Origins of the Dillon Name

Answering the question:

Why are there so many lions?

Dillon Family Name History

(House of

Origins Available: German, Irish

The surname was one of the Anglo-Norman names which arrived in Ireland in the wake of the 12th century invasion by Richard “Strongbow” de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke.  The surname, Dillon, belongs to the large category of Anglo-Norman habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.  Originally, these place names were prefixed by de, which mean “from” in French.  The name of the Dillon family comes from the name of the town of Lyon in central France.  In France, the name may also have been a nickname for a fierce or brave warrior, as derived from the Old French word “lion” which litterally translates to “Lion”.  The Irish Gaelic form of the surname Dillon is Diolun.

Dillon Early Origins

Medieval scribes and chruch officials spelled names simply by the way they sounded, which explains the various name spelling variations of the name Dillon that are encountered when researching the surname.  The many spelling variations included: Dillon, Delion, Dilune, Dilon, Dylon, Dillan, Dillen, and many more.

First found in Drumrany in County Westmeath (Irish: An Iarmhi) in the Irish Midlands, province of Leinster,where they were Barons of Drumranhy.  The Dillon family was decended from Sir Henry de Leon, a member of the noble Brenton family who came to Ireland in 1185 in the service of the Earl of Morton, who later became King John.  For de Leon’s service, King John granted him MacCarrons territory, part of Annaly, and other vast possessions including a castle at Dunimon.

Clearly the family took their history to heart, and as they were creating the designs for Dillon House, incorporated many lions in the details of the home.  From the guard lions at the front entrance, to the over 20 other lions throughout the home, they displayed their heritage with PRIDE……like a pride of lions!