Origins of the Conway Clan Name

The name Mac Conmhide, now Conway, translates as the son of the hound of Meath. This clan originally occupied territories of Counties Tyrone and Derry and were thouthg to have been poets.

Giolla Brighde Mac Con Midhe was such a poet who addressed his poems to the many kings of the 13th century including the O’Neills. The annals in the 13th century record a chief Mac Con Meadha on the Connaught and Leinster borders.

Later by the 16th century the name was strong in Leitrim. The name is found mostly today on Tyrone and Derry. The sept MacNamee was based beside the Shannon in Co. Kilkenny. The Conway sept also belonged to the counties of Clare, Limerick and Tipperary.  

Conway clan, coat of arms

The earliest recording of the name is in 1360, on the death of Gillangnaer O’Connmhaigh.

This crest with a diagonal band is representative of a knight’s scarf and represents defence. Black symbolises constancy. The rings or annulets may represent fidelity and the fifth son, and the five-pointed star or mullet possibly divine quality, or the third son. The reasons for this are not known. The helmet is for wise defence.

Other related names are MacConamy, MacConomy, Conamy, Conomy, Conmee and Conway. Connection to MacNamee is not certain.