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Irish Surname - Flanagan

Flanagan is a common Irish surname and is practically the same in both its Irish (Ó'Flannagáin) and anglicised forms. It is most likely derived from the adjective 'flann' meaning reddish or ruddy.

The surname belongs to Connacht both by origin and by the present distribution of population. The chief septs were found in counties Roscommon, Fermanagh, Monaghan and Offaly. In Connacht, they were a part of the royal O'Connors and were located near Elphin, in Roscommon. They descended from one Flanagan, who was the same stock as the royal O'Connors and his line held the hereditary post of steward to the Kings of Connacht. These were seated between Mantua and Elphin, and represented the main O'Flanagan sept. There were also minor septs and the same name in other parts of the country which were still represented in the 17th century; of Toorah in north-west Fermanagh and again of the barony of Ballybrit in Offaly. Some descendants of these are still to be found in both these areas.

Today the Flanagan surname is numbered among the hundred most commonest surnames in Ireland and is ranked as sixty-ninth place on that list. The greatest number of these are found in Roscommon and in the counties of the western seaboard - Mayo, Galway and Clare.

Variations for the Flanagan Surname

Quite a few variations of the name exist and these include Flanagan, Flanigan, Flannigan, Flannaghan, O'Flanagan, O'Flannagain and more. All variations can also have the prefix 'O' before the name.

Famous People with the surname Flanagan

Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan (b. 1941), was born and raised in Dublin and studied acting at the Abbey Theatre. In 1968 she made her Broadway debut in Brian Friel's Lovers and has since starred in many other films including Some Mother's Son, The Others and The Guard. She is a star of film, television and theatre and is a familiar face in many American TV shows and series, including Lost, Brotherhood, and Rich Man, Poor Man (for which she won an Emmy).

Seán Flanagan (January 1922 - February 1993) was an Irish Fianna Fáil politician. He served as Minister for Health (1966-1969) and Minister for Lands (1969-1973), under Taoiseach Jack Lynch. Seán also played senior Gaelic football for Mayo where he captained the All-Ireland final winning teams of 1950 and 1951 and won five Connacht senior championship medals in all. He also won two National Football League titles in 1949 and 1954.

Limerick born John Flanagan (1873-1938) was a three-time Olympic gold medalist in the hammer throw, who represented the U.S. at the 1900, 1904 and 1908 Olympics. At the 1908 London Olympics, Flanagan beat his own world record with a distance of 170 feet, 4.5 inches.

Father Edward J. Flanagan (1886-1948), was a Roscommon native who established the famous 'Boys Town' orphanage in Nebraska. Fr. Flanagan believed that kindness, hard work and a supportive home environment could work wonders in a child's life, and the orphanage eventually expanded into a much larger complex, which is today home to boys, girls and families in need of help.

The Flanagan Family Crest

An oak tree and an armor-clad hand holding a flaming sword. The oak symbolises strength and stability, while the full green border is a sign of honorable or military appointment. The raised arm and sword represent loyalty, readiness and honor.

The Flanagan Motto

Certavi et Vici, meaning "I have fought and conquered". This motto is also shared by the Byrne clan.

Please Note

There is often limited information available on a specific coat of arms and motto for an Irish surname. Sometimes there are many variations, sometimes none, we have compiled a representative, but by no means exhaustive, selection. Please visit our Coat of Arms and Motto page for more information.

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