Doyle Surname: Origins & Expansions

by Mark

If you have ever sat down to a plate of golden fried fish and chips at Doyles on Sydney’s Watson Bay, you will know that the name Doyle is famous here. The Doyle surname is of Irish extraction and is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic ‘O Dubhghaill‘. This means descendant of Dubhghaill and the original Dubhghaill seems to have been a black stranger or some description close to this. Perhaps, referring to someone of a swarthier appearance; such as those Danish Vikings who were all over Ireland and Scotland in the sixteenth century.

Doyle is now one of the twenty most common surnames in Ireland; but it is not found in any of the old genealogies of Irish names. There have, however, been some very famous Doyles of late. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gave us Sherlock Holmes. Roddy Doyle the Irish writer gave us The Commitments and The Snapper. John Doyle aka Rampaging Roy Slaven is a fine Australian writer and comedienne. The list of famous Doyles is long and illustrious, with many politicians, sporting greats, and entertainers gracing its pages.

Doyle Surname: Origins & Expansions

The Doyle Brothers have a prominent waste management company in Sydney, Australia. The Doyle name is well recognised in the old convict land and that makes sense with so many Fenians sentenced to time by their British overlords. Doyling out time to Doyles was obviously a popular past time for English judges. Christopher Doyle is an Australian cinematographer who works mainly on Chinese films, including That Day, On the Beach directed by Edward Yang.

A fictional characterisation of Desmond Doyle, the Irish painter, was featured in the film Evelyn, based on the book Evelyn: A True Story, written by his daughter Evelyn Doyle. In this highly emotive movie by Aussie director Bruce Beresford, the repressive Irish legal system was highlighted in all its religiously inspired victimisation of poor and benighted Irish people. A great example of why Church and State must be kept far apart in the democratic governing of people.

So, whether your favourite Doyle is courtesy of a plate of delicious fish and chips by the Pacific Ocean, or a brilliant book or movie, the name Doyle rings down through the centuries. Danish Vikings who left their progeny on the Emerald Isle, and who went on to populate the New World. America is full of Doyles, at every level of society, and on baseball fields and in houses of parliament. Your Doyle might be collecting your rubbish, or keeping the bad guys off the streets; and you never know who is going to be the next Doyle you meet.