This surname can best be described as English, but of Irish origins! It was an ethnic name in England and Scotland for an immigrant from Ireland, the root of the name being from the Old English word Iras meaning Irishman.
Ireland Resources on
- Ireland House. Ireland museum in Burlington, Ontario.
England. The first with the surname Ireland was possibly Sir John de Ireland, said to have lived at the time of William the Conqueror. This Ireland family held the manor of Hale in Childwall on Merseyside from 1279. There were later Ireland lines at Lydiate on Merseyside and Beausey near Warrington. Sir Gilbert Ireland of Hale brought the giant John Middleton to court in 1617. His grandson, also Sir Gilbert Ireland, married Margaret Ireland of Beausey but died in 1675 without issue, the last of the line at Hale.
The Ireland family at Lydiate was recusant and had lost their estates two years earlier in 1673. One line of these Irelands established themselves at Crofton Hall near Wakefield in Yorkshire. William Ireland, a Jesuit priest born there, was executed for his involvement in the Popish plot in 1679. It can be truly said that the 1670ís was a bad time for the Irelands.
The 19th century distribution of the Ireland name showed a concentration in Lancashire, perhaps augmented by Irish Irelands, and a smattering in the southwest. Devon was one locale. John Ireland from Ashburton in Devon became the Dean of Westminster in the early 19th century and crowned three monarchs. There were Irelands as well by that time in Gloucestershire and SW Herefordshire.
Scotland. The earlier Irelands in Scotland seem to have come from the east coast, from Fife and further up the coast in Angus. Thomas and Agnes Ireland were recorded in Fife in 1677. Their son was a tenant at Tarvit Mill. Another Fife line began with the marriage of James and Elspeth Ireland at St. Andrews in 1655. Later Irelands - of probable Irish origin - were in and around Glasgow.
America. There were Irelands from England, Ireland, and Scotland in America. Examples of Irish Irelands were:
- John Ireland, the son of Irish immigrants, who became Governor of Texas in 1883
- and John Ireland from Kilkenny who was appointed Archbishop of St. Paul, Minnesota in 1888.
- Samuel Ireland, who arrived with his family on the Increase in 1635 and settled in
Wethersfield, Connecticut (he died there ten years later).
- and Thomas Ireland, who came to Hempstead, Long Island in 1644
and was a landlord of an inn there (Joseph Norton Ireland
described this line in his 1880 book Some
Account of the Ireland Family: 1644-1880).
Canada. Joseph and Mary Ireland moved to Burlington, Ontario from the village of Bowes in north Yorkshire in 1819. The Oakridge Farm house that he built there in 1835 stayed with his descendants until 1987 when it was purchased by the city of Burlington and turned into a museum.
Select Ireland Miscellany
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
Select Ireland Names
William Ireland was an English Jesuit priest caught up in the Popish plot who was executed in 1679. He was subsequently beatified by the Catholic church.
John Ireland was Dean of Westminster from 1816 to 1842.
John Ireland was a 20th century English composer. He came from a family of Scottish descent.
Select Irelands Today
- 15,000 in the UK (most numerous in London)
- 5,000 in America (most numerous in California)
- 12,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)
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