Everything you need to know about the Irish surname McAteer - its meaning, origins, interesting facts, and famous people with the last name McAteer.

Irish Derivation: McAteer is an Anglicized form of the Irish “Mac an tSaoir”

Name meaning: son of the carpenter/craftsman 

Counties associated with the name: Donegal, Armagh, Down 

Coat of arms motto: The motto is "per ardua," which translates from Latin to “through difficulties.”

Interesting facts: The name Mhac an tSaoir was popular in both Ireland and Scotland and appears on Scottish graves as late as the eighteenth century.

According to legend, St. Ciaran Mhac an tSaoir was once the carpenter to the high king of Ireland. St. Ciarna is also believed to be the first one to use Mhac an tSaoir as a last name.

Famous McAteers:

  • Saint Ciaran Mhac an tSaoir founded his monastic school at the site of Clonmacnoise in 544 AD.
  • Jason McAteer (b 1971) is an Irish international football player.
  • Myrtle McAteer is an American tennis player

General information:

Variants of the name McAteer include McTyre, Meteer, McAtier, and McIntyre.

The name was translated into English and appears as ‘Carpenter’ and ‘Freeman' (saoir in Irish can also be translated ‘free’). Mhac an tSaoir was shortened to Mhac Anteer and later Mac Ateer and lastly McAteer.

The name is very popular in Ulster and Scotland. McAteer first appears as the last name of saint Ciaran Mhac an tSaoir who was born in 512 AD in Ulster. Many McAteers settled along the American east coast, particularly before the start of the Revolutionary War. After the war, those loyal to the crown migrated to Canada.

Irish Mhac an tSaoir’s emigrating to  Scotland would often change their name to McIntyre and, vice versa, many Scottish McIntyre’s emigrating to Ireland would change their name to Mhac an tSaoir.

Are you a member of the McAteer clan? Let us know in the comments, below!

*Originally published in 2012, updated in 2022.