Posted on Thursday, September 09, 1999 - 12:38 pm:
I think you mean "serf", dude, not like, gnarly waves. An Sloinntear Gaeilge, a book of Irish surnames, gives Colleary as Mac Giolla Laoire, literally Son of Servant of Laoire. Laoire is the Modern Irish form of the Old Irish name Láegaire, and probably meant "hearder of calves". It was a common name early on, of both kings (Láegaire mac Néill, a king of Tara) and of at least two saints. The usual anglicization of Laoire is Leary, not Lear, however.