A Letter from Ireland:

The Irish Surname McCoy



McCoy comes from the Irish Mac Aodha. This literally translates as “Son of Aodh (or son of Hugh)”. This name is found mainly in the north of Ulster where they were a galloglass family.

The Galloglass were a mercenary soldier who were enlisted by Gaelic Kings and Chieftains in the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries. The term Galloglass comes from the Irish galloglach which translates as “foreign warrior”. They came from the western isles of Scotland where they were of mixed Gaelic and Scandinavian descent. Sometimes, entire clans of Galloglass moved fully to Ireland – other times it was family units and individuals.

If you would like to add what you know about the McCoy surname, tell the story of your McCoy 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.

  • Hugh McCoy says:

    Hello i was wondering about surname change in my family tree. My great grandfather was McCooey but all his children are McCoy.

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