Irish Symbol - 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.

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 Names - Irish Surnames

Irish Names Index

Full Ireland Website

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.

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

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