Wednesday, January 19, 2011


above, RR McIan's 19th Century print of a Mac Grioghair

Grier is an anglicised for of the Gaelic surname Mac Grioghair, which itself is a variant form of the more common Mac Greagair; both forms means son of Gregory. Grier, also spelled Greer, is a phonetic rendering of how one says Grioghair in Gaelic. The second G in the surname is not said as it is softened by the adding of the H. The softening is called a seimhiú (said Shay-voo).

In Ireland, Grier families arrived in east Donegal with the Redshanks that settled in the Portlough precinct, in what is today, Taughboyne Parish. Many are found living on the lands of Ludovic Stewart who was the Duke of Lennox in the early 1600s around the St Johnston area. The Griers were Highland Gaels, yet many found a home within the Ulster Scots Planters in east Donegal.

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