The Most Common Surnames in Ireland

In 1909, Sir Robert E. Matheson published a Special Report on Surnames in Ireland, a study on Irish names and their origins.

One of the most fascinating parts of the report is where he ranks the Top 100 most popular surnames, based on births around the turn of the century.

How many of these surnames do you have in your family tree? You’re probably a direct descendant of at least a few of these families, and even if you can’t prove that, you surely have hundreds of cousins (thousands?) with these surnames, whether you know it or not:

And now in alphabetical order, where it may be easier to spot familiar names: Barry, Bell, Boyle, Brady, Brennan, Brown, Buckley, Burke, Burns, Byrne, Callaghan, Campbell, Carroll, Casey, Clarke, Collins, Connell, Connolly, Connor, Cullen, Cunningham, Daly, Doherty, Donnelly, Donovan, Doyle, Duffy, Dunne, Dwyer, Farrell, Fitzgerald, Fitzpatrick, Flanagan, Flynn, Foley, Gallagher, Graham, Griffin, Hayes, Healy, Higgins, Hogan, Hughes, Johnston, Kane, Kavanagh, Keane, Keeffe, Kelly, Kennedy, Kenny, King, Leary, Lynch, Lyons, Magee, Maguire, Maher, Mahony, Martin, McCarthy, McDermott, McDonald, McDonnell, McGrath, McKenna, McLaughlin, McMahon, McNamara, Moloney, Moore, Moran, Mullan, Murphy, Murray, Nolan, O’Brien, O’Donnell, O’Neill, Power, Quinn, Regan, Reid, Reilly, Robinson, Rourke, Ryan, Scott, Shea, Sheehan, Smith, Stewart, Sullivan, Sweeney, Thompson, Walsh, Ward, Whelan, White, Wilson.

As I add to the Families section here at Irish DNA Net, I will link the above families to their appropriate page, so you can see what the DNA shows for some of these families.

Looking for more information on Irish surnames or names in Ireland? There are several excellent books on the subject:

(The above links are affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission from your purchase at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Irish DNA Net!)


2 comments on “The Most Common Surnames in Ireland”
  1. Very nice. I’m an administrator to the Doherty (#15) Surname Project at Family Tree DNA, leveraging Y-DNA results to show quasi-relationships between testers of the surname (and variant spellings).

    The name descends out of O’Donnell (#44) and O’Neill (#10), with O’Neill potentially having a break; or surname/DNA switch way early in its history.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I applaud your effort. Always love a good Y-DNA Project!

      Liked by 1 person

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