A Letter from Ireland:

The Irish Surname Gunning



Gunning (or O’Gunning) comes from the Irish Ó Conaing (Conaing was popular first name in Gaelic Ireland).  They were a sept of the larger Dal gCais sept in Thomond – originally from around the Castleconnell area in county Limerick – but today found in County Offaly for the most part.

Castle Connell castle in County Limerick would have been a property of this sept at one time.

It can also be an English planter name found in Ulster.

If you would like to add what you know about the Gunning surname, tell the story of your Gunning family OR ask a question – please do so below in the comments section.

Remember – at Your Irish Heritage we consider an “Irish Surname” to be one that belongs in your family. It may belong to an ancestor who lived in Ireland at one stage. We consider old Gaelic, Viking, Norman and planter names to be all Irish – if they fit this criteria.


  • Susan Gunning says:

    It was great to see Gunning on the newsletter,it seems to me that there were 2 lots of Gunnings in Ireland.There were the ones that come from Limerick who were related to a king in the 1600/1700s,amongst them were possibly the Gunning Sisters.Then the others who lived in Co Down who maybe were part of the Plantations.I have traced my family back to the late 1700s.I would love to get further back and even better find out where they came from originally.Perhaps there is someone also conected to the same Gunnings who knows a bit more.

    • admin says:

      Susan, Lets leave it up and see what happens! related to a King – sounds intriguing! Mike.

    • Debbie Gerrard says:

      I’m related to the Gunning Sisters. They are my 7th cousins 5 x removed through my Grandmother, Catherine Gunning of Mold Wales (1889-1972) Would love to share info! I have traced my Gunning’s back to 1360 England.

      • Susan Dorey says:

        I have been researching two Gunning families. One was the ancestors of Sir Robert Gunning (1731-1816), diplomat, who bought Horton House in Northamptonshire in 1781. The second is the ancestors of Timothy Gunning who immigrated from county Roscommon to Massachusetts in 1846.

        The Gunning sisters who were famous for their beauty were second cousins of Sir Robert Gunning.

        I hope to be able to connect these two Gunning families.

    • Fran Crompton says:

      Hi Susan, I also am researching as my grandmother was a Gunning (Cathering, Cork City) and seemed to be related to the Geourgeous Gunning Sisters. The Gunning origianted on Cormwall and were the Goynings. Some moved to Somerset, some to Kent, and the to Norfolk and cold Aston (Cotswolds), and some ended up in Ireland, for one reason or another. I’m interest in your comment about the two ‘houses’ Co Down and Limerick. My ancestors were from Rosscommon, but there is probaly a link somewhere back in History.??

  • Kevin Gunning says:

    My name is Kevin Gunning and we have traced our family back to an area around Riverstown, Co. Sligo, Ireland

    • Mao Gung says:

      Kevin, where do you call home?

      • Kevin Gunning says:

        I live in the U.S. in Delaware but the Gunning’s that came from Ireland lived between Salem, NJ and Delaware City, Delaware, City of New Castle, Delaware and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Nick Geraghty says:

    The Gunning Sisters were brought up in Castlecoote, Co Roscommon.
    They moved over to England and lived in the Manor in Hemmingford Grey in Cambridgeshire U.K. from here 2 of them were married off into the English aristocracy to become the Dutchess of Argyle and the Countess of Coventry. I recall another sister is buried in Hemmingford Grey church – her grave stone is on the floor – look carefully
    Their pictures can be seen on the walls in Castlecoote House & I have a little more info if you are interested.
    In the mean time please see encl video about Castlecoote House. You can even stay there or just visit and take a tour around the house and
    Prior to Coote after who the place was re-named. The castel ruins represent all that it left of the Anccestral homelands of the Geraghty, hence my interest


  • Mao Gung says:

    My name is jim Gunning and I was raised in Boston, Massachusetts, USA and my grandfather was Franklin Everett Gunning, a Boston policeman. I believe his father was Timothy Gunning who had numerous relatives from Sligo and Roscommon. Does anyone know of Timothy’s father? I’m hoping to be in the Sligo area this summer to do further research. God bless.

    • Susan Dorey says:

      I have information on the descendants of Timothy Gunning who immigrated to Boston from Roscommon in 1846. I may be able to help you connect the dots. And perhaps you will have new info for me!

  • Debbie Gerrard says:

    I’ll look in my files for you. I have a Timothy Gunning. My computer was off line and had to re-install things. now I have to find my tree files!

  • patricia hurtuk says:

    my grandmother was mary ellen guning in lisaneena, collooney, sligo. She was born in the 1870’s and died may 19, 1939 in NYC

  • patricia hurtuk says:

    mary ellen gunning of lisanneena collooney was my grandmother. Her oldest daughter helen coen was a lt cmdr in the navy ,died in bermuda triangle, mother’s day of 1948. People say the duchess elizabeth gunning and my aunt look remarkable alike , as if sisters. Many say Mary Ellen gunning was very beautiful. I have four young adult daughters who are extremely beautiful so many have told me. But the real beauty is within, mary ellen was very devoted to the SACRED HEART of JESUS

  • patricia hurtuk says:

    mary ellen gunning married patrick coen from near riverstown. Their only son died in the leopoldville ship on christmas eve of 1944. This was a govt secret for decades, Near 800 died . Jim gunning Coen was a handsome man, that all said. He was to have become a priest but was sent Home to Jesus on christmas eve of 44

  • Karen Lowrey says:

    Hello, I have little information on the Gunning Family. My gggGrandmother was born in abt 1855 Ennis, Co Clare, Ireland. Maude B Gunning. Her Father was Michael Richard Gunning and her mother was Susan Calaghan. Maude was married to David Dickson and had 2 children, she was widowed and married James Heddle from Orkney Is Scotland. They had 6 children. Maud died at 47 years of age . She is buried in Georgetown Cemetery Queensland, Australia. I would be most grateful if anyone has any leads on my side of the Gunning family? Thank you Regards Karen

  • Scott Smith says:

    My great grandfather.
    Samual Owen Gunning
    Born in Sligo, Ireland on Jan 1834 to Patrick Gunning and Margaret McColley. Died 1910 in Marysville, CA, USA.

  • Patrick Gunning says:

    Hi All,
    I am Patrick Gunning and hail from Clonboniff , Belmont , Birr Co Offaly. My Grandfather married Kate Hern’s and he came from a bit further down the road in Clonlyon. My cousin Seamus Gunning lives there today as he is the historian of the Gunning family in Offaly. Prior to the Gunning s of Clonlyon I belive they originated from Clondelara, Lecharrow , Shannonbridge and Moore in Co Roscommon.

    I once visited Castle Connell near Limrick and a local Historian who lived opposite the castle told me the correct name for the Castle was Chaisteil Conaing. It got lost in translation by the English when the language was outlawed during occupation. Apparently the o Conaing’s lived there until they had battle with the o Brian clan and lost. They evacuated the Castle and went up the Shannon, eventually settling in Clononey near the Brosna bridge and then on to Shannonbridge, Moore and various parts of Roscommon. I would like to know the origins of both sets of Gunning s we are told about .

  • Bill Gunning says:

    My name is Bill Gunning and I live in California, USA. I believe my father’s roots come from Limerick, but I’ve not been able to go that far back. I’m going to be visiting Ireland this June and plan to plan to go to Castleconnell. Does anyone know where I might go to do any research on my family? Thank you.

    • carina says:

      Bill the “Green Room” is a great place to do your research as we and other helpful members guide you on the search of your father’s roots.

    • Christine Hayes says:

      My step dad is Noel Gunning from NSW on my family tree his great great grandparents come from Ireland. They were John gunning b.1823 d.1899 his wife Catherine Story b.1834 d.1900 .Noel was born in Sydney 31st Dec,1938. Hope this will help in some way. Regards. Christine hayes

  • Lee says:

    Looking for family information. William Samuel Gunning born 1865 ireland

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