Arrow Downward Arrow Downward Close Close Done Done Cart Cart clock clock
Personal guidance

We are always happy to help you! Contact us via e-mail or Whatsapp.

If you would like us to call you back, please provide your phone number and how you can be reached. We will be happy to call you for a personal consultation. WhatsApp

Surname Callighan - Meaning and Origin

all surnames with 'C'

Callighan: What does the surname Callighan mean?

The last name Callighan is of Irish origin, derived from the Gaelic name O Ceallacháin, which is composed of the elements ceallach, meaning "war" or "strife," and the diminutive suffix -áin. It is thought to have come from a 10th-century ancestor who was renowned in battle. The name may also be an Anglicized variation of the Irish surname McCallion.

The surname is derived from the Irish Gaelic word O Ceallacháin which is composed of the two elements, 'ceallach' meaning ‘war’ or ‘strife,’ and the diminutive suffix ‘áin’, meaning ‘offspring, warrior, or man of’. It is thought to have been derived from an ancestor who rose to prominence in battle in the 10th century. Callighan is a surname that is prominent in counties Belfast, Clare, Down, and Londonderry, Ireland, and is still borne by many in Ulster who have a long family history in the area.

Callighan families have a long history in Ulster, Ireland and the family name is still in use today. The surname has maintained its relevance and history over centuries, carrying with it a sense of strength, courage and resilience through its link to the 10th-century ancestor who was renowned in battle. It is a name that reminds one of the intrepid spirit of such an ancestor, and it serves as a reminder of the importance of family and community.

Order DNA origin analysis

Callighan: Where does the name Callighan come from?

The last name Callighan is most common in Ireland, with a heavy concentration of the name in the counties of Kilkenny, Cork, and Limerick. Outside of Ireland, the name can also be found in sizable numbers in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

In Ireland, records on surnames suggest that the name is derived from the original Gaelic name O'Clochain, meaning "descendant of Lochlainn". Many believe that Lochlainn, the first bearer of this Irish surname, was a member of the O'Connor clan who left his homeland in the 12th century.

In Australia, Callighan is among the top 200 surnames, with the highest concentration in Tasmania. Researchers believe that most of these Irish immigrants probably descended from those who left their homeland in the 1840s during the famine.

In the United Kingdom, the highest concentrations of the name can be found in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales. In the United States, it is the 767th most common last name, with the majority of Callighans, especially Irish-Americans, residing in Massachusetts, Rhode Island. It is also common in California, New York, and New Jersey.

Variations of the surname Callighan

The surname Callighan can have various spellings, variants, and surnames of the same origin. Some common variations in spelling of Callighan include Callihan, Calihan, Calhan, Calaghan, and Callehan. In some cases, Callighan, as well as other variations, can emerge as ‘bynames’ in other surnames such as the Irish name O'Callaghan, which indicates it being originally derived from the old Irish surname O’Ceallaigh.

The root of the surname Callighan is based on the old Irish name ‘Ceallaigh’, which is thought to be derived from the Gaelic word ‘ceallach’, meaning ‘strife’ or ‘contention’. Over time, the old Irish version was changed to become the modern form of Callighan.

In Scotland and some regions of Northern England, the surname Callighan is commonly rendered as Coulthard or Coltherd. This variant of the surname most likely arose due to the pronunciation breakdown of Callighan, rather than an intentional change due to the ever-growing population of Scots.

In England the surname Callighan usually appears as Colligan or Calligan, as well as Callacken, Culligan, and Cooligan. It is believed that the phonetic shift from the Sound of the letter ‘C’ to the letter ‘K’ in ‘Callacken’ was due to the letter combinations of the original Irish name, indicating different dialects.

In the Far East, the surname Callighan often appears as Cao Li Huan, Ko Ra Hwan, and Cha Li Gon. This is believed to be due to the surname Callighan being brought overseas by Irish immigrants during the mid-eighteenth century and eventually finding new home in the region.

Overall, Callighan is a surname with multiple spellings, variants, and surnames of the same origin. It has been long established in Irish, Scots, English, and Far East culture, and has likely changed and adapted due to changing phonetics and dialects over time.

Famous people with the name Callighan

  • Christopher Callighan: American actor and producer.
  • Mikey Callighan: Former Major League Baseball pitcher.
  • Keith Callighan: Founding member of the Australian punk band Radio Birdman.
  • Mark Callighan: Australian screenwriter.
  • Jesse Callighan: American musician, songwriter and artist.
  • Colin Callighan: English footballer.
  • Kerry Callighan: Model and beauty queen turned rugby player.
  • Dennis Callighan: Retired Irish public servant.
  • Ryliegh Callighan: American children's author.
  • Kelsey Callighan: English professional wrestler.

Other surnames


Write comments or make additions to the name "Callighan"

Your origin analysis