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Irish Surname - Kirby

The Kirby surname is one of several names that have both English and Irish origins. Kirby is a place-name given to many areas in England, deriving from 'kirk' meaning 'church' and 'byr' meaning 'settlement'. It later was taken as a surname in the form of de Kirkebi.

As with many surnames in Ireland, their origins can be traced to the English invasion which resulted in the outlawing of the Irish language and the anglicisation of Irish names.

Kirby was adopted as the equivilant of Ó Ciarba, a name that was itself derived from Ó Ciarmhaic and was most prominent in Kilkenny and Waterford. County Mayo also was the home of the Kirby name, where it was taken instead of Mac Greible.

Ciarmhaic translates as 'dark son' and is derived from ciar meaning dark in hair or complexion.

Alternate Surname Spellings

Kerby, Cerby.

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