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Surname O'Carolan - Meaning and Origin

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O'Carolan: What does the surname O'Carolan mean?

The last name O’Carolan is an Irish surname of Gaelic origin, derived from the phrase ‘O’ Cathmhaoil’ where ‘O’ signifies ‘son of’ and ‘Cathmhaoil’ is a personal name derived from the words cath meaning ‘a battle’ and maol for ‘bare or bald’.

The Irish words for O’Carolan translate to ‘son of Cathmhaoil,’ and the name is associated with Turlough O’Carolan, an 18th century blind harpist, bard and composer from County Meath, Ireland.

Turlough is considered a master fixtures of Irish traditional music and went by the title ‘Teachtaire Dhála an Classics Eireann’ which translates to ‘The Patron of the Irish Harpers’. His musical works became the starting point for the classical movement and many modern-day compositions have been based on his.

His legacy also inspired the rise of families carrying the O'Carolan surname, such as Castlecarbery O’Carolans in County Westmeath, who descend from Turlough’s cousins, and the O’Carolans of Leitrim who a claimed heritage to Turlough himself.

To this day, O’Carolan families continue to carry on Turlough’s musical tradition, playing at festivals and local gatherings all over Ireland. The O’Carolan name is a beloved testament to the extraordinary legacy of Turlough and his music that has lived on for centuries.

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O'Carolan: Where does the name O'Carolan come from?

The last name O’Carolan is most commonly found among Irish descendants in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

The name is derived from Turlough O’Carolan, the famous 17th century blind Irish harper and composer from County Meath in Ireland. His work was the first of its kind in music, for it incorporated traditional Irish tunes with Baroque elements. O’Carolan wrote hundreds of tunes which were performed up until the early 20th century, and many remain popular today. His compositions can be found in collections such as The Carolan Collection and The Hibernian Muse.

As a result of emigration from Ireland, many of O’Carolan’s descendants are now present in countries throughout the world. The earliest records of O’Carolan names come from New England, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Later generations of O’Carolan descendants can be found in many US states, with higher concentrations in California, New York, and Pennsylvania. There are also many people with the last name O’Carolan in Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, and Scotland.

O’Carolan names can be easily identified in genealogical databases, such as Ancestry and MyHeritage. Family trees on such sites provide detailed information about individuals in the O’Carolan line, from Turlough O’Carolan himself to the present day.

Variations of the surname O'Carolan

The surname O’Carolan is primarily associated with an Irish family surname that is derived from the old Gaelic names 'Ó Cearbhalláin' or “Ó Cearbhaill”. O’Carolan is generally pronounced as “OH car-o-lan” but may be pronounced differently based on the regional dialect.

The variants and various spellings of the O’Carolan surname include:

* O'Carolan

* O'Carrollan

* O'Carolanne

* O'Carlin

* O'Carolin

* O'Carollan

* O'Carollin

* O'Carollyn

* O'Carolyn

* O’Carellen

* O’Carolan

* O’Carolen

* O’Carolin

* O’Carollan

* O’Carollin

* O’Carollyn

* O’Carollyne

The surnames of the same origin can include:

* Carroll

* Carellen

* Carlin

* Carling

* Carlyan

* Carollyn

* Carolyn

* Kearlyn

* Kearlyne

* Kearlin

* Kerollyn

* Keerollyn

The name “O’Carolan” is derived from the old Gaelic name Cearbhalláin, originally mentioned in Irish legends going back to the 11th century. During that time, Irish families often used descriptive surnames derived from the professions and roles of their ancestors. In this case, Cearbhalláin translates to “Champion” or “The Victorious”, which is believed to refer to early O’Carolans being champions of their people. The surname was eventually anglicized to “Carolan” and became one of the more widely used Irish surnames.

Famous people with the name O'Carolan

  • Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738): O'Carolan was one of Ireland's most famous harper-composers and his compositions are among the best-known in the Celtic tradition.
  • Siobhan O'Carolan (1962-present): Siobhan O'Carolan is a well-known Irish fiddle player.
  • Liam O'Carolan (1717-1796): Liam O'Carolan was an 18th-century Irish poet and lyricist, best known for his works on Irish folklore.
  • Séamus O'Carolan (1822-1896): O'Carolan was an Irish nationalist, poet, and songwriter. He was also a leader in the 19th-century campaign for Irish self-determination.
  • Art O'Carolan (1937-2015): O'Carolan was a prominent Irish playwright and actor. He was the author of numerous plays, including the award-winning stage adaptation of Ulysses.
  • Joseph O'Carolan (1913-1997): O'Carolan was a prominent entrepreneur in the Irish media industry. He was the founder of the Catholic newspaper, The Irish Echo.
  • Maria O'Carolan (1977-present): O'Carolan is a renowned Irish dancer and choreographer. She has helped to popularize traditional Irish dancing world-wide.
  • Pádraic O'Carolan (1883-1960): O'Carolan was a respected Irish statesman and political leader during the early days of the Republic of Ireland.
  • Martina O'Carolan (1837-1924): O'Carolan was a pioneering writer and feminist during the 19th century.
  • Fionn O'Carolan (1959-present): O'Carolan is a well-known Irish musician, renowned for his fusion of traditional Irish folk music with modern-day jazz and contemporary genres.

Other surnames

O BoeyO BoweÓ CanainnO CarrollO ConaillÓ ConchobhairÓ CuinÓ CuinnÓ DaimhínÓ DálaighO DalyÓ DómhnaillÓ DonnchadhaÓ DubhdaraÓ DuibhínÓ DuibhirO DuireO DuvireÓ FeoreO FlanaganÓ FuereÓ FureyÓ FuryO GaraO GuineyO GuinidheO GuinyeO HanlonÓ HANNÁINO Hart

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