I guess we all have our favourites – many spring to mind such as Patrick/Patricia, Brigid, Seán and so on. However, when you dig a little deeper into the Irish names out there – ones that you might use with a new baby – it can be surprising how many old Irish names are available. It may also be surprising to see the English translation of some of these names.
Here’s what I mean:
My own mother, God rest her soul, was brought up in east Galway – one of ten children on a small farm. Her father died when the eldest was eleven and she was one of five sisters and five brothers.
Her given name was Margaret – but no one called her that – she was always called by her second name – Philomena.
Her eldest sister was Pauline. Next down was Norah – except in typical Irish fashion that migrated from Noreen to Norah as she got older. Next down was Bridie – short for Bridget – whose feast day is the first of February.
And then along came the youngest girl – whom everybody called “Baby” when she was born – but they kept calling her “Baby” long after the younger children came along. I remember my mother calling us kids together to go visit “Baby’s house” – even when Baby was a forty-year old mother of four!
Those memories come back to me – spurred on by the wonderful stories and naming “conventions” in your family that I have been reading all week. In my mother’s time – both boys and girls adopted the names of various saints as given names. It was only in my generation that many of the older Irish names started to come back into vogue.
So, today – let’s have a look at some familiar “English” names – and some of the old Irish equivalents (as opposed to direct translations).
These are names that are not direct translations from English to Irish – but “equivalents” – some of which may surprise you.
Regarding all the “Patricks” and “Patricias” out there – there were many comments and questions on this name during the week. In Ireland – the Irish for Patrick is often used – it is Pádraig which is pronounced “Paw-drig”.
HOWEVER, in Munster, especially, most Pádraigs are pronounced “Paw-rick” and often the shorter version of that is used – “Paudie” (pronounced “Paw-dy”).
So, you Patricks might want to try on these alternatives for a change. On Patricia – this is almost always shortened to either Pat or Trish or Trisha.
(By the way – that’s a picture of Athenry Castle in County Galway – close to where my mother and her family lived.)
What are the Irish names in your family?
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