50 Irish Surnames

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Your Irish surname can help you to locate the precise region in Ireland where your Irish relatives lived.

It is not difficult to broadly discover the region your Irish Last Name originated. Irish families generally stayed in the same regions for many generations and it is not unusual for surnames to be found only within small areas for several hundreds of years. If carrying out your Irish Genealogical Research you will begin to notice how Irish Surnames extend out from their original area but still often staying within one or two counties, sometimes for several more generations.

With this information you will find that starting you Irish surname and Irish family research is not that difficult. Now on to some of the most common Irish surnames and their locations:

50 common Irish Surnames

Brennan
Widespread Irish last name, found in Sligo, Fermanagh, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, and Westmeath. Now mostly found in Sligo the Leinster province.

Brown or Browne
Found in England and Ireland, most commonly found in the province of Connacht as well as County Kerry.

Boyle
Donegal chieftains, now also found in Offaly and Kildare.

Burke
Norman name, settled in Ireland in the 12th century mainly in the province of Connacht.

Byrne

Byrne crest, courtesy of www.araltas.com

Byrne
The O Byrne (Ó Broin), a powerful clan originally came from County Kildare. They opposed the Anglo-Normans when they arrived and they were forced to the Wicklow mountains where they continued to harass the occupying powers. The Byrne surname is still very common in Wicklow, as well as Dublin and Louth.

Callaghan
A powerful family in the province of Munster, and mostly found in Clare and Cork.

Campbell
Very prevalent in Donegal and also Cavan (mainly descended from Scottish mercenary soldiers).

Carroll
Found throughout Ireland including Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Kerry, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan, and Offaly.

Clarke
One of the oldest surnames in Ireland(O Clery) is most prevalent in Cavan.

Collins
Originated in Limerick and fled to County Cork after the Norman invasion.

Connell
Three distinct O Connell clans in the provinces of Connacht, Ulster, and Munster.

Connolly
Originally from Galway, the Connolly families also settled in Cork, Meath, and Monaghan.

Connor
Ó Conchobhair or Ó Conchúir, the name means hero or champion, found in Clare, Derry, Galway, Kerry, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo and Ulster.

Daly
Ó Dálaigh from the word dáil, meaning a place of assembly; Dalys hail from Clare, Cork, Galway and Westmeath.

Doherty
Ó Dochartaigh means obstructive or hurtful. Settled in the Inishowen peninsula in Donegal since the 4th century, their surname is the most common in Derry.

Doyle
From dubh ghall, the “dark foreigner,” this name is thought to be Norse in origin. In Ulster they were known as Mac Dubghaill (MacDowell and MacDuggall) found mainly in the province of Leinster, Roscommon, Wexford and Wicklow.

Duffy
Ó Dubhthaigh meaning black or swarthy. Original from Monaghan they are also found in Donegal and Roscommon.

Dunne
Ó Duinn (Brown); Dunne is the most common surname in Laois where this Irish surname originated.

Farrell
Chieftains lords of Annaly (near Longford) and Westmeath.

Fitzgerald
A Norman family who settled in Ireland in 1170, the Fitzgeralds had vast holdings in Cork, Kerry, Kildare, and Limerick.

Flynn
Ó Floinn, prevalent in the province of Ulster. The ‘f’ is no longer pronounced and the name is now Loinn or Lynn. Also be found in Clare, Cork, Kerry, and Roscommon.

Gallagher
In Donegal since the 4th century, this s the most common surname in the region.

Healy
Most commonly be found in Cork and Sligo.

Hughes
Both Welsh and Irish in origin, is found throughout the provinces of Connacht, Leinster, and Ulster.

Johnston
Most common name in the province of Ulster.

Kelly
Primarily from Derry, Galway, Kildare, Leitrim, Leix, Meath, Offaly, Roscommon, and Wicklow.

Kennedy
Both Irish and Scottish in origin, hails from Clare, Kilkenny, Tipperary, and Wexford.

Lynch
Ó Loingsigh Irish family name originally settled in Clare, Donegal, Limerick, Sligo, and Westmeath (most common).

MacCarthy
Primarily from Cork, Kerry, and Tipperary.

Maguire
Most common in Fermanagh.

Mahony
Most numerous in Cork.

Martin
Common in both England and Ireland, found chiefly in Galway, Tyrone, and Westmeath.

Moore
The ancient Irish Moores settled in Kildare, also from Antrim and Dublin.

Murphy
The most common Irish surnames, the Murphy last name can be found in the four provinces, mainly from Antrim, Armagh, Carlow, Cork, Kerry, Roscommon, Sligo, Tyrone, and Wexford, however.

Murray
Abundant in Donegal.

Nolan
Numerous in Carlow, also be found in Fermanagh, Longford, Mayo, and Roscommon.

oconnor_kerry

oconnor_kerry crest, courtesy of www.araltas.com

O’Connor
O Connor – in Irish O Conchobhair or O Conchuir – comes from a personal name meaning champion.

O’Brien
Primarily from Clare, Limerick, Tipperary, and Waterford.

O’Donnell
Originally settled in Clare and Galway, now most numerous in Donegal.

O’Neill
From Antrim, Armagh, Carlow, Clare, Cork, Down, Tipperary, Tyrone, and Waterford.

Quinn
From the Irish word Ceann (head), the name means intelligent, the Quinns are primarily from Antrim, Clare, Longford and Tyrone (most common).

Reilly
Lineage of the O Conor kings of Connacht, primarily from Cavan, Cork, Longford, and Meath.

Ryan
Ó Riain chiefly from Carlow and Tipperary(common surname), also be found in Limerick.

Shea
Originally from Kerry, later settling in Tipperary (12th century) and Kilkenny (15th century).

Smith
Both English and Irish, they are mainly from Antrim (most common surname), Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, and Sligo.

Sullivan
Originally from County Tipperary, the Sullivan family settled in Kerry and Cork, where they are now most numerous and their last name the most common.

Sweeney
Chiefly in Cork, Donegal and Kerry.

Thompson
English in origin, this is the second most common non-Irish name found in Ireland.

Walsh
Used to describe the Welsh people who came to Ireland during the Anglo-Norman invasions. Numerous throughout all four provinces of Ireland is is the most common surname in Mayo.

White
Mac Faoitigh or de Faoite, mainly from the “le Whytes” who came to Ireland with the Anglo-Normans. Found in Ireland throughout Down, Limerick, Sligo, and Wexford.

 

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