How Spell

Many Ways to
Write It

In Irish records, McHale, (modern with no space after the Mc) -- has weathered countless guesses: McHail, McHall, McCahill, McCale, McKale, McSwale, McPhail, McCain, McHill, McCeile, Machell, to list a few. A scribe, posting in monastic annals or civil, tenant or parish church records, typically jotted the "McHale" he thought had been pronounced.

Maybe he thought he heard "Mc," maybe "Mac," maybe neither, maybe "Neill."

In Mayo today, McHale outnumbers the Gaelic original MacHale 40 to 1.

A product of fast times? Try this: Repeat MacHale rapidly many times. Don't you soon hear "McHale?"

Although in the Gaelic language "Mac" definitively means "son of," it's obvious that Hale could imply "father" for only one generation.

Anyway, Mc or Mac, like "O," may once have signified "descended from" -- honoring a tribal founder.

As with "fitz", "de," "von", "van," "ski," etc., a safe bet says Mac or Mc means simply "of."

The earliest Mr. Hale was therefore a heroic warrior, baronial master, landlord, agent or (horrors!) a Protestant English Earl.


(Insert the first name of a McHale child)

"________ McHale

swallowed a whale,

ate everything

but the tail."


Irish Saying

DRINK and you...

  1. Fight neighbor
  2. Shoot collector
  3. Miss him


Johnny McHale's Pub on Chapel Street Lower, Castlebar, Mayo
"Great Guinness - Have yerself one of Johnny's meejums" (mediums)

(continued from Home page)

guided generations of prolific McHale families. They farmed their beautiful but inhospitable County Mayo for at least eight centuries.

Despite fables sometimes advertised about McHale tribal knighthood, coats of arms and armorial tradition, the proud Irish peasants of Mayo could not have even imagined McHale heraldry.

Subsisting hand-to-mouth while paying taxes and rents to absentee landlords, they harvested potatoes in their rocky County Mayo. Meantime, fiercely Roman Catholic parents and grandparents of each generation bequeathed their deep personal enmity for the Protestant mother country lying only about 60 miles across the "Irish Sea" from Dublin.

A few untypical McHale lines, some Catholic, some Protestant, document roots in Scotland or in Ulster, the more prosperous non-Catholic northern Irish six-

(Continued on "Next Page")

Thomas D'Arcy Magee (1825 - 1868)

I left two loves on a distant strand...
One young and fond, and fair, and bland;
One fair, and old, and sadly grand --
My wedded wife and my native land

DNA Shifts Genealogy to High Gear

Mailbox Selection

I would just like to say hello from the Northwest Of England and North-East of Wales! The website is fantastic and I'm very impressed at the genealogy and knowledge displayed on the website. I was wondering could you shed any light on the family that emigrated from Tuam to the Northwest Of England in particular the Manchester area? Thank You So Much,
Tim McHale


McHales in Mayo

Rank Seventh

The McHale name is not especially prevalent throughout the 32 Irish counties, and even in Mayo, is not a leader. However, every census counts more McHales in Mayo than occurring in any other county.

In Mayo, the McHale name ranks about seventh

Among heads of families, Walsh was the most used Mayo 1890 surname:


H or h?

Our McHale capital H is under pressure.

Many telephone directories convert H to h. Some show McHales mixed with Mchales.

In others, Mchales are apart from McHales. The user must check every list.

Further, will our "M" survive digitalization? On the internet and Email, plain mchale gets by.

Links to Mayo Records

Genealogists will find various helpful church, census and land records of County Mayo in a handy list of links assembled by Kathleen Blanchard. Also, Kathleen names 18 McHale flaxgrowers of 1796.

Irish Logic
WHY carry an umbrella...
when shoes leak