Phelan is an Irish surname, one of the two most common anglicisations (the other being Whelan) of the Irish surname Ó Faoláin (which comes from the Irish for "wolf"). The name is commonly seen in the south-east of Ireland, particularly counties Waterford and Kilkenny. Other anglicised forms include, Felan and Faelan.
An alternate pronunciation is Filan, but in some parts of Kilkenny there is also use of Feilan or even Weilan. This happens because the name comes from the same origin as Whelan, and the Irish form itself is pronounced felan.
The O'Faelan (O'Harts spelling) clan name is claimed to have descended from Fiacha Suidhe, one of the younger brothers of Conn Ceadcathach or Conn of the Hundred Battles. Fiacha Suidhe is said to have been expelled from Meath and after various wanderings was given permission to settle in lands around Waterford which were called the Desies.