Families of this name CURRAN are distributed throughout Ireland, the heaviest distribution being in Ulster. Persons of the name must descend from one of several O'Corrain or O'Currain septs, one of which was located in Co. Galway and another in South Leinster, whence the name spread into County Waterford where families of the name were particularly numerous in the 17th century. The usual form of the name in Ireland is O'Corrain. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. The tradition of surnames in Ireland developed spontaneously, as the population increased and the former practice, first of single names and then of ephemeral patronymics or agnomina of the nickname type proved insufficiently definitive. At first the surname was formed by prefixing 'Mac' to the father's Christian name or 'O 'to that of a grandfather or earlier ancestor. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. The name was taken to Scotland by early settlers, where it is rendered as Currans, and recorded mainly in the shires of Ayr and Wigtown. A notable member of the name was John Philpot Curran (1750-1817) the Irish orator, born in Newmarket in County Cork. After Trinity College, Dublin, he spent two years at the Middle Temple, London, and was called to the Irish bar in 1755. He earned a considerable reputation for his wit and powers of advocacy, but when he entered the Irish Parliament in 1783, he met with less success. In the course of his turbulent career, he fought five duels, all without serious injury. He was master of the rolls in Ireland from 1806 until 1814, but towards the end of his life had serious domestic problems and failing health.
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