Where your folk
came from

Sadlier, Sadleir
Mostly of Cromwellian origin, this occupational surname is on record in both Dublin and Cork in the 16th century.
Sage
See Savage.
St. Clair
a rare surname now mostly evolved into Sinclair.
St. John, Singen
Resident in Co. Tipperary since the 13th century. Also found in Co. Wexford and two members of this family were bishops of Ferns in the 1200s.
St. Leger
Norman in origin and found in Ireland since the 14th century. Some branches became absorbed into the local culture, especially in Co. Kilkenny where the name evolved into Sallenger. Sir Anthony St. Leger was sworn in as Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1540. Sir William St. Leger was Lord President of Munster until his death in 1642.
Salmon, Sammon
In the west it is a translation of Ó Bradain . Bradden is a Donegal form of the name. Sammon is the spelling used in Co. Clare. Salmon is also an English surname, established in Cos. Kilkenny and Laois in the 16th century.
Sampson
Originally an English surname found in both Leinster and Munster from the early 1300s. Found in Limerick after the Cromwellian upheaval.
Sarsfield
Settled in Dublin and Cork in the 12th century. The famous Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan who was killed at the Battle of Landen in July 1693 was a member of the Dublin branch.
Saul
A rare surname of Norman origin found mainly in Cos. Tipperary and Waterford.
Savage
The family settled in the Ards peninsula in 1177, but later became hibernicized and fought against English occupation. Sage is occasionally synonymous with Savage. See north Louth and Down.
Savin
Originally a south Munster name now changed to Savage.
Sayers
An English surnames with a long association with Co. Kerry. Also found in the north east counties of Ulster. Peig the autobiography of Peig Sayers as dictated to her son and Maire Ní Chinnéide was published in Irish in 1936 and was on the Irish language syllabus for secondary schools for many years.
Scahill
Derived from scaith geal meaning ‘bright flower’. Found in east Galway and occasionally in Co. Mayo.
Scallan
A one time numerous in Co. Wexford. Though distinct form Scullin the latter name has evolved into the former in Co. Fermanagh. Derived from word meaning ‘kernel’. No connection with Scallantown in Co. Meath, which is really Ballyscanlon.
Scally
Possibly of similar derivation as Scully, which is ‘student’. Originated in Cos. Roscommon and Westmeath where it is mainly found.
(Mac) Scanlan
Once numerous in Louth and commemorated in the townland Ballymacscanlan. Rarely used with the prefix.
(O) Scanlan
Same derivation as Scannell. There are eight placenames in Ireland incorporating the name Scanlan. Originated in Cos. Cork, Galway and Fermanagh.
Scannell
The word means ‘contention’ not ‘scandal’. Originated in the north west and became Scanlan in Co. Sligo.
Scollard
Originally an English surname but found in Kerry since the 16th century.
Scott
Found mainly in Ulster and Dublin it is one of the most common English names in Ireland.
Scullion
A Co. Derry surname. Sometimes spelt Scullin, Scullane, Skoolin. In some instances changed to Scully. Rare outside of northern counties.
Scully
See Scally. Originated in Co. Westmeath but moved further south and after the Norman invasion and is found in most central counties of Leinster and in Tipperary. Derived from the Irish word for student.
Seery
A Westmeath surname , which according to one source, is derived from a Norse first name and not from the Irish word saor meaning free.
Segrave
Mainly found in Dublin and prominent in the Pale since the 1300s.
Semple
Found in Ulster since the mid-1600s. In Scotland it is derived from ‘simple’ while in England it owes its origins to the French St. Pol. Semple Stadium, Thurles is one of the best known GAA venues in the country and commemorates Tom Semple who captained Tipperary to the All-Ireland Hurling titles in 1906 and 1908 and later served as a GAA official.
Sergeant, Sargent
Of English origin, an occupational name now found in Armagh and surrounding counties.
Seward
Formerly called Seaward, this English family settled in Co. Cork in the mid-1600s.
Sewell
An English surnames which appears in some medieval records as de Sewell. Sometimes it is the anglicized version of O Súilligh meaning ‘quick-eyed’.
Sexton
A surname that has strong links with Limerick. Rarely of English origin in Ireland.
Seymour
Many families of this name arrived from England in the mid-1600s. Has its origins in France in a place called St. Maur. In some instances it may be derived from Seamer in Yorkshire.
Shackleton
A well known Quaker name. The Shackleton school at Ballitore, Co. Kildare founded by Abraham Shackleton and opened on March 1, 1726 was famous in the 18th century. The best known family member is probably the explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922).
Shaffrey
As MacGeoffrey it was listed as one of the major surnames in Co. Longford in the 17th century. Now found mainly in Cos. Donegal and Derry. The Irish form Mac Seafraidh is also used for Jefferson and Jeffries.
Shalvey, Shalloo
Originated in Co. Cork and derived from the Irish meaning ‘having possessions’. Shally and Shallow are two of ten variations of the name, with Shalloo being the form found in Co. Clare. It some cases it has been substituted by the English name Shelley.
Shanahan
A Co. Clare surname numerous across Munster whose root is sean meaning ‘old’. In some places contracted to Shannon.
(Mac)Shane
Originated in Co. Tyrone. The Irish translation is the same as for Johnson. In Louth and in Ulster they were a branch of the O’Neills. In Westmeath the Shanes are connected to the O’Farrells.
Shanley
A Co. Leitrim surname from the Irish sean laoch meaning ‘old hero’.
Sharkey
Originally from Co. Tyrone and found all over Ulster as well as Co. Louth. Derived from the Irish searcach, which translates as ‘loving’.
Sharpe
An English surname which has adopted as the anglicised from of Ó Géaráin. The Irish word géar means sharp. See Guerin.
(Mac)Sharry
Derived from the Irish searrach meaning foal. A Co. Leitrim surname and still found there and in surrounding counties. In Co. Roscommon Mac Searraigh (‘son of the foal’) became Foley. Sometimes synonymous with MacSherry.
Shaughnessy
Originated in Co. Galway and said to be descended from Daithi the last pagan king of Ireland.
Shaw
Most families arrived in Ireland during the Plantation of Ulster where the surname is mainly found. The writer George Bernard Shaw was part of a Dublin family descended from a soldier in the army of William III of England.
(O)Shea
The main branch of the family originated in Co. Kerry where the name is widespread. Derived from the Irish for ‘hawklike’ suggesting ‘stately’. Also found in Co. Tipperary and as Shee was the only Gaelic-Irish family among the ‘Tribes of Kilkenny’.
Sheedy
Originated in Co. Clare as a branch of the MacNamara family and derived from the Irish for silk, suggesting silken or soft-spoken. In Irish it is Mac Síoda while Silke translates as Ó Síoda.
Sheehan
Originated in south Limerick and spread southwards into Cos. Cork and Kerry where they are numerous. Sometimes spelt Sheahen. Though its Irish translation Ó Siocháin suggests it is derived from the Irish word for peace this is not accepted by some scholars.
Sheehy
Originally a Scottish gallowglass family from the McDonald clan that settled in Munster. The name is derived from the Irish word for eerie. See Kerry
Sheenan
Originated in Co. Tyrone and evolved into Shannon in Co. Monaghan.
Sheeran, Sheerin
Originated in the Cos. Donegal and Fermanagh and migrated further south as far as Co. Laois.
Sheldon
Rarely found outside Ulster. Dominic Sheldon, a member of the prominent English Catholic and royalist family came to Ireland as a colonel in the army of James II of England who was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
Shelley
See Shalvey.
Sheppard, Shepherd
An English surname first recorded in Cos. Dublin and Kildare as le Shepherd in the 13th century. Later a family of the same name settled in Ulster.
Sheridan
Originated in Cavan and Longford and common today in those counties and also in Meath. A noted literary and theatrical family. Richard Brinsley Sheridan author of ‘A School for Scandal’ died aged 65 in 1816. The humorist John D. Sheridan died in May 1980 aged 77,
Sherlock, Scurlock
A prominent Anglo-Irish family who settled in parts of the east after the Norman invasion. The name means ‘raven-haired’ though some suggest ‘fair-haired’. Scurlockstown or Scurlogstown in Cos. Meath and Westmeath indicates places where they settled.
Sherrard
English in origin and associated with Derry since the 1600s.
Sherry
Has roots in Monaghan, Armagh and Cork. Derived from the Irish word for ‘foal’. The name MacSherry, meaning son of Geoffrey was adopted by the Hodnett family in Co. Cork and gives rise to the placename Courtmacsherry. Sometimes synonymous with MacSharry.
Sherwin
Two origins of this surname, an English family name found in Dublin and Ulster and a variant of the rare Co. Roscommon name Sharvin or Sharvan, derived from the Irish searbh meaning ‘bitter’.
Sherwood
Found in all four provinces. English in origin and here since the early 1600s.
Shevlin
According to MacLysaght, the family with Offaly origins appears to be extinct. The rest appear to be descended from Mayo and Donegal roots.
Shiel, Shields
Originated in Co. Donegal, a family of hereditary physicians. The famous Irish actor Barry Fitzgerald (died Jan. 4 1961 aged 71) was born William Joseph Shields. Popular in Cavan.
Shine
A Munster surname found mainly in Cos. Cork and Kerry and possibly derived from the Old-Irish word for a small hawk. See also Roscommon
Shinnick, Shinnock
A Co. Cork surname and rarely found outside the county. Possibly derived from the Irish word sionnach meaning fox.
Shinnors
Found in north Tipperary and Limerick it is an Anglo-Norman name and similar to Skinner.
Shipsey
Possibly of English origin and found in west Cork since the early 1700s. Its derivation suggests working with sheep.
Shivnan
A Connacht surname of uncertain origin, possibly a variant of Shevlin.
Short
An English surname found in Dublin and Ulster. Also an anglicisation of the old Co. Armagh surname MacGirr, derived from gearr the Irish for short,
Shortall
The family settled in south Leinster in the 13th century and quickly became hibernicized.
Shouldice
Originally a Palatine name in Co. Limerick now found mainly in east Ulster.
Shovlin
a variant of Shevlin.
Sigerson
In Ireland since the 16th century this Norse surname is mainly found in Kerry. George Sigerson , a native of Strabane Co. Tyrone (d. 1925 aged 89) was author of Bards of the Gael and Gall and History of the Land Tenures and Land Classes of Ireland. In 1911 the UCD based Professor presented the trophy which bears his name for an inter-varsity Gaelic Football competition.
Siggins
Another Anglo Saxon family who arrived in the 13th century and became completely hibernicized. They settled mainly in Wexford.
Silke
An English surname used in east Galway for Sheedy. Síoda being the Irish word for silk.
Simms
Found in Co. Antrim since the early 1600s, it also has close links with Co. Donegal.
Simpson
Of both English and Scottish origin and found mainly in Ulster since the 17th century.
Sinclair
A Scottish surname found mainly in Ulster.
Singen
See St. John.
Singleton
On record in Cos. Louth and Monaghan in the late 1300s, families of this name were granted estates in the area after the Battle of the Boyne.
Sinnott, Synnott
This family have been prominent in Co. Wexford since the 13th century, the name is derived from the Old-English words meaning ‘victory-bold’.
Sisk
Of uncertain origin, though one school of thought suggests that it is derived from the medieval surname Seix which was found in Cos. Kilkenny and Kildare. Sisk has been associated with east Cork for over two centuries.
Skeffington
An English surname associated with Ireland since the arrival of Sir William Skeffington as King Henry VIII’s special commissioner in 1529 and who was later appointed Lord Deputy. In 1908 Frances Sheehy-Skeffington founded the Irish Women’s Franchise League. Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, journalist and pacifist, was murdered in custody by a British Army Officer during the 1916 Rising.
Skehan
possibly derived from the Irish word for briar originated in Cos. Louth and Monaghan where it has been anglicised as Thornton. Also common in north Tipperary.
Skelly
A variant of Scally found in Cos. Louth, Westmeath and Monaghan.
Skelton
An English surname on record in Dublin since the early 15th century and late established in Co. Laois. The family’s association with the Jacobite cause led to their ruin after the Battle of the Boyne. The name is found in Dublin and in the north-east.
Skerett
One of the ‘Tribes of Galway’ and prominent in that city until the late 1600s. The name was previously Scared, which was abbreviation of Huscared, a variant of Huscarle meaning ‘house care’.
Skiddy
The name means ‘a Norse-Gael from the island of Skye’, a branch of the family settled in Co. Cork and has strong links with the city since the mid-14th century. Ringaskiddy is a village just south of the city.
Slater
Of English and Scottish origin, this occupational surname is of Cromwellian origin. Found mainly in the east of the county.
Slattery
Originated in east Clare and found throughout Munster. It is derived from an Irish word meaning ‘strong’.
Slavin, Slevin
Originated in Co. Fermanagh, where the family had strong ecclesiastical links. Probably derived from sliabh, the Irish word for mountain.
Sleyne, Sliney
A name assumed by members of the Norman Fitzstephen family in Co. Cork. Slyne is another variant.
Sloan
An old east Ulster family name possibly derived from the Irish word for ‘crowd’. In Cos. Mayo and Sligo it is known as Sloyan.
Small
Many families of this name have their roots in England. Begg in Co. Galway is a translation. It is also used as a translation for Kielty and Quilty on the grounds that they are derived from the Irish word caol meaning ‘slender’.
Smiddy
Found in Co. Cork and is a variant of Smithwick or Smithers.
Smith, Smyth
In some cases (most Smyth) it is an English surname and in other it is a translation of McGowan, which itself is derived from the Irish word for a ‘smith’.
Smithwick
In Co. Cork the name is of Cromwellian origin, while those in the Carlow-Kilkenny area were established earlier in the 1600s. Smithwick’s, Brewery was founded in Kilkenny in 1710.
Smollen, Smullen
Originated in Co. Monaghan and north Louth and is found in midland Leinster counties. See Offaly.
Smylie
Arrived in Co. Tyrone from Scotland in the early 1600s. Also spelt Smiley.
Snee
Of uncertain derivation but originated near Swinford, Co. Mayo.
Snoddy
A Scottish surname found in Ulster and also in Co. Carlow.
Snow
Most families of this name settled in Ulster during the Plantation of Ulster.
Soden
Settled in Co. Sligo in the mid-1600s and later spread to Cavan and parts of Meath.
Solan
From the Irish word meaning ‘renowned’, it is found mainly in Co. Mayo and was previously anglicised as Solohan.
Somers, Summers
In Leinster these names are usually of English origin. In the west it is an anglicisation of Somahan, which itself is derived from the Irish word for a ‘soft innocent person’. In Ulster it synonymous with McGovern, which is derived from the Irish word for summer.
Somerville
Mainly found in Ulster where Sumeril is a variation. Also well known in Co. Cork. Also synonymous with Somahan.
Sorahan, Soran
Derived from the Irish word for ‘bright’ and found mainly in Cos. Monaghan, Leitrim and Cavan.
MacSorley
A branch of the Scottish clan McDonald that settled in Co. Donegal. The name is derived from a Norse first name. The name was also adopted by members of the Cameron and Lamont clans. It is found in Cos. Tyrone and Antrim.
Sothern
Sometimes spelt Southern, it is a rare surname which was recorded frequently in Meath and neighbouring counties in the early 1300s.
Spaight, Speight
Derived from the Middle-English word speight, another word for woodpecker. Found in Limerick and Clare since the mid-1600s.
Spain
A surname given to someone who returned from Spain..
MacSparran
MacSporran in its original Scottish spelling and means ‘son of the purse’ and found mainly in Cos. Derry and Antrim.
Speed
The Irish version Ó Fuada is derived from the word fuadach which means ‘plundering’, which sometimes became Speed and Swift in translation.
Speer, Speers
Arrived in Ulster in the 18th century and has two sources; spearman, one who uses a spear or ‘spier’ meaning watchman.
Spelman
Originated in Co. Sligo, this Connacht surname translates as ” SpealŠin in Irish, which is also the Irish for Spillane. See Galway.
Spence
Common in Cos. Antrim and Down and is a branch of the Scottish MacDuff family.
Spenser
An English surname sometimes spelt Spencer and occasionally an anglicised form of Mac Spealáin, MacSpillane.
(Mac) Spillan(e)
Similar derivation (speal the Irish word for ‘scythe’) but distinct from (O) Spillane. Spollan and Spollin are variations found in the midlands.
(O) Spillane
Originated in Co. Tipperary but moved to the south-west Munster and common in Cork and Kerry.
Spollane, Spollan
variations on Spillane. Found in Offaly.
Spring
English in origin and prominent in Kerry since their arrival in the 1500s. Dick Spring is a former Tanáiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and leader of the Irish Labour Party who was also an Irish Rugby international. His late father Dan Spring was a TD (member of the Dáil, the Irish Parliament) and captained Kerry to the All-Ireland Gaelic Football title in 1940.
Stacey
A variation of Eustace found in Cos. Wexford and Wicklow.
Stack
An English family who settled in Kerry in the 12th century and became assimilated into their surroundings.
Stacpoole
Welsh in origin and on record in the Pale since the 13th century and by the 15th had strong links with Co. Clare. Its Irish form Galldubh means ‘black foreigner and is sometimes used for Stapleton.
Stafford
Originated in Stafford, England, this powerful Anglo-Norman settled in Wexford. The surname is also found in Wicklow, Cavan, Meath and Louth.
Stanley
A well-known English name on record in Ireland since the 1200s. Found mainly in Cos. Louth and Meath.
Stapleton
A Hiberno-Norman family that settled in Cos. Tipperary and Kilkenny some of which adopted the name Mac an Ghaill (son of the foreigner) which became anglicised Gall and Gaule.
Starkey
Found mainly in Dublin in Ireland since the 1300s. Derived from an Old-English word meaning ‘stiff’.
Starr
A Cromwellian family that settled in north Tipperary. Also found in Ulster.
Staunton, Stanton
One of the earliest English families to settle in Ireland and branch settled in Co. Mayo where the name is still prominent as well as in other areas of Connacht.
MacStay
A Co. Down surname derived from the surname O’Mustey.
Steele
An English surname also spelt Steel and found mainly in Ulster.
Steen
Both English and Scottish in origin and found mainly in Ulster.
Stenson
A variant of Stevenson associated with Sligo and other parts of north Connacht.
Stephens
Three distinct origins, Norman and later planter English as well as Irish, where it translated as Mac Giolla Stiofáin , a son of the follower of Stephen. Found mainly Dublin and Mayo.
Stephenson
A family of Elizabethan planters who settled in Co. Limerick and became hibernicized. The architect Sam Stephenson designed the Central Bank building in Dublin which was constructed in the early 1970s.
Stevenson
Found mainly in Ulster and has Stephenson, Steenson and Stinson as variants. Occasionally synonymous with the Norman Fitzstephen.
Stewart, Stuart
Most families of this name are of Scottish in origin and located in Ulster. It is one of the most common non-native surnames in the country.
Stokes
Found in Ireland since the 1300s. The United Irishman Whitley Stokes died in April 1845 aged 82 while William Stokes was one of the founders of the Irish Archaeological Society in 1840 and later published Life and Labours in Art and Archaeology of George Petrie.
Stone
An English name sometimes synonymous with Clogherty and Mulclohy which are derived from the Irish word cloch meaning stone.
Stoney
A rare surname which originated in Yorkshire and a branch of the family were part of the landed gentry in north Tipperary.
Storeen, Storan
Originated in Co. Limerick but moved to Connacht as part of the Cromwellian upheaval. Still found in Limerick and Galway.
Storey
Several families with this name settled in Co. Tyrone in the 1600s. The name is Old-Norse in origin.
Strahan, Strain
A Donegal name derived from the Irish for stream. Strain is the version associated with Co. Down.
MacStravick
A Co. Tyrone surname also found in surrounding counties.
Strong
An English surname which arrived in the 17th century and found mainly in Ulster.
Sugrue
Rarely found outside Co. Kerry and derived from a Norse first name.
(O)Sullahan
A name associated with the midlands and south Ulster that has in the main evolved into Sullivan. Derived from the Irish meaning ‘quick-eyed’.
(O)Sullivan
One of the most common surnames in Ireland and particularly so in Munster. Originated in Co. Tipperary the family were forced into the south-west by the Norman invasion. The first part of the name is derived from the Irish word súil meaning eye, but there is no certainty as to the origins of the second part of the name.
Supple
Associated with Cos. Limerick and Cork. Evolved from the surname de la Chappelle which arrived with Strongbow in 1172.
Sutton
On record in Cos. Kildare and Wexford since the 1300s.
Swan
Found mainly in Antrim and other Ulster counties. MacLysaght claims it is not synonymous with Swayne which in its English incarnation is derived from the Norse word swein meaning servant.
Swanton
English in origin and introduced into west Cork in the 1600s.
Swayne
On record in Leinster since the late 1300s and in some cases claimed as synonymous with Sweeney. Derived from the Old-Norse swein servant.
(Mac)Sweeney, Swiney
Derived from an Irish word meaning ‘pleasant and originated in Co. Donegal in the 1300s and a century later a branch moved to Munster.
Sweetman
Associated with Co. Kilkenny, a Norman family that settled there in the 12th century.
Sweetnam
Has its roots in Swettenham, England and sometimes a variant of Sweetman.
Swift
On record in Ireland since the Middle Ages but the most famous family arrived from England in the early 1600s. Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels was installed as Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin in 1713 and died in 1745. See Speed.
MacSwiggan
Found mainly in Co. Tyrone and there is some suggestion that it a Scottish name of Norse derivation with Irish roots.
Switzer
Palatine in origin. There is a famous department store with this name in Grafton St. Dublin.
Swords
Originally associated with natives of the north County Dublin village of the same name. More recently synonymous with Clavin because of the latter’s similarity with the Irish claidheamh meaning sword.
Symons
An abbreviation of Fitzsimons
Synan, Synon
Norman in origin and associated with north Cork since the 13th century and formerly spelt Shynan.
Synge
An English surname, pronounced ‘sing’, arrived in Ireland in the 1600s. Edward Synge, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Tuam (d. 1741) was the son and nephew of bishops and had two sons who were later bishops. John Millington Synge, dramatist and poet, author of The Playboy of Western World died in March 1909 aged 37.
Synnott
variant spelling of Sinnott.