Tribes of Ireland - Ireland at the birth of your surname (2022)

In last week’s newsletter we introduced Turlough O’Connor – High King of Ireland up to 1156. If Turlough was in the habit of reading maps back at that time, he might look at his kingdoms through the lens of this map – showing the major Tribes of Ireland at his time.

Now, let’s take a brief tour around these kingdoms and just some of the surnames associated with them.

Please do leave your comments and questions at the end of this post!

A Tour Around the Over-Kingdoms – The Tribes of Ireland.

Tribes of Ireland - Ireland at the birth of your surname (1)

Connaught.

Turlough and his kin were from the Síol Muireadaigh tribe – one of the Tribes of Ireland at the time. Connacht became one of the dominant kingdoms on the island under Turlough. He was the first man west of theRiver Shannonto have the titleof High King of Ireland. Turlough and his kin had taken on the surname O’Connor from this Gr,Gr,Gr Grandfather – Conchobar mac Taidg Mór who had died in 882.

During his time – he annexed the kingdom of Mide and asserted control over Dublin – even then becoming the political capital of the Island. The O’Rourkes (cousins of the O’Connors) were kept under control in Breifne. To the south, in Tuamumu – the O’Briens were effectively allies of the O’Connors – as Muirchertach Ua Briain (O’Brien) had fostered Turlough as a young boy to groom him for his future position.

The other leading families of Connaught at this time were:

Mac Hugh, (Mac) Egan, MacBrennan, MacHale, (Mac) Cunneen, (Mac) Conneely, Gaffney, (Mac) Conroy, MacDermot, MacDonagh, Keogh, MacManus, (Mac) Garry, (O) Boland, Coyne, (O) Cannon, (O) Cahill, (O) Keane, (O) Kelly, (O) Canavan, (O) Carney, (O) Kenny, (O) Clery, Coleman, (O) Coffey, Quigley, Conlon, (O) Conway, (O) Connelly, Conlon, (O) Cosgrave, Coogan, (O) Coolihan, (O) Curran, (O) Devlin, (O) Donnell, (O) Donlan, (O) Donohoe, (O) Duggan, (O) Dowd, Dolan, (O) Downey, (O) Fallon, Fahy, (O) Feeney, (O) Finn, Finnegan, (O), Flannery, O’Gara, (O) Glavin, (O) Hanley, O’Hara, (O)Henaghhan, (O) Hynes, (O) Horan, (O) Lavin, (O) Lynch, (O) Malley, Mannion, Molloy, Mullan, O’Mullally, Moran, Murray, Morris, (O) Ratigan, (O) Shaughnessy, (O) Tarpy, (O) Tierney, (O) Kilkelly, (O) Carney, (O) Gaughan, (O) Murphy and Mac Clancy.

Note: Some of these surnames may have evolved shortly after 1150AD.

(Video) AF-261: Do You Have Irish Genealogy? Use This Handy Surname Guide to Trace Your Heritage

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Tuadmumu.

Tuadh Mumhan (nowadays known as Thomond and covering the counties of Clare, Limerick, North Tipperary) become a separate Kingdom within the province of Mumhan (Munster) as the powerful tribe of the Dál gCais rose to power. The most famous member of this tribe being Brian Boru and the first High King of Ireland in reality.

The O’Briens were the ruling family of Tuamumu and other leading families include:

(Mac) Clancy, (Mac) Conway, (Mac) Corcoran, (O) Bannon, (O) Boland, (O) Cahill, (O) Carroll, (O) Connor, (O) Dea, (O) Donovan, (O) Dooley, (O) Drennan, (O) Dwyer, (O) Fennessy, (O) Flaherty, (O) Flanagan, (O) Fogarty, (O) Galvin, (O) Grady, (O) Halloran, (O) Hannon, (O) Heffernan, (O) Hehir, (O) Hickey, (O) Hogan, (O) Honan, (O) Hurley, (O) Kearney, (O) Kelleher, (O) Kennedy, (O) Kiely, (O) Loughlin, (O) Meagher, (O) Melody, (O) Mulcahy, (O) Naghten, (O) Quirke, (O) Reddan, (O) Regan, (O) Reidy, (O) Shannon, (O) Sheehan, Ahern, Buckley, Collins, Curry, Flannery, Gilroy, Gleeson, Houlihan, Mac Considine, Mac Enery, Mac Namara, MacDonnell, MacGrath, MacInerney, MacMahon, Maher, Malone, Maloney, O’Meara, Ryan and Sexton.

Note: Some of these surnames may have evolved shortly after 1150AD.

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Desmumu.

The Kingdom of Desmumu (South Munster) came about in 1118 with the further rise to power of the Dal gCais tribe of north Munster. Munster was divided into Tuadmumu – ruled by the O’Briens, and Desmumu – ruled by the MacCarthy Mors (one of a number of MacCarthy tribes).

The kingdom covered the modern counties of Cork, Kerry, Waterford, South Tipperary and South Limerick.

Other leading families of Desmumu were:

Mac Auliffe, MacGillycuddy, (Mac) Cotter, (O) Canty, O) Brosnan, (O) Keefe, (O) Cahill, (O) Callaghan, Carey, (O) Coffey, (O) Coughlan, Connolly, (O) Connell, (O) Cronin, (O) Crowley, Cuddihy, (O) Cullinane, (O) Quill, (O) Collins, (O) Dorgan, (O) Dwane, (O) Donegan, (O) Donoghue, (O) Duggan, (O) Doheny, (O) Dennehy, (O) Dinneen, (O) Downey, (O) Falvey, (O) Phelan, (O) Field, (O) Flynn, Foley, Foran, Forde, (O) Garvey, Griffin, (O) Hea, (O) Hennessy, Healey, (O) Driscoll, (O) Hurley, Harrington, (O) Noonan, Green, (O) Leahy, (O) Leary, Lehane, Mannix, Mullins, (O) Mahony, (O) Meehan, (O) Moriarty, (O) Riordan, (O) Scanlan, (O) Shea, (O) Sullivan, (O) Tracy, (O) Twomey, (O) Duggan, (O) Kennedy, (O) Cagney, (O) Leary, (O) Dullea, (O) Coffey, (O) Cowhig, (O) Cullinane and (O) Driscoll.

Note: Some of these surnames may have evolved shortly after 1150AD.

(Video) What Irish Clan Do I Belong To?

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Laigin.

The Kingdom of Laigin (or Leinster – but it was significantly smaller than the current province of Leinster) – was ruled over by the Sil Fáelchán tribe of the Uí Cheinnselaig. Diarmait Mac Murchada (MacMurrough) was the King of Leinster at the time of Turlough. When we look back at Ireland at this time (around 1150ad), we often think of it as the “twilight years” for the Gaelic Dynasties. A few years after this, Diarmait was deposed as King and played a pivotal part in triggering the invasion of the Anglo Normans in 1169.

Other leading families of Laigin were:

Fitzpatrick, O’Larkin, Kavanagh, O’ Brennan, O’Cullen, O’Doran, O’Nolan, O’Ryan, FitzDermot, O’Toole, O’Byrne, O’Carey, MacKeogh, Phelan, (Mac)Breen, O’Kelly, O’Coveney, O’Carroll, O’More, O’Devoy, O’Duff, O’Dempsey, O’Tracy, O’Gorman, O’Dowling, O’Cosgrave, (O)Rafter and Murphy.

Note: Some of these surnames may have evolved shortly after 1150AD.

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Mide.

Mide (the modern counties of Meath and Westmeath ) was one of the ancient provinces of Ireland and held the ancient capital –Tara. However, before Turloughs time the effective capital had become Dublin. The main tribe and family of this area at the time of Turlough was the Mac Laughlin of the Clann Cholmáin. Other leading families included:

Quinlan, Devine, O’Hea, O’Hennessy, O’Connolly, O’Breen, O’Higgins, Mac Geoghegan, O’Brennan, O’Hart, O’Curry, O’Daly, MacAuley, O’Dooley, O’Scully, Mulholland, MacGee, O’Donoghue, Gaffney, MacConway, O’Ronan, O’Farrell, Mac Coughlan, O’Houlihan, O’Molloy, O’Carney, Fox, O’Keary, , O’Regan, O’Casey and O’Carroll.

Note: Some of these surnames may have evolved shortly after 1150AD.

Like to add your Irish surname to our list? Justsignup foryour free weekly Letter from Irelandbyclicking here.and we’ll let you know how to join in the fun.

Breifne.

The Uí Briúin Bréifne were the main tribe within Breifne (appropriated meaning “Hilly” as it covered the modern counties of Leitrim, Cavan and parts of Sligo).

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The Kings of Breifne were the O’Rourkes – other leading families included:

Brady, McCabe, Gaffney, MacDonnell, (Mac) Clancy, MacGowan, (Mac) Elroy, MacEnroe, MacManus, (Mac) Murray, (Mac) Shanly, MacSharry, (Mac) Tiernan, MacGovern, Maguire, O’Banan, (O) Boylan, Cassidy, (O) Kenny, (O) Carroll, (O) Carolan, (O) Connolly, (O) Corcoran, (O) Corrigan, (O) Farrelly , (O) Finnegan, (O) Heany, (O) Muldoonand the second leading family – the O Reillys.

Note: Some of these surnames may have evolved shortly after 1150AD.

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Airgialla.

Airgialla (later also known as Oriel in English and covering Counties Armagh, Louth and Monaghan) was an unusual case – it was really a federation of smaller kingdoms rather than a kin group. The Kingship rotated among the various tribes and at the time of Turlough was held by Donnchadh Ua Cearbaill (O’Carroll).

Other leading families of the Airgialla included:

Mac Cann, MacArdle, MacCasey, MacNally, MacConville, (Mac) Crilly, (Mac) Cullen, (Mac) Loy, (Mac) Gillespie, Mac Mahon, (Mac) Quaid/Wade, (Mac) Scanlan, (O) Callan, (O) Keenan, (O) Cosgrave, (O) Crehan, (O) Lynn, (O) Finn, (O) Flanagan, (O) Garvey, (O) Hanlon, (O) Hare, (O) Sherry, Fagan, (O) Rogan, (O) Creehan, (O) hAedha, (O) Keelaghan and Traynor.

Note: Some of these surnames may have evolved shortly after 1150AD.

Like to add your Irish surname to our list? Justsignup foryour free weekly Letter from Irelandbyclicking here.

Northern Ui Neill.

The Northern Ui Neill (not to be confused with the surname O’Neill) was a kin group who were descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages – legend was that his sons Eoghan, Conall and Enda moved into modern county Donegal in the 5th century. From these individuals came the tribes ofCenél Eóghainand Cenél Conaillwho established themselves as lords in northwestern Ulster.

Over time, the Cenél Eóghain gained prominence and they expanded into what are modern counties Derry and Tyrone. By the time of Turlough, the leading family of the Cenél Eóghain, were the Mac Lochlainn (McLoughlin) – but they dominated the Northern Ui Neill alongside the the O’Donnells and O’Doherty’s of the Cenél Conaill.

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Other leading family names were:

McCluskey, Kearney, MacNamee, MacGee, Mac Guigan, (O) Breslin, (O) Bradley, (O) Carolan, (O) Cannon, (O) Kane, (O) Colgan, (O) Crean, (O) Quinn, (O) Donnelly, (O) Farren, (O) Ferry, (O) Flanagan, (O) Gormley, (O) Gallagher, (O) Hamill, (O) Hegarty, (O)Hoban, Hunt, (O) Lunney, (O) Mellan, (O) Murphy, (O) Neill, (O) Peyton, (O) Scully, (O) Muldorey, (O) Boyle, (Mac) Ward, (Mac) Kelvy, MacGonigle, MacCusker, (Mac) Daid, (Mac) Caffrey, (Mac) Garvey, MacBride, (Mac) Cole, Coyle, MacIlhoyle, Gilmartin, Mac Loughlin, MacGrath, MacRory, MacSweeny, (O) Boyle, Begley, (O) Corr, Coonee, (O) Doohan, (O) Duffy, (O) Friel, (O) Laverty, (O) Hagan, (O) Harkin, (O) Mulligan, (O) and Muldory.

Note: Some of these surnames may have evolved shortly after 1150AD.

Ulaid.

Ulaid (from which modern Ulster gets its name – and occupying modern counties Antrim and Down). Their main ruling tribe were theDál Fiatach, based inDownpatrick (which gives County Down its name). The King of Ulaid at the time of Turlough was Cú Ulad mac Conchobair Chisenaig Mac Duinn Sléibe (Mac Dunleavy). Other leading families included:

MacAteer, MacNiece, MacCartan, (Mac) Carroll, Mac Donnell, (O)Colter, Dunleavy, Greene, Magennis, Kenny, MacKenna, (O) Flynn, (O) Flattery, Hughes, Haughey, Lavery, (O) Long, Miller and Rooney.

Note: Some of these surnames may have evolved shortly after 1150AD.

And that’s it for our mini-Tour around the Kingdoms of Ireland around 1150AD – a time when Irish surnames still coming to the fore. And just before a time when Ireland was to change forever, with the invasion of the Normans.

Do you have a Norman Surname in your family tree? Click here to discover more about Norman Surnames and how they evolved.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below!

Slán for now, Mike.

FAQs

Tribes of Ireland - Ireland at the birth of your surname? ›

Mac Cann, MacArdle, MacCasey, MacNally, MacConville, (Mac) Crilly, (Mac) Cullen, (Mac) Loy, (Mac) Gillespie, Mac Mahon, (Mac) Quaid/Wade, (Mac) Scanlan, (O) Callan, (O) Keenan, (O) Cosgrave, (O) Crehan, (O) Lynn, (O) Finn, (O) Flanagan, (O) Garvey, (O) Hanlon , (O) Hare, (O) Sherry, Fagan, (O) Rogan, (O) Creehan, (O) ...

What is the oldest surname in Ireland? ›

The earliest known Irish surname is O'Clery (O Cleirigh); it's the earliest known because it was written that the lord of Aidhne, Tigherneach Ua Cleirigh, died in County Galway back in the year 916 A.D. In fact, that Irish name may actually be the earliest surname recorded in all of Europe.

What tribes are Irish? ›

Several tribes made up the larger population of the Celtic people. Indeed, the Gaels, Gauls, Britons, Irish and Galatians were all Celtic tribes.

What is the most common surname in Ireland? ›

Murphy. The most common of all Irish names, the Murphy surname can be found in all four provinces.

What are Irish genetic traits? ›

And compared with the rest of Europe, the Irish have higher rates of cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, and galactosemia, a serious metabolic disorder that prevents the breakdown of sugars in dairy, legumes, and organ meats. (Find out how Neanderthal DNA may be affecting your health.)

How do I find my Irish clan? ›

The National Archives of Ireland's genealogy portal is one of the key websites for tracing Irish ancestry. It offers free access to the surviving census fragments from 1901/1911, as well as substitute sources. You can search raw census data, then view PDF copies of the original documents.

What is the most Irish name ever? ›

O'Sullivan (ó Súilleabháin) What is this? O'Sullivan has to be the most Irish name ever. Also known as simply Sullivan, is an Irish Gaelic clan-based most prominently in what is today County Cork and County Kerry.

What part of Ireland do Black Irish come from? ›

The term "Black Irish" has also been applied to the descendants of Irish emigrants who settled in the West Indies. It was also used in Ireland by Catholics in Ulster Province as a derogatory term to describe the Protestant Planters.

What is the oldest Irish clan? ›

Meet the Irish clan who are the OLDEST FAMILY IN THE WORLD with a combined age of 1,073 years. MEET the world's oldest family — who have a combined age of 1,073 years. Earlier this year, the Donnelly clan, from Collegelands, Co Armagh, received the Guinness World Record for being the oldest family on the planet.

Who were the first tribes in Ireland? ›

They were actually three tribes; men of Domnu, men of Gaillion, and men of Bolg. They inter-married with the Fomors and held the country until the arrival of the "Tuatha De Danann".

Are the Irish Celts or Vikings? ›

Experts believe that a majority of Irish people have Celtic roots; however, a study published on Thursday found they may also have a great deal of influence from the Vikings, Anglo-Normans, and British.

What did Romans call Ireland? ›

Hibernia, in ancient geography, one of the names by which Ireland was known to Greek and Roman writers. Other names were Ierne, Iouernia and (H)iberio.

Are Irish and Welsh related? ›

Linguistic links

The languages of Wales and Ireland belong to the same family; they are both classed as living Celtic languages, along with Breton and Scottish Gaelic.

Why was the O dropped from Irish names? ›

In the 1600s, when English rule intensified, the prefixes O and Mac were widely dropped because it became extremely difficult to find work if you had an Irish sounding name. However, in the 1800s many families began reinstating the O and Mac prefixes.

What color eyes do most Irish have? ›

More than half the population of Ireland have blue eyes, according to a new study. That figure is higher than any other country on the Irish and British isles. The research was carried out in 2014 by ScotlandsDNA and also revealed that blue is the most common eye colour on the two islands.

Who are the Irish most closely related to? ›

Who Are the Closest Genetic Relatives of the Irish? Today, people living in the north of Spain in the region known as the Basque Country share many DNA traits with the Irish. However, the Irish also share their DNA to a large extent with the people of Britain, especially the Scottish and Welsh.

What do Irish eyes look like? ›

In Ireland, olive or medium-green eyes are most common… among the famous redheads of Ireland, blue, grey, and brown eyes are also found… Hazel eyes, which feature a predominately green iris with a ring of brown or amber near the pupil, are also common in Ireland.

What is the oldest surname in the world? ›

The oldest surname known to have been recorded anywhere in Europe, though, was in County Galway, Ireland, in the year 916. It was the name “O Cleirigh” (O'Clery). Enter your last name to learn its meaning and origin.

How do I find my Irish ancestors for free? ›

If you've had trouble finding ancestors in this census on the National Archives of Ireland website (No. 8 in this listing), check out the Findmypast version. Watch for its frequent promotional offers and free access weekends.

What is the oldest last name in history? ›

The oldest surname known to have been recorded anywhere in Europe, though, was in County Galway, Ireland, in the year 916. It was the name “O Cleirigh” (O'Clery). Enter your last name to learn its meaning and origin.

What was Jesus last name? ›

What was Jesus's Real Name? - YouTube

Who are the Irish descended from? ›

From as far back as the 16th century, historians taught that the Irish are the descendants of the Celts, an Iron Age people who originated in the middle of Europe and invaded Ireland somewhere between 1000 B.C. and 500 B.C. That story has inspired innumerable references linking the Irish with Celtic culture.

What is the oldest name in history? ›

While there is some debate on who is the oldest named person on record, for the most part, many researchers agree that Kushim is the oldest known name in the world, dating back to around 3400 to 3000 BCE. Surprisingly, Kushim wasn't a king or ruler, they were an accountant.

What is the oldest bloodline? ›

The longest family tree in the world is that of the Chinese philosopher and educator Confucius (551–479 BC), who is descended from King Tang (1675–1646 BC). The tree spans more than 80 generations from him and includes more than 2 million members.

What was the first person's name on earth? ›

Kushim is the earliest known example of a named person in writing. The name "Kushim" is found on the Kushim Tablet, an Uruk period (c. 3400–3000 BC) clay tablet used to record transactions of barley.

What is the oldest female name? ›

Oldest Female Name in History

Per Oldest.org, Neithhotep is the earliest named woman in history. A queen consort of Pharoah Narmer in Ancient Egypt, Neithhotep had her name recorded between circa 3150 and 3125 BCE.

What is Black Jesus real name? ›

That's right, Black Jesus, played by Gerald “Slink” Johnson, is sporting a head of improbably silky highlighted tresses.

What was Jesus's wife's name? ›

Mary Magdalene, sometimes called Mary of Magdala, or simply the Magdalene or the Madeleine, was a woman who, according to the four canonical gospels, traveled with Jesus as one of his followers and was a witness to his crucifixion and resurrection.
...
Mary Magdalene.
Saint Mary Magdalene
FeastJuly 22
7 more rows

What is Jesus actual birthday? ›

By the fourth century, however, we find references to two dates that were widely recognized — and now also celebrated — as Jesus' birthday: December 25 in the western Roman Empire and January 6 in the East (especially in Egypt and Asia Minor).

Who are the Irish most genetically related to? ›

Modern Irish are the population most genetically similar to the Bronze Age remains, followed by Scottish and Welsh, and share more DNA with the three Bronze Age men from Rathlin Island than with the earlier Ballynahatty Neolithic woman.

What color eyes do most Irish have? ›

More than half the population of Ireland have blue eyes, according to a new study. That figure is higher than any other country on the Irish and British isles. The research was carried out in 2014 by ScotlandsDNA and also revealed that blue is the most common eye colour on the two islands.

What do Irish eyes look like? ›

In Ireland, olive or medium-green eyes are most common… among the famous redheads of Ireland, blue, grey, and brown eyes are also found… Hazel eyes, which feature a predominately green iris with a ring of brown or amber near the pupil, are also common in Ireland.

What names went extinct? ›

The at-risk names for girls were Annette, Beryl, Brenda, Carolyn, Cheryl, Dawn, Debbie, Debra, Denise, Diane, Donna, Doris, Edna, Freda, Geraldine, Gladys, Gwendoline, Hilda, Janet, Janice, Jean, Jordan, Kirsty, Lindsey, Lorraine, Lynda, Lynn, Marian, Marion, Marjorie, Marlene, Maud, Mildred, Norma, Pamela, Pauline, ...

What is the most rare name for a boy? ›

The rarest baby boy name is Rome, but other rare baby boy names include Chester, Henley, and Maynard. Finding a rare baby boy name means discovering a unique fit for your little one.

What is the first ever language? ›

Sumerian language, language isolate and the oldest written language in existence. First attested about 3100 bce in southern Mesopotamia, it flourished during the 3rd millennium bce.

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2. Irish Family Names Part 6 | 86 Ancient Irish Names for Women
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3. Co. Roscommon genealogy; Conlon surname; Irish Families #175
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4. Irish Family Names Part 1 | How the Irish Got Their "Macs" and Their "Os"
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