The name Malone derives from the Gaelic O'Maoileoin meaning follower of St. John.
The family originally came from Ballynahown, County Offaly. The famous monastic site of Clonmacnois is within the Malone territory and several Malones served there as abbots and bishops. The name is now widespread throughout Ireland.
Among the more numerous Malones, there were several famous members of the clergy. One of these was Sylvester Malone (1821-1899) who was born in Trim, County Meath and became a priest in New York. For 55 years he served in the Brooklyn parish of Williamsburg caring for his immigrant countrymen, and taking active part in many political and civil rights issues.
In Ireland, his namesake and fellow priest Sylvester Malone (1822-1906) was equally active in the political issues of Ireland. A priest in County Clare, he was an active historian and an ardent supporter of the Gaelic League and of the maintenance of the Irish language.
Edmund Malone (1741-1812), born in Dublin, was a critic and Shakespearean scholar who was a confidant and friend to Samuel Johnson, Joshua Reynolds and Edmund Burke. In the American revolutionary army there were 76 Malones, including Captain William Malone of the privateer Harbinger of the Rhode Island Navy and Captain James Malone of Colonel Putnam's Massachusetts Regiment.
The clan were also represented in King James' Irish Army by Lieutenant Edmund Malone of Colonel Grace's Regiment, and Cornet John Malone. These two officers were among the nine Malones who were outlawed by the British in 1691 for their support of James II. Several of these Malones fled to continental Europe where they served, like many of their countrymen, in the armies of France and Spain.
In Dublin the most famous Malone was of course Molly Malone who, in the famous song, "wheeled her wheelbarrow through streets broad and narrow crying cockles and mussels alive a-live-o".