Irish Last Names Beginning With C (With Meanings)

Are you interested in the origins and meaning of an Irish last name that begins with C?

This article lists over one hundred Irish surnames that had birth registrations in early 20th century Ireland and also appear in the 2010 American census.

We’ll also give the origins and meanings of the most popular names.

Most Common Irish Surnames Starting With C

Let’s start with Irish names that had at least twenty-five thousand bearers in the U.S. census.

NameIrish Births 1923-322010  Census
Coleman958219,070
Carroll3,208134,317
Carr762119,076
Cannon36171,085
Casey2,11166,556
Carey1,16956,322
Conway1,23344,320
Coffey86436,423
Carney39832,897
Costello1,11932,043
Crowley1,22431,098
Connolly2,45429,710
Connor1,42729,346
Cassidy81726,590

Why take Irish birth registrations from 1923 to 1932?

The second column is the number of Irish birth registrations over a ten-year span starting in 1923.

The reason I chose that start date was that the Republic of Ireland was established the previous year. Starting in 1923 excluded birth locations in Northern Ireland.

Otherwise, the number of English and Scottish names would take longer to filter out of this list.

Origins And Meanings Of Irish Surnames Starting With C

Let’s run through the origins and meanings of these top names.

I’ve grouped them separately to how I ordered them by number in the list above. I’ve tried to put names with similar meanings and origins together.

If you would like to hear pronunciations of the Gaelic names mentioned below, they are in this quick video in the order of where they appear in this article.

Coleman

This is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Ó Colmáin. I explain “Anglicization” more fully in a later section.

Here, I’ll simply say that it’s a way of taking an old Gaelic surname and turning it into a name that sounds or seems English.

The “Ó” in Ó Colmáin means “descendant of”, so this name means the descendant of Colmán.

But who was Colman? Saint Columbanus (AD 513-615) was an Irish missionary who founded several monasteries in France and Italy.

bishop

Carroll

This is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic names Mac Cearbhaill or Ó Cearbhaill. “Mac” means son and we’ve already mentioned that “Ó” means a descendant.

Several different clans took this name. One was based in the kingdom of Éile, a territory with lands in what is now Tipperary and Offaly.

Cearbhall, the king of Éile in the early 11th century, led his clan in the Battle Of Clontarf in 1014.

Carr

This is an Anglicized form of several different Gaelic names. I’ll go with Ó Carra here, the descendants of Carra.

The meaning refers to a spear.

Cannon

This is one of those names that have different origins depending on the region.IItsprevalence in the United States may be due to the English name.

The Irish name is an Anglicization of the Gaelic name Ó Canann, or descendant of Cano.

The meaning of Cano comes from the Irish word for a wolf cub (cano).

Casey

This is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Ó Cathasaigh, or descendant of Cathasach.

The meaning comes from the Irish word for vigilance.

Carey

This is a name that has different origins depending on the region e.g. England or Wales.

The Irish name comes from the Gaelic name Ó Ciardha. The meaning comes from the Irish word for dark or swarthy (ciar).

Conway

Several different Gaelic names were Anglicized to Conway.

Two are based on the Irish word for a hound (con).

The Gaelic name Mac Conmidhe also gets Anglicized to McNamee, and this is what it sounds like. The meaning is “son of the hound of Meath”.

The Gaelic name Mac Conbuide also gets Anglicized to Conboy. The meaning of this name is “son of the yellow hound”.

Connolly

Irish Wolfhound

This is another name where the meaning of the starting syllable comes from the Irish word for a hound (con).

Connolly is the Anglicization of the Gaelic name Ó Conghaile, descendant of Conghal.

The meaning comes from the words for hound and for valiant (ghal). So, this is a descendant of the valiant hound.

Coffey

This name is an Anglicized form of several different Gaelic names.

To understand the meaning, sound out the first syllable without the “ff”. The Irish worth “cath” sounds like that (i.e. no consonant at the end of the sound), and it means a battle.

The second syllable in the Gaelic names can mean very different things:

  • Ó Cathbhadha: battle tent
  • Ó Cathbhuadhaigh: battle victorious
  • Ó Cathmhogha: battle slave

Carney

This is a variant of Kearney.

Both names come from the Gaelic name Ó Cearnaigh, or descendants of Cearnach.

The meaning comes from the Irish word for victorious.

Costello

This is the English form of the Gaelic name Mac Oisdealbhaigh, or son of Oisdealbhach.

The meaning comes from the Irish words for a fawn (oisín) and for “seeming like” (dealbhach). In other words, resembling a fawn (small deer).

Crowley

This is an Anglicization of the Gaelic name Ó Cruadhlaoich, or descendant of Cruadhlaoch.

The meaning comes from the Irish words for tough (cruadh) and for hero (laoch).

Connor (or O’Connor)

Connor is the shortened variant of O’Connor. Both names comes from the Gaelic name Ó Conchobhair, or descendant of Conchobhar.

Conchobhar is a personal name held by several different kings in Ulster and Connacht. Conchobhar mac Donnchada was a High King of Ireland in the early ninth century.

This is one of the most common names in Ireland. There were several powerful families across the land with this name.

Cassidy

This comes from the Gaelic name Ó Caiside, or descendant of Caiside.

The meaning comes from the word for curly-haired.

Curran

We’ve squeezed this one in as it had 24,969 bearers in the 2010 U.S. census, which is just below our 25K threshold.

Curran is an Anglicization of the Gaelic name Ó Corráin.

The syllable at the end makes this a diminutive of the word “corradh”, which refers to a spear.

More About The Anglicization Of Irish Surnames

You’ll find it easier to understand how Irish families changed their names with a bit more background.

The use of surnames in Ireland dates back to the tenth century. Children adopted the first name of their father and prefixed it with “Mac” or “O”, which means “son” and “descendent of”.

These names were in the Gaelic language.

In later centuries when Ireland was under British rule, the use of the Gaelic language was curbed.

This led to the Irish making their names look and sound more English i.e. Anglicization.

The simplest way was to drop the O and Mac in front of a name.

Another way was to pick the nearest sounding English name.

The third way was to pick an English name that has the same meaning as the Gaelic name. The two names may sound completely different.

Other Irish Last Names From 1923 To 1932

We’ve gone in detail into the meanings and origins of the most common Irish names in America.

Here is a summary of the rest of the names ordered by the numbers in the 2010 U.S. census.

10,000-25,000 bearers

The top name in this section is a variant of Connolly, which we covered earlier.

Connors is a variant of O’Connor or Connor, which we also covered.

NameIrish Births 1923-322010  Census
Connelly19723,398
Connell84522,552
Cahill1,28920,623
Cullen1,58820,000
Coyle69819,931
Connors54219,637
Cody17419,600
Cronin1,63119,078
Corley10117,931
Corcoran1,14017,607
Conroy89716,651
Clinton23216,263
Cleary1,19715,980
Craven7215,567
Coughlin6214,434
Coy2313,875
Condon54813,109
Clancy82612,556
Cooney76712,455
Curley35212,211
Carlin5912,035
Cotter56611,904
Coyne64611,525
Corrigan59011,396

4,000 to 10,000 bearers in the census

Some of these names are variants of more common names in Ireland. For example, Coen in Ireland can be a variant of Cowan.

I’m not suggesting that the numbers in the 2010 U.S. census come from Irish descent. Coen is also a name that has different origins in other regions.

NameIrish Births 1923-322010  Census
Curtin5949,513
Canty1008,047
Conlon6517,845
Cantwell2186,635
Carty4196,332
Carrigan716,290
Coffee46,223
Callaghan1,1136,191
Coakley1996,127
Carmody2475,688
Crone225,555
Cawley2545,451
Cashman2105,219
Cairns265,192
Carley674,880
Creed784,718
Callan2884,531
Cauley104,491
Coen1854,400
Clare764,309
Coss284,156
Cavanagh1974,086
Canning2264,033

From 2,000 to 4,000 bearers in the 2010 census

Colman, at the top of this list, is a variant of Coleman. We covered the latter name in detail in an earlier section.

NameIrish Births 1923-322010  Census
Colman193,916
Conwell183,839
Crotty2343,726
Cusack4483,704
Colgan2553,651
Collum293,568
Culley273,522
Canavan2593,290
Callen223,190
Crosson83,085
Caffrey3393,062
Corr1913,045
Corry1362,819
Considine2062,808
Coogan2172,748
Comerford3222,722
Cray42,719
Crimmins312,661
Coady1922,494
Carolan4662,468
Costigan1042,463
Connally322,451
Callanan2702,418
Cullinan1852,292
Concannon1772,277
Cronan122,215
Cuddy502,193
Conlan1752,141
Conboy1122,115
Culhane1322,076

From 1,000 to 2,000 bearers

Cambridge is a name in this list that may seem very English (with its association with the town and university).

But the Irish name is a phonetic Anglicization of Mac Ambróis.

NameIrish Births 1923-322010  Census
Coghlan2171,856
Cashin1211,854
Coughlan8121,798
Connery741,695
Cambridge241,602
Comiskey841,559
Condron1981,472
Clyne751,467
Corkery1221,433
Clune831,402
Convery51,391
Creedon1681,385
Crean2131,344
Cully961,337
Cullinane3001,336
Croghan571,273
Craney21,233
Culligan661,222
Coman111,221
Crossan721,191
Connaughton2091,151
Claffey1311,059

Seven hundred to one thousand bearers

NameIrish Births 1923-322010  Census
Cogley29980
Cashen31979
Clinch38971
Conry90938
Casserly132929
Crilly44926
Cloonan56907
Cadden33889
Cavey8856
Collopy60853
Colleran33852
Canney31846
Calnan61833
Carraher18827
Cryan101812
Creegan31792
Callery68782
Carvin3762
Conaty82749
Connick29746
Canny84734
Cregan123733
Carry61723
Cahalan43721
Culkin30716
Cush16712

Five hundred to seven hundred bearers

NameIrish Births 1923-322010  Census
Creagh85678
Cummiskey8668
Cagney73658
Carrig14644
Cuffe109643
Cafferty28639
Clavin60637
Cormican26628
Counihan89626
Cromie13624
Crehan100619
Culliton33613
Coonan42601
Calvey54592
Clerkin124590
Colfer83538
Cremin215529
Coone9504
Callinan105502
Cunnane101500

Two hundred to five hundred bearers

NameIrish Births 1923-322010  Census
Carrigg4492
Carragher55491
Cuddihy112482
Caslin26449
Cosgrave196441
Cunneen40428
Conneely565403
Culleton131397
Condren38386
Cloherty51382
Cahalane98364
Cullivan35364
Convey30358
Cunniffe122341
Cloney20339
Crummey2337
Clohessy84333
Cremins19321
Cashell19310
Clynes28304
Conmy20297
Caden17280
Clooney48276
Crahan6256
Camlin1255
Clabby25255
Cribbin48253
Carthy298234
Christle7232
Cashel4230
Creevy18226
Corboy19224
Cantillon84217
Cumiskey100216
Costelloe344215
Cowhig22202

One hundred to two hundred bearers

NameIrish Births 1923-322010  Census
Clougher2192
Corish38187
Carolin11178
Cahillane70173
Currid60172
Cranny63160
Cornyn28156
Cafferky69153
Clery74153
Colly1148
Creaney1140
Carstairs7129
Cahir24127
Creaven53125
Carabine10124
Colhoun37123
Clynch21119
Connellan20118
Currivan8118
Caplice5116
Crinion14116
Crinnion10116
Corbally54110
Confrey14108
Colohan21107
Croly10103
Cunnion14102

Index To Other Letters

Looking for lists related to other letters? Check these out:

ABCDE
FGHIJ
KLN
PQ
Index to Irish Last Names

Sources

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.