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

3 Things to know about your Irish Ancestor Surnames

This week, we are going to feature a reader’s letter – one that takes you from a small village in County Kerry to the big port of Hoboken in the…

Lifesize statue of an old Ford car

The Ford Motor Car and Confusing Irish Surnames

Now, if you were ever to take the south-westerly road out of Cork City, you would pass through the village of Ballinascarthy after an hour or so. On your left…

Sherlock film poster

The Elementary Truth Behind Some Irish Surnames

There is so much talk of immigrants in the news around the world today – so I thought it would be useful to examine an Irish view of “immigrants” in…

Red Hair

Beautiful Maureen O’Hara and 3 Irish Surnames

I was working on an Irish surname last week – and was reminded by a reader just how important it is to understand Irish history and the origin of Irish…

A Journey into Irish DNA

Did you know that “DNA Day” was celebrated earlier this week? I wonder who made that one up! To celebrate , we recorded a podcast that will come out next…

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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