Irish Surname - Moore
The surname Moore is today one of the top twenty most common surnames in Ireland and the great majority of these are in Munster and Ulster. Moore may be of English, Irish, Welsh or Scottish origin and it is practically impossible to say what proportion of today's descendants are of Gaelic Irish origin and what proportion of English extraction. It might be more accurate to say Anglo-Norman rather than English extraction, as the Anglo-Norman Moores established themselves in Munster soon after the invasion. These Moores were called 'de Mora' in Irish, a phonetic rendering of the English name from the word 'moor' (heathy mountain).
The old Irish Moore surname is believed to derive from the Gaelic 'O'Mordha' - 'O' meaning descendant of, and 'Mordha', meaning great, chief, mighty or proud. The Gaelic O'Mordha sept were based in County Laois in the Province of Leinster, where they were the leading sept of the famous 'Seven Septs of Laois'. A number of O'Mordhas of the Laois sept were officers of the Irish Brigade in France in the 18th century.
In Griffiths Valuation c1850s, Moores were found in many counties including Down (404 households), Antrim (376) Laois (290) and Tyrone (237), Clare (20) and Sligo (13).
Fr Michael Moore (1640-1726), Irish priest, preacher and professor, the only Catholic provost of Trinity College Dublin.
Thomas Moore (1779 - 1852) was an Irish poet, singer, songwriter and entertainer, best remembered for the lyrics of 'The Minstrel Boy' and 'The Last Rose of Summer'.
The famous Moore family of Moore Hall in County Mayo descended from the Moores of Alicante, Spain, who were English in origin. They were involved in Irish politics from the 1798 Rising to the War of Independence. The Moores were wealthy landlords but their philosophy was not to evict their tenants. In fact they imported 4,000 tonnes of grain in the late 1840s, during the Great Famine, to feed their tenants. Famous members of the Moore Hall family included the politician George Henry Moore (1810-1870), his two sons George Moore (1852-1933) the novelist, short-story writer, poet, art critic, memoirist and dramatist, and Col Maurice Moore (1854-1939), author and ardent worker in the Nationalist cause in the present century.
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Researching Irish Surnames
We have researched many sources for the origins of Irish surnames and extracted a fair representation of the origins of each. As there are many variations we have compiled a representative, but by no means exhaustive, selection.
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