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The Irish Rose

Kennedy Name History

Kennedy Irish Coat of Arms

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Kennedy, alternately O'Kennedy and Kennedie, is a surname of Irish and Scottish origin that has also been used as a given name. There have been several different etymologies given for the surname. One is that the name is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic Ó Ceannéidigh meaning "grandson of Ceannéidigh". Ceannéidigh is a given name derived from the Gaelic words ceann, meaning "head", and éidigh, meaning "ugly". In some etymologies, the element ceann is given as "chief" or "leader". Another possibility is that Kennedy is an Anglicisation of Ó Cinnéide, meaning "grandson of Cinnédidh" or "grandson of Cinnéidigh", with both of these personal names meaning "helmet headed.” Ceanéidigh could be related to the old Gaelic name Cennétig, which is known from Cennétig Mac Lorcáin, the father of the Irish high king Brian mac Cennétig, who himself was also known as Brian Bóruma or Brian Boru. There are also an Irish Kennedy family and a Scottish Kennedy clan of Carrick in Ayrshire, which are unrelated to one another.

Variant Spellings of the Irish surname Kennedy include Kannady, Kenardy, Kennaday, Kenneday, Kenneyday, Kennediem, MacKennedy, MacUalraig, and many more.

Our item #1760 Framed Irish Family Name History has more information on the Kennedy surname.

There is a wide selection of Kennedy coat of arms products at The Irish Rose.

Visit a Kennedy Pub in Ireland

We found at least one pub in Ireland that carries the Kennedy name. On your next trip visit Kennedy's in Dundalk, County Louth, also known locally as the Railway Bar.

If you can't visit in person, our personalized pub gifts are the next best thing!

Notable people named Kennedy

Members of the Kennedy family of the United States of America:

  • Caroline Bouvier Schlossberg (née Kennedy) (born 1957), attorney; daughter of John and Jacqueline Kennedy
  • Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (1932-–2009), senior U.S. senator from Massachusetts, married twice and father of three
  • Ethel Kennedy (née Skakel) (born 1928), widow of Robert Francis Kennedy and mother of Joseph Patrick Kennedy II, Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. and other nine
  • Eunice Mary Shriver (née Kennedy) (1921–-2009), sister of President John F. Kennedy; wife of Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr.
  • Jaqueline Lee "Jackie" Onassis (née Bouvier; formerly Kennedy) (1929–1994), First Lady of the United States; widow of John F. Kennedy
  • Jean Ann Smith (née Kennedy) (born 1928), ambassador to Ireland; sister of President John F. Kennedy
  • John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, Senior (1917–-1963), 35th President of the United States
  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Junior (1960–-1999), attorney, publisher; son of John and Jacqueline
  • Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy, Senior (1888-–1969), former Ambassador to the United Kingdom; father of President John F. Kennedy
  • Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy, Junior (1915–-1944), WWII pilot; eldest son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.
  • Joseph Patrick Kennedy II (born 1952), former U.S. representative from Massachusetts; son of Robert F. Kennedy
  • Kathleen Agnes "Kick" Cavendish (née Kennedy) (1920-–1948), widow of the heir to the Devonshire dukedom; sister of President John F. Kennedy
  • Patrick Joseph Kennedy II (born 1967), U.S. representative from Rhode Island, son of Ted Kennedy
  • Patricia "Pat" Lawford (née Kennedy) (1924–-2006), sister of president John F. Kennedy, wife of Peter Lawford and mother of four
  • Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy, Senior (1925–-1968), U.S. senator from New York; U.S. Attorney General
  • Robert Francis Kennedy, Junior (born 1954), attorney, environmentalist, activist
  • Rose Elizabeth Kennedy (née Fitzgerald) (1890-–1995), Kennedy family matriarch; mother of President John F. Kennedy
  • Rose Marie "Rosemary" Kennedy (1918-–2005), oldest sister of President John F. Kennedy

Other notable Kennedys

  • A. L. Kennedy, Scottish novelist
  • Adam Kennedy, Major League Baseball player
  • Adam Kennedy (actor), actor, screenwriter, novelist, painter
  • Adrian Kennedy, Irish radio host
  • Alan Kennedy, English soccer player
  • Alexander Kennedy, British civil engineer
  • Ambrose Jerome Kennedy, American politician
  • Anthony Kennedy, US Supreme Court Associate Justice
  • Arthur Kennedy (actor), American actor
  • Arthur Kennedy (governor), British colonial administrator
  • Ben Kennedy, Australian rugby league footballer
  • Benjamin Hall Kennedy, English classical scholar
  • Betty Kennedy, retired Canadian senator, television personality
  • Bill Kennedy (actor), actor and television personality
  • Bob Kennedy, Major League Baseball player and manager; father of Terry Kennedy
  • Bob Kennedy (athlete), distance runner
  • Carl Kennedy, stage actor
  • Charles Kennedy, Scottish politician, former leader of the Liberal Democrats
  • Claudia Kennedy, first female lieutenant general in the US Army, noted intelligence officer
  • Clem Kennedy, Australian rugby league footballer
  • Cory Kennedy, American Internet celebrity
  • Courtney Kennedy, dual Olympic medal winner in women's ice hockey
  • D. James Kennedy, American Presbyterian pastor and theologian
  • David M. Kennedy, 60th Secretary of the Treasury of the United States of America, and U.S. Ambassador to NATO
  • Diane Kennedy, American CPA, speaker, financial writer
  • Donald Kennedy, American scientist, public administrator, and academic
  • Douglas Kennedy (writer), UK-based American author
  • Duncan Kennedy (legal philosopher), Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Harvard Law School
  • Edgar Kennedy, American actor
  • Edmund Kennedy, Australian explorer
  • Edward Kennedy (journalist), American journalist who first reported the German surrender in World War II
  • Edward Joseph Kennedy (born 1851), Irish nationalist politician, Member of Parliament for South Sligo
  • Edward Shirley Kennedy, British alpinist
  • Edward Stewart Kennedy, American historian of science
  • George Kennedy, American actor
  • Gerard Kennedy, Canadian politician
  • Gilbert G. Kennedy (1844–-1909), Scottish footballer
  • Graeme K. (Graeme Kennedy), American musician
  • Graham Kennedy, Australian comedian and television presenter
  • Helena Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws, Scottish barrister, writer and politician
  • Hiram Raleigh Kennedy, American politician
  • Ian Kennedy (born 1984), American baseball player
  • Jack Kennedy (train robber), American outlaw
  • James Kennedy (disambiguation)
  • Jamie Kennedy, American comedian and actor
  • John Kennedy (Scottish footballer), Scottish soccer player
  • John Kennedy (shortstop), American baseball player
  • John Kennedy (theologian), 19th-century Scottish theologian
  • John J. Kennedy, New York State Treasurer 1911-1914
  • John Neely Kennedy, Louisiana State Treasurer and 2008 U.S. Senate candidate
  • John P. Kennedy, U.S. Secretary of the Navy
  • Jon Kennedy, British drummer and electronic musician
  • Jonny Kennedy, subject of the documentary The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off
  • Joshua Kennedy, Australian soccer player
  • Kathryn Kennedy, California wine maker
  • Kennedy (musical artist), American musician
  • Kenneth Kennedy, the first Winter Olympian for Australia
  • Leland T. Kennedy, U.S. Air Force pilot twice awarded the Air Force Cross
  • Lena Kennedy, English romantic novelist
  • Leon S. Kennedy, one of the two main characters in Resident Evil 2 and the protagonist in Resident Evil 4
  • Lisa Kennedy Montgomery (born 1972), stage name Kennedy, an American political satirist and former MTV VJ
  • Lucy Napaljarri Kennedy, indigenous Australian artist
  • Ludovic Kennedy, British journalist, broadcaster, and author
  • Margaret Kennedy (1896—-1967), English novelist
  • Mark Kennedy (footballer), Irish football (soccer) player
  • Mark Kennedy (politician), American politician
  • Mark Kennedy (infiltrator), British undercover policeman
  • Mary Kennedy, Irish television personality
  • Matthew Kennedy (footballer), Scottish footballer
  • Mr. Kennedy, the ring name used by American professional wrestler Ken Anderson (born 1976) during his time in WWE
  • Myles Kennedy, lead singer and guitarist for the rock band Alter Bridge
  • Nery Kennedy, Paraguayan javelin thrower
  • Nick Kennedy, English rugby player
  • Nigel Kennedy, English violinist
  • Pat Kennedy, American college basketball coach
  • Paul Kennedy, British historian of international relations
  • Ray Kennedy, English footballer
  • Ron Kennedy (1953-–2009), Canadian ice hockey player
  • Sheila Kennedy, Penthouse model in the early 1980s
  • Simon Kennedy (born 1967), Sports agent
  • Stetson Kennedy (1916-–2011), American human rights activist and folklore collector
  • Ted Kennedy (ice hockey) (1925–-2009), Canadian ice hockey player
  • Terry Kennedy, Major League Baseball player; son of Bob Kennedy
  • Thomas Laird Kennedy, Premier of Ontario (1948–1949)
  • Tim Kennedy (fighter), mixed martial arts fighter
  • Tim Kennedy (ice hockey), hockey player
  • Tom Kennedy (born 1927), stage name of American game show host James Narz
  • Walter Kennedy, Scottish poet of the Renaissance court of James IV of Scotland
  • Walter Kennedy (1912–-1977), American sports executive; NBA president (1963–-67) and commissioner (1967–-75)
  • William J. Kennedy, American writer, winner of the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for fiction

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