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Irish Surnames M-N

A list of Irish surnames beginning with the letters M and N, from Madden to Nugent.

Name Variants In Irish Location Origin
Madden O Madáin Galway, Limerick, Longford, Offaly Gaelic
Madáin means “small dog”.
Maguire MacGuire, McGuire MacUidhir Fermanagh, Ulster Gaelic
Uidhit means “pale colored”.
Maher Meaghar, Meagher. O Meachair Laois, Kilkenny, Tipperary. Gaelic
Means “hospitable”.
Mahony Mahoney, O’Mahoney, O’Mahoney Ó Mahúna Cork Gaelic
From the name Mathghamhan who was son a 10th century prince and Brian Boru’s grandson.
Malone Maloney Ó Maoileoin Offaly, widespread Gaelic
Maoileoin means “servant of St. John”.
Martin Martyn, Kilmartin, Gilmartin Ó Martain, MacGiolla Martain, MacMartain Galway Norman
One of the 14 Tribes of Galway. Said to be descended from Olyver Martin, a Norman Crusader.
Molloy Millea, Mulloy O Maolmhudaidh Offaly, widespread. Gaelic
Maolmhudaidh means “noble chief”.
Monaghan Minogue, Monahan, Monk O Manacháin Roscommon.
Manacháin means “monk”, so “son of the monk”. Mmm.
Mooney Meany, Meeney, Moony. O Maonaigh Offaly, Sligo, Ulster. Gaelic
Maonaigh and mean both “wealthy” or “dumb (as in unable to speak)”.
Moore Ó Mórdha Laois, widespread. Gaelic
Mórdha means “noble”.
Moran Murrin. O Móráin, Galway, Mayo Gaelic
Móráin means “large, great”.
Moriarty Murdoch, Murtagh O Muircheartaigh Kerry Gaelic
Means “expert navigator”; very common in the Dingle peninsula.
Morrissey O Muirgheasa Cork, Limerick, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford. Gaelic
Mulcahy O Maol Chathaigh Gaelic
Means “battle leader”
Mulhall Mulcahill, Melville Ó Maolchathail Clare, Laois
Descendant of a follower of St. Cathal
Mulrooney Maelranaidh Gaelic
Mulligan Ó Maolagáin Donegal, Mayo, Monaghan Gaelic
Murphy Ó Morchoe Sligo, Tyrone, Wexford. Widespread Gaelic
Means “sea warrior”
Murray Ó Muireadhaigh Gaelic
Neeson McNeese MacNaois Ulster Scots-Gaelic
Son of Naois
Nolan Nowlan O Nuaillain Carlow, Kildare, West Cork. Gaelic
Means “noble or famed”.
Nugent Westmeath Norman
Derived from the name of French town of Nogent.

What Others Say

  1. Barbara Robertson Apr 25, 2010 at 2:19 am

    Looking for information on my Irish grandmother and her family.  Name is John and Elizabeth McKissick Murphy, from Northern Irland.  Settled in Philadelphia probably in 1860 or 70′s, grandmother Catherine Murphy born in 1883.  Any help would be appreciated.  This has been a deadend.  Thank you.

  2. Renee Motherway Jan 9, 2011 at 5:32 am

    My name is Motherway, I still have relatives in county Cork.
    I can not find information on my family name, I have also looked under the gaelic translation, Motairuard. If you know what our name was origionally, how or why it changed and where I can find information please let me know. I would appriciate any help.

    Thank you for your time
    Renee Motherway

    • Rev Nicholas Motherway Nov 2, 2011 at 11:18 pm

      Dear Renee   greetings!   I have a lot of information om Motherways ……..a hobby of mine for years. Very little is available re the name itself. The most acceptanble explanation I give credence to is that it was originally a Gaelic name Modarbaigh  which in gaelic means “a crop of yellow/blond hair” My Irish name in school was Nioclas Modharbaigh. This Gaelic name would have been Anglicised ( made English) as MOTHERWAY. If you wish to engage in some dialogue on this I would be happy to oblige.  I live at Cork Ireland having retired from a lifetime of missionary service in Africa.

      sincerely yours   Nick Motherway


      • Anonymous Aug 28, 2012 at 3:52 am

        Nick  I am a Motherway from the US; my grandfather was born in Ladysbridge. I’m heading over to Ireland next week, and wanted to look you up to chat.  Would you be interested in meeting?
        Please let me know

      • John Michael Thorn Dec 16, 2012 at 6:26 am

        Rev Nicholas,
         I have heard much about you from my aunt Lucille and my Mom’s  family from Illinois (Margaret Ann Motherway). I think I met your Aunt in Ladysbridge about 20 years ago (she owned a house Behind the Motherway pub). I read that you were in Nigeria for a long time and then spent time in Kenya. I was working on the Motherway family history in the United States (Illinois, Missouri and New England). After my mother Margaret passed away in 2008 i put it aside. I’m starting to organize my notes again and I stumbled across this page so I thought I’d send you an e-mail. I have a letter dated August 24, 1970 to my cousin Nicholas Motherway in Chicago, Illinois. My great- grandfather was named Nicholas Motherway from Litchfield Illinois who married Mary Welsh from Lahinch, County Clare. My great great grandparents were Roger Motherway and Mary O’Brien both from County Cork. If my records are correct your father was John Motherway who married Hannah Finn. There are many Motherway families in America. I e-mailed Carmel Motherway one time many years ago and promised that I would stay at her B&B on my next trip, which hasn’t happened yet. If you have any information on the County Cork Motherways i would love to read about them. I hope that you are enjoying your retirement.

      • Kevin Cleary May 20, 2013 at 7:26 pm

        Hi Nick,
        I am in search of info on my Great Grandparents from County Cork. My Great Grandfather’s name was John Motherway b. 1816. I believe his wife’s name was Mary McMahon. Any genealogical information you can provide on either the McMahon’s or the Motherway’s from Cork would be much appreciated.
        Thanks in advance,
        Kevin McMahon Cleary 

    • Georgia Kent May 20, 2012 at 12:48 pm

       sorry to be a pain, but looking at this, my original surname was Motherway until we had it changed to my mothers name, and my dad’s side of the family, where the Motherway’s are from, mostly live in cork, so i was wondering if there was a possible chance we’re related?

  3. Peter Mayor Jan 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    The Norman surname ‘Mayor’ is also found in Ireland as well as in England and France.  ‘Mayor’ is one of the versions of the Norman personal name ‘Mauger’ and the early ’Mayor’ families were particularly close to the church with ‘Christ is my Anchor’ being the family motto.

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