Celtic Jewelry, Celtic Legends, Interesting Stories, Ireland, Irish Jewelry, Irish Traditions

The Irish Harp: The True Emblem of Ireland

Most people if asked what is the symbol of Ireland would probably answer the shamrock. But they would absolutely be wrong. The true symbol of Ireland is the ancient Irish harp.

The Irish Harp Pendant by The Irish Jewelry Company

The National Symbol of Ireland

The Irish Harp is the national symbol of Ireland. The traditional instrument is featured on Irish coins, the Presidential Seal, the Irish passport and the Irish coat of arms. Scholars have found that the Irish harp’s popularity with the Irish people dates back to the 1500’s. However the Irish Harp can only be considered the national symbol of Ireland when it’s in ‘left facing’ form.

Only a left facing harp is the registered symbol of Ireland, why is that you ask? Blame that beloved Irish beverage company Guinness. In 1922, when Irish officials tried to register the harp as the national trademark, they were advised it could only register the rights to a left facing harp because Guinness had already registered a right facing harp as the Guinness mark and had been trading under it since 1862!

Irish Brooch by The Irish Jewelry Company

The Celtic Harp

The Celtic harp is a wire strung instrument with a triangular frame. The Celtic harp also known as the Irish Harp is traditional to Ireland and Scotland. It is known as cláirseach in Irish Gaelic and clàrsach in Scottish Gaelic. The Celtic harp is an ancient instrument associated with the ruling class and required skill and much practice to play.

The Royal Harp for for an Irish King

Trinity College’s Trinity Harp

Ireland’s national emblem is actually based on the Brian Boru Harp. Irish legend says Brian Boru played the harp the night before the Battle of Clontarf. This Irish harp is also known as the Trinity Harp, and is on display in Trinity College Dublin’s Long Room. You know the place. Its the beautifully dramatic old library of Trinity College that holds a collection of 200,000 the oldest books with the gorgeous barrel ceiling used in numerous movie scenes.

Celtic Legends, Ireland, Irish Wit & Wisdom

Six Fascinating Mysterious Celtic Women of Irish Folklore

Mysterious Celtic woman

Ancient Irish folklore has many stories of beautiful and strong Irish women of the past. Celtic women have often been depicted as holding positions of great importance, and highly valued in a very male dominated Celtic tribal society. Irish women have been venerated as a goddesses, saints, as warriors even royalty and at the same time they have been portrayed as someone to fear. I am sure the truth about ancient Irish women in Irish mythology and folklore lies somewhere between fantasy and reality.   

Grace O’Malley, the 16th Century Pirate Queen of Ireland…

Grace O’Malley was born in Ireland in around 1530. She was the daughter of Owen O’Malley. O’Malley was a wealthy nobleman and sea trader. When O’Malley died Grace inherited his large shipping and trading business. Grace O’Malley commanded a dozen ships and thousands of men. Grace’s vast empire of ships stretched from Connaught on the Irish coast to Africa. Through the daring of her piracy, Grace nearly bankrupted the English treasury-and her outright defiance brought embarrassment to Queen Elizabeth I.

International Talk Like a Pirate Day or ITLAPD is on September 19. It is a parodic holiday created in 1995 by John Baur (Ol’ Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap’n Slappy), of Albany, Oregon, U.S. Remember Grace O’Malley on September 19th, International Talk Like a Pirate Day and give her an Arghhhh!

Aoife, the Wife of King Lir and the Children of Lir….

The Children of Lir… Long ago there lived a King named Lir who lived with his four children, Fionnuale, Aodh, Fiachra and Conn and his beloved wife who would son die. After grieving for his wife King Lir married Aoife. Aoife was very jealous of King Lir’s love for his four children. She used her magic to turn the children into swans. As swans they were condemned to spend 300 years at Lough Derravaragh, 300 years at the Sea of Moye and 300 years on the waters of Irrus Domann. The only way to break the spell was a blessing from a monk. Finally, after 900 years of suffering they heard church bells and returned to shore. There the spell was finally broke by St. Patrick. Unfortunately, they were so old they died soon after the spell was broken and joined their parents in heaven. The story of the Children of Lir is one about the strength of the parental child bond.

The Legendary Irish Princess Isolde …

The Irish princess, Iseult of Ireland (also Iseult La Belle or Iseult la Blonde, “Iseult the Fair”), is the daughter of King Anguish of Ireland and Queen Iseult the Elder. She is a main character in the Tristan poems of Béroul, Thomas of Britain, and Gottfried von Strassburg and in the opera Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner. Iseult is first seen as a young Irish princess who heals Tristan from his wounds.

According to Arthurian legend, Iseult (also “Isolde”) was the adulterous lover of Sir Tristan. Sir Tristan was a handsome Knight of the Round Table. Iseult was an Irish Princess who fell hopelessly in love with Tristan. But Sir Tristan was sent on behalf the King of Cornwall to win Iseult’s hand in marriage for King Mark of Cornwall. This romantic tragedy was used as the basis of “Tristan and Isolde” by Richard Wagner, an acclaimed opera.

The Banshee …

The Banshee, bean-sidhe (woman of the fairy may be an ancestral spirit appointed to forewarn members of certain ancient Irish families of their time of death. According to tradition, the banshee can only cry for five major Irish families: the O’Neills, the O’Briens, the O’Connors, the O’Gradys and the Kavanaghs. Intermarriage has since extended this select list.


Whatever her origins, the banshee chiefly appears in one of three guises: a young woman, a stately matron, or a raddled old hag. These represent the triple aspects of the Celtic goddess of war and death, namely Badhbh, Macha and Mor-Rioghain.) She usually wears either a grey, hooded cloak or the winding sheet or grave robe of the unshriven dead. She may also appear as a washerwoman and is seen apparently washing the blood-stained clothes of those who are about to die. In this guise she is known as the bean-nighe (washing woman).
Although not always seen, her mourning call is heard, usually at night when someone is about to die.

The Two Brigids; the Saint and the Goddess

Saint Brigid – The Patron Saint of Ireland …

Saint Brigid was born Brigit, and shares her name with a Celtic goddess from whom many legends and folk customs are associated. St. Brigid, also known as “Mary of the Gael“, is a patroness Saint of Ireland. Born the daughter of a powerful Irish Chieftain St. Bridget or also spelled Brigid became a nun completely devoted to relieving the misery and hardship of the poor.

The Saint Brigid’s Cross

The traditional woven cross is said to have originated during a visit St. Bridget made to a dying Chieftain in which she wove it from rushes on the floor to show the significance of Christian faith. The woven rush cross has become synonymous with St. Bridget known as the Saint Brigid’s Cross.

Saint Brigid is also the Patron Saint of the LAOH. The LAOH stand for THE LADIES ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS. The Ancient Order of Hibernians is an Irish order, and it was organized in The United States of America in New York City in the year of 1836. Her feast day, known as St. Brigid’s day is February first.

Celtic Goddess Brigid…

The Celtic Goddess Brigid is an Irish goddess of spring, dating back to pre- Christian Ireland.  She is a venerated deity whose name means exalted one derived from ancient Gaelic word brig.  Her name is also said as Brighid or Brighit. Brigid is the daughter of the Dagda, and therefore one of the Tuatha de Dannan. The Tuatha Dé Danann, the people of the Goddess Danu, also known by the earlier name Tuath Dé “tribe of the gods”, were one of the great ancient tribes of Ireland. She is known as the Goddess of Healers, Poets, Smiths, Childbirth, and is the Inspiration for the Goddess of Fire and Hearth and a patron of warfare or Briga. Brigid said to be gentle, yet she is extraordinarily strong and stern.  

Celtic Holidays, Ireland, Irish Christmas, Irish Traditions

The Day Of The Wren Known as St Stephen’s Day

Straw Boys

One of Ireland’s unique and darker traditions, celebrated on December 26th, relates to killing a small bird in revenge for betraying St Stephen.
“Hunting the Wren” is an Irish tradition that is believed to pre-date Christian times. It sounds pretty cruel, where basically the tiny bird is captured, killed and tied to a pole. Local musicians and dancers would then dress in garish disguises and go house to house collecting money, food and drink for a party. Woe betide the house that did not donate to the cause – the wren could be buried outside their door which would bring 12 months of bad luck!

St Stephen


King of the Birds or Traitor of Saints??
The wren is considered the ‘King of the Birds’ and is also associated with the old year. It was said that capturing the bird alive would herald in a new and prosperous year. As the king of the birds the wren occupied a prominent position in the druidic pagan religion. Sailors and fishermen believed that those who possessed a wren feather would never be shipwrecked.

Legend has it that the wren was a small feathered traitor, but legend cannot agree if this dubious reputation was earned by betraying a saint’s hiding place, ruining a secret attack by Irish warriors or by being a fairy seductress – all intriguing in their own right.
One version of the story tells that St Stephen was hiding in a bush from his enemies, only for his hiding to be revealed by the chattering of a wren. Another maintains that in the 700s during the Viking troubles, when Irish warriors crept up on the Danes to attack, a little wren beat out a warning by picking crumbs from the drum held by a sleeping Viking. And lastly, there was a fairy woman called Cliona was in the habit of luring local men to a watery grave. She had the power to turn herself into, you’ve guessed it, a wren.

the wren

An Irish St. Stephen’s Day Tradition
The feast of St. Stephen, who was the first Christian martyr, is celebrated on December 26th. Connecting the Wren Boys ritual (Lá an Dreoilín) as the day when the traitor wren betrayed St. Stephen is a good example of how Ireland’s pagan traditions were merged with Christianity (it also happened with St Brigid)

The Wren, the Wren the king of all birds,
St. Stephens’s day, he was caught in the furze.
Although he is little, his honour is great,
Rise up, kind sir, and give us a trate.

We followed this Wren ten miles or more
Through hedges and ditches and heaps of snow,
We up with our wattles and gave him a fall
And brought him here to show you all.

For we are the boys that came your way
To bury the Wren on Saint Stephens’s Day,
So up with the kettle and down with the pan!
Give us some help for to bury the Wren!

Modern Revival
Nowadays, a more humane Wren Boys is still practiced in mainly rural areas, they don’t kill the wren anymore, thank goodness. The tradition consists of “hunting” a fake wren, and putting it on top of a decorated pole. Crowds of mummers or straw boys celebrate the wren by dressing up in masks, straw suits and colorful motley clothing and, accompanied by céilí music bands, parade through the towns and villages. A celebration is still held around the decorated pole and the money that is collected from the townspeople is now donated to a school or charity.

Cautionary word of warning to all wrens – a wren’s feather is still thought to bring good luck, so maybe lie low around Christmas time…

Shop Irish at The Irish Jewelry Company and learn more about Irish traditions.

Celtic Legends, Claddagh Rings, Ireland, Irish Jewelry, Irish Traditions

The Romantic Story of the Claddagh Ring an Irish Symbol of Love, Loyalty and Friendship

Panorama of the Claddagh in Galway city, Ireland.

The Claddagh ring is a famous Irish ring with a love story that transcends time. The story of the Claddagh Ring is one of enduring love that began long, long ago in 1675 in the small fishing village of Claddagh in County Galway, Ireland. It all began when a young lad by the name Richard Joyce. The Joyce family is one of the famous Tribes of Galway. An Irish fisherman who was very much in love with an enchanting Irish lass he was hoping to one day betroth. Unfortunately he was captured at sea by pirates from Algeria. The wicked pirates sold Richard Joyce for a hefty sum into slavery. As luck would have it in an Irish sort of way Richard Joyce was sold to a Moorish goldsmith who taught him in his highly skilled craft to be an accomplished goldsmith. So impressed with his skill his captor made him his apprentice.

It is said it was during his time of servitude that he saved tiny scraps of metal and created the claddagh ring for his love whom he hoped had waited for him. Thus the claddagh ring was born.

The claddagh ring is a type of fede ring from Roman times. A fede ring is one with two hands holding a heart to symbolize friendship and love. Richard Joyce added the crown to the design to symbolize his eternal loyalty to his true love.

In 1689 the King of England, William the Third persuaded the Algerians to release all enslaved subjects. Soon Richard Joyce was able to return to Ireland and the tiny fishing village of Claddagh to be reunited with family and friends. To his joy he soon discovered after all his years of servitude his true love had waited for his to return.

And just like that with a few hundred years of embellishment and a wee bit of the telephone game at play the romantic story of the Claddagh Ring was born. Now there are several variation’s of the claddagh ring legend but we think this version of the myth is most recognizable world wide. There are even more variations on the Claddagh ring design. Some early designs from over 200 years ago depict the claddagh with a narrow or slender heart. Other older design depict the hands as more pronounced and firmly grabbing the heart.

Today there are many interpretations of the beloved Claddagh Ring design that began in the 1600’s. Reputable online Irish jewelers like The Irish Jewelry Company, world famous for their unique Irish jewelry and Claddagh Rings offer a huge selection to choose from. There are Celtic Knot Claddagh Rings, Trinity Claddagh RingsIrish Claddagh RingsMothers Claddagh Rings and so much more just to name a few.

The romantic Irish Claddagh ring design that can be expressed in so many different ways. Which one of our Claddagh rings is just right for you?

Celtic Holidays, Celtic Jewelry, Ireland, Irish Christmas, Irish Jewelry

Irish Christmas Gift Guide

Shop fabulous Irish Christmas Gifts from The Irish Jewelry Company

The Christmas Season in Ireland is a special time to celebrate faith and show our loved ones at home and afar how much you care. Celebrate the Christmas season in style with our stunning range of Irish Christmas gifts and Irish Jewelry for Christmas at The Irish Jewelry Company. Surprise delighted friends and family with an Irish Christmas Gift of quality and distinction delivered directly to their door anywhere in the world.

Irish Christmas Ornaments & Irish Christmas Gifts

Treat yourself or a loved one to a beautiful Irish Christmas gift this Christmas. Whether home or abroad we can deliver the perfect Irish Christmas gift worldwide. They offer an extensive range of Irish Christmas ornaments, nativity sets, Irish angel figurines & much much more.

Irish Christmas Gifts and Traditions

Like most countries, Ireland has many of it’s own special Irish Christmas traditions. Ireland’s Christmas traditions that have survived to modern times are steeped in Celtic culture and religious faith. Irish Christmas Traditions like placing a candle in the window, having Christmas Plum Pudding or placing holiday crackers a small Irish Christmas Gift at each placing at the Christmas table are traditions still carried on today.

Last Minute Irish Stocking Stuffers and unique little Irish gifts for all the stockings you need to stuff this Christmas! Tiny Irish Gifts, cute enough to impress but not break the bank.

Mens Claddagh Necklace

Christmas is a special time to celebrate and show that special loved one at home and afar how much you appreciate and love them. What better little gift than a peice of jewelry in someone specials stocking. Celebrate the Christmas season in style with our stunning range of Irish Jewelry Christmas gifts and Celtic Jewelry for Christmas at The Irish Jewelry Company.

Surprise delighted friends and family with an Irish Christmas Gift of quality authentic Irish jewelry delivered directly to their door anywhere in the world.

Irish or not, if you want to give an Irish Gift for Christmas as a token of your friendship, love and loyalty that has meaning, the Claddagh rings may be the choice for you. Claddagh rings, are often mistakenly spelt Clatter Ring or Clodagh Ring, like it sounds (Irish: fáinne Chladaigh) is a traditional Irish ring. The Claddagh ring means eternal love, loyalty, and friendship. Claddagh rings consists of a heart with a crown held by two hands symbolizing love, loyalty and friendship. Claddagh Rings have become a world renowned symbol of love.

Interesting Stories, Ireland, Irish Traditions, Irish Wit & Wisdom, News

Popular Irish Surnames, Gaelic Spelling and Meaning

Did you know that Ireland, the beautiful emerald isle, was one of the very first countries to adopt the use of surnames or better yet Irish surnames? Many the Irish surnames of come from the reign of Brian Boru and the clans of that time. Brian Boru was the High King of Ireland who was defeated protecting Ireland from a Vikings invasion.

Like many surnames, Irish surnames were started to identify a son separately from his father or a grandson from his grandfather but from them. Irish surnames you are familiar with like Murphy, Sweeny, Ryan, etc. come from the culture of the Gaels. The Celts that populated Ireland (and ultimately Scotland and the Isle of Man). The Gaels sailed from Iberia to Ireland. A group of kin or family in the Gaelic culture is known as a clan. The unique Gaelic (Gaedhilge) languages fall under the Celtic languages. Gaelic languages are considered endangered today. Gaelic is the language of ancient Ireland and the dialects that have established it, particularly those commonly recognized as Irish. Popular Gaelic phrases you might be familiar with are máthair meaning mother, mo anam cara meaning soul mate or sláinte meaning cheers. These Irish phrases have been popularized by Irish Jewelry and Celtic Jewelry inspired by their meaning.  

Gaelic or Irish surnames are “patronymics” which means, they indicate patrilineal descent such as “son of “. Frequently the Irish and Scottish used Gaelic prefixes with Irish surname meanings. Prefixes such as Mac or Mc, which is the Gaelic word for “son”. So, for the son Mac was attached to the father’s name or trade. Likewise, O is a word all by itself in Gaelic, for “grandson” when used before a grandfather’s name or trade. As Gaelic names became Anglicized, by the English sometimes they lost their prefixes:

List of popular Irish Surnames and Irish Surname Meaning

Brennan

This Irish surname was prevalent, settling in Fermanagh, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, and Westmeath. The Brennan surname in Ireland is now mostly found in County Sligo and the province of Leinster.

Irish spelling: Ó Braonáin/Ó Branáin
Meaning: Ó Braonáin means of the droplet while Ó Branáin means of the raven.

Brown or Browne

Common in both England and Ireland, the Irish Brown families are most found in the province of Connacht (specifically Galway and Mayo), as well as Kerry.

Meaning: It denotes the brown complexion of the skin or brown hair color.

Boyle

The O Boyles were chieftains in Donegal, ruling west Ulster with the O Donnells and the O Doughertys. Boyle descendants can also be found in Kildare and Offaly.

Irish spelling: Ó Baoill
Meaning: Vain pledge.

Burke

The Norman last name Burke originated from the borough of Caen in Normandy (de burg means “of the borough”). The Burkes have been in Ireland since the 12th century, settling mainly in the province of Connacht.

Meaning: refers to a ‘fortress’ or ‘castle.’

Byrne / Burns

The O Byrne (Ó Broin) family originally came from Kildare, until the Anglo-Normans arrived, and they were driven south to the Wicklow mountains. The Byrne surname is still quite common in Wicklow, as well as Dublin and Louth.

Irish spelling: O’Byrne’ or ‘Ó Broin

Meaning: descendant of Bran’ where Bran refers to a ‘raven

Callaghan

The Callaghans were a powerful family in the province of Munster. Individuals with the Irish surname Callaghan (also spelled Callahan) are most numerous in Clare and Cork.

Irish spelling: Ó Ceallacháin
Meaning: the Eoghanacht, descent from Ceallachan

Campbell

Campbell families are very prevalent in Donegal (most are descended from Scottish mercenary soldiers), as well as in Cavan. Campbell is a descriptive surname meaning “crooked mouth.”

Irish spelling: Mac Cailein
Meaning: Scottish Gaelic words referring to crooked mouth’ or ‘wry-mouthed

Carroll

The Carroll surname (and variants such as O’Carroll) can be found throughout Ireland, including Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Kerry, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan, and Offaly. There is also a MacCarroll family (anglicized to MacCarvill) from the province of Ulster.

Irish spelling:  Ó Cearbhaill

Meaning: hacking with a weapon

Clark(e)

One of the oldest surnames in Ireland, the O Clery surname (anglicized to Clarke) is most prevalent in Cavan.

Irish spelling: Ó Cleireigh(Clery)

Meaning: ‘clergy’ or ‘priest

Collins

The common Irish surname Collins originated in Limerick, though after the Norman invasion they fled to Cork. There are also Collin families from the province of Ulster, most of whom were probably English.

Irish spelling: Ó Coileáin
Meaning: Descendent of the young warrior/hound.

Connell / O’Connell

Three distinct O Connell clans, located in the provinces of Connacht, Ulster, and Munster, are the originators of many of the Connell families in Clare, Galway, Kerry.

Irish spelling:  Ó Conaill

Connolly

Originally an Irish clan from Galway, the Connolly families settled in Cork, Meath, and Monaghan.

Irish spelling: Ó Coingheallaigh

Meaning: nickname for ‘someone as valiant as a wolf’ and later evolved as a last name in Ireland.

Connor

In Irish Ó Conchobhair or Ó Conchúir, the Connor last name means “hero or champion.” The O Connor family was one of three royal Irish families; they are from Clare, Derry, Galway, Kerry, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo and the province of Ulster.

Irish spelling: Conchobhair

Meaning: Old Irish and means a ‘wolf’ or a ‘hound dog

Daly

The Irish Ó Dálaigh comes from dáil, meaning a place of assembly. Individuals with the Daly surname hail primarily from Clare, Cork, Galway, and Westmeath.

Irish spelling: Ó Dálaigh
Meaning: Of the assembly.

Doherty / Daugherty

The name in Irish (Ó Dochartaigh) means obstructive or hurtful. In the 4th century, the Dohertys settled around the Inishowen peninsula in Donegal, where they’ve primarily stayed. The Doherty surname is the most common in Derry. Also spelled Dougherty and Daugherty.

Irish spelling: Ó Dochartaigh

Meaning: meaning the ‘descendant of Dochartach.’ ‘Dochartach’ means ‘obstructive’ or ‘dangerous.’

Doyle

The Doyle last name comes from dubh ghall, the “dark foreigner,” and is thought to be Norse in origin. In the province of Ulster, they were known as Mac Dubghaill (MacDowell and MacDuggall). The greatest concentration of Doyles is in Leinster, Roscommon, Wexford, and Wicklow.

Irish spelling: Ó Dubhghaile
Meaning: Descendent of Dubhghal, meaning black valor.

Duffy

Ó Dubhthaigh, anglicized to Duffy, comes from an Irish name meaning black or swarthy. Their original homeland was Monaghan, where their surname is still the most common. They are also from Donegal and Roscommon.

Irish spelling: Ó Dufaigh/Ó Dubhthaigh
Meaning: Black.

Dunne/ Dunn

From the Irish for brown (donn), the original Irish name Ó Duinn has by now lost the O prefix. In the province of Ulster, the final e is omitted. Dunne is the most common surname in Laois, where the family originated. Also occasionally spelled Donne.

Irish spelling: Ó Doinn or Duinn

Meaning: Old English word for ‘dark’ or from ‘donn’ the Gaelic word for ‘brown.’

Farrell

The O Farrell chieftains were lords of Annaly near Longford and Westmeath. Farrell is a surname generally meaning “valiant warrior.”

Irish spelling: Ó Ferghail
Meaning: Man, of valor.

Fitzgerald

A Norman family who came to Ireland in 1170, the Fitzgeralds (spelled Mac Gearailt in parts of Ireland) claimed vast holdings in Cork, Kerry, Kildare, and Limerick. The surname Fitzgerald translates directly as “son of Gerald.”

Meaning: name ‘Gerald’ refers to ‘rule of the spear.’

Flynn

The Irish surname Ó Floinn is prevalent in the province of Ulster. However, the “F” is no longer pronounced, and the name is now Loinn or Lynn. The Flynn surname can also be found in Clare, Cork, Kerry, and Roscommon. It is a patronymic Irish surname meaning ‘son of Gerald.

Irish spelling: Ó Floinn

Meaning: name ‘Flann’ refers to ‘reddish’ or ‘scarlet’ in Gaelic.

Gallagher

The Gallagher clan has been in County Donegal since the 4th century and Gallagher is the most common surname in this area. Descendent of Gallchobhar, an Irish king. Gallagher is the anglicized form of ‘Ó Gallchobhair’ meaning a ‘descendant of Gallchobhar.’

Irish spelling: Ó Gallchobhair
Meaning: two Irish words ‘gall’ meaning ‘stranger’ and ‘cabhair’ meaning ‘help.’

Healy

The Healy surname is most found in Cork and Sligo.

Irish spelling: Ó hÉalaighthe

Meaning: referring to a ‘descendant of the claimant.’

Hughes

The Hughes surname, both Welsh and Irish in origin, is most numerous in three provinces Connacht, Leinster, and Ulster.

Irish spelling: Ó hAodha

Meaning: name ‘Aodh’ is derived from ‘Aed,’ an Old Irish word for ‘fire.’

Kelly

Kelly families of Irish origin come primarily from Derry, Galway, Kildare, Leitrim, Leix, Meath, Offaly, Roscommon, and Wicklow.

Irish spelling: Ó Ceallaigh
Meaning: ‘Ceallach’ refers to ‘bright-headed.’

Kennedy

The Kennedy surname, both Irish and Scottish in origin, hails from Clare, Kilkenny, Tipperary, and Wexford.

Irish spelling: Ó Cinnéide
Meaning: anglicized form of ‘Ó Cinnéidigh’ which means ‘descendant of Cennetig.’ ‘Cennetig’ is an Old Irish word referring to an ‘armored head’ or ‘misshapen head.’

Lynch

The Lynch families (Ó Loingsigh in Irish) were originally settled in Clare, Donegal, Limerick, Sligo, and Westmeath, where the Lynch surname is most common.

Irish spelling: Ó Loinsigh
Meaning: Descendent of Loingseach, a seaman. occupational surname referring to a ‘mariner.’

MacCarthy/ McCarthy

The MacCarthy surname originated primarily from Cork, Kerry, and Tipperary. Also spelled McCarthy.

Irish spelling: Mac Carthaigh
Meaning: Son of Cárthach, King of Munster (Ireland’s southern province).

Maguire

The Maguire surname is the most common in Fermanagh. Also spelled McGuire. Maguire is an Irish clan surname from the Gaelic Mac Uidhir, meaning “son of Odhar” or “son of the pale-colored one.”

Irish spelling: Mag Uidhir

Meaning: MacCarthy refers to a ‘son of Carthach’ and Carthach means ‘loving.’

Mahony

Munster was the territory of the Mahoney clan, with Mahonys (or Mahoneys) being most numerous in Cork. Brodceann O’Mahony was the eldest of the four sons of Mathghamain, known as “The Four Descendants”. The O’Mahonys were Cenél nÁeda princes of the ancient Eóganacht Raithlind.

Irish spelling: Ó Mathghamhna (modern spelling O’Mathúna)

Meaning: ‘bear’.

Martin

The Martin surname, common in both England and Ireland, can be found primarily in Galway, Tyrone, and Westmeath.

Irish spelling: Mac Giolla Mhartain

Meaning:

Moore

The ancient Irish Moores settled in Kildare, while most Moores are from Antrim and Dublin.

 Irish spelling: Ó Mordha, Muir, Moir
Meaning: Moir/Ó Mordha could mean of greatness or grandiose while Muir means sea.

Murphy

The most common of all Irish names, the Murphy surname can be found in all four provinces. Murphys are primarily from Antrim, Armagh, Carlow, Cork, Kerry, Roscommon, Sligo, Tyrone, and Wexford, however.

Irish spelling: Ó Murchadha
Meaning: Descendent of Murchadh, a sea warrior.

Murray

The Murray surname is especially prolific in Donegal.

Irish spelling: Ó Muireadhaigh
Meaning: Descendent of Muireadhaigh, a seaman. Muireadhach is a variant of ‘Muiredach’ referring to ‘lord’ in Irish.

Nolan

Nolan families have always been very numerous in Carlow, and can also be found in Fermanagh, Longford, Mayo, and Roscommon. It is an anglicized version of ‘Ó Nuallain’ referring to ‘descendant of Nuallan.

Irish spelling: Ó Nuallain

Meaning: Nuallan means ‘noble’ or ‘famous.’

O’Brien

One of Ireland’s leading aristocratic families, the O Briens are primarily from Clare, Limerick, Tipperary, and Waterford. It originates from ‘Ó Briain,’ which means ‘descendant of Brian.

Irish spelling: Ó Briain
Meaning: Descendent of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland. Brian means ‘high’ or ‘noble.’

O’Donnell

The O Donnell clans originally settled in Clare and Galway, but today they are most numerous in County Donegal. Sometimes modified to O’Donnelly. It is the anglicized variant of ‘Ó Domhnaill’ which means ‘descendant of Domhnall.’

Irish spelling: Ó Domhnaill

Meaning: Domhnall is the Gaelic version of the phrase ‘ruler of the world.’

O’Neill

One of three royal Irish families, the O Neills are from Antrim, Armagh, Carlow, Clare, Cork, Down, Tipperary, Tyrone, and Waterford. This surname refers to ‘descendant of Neil.’

Irish spelling: Ó Néill
Meaning: Descendent of Niall Noigiallach, an Irish king. Neil comes from ‘Niall,’ a Gaelic word with several meanings, namely ‘cloud,’ ‘champion,’ or ‘passionate.’

Quinn

From Ceann, the Irish word for head, the name Ó Cuinn means intelligent. In general, Catholics spell the name with two ns, while Protestants spell it with one. The Quinns are primarily from Antrim, Clare, Longford, and Tyrone, where their surname is the most common. It is an anglicized version of ‘Ó Cuinn’ that means ‘descendant of Conn.’

Irish spelling: Ó Cuinn

Meaning: Conn refers to a ‘chief’ in Gaelic.

(O) Reilly

Descendants of the O Conor kings of Connacht, the Reillys are primarily from Cavan, Cork, Longford, and Meath.

Irish spelling: Ó Raghallaigh

Meaning:

Ryan

The Ó Riain and Ryan families of Ireland are primarily from Carlow and Tipperary, where Ryan is the most common surname. They can also be found in Limerick. This Irish surname is an anglicized version of ‘Ó Riain’ meaning ‘descendant of Rian.’

Irish spelling: Ó Riain
Meaning: Descendent of Riain, a king. Rian refers to ‘little king.’

Shea/ O’Shea

Originally the Shea family was from Kerry, though they later branched out to Tipperary during the 12th century and Kilkenny by the 15th century. Sometimes modified to Shay.

Irish spelling: Ó Séaghdha
Meaning: Descendent of the majestic.

Smith

The Smiths, both English and Irish, are primarily from Antrim, Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, and Sligo. Smith is the most common surname in Antrim.

Smith/McGowan
Irish spelling: Mac Gabhann
Meaning: Son of the blacksmith.

(O) Sullivan

Originally settled in County Tipperary, the Sullivan family spread into Kerry and Cork, where they are now most numerous, and their surname is the most common. It is an anglicized form of ‘Ó Súileabháin,’ meaning ‘descendant of Suileabhan.’

Irish spelling: Ó Suileabháin

Meaning: name ‘Suileabhan’ refers to the phrase ‘little dark eye.’

Sweeney

Sweeney families are found primarily in Cork, Donegal, and Kerry.

Irish spelling: Mac Suibhne
Meaning: Son of Suibhne, a Scottish lord whose grandson arrived to Ireland and brought the name with him.

Thompson

This English name is the second most common non-Irish name found in Ireland, especially in Ulster. The Thomson surname, without the “p,” is Scottish. Thomson is most common in Down.

Irish spelling: Mac Tomáis

Meaning:   son of Thom

Walsh

The name came into use to describe the Welsh people who came to Ireland during the Anglo-Norman invasions. Walsh families were very numerous throughout all four provinces of Ireland. Walsh is the most common surname in Mayo.

Irish spelling: Breathnach
Meaning: Welshman.

White

White families can be found in Ireland throughout Down, Limerick, Sligo, and Wexford. It is a descriptive name given to a person who was fair-haired or had a pale complexion, from the Middle English “whit,” meaningwhite.” Fionn mac Cumhail was a legendary Irish hero who became all-wise by eating an enchanted salmon. He fought against the giant Fomors with his son Oisín and grandson Oscar.

Irish spelling:  Fionn (older Irish finn)

Meaning: person who was fair-haired or had a pale complexion, meaning “fair” or “white“.

Ireland, Irish Jewelry, Irish Traditions, News

Ireland is Known for Handcrafted Irish Jewelry

Hooker at Long Walk

Many people and tourists to Ireland often wonder about the local crafts the country is famous for creating. Ireland is famous for a variety of crafts including wool sweaters and its famous world-renowned Irish Jewelry.

What jewelry is Ireland known for?

Ireland is known for beautiful Irish Jewelry. Irish jewelry is steeped in culture from Ireland with stories of love and friendship passed for generations. Irish jewelry has timeless appeal and is a wonderful representation of the vibrant Irish culture and they beauty of its people.

Irish jewelry is high quality and handcrafted inspired by all things Irish and made from the finest material by expert jewelers. When a customer buys a piece of Irish jewelry such as a Claddagh Ring, they are not only getting a beautiful piece of jewelry they are also passing on traditional Irish culture and custom.

The legend behind the traditional Irish Claddagh Ring design is a beautiful story if enduring love. Imagine Ireland in the days long ago. A young Irishman in love wOld Irish stone cottage and bicycle backgroundith a beautiful Irish lass was captured and sold into slavery from the fishing village of Claddagh. Many years passed while in captivity and he wondered if his true love had waited for his return. As the years wore on, he stole tiny bits of gold from his master to make her a ring for his true love. He fashioned a heart for love, a crown for loyalty and hands as a symbol of friendship. Can you just picture the tiny first rustic claddagh ring being made? After many years he finally returned home to the village of Claddagh Ireland, near the Galway coast. To his wonderful delight he discovered his true love had waited for him. So, he gave her the tiny ring he fashioned for her while in captivity as a symbol of love, loyalty, and friendship. This beautiful token of love loyalty and friendship forever known now as the Claddagh Ring

Another popular piece of Irish Jewelry from Ireland that it is famous for is the Celtic Cross.  Irish legend says Saint Patrick a Christian missionary regarded as the patron saint of Ireland was responsible for the origins of the Celtic Cross. St. Patrick lived from AD 373-493 and ministered in Northern Ireland from AD 433 until his death. The Pious legend credits St. Patrick with banishing snakes from the island, though post-glacial Ireland never actually had snakes. It is suggested that the snakes referred to the serpent symbolism of the Druids. Saint Patrick is also credited with teaching the Irish about the Holy Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a 3-leaved clover. Legend also says St. Patrick, while preaching Christianity drew a cross through a Celtic circle symbolic of the moon Goddess. Hence the Celtic cross was born. Today the circle of the Celtic cross is viewed as a of God’s endless love. The Celtic cross is one of the most popular and enduring pieces of Irish jewelry passed from generations to generation of family members today.

Celtic Holidays, Ireland, Irish Christmas

An Irish Christmas Tradition…THE WREN BOY PROCESSION

St. Stephen’s Day, or the Feast of St. Stephen, is a Christian saint’s day to commemorate Saint Stephen, celebrated on 26 December in Ireland.

St. Stephen’s Day (Lá Fhéile Stiofáin), or the Day of the Wren (Lá an Dreoilín), is an occasion to commemorate the life of St Stephen, a Christian martyr. Most people in Ireland today spend the day quietly with close friends or family.

On “Wren’s Day”, in some areas of Ireland like Dingle, groups of musicians, figures dressed in straw suits and followers in fancy dress or disguise can be seen moving about the streets and lanes “hunting the wren”.

During Penal Times there was once a plot in a village against the local soldiers. They were surrounded and were about to be ambushed when a group of wrens pecked on their drums and awakened the soldiers. The plot failed and the wren became known as ‘The Devil’s bird’.

On St. Stephens day a procession takes place where a pole with a holly bush is carried from house to house and families dress up in old clothes and with blackened faces. In olden times an actual wren would be killed and placed on top of the pole.
This custom has to a large degree disappeared but the tradition of visiting from house to house on St. Stephens Day has survived and is very much part of Christmas.

This custom has to a large degree disappeared but the tradition of visiting from house to house on St. Stephens Day has survived and is very much part of Christmas.

St. Stephen’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland, but, the celebrations have little connection to the Saint.

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Interesting Stories, Ireland, News, Peaceful Cottage

Peaceful Cottage in Ireland

Peaceful Cottage is an Irish self-catering cottage in County Mayo in the West of Ireland. Centrally located to all the best attractions Ireland has to offer. It’s an Irish country cottage experience for the whole family. Enjoy the luck of the Irish for as long as you stay.

Our Irish self catering cottage is located in beautiful County Mayo and is situated on the West Coast of Ireland. County Mayo is Ireland’s third largest county. Rich in history, and panoramic scenery Mayo offers a huge range of activities such as fishing, golf, horse riding, hill walking, and a host of other activities such as an authentic pub experience. Traditional Irish music is still a big part of modern day Mayo and can be heard in many of the county’s pubs.

World famous fishing, Ashford Castle & Cong only a 10 minute drive from the cottage. It’s an ideal touring and walking location. Gateway to Ireland’s major attractions. Connemara, championship golf courses, Galway City, Westport House & Zoo, Croagh Patrick, Knock Shrine & Airport, the Burren, Ceide Fields at North Mayo – all within easy driving distance. There are daily boat trips to the Aran Islands from Galway City. The cottage is situated in an area rich in history and archaeological ruins, with many historical and archaeological sites to explore.

Peaceful Cottage is a family managed cottage giving it that personal touch. Perfect for families with children and couples young and old, who want to experience authentic Irish living. The cottage is both peaceful and tranquil yet close to all the local attractions. Our Irish self-catering cottage is an the affordable Ireland family vacation.

Visit the Peaceful Cottage website today http://www.PeacefulCottageRental.com

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