Wales – Brythonic Britain
In Wales and other Celtic areas of Brythonic Britain, the name derives from the Old Celtic Hu or Huw, meaning “fire” or “inspiration”. At the time of the British Census of 1881 , the relative frequency of the surname Hughes was highest on the Welsh island of Ynys Môn (37.2 times the British average), followed by Gwynedd, Flintshire, Denbighshire, Meirionydd, Montgomeryshire, Ceredigion, Radnorshire and Carmarthenshire .
Ireland & Goidelic Britain
The surname evolved from the ancient Celt name of Ó hAodha meaning Fire. It’s an old Irish name in Gaeltachtaí, which can be Hughes or Hayes.Hughes is the 15th most popular name in Ulster and Northern Ireland although it originates from County Roscommon. It is of similar origin to O’Hea in the Republic of Ireland. It is commonly found in the Counties Wexford, Donegal, Galway and Cork. There are variant spellings.