Rice, Maolchraoibhe A Gaelic surname meaning descendant of Maolchraoibhe (chief of Craobh, a place-name). A sept of Orghialla (Oriel) who were originally located west of the Upper Bann, but afterwards settled in Clannaboy. At the begining of the seventeenth century they occupied the west side of Knockbreda near Belfast in Down. The name has been translated both as Mulcreevy and Rice. The common Welsh surname Ap Rhys, has been anglicised as Rice. This family settled in Limerick and Dingle in the fourteenth and fifteenth century, where they were wealthy merchants. In 1890 was numerous in Louth, it was also to be found in Antrim, Armagh and Dublin. The estimated number of bearers for was 4,435. In the United States it is the 146th most numerous surname with an estimated 176,000 bearers. In England and Wales in 1996 it was the 432nd most numerous surname.
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