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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Where did the Irish O'Riordan family come from? What is the Irish O'Riordan family crest and coat of arms? When did the O'Riordan family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the O'Riordan family history?

The name O'Riordan has changed considerably in the time that has passed since its genesis. It originally appeared in Gaelic as O Riordain. The original form of the surname was O Rioghbhardain, which was originally derived from the words "riogh bhard," meaning "royal bard."

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The spelling of names in Ireland during the Middle Ages was rarely consistent. This inconsistency was due to the scribes and church officials' attempts to record orally defined names in writing. The common practice of recording names as they sounded resulted in spelling variations such as O'Riordan, Riordan, O'Rearden, Rearden and others.

First found in County Cork (Irish: Corcaigh) the ancient Kingdom of Deis Muin (Desmond), located on the southwest coast of Ireland in the province of Munster.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Riordan research. Another 225 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1172 and 1750 are included under the topic Early O'Riordan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early O'Riordan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Irish families began to immigrate to British North America and the United States in the 18th century, but the greatest influx of Irish immigrants came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. The earlier settlers came to North America after a great deal of consideration and by paying relatively high fees for their passage. These settlers were primarily drawn by the promise of land. Those later settlers that came during the 1840's were trying to escape the conditions of poverty, starvation, disease, and death that had stricken Ireland. Due to the enormity of their numbers and the late date of their arrival, these immigrants primarily became hired laborers instead of homesteading settlers like their predecessors. An exhaustive search of immigration and passenger lists has revealed many Irish immigrants North America bearing the name O'Riordan:

O'Riordan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Robt Oriordan, who came to North America in 1847

O'Riordan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • Thomas O'Riordan, aged 27, who emigrated to the United States from Dublin, in 1904
  • John O'Riordan, aged 26, who emigrated to the United States from Cork, Ireland, in 1907
  • Michael O'Riordan, aged 38, who emigrated to the United States from Millstreet, Ireland, in 1907
  • Daniel O'Riordan, aged 22, who emigrated to the United States from Macroom, Ireland, in 1908
  • Eleanor O'Riordan, aged 19, who landed in America from Killarney, Ireland, in 1908


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  • Dolores Mary Eileen O’Riordan (b. 1971), Irish singer and songwriter
  • Donald Joseph O'Riordan (b. 1957), Irish former footballer
  • Brian O'Riordan (b. 1981), Irish professional rugby player
  • Conal Holmes O'Connell O'Riordan (1874-1948), Irish dramatist and novelist
  • Dolores O'Riordan (b. 1971), Irish singer and songwriter
  • Eugene O'Riordan, Irish author and professor of mathematics
  • Caitlín O'Riordan (b. 1965), British musician
  • Robert O'Riordan (b. 1943), Canadian author


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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Pro Deo et patria
Motto Translation: For God and country.

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  1. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  2. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  5. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  6. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  9. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  10. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  11. ...

The O'Riordan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The O'Riordan Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 16 December 2012 at 12:47.

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