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The Top 100 Irish Surnames

top100irishsurnamesDo you know the Top 100 Irish Surnames? How about the Top 10?

Where do you go to find out? You could check in the census returns – but what we do here at Your Irish Heritage is a little different. Whenever someone signs up for our newsletter, we ask them to provide us with the Irish surnames in their family tree as well as the counties they come from. Some give us one name – some give us up to 30 names!

So far, we have collated over 6000 Irish surnames in this way from subscribers in 22 different countries.

Here they are – I have put the spelling variants in the left column and the number of times the occured in the right column. As you can see, this is only 100 names – I only included names that occurred at least 10 times.

And guess what? Each of these names features in our book – The Tribes of Ireland:1156:

Are your Irish Surnames on our list?

Surname

Occurances

Murphy/Murphree

74

Kelly/Kelley

74

O’Sullivan

66

McCarthy/McCarty

51

Walsh/Welsh/Welch

50

Ryan

48

O’Brien

42

O’Neill/O’Neil/O’Neal

39

O’Connor/O’Conner

38

Lynch

35

Murray

33

Smith/Smyth

33

Doherty/Dougherty/Daugherty/Docherty

32

Kennedy

31

O’Shea/Shea

31

Gallagher

29

Maguire/McGuire

28

Carroll/Carrolls

27

McLaughlin

25

Quinn

25

Hogan

24

O’Donnell

24

Collins

23

Moore

23

Fitzgerald

22

Nolan

22

Barry/Barrie

22

Daly/Daley

22

Burke

21

Moran

21

Doyle

21

Casey

20

Egan

20

Flynn

20

Connolly

19

Donovan

19

Reilly

19

Brennan

18

Duffy

18

Flanagan

18

Griffin

18

Higgins

18

Martin

18

McDonald

18

O’Malley

18

Riley

18

Clark/Clarke

18

Boyle/O’Boyle

18

Brady

17

Hayes

17

Molloy/Malloy/Mulloy

17

Butler

16

Byrne

16

Hughes

16

McMahon

16

Cahill

15

Coffey

15

Conway

15

Dempsey

15

Brown

14

Farrell

14

Fitzpatrick

14

Foley

14

Maher

14

Thompson

14

Cassidy

13

Cronin

13

Hickey

13

O’Rourke

13

Callahan/Callaghan

13

Cunningham

12

Dwyer

12

Healy

12

Jordan

12

McCabe

12

McDermott

12

Moriarty

12

Shea

12

Coleman

11

Corcoran

11

Dolan

11

Driscoll

11

Joyce

11

Kane

11

Mahoney

11

McDonnell

11

McGrath

11

Mooney

11

Roche

11

Barrett

10

Burns

10

Cotter

10

Devlin

10

Dillon

10

Keane

10

McManus

10

O’Hara

10

O’Keeffe

10

Regan

10

Madden

10

  • Jeanne says:

    where are the top 10?

  • chris Hughes says:

    Were is O’Toole

  • Jason Lance says:

    I noticed that the Farrell surname was on the list. My ancestors actually spelled their last name Ferrell and they have been in the United States since at least early colonial times. My oldest direct ancestor by this name that I’m sure of is William Ferrell who may have been born in Virginia around 1740 or I have also seen County Longford, Ireland. He was killed by Native Americans in an attack on June 15, 1778. I have seen his parents listed as John Ferrell and Ann Fish but I am not sure whether or not this is correct. I spoke to a gentleman a number of years ago and he had told me that his understaning was that the two spellings for this name had come out of a desire to be able to distinguish Protestant and Catholic branches of the family but I don’t know if that is an accurate account or not either. I just wanted to put this information out here since I only saw the one variant of the name listed above. I’d love to make it to Ireland one day to do a little research on this group.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Jason – Ferrall/Farrell/Ferrell are all English variants of the Irish “Ó Fearghail” – sometimes the spelling can change due to religion but not all the time. Hope this helps – Mike.

  • Cynthia Marler says:

    I have to surnames for my side and that is Isaac Barton m.Sarah Vassey in 1705 in county Limerick. And then there’s Barton.

  • Sharon says:

    Where is Parnell in this list???

  • ronald lee joy says:

    would joy be shorten name for joyce .

  • Michael Haley says:

    I don’t see any mention of the Mulrennans of County Roscommon, in my research I found that the Mulrennans were the chieftans of Clan Connor. The Mulrennans were the direct decendents of the 17th King of Connaught King Muireadach Maoilleathan. He ruled from 696 to 702 AD. My great grand mother on my mothers side was Elle Elizabeth Mulrennan, she was the daughter of Dominic Mulrennan and Mary McCarthy both of County Roscommon. It seems we have a double royal line. We also have the Names of Higgins born in Newport in county Mayo and Haley. Great grand father Haley was born in Galway in Mayo. Any additional information you on these family names would be very helpful.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Michael – you are absolutely right. This article was an early one. The book contains all the extra names. All the best, Mike.

  • Patrick Lordan says:

    My family, Lordan, comes from West Cork. There’s also Scanlons (Cork?), Gibbons, Kellys and Paddens (Mayo) in the family.

  • Wanda Patterson Camp says:

    I just found your site and love it. I have always had a desire to go to Ireland. My maiden name was Patterson and I have been told I am Irish and Scottish. How do I find out any information about this. I don’t see anything on Patterson or Barron. I am just starting out on this.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Wanda – Patterson in Ireland originally comes from England and is mostly found in the Counties of Ulster.

      Barron can be Scottish OR Irish Gaelic (either from Tyrone or Waterford/Kilkenny).

      Hope this helps, Mike.

  • Ann Keenan says:

    How does one go about researching an Irish surname?

  • Deb Baitinger says:

    My grandma was Bridget Corcoran. Her father was Richard and mother Margaret Doolin. We found her baptismal records in Rosebercon.

  • Mary Durkin says:

    I’d like to add Durkin/Durkan/Durcan and Costello. My relatives came from Mayo

  • Elizabeth Marvel Senski says:

    Hi Mike, this is my first correspondence with you. I am enjoying your weekly newsletters very much.

    My Mother’s maiden name was Deery. Her grandparents were Francis and Elizabeth Donnelly Deery. Do you know where in Ireland the Deery name originated?

  • mary jane says:

    I’m glad to see Murphy is one of the first, it’s was confusing to see blacks with the last name Murphy until my grandparents explain how they took our names that we had as slaves took the owners name, Mary Jane is confusing enough

    • Joseph Eachtighern says:

      Mary a lot of the African Americans with Irish last names come from nuns who ran orphanages giving the children their last names as well ……..not so much from Irish slave owners.

  • Frances Finn says:

    I believe the Finn surname was from early Irish princes & princesses and quite prevalent in Carlow can you tell me more about this name as I am having trouble finding out about Patrick Finn who married Margaret Lyons early 1800’s and had sons Joseph about 1850 & Michael 1843 in Tinryland, Carlow & any other family. Any info would be greatly appreciated as I have hit a double brick wall with my ancestry. I can’t even find when they came to Australia………thank you in advance….Frances Finn

  • Kathleen Haverty Farrell says:

    I very much enjoy reading about all the topics that you cover. My maiden name is Haverty and I have been trying to find out more information on the artist- Joseph Patrick Haverty. Most of the info on him is general and I would like to find out more about his family. I am hoping that he is related to me as their are many artist in past generations. i have been in contact with others with the Haverty name and so far none have found him in their ancestry. I am planning a trip to Ireland in 2015 and hope to do some research. My great-grandfather was a Haverty and his wife was a Cusick so you can ad them to your surname list. Thank you

  • Claire says:

    Here are some names for you: Sweeney, Coleman, Fee, Whalen, Walsh, Downing, Murphy, O’Brien, Flanagan, Conlon, Dunn, Welch & Cunningham.

  • Betty Minogue Dressman says:

    Hello Mike,

    First time to your site. I have been trying to track Irish relatives on my Father’s side through Ancestry.com and immigration records but, without much luck.

    My grandmother’s name was Delia Flannery born in 1879 in County Clare, I believe, Her parents were Dan Flannery & Ellen Brogan. She immigrated in 1898. She died in 1941, before I was born.

    I have not had much luck with my grandfather; his name was James J. Minogue. He immigrated from Nenagh but, I don’t know if that was actually his birth home. I think he arrived in New York in 1903 on the Majestic from Queenstown on May 21, 1903. I am not even positive if these records are for the right James and I don’t know his parents. He died in 1958 at age 80. My Dad was the last of the family and he died in 1991. Sad to say, none of the family was ever very close so I don’t know much!

    I also have heard that some relatives are in Australia, even one lady has a park named for her! Not sure if she was Minogue or Flannery.

    Any information would be gratefully appreciated, Good Luck.
    Sincerely, Betty

  • Sharon McDonough Aspinall says:

    My grandfather was a McDonough from Galway and my grandmother was a Walsh from Belfast.

  • My grandmother,Johannah O’Connor Ruddock was born in County Kerry,Dingle. And I saw the name O’Connor and was told by my Great Aunt ,we were of Royal Blueblood. From things told to her as a child in Ireland ,there was a Duke & Dutchess way back.Of corse as a child I was thrilled. Do you think this could be true? Thank you for your time,Sir. God bless…

  • Judy Monahan says:

    My maiden name isn’t here…….McEnaney, nor is my married name Monahan (Monaghan) Husbands grandfather dropped the “g”.

  • Joyce Rivera says:

    My maiden name is Howe. Is it 0’Howe or just Howe. My grandfather was born in Ireland. ( as was my grandmother).

  • Elizabeth Ann Toy Jahnke says:

    need to know if the name Toy was in any way Irish?

  • Linda Attwater - Sheen says:

    My Maiden Name is Sheen & apparently we are from the line of King Brian Boruma/Boru… And from the Dal g’Cais Sept.. From around Limerick & Cork or Munster Sligo etc.. Our Coat of Arms is a White Dove with an Olive Branch in its beak.. Azure Blue with Verdan green & held a Seat at Bunratty Castle in County Clare..

  • Dustie says:

    Brown is my family’s surname from my dad’s side, but my mom’s side is Herring and Ricks. I’ve always been told that these were Irish as well, but have never seen them in any search. Are they Irish in origin?

  • Dennis Broderick says:

    Gee, always thought we were Irish considering all the pubs with our surname my parents saw when they went there. Maybe not.

  • Ray Burns says:

    i have two, Kelley and Greene .

  • Thomas Moore says:

    How many Thomas Moore’s are highlighted on your above list of Moore surnames???

  • Mike Mulligan says:

    No Mulligan?

  • Rhonda Young says:

    Armstrong (Scots/Irish)
    Fremen
    Moore
    Honea (taken from Mahoney)

  • Danny says:

    Did you find any Donnelly last names

  • Melody Chipley says:

    I have been told that my Brady line came from northern Ireland, but I am not sure of that. The oldest Brady I can find, Joseph J. Brady was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee in 1821 and from there they went to Farmington, MO. Since you say the Bradys originated in County Clare, how do I connect the two?

  • Josh baird says:

    My last name is baird which is scottish but I’m irish catholic grandparents from kerry and roscommon. I guess someone way down the line must have been scottish

  • Michele Swagemaker says:

    Hi Mike…Thanks for the list….I don’t expect my Grandmothers name to be on the Top list…but shes a McCarry from Clonbara,near Falcarragh (don’t mind the spelling) Donegal…….beside the owner of a local bar..I never seem to come across this name…or maybe its more common than I think due to my limited access,,,just commenting..your plate looks full enough!!!

  • Sandra loftus says:

    I would like to add my surnames to the list.my ggf James loftus is believed to have come from the roscommon area. His parents were Martin Loftus and his mother was Ellen Dempsey. I have just signed up for the newsletter and it has already been helpful, thankyou
    Regards Sandra Loftus

  • Katy Daugherty Widger says:

    We’re the Daugherty’s from New Mexico, USA. Originally from Donegal, Inishowen, our family emigrated in 1744. O’doherty and O’Dochartaigh families dating to Shan Carrick O’Dochartaigh of Carrickburghy Castle, and further to Corneliul o”Dochartaigh 1440-1520 of Tyrconnell. Amazing history of a wonderful people.

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