Show ContentsO'Driscoll History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Before Irish names were translated into English, O'Driscoll had a Gaelic form of O hEidersceoil, from the word eidirsceol, which means an intermediary.

Early Origins of the O'Driscoll family

The surname O'Driscoll was first found in the southern part of the county of Kerry. They were later forced out of this territory by the O'Sullivans, and migrated eastward, settling around Baltimore in the southwest of County Cork. They remain almost exclusively in this region today, despite the depredations of the neighboring O'Donovan and O'Mahony septs. [1]

"The original habitat of the O'Driscolls was the Barony of West Carbery, in County Cork, where O'Driscoll was Lord of Baltimore, and possessed the Island of Cape Clear and adjacent territory. The great majority of the present Driscolls are to be found there." [2]

The sept takes its name from Eidersceoil, who was born around 910 AD, and was in turn descended from Lughaide Laidhe, who was the ancestor of the Corca Laoidheclann which occupied the area of Cork belonging to the diocese of Ross. The variant Dirsicall was ten times more common than O'Driscoll eighty years ago, the situation has now been reversed.

Early History of the O'Driscoll family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Driscoll research. Another 216 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1460, 1698 and 1707 are included under the topic Early O'Driscoll History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'Driscoll Spelling Variations

The recording of names in Ireland in the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. The standardized literary languages of today were not yet reached and the spelling of surnames often changed through a bearer's lifetime. Research into the name O'Driscoll revealed spelling variations, including Driscoll, O'Driscoll and others.

Early Notables of the O'Driscoll family

Notable among the family name at this time was

  • Cornelius O'Driscoll, colonel in the Irish Brigade

O'Driscoll Ranking

In the United States, the name O'Driscoll is the 17,214th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]

United States O'Driscoll migration to the United States +

In the 18th and 19th centuries hundreds of thousands of Irish people immigrated to North American shores. The early settlers were enticed by the promise of their own land, but they were moderately well off in Ireland when they decided to emigrate. Therefore, they were merely carrying out a long and carefully thought out decision. The 1840s saw the emergence of a very different trend: thousands of extremely desperate people crammed into passenger boats hoping to find any type of opportunity. The Irish of this decade had seen their homeland severely stricken by crop failures which resulted in widespread disease and starvation. At whatever time the Irish immigrants came to North America, they were instrumental in the rapid development of the emerging nations of the United States and what would become known as Canada. An exhaustive search of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many persons bearing the name O'Driscoll, or one of its variants:

O'Driscoll Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Florence O'Driscoll who landed in Virginia in 1663

New Zealand O'Driscoll migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

O'Driscoll Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Ellen O'Driscoll, aged 23, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alumbagh" in 1875 [4]
  • Michael O'Driscoll, aged 20, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1879
  • James O'Driscoll, aged 20, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1879
  • Mr. Daniel O'Driscoll, (b. 1858), aged 21, Scottish farm labourer, from Cork travelled with the Shea family from Clyde aboard the ship "Nelson" arriving in Invercargill, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 28th August 1879 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name O'Driscoll (post 1700) +

  • Timothy J. "Tim" O'Driscoll (b. 1964), American politician, Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives (2011-)
  • Martha O'Driscoll (1922-1998), American film actress, active from 1937 until 1947
  • William V. O'Driscoll, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Jersey, 1940, 1944 [5]
  • Dennis O'Driscoll (b. 1954), Irish poet, essayist, critic and editor
  • Emma O'Driscoll (b. 1982), Irish television presenter
  • Brian O'Driscoll (b. 1979), Irish international rugby union player
  • Shane O'Driscoll (b. 1977), Irish-born rugby league player
  • Patrick O'Driscoll (1878-1949), Irish Clann na Talmhan politician
  • John O'Driscoll (b. 1953), Irish international rugby union player
  • Ger O'Driscoll (b. 1987), Irish sports person
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Titanic
  • Miss Bridget O'Driscoll, aged 24, Irish Third Class passenger from Ballydehob, Cork who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking in collapsible D [6]
SS Southern Cross
  • Mr. Lawrence O'Driscoll (b. 1914), Newfoundlander from Tors Cove who was aboard the "SS Southern Cross" when it is suspected she sank between the 31st March 1914 and early April during the storm with a heavy load of pelts; no survivors were ever found

  1. MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. Matheson, Robert E., Special Report on Surnames in Ireland with Notes as to Numeric Strength, Derivation, Ethnology, and Distribution. Dublin: Alexander Thom & Co., 1894. Print
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 3) . Retrieved from
  6. Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook