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  • Scannell Coat of Arms 

    Families names SCANNELL and the variant spellings Scanlan are found mostly in south-west Munster in the counties of Kerry, Limerick and Cork. These families will be the descendants of the Munstersept O'Scannlain. The name also occures, however, in some numbers in Connacht, mainly in County Sligo, where they may descend from an O'Scannlain sept but it appears that in that area descendants of the Connacht O'Scannail sept became Scanlan instead of Scannell. At the same time it appears that the Scannell families now found almost exclusively in County Kerry and County Corkshould really be Scanlan, being descendants of the Munster O'Scannlain sept. The maritime county of Cork, in Munster, is bounded by the sea on the south-west, the south and the south-east. To the east it has land boundaries with the counties of Waterford and Tipperary, and to the north with Limerick and to the west with Kerry. Anciently the country formed part of the kingdom of Desmond. After the Anglo-Norman Invasion the whole of the present county, save the City of Cork(which had been founded by the Vikings) and its surroundings, was granted in 1177 by Henry II to Anglo-Norman knights who brought over their followers and established a military colony. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. There was also a Mac Scannlain sept of Oriel whose sept centre was Ballymascanlan, in the barony of lower Dundalk, County Louth. However, the rarity of the name Scanlan now in that area indicates that this sept either became extinct or was absorbed. Early records of the name mention Cornelius Scanlan of Maine and Ballinha, County Limerick, who died in 1761, and Mary (nee O'Connell) who was his wife.