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Surname O'Phelan - Meaning and Origin

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

The last name O’Phelan is an Irish surname originally derived from the ancient Gaelic name "O'Failin" meaning “descendant of Failin”. The O’Phelan surname is found predominantly in the south and western parts of Ireland like Munster and Connacht.

The name of “Failin” is derived from a legendary ancestor whose name was “Roth Failin”. This individual was a heroic prince and a member of the Red Branch Knights of Ulster in Irish mythology. He had mystical powers and was heralded for his courage and strength during countless battles. His name is mainly associated with the old Celtic world, particularly in the Ulster region.

The O’Phelan name is a proud part of Irish heritage and is considered an honor to most who carry it. It also serves as a reminder of the adventures and bravery of the Red Branch Knights of old. It is believed that the family of O’Phelan was well-to-do and had a large estate in parts of Kerry and Galway. The crest of the family also contains a sprig of holly, a reference to their ancient mythology and heroic ancestry.

Today, O’Phelan is still a well-established name in its native country and can be found amongst Irish-born people around the world. It is a powerful legacy that carries with it a long and proud history in the culture and mythology of the Emerald Island.

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

The last name O'Phelan is most commonly found in the south-west of Ireland today, particularly in counties Cork, Kerry, and Limerick. It is speculated that the name comes from the Irish name "Mac Fhaeláin", which translates to meaning "son of Phelan". The name Phelan is an anglicisation of the Gaelic "O' Faeláin", itself originating from "Faelán", which means "ruler".

At the time of the 1901 and 1911 censuses of Ireland, the O'Phelan was the 4th most commonly found surname in County Cork, with over 5,000 recorded positive instances. County Kerry and County Limerick also both had a comparatively high number of O'Phelan surnames, with over 3,000 and 1,500 positive instances respectively.

The surname has also spread in recent years, with the diaspora of Irish people from the south-west of the country leading to a marked increase in O'Phelans in countries such as America, Britain, and Canada.

In America, there are O'Phelan immigrants from a variety of different places. The ancestry website MyHeritage suggests that most can be traced back to Ireland, and it is estimated that there are over 28,000 individuals with the O'Phelan surname living in the United States. Similarly, the land-of-our-ancestors website reports that there are over 20,000 individuals with the surname O'Phelan living in the United Kingdom, whilst the Surname Database website details that there are around 2,000 O'Phelans living in Canada.

It thus emerges that, even though O'Phelan is still predominantly found in the south-west of Ireland, its owners have spread in recent times and the name can also be found in sufficiently high numbers in other countries.

Variations of the surname O'Phelan

The surname O'Phelan is derived from a Gaelic personal name, and is an anglicised version of the original Irish name Ó Péaláin. This surname is found predominantly in Ireland, as well as in other countries with Irish ancestry such as the UK, Australia, and the USA.

Variants of the surname O'Phelan include Phalen, Phealan, Phelan, Felan, Fillan, Finlan, Phalan, Pilon, and Polen. Spellings include O'Phelan, O Phealain, O'Fellan, O'Fhailain, O'Fhaolain, O'Fehilain, and O'Phelon.

Surnames of similar origins include O'Faolain, O'Laighin, O'Loinsigh, O'Riagain, and O'Riain, as well as other closely related names such as O'Flannagan, O'Flynn, and O'Rourke.

The O'Phelan surname continues to be a popular surname internationally, with many individuals that share this ancestry choosing to carry on the tradition. It is not uncommon to find members of the O'Phelan family across different countries today, and its variants are also found worldwide.

Famous people with the name O'Phelan

  • Bríd O’Phelan: Irish GAA scorer and RTÉ broadcaster
  • Andrew O’Phelan: Australian entrepreneur
  • Lave O'Phelan: Cape Town-based Afro-pop musician
  • Cherie O'Phelan: The Whitsundays based singer/songwriter
  • Jimmy O'Phelan: Irish politician
  • Katie O'Phelan: Irish singer/songwriter
  • Patricia O'Phelan: American businesswoman and former strategy executive
  • Siobhán O’Phelan: Irish actress and former beauty pageant winner
  • Richie O'Phelan: British broadcaster and radio presenter
  • Oonagh O'Phelan: Irish actress, comedian and writer.

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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