Top 10 coolest Irish last names (surnames), RANKED

Irish people are said to have some of the most unique names, so here are the ten coolest Irish last names, ranked.

In olden times, Irish surnames originated from the first chief of the tribe who, most of the time, was a great warrior. So if this isn’t cool in itself, then we don’t know what is.

The Irish language is so different to other languages around the world, meaning we have very unique and diverse names, both first and last, many of which people struggle to pronounce both in Ireland and abroad.

If you have been graced with one of the cool Irish surnames listed below, then count yourself lucky, because these are the coolest Irish last names that we have found.

Over the years, different spellings and variations of all names came about, so there can be a few ways to spell and pronounce some of these cool Irish names.

Here are the top ten coolest Irish last names, ranked.

Ireland Before You Die’s top facts about Irish surnames

  • Irish surname have a sheer variety of origins. Different Irish surnames come from the Irish themselves, from the English, Welsh and Scots, the Vikings, and the Normans, too.
  • Irish surnames that begin with “O” translates to “descendant of”. Irish surnames that start with “Mac” means “son of”.
  • As you will have noticed in the modern day, a lot of Irish surnames have been Anglicised from their original spelling and pronunciation. For example, “Ó Séaghdha” has become “Shaw”.
  • Hereditary surnames only started to be used across the Emerald Isle in and around the 10th century. This is later than in other European countries.
  • The Irish ‘clan’ surnames illustrates that you were a member of a particular Irish clan, such as the “O’Neill’s” or “O’Brien’s”.

10. Gallagher – lover of foreigners

Gallagher is one of the coolest Irish last names.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

This common name, which just rolls of the tongue, actually takes the number one position of surnames in Donegal.

The name is ancient, dating back to the 14th-century and means ‘lover of foreigners’.

If you’re a Gallagher travelling abroad, this is an interesting fact to tell your international mates. How cool is this name?

READ MORE: Find out about a particular record the surname Gallagher has in our piece on 10 unbelievable Guinness World Records held by the Irish

9. O’Donnell – the world mighty O’Donnells

Daniel O'Donnell is an Irish singer.
Credit: Facebook / @DanielODonnellOfficial

Many prominent people with the last name O’Donnell have come from Ireland over the years, such as singers, actors, authors, soldiers, and politicians.

Maybe this is because the name is centuries old and has an epic meaning: ‘world mighty’.

Anyone with this name can take on the world, just like the O’Donnells before them.

READ MORE: The top 10 Irish surnames that are actually Scottish

8. Power – the poor man

One of the coolest Irish last names is Power.
Credit: needpix.com

Having the word Power as your surname is pretty cool in itself, and of course, gives a sense of power, but we’ll have you know that it really translates as ‘the poor man’.

Despite the surprising meaning, the name power as a surname is definitely one of the coolest to have. It adds power to any standard name.

7. O’Donoghue – a name with many variations

Colin O'Donoghue is an Irish actor and he has one of the coolest Irish last names.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Meaning brown-haired man, this is an ever-popular name worldwide, with a motto that says they are never unprepared.

O’Donoghue is definitely one of the coolest Irish last names.

6. O’Connell – a name shared with The Liberator

O'Connell is one of the coolest Irish last names.
Credit: Dublin Regional Tourism Authority

With a very cool meaning, ‘as strong as a wolf’, this name is one held by many across the country and the globe.

Of course, our main street in Dublin is O’Connell Street, and it is called this because of Daniel ‘The Liberator’ O’ Connell, who famously liberated Irish Catholics and got them the right to vote in parliament.

RELATED: Ireland Before You Die’s ultimate article – Top 100 Irish surnames / last names (info and facts)

5. McCarthy – a loving bunch of people

Melissa McCarthy is a famous American actress and she has one of the coolest Irish last names.
Credit: Instagram / @melissamccarthy

We bet you never knew that this name actually means ‘loving person’, and we think that’s pretty cool as names go.

There are many McCarthy’s in Ireland and the name links back to very wealthy people who were well respected in Ireland.

4. McLoughlin – as cool as a viking

McLoughlin is one of the coolest Irish last names.
Credit: Instagram / @coleen_rooney

With a super-strong meaning, ‘viking’, the Irish last name McLoughlin has taken on many variations and spellings over the years but is still as popular as ever.

It is so popular as a last name that people are now choosing the name Loughlin or Laughlin as baby boys names.

Plus, Coleen Rooney’s maiden name was McLoughlin so it had to make our list of the coolest Irish last names.

3. Molony – holy molony

Janel Molony is an American actress and she has one of the coolest Irish last names.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

There’s no doubt that this name, along with Mahony, is one that is commonly mispronounced worldwide.

Molony, which means ‘servant of the church’, is a name that adds melody to any name.

2. O’Malley – women warriors

O'Malley is one of the coolest Irish last names.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

We’ve all heard of Grace O’Malley, the Irish pirate queen and famous Irish woman, so to share a last name with her is pretty cool, we think.

The name dates back to the 10th-century, and often the O’ Malley clans were led by women. Now that’s got to be one of the coolest Irish last names!

READ NEXT: Have a look at our article on the top 10 Irish surnames that are actually Welsh!

1. McNamara – warrior of the sea

Kat McNamara is a famous American actress and she has one of the coolest Irish last names.
Credit: Instagram / @kat.mcnamara

This name has such a ring to it and just rolls off the tongue. McNamara translates as ‘hound of the sea’ or ‘warrior of the sea’ and was originally McConmara, which we also think is a cool Irish last name.

So there we have the top ten coolest Irish last names. If you have one of these, you should feel pretty special. Although we do think all Irish names are unique and cool in their own way, that’s the beauty of the ancient Irish language.

Your questions answered about the coolest Irish last names

Read our article and still have some outstanding questions? Not to worry! Here, we have out together the most frequently asked questions about the coolest Irish last names.

What are the rarest Irish surnames?

Some examples of rare Irish surnames would include Hickey, Tobin and Hawkins.

What is a very Irish last name?

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A very Irish last name would be Murphy, an old and ancient Irish names. Other names of this ilk would include Byrne and O’Brien.

What Irish surname means fighter?

The name ‘Kelly’, which comes from ‘O’Ceallaigh’, means warrior or fighter.

What are the coolest last names?

Some of the coolest last names include Barlow, Caddel, Katz, Laurier, Driscoll, Lightfoot and Chevalier.

MORE IB4UD ARTICLES ON IRISH SURNAMES

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Top 20 Irish surnames in the USA and their meanings, ranked

Top 20 Irish surnames that are disappearing, ranked

Top 10 Irish surnames that are actually Viking

REVEALED: The top 20 Irish surnames and meanings

Top 10 facts you never knew about Irish surnames

Find Your Dream Hotel in Ireland

On the hunt for the ultimate hotel for your Irish adventure? Explore a curated selection ranging from the charming heritage of boutique accommodations in Dublin's vibrant heart to the tranquil luxury of rural retreats and the captivating coastal vistas. Start your search below to find the perfect stay with our trusted hotel partner.



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