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Surname Gilgunn - Meaning and Origin

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Gilgunn: What does the surname Gilgunn mean?

The last name Gilgunn originated from an Irish surname and is of Gaelic origin. The name is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic name Mac Giolla Ghunna, which refers to a “servant of (St) Gunn”. The prefix "Mac" is an Irish patronymic, meaning “son of”. The St. Gunn referred to in the name is St. Fionnghunadh (or St. Gunna), who was a sixth century Irish saint from Mayo. His feast day is celebrated on the 3rd of February.

The traditional Irish form of the name was mainly found as McGilgunn in County Donegal and the north-west of Ireland, and was associated with the area around Bundoran in the ancient Province of Umhall. It is possible that the Gilgunn family has inhabited this area since medieval times.

The Gilgunn surname is very popular in Ireland and known around the world, with the most common variant being Gilgun. In the United States, Gilgunn is the 567th most common surname.

The Gilgunn surname is symbolic of the strong ties between the Irish and their history. It is an indicator of a long past and a testament to the deep history of the Irish people. Today the Gilgunn family is spread throughout the globe, carrying their history and culture with them as they traverse the world.

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Gilgunn: Where does the name Gilgunn come from?

The surname Gilgunn is primarily found in Ireland today and is derived from the Gaelic Mac Giolla Ghunna. In Irish, this translates to “son of the servant of the chief”. It is an anglicized version of the Gaelic name Mac Giolla Ghunna and is relatively rare. It is known to mainly originate from County Leitrim, an area located in northwest Ireland.

As the surname was predominant in the Leitrim area in the 1600s and 1700s, it spread throughout the midlands, Ulster and Connaught region due to a pattern of westward emigration from this time. As such, it can be found in other parts of Convaught in Ireland, primarily in Galway in the west and in some parts of Roscommon and Sligo.

In terms of other countries, whilst the surname still exists outside of Ireland, it is much rarer due to emigration patterns from Ireland throughout the 1800s and is particularly found in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

Very few people with the surname Gilgunn exist outside of Ireland, however, it does appear that Australian, New Zealand and United States populations are slowly increasing due to continuing emigration from Ireland.

Variations of the surname Gilgunn

The surname Gilgunn is derived from the Irish Gaelic name Ó Giolla Choinn. Variant spellings for this surname include Gilgone, Gilcon, Gilcoyne, Gilcoin, Gillcon, Gilken, Guilken, Gilgon, Gillgun, Gilgonn, and Gilleconne.

These surnames originate from the Gaelic personal name Giolla Choinn, which translates as devotee of St. Conn. This Gaelic personal name is made up of two composite elements - ‘giolla’ which means ‘devotee’, and ‘Choinn/Con’ which is an abbreviation for St. Conn of the Hundred Battles (beathadh céad cath) who is one of the ancient High Kings of Ireland. This Gaelic personal name was very common in Early Medieval Ireland and it existed in several forms including Ó Giolla Choinn and Mac Giolla Choinn.

Theian version of the surname Gilgunn is Kilgour or Kilgour-Conn. This surnames originated in the Scottish Lowlands and they are anglicized forms of the Gaelic names Mac Giolla Chomhghaill and Mac Gille Chomhghaill which both mean ‘son of the devotee of St. Comhghall’.

The surname Gilgunn is also found in the Isle of Man where it is spelt Illaugh, and in Scotland where it is spelt Gilgan. In some cases it is found as a combination with other surnames such as Gilgan‑Duffy and Gilgan‑MacCallum.

In England the surname Gilgunn is relatively rare. It is most commonly found in the North East of England where it is usually spelt Gilgun, Gilgoon or Gilgoom. In this region, this surname is a variation of the surname Gillingham and it refers to someone who is from the place named Gillingham in Dorset or Kent.

Famous people with the name Gilgunn

  • Emma Gilgunn: Irish YouTuber
  • Jenna Gilgunn: Irish singer-songwriter
  • Carl Gilgunn: Irish rugby player
  • Niall Gilgunn: Irish footballer
  • Judy Gilgunn: American actress
  • Paul Gilgunn: British actor
  • Rocky Gilgunn: Canadian filmmaker
  • Ashley Gilgunn: British television presenter
  • Maeve Gilgunn: British actress
  • Colm Gilgunn: Irish politician and MEP

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