A Letter from Ireland:

The Irish Surname Murphy


Murphy's IcecreamMurphy comes from the Irish Ó Murchadha. Murchadh literally translates as “Sea Warrior”. It is the most common name in Ireland and originally from one of 3 major septs located in counties Cork, Roscommon and Wexford. However, the name is widely spread across Ireland today. In counties Wexford and Cork they make up over 4% of the population today.

The original Ulster Murphys were MacMurphy – whereas the septs from other locations were O’Murphys. However, neither the O or the Mac were reinstated in the 19th century – unlike many Gaelic names – and so they are all called “Murphy” nowadays.

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

  • Patty says:

    What are septs?

  • Lynn M Rush says:

    HowDo i FindOut About The Surname Rush

    • Mike says:

      Lynn – O’Rush is typically from county Monaghan from the Irish O Ruis.

      However, there is a different sept from county Mayo from the Irish Ó Luachra that is sometimes anglicized as Loughrey and sometimes as Rush. Which part did your folks come from? Mike.

  • Mary Lou Kator says:

    I cannot find any information about John Coffeen b.1677-1733. His son, Michael Coffeen b.abt 2702 in Dublin, Dublin, Ireland m. Lydia Lake 20 Feb 1726 in Salem, Essex, MA, USA. Michael was my the Father of my Revolutionary War ancestor Capt. John Coffeen 1727-1802 This has been proven by genealogist at Daughters of American Revolution, USA. I would greatly appreciate an information you may have on the name Coffeen, especially background on John and Michael from Ireland. Thank you!

    • Jared Coffeen says:

      I haven’t been able to find any information going back any further than Michael Coffeen in Topsfield, MA. I assume his dad’s name was John as well, like you mentioned, but don’t have any sources to back it up. I’ve searched directories and genealogy databases in Europe and have come up empty-handed so far. I wonder if many European countries just don’t have most of their records digitized yet? Let me know if you find anything out.

  • Jo says:

    Hi, how do I find out more about the name Murphy – (the Cork Murphy’s) and they’re origins.
    Also would be interested in Fitzgerald (Carrick on Suir and possibly Templeorum, Kilkenny), Carey (Cork again) and Reade (Ballyhale/Thomastown) – spelt a great many ways!! Thank you

    • Colette says:

      I am also interested in this. I can not find how to tell which murphy I am however my great great greats where born in wexford county but the rest is unclear.

  • Joanne Hageman says:

    I am interested in the surname Tivanon. Has also been spelled Tevnan. We think they came from county Roscommon but can find no records of Thomas who married Julia Joyce around 1825? They has a son Patrick Joseph who emigrated to New Zealand in 1864.

  • Lisa Kennedy says:

    My mother was a Murphy and we can date my GGGFather to Broagh Knockloughrim. My mother says we are not from the Cork Murphy’s however as Broagh or this area is not mentioned in this article some Murphy’s must have headed North. Can you tell me which Murphys they were or did they all do that at some point? My ancestors were in Broagh in the mid 1800s at least. Any help appreciated. I feel honoured to be a descendant of the most common Irish name.

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