Irish Surnames


Irish Surnames

A useful and comprehensive guide to Irish Surnames. Discover the meaning and origin of your Irish, Celtic or Gaelic surname. A selection of Irish Surnames including the meaning of different prefixes.

Find out the origin of different Irish Surnames, we have included a map from the 16th century showing the origins of Irish surnames. What are the top ten Irish surnames? We have included a list of the top ten Irish surnames and the popular surnames from each province.

Names from Ireland | Index

Irish Surnames - History
Irish surnames 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 surnames from the beginning of the 16th century.

Irish Surnames Image

Irish Surnames - 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 Surnames - Map
The map below shows the area of Ireland showing common surnames 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 Surnames

The map shows the origin of Irish Surnames from the 16th Century


Top 10 List of Irish Surnames
The following list of the top ten Irish surnames 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 Surnames - Prefixes
Irish surnames commonly have a prefix, the following are the most common prefixes for Irish Surnames:

  • Mór - Big

  • Óg  - Young

  • O - Grandson

  • Mac - Son

  • Fitz - Son

Irish Surnames Image


Irish Surnames - 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 Surnames that originate from Connaught include: O'Kirwan, MacJordan, O'Malley, O'Reilly, O'Rourke, O'Hart, O'Hara, O'Madden and O'Kelly

Irish Surnames - 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

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

Irish Surnames - 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

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

Irish Surnames - 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

  • Irish Surnames that originate from Ulster include: O'Boyle, MacSweeney, O'Donnell, O'Dogherty, MacDonnells, O'Neill, MacMahon, O'Cahan

Irish Surnames - Ulster Province

Flag of the Irish Province of Ulster


Irish Surnames

  • Guide to Irish Gaelic surnames

  • Irish Surnames

  • Meaning and Origin of surnames

  • Female  and Male Names

  • Cool, Traditional & Unique Surnames

  • Irish Surnames - Heraldry

  • Irish Family Names

Irish Family Names


Irish Surnames - Heraldry
Discover the vast selection of Irish Surnames that are associated with Ireland. Celtic 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 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!


Irish Surnames - Names - Celtic - Traditional - Old - Ancestry - Roots - Gaelic - Dogs - Dog - Name - Names - Baby Names - Top - Translated - Translation - Irish - Ireland - Celtic - Spelling - Unique - Cool - Family - Origin - Names - Origins - Last - Meaning - Meanings - Tattoos - Tattoo - Crest - Family - Female - Male - Boy - Girl - Popular - Common - Family Crest - Coat of Arms - Heraldry - Pronunciation - Unusual - Dictionary - Common - List - Child - Surnames

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