Lyons is one of the commonest surnames in Ireland, particularly in the three southern provinces. In Ulster especially it may be a variant of the English and Scottish surname "Lyon", which can derive, as a nickname, from "lion", from the first name Leo or Leon, or from the place-name Lyon-la-Foret in Normandy. Elsewhere, however, Lyons is virtually always the anglicised version of one of two Irish names, O Laighin, from laighean, meaning "spear", or O Liathain, possibly from liath, meaning "grey". O Laighin originated in two areas, in Co. Kerry and in east Co. Galway, where the family's territory was centred on Kilconnell. In Kerry, however, the name was almost invariably anglicised as "Lyne". The O Liathain family are reputed to have originated in Co. Limerick. but are now to be found much more frequently in Co. Cork, particularly in the north of the county, where the village of Castlelyons records their presence. O Liathain has also been anglicised as "Lehane"