Origin & Meaning of Irish Surnames
Irish surnames reflect the history of Ireland and in particular the various waves of immigrants and invaders who came to the country over the centuries, intermarried with the Irish population or simply never went home.
Over the centuries the Irish emigrated in such large numbers to every corner of the globe, that it is now a rare place that you will not find surnames which originated here.
The Origins of Ireland’s Surnames
It is easy to think that Irish surnames are all Gaelic in origin, but it’s far from the case. While the majority have Gealic roots, the various waves of settlers and conquerers that came to Ireland over the centuries brought their names with them and many surnames which are nowadays looked on as ‘typically Irish’ are not in fact Gaelic in origin.
Alongside the most numerous Gaelic surnames, which are invariably the oldest found in Ireland, there are almost as many names of Norman or English origin and quite a few with less common but often fascinating histories, such as those of Viking and Huguenot origin.
For information about each of these categories of names, please use the links below:
300 Most Common Irish Names
We have listed more than 300 of the most frequently found names in Ireland, with some brief information about the origins of each and their distribution in Ireland in the past and to-day.
Many names have complex histories, so while we have tried to be as accurate as possible in these listings there may be errors or omissions.
If you see any, please let us know!