Origin of the O'Carroll Clan Name


The name is derived from the Irish Ó Cearbhaill (descendant of Cearbhall). The name may originate from the Irish term Cearbh meaning “to carve” which may also in turn signify a butcher (another name for a fierce warrior!).

The O' Carrolls trace their origins to the so-called Cianachta tribe, who were the Clan Cian or "Race of Cian" and dated from the 3rd century. However, this is disputed by some. The Cian in question was the youngest son of Olioll Ollum King of Munster.

O'Carroll Clan, Carroll sept

The Clan O Cearbhaill lands were pasture lands of Ballycrinass, Rosscullenagh and Drumcan in co. Offaly.

There were about five septs O'Carrols : the O'Carroll Ely, (from Tipperary and Offaly), the O' Carrolls of Oriel in the Dundalk area, the O' Carrolls of Ossory in the Carlow/Kilkenny area and two septs in the Kerry area.The O’Carroll territory was known as Ely O’Carroll, an ancient and medieval kingdom in Munster. 

A famous ascendant was OCearbhaill Mac Dunlainge who was King of Ossory and enemy of the Vikings. His daughters married into the Norse line and their pedigree continued in some Icelandic lineages. His battles with them are commemorated in Norse legend.

The most famous of the Cearbhaill's were the Ely O'Carroll's of Uíbh Fhailí (an ancient townland) which includes present day County Offaly and parts of Tipperary.  They derived their name from Cearbhall, King of Ely (Éile), he was one of the leaders who fought and led the Elyans into battle with the victorious native irish army at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.

Among the earliest settlers recorded in Maryland in the United States are Christopher Carroll in 1638 and George Carroll in 1672.