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Irish Surname - Farrell

The name O'Farrell in Ireland is derived from the Gaelic 'O'Fearghail' meaning 'man of valour'. This surname is among the fifty most commonly found in Ireland with the largest concentration in their historical homeland of Longford and the surrounding areas.

The O'Farrells were lords of Annaly near Longford and their chief, known as Lord of Annaly, resided at Longphuirt Ui Fearghaill (O'Farrell's fortress) from which the name of County Longford derives. The O'Farrell sept was so important that much space is accorded to them in the "Annals of the Four Masters". There were two main branches of the O'Farrells, the chiefs who were referred to as O'Farrell Boy from "buidhe" meaning yellow or golden, and O'Farrell Bane from "bán" meaning fair or white.

The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Father Richard O'Farrell, which was dated c1615-1663, Annaly, County Longford, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603-1625.

Many of the O'Farrells of Annaly took an active part in Irish resistance to English aggression. One of the O'Farrells of Annaly, Ceadagh O'Ferrall was killed at the Battle of the Boyne in 1691, and three of his sons distinguished themselves as officers of the Irish Brigades in France, where some of the family settled in Picardy.

Famous People

In the field of politics Richard More O'Ferrall (1797-1880) was a prominent supporter of Daniel O'Connell. Sir Thomas Farrell (1827-1900) was a famous sculptor, many of whose statues adorn the city of Dublin. In 1709 Roger O'Ferrall compiled one of the best known Irish genealogical manuscripts, "Linea Antiqua" now in the Genealogical Office in Dublin.

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