Irish Surnames A-B

Surnames from Ireland beginning with the letters A and B.


Variants: Herne, Hearne, Heron, Aherin

Found in: Clare, Cork, Waterford

Origin: Gaelic

Common for many centuries.


Found in: Donegal, Cork

Origin: 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.


Found in: Kildare, Meath

Origin: Viking or Anglo-Norman

Origin unclear


Found in: Cork, Galway, Mayo

Origin: Norman-French


Found in: Cork

Origin: Anglo-Norman


Origin: Norse

Possibly a derivation of Bjorn


Variants: de Bhéalatún

Found in: Dublin

Origin: Anglo-Norman

From de Welton


Found in: Galway, Meath

Origin: 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.


Origin: Norse


Found in: Donegal


Variants: MacBrádaigh

Found in: Cavan

Origin: Gaelic


Found in: Kerry, Clare, Wexford Fermanagh

Origin: Gaelic


Variants: O Braonain Mac Branain

Found in: Widespread, Kilkenny, Mayo, Sligo, Roscommon

Origin: 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.


In Irish: MacBruaideadha

Found in: Clare


Found in: Antrim, Derry, Down

Origin: English

Not to be confused with Browne. which is of different origin


Found in: Galway

Origin: Norman-French

Originally called ‘le Brun’, Lord Oranmore and Browne and the Earls of Altamont are members of this family.


In Irish: Ó Buachalla

Found in: Cork, Kerry

Origin: Gaelic

Irish name simply means “boy”.


Variants: Bourke, de Burgh, de Burgo

Found in: Widespread

Origin: Norman-French


Found in: Widespread, Kilkenny

Origin: 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.


Variants: O’Byrne

In Irish: Ó Broin

Found in: Widespread, Wicklow

Origin: 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.

Published: August 18, 2008 | Updated: March 31, 2017

Irish Placenames: C

Many place names in Ireland begin with the letter C.

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  • Sheila Robinson (nee Carmody) says:

    Is Carmody name origin Welsh, French. And what origin is Robinson

  • Donna Rae Wallace says:

    I have an Irish grandfather that was born in Co. Tyrone in 1742. His name was John Bruffey. He married Eleanor McDonald who was possibly of Scotch descent. In my research I have not been able to find any trace of him until he arrived in Pennsylvania. I am wondering if he might have been a huegonot who immigrated to Ireland from France? Do you know of any sources that I might check to look for his arrival in Ireland? Any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated.
    Donna Rae Wallace

  • Jan says:

    I would like to know if Herene or Hereene of Tipperary should rightfully be linked to some other name. My direct ancestor Mathew Herene born 1806 lived and died in Tipperary. I found another man there of same name born 1796 who died a hundred years later in the same place, but no records under this name to link them. Does an expert know?

    • Katherine Nolan says:

      There is only a single family of Herenes in Tipperary in the 1901 census returns, with only two of those left in 1911 – at a guess one died and one married. James, who is recorded as 60 in 1901 and born in Tipperary, does not appear on the 1851 census, in fact there are no Herenes in 1851. That said, he is down as 78 in 1910, so who knows what age he really was and the 1851 census is very incomplete. His son, David, shows up in Ellis Island records as having emigrated to the USA in 1914.

      All this it does suggest that the name is probably correct and not a variant, just quite an uncommon name.

      You can search the census here:

      It’s possible it was a variant of Hearne (which is the same as Ahern/Ahearne and many other variants) or of Heron (which itself can be either of Gaelic or Anglo-Norman origin).

  • Terence says:

    Is “Bird” an Irish surname?  My great-great grandmother (b. 1865) and one of her 9 siblings had “Bird” for a middle name. Please share anything about Irish naming conventions from around 1857.

  • Aimee Cah says:

    Looking to confirm if “Cash” has Irish origins 

  • j blakemore says:

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

  • Ed Matthews says:

    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?

  • Harty says:

    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.

  • Cindi says:

    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 says:

      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.

  • Matthew says:

    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 says:

      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.

  • CHARLES says:

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

    • Katherine says:

      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 says:


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