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Irish Surnames A-B

Surnames from Ireland beginning with the letters A and B.

Name Variants In Irish Location Origin
Aherne Herne, Hearne, Heron, Aherin Clare, Cork, Waterford Gaelic
Common for many centuries.
Allen Donegal, Cork Scottish, Norman
Donegal Allens have Scottish ancestry, from the MacAllens who came to Ireland during the 16th Century. The Southern Allens are of Norman origin.
Balfe Kildare, Meath Viking or Anglo-Norman
Origin unclear
Barrett Cork, Galway, Mayo Norman-French
Barry Cork Anglo-Norman
Beirne Norse
Possibly a derivation of Bjorn
Belton de Bhéalatún Dublin Anglo-Norman
From de Welton
Blake Galway, Meath Norman-French
Derives from the nickname ‘Le Blaca’ (the Black) given to a member of the Caddell family who was called which evolved to Blake.
Boland Norse
Boyle Donegal
Brady MacBrádaigh Cavan Gaelic
Breen Kerry, Clare, Wexford Fermanagh Gaelic
Brennan O Braonain Mac Branain Widespread, Kilkenny, Mayo, Sligo, Roscommon Gaelic
The Kilkenny Brennans were were put off their lands at the time of the arrival of the Normans but stayed around and became notorious outlaws. The names is very common there, especially in the Castlecomer area. The Mayo, Sligo and Roscommon Brennans are descendents of Cheiftains in an area around Roscommon.
Brody MacBruaideadha Clare
Brown Antrim, Derry, Down English
Not to be confused with Browne. which is of different origin
Browne Galway Norman-French
Originally called ‘le Brun’, Lord Oranmore and Browne and the Earls of Altamont are members of this family.
Buckley Ó Buachalla Cork, Kerry Gaelic
Irish name simply means “boy”.
Burke Bourke, de Burgh, de Burgo Widespread Norman-French
Butler Widespread, Kilkenny Norman
Very important Norman-Irish family, originating with Theobald Fitzwalter who was appointed Chief Butler of Ireland by Henry II in 1177. The Butlers of Ormonde built Kilkenny Castle.
Byrne O’Byrne Ó Broin Widespread, Wicklow Gaelic
Byrne, with or without the “O” prefix is a common Irish name. Ó Broin comes from Branach “raven”, a son of Maolmordha, 11th C. King of Leinster.

What Others Say

  1. CHARLES Jun 30, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Is there a “Q” in the Irish alphabet?? Is Quinlin an Irish surname?

    • Katherine Jun 30, 2011 at 2:16 pm

      There is no Q in the Irish language, but yes, Quinlin (or more often Quinlan) is an Irish surname.

      It is a phonetic translation of the Irish name O’Coinlean. ‘Coin’ in Irish is pronounced like Quin.

      • CHARLES Jul 5, 2011 at 2:39 am


  2. Matthew Jul 3, 2011 at 10:32 am

    I come from a long line of Loom’s, and as far as we know we are the only family in the world with the surname Loom, that is anyone with the Loom surname is related either by blood or marriage. According to my grandfather it is Irish in origin. But for the life of me I can’t seem to find proof of that fact. Any help?

    • ned bright Jul 12, 2011 at 1:04 am

      Just a guess. Might be shortened version of Loomis, and there is a suggestion there of association with cloth manufacture. if it was linen cloth, might just be a Northern Irish name. This is pure speculation, but might provide a lead.

  3. Cindi Aug 28, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Surname Colfer or Colford–Irish salesman told me of Norman origin? According to book by Frank Delany (fiction, I know) he also said it was a name associated with the Norman invasion of Ireland.

    • Katherine Aug 29, 2011 at 6:18 am

      Irish salesman is correct! It is a Norman name, though not a very widespread or common one in Ireland. There are a good few Colfers in Co Wexford, the best known is probably Eoin Colfer, a writer.

  4. Harty Dec 27, 2011 at 4:29 am

    I have not been able to find the origins of the surname Harty. It is, I believe prevelant in Tipperary and north Kerry.  Any ideas.

  5. Ed Matthews Jun 8, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    I’m the grandson of a Pennsylvania born orphan of Irish parents. At least that’s what family lore maintains. Records from the mid-1880s are sketchy at best, particularly as they pertain to orphans, adoptions, etc. My grandfather, George Thomas Matthews was born about 1884-45 and spent a time in a Pittsburgh orphanage. Of course there’s a possibility his adoptive parents gave him their surname. Is Matthews and Anglo-Irish surname?

  6. j blakemore Mar 3, 2013 at 5:48 am

    Just wondering if  Blakemore is an irish surname?  I see that ‘Blake’ is.

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