Irish History + Genealogy

Irish History

Learn about the history of our nation

Michael Collins


Irish revolutionary leader. Collins took part in the Easter Rising of 1916, and the later war of independence. Collins was killed during the Irish civil war when he was killed by members of the IRA who felt he had sold out on a deal with the British.


Michael Collins was an Irish revolutionary, soldier and politician who was a leading figure in the early-20th-century Irish struggle for independence. He was Chairman of the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State from January 1922 until his assassination in August 1922.

Éamon de Valera was a prominent statesman and political leader in 20th-century Ireland. His political career spanned over half a century, from 1917 to 1973; he served several terms as head of government and head of state. He also led the introduction of the Constitution of Ireland.

Eamon de Valera

 (1882 – 1975)

Irish political leader. He was a key figure in the struggle for independence 1916-23. He opposed Michael Collins in the Irish civil war of 1922-23 but went on to form a new political party Fianna Fail, which sought to achieve power and reform through constitutional means. De Valera served as Taoiseach from 1937-48.

Saint Patrick

(387 – c.460)

The patron saint of Ireland. He was taken to Ireland from Wales as a slave, but escaped and became a noted Christian missionary. Later tales attributed miraculous powers to St Patrick. He is recognised as the first Primate of All Ireland.

Saint Patrick was a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Known as the “Apostle of Ireland”, he is the primary patron saint of Ireland, the other patron saints being Brigit of Kildare and Columba.

Charles Stewart Parnell was an Irish nationalist politician who served from 1875 as Member of Parliament in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and whose party held the balance of power in the House of Commons during the Home Rule debates of 1885–1890.

Charles Stewart Parnell


Irish landlord and leader of the Irish Nationalists. Parnell was influential in founding the Irish Nationalists and campaigning for Home Rule for Ireland. His leadership made Irish Home Rule one of the dominant political issues of the late 19th and early 20th Century.

Irish Genealogy

Discover the most common irish surnames used globally 


Murphy comes from the two Old Irish surnames, O’Murchadha and MacMurchadha, both meaning ‘sea warrior’. For reasons unknown, the Murphys of the 19th and 20th centuries chose not to re-adopt either the O’ or Mac prefixes. In 1992-97, about 70,900 Murphys were telephone subscribers in Ireland


The derivation of the name is not certain. It may have come from ceallach, meaning ‘strife’. In Irish, the name is written O’Ceallaigh. Originally only a surname, it became first a boy’s first name and, later, a girl’s name.


Internationally recognised as one of the great Irish surnames, O’Suileabhan, meaning ‘hawk-eyed’ or ‘one-eyed’, remains the most common name in counties Cork and Kerry. In 1992-97 there were approx 41,500 telephone subscribers of this name across the island of Ireland.


In Irish, O’Briain, meaning descendant of Brian (Boru), the name means ‘exalted one’ or ’eminence’. Its original homeland is Co Clare, but it is now scattered across Ireland. There were 29,400 telephone subscribers of this name in Ireland in 1990.


O’Broin, meaning raven, can be traced back to Bran, the son of an 11th-century king of Leinster. It remains one of the most common Irish surnames in Wicklow and neighbouring counties and in 2016 was the sixth most common surname. 


What a difference 100 years can make! By the dawn of the 21st century, almost 60% of Reillys used the O’ prefix. The name comes from raghallaigh, possibly meaning ‘sociable tribe or group’. The origins of the Reillys lies in Breffny.

discover more about ireland

Irish Sports

Discover more about Irish Sports in Ireland and how it developed over time.

Poets + Artists

Discover how famous Irish poets and artists brought creativity to Ireland.

Irish Food + Drink

Discover our great traditional Irish food and drinks across the country.

Tourist attractions

Discover the most beautiful and worthwhile tourist attractions in Ireland.

Religion + Population

Discover more about Ireland's longest religious feud and our population.

Geography + Counties

Discover the geography and great counties of Ireland.

Politics + Industry

Discover how irish politics and industry has developed our country.

Famous Irish People

Discover the famous Irish people who put Ireland on the map.


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