Galway City Museum where Eoin O’Neill explains the history of the Claddagh Ring and tells him of it’s creator, Richard Joyce. He also visits Galway Courthouse to meet lawyer Seán Ó Cearbhaill, to learn about the shocking death of Myles Joyce and the Maam Trasna Murders and then Nora Barnacle’s house, where Ray Burke (author) discusses with him the influence Nora had on her husband’s (James Joyce) writing.

The episode also features conversations with Paul MacCotter (series geneologist) in University College Galway and with Mary Kenny (author),Liam O’Connor (Director of Folk Music Ireland) and Breda Joyce.

Episode 7 will show TG4 on Sunday 3rd March 2024

Frankie Ó Conchubhair goes in search of the history behind his surname and ends up in Country Roscommon at Clonalis House the ancestral home of the O’Conor family.

Episodes 1, 2, 3 and 4– featuring Mazz O’Flaherty, Noelle Gallagher (Ní Mhurchú), Aodhán Ó Ceallaigh and Seán Ó Súilleabháin can be watched back on TG4 Player :

above: Máirtín Seoighe

Feature photo of Hannah Ní Dhomhnaill and Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill

All photos courtesy of TG4

Published on Updated on