The surname Claffey comes from the Irish name Mac Laithimh, from "flaitheamh" meaning "ruler." In
the name is anglicized as MacClave and MacLave. In County
, however, the name is frequently mistranslated as Hand, since the name is phonetically similar to another Gaelic word "lamh" for "hand." Claffey is the most common variant in the midlands of Ireland.
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