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Surname O'Carroll - Meaning and Origin

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

The last name O'Carroll is an Irish surname and is generally associated with the province of Munster. It is an ancient Gaelic surname, originating from Ui Cearbhaill, a native Irish dynasty located in the region, and is derived from the Gaelic Ó Cearbhaill, meaning “Descendant of Cearbhall”. The first-known recorded use of this name dates back to 1172, and is associated with a chieftain of the Ui Cearbhaill who died in the same year.

The O'Carroll family is one of the oldest and most established families in Ireland, having descended from the ancient Kings of Leinster. As staunch defenders of their ancestral land, the O'Carrolls used their chieftain power to protect their estates and were often involved in disagreements with the English colonization of Ireland. This led to an immense amount of internal political strife within the family and their domination of the region eventually came to an end in the 17th Century, when their power finally collapsed.

Throughout the centuries, the O'Carrolls have had many monumental achievements, including several prominent political figures and writers. The most famous of these is Count Jeremiah O'Carroll, who held a prestigious position in the Royal Courts of Great Britain during the 18th century. He was also responsible for the settlement of Chester County, Pennsylvania, and has continued to be an important figure in Irish and American history.

Today the O'Carroll surname is still widely used throughout the world, but especially in Ireland, where it reflects a long and storied tradition of noble leadership, loyalty, and strength of character. As such, it holds a special place in Irish hearts and minds, and is still seen as a mark of success and pride for many Irish people.

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

The last name O'Carroll is most common today in Ireland, where it is the 12th most common surname. This surname derives from the ancient Irish family of O’Carroll, a sept of Eile originating in County Offaly.

Arising in the aftermath of the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169, the possessions of the ancient Irish princes passed to a combination of the invading Normans and Gaelic families and clans across Ireland. These newly risen families, the O’Carrolls of Ely O’Carroll, were descendants of the Gaelic-Norman Carew family, originally from Wales.

Since then, the O'Carroll family has spread to many parts of the world due to increased migration. The name is particularly prevalent in Australia, where the O'Carrolls were among the first Irish settlers. In the United Kingdom, the O'Carrolls are particularly associated with the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, both places with strong ties to the Irish diaspora.

Within the United States, families of the name O’Carroll are most heavily concentrated in the Washington DC metro area, Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland, with significant numbers also present in Massachusetts, California and Florida.

Overall, the O'Carroll name is a widely spread one, with thousands, if not millions, living around the world today.

Variations of the surname O'Carroll

The surname O’Carroll may be spelled in several ways, such as O'Carroll, Ó Cearbhaill, O Carrol, O Carral, O'Carral, Ó Cearúl, and O'Cearúl. These variants have developed over time, based on different spelling conventions and variations of the local language and dialect.

The surname is an ancient Irish surname derived from the ancient Gaelic Ua Cearbhaill, meaning “Descendant of Cearbhaill.” The personal name Cearbhall, or Cearbhallain, is composed of the elements ceann, meaning “head” or “chief” and bhall, meaning “valor.” During the Middle Ages, this name was introduced to Scotland as the anglicized version of the Irish surname, and is still found as O'Carroll or Carral.

The surname is one of the “Twelve Tribes of Galway”, a group of the most prominent Hiberno-Norman families based in the city. The O’Carrolls were Lords of Ely (Eile) in County Offaly in central Ireland, and were branches of the oldest and most powerful dynasty of south Leinster.

Variants of the surname include Curral, Caryll, Cerul, Carrell, Carroll, and more. Anglicized versions of the surname, such as Caralis, Carrallis, Carallis, Correll, Carrol, Cavrell, and Mc-Carrol, can also be found. In Scotland, the surname may have been altered to MacCarroll or McCarvill.

Famous people with the name O'Carroll

  • Brendan O'Carroll: Comedian, writer, actor, and producer best known for his sitcom "Mrs. Brown's Boys".
  • Amanda O'Carroll: Irish lawyer, barrister, and former politician, serving as Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from 1994 to 1999.
  • Eoin O'Carroll: Irish writer, columnist and satirist; former editor-in-chief of Irish news website The Daily Edge.
  • Fidelma O'Carroll: Irish poet, songwriter, and novelist.
  • Mark O'Carroll: Irish chef, author and restaurateur.
  • Martina O'Carroll: Irish actress, best known for her role as Debbie in "Fair City".
  • Siobhan O'Carroll: Irish theatre producer, best known for producing "Macbeth" in the Royal National Theatre in London.
  • Emmet O'Carroll: Irish former professional footballer who played for the Republic of Ireland national team.
  • Malachy O'Carroll: Irish Gaelic footballer who won an All-Ireland Senior Football Championship medal in 1995.
  • Michael O'Carroll: Irish archaeologist, best known for his work on the Neolithic village of Skara Brae in the Orkney Islands.

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