Irish Symbol - 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 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 Names - Irish Last Names

Irish Names Index

Full Ireland Website

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- 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- 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. We have included a comprehensive list of surnames by province on our desktop site.

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