This is a reblog of a post I wrote on the 9th March 2011. To see the original post and comments, click here
8 more days to get your Irish on!
Did you ever wonder which Irish names are the most popular?
Here's your Top Eight . . .
8. O'Connor - patrons of warriors
They might not be warriors themselves, but at least O'Connors descend from them! They trace their heritage and name from the Irish "Ua Conchobhair," meaning from Conchobhar, and is considered to be historically the most important of all Irish surnames. It represents the last of the true Irish monarchy.
7. Ryan - the little kings
The meaning of the Irish name Ryan comes from the old Gaelic word "righ" and the old Irish diminutive of "an," which together form the meaning of "little king." The Ryan family motto is 'Malo More Quam Foedari', which, when translated, means 'I would Rather Die than be Disgraced'.
6. Byrne - the ravens
Byrne, originally O'Byrne, is an Irish surname of great antiquity and comes from the Gaelic O'Broin meaning "descended from Bran," an 11th century King of Leinster. The O'Byrnes were chieftains of what is now County Kildare until the Norman invasion when they were driven from their lands and migrated into the mountains of Wicklow.
5. O'Brien - the noblemen
O'Briens are pretty lucky - they are descended from one of the greatest and most famous Irish kings - Brian Boru, the celebrated High King of Ireland.(941 - 1014) who was killed at the Battle of Clontarf. The name O'Brien, also spelled O'Bryan or O'Brian, gives them leave to call themselves "high" and "noble."
4. Walsh - the Welshmen
The meaning of this "Welsh" name is pretty straightforward. The name Walsh is one of the most common of the Norman associated names found in Ireland. This famous national locational and descriptive nickname surname derives from the pre 7th Century Olde English and Anglo-Saxon word "waelisc", meaning "foreigner". it is one of the ironies of history that the invaders from North Germany and even the later Vikings, should apparently refer to the people that they conquered or at least drove from their original homes, as 'The Foreigner" and even more so that the name should have stuck.
3. O'Sullivan - the hawkeyed ones
The O'Sullivans or Sullivans are one of the most populous of the Munster families. The surname is an anglicized form of the Gaelic "O'Suileabhan". The Gaelic prefix "O" indicates "male descendant of", plus the personal byname Suileabhan, variously interpreted as "hawk-eyed" or "one-eyed".
2. Kelly - the bright-headed ones
The Kellys are all over Ireland; the name originates from at around 10 different and unrelated ancient clans or septs. This interesting surname, with variant spellings Kelley and Kellie is an Anglicized form of the great Old Gaelic name "O'Ceallaigh". It is an ancient first name that is no longer used as a first name in Ireland. However, Kelly is a popular first name for women in the U.S.
1. Murphy - the sea battlers
Murphys - you win the prize for most common and widespread name in Ireland, especially in County Cork. The name was first anglicized to MacMurphy and then to Murphy in the early 19th century. It is said to derive from the pre 9th century Gaelic name O' Murchadha, meaning the male descendant of the Sea Warrior. As Ireland, the Isle of Man and parts of northern England were for several centuries under Viking control, the association between a name meaning 'sea warrior', and the Vikings is surely more than coincidence. John Murphy (1700 - 1770), better known as Sean O' Murchadha na Raithineach, was the last chief of the famous bards of Blarney Castle.
So regardless of your last name, you have 8 more days to get your Irish on !!
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14 Days to St Paddy's - The Shamrock Shake