A Letter from Ireland:

Which do you prefer to say: Bergin OR Ó hAimheirgin?


Bergins of Abbeyleix

That’s the original Irish name for Bergin – but has since become contracted to Ó Beirgin. That’s the sort of thing that happens to names as they travel down through the years. 

The other thing is that Bergin lost its “O” – these were often dropped during penal law times when having a too Gaelic-sounding name might go against you. Many of the Os and Macs were restored in the 19th century with a Gaelic resurgence, but lots of surnames left them out. So, for example – its rare to hear “O’Kelly” nowadays – its normally just Kelly. Where as a lot of Cork Sullivan’s restored the O – whereas in Kerry the O was typically let out.

And this pub is exactly where you’d expect to find the Bergins – in Abbeyleix in County Laois.


  • Romanda McManus says:

    I have a funny question about the spelling of McManus, my dad spells it with the c in the air with 2 dashes going up and down, not side to side, He will fuss if you write them side to side, and says its the wrong way. Ive asked him why we write our name like this, he says we just do lol…I’m almost 40 yrs old and that’s the only explanation ive ever gotten…is there a reason for it, or just something he likes to do? Thanks in advance

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