My name is Gerry Guinane. You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you would like to correspond directly.
Each of the last few years I try to do a little work on the 'clan'. As more information becomes available online it gets a little more interesting.
I have heard of a 'legend' that the Guinanes were shipwrecked in the mouth of the Shannon where they settled. Possible - but I would have big doubts about the 1600s.
Ultimately every family in Ireland came from somewhere but I am not a great believer in the Spainish/French shipwreck in the 1600s. Here are my reasons:
1. Just about every Guinane I have ever met is fair haired and freckled. I'm covered in them. This is not a typical appearance of Spainish/Algerian/French people. It is , however, a typical celtic race trait.
2. The Irish version of our name (O'Cuinneáin) is 'native' Irish. This form of name is very old. Way older than 1600. If a Spainish/French shipwreck happened then the survivors would (if they remained) have retained their own names. Many examples of this come from Viking and Norman times many hyundreds of years before. Consider the Norman invasion of England in 1066 - the invaders brough their surnames with them - they were recorded in the domesday book in 1086. Many similar examples of such names exist in Ireland. In fact, where I live (Galway) is a Norman city.
3. Now - to war and conflict - the 1600s were a pretty busy time with wars and whatnot. The English (who ruled Ireland then with the help of Oliver Cromwell) were at war with both Spain and France at various times and were constantly on the lookout for foreign invaders. It was around this time (1588) that the Spainish Armada met its demise on the West of Ireland. The French and Spainish were not exactly welcomed with open arms by the English who wasted little time in returning them to their maker. In addition - the native Irish had no particular welcome for foreigners either. For example - the Armada ships' survivors that ran aground in Sligo were mostly slaughtered where they came ashore (in the Ireland of 1000 welcomes).
Anyway - things have quietened down since.