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Quinn is a surname in the English language, that is derived from the Irish language with many parent relationships to variant spellings and with many child relationships to suspected origins. In many cases it means wise or knowledgeable.

With family movement and being disconnected from their kinsmen, migration often impacted the interpreted name as depicted through a phonetic spelling that would be based on the spoken, or Soundex variation associated with the dialect of the particular region where the name is found. In addition, the sociolect, or sociolinguistics are important factors for linguistics researchers that define this phenomenon as Onomastics.

Surname spellings in Ireland are used and defined for individuals with Irish surnames and can be validated within the Census in the United Kingdom. To gain a better understanding of how surnames are used and recorded in the United Kingdom it is important to consider all the varying factors associated with the patronymic conventions and etymology relating to the history of words. Review of a family name is another important factor when learning more about how a surname prefix, such as that of Fitz for surnames of Anglo-Norman origin and an O', Mc, or Mac for Irish names.

This sept is widely recognized in the native Irish annals from the earliest date when surnames began to be used. The general areas of Ireland this family held territory were in the provinces of Connacht, Ulster, Leinster, and Meath.

The last remaining Quinns in the Peerage of Ireland were descendants of Valentine Quin, 1st Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl. On 25 March 2011, Thady Wyndham-Quin, 7th Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl passed without a male heir and marked the end of the earlship.


The Quinn DNA Project is focused solely on those bearing the Quinn surname and all known variations of this famous Irish surname.[1][2][3]


Art mac Cuinn is the progenitor of this famous surname. The name is derived from Irish Cuinn, specifically through Art mac Cuinn, the son of Conn. In Gaeilge the name represents priest, or chieftain with added emphasis on wisdom and loyalty. The surname rose simultaneously throughout Ireland as the descendants of Conn of the Hundred Battles known as Conn Cétchathach when Conn created the Connachta. Through Art mac Cuinn's 5th Great Grandson Niall Noígíallach, or Niall of the Nine Hostages the Uí Néill was formed and its dynastic reign began.

Cuinn septs Ireland[edit]

Cuinn clans Scotland[edit]

Siol Cuinn of the Gall-Gael and Caledonia

Siol O'Cain of the Moray belonging to Kanteai

Historical figures[edit]

From the book Illustrations, Historical and Genealogical of King James’s Irish Army List (1689) written by John D’Alton, Esquire & Barrister of Dublin, Ireland in 1885 you are able to locate a list of important persons having bore the Quinn surname and its many variations. The book was initially published by the author and through private subscription in 1885. The printer was Mr. R. D. Webb of Great Brunswick Street in Dublin.

King James' Irish Army List[edit]

List of people surnamed Quinn[edit]

Given names[edit]


Given names
  • Tarquin Blackwood ("Quinn" Blackwood), a character in The Vampire Chronicles series by Anne Rice