Select Daly Miscellany

Here are some Daly stories and accounts over the years:

The O'Dalaigh Bardic Sept

Members of the O’Dalaigh clan founded bardic schools throughout Ireland. This diaspora seems to have begun in the 12th century. The noble bards of Ireland were accorded great prestige and were counted as filid or "men of skill."  In social rank they were placed below kings, but above all others.  The O’Dálaighs were the foremost practitioners of the exacting and difficult poetry form known as Dan Direach throughout the late medieval period.

In addition to their poetry the senior members of the Ó Dálaigh sept were also chieftains and landowners.  In theory the lands of Irish poets were held sacrosanct and could not be despoiled during warfare or raiding.  Other members of the family were ecclesiastics, monks, abbots and bishops, often combining their church roles with the production of religious poetry

Dermot O'Daly of Galway

Dermot O’Daly’s ancestry is uncertain.  James Noel Dillion thought of him as follows:

"He was a chancer, a man whose rapid advancement was due to the success of the Presidency of Connacht and his ability to turn his opportunity there to advantage.  He was an ardent Crown supporter and the supposed stability that accrued as a repercussion of adopting English customs and laws."

For services to the English Government, Elizabeth I granted him in 1578 "the entire manor or lordship of Lerra with all the towns and castles thereto belonging."O Daly maintained his own militia there, perhaps provided livery for the President of Connacht.   However, his lands were devastated by the O’Connells in 1597. Hundreds of his cattle were stolen and his tenants and neighbors were killed or afterwards they died of starvation.

But the tide turned and O’Daly fought on the winning English side at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601.  O’Daly returned to his estates in Galway where he died in 1614.

Daniel O'Daly

Daniel O’Daly was descended from the Kerry branch of the O’Dalaigh bardic family which served the-Fitzgeralds.  To escape religious persecution at home he went to Europe in the 1620’s to study for the priesthood.  He founded a Dominican college in Louvain, and, in Lisbon, a college and a convent for Irish religious exiles.  His considerable diplomatic skills were soon recognized by diverse monarchs, from Philip IV of Spain to Charles I of England.  In 1640 he was prominent in the revolution in Portugal which freed it from Spain.  He died at Lisbon in 1662, leaving many ecclesiastical writings.

Dalys, Daleys, and Daileys in America

Those arriving in America were invariably recorded as Daly or Daley.  Those remain the main spellings in New York and Massachusetts, the two main points of arrival in the 19th century.  Daly is more numerous in Pennsylvania and Illinois, despite the famous Daley clan in Chicago.

On arrival
In 1920
In 2010

Dailey is mainly an American construct.   It was found in New York and Pennsylvania (one early arrival in the 1760’s from Ireland was Ebenezer Dailey whose descendants settled in upstate New York), although not in Massachusetts.  Dailey spread into the Midwest and is now the preferred spelling in southern states such as Alabama and Georgia.  Daileys outnumber Daleys today and have caught up with the Dalys.

John Daly and Daly City

John Daly’s father Michael had died in Boston when he was a young boy.  In 1853 at the age of 13, he departed Boston with his widowed mother by ship for California.   His mother died on the Panama crossing. When he arrived in California, the youngster found work on a dairy farm in what became San Mateo county. 

He learned the dairy business well and married the boss's daughter.  By 1868 he had gained enough knowledge and money to purchase some 250 acres at the "top-of-the-hill."  The enterprise was known as the San Mateo Dairy and was soon supplying milk and its products from the dairy's own cows and from a consortium of other dairies.  Daly became a prominent businessman and a leader among the burgeoning population of the area.  

In the early 1860's a railroad ran south to San Jose, passing around the westerly edge of Daly's ranch. Stores, hotels, butcher shops, and other businesses blossomed at the bottom of the hill.  By the early 1890's streetcars were running from San Francisco to communities as far south as San Mateo, coming right over Daly's Hill as a stop was appropriately named.  Daly himself moved into San Francisco in 1885, seeking better schooling for his children, but maintained his business at the "top-of-the-hill."  He helped establish a bank in the community, donated funds for the first library, and was a political leader if not a resident. 

It wasn't until the 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco that the population surged around the "top-of-the-hill."  Daly opened his farmlands for emergency use by the scores of refugees who fled the devastation.  Supplying temporary shelter, milk, butter, eggs, and kindness, Daly began to realize that his lands were far more useful for living on than grazing cattle. 

He subdivided his property in 1907 and streets were quickly laid out.  In 1911 this new town became Daly City in honor of John Daly.

The Daly House in Brandon, Manitoba

The Daly house, located on 18th Street in Brandon, Manitoba, was built in 1882 for Thomas Mayne Daly, the first mayor of Brandon.  He lived there with his family until 1896. 

The two storey house is now a museum, opened in 1978, and recreates the look a typical upper-class home of that time (although it did lack running water).  Much of the original architecture is intact, including hardwood floors, brick fireplace and an oak staircase.  It is one of the few surviving structures from the city of Brandon's formative years.

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