A Letter from Ireland:

The Irish Surname O’Connor/Connor/Conner/Conners/Connors


The Irish Surname O'Connor

Deborah Crown was on wonder about the Irish surname “Conners“. You can read Deborah’s question and story at the end of this post.

Origin of the Irish Surname O’Connor.

In Ireland you will mostly find the name as O’Connor and sometimes as Connor. As the name left the country over the centuries, it was spelled in many different fashions. O’Connor comes from the Irish Ó Conchobhair  is from the first name of Conchobhair – a popular first name over the centuries in Ireland. This popularity meant that when the surname system was introduced, many different septs across Ireland adopted the surname Ó Conchobhair.

Home Counties of the O’Connor.

But there were about six different septs that rose to prominence across Ireland.

 The O’Connors of Connaught – the Kings of Connaught for many centuries and the last High Kings of Ireland (Rory O’Connor was the last High King).
  • They had two other branches – O’Connor Roe (Roscommon) and O’Connor Sligo.
  • The O’Connors of Offaly – or the O’Connor Faly
  • The O’Connors of Kerry (probably the most populous group).
  • The O’Connors of North Clare.
  • There were also smaller groups in Ulster around Derry.
So, you can see why O’Connor is such a popular name today. Also, they mostly resided in the areas most affected by the Famine of the mid 1800s – and so you will find Connor and it’s variants scattered all over the globe from this time.

Castles of the O’Connors.

There are many castles spread throughout Ireland associated with different septs of the O’Connors. They include Ballintober Castle (Roscommon), Carrigafoyle castle (Kerry), Ballymote castle (Sligo) and Castlekirke (Galway). There are also a wide number of Abbeys and ecclesiastical sites associated with the name like Clonmacnoise, Ballintober Abbey, Cong Abbey and so on.

Deborah Crown’s Question and Story.

I am looking for the Irish surname Conners..is it a form of O’Connor..The first trace of it in my family history is Morgan Connor born Wexford Ireland 1767, Immigrated to Nova Scotia by 1799. I hope I have reached you in the proper way and I thank you for your time.

Deborah Crown

If you would like to add what you know about the O’Connor surname, tell the story of your O’Connor family OR ask a question – please do so below in the comments section.

Remember – at Your Irish Heritage we consider an “Irish Surname” to be one that belongs in your family. It may belong to an ancestor who lived in Ireland at one stage. We consider old Gaelic, Viking, Norman and planter names to be all Irish – if they fit this criteria.


  • Bridget says:

    I was wondering about the surname Purtell. The name is from my mother’s side. She was told that the name was from Ireland but it was originally from the Alsace-Lorraine region of France. I haven’t been able to find any background info on the name, so any help you can give me would be a big help!

    • Mike says:

      Hi Bridget – it is probably known as “Purtill” in Ireland which is a form of Purcell (which is French – and AngloNorman). They became completely hibernicised and can be found in County Clare and Tipp. Mike.

  • Karen Connors says:

    I seeking Connors form of O’Connor they came from County Galway in the towns of Rosmuck ,Moycullen

  • Anne O'Connor says:

    In 1985 I visited Ireland with my father Daniel O’Connor. He came to Canada in 1927 at age 10 with his parents from County Down. I heard this conversation between my Dad’s first cousins and himself. When did you put your “O” back on your name? Dad said that they restored the “O” at the time of immigration. My cousins said they restored the “O” at the time of WWII.

  • Faye Connors Derryberry says:

    My great great grandfather, Peter Connors immigrated to a sheepherding and railroad town in Tennessee that is now referred to as “little ireland”.. My aunt always said he came from County Galway but his headstone says Wexford. I have been unable to find anything about him. My aunt insisted we come from royalty there. I just want to know where to plan my trip to when we get around to getting there in the next few years.

    • Marilyn O'Connor LaRusic says:

      I am also an O’Connor and was told my ancestors were from Wexford, but there are apparently no records. Have you had any luck finding information.

    • Hi Faye! Are you referring to Erin, Tennessee? My grandmother was from there (Nettie Powers) and she married my grandfather, Cecil Conner. They lived in Nashville. My dad, Ray Conner is the 4th of their 6th children. I do not have a lot of information about my grandmother’s family, but do know that she was from Erin. And obviously, my grandfather was Irish as well. Good luck with your search!!

      Kimberly Conner Loredo

  • Dylan says:

    Were the O’Connors of North clare any decendence from the redbrance knights?

  • Clare connor says:

    I am a Connor, and was always told by my Irish grandmother that Connor came first, before O’Connor, and that O’Connor meant ‘Of Connor’ such as ‘son of’ etc. Reading your site, it now looks like this is not true?! Can you confirm?
    Clare CONNOR

  • Catherine Brown says:

    My family is Connors. My 6th great grandfather is James Connors born 1700. I’m trying to find James Connors father but the name is spelled Conner. Can I be confident that James Conner born 1676 is the same. These are all connect to Morgan Connors born 1771 who I know is my 3rd great grandfather.

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