Cognomina used as Surnames

Rev Patrick Woulfe

A small number of surnames are substantives in -ach, -each, indicative of nationality, place of origin, fosterage, etc., as Breathnach, Caomhánach, Déiseach, Muimhneach, Ultach.

A few are descriptive adjectives, as Bán, Beag, Glas, Liath, Uaithne, etc.

We have also a few surnames derived from place of residence, as an Mhachaire, na Bríghde.

These three classes of surnames are merely cognomina substituted for the real surnames which are now lost or forgotten. Families bearing these surnames may be of either Irish or English origin.