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Irish: [ˈkahəlˠ]
Scottish Gaelic
Derivationcath + val
Meaning"battle" + "ruler"
Other names
See alsoCathal, Cathel, Cahal, Charles, Cahill, Kathel

Cathal or Cahal is a common given name in the Irish and English languages. The name is derived from two Celtic elements: the first, cath, means "battle"; the second element, val, means "rule".[1] There is no feminine form of Cathal. The Gaelic name has several Anglicised forms, such as Cathel,[2] Cahal, Cahill and Kathel.[3] It has also been Anglicised as Charles,[3] although this name is of an entirely different origin as it is derived from a Germanic element, karl, meaning "free man".[4]

As is evident from the list below, the name was in medieval times most popular in Ireland's two western provinces, Munster and Connacht.

People with the name[edit]

Pre-19th century[edit]


  • Cathal Barrett (born 21 July 1993) is an Irish hurler who plays for Tipperary
  • Cathal Berry, is an Irish Independent politician, former Irish Army officer and medical doctor who has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Kildare South
  • Cathal Black, is an Irish film director, writer, and producer
  • Cathal Breslin (b. 1978), concert pianist from Northern Ireland
  • Cathal Brugha (d. 1922), revolutionary
  • Cahal Carvill (born 22 April 1987) is a Northern Irish hurler
  • Cathal Coughlan (singer)
  • Cathal Casey (born 4 September 1967) is an Irish retired hurler
  • Cathal Corey, Gaelic football manager and former player
  • Cathal Crowe, (born 1 October 1982) is an Irish Fianna Fáil politician
  • Cahal Daly (1917–2009), Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland from 1990 to 1996
  • Cathal Daniels (born 13 September 1996) is an Irish eventing rider.
  • Cathal J. Dodd (b. 1956), singer and voice actor
  • Cathal Dunbar (born 1996) is an Irish hurler who plays for Wexford Senior Championship
  • Cathal Dunne (b. 1951), singer, represented Ireland in Eurovision Song Contest 1979
  • Cathal Gannon (1 August 1910 – 23 May 1999), was an Irish harpsichord maker, a fortepiano restorer and an amateur horologist
  • Cathal Óg Greene (born 1987) is a Gaelic footballer for London.
  • Cathal Hayden is a Northern Irish fiddle and banjo player of note.
  • Cathal Magee (born 1954) was the Chief Executive Officer of the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland from 2010 to 2012.
  • Cathal Mannion(born 22 October 1994) is an Irish hurler who plays for Galway Senior Championship
  • Cathal Mac Coille (born 1952) is a retired Irish broadcaster, researcher and journalist
  • Cathal MacSwiney Brugha(born January 13, 1949) is an Irish decision scientist, the Emeritus Professor of Decision Analytics at University College Dublin's College of Business.
  • Cathal McCabe (born 1963 in County Down, Northern Ireland)
  • Cathal McCarron,is an All Ireland Winning Gaelic footballer for Tyrone.
  • Cathal McConnell (born 1944) is a musician and singer
  • Cathal McInerney, is an Irish sportsperson.
  • Cathal Naughton (born 3 July 1987) is an Irish retired hurler who played for Cork Senior Championship
  • Cathal Kelly, is a Canadian writer
  • Cathal O'Connell, is an Irish hurler who plays as a forward for the Clare senior team.
  • Cathal Ó Murchadha, born Charles Murphy; 16 February 1880 – 28 April 1958) was an Irish politician and republican
  • Cathal Ó Searcaigh (b. 1956), poet
  • Cathal Ó Sándair, born Charles Saunders was one of the most prolific Irish language authors of the 20th century
  • Cathal O'Shannon (23 August 1928 – 22 October 2011)[1] was an Irish journalist and television presenter
  • Cathal Parlon plays his Senior Club Hurling with Coolderry in Offaly.
  • Cathal Pendred (b. 1987), retired mixed martial artist*
  • Cathal Ryan is a Gaelic footballer from County Laois.
  • Cathal Smyth (b. 1959), singer and songwriter, better known as Chas Smash of the British band Madness


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 343, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1, Irish Gaelic: name derived from the Old Celtic vocabulary elements cath battle + val rule. It was borne by a 7th-century saint who served as head of the monastic school at Lismore, before being appointed bishop of Taranto in south Italy. In Gaelic Scotland the name appears to have been borne only by descendants of the Mac Mhuirichs, a learned family of Irish origin.
  2. ^ Maceachen, Ewan (1922), Maceachen's Gaelic-English Dictionary (4, revised and enlarged ed.), The Northern Counties Newspaper and Printing and Publishing Company, pp. 467–469
  3. ^ a b MacFarlane, Malcolm (1912), The School Gaelic Dictionary prepared for the use of learners of the Gaelic language, Stirling: Eneas Mackay, p. 144
  4. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 52, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1