What’s In A Name?
What’s in a name you ask? Well, in Ireland – with monikers that run several vowels together, like Caoimhe, Eoin, Aoife – it can be downright confusing.
Yes, it is very difficult and yes it is becoming more common it seems. (For the record they are pronounced Kweeva, Owen and Efah and no I don’t know how the other one is pronounced)
If you really want a tongue twister try Sycerika McMahon a young Irish woman who has just qualified for the London Olympics in swimming.
A name is the first and probably the most important gift that parents can ever bestow upon their newborns. For many Irish around the world, choosing a name for their child that reflects Irish connections is an important duty.
Today, however, there appears to be a new trend emerging within the baby-naming practice, especially by those who are searching for Irish names. There is no doubt a fair share of names – Patrick, Colleen, Liam, Erin, for instance – that are all both commonly known and commonly known to be Irish.
A growing trend is to utilize a last name – Reilly, McKenna, Shea, Carey – as a first name to pay homage to a branch of the family. Readily known to be Irish and paying a respect to sects of a family, these names work double duty.
Similar to using a surname, perhaps parents will choose a family’s home or favorite location in Ireland. Kerry, Clare, Tara, Shannon, are all locales around Ireland that are both commonly used and known to be Irish names.
Then, there are names that are more difficult to pronounce upon first sight, but are known to be Irish. Deirdre, Ciara, Siobhan, Padraig, Seamus, can all be tongue-twisters for those not familiar with the pronunciations. Still, these names are known to be typically Irish.
And then there are those who choose to place the burden of “How do you pronounce that?” on their children forever by retaining the traditional Irish spelling. Eoin, Aoife, Ruairi, Caoimhe, Oisin, Niamh are all popular Irish names that provide an awkward array of vowels for most people unfamiliar with traditional Irish pronunciations, or at the very least, the names themselves.