Wards in Ireland can be of English or Gaelic origin. The English version of the name alludes to the occupation of ‘weard’ or guardsman, and was brought here by English settlers. In Gaelic the name means ‘son of the poet / bard’. Of the Gaelic septs, one was located in Co. Donegal where its members were hereditary bards to the ruling clans, and the other was located in Ballinasloe in Co. Galway, where they were bards to the ruling O’ Kellys. Today, Ward ranks among the top 80 most numerous names in Ireland, and is strongest in Ulster, and in counties Donegal and Galway.