Over the centuries Irish names have managed to spread across the globe. However, did you know that these family names actually have roots stretching back to the clans and kings of Ancient Ireland. By the early 18th century however it was not uncommon for Irish people to anglicise as under British rule those with such names struggled to find work.In this piece we will give you some information about the five most common Irish surnames: Murphy, Kelly, Byrne, Ryan and O’Brien.
Irish Pronunciation: Ó Murchú Oh Mur-ku
Family Motto: Brave and hospitable
The name Murphy has been traced back to a Celtic warrior named Murchadh (a name meaning “sea-warrior”). The province of Leinster was a Murphy stronghold with Co. Wexford being a leading seat of Murphy Clan power! These days however, there are Murphys spread throughout the globe and the name is the 14th most common in the UK and the 58th in the US.
Irish Pronunciation: Ó Ceallaigh Oh Kall-ig
Family Motto: God is a strong tower to me.
Irish Pronunciation: Ó Broin Oh Broh-n
Family Motto: “I have fought and conquered.”
Byrnes can be traced back to Bran mac Máelmórd who was the King of Leinster from deposed in 1018. Wicklow, Dublin, Kildare. The name also comes from the Irish for “raven.” The “Book of the O’ Byrnes” (“Leabhar Branach”) is a collection of Gaelic poetry detailing the exploits and personalities of the O’Byrnes in the sixteenth century.