Irish Gaelic Names
A comprehensive guide to Irish Gaelic Names. Discover the meaning and origin of your Irish, Celtic or Gaelic name
Find out the meaning of different prefixes of a selection of Irish Gaelic names including the origin and a list of the top ten Irish Gaelic names
Discover the Irish Surnames that originate from each Gaelic province. We have included a 16th century map showing some ancient Gaelic names.
Irish Gaelic Family Names- History
Irish Gaelic family names are usually Patronymic in etymology. Patronymic means that the name is derived from the given name of the persons parent or ancestor, usually their father or grandfather but sometimes the name can be derived from the mother or grandmother. Etymology is defined as the science which relates to the history of words. It involves the significance of words, tracing out their origin and how the meaning and form of words have changed over time. Certain surnames originate from specific parts of Ireland, lots of examples are listed below. The map at the bottom of the page shows the origin of Irish Gaelic family names from the beginning of the 16th century.
Irish Gaelic Names- Family Names
There are lots of Celtic words connected with natural scenery such as hills, surnames including Carrick and Creagh, Glen or Glynn, and Lynn, meaning a cascade.
Irish Gaelic Names- Map
The map below shows the area of Ireland showing common Gaelic family names found in Ireland at the beginning of the 16th Century. Most of the names are not used today, in many cases the O' prefix from the original Gaelic name has been dropped in order to anglicise the name and make it easier for English speakers to understand.
The map shows the origin of Irish Gaelic Names from the 16th Century
Top 10 List of Irish Gaelic Family Names
The following list of the top ten Irish Gaelic family Names found in Ireland today including the Irish Gaelic translation of the surname:
Irish Gaelic Family Names- Prefixes
Irish Gaelic Names commonly have a prefix, the following are the most common prefixes for Irish Gaelic Names:
Mór - Big
Óg - Young
O - Grandson
Mac - Son
Fitz - Son
Top 10 List of Female Irish Gaelic Names
The following list of the top ten Female Gaelic Names found in Ireland today including the pronunciation of the name:
Top 10 List of Irish Gaelic Boy Names
The following list of the top ten Irish Gaelic boy names found in Ireland today including the pronunciation of the name:
Irish Gaelic Names - Girls Naming Convention
Traditionally the following protocol was used to name female members of the family but more often nowadays, the name is used as a middle name instead of a first name:
The First born daughter is named after the maternal grandmother (mother’s mother)
The Second daughter is named after the paternal grandmother (father’s mother)
The Third daughter is named after the mother
The Fourth daughter is named after her mother’s oldest sister (Aunt)
Subsequent children can be named as the parent pleases!
Irish Gaelic Names - Boys Naming Convention
Traditionally the following protocol was used to name male members of the family but more often nowadays, the name is used as a middle name instead of a first name:
The First born son is named after the paternal grandfather (father's father)
The Second son is named after the maternal grandfather (mother's father)
The Third son is named after the father
The Fourth son is named after her father's oldest brother (Uncle)
Subsequent male children can be named as the parent pleases!
Irish Gaelic Names- Names of Provinces
The island of Ireland is comprises four provinces or cúigí as they are known in Gaelic. The Gaelic name for province is cúige which translates to one-fifth! Originally Ireland was in fact made up of five provinces. The county of Meath was in fact a province of its own as it was the seat of the High King of Ireland. Meath is now part of Leinster and has been split into the counties of Meath and Westmeath.
Connaught - The name means "the descendants of Conn".
The Gaelic name for Connaught is Cúige Chonnacht
Irish Gaelic family names that originate from Connaught include: O'Kirwan, MacJordan, O'Malley, O'Reilly, O'Rourke, O'Hart, O'Hara, O'Madden and O'Kelly
Flag of the Irish Province of Connaught
Munster - The name means "Land of Mumha"
The Gaelic name for Munster is Mhumhain or Cúige Mumhan
Irish Gaelic family names that originate from Munster include: O'Keefe, O'Callaghan, O'Donoughue, MacCarthy, Muskerry, Fitzgerald, O'Mulryan and Brennan
Flag of the Irish Province of Munster
Leinster - The name means "Land of the Laighin"
The Gaelic name for Leinster is Laighin or Cúige Laighean
Irish Gaelic family names that originate from Leinster include: O'More, O'Tooles, O'Kennedy, O'Carrol, O'Conor, Butlers, Walshes and Dillons
Flag of the Irish Province of Leinster
Ulster - The name means "land of the Ulaidh"
The Gaelic name for Ulster is Ulaidh or Cúige Uladh
Irish Gaelic family names that originate from Ulster include: O'Boyle, MacSweeney, O'Donnell, O'Dogherty, MacDonnells, O'Neill, MacMahon, O'Cahan
Flag of the Irish Province of Ulster
Irish Gaelic Names
Guide to Irish Gaelic names
List of Top Irish Gaelic Names
Meaning and Origin of surnames
Female and Male Names
Cool, Traditional & Unique names
Irish Gaelic Names - Heraldry
Gaelic Family Names
Irish Gaelic Names- Heraldry
Discover the vast selection of Irish Gaelic Names that are associated with Ireland. Gaelic Boys, Girls and Family names. A great resource for discovering more about your families Irish heritage. There are thousands of names associated with Ireland including traditional, old, cool and unique Gaelic names. Browse through our free Irish names dictionary, a great way to choose a Gaelic name for your new baby or pet! A great resource for all ages. An ideal way to learn more about the history and meaning of individual names, discover the heraldry of you own family name. Perhaps you are researching a symbol for a family crest or tattoo design or simply want to know more about the origin of a particular name, look no further, just click on the link for each section in the table above to find out more! We have included pictures and videos to accompany the main topic within the Celtic Names section. The videos enable fast access to the images and pictures together with information and many historical facts. All of the articles and pages can be accessed via the about Ireland Index - a great educational resource for everyone!