The following review of the origins of the Dunphy name was researched by Mr. Gerard Dunphy who has kindly given his permission for it to be posted on this website.  Please contact the author (information below) if you wish to reproduce his work.


The DUNPHY (Gaelic) name was first revealed in county Kerry where they had been seated from very ancient times.  There were many frequent changes to the spelling of DUNPHY including Dunfy, O'Dunphy, and O'Donoghue.  These changes arose for patriotic, religious, or family divisions.  Here's a brief historical look at the name Dunphy.

The ancient Kings of Ireland were descended from King Milesius of Spain.  A great General and King, King Milesius was instrumental in defending Egypt from the King of Ethiopia before turning his attention northward to Ireland to fulfill an ancient Druidic prophecy.

After sending an army to explore the island he found out that his son had been murdered by the three resident Irish Kings (the Danans).  That prompted King Milesius to gather another army of soldiers to take revenge on the Irish.  King Milesius died before embarking on that trip.  The remaining eight sons conquered Ireland.  Heremon, eldest son of Milesius, reigned in Ireland for the next fourteen years, along with his brothers Heber, Ir, and Ithe.  They actually named the land Scota (or Scotia), their mother's maiden name, the Land of the Scots.  This name was (years) later taken by King Colla when he was exiled to Scotland, leaving the name Ir-Land, or land of Ir, youngest of the four sons of King Milesius.

The great Gaelic family DUNPHY emerged in later years in Kerry.  The Dunphy family name can be traced to the O'Donoghues, of Kerry, the Princes of Lough Lain who in turn descended from the ancient King Heber Fionn.  The O'Donoghues of Kerry translated their name into English as Dunphy or Dunfy.  This particular branch was descended from Cas, the ancient King of Munster.  In 1014, Domhnall, son of the King of Munster, took part in the battle of Clontarf.  Later, the family settled in Kerry gave their name to the name officially recognized in Ireland to be called "The O'Donoghue".  During the middle ages the name continued to flourish and the family had established the large barony of Iverk, in Kilkenny.  Later, the family became involved in skirmishes with the English in the 1600's.  Several members of the family distinguished
themselves during this period.  Geoffrey O'Donoghue, son of Chief Geoffrey O'Donoghue of the Glen, was a heralded Gaelic poet and scholar.  Dunphy was the so-called 'genteel' way of saying O'Donoghue during these times.  Notable amongst the family at this time was Dunphy of county Kerry.

11th and 17th century invasions together with the great potato famine in 1845 caused continued widespread misery and poverty, and the exodus from Ireland began.  By 1895 the population of Ireland was reduced to less than half.

In North America in 1772 some of the first migrants of the Dunphy kinsmen recorded were the family of Edward Dunphy who had settled in Pennsylvania (USA).  [About the Irish] In the New World the Irish played an important part in building the nation, the railroads. coal mines, bridges and canals.  They lent their culture to the arts, sciences, commerce, religion, and the professions.

During the War of Independence some loyal to the Crown moved northward to Canada and became known as the United Empire Loyalists and were granted lands on the banks of the St. Lawrence and the Niagara Peninsula.

Coat of Arms:
Green with two silver foxes on a silver horizontal band; a black eagle in flight at the top

Family Crest:
An arm in armour holding a sword, the blade entwined with a serpent 

Information Sources:
Historical analysts O'Hart, Woulfe, McLysaght, O'Brien, and the Four Masters
The Irish Herald of Dublin Castle
Public records of baptisms
Parish records
Charters and ancient land grants
Dublin Public Records Office


Gerard F. Dunphy (II)
St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada