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Posted on 11/06/2013

The twenty most numerous Irish surnames are: 1-Murphy. 2-Kelly. 3-Sullivan. 4-Walsh. 5-Smith. 6- O’Brien. 7-Byrne. 8-Ryan. 9-Connor. 10- O’Neill. 11-Reilly. 12-Doyle. 13-McCarthy. 14-Gallagher. 15-Doherty. 16-Kennedy. 17-Lynch. 18-Murray. 19-Quinn. 20-Moore.

One in every 75 Irish inhabitants has the surname Murphy. The original Irish language (Gaelige) spelling of the name is O’Murchadha. It is the most common name in County Wexford, and the second most common name in County Cork.

Kelly is the second most common name in Ireland ( O’Ceallaigh in the Irish tongue) The most powerful sept with this name was located in County Galway.

Sullivan ( O’Suileabhain) comes in at number three. 80% of all Irish people with the name Sullivan, or O’Sullivan live in the Cork and Kerry region of the province of Munster.

Walsh, at number four was a name commonly given to Welsh settlers to Ireland. It is a translation of the Gaelic word Breathnach, meaning Welshman.

Number five is Smith, and is high on the list due to English and Scottish settlers. It is also a translation of the Irish language name Mac Gabhann ( McGowan) which means “son of the (black) smith”

At www.shieldandcrest.com we are well versed in the background and history of Irish surnames. We are fluent in the Irish language and carry many years of experience in painting Irish coats of arms. Call us anytime (9-9 EST) if you have a question, or need some information. We even pay for the call (866) 289-2798.


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