Javier Tomás contacted us all the way from Argentina wondering about the Ryan surname (you can see his request at the end of this post).
Ryan is the number one surname – by a margin – in County Tipperary. The primary holders of the name come from the Tipperary/Limerick sept known in Irish as Ó Maoilriain (meaning follower of Rian – we just don’t know who/what Rian was). This was once translated into English as Mulryan – but has been shortened.
A second group of Ryans come from the Irish “Ó Riaghain” – but this name comes from County Carlow where they were chiefs of the Uí Drona sept.
So – one Ryan was known as Mulryan originally – and another as O’Ryan – but both were shortened to Ryan over the centuries.
There are 3 castles in Ireland associated with the Ryan sept – Cully Castle, Cragg Castle and Gortkelly Castle.
If you would like to add what you know about the Ryan surname, tell the story of your Ryan 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.
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