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Surname O'Farrelly - Meaning and Origin

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

The last name O’Farrelly is an Anglicized version of the Irish surname Ó Fionnghalaigh, which originated as an Irish Gaelic clan name meaning “descendant of Fionnghalach”.

The name Fionnghalach is made up of two Irish words: fionn, which means fair or white; and galaigh which means brave or a warrior. Therefore, the literal meaning of the surname O’Farrelly is “descendant of the white warrior.”

The O'Farrelly name can be found in all four provinces of Ireland and is most commonly seen in the Leinster area, particularly in the counties of Wexford and Wicklow. The name also has some presence in Northern Ireland.

The name O’Farrelly has also been found in countries around the world, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This likely reflects the diaspora of Irish immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The O’Farrelly name is steeped in Irish history and tradition and reflects the brave warriors and settlers of the past. The original Irish Gaelic is a clear reminder of the strength that the O’Farrelly family has kept through generations.

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

The last name O'Farrelly is a common surname throughout the world today, with over 2,000 people carrying the name according to one online source.

In Ireland, the O’Farrelly family is scattered across all the Irish provinces. The specific origins of the name O’Farrelly are unknown, though there is speculation that they descended from the O’Rafferty, a prominent family of the Kinel-Farrell of County Longford and even further back from Ui Neill clans in modern day County Monaghan.

The U.S. is said to have the largest population of O’Farrellys in the modern era, as many of the Irish immigrants that arrived during the Great Irish Famine of the mid-nineteenth century bore the name. The O'Farrelly name is particularly common in New York City, with several notable figures of Irish-American heritage born with the surname.

O’Farrelly families can also be found in parts of Europe, namely in England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands. In England, the surname is associated with pockets of Irish immigrants who fled their home country during the potato famine and before that, during the Cromwellian conquest of the late 1600s.

In Australia and New Zealand, the O’Farrelly name is visible with many people of Irish heritage finding their way to the Antipodes. Australians and New Zealanders with strong ties to Ireland keep this name alive in this part of the world today.

Variations of the surname O'Farrelly

The surname O’Farrell, also O’Farrelly, is an Irish surname with several variants and spellings, all of which originate from the same Gaelic root. The spelling “O’Farrelly” is one of the more common variant forms.

The origin of the surname comes from the Irish name O Fearghail, meaning “descendant of Fergal,” a personal name originating from the old Gaelic meaning "valorous."

Variants of this surname may include O'Farrell, O'Farrell, O'Farrill, O'Farral, O'Feral, O'Ferrel, Farrell, Ferrell, Fearallaigh, Farallaigh, Farileigh, Farlough, and Ferill.

The spelling variations of the O’Farrelly surname can also be attributed to a lack of a standardized spelling system and a language spoken mainly by illiterate people for centuries. Common misspellings have also contributed to the numerous variants of the O'Farrelly surname over time.

The surname O’Farrelly is most common in Ireland, with a significant presence in the United Kingdom and the United States. It should be noted that many of the variants and spellings of this surname are found outside of Ireland in the countries of Scotland, Canada, Australia, and even South Africa.

In conclusion, the O’Farrelly surname is one of the oldest and most widespread Irish surnames, and is found in many variants and spellings. Each variation originates from the same Gaelic root, and various spellings are a result of language development, lack of standardized spellings, and common misspellings.

Famous people with the name O'Farrelly

  • Gary O’Farrell: British politician
  • Vinny O’Farrell: American baseball player
  • Matthew O’Farrell: American Lawyer and former politician
  • Peter O’Farrell: Australian politician
  • Desmond O’Farrell: Australian artist and illustrator
  • Rae O'Farrell: a finalist on the TV show Big Brother Australia
  • Tara O’Farrell: British stage actress
  • James O’Farrell: Irish writer
  • W. J. O’Farrell: Canadian writer and poet
  • Declan O’Farrell: Singer/songwriter
  • Mary O’Farrell: Irish children’s author
  • Niamh O’Farrell: Irish actress, presenter, and radio DJ

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Comments or additions to the name "O'Farrelly"

I suggest you check your sources. There are a whole lot of Farrellys in the Cavan and Meath counties, counties in the republic. My grandfather came from Mullagh, Co. Cavan and they were associated with Drumlane Monastery, Co Cavan from the 10th century to the destruction of the monastery in the 16th century. My forebears used the family name O' Faircheallaigh, a name having to do with their ecclesiastical roles in the monastery.

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