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Origin of Name Farrell


Choosing a name for a child is a big decision, and many parents look to their family history and cultural heritage for inspiration. For those with Irish roots, the name Farrell may be a meaningful choice. This surname has a long and fascinating history in Ireland, with ties to the Gaelic language and a strong association with the county of Longford. In this article, we'll explore the origins and meaning of the Farrell name, as well as its evolution over time.

The Gaelic Origins of Farrell

The Farrell name has its roots in the Gaelic language, which was spoken in Ireland for centuries before the arrival of the English. In Gaelic, the name was spelled O'Fearghail, which means 'man of valor.' This name was originally used as a personal name, rather than a surname, and was given to men who were known for their bravery and strength. Over time, the name became associated with a particular family or clan, and was passed down from generation to generation.

The Evolution of the Farrell Surname

As with many Gaelic names, the spelling and pronunciation of O'Fearghail evolved over time. When English became the dominant language in Ireland, many Gaelic names were anglicized to make them easier to pronounce and spell. The O'Fearghail name was no exception, and it eventually became Farrell. This new spelling was first recorded in the 13th century, and it quickly became the most common form of the name.

The Farrells of Longford

While the Farrell name can be found throughout Ireland, it is particularly associated with the county of Longford. This is because the Farrells were one of the most prominent families in the area, and they played an important role in the history of the county. The Farrells were known for their military prowess, and they were often called upon to defend the county against invaders. They were also involved in politics, and several members of the family served as members of parliament.

Famous Farrells

Over the centuries, many notable people have borne the Farrell name. One of the most famous was John Farrell, who was a member of the United Irishmen and played a key role in the 1798 Rebellion against British rule. Another notable Farrell was James T. Farrell, an American author who wrote the acclaimed 'Studs Lonigan' trilogy. In the world of sports, the Farrell name is associated with several successful athletes, including Major League Baseball pitcher John Farrell and Olympic rower Cathal Farrell.


The Farrell name has a rich and fascinating history in Ireland, with roots in the Gaelic language and a strong association with the county of Longford. Whether you are of Irish descent or simply drawn to the name's meaning and heritage, Farrell is a name that is sure to make a lasting impression. By choosing this name for your child, you are honoring a proud tradition and passing on a piece of Irish history to the next generation.