Ranked: Top 100 Irish surnames and meanings

surnamesconfusing

When you read a surname such as O’Neill, Kennedy or Gallagher, you instantly know they are Irish or of Irish descent. Irish people have influenced the world and their surnames have become well recognised and associated with the Emerald Isle.

Surnames today: There are many different origins for Irish names today but the vast majority can be broken down into either of three categories: Gaelic Irish, Cambro-Norman, and finally Anglo-Irish.

It always prompts the question, which names are the most common in Ireland? Find out here. The Table below gives a listing of the 100 most commonly names found in Ireland and their meanings:

 

Rank Name Gaelic Equivalent Meaning
 1  Murphy ó Murchadha sea-battler
 2  Kelly  ó Ceallaigh bright-headed
 3  O’Sullivan  ó Súilleabháin  dark-eyed
 4  Walsh  Breathnach   Welshman
 5  Smith   Mac Gabhann  son of the smith
 6  O’Brien   ó Briain   high, noble
 7  Byrne   ó Broin   a raven
 8  Ryan   ó Maoilriain   king
 9  O’Connor  ó Conchobhair  patron of warriors
 10  O’Neill  ó Néill  from Niall of
the Nine Hostages
 11  O’Reilly  ó Raghallaigh
 12  Doyle   ó Dubhghaill   dark foreigner
 13  McCarthy  Mac Carthaigh   loving person
 14  Gallagher  ó Gallchobhair  lover of foreigners
 15  O’Doherty  ó Dochartaigh   hurtful
 16  Kennedy  ó Cinnéide   helmet headed
 17  Lynch   ó Loinsigh   seafarer, exile
 18  Murray  ó Muireadhaigh  lord, master
 19  Quinn   ó Cuinn   wisdom, chief
 20  Moore   ó Mordha   majestic
 21  McLoughlin  Mac Lochlainn  viking
 22  O’Carroll  ó Cearbhaill   valorous in battle
 23  Connolly  ó Conghaile   fierce as a hound
 24  Daly   ó Dálaigh assembles frequently
 25  O’Connell  ó Conaill   strong as a wolf
 26  Wilson  Mac Liam   son of William
 27  Dunne   ó Duinn   brown
 28  Brennan  ó Braonáin   sorrow
 29  Burke   de Búrca   from Richard de Burgh
 30  Collins  ó Coileáin   young warrior
 31  Campbell  crooked mouth
 32  Clarke   óCléirigh   clergyman
 33  Johnston  Mac Seáin   son of John
 34  Hughes  ó hAodha   fire
 35  O’Farrell  ó Fearghail   man of valour
 36  Fitzgerald  Mac Gearailt   spear rule
 37  Brown   Mac an Bhreithiún  son of the brehon (judge)
 38  Martin  Mac Giolla Mháirtín  devotee of Saint Martin
 39  Maguire  Mag Uidhir   dun-coloured
 40  Nolan   ó Nualláin   famous
 41  Flynn   ó Floinn   bright red
 42  Thompson  Mac Tomáis   son of Thom
 43  O’Callaghan  ó Ceallacháin   bright headed
 44  O’Donnell  ó Domhnaill   world-mighty
 45  Duffy   ó Dufaigh   dark, black
 46  O’Mahony  ó Mathúna   bear-calf
 47  Boyle   ó Baoill   vain pledge
 48  Healy   ó hÉalaighthe   artistic, scientific
 49  O’Shea  ó Séaghdha   fine, stately
 50  White   Mac Giolla Bháin  of fair complexion
 51  Sweeney  Mac Suibhne   pleasant
 52  Hayes   ó hAodha   fire
 53  Kavanagh  Caomhánach   comely, mild
 54  Power   de Paor   the poor man
 55  McGrath  Mac Craith   son of grace
 56  Moran   ó Móráin   great
 57  Brady   Mac Brádaigh   spirited
 58  Stewart  Stiobhard   one who superintends
 59  Casey   ó Cathasaigh   vigilant in war, watchful
 60  Foley   ó Foghladh   a plunderer
 61  Fitzpatrick  Mac Giolla Phádraig  devotee of Saint Patrick
 62  O’Leary  ó Laoghaire   calf-herd
 63  McDonnell  Mac Domhnaill  world-mighty
 64  MacMahon  Mac Mathúna   bear-calf
 65  Donnelly  ó Donnghaile   brown valour
 66  Regan   ó Riagáin   little king
 67  Donovan  ó Donnabháin   brown, black
 68  Burns  from Scottish Burness
 69  Flanagan  ó Flannagáin   red, ruddy
 70  Mullan  ó Maoláin   bald
 71  Barry   de Barra   Cambro-Norman name
 72  Kane   ó Catháin   battler
 73  Robinson   son of Robert
 74  Cunningham   Scottish name
 75  Griffin  ó Gríofa   Welsh: Gruffudd
 76  Kenny   ó Cionaoith   fire sprung
 77  Sheehan  O’Siodhachain   peaceful
 78  Ward   Mac an Bhaird  son of the bard
 79  Whelan  ó Faoláin   wolf
 80  Lyons   ó Laighin   grey
 81  Reid  red haired,
ruddy complexion
 82  Graham   grey home
 83  Higgins  ó hUiginn
 84  Cullen   ó Cuilinn   holly
 85  Keane   Mac Catháin
 86  King   ó Cionga
 87  Maher   Meagher   fine, majestic
 88  MacKenna  Mac Cionaoith  fire-sprung
 89  Bell   Mac Giolla Mhaoil
 90  Scott  a Scottish gael
 91  Hogan   ó hÓgáin   young
 92  O’Keeffe  ó Caoimh   gentle
 93  Magee   Mag Aoidh   fire
 94  MacNamara  Mac Conmara   hound of the sea
 95  MacDonald  Mac Dónaill   world-mighty
 96  MacDermott  Mac Diarmada  free from jealousy
 97  Molony  ó Maolomhnaigh  servant of the Church
 98  O’Rourke  ó Ruairc
 99  Buckley  ó Buachalla   cow herd
 100  O’Dwyer  ó Dubhuir   black

  The Irish Bucket List: 101 places to see in Ireland before you die (eBook)


  • Kevin O’Reilly

    no.11 O’Reilly- O’Raghallaigh- meaning: son of Rachallach (ancient Irish warrior)

  • Viki Shannon

    Hey…Shannon isn’t there… 🙁

  • Kenneth D CONNOLLY

    #23 Connolly- o Conghaile- meaning, Fierce as a hound.

  • Rose O’Neal

    What does O’NEAL mean

    • DK92

      Very rare to see that spelling “O’Neal” in Ireland. O’Neill is more common, the O’Neill’s were a powerful clan descended from the High King that is traditionally thought to have brought St. Patrick to Ireland as a hostage.

  • Hegarty

    What does HEGARTY mean?

    • John Geraghty

      Hegarty is a derivative of the Irish family name Geraghty which is the anglicised form of Mac Oireachtaigh. Oireachtaigh means Member of Parliament (or Assembly)

  • Susan Krsnich

    What does ‘Hennessey” mean?

  • Lillian Neal

    WHAT DOES BATES, BUCK& NEAL MEAN??? THEY ARE MY MAIDEN NAME, MY MOTHERS MAIDEN NAME & MY MARRIED NAME…….

  • DK92

    Mac Conraoi is a more common translation of King than O Cionga. It’s closely related to the surname Conroy. I can only speculate that it became “King” as Mac Conraoi sound like “mac an Rí”- son of the King.

  • Carlos.Danger

    Good Jaysus….Shur I didn’t even make the list.

  • fra

    I would of thought “mc Guinness” would be in there.

  • Dylan

    Does anyone know what Harkins and Forbes mean?

  • Christine Dobson

    what about campbell

  • Same crap different pile! Dest

    Heffernan is not on the list…malarkey!

  • Tracey Coughlan

    A lot of English names.. don’t know how there in top 100 IRISH NAMES. what ever happened to the real Irish names like coughlan. Aka Mac coughlan

  • Tracey Coughlan

    Oh by the way my maiden name is Byrne.. so 2 true proper Irish name. Can’t get more Irish then them name’s