Irish Surname Resources

In this section I have included all the letters (and podcasts) I have written that relate to Irish surnames. Ireland has one of the oldest surname systems in the world - originating from about the mid-800s - and knowing a little more about the origin and evolution of the Irish surnames in your family tree will often give you a greater insight into your own family history and Irish culture in general. You can browse through the features listed on this page and jump to one that interests you, or enter a placename, surname or other item in the search box to see which letters mention them.

Irish Surname Letters

The Evolution of Irish Surnames – Where your Irish Surname fits

When we look at Irish surnames today, it’s easy to get confused when we see names that appear to have several different spellings, some look very English or Scottish –…

Tracking Down a Reader Surname in Ireland.

Readers often contact me wondering where a particular ancestor or surname is likely to have originated in Ireland. Sometimes I can give a direct answer – but sometimes the answer…

Do You Have a Rare Irish Surname in your family Tree?

Do you have a rare Irish name in your family tree? In today’s letter, we are going to chat with a Green Room member who has one of those names…

Where Did Kavanaugh Come From?

One Irish name has been in the news a lot over the past 2 weeks – not just in the USA but all over the world. That surname is “Kavanaugh”…

Do You Have This Problem Locating your Irish Surname?

Just this week I have had the following question asked a number of times: “Where in Ireland does my x surname come from?”. It’s a fundamental question for many of…

Irish Surname Podcast Episodes

Irish Pioneers In A Far-Away Land (#732)

We look at the stories of two different Irish pioneers in early north America – in what is now the country of Canada. The first is the story of Denis…

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The Irish Scots – A Trip to Glasgow in Scotland (#503)

In this episode of the Letter from Ireland Podcast show, we travel to the city of Glasgow in Scotland to meet two proud Glasgow natives of Irish ancestry. Come with us as we get a unique perspective on this city that saw the arrival of so many Irish immigrants from the 1800s onwards.

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Anglo Norman Surnames – Following the Norman Trail to Ireland (#402)

Do you have any Anglo Norman surnames in your Irish Family Tree? Then join us now as we talk about some of these Irish surnames and follow the Norman trail all the way back to Ireland.

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Irish Placenames – Is Your Surname Hidden in One of These Places? (#106)

Welcome to Series 1, Episode 6 of the Letter from Ireland Show. In this episode, we look at Irish placenames and townlands.

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Pete MacCarthy – Always Visit a Pub with Your Name over the Door (#104)

Welcome to Season 1, Episode 4 of the Letter from Ireland Show. In this episode, Carina and Mike Collins follow the journey of a man who “always went into an Irish Pub” with his name over the door. We then go to the back of one of these pubs – and find a remarkable story.

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