Popular Irish Last Names Starting With M

Ireland is known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and unique names. When it comes to Irish last names, they often carry a deep meaning and a connection to the country’s heritage. One letter that is commonly found at the beginning of many Irish surnames is “M.” Let’s explore some of the popular Irish last names starting with M.

1. McCarthy: Derived from the Irish name Mac Carthaigh, McCarthy is a well-known surname in Ireland. It originated from the ancient kingdom of Desmond and has a strong association with the region of Munster. The name means “loving” or “charitable,” reflecting the values of the McCarthy clan.

2. Murphy: One of the most common Irish surnames, Murphy is of Gaelic origin and derives from the name Ó Murchadha, meaning “descendant of Murchadh.” Murchadh means “sea warrior,” which explains the significance of the name in Irish history. Murphys are often associated with County Cork in Munster.

3. Madden: This Irish last name has a fascinating history and can be traced back to the time of the ancient Gaelic clans. “Madden” comes from the Irish name Ó Madáin, which means “son of the hound.” The name reflects the nobility and courage associated with the Irish clans, making it a popular choice for many families.

4. MacDermott: MacDermott is an authentic Irish last name that originated from the Clan MacDermot in County Roscommon. The name translates to “son of Diarmaid,” with Diarmaid meaning “without enemy.” The MacDermott clan was known for its loyalty, and their name continues to be a point of pride for many Irish families.

5. Monaghan: Another Irish last name starting with M is Monaghan. It is derived from the Gaelic name Ó Manacháin, which means “descendant of the monk.” This surname is associated with County Monaghan in Ulster and has deep roots in Irish history and tradition.

These are just a few examples of the popular Irish last names starting with M. Each name carries a unique story and reflects the rich cultural heritage of Ireland. Whether you have Irish ancestry or simply appreciate the beauty of Irish names, exploring these surnames can provide a fascinating glimpse into Irish history and tradition.


McGowan is an Irish last name that originated from the Gaelic Mac Gabhann, meaning “son of the smith”. The surname is commonly found in County Donegal in the northwest of Ireland.

The McGowans are known for their skill in metalworking and blacksmithing. They were highly respected in their communities for their craftsmanship and were often sought after to create tools and weapons.

Throughout history, many McGowans have migrated to other parts of the world, particularly to the United States. The name has become quite common among the Irish diaspora, especially in areas with large Irish American populations.

Notable individuals with the last name McGowan include actress Rose McGowan, known for her roles in films such as “Scream” and “Charmed”, and Brian McGowan, an Irish footballer who played for Manchester United and the Republic of Ireland national team.

Famous McGowans
Rose McGowan
Brian McGowan

The McGowan name has a strong presence in Irish history and continues to be an important part of Irish identity and heritage.


The Murphy surname is one of the most common and well-known Irish last names. It is derived from the Gaelic personal name “Murchadh”, meaning “sea warrior”. The name is most commonly associated with County Cork, where the Murphy clan has its ancestral roots.

The Murphys have a rich history in Ireland and have been prominent in a variety of fields. They have produced notable figures in politics, sports, and the arts. Some well-known individuals with the Murphy surname include:

1. Famous actor Cillian Murphy, known for his roles in movies such as “28 Days Later”, “Inception”, and the “Dark Knight” trilogy.
2. Renowned playwright and screenwriter Enda Walsh, whose works include the Tony Award-winning play “Once” and the movie “Hunger”.
3. Irish footballer Seamus Coleman, who currently plays as a right-back for Premier League club Everton and the Republic of Ireland national team.

The Murphy name has spread beyond Ireland, with many individuals with this last name residing in countries such as the United States, Canada, and Australia. It continues to be a popular surname today.


Moran is a popular Irish last name that originated in County Mayo. The name derives from the Gaelic word “móradh,” which means “great” or “big”. The O’Morain and MacMoran are some of the variations of the name.

The Morans have a strong presence in Irish history and have made significant contributions to various fields. Many Morans have excelled in arts, sports, business, and politics. Notable Morans include the renowned musician Mairtin O’Connor, the professional rugby player Rob Kearney, and the former politician Mary Moran.

The Moran clan has a deep sense of family pride and loyalty, and they are known for their strong work ethic and determination. They take great pride in their Irish heritage and are often associated with qualities such as resilience, resourcefulness, and hospitality.

Today, the name Moran is widespread not only in Ireland but also in other parts of the world where Irish immigrants have settled. If you come across someone with the last name Moran, it is highly likely that they have Irish roots.

Overall, the name Moran carries a rich history and symbolizes the strength and resilience of the Irish people.


McCarthy is a popular Irish surname that originated in County Cork. It is derived from the Irish Gaelic name Mac Cárthaigh, which means “son of Cárthach.” Cárthach is an old Irish personal name that is believed to mean “loving” or “kind-hearted.”

The McCarthy family has a rich and ancient history in Ireland. They were originally a prominent clan and ruled over a large territory in County Cork, known as the Kingdom of Desmond. The McCarthy clan played a significant role in Irish history, especially during the medieval period.

Many notable individuals with the surname McCarthy have made their mark in various fields. Some famous McCarthys include:

  • Joseph McCarthy – a US senator known for his anti-communist stance during the Cold War era.
  • Cormac McCarthy – a renowned American novelist, best known for his books “No Country for Old Men” and “The Road.”
  • Andrew McCarthy – an American actor and director, famous for his roles in movies such as “Pretty in Pink” and “St. Elmo’s Fire.”

Today, the surname McCarthy is still common both in Ireland and among the Irish diaspora. It is a proud symbol of Irish heritage and represents a connection to the country’s rich history and culture.


Maloney is a common Irish surname that originated in County Clare. The name is an anglicized form of the Irish Gaelic surname Ó Maol Dhomhnaigh, which means “descendant of the devotee of the Church.” The prefix “Ó” indicates “descendant of,” while “Maol Dhomhnaigh” comes from “maol,” meaning “the devotee,” and “domhnach,” meaning “church.”

The Maloney family is believed to have ancient origins in Ireland, with records dating back to the 14th century. The name was historically associated with County Clare, where the family held a prominent position and owned extensive lands.

Over time, members of the Maloney family migrated to other parts of Ireland and to other countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Today, Maloney is a popular surname found among the Irish diaspora.

Individuals with the last name Maloney have made various contributions in different fields. Some notable figures include Joseph Maloney, an Irish politician; Robert J. Maloney, an American actor; and Michael Maloney, a British actor. The name Maloney continues to be passed down through generations, keeping the family’s Irish heritage alive.


Murray is a popular Irish last name that originated from the Gaelic surname Ó Muireadhaigh, which means “descendant of Muireadhach”. This name is derived from the Irish word “muir”, which means “sea”, and “eadaigh”, meaning “clothing” or “armor”. It is believed that the name was originally given to those who lived near or had a connection to the sea.

The Murray clan has a long history in Ireland and is associated with the province of Ulster. Over time, the name has spread throughout the country and beyond, with many Murrays being found in other parts of the world, particularly in Scotland.

Throughout history, the Murrays have been known for their strong and brave nature. They have played important roles in Irish society, particularly in areas such as politics, military, and arts. Famous Murrays include journalist Ian Murray, golfer Colin Montgomerie, and author Paul Murray.

Today, the name Murray continues to be a popular choice for Irish families. It is a name that carries a sense of pride and heritage, representing the resilience and strength of the Irish people.


The surname Marshall is of English and Scottish origin, but it can also be found among Irish families. The name derives from the Old French word “mareschal,” meaning “horse servant” or “steward.” In medieval times, a marshal was someone who oversaw the care and training of horses. As a result, the surname Marshall was often given to those who worked in a position of authority, such as a steward or an officer.

In Ireland, the name Marshall can be found primarily in Ulster, particularly in counties Down and Antrim. It is believed that many Marshalls in Ireland are descendants of Scottish settlers who arrived during the Plantation of Ulster in the 17th century. Over time, the name has become anglicized in the Irish context.

Some well-known individuals with the surname Marshall include John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States, and Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice. While these individuals are not of Irish descent, their prominence serves as a testament to the widespread use of the surname Marshall.

If you have the surname Marshall and are interested in tracing your Irish roots, genealogical research can provide insights into your family history. Exploring records such as birth, marriage, and death certificates, as well as census data and immigration records, can help uncover information about your ancestors and their migration to Ireland.

Variant Spelling
1. Marshall
2. Marshal
3. Marshel


McDonnell is an Irish last name that originated from the Gaelic name “Mac Domhnaill.” The name is derived from the Old Irish words “mac,” meaning “son,” and “Domhnall,” meaning “world ruler” or “ruler of the world.”

The McDonnell family is believed to have descended from the Ui Neill dynasty in Ireland and played a prominent role in Irish history. They were known for their military prowess and were often involved in battles to protect their homeland.

Many McDonnells emigrated from Ireland during the Great Famine in the 19th century, seeking better opportunities in countries like the United States, Canada, and Australia. Today, the McDonnell name can be found all over the world, particularly in these countries.

Notable individuals with the last name McDonnell include:

  • John McDonnell: An Irish-born politician who served as the Member of Parliament for Hayes and Harlington
  • Christie McDonnell: An Irish singer and songwriter known for her traditional Irish folk music
  • Robert McDonnell: A former governor of Virginia, United States

The McDonnell family name is a proud symbol of Irish heritage and is often associated with qualities such as strength, leadership, and resilience.

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