The Irish surname Carolan, also found in Scotland, is an anglicized form of the Gaelic name Ó Cairealláin, meaning ‘descendant of Caireallán’, a diminutive of the personal name Caireall. The personal name Caireallmeans “fierce warrior.” The name originated in the northern province of Ulster in counties Donegal, Tyrone and Down. The first recorded reference to the name is in the mid 16th Century when Hugh O' Carolan, Bishop of Clogher, is recorded in "Medieval Ecclesiastical Records of Co. Donegal." A notable bearer of the name was the Irish Civil War politician Frank Kerlin from Dublin. The most famous bearer of the name was the 17th Century blind Irish harpist and composer Turlough O’Carolan.
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