Irish Surnames P-R

Quinn's Funeral Home

Irish surnames beginning with P and R, from Plunkett to Ryan

Plunkett

Found in: Louth, Meath.

Origin: Danish

Power

In Irish: de Paor.

Found in: Kilkenny, Waterford, Wicklow.

Origin: Norman

From the Norman-French word le Poer meaning “poor”. Came as servants with the Normans.

Prendergast

Variant: Prender, Pender

Found in: Waterford, Mayo

Origin: Anglo-Norman

Name of a village in Pembrokeshire

Punch

Found in: Kildare, Limerick Dublin

Origin: Norman

From the French given name Poncius.

Quigley

Variant: Cogley

In Irish: O Coigligh,

Found in: Derry, Donegal, Galway, Mayo, Sligo.

Origin: Gaelic

Literally means “untidy hair”.

Quinlan

Variant: Quinlevan

In Irish: O Caoindealbháin

Found in: Clare, Munster.

Origin: Gaelic

Means “graceful shape”.

Quinn

Variant: Quin, Quan

In Irish: O Cuinn

Found in: Antrim, Clare, Longford, widespread.

Origin: Gaelic

From cuinn meaning “intelligent”.

Rafferty

Variant: O’Rafferty,

In Irish: O Raithbheartaigh

Found in: Clare, Galway, Mayo

Origin: Gaelic

Means “bringer of prosperity”.

Redmond

In Irish: Réamonn

Found in: Wexford, Wicklow.

Origin: Norman

Originated with Richard le Gros, a Norman leader of the 1169 invasion. The Irish name is a translation of the French, the English a phonetic version of it.

Regan

Variant: Reagan

In Irish: Ó Reagáin

Found in: Dublin, Kerry, Louth, widespread

Origin: Gaelic

Reynolds

In Irish: MacRaghnaill

Found in: Leinster

Origin: Norse

Roche

In Irish: de Róiste

Found in: Widespread

Origin: Norman

A Norman family who arrived in Ireland from Wales, where they lived in Roch Castle.

Rooney

In Irish: O Ruanaidh

Found in: Down, widespread.

Origin: Gaelic

Means “hero”.

Ryan

Variant: Mulryan

In Irish: Ó Riain, Ó Maoilriains

Found in: Carlow, Limerick, Tipperary, widespread.

Origin: Gaelic

A common name with two main families, each with a different Irish spelling: the Ó Riains of Idrone in Carlow; and the Ó Maoilriains from Limerick and Tipperary.

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5 Comments

  1. Anne Reagan Haines | March 17, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Is REGAN really and truly the most prevalent spelling of this Gaelic name in present-day Ireland? I really can’t believe it, especially considering the spelling in Irish. My family history has been traced back to a Timothy Reagan who came to America around 1700.

    I was told by an Irish genealogist that the surname REAGAN (and he made no objection to that spelling) was so widespread that tracing it would be impossible – at least back farther than the aforementioned 1700.

  2. Annierooney | June 8, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Can you please tell me the origin of the names Renehan & Murtagh
    Thank you in advance
    Ann McCabe

    • Katherine Nolan | June 8, 2015 at 1:45 pm

      Renehan is an old Irish name, in Irish it’s Ó Reannacháin. It’s quite an uncommon name which was mostly found in Armagh in Northern Ireland, though also in Cork and Tipperary. I don’t really know much about it, but the Reannacháin part may come from ‘reannach’, which means sharp or spear-like.

      Murtagh (Ó Muircheartaigh) is more common. The original Irish version of the name, which is again a very old Irish name, was associated with the northern half of the country originally, where it was anglicised variously as MacBrearty or McCurdy, names still common in Donegal. Those these names may look completely unrelated, they are in fact of identical origin – this wasn’t uncommon when names were translated by English officials who didn’t speak Irish. The Murtagh version was the more common translation as you move south and east, and is especially found in Westmeath, Meath, Longford, Mayo and Antrim, though it’s quite widespread now.

      The name is made up of two Irish roots – muir meaning ‘sea’ and ceardach meaning ‘skilled’, so could be said to mean ‘of the family skilled in the ways of the sea’. The most famous recent holder of the name is Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, a well known and much loved commentator on Gaelic games, who was born in Kerry.

  3. michael rainey | June 25, 2015 at 10:38 am

    please could you throw some light on the surname ‘rainey’ it’s obviously been anglosized and i haven’t a clue as where to start. thanks and sorry if it’s a tiresome chore. best wishes, michael rainey

    • This is very much a Northern Irish name, though found in other places I’d say 90%+ of Rainey’s came from and even still live in Northern Ireland, and the further North East, the more common it is.

      It is a most likely a name of Irish origin, but may also be Scottish – can be hard to tell sometimes and there are times when the same name has both origins. But my hunch would be Irish. In any case the Irish version is Ó Raighne, which essentially means ‘Son of Raghuall’, Raghuall being the Irish version of Reginald. Was it one particular Reginald or any Reginald? Who knows.

      Other English versions of names which are Ó Raighne or Mac Raighne in Irish include McGrane and McGrain, which might be useful to know.

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