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Irish Surname - Flynn

The name Flynn in Ireland is among the fifty most frequently found in the country. The Irish for this surname is Ó'Floinn and derives from the adjective flann, meaning 'bright red', 'reddish' or 'ruddy', which was originally given as a nickname to one having a reddish complexion. It became extremely popular as a personal name in early Ireland and several branches of this clan held independent settlements in various parts of the country.

One sept belonged to Skibbereen and Baltimore in south west Cork and another extending from Ballyvourney to Blarney in Cork where they were Lords of those lands. Another sept settled in Roscommon around the modern town of Castlerea. The territory of the Ulster clan was in County Antrim, where the Irish version of the name was O'Fhloinn, with the initial 'F' silent, so that the anglicised version became 'O'Lynn', or simply 'Lynn'. The O'Lynns ruled over the lands between Lough Neagh and the Irish Sea in south Antrim.

Historically the name was known under several different spellings: Flyn in Louth, O'Flynne in Cork city, O'Flyne and Flyng in Cork, Flyne in Waterford, and Flynne in King's County and Cork.

Famous People

The first recorded spelling of the family name is that of Fiacha O'Flynn, Archbishop of Tuam, which was dated 1255. He was the emissary of the Irish Church to England, during the reign of De Brugo, a Norman Conqueror, 1260 - 1265. In more recent history Rev Jeremiah O'Flynn (1788-1831) was a Franciscan friar whose career relates chiefly to the early church in Australia and later in the USA. Edmund James Flynn (b. 1847) was Premier of Quebec and William James Flynn (1867-1928) was a famous American Detective.

The (O')Flynn surname is now widespread throughout Ireland and large concentrations are to be found in north Connacht and the Cork/Waterford areas, roughly corresponding to their original homelands.

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