Irish Last Names


Irish Last Names

A useful guide to Irish Last Names. Discover the meaning and origin of your Irish, Celtic or Gaelic surname or family name:

Discover the meaning of different last names prefixes including Mór, Og, O, Mac and Fitz.

Find out about the origin of different Irish last names including a list of popular last names from each province: Munster, Leinster, Connaught and Ulster.

Irish Names Index

Irish Last Names- History
Irish Last 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 last names 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 last Names from the beginning of the 16th century.

Irish Last NamesImage

Irish Last Names- Family Names
There are lots of Celtic words connected with natural scenery such as hills, last Names including Carrick and Creagh, Glen or Glynn, and Lynn, meaning a cascade.

Irish Last Names- Map
The map below shows the area of Ireland showing common Last Names 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.


Map showing origin of Irish Last Names

The map shows the origin of Irish Last Names from the 16th Century


Top 10 List of Irish Last Names
The following list of the top ten Irish last Names found in Ireland today including the Irish Gaelic translation of the surname:

  • Walsh (Breathnach)

  • O'Brien (Ó Briain)

  • O'Connor (Ó Conchobhair)

  • Byrne (Ó Broin)

  • O'Reilly (Ó Raghailligh)

  • Murphy (Ó Murchadha)

  • Kelly (Ó Ceallaigh)

  • O'Sullivan (Ó Súilleabháin)

  • Kinsella (Ó Cinnseallaigh)

  • O'Neill (Ó Néill)

Irish Last Names- Prefixes
Irish last Names commonly have a prefix, the following are the most common prefixes for Irish Last Names:

  • Mór - Big

  • Óg  - Young

  • O - Grandson

  • Mac - Son

  • Fitz - Son

Irish Last Names Image


Irish Last 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

  • Examples of Irish last Names that originate from Connaught include: O'Kirwan, MacJordan, O'Malley, O'Reilly, O'Rourke, O'Hart, O'Hara, O'Madden and O'Kelly

Irish Last Names- Connaught Province

Flag of the Irish Province of Connaught

  • Munster - The name means "Land of Mumha"
    The Gaelic name for Munster is Mhumhain or Cúige Mumhan

  • Examples of Irish last Names that originate from Munster include: O'Keefe, O'Callaghan, O'Donoughue, MacCarthy, Muskerry, Fitzgerald, O'Mulryan and Brennan

Irish Last Names- Munster Province

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

  • Examples of Irish Last Names that originate from Leinster include: O'More, O'Tooles, O'Kennedy, O'Carrol, O'Conor, Butlers, Walshes and Dillons

Irish Last Names- Leinster Province

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

  • Examples of Irish Last Names that originate from Ulster include: O'Boyle, MacSweeney, O'Donnell, O'Dogherty, MacDonnells, O'Neill, MacMahon, O'Cahan

Irish Last Names- Ulster Province

Flag of the Irish Province of Ulster

Irish Last Names

Irish Last Names

  • Guide to Irish Gaelic Last Names

  • Irish Last Names

  • Meaning and Origin of Last Names

  • Female  and Male Names

  • Cool, Traditional & Unique Last Names

  • Irish Last Names- Heraldry

  • Irish Family Names

Irish Family Names


Irish Last Names- Heraldry
Discover the vast selection of Irish Last Names that are associated with Ireland. Celtic Surnames and Family names. A great resource for discovering more about your families Irish heritage. There are thousands of names associated with Ireland including traditional, unusual, old, cool and unique names. Browse through our free names dictionary, a great way to choose a 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!


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