Is Aoibhe a step too far in the UK?

(257 Posts)
mika2 Thu 09-May-13 23:09:36

I'm Irish, living in the UK and due DD1 in 4 mths. I really want to give the baby an irish name - DH has reluctantly agreed - and had come up with an extensive list of boys names i liked (and was convinced it was a boy!) but now i know it's a girl I'm still struggling. Not helped by the fact that a lot of them (Ciara, Tara, Niamh, Beibhinn, Saoirse, Siun) have already been taken by my very extended family. At the moment this is the best we can come up with;

Clodagh (klo-da) - but DH is insisting on nn chloe (which defeats the purpose of giving the baby an Irish name IMO)
Aoife (ee-fa) - pretty, but v v common in ireland and getting more so here?
Caoimhe (quee-va) - I love, but DH isn't so keen
Aoibhe (eva) - alternative to aoife, but a bit more "out there" than the others as even Irish ppl seem v confused on how to pronounce. And with such an obvious english alternative, can see DH/DD giving up and spelling it Eva eventually

Thoughts on the above for a baby growing up in the uk? And any other suggesions gratefully received!

thegreylady Fri 10-May-13 18:23:36

Ffion is sweet too and I think Bridget is very underused these days-nn Bridie.Also there are lots of Katherines and Caitlins but not many Kathleens.
I taught Irish twins in the 70's and their names were Grainne [?] and Emerald. Maeve is pretty too.

Coffee1Sugar Fri 10-May-13 20:03:09

Love love Roisin both the short and long /o/ sound.

diddl Fri 10-May-13 20:59:16

Clodagh is lovely.

Imo nns can't be insisted on-they evolve.

And Chloe is unlikely to from Clodagh!

I do love Chloe as well tbh!

blueshoes Fri 10-May-13 21:07:07

Unless your dd does not intend to live outside Ireland, yes, it would be a step too far.

JennyMakkers Fri 10-May-13 21:11:31

i think it's a step too far in ireland as well. i was reading a thread on an irish forum the other day and they were laughing at 'countdown conundrum with a fada' and sneering at spelling english names an irish way.

Either Aoife or Eva and not some hybrid that confuses everybody.

RosieMole Fri 10-May-13 21:13:24

There is an Aoibhe in my Ds's class at school. It is unusual but, as with lots of non-english names, I think people only need to be told how to spell or pronounce it once. Wouldn't let that put me off as you don't know how fashions and trends will evolve also and how common or well known a name will become. Something like Siobhan or Sinead would have caused confusion 25 years ago but are very well known now.

Aoibhe is a very pretty name btw.

JennyMakkers Fri 10-May-13 21:15:43

ps, just read your list and I don't think it's a bad idea to give an irish name with the option of an english nn. Roisin/rosie, Fraoch/Freya? I love Clodagh Maeve and that was a name I had chosen but it was never used in the end. I wouldn't have minded Clodagh nn Clo though.
Beibhinn with nn Bay is nice!

JennyMakkers Fri 10-May-13 21:16:30

ps, I love Siún but Siobhan is just to forty something for a baby. Couldn't do it. Can siún be short for anything else?

PerfumedPonce Fri 10-May-13 21:21:50

I know an Aoibhe and I think it is a lovely name. Her parents pronounce it more ee-veh as opposed to ee-va...so it's not like naming your child Eva and just spelling it a weird way. It also has a different meaning to Eva so isn't the same name. If you like it, go for it!

MummyBurrows Fri 10-May-13 21:23:19

This is may sound nasty,I don't mean it in that way,I'm just going to be honest....

I had absolutely no idea how to pronounce any of the names of your list blush for me they're too Irish and I just can't get my head around how you get the pronounciations out of those spellings but I've never known anyone irish,never been to ireland,never met anyone with those names and never read them anywhere so I can kinda plead ignorant I guess..I think depending on what you go for you will find yourself having to tell dd's nursery staff/school teachers how to say the name...Siobahn,Sinead,Orla ect are simple enough but Aoibhe and Caoimhe for example had me going "what the heck is that supposed to be?!" Obviously you put the pronounciations in brackets so I knew but they won't be putting that on the school register! Just something to perhaps consider....not everyone will have heard/seen those names before so will be as clueless as I was on how to pronounce them when they see them written down first off which will result in quite a few confused expressions until you tell them your dd's name.

deleted203 Fri 10-May-13 21:24:13

DS3 would have been Eibhlin or Aoife had he been a girl.

I know folks roll their eyes at his name/pronunciation because we live in England, but tough shit - DH is Scottish and he likes the gaelic spelling.

PhyllisDoris Fri 10-May-13 21:27:01

My SIL is Brona - I love that name.

hollyisalovelyname Fri 10-May-13 21:33:33

Cara- it means friend in Irish
Realta- with a fada over the e - it means star , or Realtin- little star. Pronounced rayl tah or rayl teen.
Alana- darling
Darerca ( the c is like a k)

AThingInYourLife Fri 10-May-13 21:34:45

Siún isn't a nickname for Siobhán, it's just another form of the name.

I would pronounce Siobhán as SHOO-awn in Irish.

blueshoes Fri 10-May-13 21:34:57

soworn, it is tough too for your dcs if they had to spell their names and explain how to pronounce them each time. I hope they don't have to live outside Scotland.

Theyoniwayisnorthwards Fri 10-May-13 21:35:28

Hmmm. I have a very very Irish name, my youngest sister also has a very Irish name (both mentioned here). We both live in England.

I like my name BUT I have to repeat myself every time I am introduced to somebody and spell it out slowly to bemused english people daily on the phone. It is constantly misspelled and mispronounced and there are people in my life I have corrected so many times its become embarrassing.

It immediately pigeon holes me as Irish, which in my former field was not a good thing as I needed to be perceived as neutral/versatile.

In short it's pretty but can be a pain in the ass. Think about what it'll be like to live with as well as if you like it.

DamsonJam Fri 10-May-13 21:38:12

I like Aoibhe, and also like Roisín, Ailbhe, Aoife, Eimear, Aoibheann, Orl(aith), Caoimhe, Aisling, Alannah, Saidhbh, Caitlin, Saoirse, Caoilfhinn (Keelan), Doireann - any of them any good?

FWIW - I have an unusual name and personally I haven't found it an issue (have never met someone with it and most people I meet have never heard of it) - I've always liked it as it made me feel quite special. I did wonder a bit about giving my children Irish names that are a little unusual in Britain but now that they've started school I realise that I shouldn't have worried - half the class has names from all around the world. If you're in an area that is even slightly multi-cultural it shouldn't be an issue.

blueshoes Fri 10-May-13 21:39:26

Theyoni, it is interesting about the pigeonholing. Yes, it would be the case where I work if along with spelling your name, it comes out that the origin is Irish. It is what sticks in people's head as a slightly quaint but, sorry, also provincial, name which is not always a good thing

blueshoes Fri 10-May-13 21:42:19

It is the fact that it is not spelt in a recognisably phonetical way that makes it a bigger issue than just a forrin name.

DamsonJam Fri 10-May-13 21:53:08

You mean in a way that is phonetic/ recognisable IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE? :-) The pronounciation makes perfect sense in Irish! (Meant in a friendly lighthearted way so please don't take offence.)

MummyBurrows Fri 10-May-13 21:55:23

I agree with blueshoes last comment...think that's why I was so miffed when I read the list...my dd has quite a few kids in her room at nursery with obviously foreign names but they are easy enough to read/pronounce without being told because they are pretty phonetical,irish names are a whole different ball game...some aren't pronounced anything like they look. For instance I read Caoimhe as kay-oh-mee,like Naomi but with a Kay sound instead of N and Aoibhe as ay-oh-be...which doesn't even make sense or sound like any other name I've heard except perhaps Star Wars character Obi Wan Kanobi (not even sure that's spelt right lol!) I'd have never even guessed they were supposed to be said as quee-va and eva in a million years if op hadn't of put them in brackets blush

FunnysInLaJardin Fri 10-May-13 21:56:52

I know an Aoife and Orna, sisters. Born in Jersey but being raised in Dubai. Lovely names and no reason why either shouldn't be OK in the UK

forgetmenots Fri 10-May-13 22:00:17

bangs head off wall grin

What damsonjam said, and sowornout I'm with you, life would be so boring if we were all the same (said as someone with a very boring name which has spelling issues nonetheless! smile )

MummyBurrows Fri 10-May-13 22:00:38

Fwiw,I know they make sense in Irish and in Irish spelling rules/language but to me sitting here ignorant and oblivious to how the Irish spelling/language and subsequent pronounciations work in England its as good as gibberish when written down...sorry!

forgetmenots Fri 10-May-13 22:01:50

But mummyburrows, that's fine, they're phonetic in Irish and once you were told the name you would (surely) then know the pronunciation and that's that?! There's loads of names on here I don't have a clue how to pronounce, I'd just ask (Ptolemy, anyone?!)

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