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

Irish derivation: Ó Ceallaigh.

Name meaning: Descendant of Ceallach," "bright-haired," or "troublesome."

Read More: What you should know about the history of your Irish surname

Counties associated with the name: Armagh, Carlow, Clare, Derry, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Mayo, Meath, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Tyrone, Waterford, Westmeath, and Wicklow.

Coat of arms motto: God is a strong tower to me.

Interesting facts:

  • Second most common name in Ireland, behind Murphy.
  • There are more Kellys in the US and in Britain respectively than in Ireland.
  • Australian sailors whose surnames are Kelly are nicknamed "Ned" after the famed outlaw.
  • It is not only in the top 100 surnames in the US but also in the top 100 first names.

Some famous Kellys:

  • Gene Kelly (1912-1996, American actor)
  • Grace Kelly (1929-1982, American actor)
  • Minka Kelly (1980, American actor)
  • Ned Kelly (1855-1880, Australian outlaw)

* Originally published in 2014, updated in July 2020.

Read More: Find out the meaning behind your Irish name

Are you a part of the Kelly clan? Let us know in the comments, below!