Smith

Smith

Comparatively little is known about the history of this family name in Ireland, which is as commonplace in England as Murphy is in Ireland. Its Irish equivalent is MacGouran, which means son of the smith. It came to Ireland with the English and Scottish planters who settled in Ulster and also with the Cromwellian soldiers who came to Ireland in the mid 17th century. The name is particularly numerous in Co. Cavan.

There are few prominent locations associated with this name. Smith Hill, in Co. Roscommon, is one mile north-west of Elphin and may have been the birthplace of Oliver Goldsmith, the 18th-century dramatist. His grandfather, who had his house here, was the local curate. In the previous century Erasmus Smith (1611-1691) was a wealthy man who founded the Erasmus Smith grammar schools in Ireland, the first endowed schools of their kind.