Griffin surname history

While the name is English in appearance, in the great majority of cases Irish Griffins are descended from the O Griobhtha. Both the English and Irish versions ultimately have the same source, the name of the legendary monster the gryphon, used as a nickname for someone fierce or dangerous. The name arose separately in at least two areas, in Co. Kerry, centred on Ballygriffin in Glanarought barony, and in Co. Clare, where the seat was at Ballygriffy near Ennis. From these two starting points, the families spread and intermingled, and today Griffin is among the 100 most common Irish surnames, found principally in the original homelands of Clare and Kerry, as well as the adjoining counties Cork and Limerick.

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