Cunningham Name History:
The surname Cunningham is among the most numerous in Ireland, the majority being found in the Ulster counties of Down and Antrim and in the Connacht counties of Galway and Roscommon. In the former the families in question are for the most part of Scottish origin; in the latter they are native Irish.
The true Irish Cunninghams trace their descent from two sources in Connacht. One branch stems from Fiachra, brother of the famous Niall of the Nine Hostages, the father of the last pagan King of Ireland, and was located in Co. Sligo; the other is a sept of the Ui Maine (often called Hy Many), a wide spread group of septs centred in counties Galway and Roscommon of which O’Kelly was the most important.
Notwithstanding the destruction of the Gaelic order after 1603, the family refused to accept English rule, and so no arms are on record at the Office of Arms in Dublin Castle for O’Cunnigan or MacCunnigan. The well-known Cunninghams arms are those of a Scottish family.