Everything you need to know about the Irish surname Byrne (O'Byrne) - its meaning, origins, interesting facts and famous people with the last name Byrne.

Irish derivation:

Ó Broin.

Name meaning:

"Descendant of Bran (King of Leinster)," "raven".

Counties associated with the name:

Wicklow, Dublin, and Kildare.

Coat of arms motto:

"I have fought and conquered."

Interesting facts: 

  • Seventh most common name in Ireland 
  • Spelling variations include Byrne, Byrnes, O'Byrne, O'Byrnes, and others

History of the name Byrne:

In the Irish language, Ó Broin means "descendant of Bran". The name has been traced back to the ancient Celtic chieftain, Bran mac Máelmórda, King of Leinster, deposed in 1018, (d. 1052), who belonged to the Uí Dúnlainge dynasty. He was descended from Cathair Mór, an earlier king of Leinster, who was, according to medieval Irish legend and historical tradition, also monarch of all Ireland around 200 AD. 

In pre-Norman times the O'Byrnes, then known as the Uí Fáeláin sept, inhabited the rich Kildare plains. With the progress of the Anglo-Norman conquest, they were compelled to migrate to the poorer lands and the mountainous country eastwards, later to be denominated as the county of Wicklow.

Some famous Byrnes:

  •  Alderman Alfred Byrne (1882 - 1956, Lord Mayor of Dublin ten times)
  •  Charles Byrne (1761-1783, Irish giant)
  •  Gabriel Byrne (1950-, Irish actor)
  •  Fiach McHugh O'Byrne (1534-1597, Lord of Ranelagh, leader of the clan)
  •  Gay Byrne (1934-, Irish TV personality)
  •  Myles Byrne (1780-1862, leader of 1798 Rebellion)
  •  Nicky Byrne (1978-, Irish singer)
  •  Rose Byrne (1979-, Australian actress)

Learn more about the Irish name Byrne in this short video:

* Originally published in 2016. Updated in October 2022. 

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