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Here is an edited version of a widely distributed history of the Boyle family in Ireland:

Boyle is O Baoighill in modern Irish, the derivation of which is possibly from the old Irish word Baigell – that is, "having profitable pledges." The O'Boyles were a strong sept in County Donegal, with a regularly initiated chieftain seated at Cloghineely: They shared with the O'Donnells and the O'Doughertys the leadership of the northwest. Ballyweel, near Donegal town, is a phonetic rendering of Baile Ui Bhaoighill ( the home of the O'Boyles). These O'Boyles were noted for their ruddy complexion.

There is another Boyle lineage that became notable as well, with roots going back to England: When Richard Boyle landed in Ireland in 1588 as a young man without influence, few could have anticipated that he would become what has been termed the "first colonial millionaire." He acquired the extensive property of the executed Sir Walter Raleigh in County Waterford. This formed the nucleus of the vast estates he was to bequeath to his numerous family on his death in 1643, by which time he was Earl of Cork and had held high government office. The best known of his sons (born in Ireland) were Roger Boyle (1621-1679), Earl of Orrery, and Robert Boyle (1627-1691), chemist and experimental physicist.

A roll call of Boyles:

Danny Boyle is the British director of several movies, including "Trainspotting."

Hal Boyle was an American correspondent during World War II, and later a newspaper columnist.

Kay Boyle (1902-1992) was an American novelist and poet: Her autobiography is titled "Being Geniuses Together."

Lara Flynn Boyle is an actress who first made her mark on "Twin Peaks" and now stars in "The Practice," an ABC prime-time series.

Lisa Boyle is an actress with many adult-film credits – and you'll find many Internet tributes to her endowments.

Peter Boyle (1933- )is an actor who starred in the movie "Joe" and appears in the CBS prime-time series "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork (1556-1643), took a Machiavellian course to build his fortune in Ireland – as chronicled in biographies including "The Upstart Earl."

Robert Boyle (1627-1691) is probably the best-known of the Boyle clan. After all, how many people have a fundamental law of physics named after them? (Boyle's Law states that there is an inverse relationship between pressure and volume in a gas sample maintained at constant temperature.) The son of the Earl of Cork is considered one of the founders of modern scientific method and the father of modern chemistry.

T. Coraghessan Boyle (1949- ) is a writer perhaps best known for his comic novel "The Road to Wellville," which was made into a Hollywood movie with Anthony Hopkins as cereal king John Harvey Kellogg.

William Boyle (1853-1922) was one of the earliest dramatists to write for Dublin's Abbey Theater. His best-known production is probably "The Eloquent Dempsey," first perfomed at the Abbey Theater in 1905.

Are there other famous (or infamous) Boyles? Mail your nominations to Family@Boyle.Net.