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Surname O'Neill - Meaning and Origin

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

The last name O'Neill is an Irish surname derived from the Gaelic “Ua Néill”, meaning “grandson or descendant of Neil”. The name Neil is thought to be derived from an ancient Celtic King of Ulster Niall of the Nine Hostages.

The O’Neill family is regarded as one of the most prominent Irish families, with many prominent leaders in Irish politics and culture emerging from their line. Their prominence stems from that of Niall of the Nine Hostages who is widely regarded as the ancestor of many of the high kings of Ireland.

The most famous of the O’Neill’s is Hugh O’Neill, who led the Irish in the fight for freedom against Queen Elizabeth I and her English armies in the 16th century. The O’Neill’s also had a strong presence during the 17th Century Confederate Wars, with prominent figures such as Owen Roe O’Neill leading the fight among the Irish.

The O’Neill’s were not only involved in political battles, but were also influential within the world of Irish literature, with writers such as Shane O’Neill making their mark.

The name O’Neill is still held in high regard today, with people of the family name living all over the world including Ireland, U.K, U.S.A, Canada, Australia etc. This Irish surname is widely known as a powerful and regal name associated with great leaders and thinkers.

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

The last name O'Neill is most commonly found in Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. It is particularly strongly associated with Ireland, as it is one of the most popular and recognizable surnames in that country.

O'Neill is an Irish surname of Gaelic and old Irish origin, and is derived from the native 'Ua Néill' clan, which was founded by the 10th century Irish High King Niall Noígíallach. The clan itself is divided into two main branches, one based in County Tyrone and the other based in County Offaly.

Today, O'Neill is a fairly common surname in the U.S. In 2000, there were around 11,664 individuals in the U.S. bearing the surname, the majority of them living in California. In the UK census of 2011, there were 1,791 individuals with this surname recorded, and in 2010, there were approximately 600 O'Neill's recorded in Canada.

O'Neill is also a popular surname in Australia, with the 2006 census of Australia recording 1,386 individuals with the last name. However, it is most strongly associated with Ireland, where there were approximately 10,846 individuals bearing the surname recorded in the 2011 census.

Variations of the surname O'Neill

The surname O'Neill is of Irish-Gaelic origin and is derived from the ancient Irish kings of Northern Ireland who were of the same name. Variants and spellings of the surname include O'Niel, O'Neall, O Neill, O'Neil, O Neale, and MacNeill.

The most common form of the surname is O'Neill which can trace its roots back to the ancestors of the modern-day Irish and Ulster-Scots of Northern Ireland, who have been using this surname for centuries.

Other variants of O'Neill include O'Niel, O'Neall, O Neill, O'Neil, O Neale, MacNeill, and Neilson. These names are more prevalent in Scotland, where the family migrated from the Ulster area. In the northeast of Scotland, O'Neill appears as the spelling of the surname, whereas in the southwest of Scotland, MacNeill is the predominant form.

All of these surnames are derivatives of the Irish-Gaelic O'Neill, and those with the surname, regardless of the variant spelling, can trace their roots back to a common ancestor in Irish history. For many people, O'Neill is the most recognizable variation, connoting wealth, power, and status.

Famous people with the name O'Neill

  • Jena O’Neill: Canadian actress
  • Robert O’Neill: US Navy Seal and Author
  • Rory O’Neill: Irish drag performer and LGBT activist
  • Rich O’Neill: Broadway actor
  • Virginia O’Neill: former US Figure Skating Champion
  • Tara O’Neill: Irish journalist
  • Charles O’Neill: Scottish footballer
  • Martin O’Neill: Irish football manager
  • Mike O’Neill: Canadian actor and musician
  • P. J. O’Neill: American historian
  • Roseanne O’Neill: US sculptor and suffragette
  • Edward O’Neill: US actor
  • Jody O’Neill: Yugoslavian model and influencer
  • Michael O’Neill: Northern Ireland football manager
  • Aiden O’Neill: Australian soccer player
  • Hayden O’Neill: British playwright and actor
  • Roisin O’Neill: Irish journalist and writer
  • Joe O’Neill: former American football player
  • John O’Neill: American author and musician
  • Eileen O’Neill: Irish politician

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