What are the Most Popular County Fermanagh Surnames?

What are the Most Popular County Fermanagh Surnames?

County Fermanagh may not be Northern Ireland’s most populated county but it has so much history. Famous for its lakes and waterways, County Fermanagh also has its fair share of notable families.  Surnames are more than just  a way to see who is related to whom they tell a story in their own right.  Surnames tell the history of a community.  Often surnames indicate family traits and former occupations.  Here is a closer look at how Irish surnames came to be.

Based on the frequency with which some surnames are called, visitors to the town are often compelled to ask the question: What are the most popular County Fermanagh surnames? Although a few English names have come to stay, here a few of the popular and original County Fermanagh surnames:

  1. Maguire: This surname is derived from the Gaelic Mag Uidhir and means any of “Son of the dark colored one”, “Son of the dun”, or “Son of Odhar”. It was during the reign of the High King of Ireland, Brian Boru, that the name appeared first in the “Ancient Annals of Ulster” published in 956. They were the Kings of Maguire from the 13th to 17th century and are descendants of Colla de Chrich.
  2. McManus: This family is a branch of the Maguire family. The descendants of McManus called the Lough Erne shores home. Being a branch of the Maguire family, it comes as no surprise that they are the second most popular name in County Fermanagh. You can find this surname in other counties in large numbers.
  3. Dolan: This surname in Irish Gaelic is a combination of “Dubh” and “shláin” meaning “dark” and “challenge or defiance” respectively. Their original territory was along the banks of the River Barrow. Over the centuries, they have maintained a tradition of literary works. So many variations of the name abound and include “Dowling”, “Dudley” and “Dunlang”.
  4. Cassidy: This is another County Fermanagh family that is prominence in the arts as well as religion and medicine. Worthy of note is the fact that they were the doctors to the famous Maguire family. This ancient Count Fermanagh surname originated from the lower Lough Erne region. Thanks to the emigration of the members of this family, one of them got to be the President of the US – Bill Clinton. How cool is that?
  5. McGovern: Originally from the Irish Gaelic “Shamhrain”, the surname means “summer” as derived from the word “Samhra”. They are descendants of Samhradhan who lived around 1100 AD. Like most of the other names, it comes with lots of variations. They are also found in other counties.
  6. Reilly: The Reilly family are descendants of Raghallach. You may occasionally find the variation O’Reilly. Raghallach was the grandson of Conchobar, a great King of Connacht during the 10th century. Conchobhar is also the founder of the O’Connor clan. The name is derived from Irish Gaelic O’Raghallaigh which means “sociable tribe”. They were one of the most powerful families.
  7. McElroy: Though you will find this surname in other counties, it is predominant in County Fermanagh. They originated from the east side of Lough Erne, at a place called Ballymacelroy. The surname is an Anglicized version of the Irish Gaelic “Mac Giolla Ruaidh” meaning “son of the red-haired lad”. McElroy was commonly mentioned in the fifteenth century work titled “Annals of the Four Masters”. Over time and following the immigration of family members, lots of variations to the name also came to stay.
  8. McGrath: Derived from Mac Craith, the McGrath family is one of the most popular surnames in County Fermanagh. It is also possible to find variations such as Macraith and Mag Raith. Like other popular families, the surname can also be found in other counties. They are also mentioned in both the “Annals of Ulster” and the “Annals of the Four Masters”. This Irish Gaelic surname means “prosperity” and the first Sept of their name based at Termon Castle near Pettigo.
  9. Flanagan: The Chief Septs of the Flanagan were found in other counties apart from Count Fermanagh. This prominent surname means “reddish” or “rudy” and is derived from Irish Gaelic O’Flannagain. They are also known to have been stewards to the Kings of Connacht. As is expected of surnames that have been around for so long, variations do exist. Two mottos are accredited to the Flanagans – “Fortune favours the bold” and “I have fought and conquered”.

County Fermanagh is home to many surnames now but the rich history of the families mentioned above will remain for generations.  The study of surnames is interesting as they have become a blend of Celtic, English and other influences.  They reflect the colorful and unique history that makes Ireland the wonderful and extraordinary place it is today.


Fermanagh County Museum - Top Things To See

Fermanagh County Museum – Top Things To See

This incredible castle located beside the Erne River, in the county of Fermanagh, was built over 600 years ago, making this one of the strategic points during WWII. This Castle has a vast amount of history that is very interesting. If you are thinking of visiting the Fermanagh County Museum, then you should arrange for one of the many tours offered here daily. Make sure you take one of the tours specifically designed to inform you of the significance of the castle and how it was used during WWII or you can learn of its overall history.

William Scott (1913-1989)

This internationally acclaimed artist was born in Scotland, he is one of the best-known Ulster painters. During World War II, he was teaching to art to children at an art school in Britain.

One of the largest collections of William Scott’s paintings is held at the Fermanagh County Museum. By visiting the Fermanagh County Museum, you can take a guided tour to learn about the history of William Scott, the history of this man, and the significance of his art. This exhibition shows the family tragedies as well, these occurred so many years ago that would otherwise be forgotten.

Take a school trip to visit the Fermanagh County Museum

Within the Enniskillen Castle Museum, there are two programs offered for different aged students, they offer tours for both primary school and secondary school. The primary level tour is offered for students of both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The program educates children to an appropriate extent of the history of the castle. Although when educating young children, the information must be made appropriate despite the tragic history of the plase. For older students at secondary level, the tour is expanded to show more of the history and the art that is displayed at the museum. They do these tours in a fun way for students to enjoy the museum. It is important for kids to learn of their local history and what happened here.

Take a guided tour

There are various tours offered for different interest, with all of the history the castle has to offer, it would be difficult to explore all the aspects of the history in one day, additionally to the school designed tours the museum offers the following tours

– Viking history: See the display of the roads the Vikings took and voyaged.

– Stone Age: at the museum, they show evidence that there were hunters living in Ireland during the Stone Age.

– Medieval Banquet: shows the dining set of medieval times.

– Castle under attack shows the history during WWII when the Germans were dropping bombs

– Granny: this tour is made in a fun way and consist on distinguishing the old items used in the medieval times and stone age to modern household items.

Additionally there are specific tours that show the history of more than the castle after all it holds more significance than just being a point of defense during World War II the castle goes back more than 600 years.  Here are some more things you can learn about.

– Maguire Chieftains

– Plantation Years

– Fermanagh during the Second World War

– Famine Memorials in County Fermanagh

Learn about WWII

During the WWII years, there were three key operation taking place in the Fermanagh Castle, where Americans, Canadians, Australians and British troops worked to protect the St Angelo Airport, to train base Killadeas and to launch Lough Erne. The history of these days and the contribution each county made to the operations is all explained in this tour. There are so many things to learn and they are divided in 4 parts

– The Fermanagh and the Donegal Corridor

– Castle Archdale

– RAF Killadeas

– St Angelo Rossahilly

See the 100 objects on display at the museum

This 100-object museum was specifically designed to tell the story of the Fermanagh family, the castle and the history. These 100 items have been chosen to be displayed at the museum as they are all key items to represent the rich history of the Fermanagh. The items go from spoons, signed documents from 1912, the original doors of the castle are also on display, as well as vases and medals that were all part of the castle as a home.

The Fermanagh museum is a great experience for all age, it has so many things to offer, and additionally for those who want to trace their ancestors to the castle can look through the extent documents at the Genealogy Center. If you are visiting the county of Fermanagh, you will enjoy an extended selection of art and history.  It is an interesting way to step back in time and appreciate the struggles of different eras throughout the history of the county.