Irish Symbol - Irish Gaelic Names

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 Names - Irish Gaelic Names

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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 on our desktop site 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.


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:

  • 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 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

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