A Letter from Ireland:

The Irish Surname Walsh


Irish Surname WalshKelli O’Neill go on to us – wondering about the Irish surname Walsh (you can see her question and story at the end of this post).

The Meaning of the Surname Walsh.

Walsh (or Walshe/Welch/Welsh) comes from the Irish “Breathnach” (pronounced “Brah-nock”). It has also been anglicized as Brannagh and Brannock.

This literally translates as “Briton”. However, the “Briton” it refers to are the ones that were in Britain at the time of the Romans – and were pushed westwards into Wales and Cornwall by the Anglo-saxons in later centuries. So it essentially has come to mean “Welshman”. As it was a name given independently to many unrelated families (of original Welsh extraction) in many parts of  Ireland – it is found in many unrelated parts of Ireland and is the fourth most common Irish surname today.

Kelli O’Neill’s Story.

Dear Mike and Carina,
I am writing to you about my Irish Surname, it is Walsh. I am not at all sure about which county my family came from and the only interesting story I have to tell really is that, one of my ancestors did a family history and traced my father’s family back to Nova Scotia where they found out that someone in my father’s family was a Prince (?). This is not information I have gotten for myself, it is hearsay as far as I am concerned. However, I’d like to know if you know of any Walshes that came to the shores off of Canada near Brunswick and Nova Scotia and became Royalty somehow.
Here is a little back ground: My father’s name was Philip Louis Walsh, Grandson of George Walsh. I am the youngest of 6 and my siblings are much older than me, I don’t have anything to really go on. Just wondering if there are any stories, yarns, tales of such a thing happening along the Walsh family lines. Thanks so much, you do wonderful work!
If you would like to add what you know about the Walsh surname, tell the story of your Walsh 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.


  • SUSAN ATKIN says:

    Could you please give me any information on the name McCorry. Family by that name still residing in Northern Ireland near Belfast. Any info appreciated. Sue Atkin nee McCorry

    • Mike says:

      Hi Susan – McCorry is from the Irish Mac Gothraidh and is a branch of the Maguire family originally in Fermanagh. Can also be anglicized as Corr (remember the Corr family band?) and Godfrey. Mike.

  • Paula Hamby says:

    My great grandfather John Welch emigrated from County Kilkenney to Milan, TN, USA. about 1868. He married Nannie (Nancy Cooper) and Walter Welch their son was my grandfather. Walter left home after his father’s death in l898. John Welch left Ireland after (we are told) his wife died during the Potato Famine. He came into America through Dover, Delaware bringing his six year old son also named John. I would love to find out anything about him and his Irish family.

  • Vicki Walsh says:

    My husbands grandfather Maurice Walsh came from Cork and he had a brother named Edward Trying to find that line on Walsh’s

    • Andrew Linnemann says:

      MY, GREAT GRANDFATHER: Maurice Walsh BORN March 3, 1864 in County Cork Ireland. He was the father of Anna Walsh Linnemann (Mother of Donald Henry Linnemann and my Father) was 20 when he immigrated from Queenstown on April 27, 1884. He arrived in New York on May 5, 1884. Maurice was from County Cork, Ireland. my, GREAT, GRANDMOTHER: Mary Mooney was born December 3,1869 (daughter of Edward Mooney and Mary Burke) was from Galway, Ireland. Both Maurice and Mary became naturalized US citizens in 1904. Their Children were Ann, Nellie, Delia, Ed, Kate, Mary, and Bill.

  • Vicki Walsh says:

    My husbands grandfather was from Cork Maurice Walsh born about 1865 Had a brother named Edward Trying to find family

  • Gail Welch says:

    Dear Mike and Carina,
    Thank you for adding me to your mailing list. My 9th Great Grandfather Phillip Welch was born in Kinsale, Cork, Ireland. He was abducted at the age of 16 along with another boy and brought to Massachuesetts, USA aboard a ship I believe called Goodspeed? He was forced into servitude for many years. Apparently thid type of thing happened quite often. Can you give be some background on this. Also I am told his parents names were Philip Walsh and Mary Venga Walsh. Any idea how I might find information on them. Thank you.

  • Thomas S E Welsh says:

    My name is Thomas S E Welsh and my Co-Author is Dr Anthony P H Walsh MD. BL. After 60 years research on the premier Walsh family of Munster & Leinster, we have recently published our book in a limited edition of 100 superlative copies entitled ‘A HISTORY OF WALSH ILLUSTRATED’ with numerous, associated genealogical charts and much else of interest. If anyone is interested in acquiring a copy of the limited number remaining please contact:- for acquistion details.

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