The O’Farrells split into many septs

History of the Irish name O'Farrell. Image copyright Ireland Calling

Over the years the O’Farrell clan split into a number of different septs, or branches. Two of these septs remained prominent in Irish medieval history. The chief of one sept was known as O’Farrell Boy from buidhe which meant ‘golden’ or ‘yellow. The other was known as O’Farrell Bane from Ban, which meant ‘Fair’ or ‘White’.
One branch married into the Moore family and started another notorious sept, the Moore O Farrells.

History of the surname O’Farrell
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Battles against Cromwell’s men

The O’Farrells finally lost the majority of their land during the 17th century when King James I of England (who was also King James VI of Scotland) confiscated the land and gave large areas of Co Longford to English and Scottish Lords.

Will Ferrell. Photo copyright Eva Rinaldi CC2
Will Ferrell

In 1649, Richard Farrell was a general in Owen Roe O’Neill’s army which helped to defeat Oliver Cromwell’s men in the First Siege of Waterford. The same year, Captain Daniel Farrell recaptured Enniscorthy Castle in Co Wexford. The castle had been taken by the New Model Army, who were allies of Cromwell.

Famous O’Farrells

Colin Farrell is an Irish actor. He is famous for his starring roles in movies such as Phone Booth, Seven Psychopaths, Minority Report, S.W.A.T. and In Bruges. More on Colin Farrell
Will Ferrell is an American actor who is well known for his starring roles in many of the best known comedy movies of the early 21st century. His most famous movies include Old School, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Step Brothers and Elf.

Seamus. Photo copyright Ed Webster CC2

The Farrelly Brothers

Peter and Bobby Farrelly are American film writers and directors. They are known as ‘The Farrelly Brothers’ and have made some of the most famous comedy movies of the last 20 years. Their movies include Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary, Me, Myself and Irene and Kingpin.
Stephen Farrelly is a Dublin born wrestler better known to fans of WWE as Seamus. He is nicknamed the Celtic Warrior and is a former WWE World Champion.
Thomas Farrell was a sculptor. Many of his statues are still on display around the city of Dublin.

Variations of the surname O’Farrell

Several variations of the surname O’Farrell have developed over the centuries.
Some of them include: Farel, Farell, Farelly, Farely, Farley, Farrel, Farrell, Farrelli, Farrelly, Farrely, Farrill, Fearghail, Feral, Ferall, Ferally, Feraly, Ferral, Ferrall, Ferraly, Ferrel, Ferrell, Ferrill and Frawley.
Many of these names also exist with the ‘O’ prefix still in place.

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