Top 100 Irish Last Names or Surnames With Meanings

100 Irish Last Names Or Surnames

The Irish are the natives of Ireland, which is found off the Western coast of Great Britain. The tiny island country has a great influence on history. Irish people are proud of their Celtic origins, rich culture, and heritage. Irish culture stretches to the extreme reaches of the world. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a shock that no matter where you go, you are likely to run into people with old Irish surnames. Irish surnames are unique and like no other, and some popular Irish names can reveal locations, stories and family’s tradition, too.

100 Irish Surnames or Family Names with Meanings

There are many different types of Irish surnames today, but most commonly, they can be classified into three groups. Irish last names include the Gaelic Irish, Cambro-Norman, and Anglo-Irish. Here is a curated list of Irish family names along with their meanings:

1. Ahearn

Ahearn is the anglicised version of ‘descendant of Eichthighearn’, which is derived from the Gaelic term that refers to ‘Horse God.’

2. Bell

Bell is one of the common Irish surnames, and it was derived from the Old French word ‘bel’, meaning ‘beautiful’.

3. Boyle

Boyle is an anglicised version of ‘O’Boyle’ originating from the Gaelic word ‘O’Baoighill’ meaning ‘pledge’ or ‘promise’.

4. Brannon

Brannon is an Irish surname that translates to ‘Son of Bran’. The Irish word ‘Bran’ means ‘raven’.

5. Buckley

Buckley is a nickname that has originated into an Irish surname, and it means ‘cowherd’ or ‘servant’.

6. Burke

Burke is derived from the Old English word ‘Burgh’. It refers to ‘fortress’ or ‘castle’.

7. Butler

Butler is a popular Irish surname which is derived from the word ‘butiller’, which refers to ‘wine steward’.

8. Campbell

This surname is derived from the Scottish Gaelic terms which relate to ‘crooked mouth’ or ‘wry-mouthed mouth’.

9. Carey

Carey is derived from the Old Irish word ‘Ciar’, which means ‘black’ or ‘deep’.

10. Caomhanach

Caomhanach is a unique family name which refers to the ‘disciples or students of Saint Caomhan’.

11. Cassidy

Cassidy is a famous Irish surname of the anglicised form of ‘Ó Caiside’, which means ‘curly-haired’.

12. Carroll

This Irish surname is an anglicised version of ‘Cearbhal’, which means ‘hacking with a knife’.

13. Caven

Cavan means ‘born handsome’.

14. Clarke

Clark is a modern surname used by Irish people very frequently, which means ‘clergy’ or ‘priest’.

15. Coleman

Coleman is an occupational name that refers to ‘the burner of charcoal’.

16. Coghlan

In anglicised form, it is ‘Ó Cochláin.’ Cochláin in Irish terms is ‘cochall’, which refers to ‘cape’ or ‘hood.’

17. Connor

Connor means a ‘wolf or hound dog’ in Irish.

18. Cullen

This surname is derived from a traditional plant named ‘holly’.

19. Cunningham

The word Cunningham is originated from the Old Irish word ‘conn’, which means a ‘chief’ or ‘leader.’

20. Curran

Curran is an anglicised form of ‘Corraidhin’, which means a ‘small spear’.

21. Davin

Davin means ‘stag’, ‘fawn’ or an ‘ox’ in Gaelic.

22. Daugherty

This surname comes from the anglicised form of ‘Ó Dochartaigh’, which is termed as ‘obstructive’ or ‘dangerous.’

23. Desmond

This last name is a variant of ‘Deasun’ or ‘Deasmhumhain’, and it is a topographical last name.

24. Delaney

Delaney is a mixture of two old Irish words ‘black’ and ‘slan’ which means ‘defiance.’

25. Dillon

Dillion is the last name of Irish origin meaning, ‘like a lion’ or ‘loyal like a lion.’

26. Donnell

Donnel refers to ‘the son of Domhnall,’ and ‘Domhnall’ means ‘the king of the world’ in Gaelic.

27. Donaghue

The name refers to the ‘Descendant of Donnchadh’. The word ‘Donnchadh’ is derived from a Gaelic term which means ‘brown battle.’

28. Doyle

Doyle is a popular Irish family name which means a ‘dark stranger’.

29. Dunn

Dunn is the Old English word for ‘dark’. In Gaelic, it refers to ‘brown’.

30. Ennis

Ennis is a unique surname that originates from the Gaelic word ‘Inis’, which refers to an ‘island’.

31. Farrell

It is an anglicised form of ‘Ó Fearghail’, which means the ‘descendant of Fearghal’. ‘Fearghal’ refers to ‘man of valour.’

32. Ferguson

Ferguson is another variant of patronymic Irish surname which means ‘son of Fearghas’.

33. Finn

Finn is an old Irish word, which means ‘fair’ or ‘white’.

34. Fitzpatrick

This surname, in old Irish terms, means ‘the son of Patrick’. Originally, Patrick is derived from a Latin name that means ‘nobleman’.

35. Flanagan

The surname Flanagan means ‘scarlet’ or ‘reddish’.

36. Flynn

Flynn is another variant of word Flanagan. Flynn is a popular surname which means ‘reddish’ or ‘scarlet’.

37. Foley

A very common Irish surname that means ‘pirate’ or ‘plunderer’.

38. Friel

This word is an anglicised form of ‘Ó Frighil’ which means ‘descendant of Fearghal.’ ‘Feraghal’, in Irish terms refers to a ‘man of valour.’

39. Fitzsimmons

Fitzsimmons refers to the ‘son of Simon’. ‘Simon’ word is derived from Hebrew, and it means ‘he has heard’.

40. Gorman

This is an Irish surname which means ‘little blue one.’

41. Griffin

It comes from an Irish name for griffin – a mythical creature with a lion’s body and an eagle’s head and arms.

42. Guinness

Guinness is a surname derived from the word ‘Mag Aonghuis’, which means ‘one power’.

43. Hayes

Hayes is derived referring to the ‘descendant of Aodh’. The name Aodh comes from the Old Irish word ‘Aed,’ and it means ‘fire.’.

44. Higgins

This last name is derived from another Irish name which means a ‘Viking’.

45. Hogan

The surname Hogan is originated from the word ‘Ogan’, which means ‘young’.

46. Hughes

Hughes is also a variant of the word Hayes, which means ‘fire’.

47. Ivers

This is a patronymic surname derived from the Old Norse name ‘Ivarr’; it refers to ‘warrior’.

48. Johnston

This name means ‘John’s town’.

49. Lynch

Lynch is an occupational surname referring to a ‘mariner’.

50. Kane

Kane is the anglicised form of ‘O’Kane’ which means a ‘battle’.

51. Kavanagh

This word was derived from the Gaelic name ‘Caomhánach’, which was also the name of a 6th-century Irish saint.

52. Kearney

Kearney is an Irish word which refers to a ‘warrior’ or ‘the leader of a warrior group’.

53. Kelly

In Irish, the word Kelly is termed as ‘Ceallach’, and it refers to ‘bright-headed’.

54. Kennedy

Kennedy is a very old Irish word that means an ‘armoured head’ or ‘misshapen head’.

55. Kilduff

Kilduff refers to the ‘son of the black-haired person’.

56. Lennon

An anglicised form of Leannan, this name means ‘lover’.

57. Lonn

Lonn is a famous Irish Last name meaning, ‘strong, warlike’.

58. Mac Amhalghaidh

This name means ‘son of Amhalghaidh’.

59. Mac an Ghoill

The word ‘Ghoill’ is derived from an Irish word ‘Gill’ which means a ‘foreigner’ or ‘stranger’.

60. Mac an Sagairt

This is an Irish surname which means ‘son of the priest’.

61. MacAodhagain

It refers to ‘Aodhagan Descent’. The term ‘Aodhagan’ is a diminutive form of ‘Aodha’ or ‘Aed’.

62. MacBranain

MacBrananin is an Irish word, which means ‘son of Bran’. Bran is another word for raven.

63. MacBride

MacBride means ‘son of the servant of Brighid’. The name ‘Brighid’ is derived from Bridget, and it means ‘exalted one’.

64. MacCaba

MacCaba as an Irish family name termed as ‘son of Caba’, and ‘Caba’ means ‘cape’.

65. MacCarrick

MacCarrick is a popular Irish family name, and it means ‘son of Cucharraige’.

66. MacCarthy

This Irish last name refers to a ‘son of Carthach’, and Carthach means ‘loving’.

67. Mac Dhuibhinse

This is also an old Irish surname, which refers to the ‘son of Dhuibhinse’ where ‘Dhuibhinse’ means ‘black island’.

68. Macdonald

Macdonald is a Gaelic-origin word, which means ‘world-mighty’.

69. Murdock

This Irish-derived surname originates from the word ‘Murchadh’, which means ‘sea warrior’.

70. Murphy

Another variant of the Irish word ‘Murchadh’, and it also means ‘sea warrior’.

71. Murray

This surname is widely used and it refers to ‘lord’ in Irish.

72. Nolan

Nolan surname means ‘noble or a famous person.’

73. O’Brein

O’Brien is derived from the word ‘O Briain’, which means ‘a descendant of Brian’. Brian in Irish means ‘strong’ or ‘noble’.

74. O’Leary

O’Leary comes from a Gaelic word ‘O Laoghaire’, which means ‘calf herd’.

75. O’Shea

O’Shea is derived from a Gaelic word ‘O Seaghdha’, which means ‘esteemed’ or the ‘majestic one’.

76. Orman

Orman means ‘red’.

77. Power

Power is derived from the French word ‘Poier’, that refers to people who come from the town called Poix.

78. Quinn

Quinn is a Gaelic word, which means a ‘chief’.

79. Regan

Regan, in Irish terms, means ‘impulsive’. This is a very old family name.

80. Rinne

A short and simple Irish surname, it means a ‘star’.

81. Robinson

A traditional Irish surname which means ‘a son of Robin’.

82. Ryan

An Irish-origin which is commonly used, it means ‘little king’.

83. Scully

Scully is the anglicised form of ‘Ó Scolaidhe’ relating to ‘a scholar’s descendant’.

84. Sheehy

Sheehy means ‘peaceful’ or ‘mysterious’ in Gaelic.

85. Sloan

Sloan is an old Irish word, which means ‘raid’.

86. Sullivan

The surname Sullivan is derived from a Gaelic word, which refers to the phrase ‘little dark eye’.

87. Stewart

This name is a Gaelic equivalent word ‘Stiobhard’, which means ‘one who superintends’.

88. Tighe

Tighe is derived from the anglicized word ‘O Taidhg’, which means ‘poet’.

89. Toole

Toole is an Irish surname refers to ‘ruler of the people’.

90. Vincent

Vincent is an anglicised form of ‘Mac Dhuibhinse’, which means ‘son of Dhuibhinse’. The word ‘Dhuibhinse’ refers to ‘black island’.

91. Vail

Vail is an old English word, and it means ‘from the valley’.

92. Victory

Victory is of Gaelic origin, and it means ‘son of the unripe one’.

93. Walsh

Walsh is an Old English word, which is derived from the word ‘Waelisc’, which refers to ‘foreigner’ or ‘stranger’.

94. Ward

Ward is derived from word ‘Mac an Bhaird’ that means ‘son of the bard’.

95. Whelan

Whelan is derived from a Gaelic word ‘fael’, which refers to ‘little wolf’.

96. White

White is a popular Irish surname derived from the Gaelic word ‘Mac Giolla Bháin’, which means ‘fair complexion’.

97. Wren

An Anglicised version of Gaelic word ‘O Rinn’, it is a name probably originating from ‘reann’, meaning ‘spear’.

98. Wolf

Wolf is a translation of Gaelic word ‘O Faolain’, which refers to ‘little wolf’.

99. Wynne

Wynne is derived from a Gaelic word, which means ‘fair’ or ‘white’.

100. Yaw

Yaw surname means ‘eager’. 

Irish surnames are mostly ancestral, and some of them are either patronymic or topographical. These names have evolved and spread to many areas such as Europe, Canada, United States, and more. Most names have an anglicised form, and all of them have deep, insightful, and historical meanings.

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Gauri Ratnam completed her Masters in English Literature from the University of Pune. She began her journey as a German translator soon after completing her graduation, but later moved on to pursue her passion for writing. Having written for both digital and print media in a varied range of industries, she has the ability to write relatable and well-researched content, benefical for anyone seeking advice or direction.