Hurley (surname)

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Language(s) Gaeilge
Region of origin Ireland, almost exclusively Munster
Meaning "descended from Hurley"
Other names
Variant(s) O'Hurley, O'Herlihy, O'Mihire, Murphy possibly

The surname Hurley has become the English version of at least three distinct original Irish names: the Ó hUirthile, part of the Dál gCais tribal group, based in Clare and North Tipperary; the Ó Muirthile, from the environs of Kilbrittain in west Cork; and the Ó hIarlatha, from the district of Ballyvourney, also in Cork, whose name is more usually anglicised "(O')Herlihy". The principal concentrations of Hurleys are today found in counties Tipperary and Limerick, where they spread from the original Dalcassian homeland, and in Cork. An interesting example of the pseudo-translation of surnames is found in Clare, where some whose name was originally Hurley have now adopted the surname "Commane", since the Irish for the hurley-stick used in the sport of hurling is camán while the name "Commane" does not originate from that source.

The exact meaning of the name Hurley is uncertain, due to it being a conglomerate of various Irish names. The "O'Muirthile" root in particular seems to roughly translate to "of the sea tides", implying the earliest Hurleys were seafearers, and giving it a strikingly similar meaning to the name Murphy. But while Murphy is the most common surname in all of Ireland, Hurley is found almost exclusively in Munster. It is one of the more common names in County Cork, with something of a presence in Kerry and Limerick as well, but is rare in the rest of the island. Whether or not it is a regional variant of "Murphy" in Southwestern Ireland is unknown.

In the United States, it is the 807th most common surname.

People with the surname[edit]

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