12 Smiling Irish Surnames You’ll Love

Cullen and Crosby, Finnegan and Farrell

For many decades, baby namers have had a mad romance with Irish family names. From Ryan to Riley to Rowan, Connor to Quinn, the US popularity rolls have been populated with cheery Irish surnames. Below are 12 of the many that embody that infectious Celtic charm—some of them new to the scene, others on their way up, and a few from the past that deserve a fresh look. By Linda Rosenkrantz

Though most of these names read boy, let’s not forget the female examples of Cassidy and Casey and Delaney and Murphy Brown, Tierney Sutton and Rooney Mara—that have gone to the other side!


A softer, cooler update of Brendan, Brennan entered the popularity list in 1966 and has now reached Number 446. Will Ferrell played a character named Brennan Huff in the film Step Brothers. It’s a common surname in Ireland, where the O’Brennans were chiefs of a large territory. William Brennan was a US Supreme Court justice.


Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


7 Responses to “12 Smiling Irish Surnames You’ll Love”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

maggiemary Says:

July 29th, 2016 at 11:50 am

I wouldn’t count Dennison as Irish, as it’s roots are Scottish. It’s widely found (as a surname) in Ireland, but not an Irish name.

isolieth Says:

July 29th, 2016 at 10:04 pm

Caveat for Ferrell: my aunt suggests it whenever someone’s pregnant in the family because it’s a family surname, but then I imagine the future introductions: “hi, I’m feral.” I cannot unheard the homophone even though I try!

Would love it on someone else’s child, but could never use it myself for that reason.

natasha8 Says:

July 30th, 2016 at 12:18 am

I love all these names. And I can add Cavanaugh. I met a woman working at Barnes & Noble with this name and I told her that I loved it. And I know another woman named ‘Guinness’. I told her when I met her that I loved her name also.

LoveBugsMama Says:

August 1st, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Wow! I never realized so many of my favorites are Irish surnames! All on my top 20 list: Callahan, Crosby, Cullen, Hayes & Sullivan. I also really like Brennan and Lennon. My area also seems to be drawn to Irish surnames as I know: Crosby, Phelan (girl), Phelan (boy), Finnegan, Curran and a middle name of Rafferty.

Haids1987 Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 9:03 am

These names are amazing. Plus, how cute are those kiddos in the photos? 🙂

ShadesOfScarlett Says:

August 4th, 2016 at 12:49 pm

Great list! And I absolutely love all the pictures of the red-headed babies!

michaelsebastianromeo Says:

August 29th, 2016 at 5:12 pm

All stunning, unique and strong names.

leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.