From the experts:
Phelan, pronounced FAY-lan or FEE-lan, is an appealing Irish surname name, with a rich history in Irish myth and religious and secular life. One bearer was a fiercely loyal follower of the legendary warrior Finn MacCool, another was a missionary saint.
The first name Phelan figures in an O'Henry story, "Between Rounds"; and in The Help, Skeeter's surname is Phelan. In Irish, the name is spelled Faolan.