Recorded as O'Farrell, Farrell, Farreil, and even Ferrall, this is a famous and distinguished Irish surname. It originates from the pre 10th century Gaelic O' Fearghail translating as the male descendant of Fearghal, the latter being a personal name of the first chief and composed of the elements "fear", meaning man and "gal", - valour; hence, the descendants of the man of valour. This great sept originated in the Leinster County of Longford and their chief known as Lord of Annaly resided at Longphuirt Ui Fearghaill or O'Farrell's fortress, from which the name of the county derives. So important was the sept that much space is accorded to them in the "Annals of the Four Masters". There were two main branches of the O'Farrells, the chiefs of which were distinguished as O'Farrell Boy from "buidhe", yellow or Golden, and O'Farrell Bane from ban "fair" or "white". Several of the family distinguished themselves in the Irish brigade in France, and Sir Thomas Farrell (1827 - 1900), was a noted sculptor many of whose statues adorn the city of Dublin. A Coat of Arms granted to the (O) Farrell family depicts a gold lion rampant on a green shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Father Richard O'Farrell, which was dated circa 1615 - 1663, Annaly, Co. Longford, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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