Top 100 Irish Surnames & Last Names (Family Names Ranked)

The 100 Most Common Irish Family Names Ranked In Order.

When you read an Irish last name (or surname) such as O’Neill, Kennedy or Gallagher, you instantly know they are either Irish, from an Irish family or of Irish descent.

Irish people have influenced the world and their surnames have become well recognised and associated with the Emerald Isle.

Irish Last Names Today

There are many different origins for Irish family 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 makes you ask, which names are the most common in Ireland?

The Table below gives a listing of the 100 most common last 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

Irish Family Names Ranked 11-20:

Rank Name Gaelic Equivalent Meaning
 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

Irish Surnames Ranked 21-30:

Rank Name Gaelic Equivalent Meaning
 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

Irish Last Names Ranked 31-40:

Rank Name Gaelic Equivalent Meaning
 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

 

Irish Surnames Ranked 41-50:

Rank Name Gaelic Equivalent Meaning
 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

 

Irish Last Names Ranked 51-60:

Rank Name Gaelic Equivalent Meaning
 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

Irish Family Names Ranked 61-70:

Rank Name Gaelic Equivalent Meaning
 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

 

Irish Surnames Ranked 71-80:

Rank Name Gaelic Equivalent Meaning
 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

Irish Last Names Ranked 81-90:

Rank Name Gaelic Equivalent Meaning
 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

 

Irish Last Names Ranked 91-100:

Rank Name Gaelic Equivalent Meaning
 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

Trace your family today

We recommend using ancestry.com to find your family. You can also find their DNA kit to tell you much more than just the places you’re from. For more info, visit ancestry.com.

More about Irish Last Names, Irish Roots and Genealogy

The Irish people are an ethnic group native to the island of Ireland, who share a common Irish ancestry, identity and culture. Ireland as an island has been inhabited for about 12,500 years according to archaeological studies.

For most of Ireland’s history, the Irish have been primarily a Gaelic people (see Gaelic Ireland). Anglo-Normans conquered parts of Ireland in the 12th century, while England’s 16th/17th-century (re)conquest and colonisation of Ireland brought a large number of English and Lowland Scots people to parts of the island, especially the north.

Today, the island of Ireland consists of the Republic of Ireland (an independent state) and the smaller Northern Ireland (a part of the United Kingdom). People in Northern Ireland hold various national identities including British, Irish, Northern Irish or some combination thereof.

The Irish are renowned globally for their customs, language, music, dance, sports, cuisine, friendliness, large families and mythology. Although Irish (Gaelic/Gaeilge) was their main language in the past, today most Irish people speak English as their first language.

Historically, the Irish nation was made up of kin groups or clans, and the Irish also had their own religion, law code, alphabet and style of dress.

The population of Ireland is approximately 6.3 million, however, it’s estimated that 50 to 80 million people around the world have Irish forebears, making the Irish diaspora one of the biggest of any nation.

Over history, emigration from Ireland has been the result of conflict, famine and economic issues. People of Irish descent and as a result, Irish family names are found mainly in English-speaking countries, especially Great Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia.

There are also significant numbers in Argentina, Mexico and New Zealand. The United States has the most people of Irish descent, while in Australia those of Irish descent are a higher percentage of the population than in any other country outside Ireland. Many Icelanders have Irish and Scottish Gaelic forebears. 

In these countries, you may find some difficult to pronounce Irish last names. You may also find some stereotypical Irish surnames.

As a result of the high numbers of Irish people all around the world, Irish last names can be found all over the world.

Trace your family today

We recommend using ancestry.com to find your family. You can also find their DNA kit to tell you much more than just the places you’re from. For more info, visit ancestry.com.

Full list:

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

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