Monaghan (surname)

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For other uses, see Monaghan (disambiguation).
Family name
Pronunciation Mona-han
Related names Monahan, Monagas

The surname Monaghan /ˈmɒnəhæn/ is a family name originating from the province of Connacht in Ireland.


The surname Monaghan is an anglicization of the Irish surname O'Manacháin /ˈmɒnəhæn/. The Irish translation for this name is descendent of Manacháin, which ultimately translates to "Monk". Other variations include Monahan and Monachan.

Essentially, sometime before the 16th century, the Connacht family derived the name Monahan from the infamous warrior Manacháin mentioned by the Four Masters at the year 866. The O'Manacháin clan were chiefs of Ui Briuin na Sionna in the barony of Ballintober, Co. Roscommon, until the year 1249 when they were ousted by the O'Beirnes.

Although they share the same spelling, the surname Monaghan is not related to County Monaghan, Ireland, who name is derived from the Irish Muineachán. Muineachán (Muinechán, Mhuineachain) means "a place abounding in little hills" or "little shrubbery" from muine, a shrubbery, with the diminutive affix cán.

The surname is however the source for County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, which means "Place of the Men of Manacháin."


Because the English language was only recently standardised, many Anglo-Saxon surnames have spelling variations. The surname Monahan is a variant of the surname Monaghan.

Famous Monaghans[edit]


A census conducted in 1890 of Ireland states that an estimated 4,300 Irish citizens bear the name Monaghan.