The resumption of the "O" prefix has been noticeably less widespread for this family than for others: 6% recorded the name as "O?Farrell" in 1890, and 14% in 1996.
In 1890 the surname was 35th most common in Ireland, with 330 births of the name; by 1996 it was ranked 31st.
One of the leaders of the Annaly O?Farrells, Ceadagh, was killed at the battle of the Boyne in 1691. Three of his sons fought in the Irish Brigade in the French army and settled in northern France, in Picardy, where the name is still well known.. Michael Farrell (1899-1962), spent almost 30 years writing his novel Thy Tears Might Cease, which remained unfinished at his death. Edited by Monk Gibbon, it achieved international recognition when it was finally published in 1963.
Brian Farrell (1929 - ) was Associate Head of Politics at University College Dublin and has been Ireland?s best known current affairs broadcaster for over 20 years, He is now Director-General of the Institute for European Affairs.
Michael Farrell (1940 - )is one of the country?s most accomplished contemporary artists. His nude self-portraits are particularly well known.