Cold feet on Fionnuala

(75 Posts)
Teapig Sat 29-Dec-12 11:09:06

DH and I thought we had our name pretty much agreed, we were choosing between these three options:
Fionnuala Olive Bo
Fionnnuala Ottitilie Bo
Fionnuala Romilly Bo
But then I got cold feet on Fionnuala. I like it but don't the shortened versions of Fionnuala much, Nula and Finn are a bit too masculine for me. We thought we'd use the nickname Lula but now I'm not so sure.

Other names I like are:
Sophie (but DH hates it)
Tabitha (likely go be shortened to Tabby and my niece is Abbey)
Ottilie (likely to be shortened to Tilly and other niece is Lilly)
Isabel (but close friend has pipped me to the post)

Any thoughts on Fionnuala or any of the above would be great!

Teapig Sat 29-Dec-12 11:17:24

Just realised some terrible spellings in my first post, flaming phone. Fionnnula Ottitilie was meant to be Fionnula Ottilie. DH and I just had a good laugh about naming her Ottitilie, which would by Titty for short lovely!

TeaBrick Sat 29-Dec-12 11:19:29

Is it Fionnuala or Fionnula?

onedev Sat 29-Dec-12 11:23:35

I love Fionnuala - my favourite girls name ever. If we'd had a girl (we have 3 boys), then that would have been top of my list with Nuala as her nickname.

I think it's a beautiful name smile

ProphetOfDoom Sat 29-Dec-12 11:27:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

orangepudding Sat 29-Dec-12 11:30:36

I think it's awful, don't like Bo.

Like your other choices, especially Tabitha. Don't worry about nick names you don't need to use one.

scrumpkin Sat 29-Dec-12 11:40:40

Not sure about fionnula but olive and ottilie ate my all time favourite names.

scrumpkin Sat 29-Dec-12 11:41:03


Graceparkhill Sat 29-Dec-12 11:46:00

In my experience you won't have much influence over nicknames. DS1 has name given to him by DS2 when he learned to speak- still in use 12 years on and DS2 has nicknames given to him by friends of his big brother over the years.
Only people who use DS2's proper name are teachers.
Go with what you like and follow your instincts ( in all baby things,not just names)

sarahseashell Sat 29-Dec-12 12:22:56

I'd go for tabitha and ottilie and not worry about nicknames

BoyMeetsWorld Sat 29-Dec-12 12:27:45

I disagree that you have no influence on nicknames- of course a child may acquire others as they go, but if you always call your child by a nn from the offset & it's what they think of themselves as / answer to others are likely to use it. Schools also ask you to state what name your child goes by now.

I think Lula is a lovely shortening & shed have the chance to go by Nuala instead if she felt it too babyish as she got older. Particularly like it with Olive, not keen on the other 2 middle names with it (like them as names in own right but bit pretentious & waffly with Fionnuala)

ManicMuppetMania Sat 29-Dec-12 14:09:01

I don't like Fionnuala at all but then I'm from Ireland and its in the same category as Gertrude here!

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 29-Dec-12 17:03:49

I think Fionnuala is awful, sorry. I like Sophie and Isobel. Not really keen on your other choices either.

Ottillie is my altime favourite out of your lists.
Really really dislike Fionnuala. (sorry)

Go for Ottillie (my nn for that would be Ottie but am Dutch and lived in Germany for a long time so that may influence that one...)

Teapig Sat 29-Dec-12 17:51:08

Thanks ladies! Really helpful to have everyone's thoughts. Interesting to hear that Fionnuala is in the same category as Gertrude in Ireland, we're in England and I don't think it has that sort of association here though is a bit unusual.

Reading the comments has made me think that two of our middle name choices were a bit waffly.

We're now considering:
Fionnuala Olive (Bo), I'm having cold feet on the 'Bo' so may drop that
Ottiliie Niamh
Isobel Ottilie

BoyMeetsWorld Sat 29-Dec-12 17:52:47

Still like Fionnuala Olive best (Lula).

Also think Isobel Naeve would be nice, not so keen on alternatives as they stand (sowwy!!)

BoyMeetsWorld Sat 29-Dec-12 17:53:17

Isobel Niamh even (sp)

Teapig Sat 29-Dec-12 17:56:51

Thanks boymeetsworld. I think Fionnuala Olive is my favourite I'm just having a bit of a wobble for some reason.

Ruprekt Sat 29-Dec-12 17:59:15

Ottilie Bo would be my choice.

Ottilie is beautiful and could be Ottie for short.

You can insist on no shortenings though.

Not keen on Fionnuala.

BoyMeetsWorld Sat 29-Dec-12 18:03:38

Ooooh Ottilie Bo is lovely smile

But still like Fionnuala Olive (no I don't have a child with this name haha just think the 2 names are lovely together)

SminkoPinko Sat 29-Dec-12 18:09:56

I think Gertrude is nicer than Fionnuala and Bo! And Gertrude is awful... But I think we probably don't share name tastes as I only really like Sophie and Isabel from your list, so ignore me except as an indicator of what a random stranger on the internet thinks, if that is in any way important to you!

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Sat 29-Dec-12 18:24:51

I prefer Finola to Fionnuala.

AppleOgies Sat 29-Dec-12 18:27:25

I'm chuckling at Ottitilie! grin

To be honest I don't like any of the names. But if you and your DH do then go for it. I expect you DD will end up being Fen at school.

TheSecondComing Sat 29-Dec-12 18:27:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Greythorne Sat 29-Dec-12 18:27:59

Sorry to have to ask, but is Fionnuala pronounced Fin-oola?

TheSecondComing Sat 29-Dec-12 18:57:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Sat 29-Dec-12 18:59:31

No, it's pronounced Fun-oola

TidyDancer Sat 29-Dec-12 19:04:36

Olive is lovely, but Fionnuala is awful imo. Not a fan of Ottilie either tbh.

CotherMuckingFunt Sat 29-Dec-12 19:09:53

I thought you were going to call your child Fee-own-yoo-ah-la. I like it now I know how to say it. But I prefer Ottilie.

AppleOgies Sat 29-Dec-12 19:11:56

The one I know pronounces it Fin-ooo-la. Not Fun... Fin.

noblegiraffe Sat 29-Dec-12 19:17:54

What about Fi (Fee) as a shortening? I only know Fiona's (which is nicer, IMO) but they've all been Fi.

Croccy1979 Sat 29-Dec-12 19:19:46

Recently worked with someone called Fionnuala and no one at work could pronounce or spell it. Depends whether that bothers you or not I suppose. It would annoy me!

KindleMum Sat 29-Dec-12 19:23:48

I love Fionnuala. Always have.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 29-Dec-12 19:25:37

I would avoid using a name that is difficult to say/spell in the country you live. If you plan to live/bring her up in England, choose a name that English people can say/spell.

magoosmom Sat 29-Dec-12 19:33:38

I'm Irish, Fionnuala is a beautiful name, I definitely would not put it in the same category as Gertrude! Both Fionnualas I know shorten it to Fi.

Teapig Sat 29-Dec-12 20:00:59

I think it's pronounced Fin-oola. There are different spelling variatons which may make it easier for people to spell but if we go with it I expect we'd go with the spelling Fionnuala. I'm not actually a fan of the name Fiona and don't really like Fi, there's just something about Fionnuala we both like.

DH loves it but I keep veering from Fionnuala to Ottilie and back. Oh gosh this naming thing is hard.

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Sat 29-Dec-12 20:31:09

No, it's a broad vowel sound - fun-oola

That's why I prefer Finola.

Sometimes anglicised names are nicer.

AppleOgies Sat 29-Dec-12 20:40:29

The one I know definitely pronounces it Fin... Not Fun.

I really wouldn't give this name to a child of mine. If none of us can agree how it is pronounced or how it should be spelt then the poor girl is going to
Have it for the rest of her life.

What about Fenella? It's close but less complicated.

magoosmom Sat 29-Dec-12 20:43:29

Finn oola is the most common pronunciation in Ireland,

Heavywheezing Sat 29-Dec-12 20:50:54

I was going to say
Do you have Irish heritage, if not leave alone

What's your surname? Because you have initials of F O

So you have F O BO

Really give a child's name like BO, even though it's said bow it's still BO.

CandyCrush Sat 29-Dec-12 20:56:31

blush At fionuala. Really not a. Fun name for a kid to try and spell etc.

If you are Irish then that's ok, but otherwise I'd leave we'll alone...

As for similar names to your nieces, that's really not an issue. My nephew and my DD have the same shortened name. It's never been an issue.

CandyCrush Sat 29-Dec-12 20:57:07

Argh! I can't even spell it blush Fionnuala?

onedev Sat 29-Dec-12 23:11:54

I'm Irish & would never put Fionnuala on a par with Gertrude (which I don't like!).

I do also love Niamh, so think we have similar tastes.

If you're going with an Irish name, then please keep a traditional spelling!

Startail Sat 29-Dec-12 23:43:14

Ottile is lovely, DD is friends with a very cute Ottie (her real name isn't Ottile and I don't quite know why she's NN Ottie, but it really suits her).

I can't get my dyslexic brain round Fionella ?

Fiona Ottile is probably far to dull.

DaughterofLir Sun 30-Dec-12 02:27:58

I'm a Fionnuala living in England, and I get a lot of compliments (beautiful/unusual etc). This thread is not representative - in fact, it's the first time I've heard anyone say anything uncomplimentary about it.

It's not quite "Finn-oo-la" though - the first "a" is sort of hinted at or half pronounced (compare Niamh, which is halfway between "Neeve" and "Nee-uv"). Easier to pronounce if you're from Ireland, maybe.

DaughterofLir Sun 30-Dec-12 02:28:57

(I namechanged for that, obviously...)

Teapig Sun 30-Dec-12 10:02:47

Thanks for all the comments. daughteroflir I imagine people find it a difficult name to spell in the UK, has that ever caused problems or become frustrating?

My grandparents were Irish but I haven't really had a strong connection with Ireland. DH's family on the other hand have a strong Irish connection and he would love an Irish name. We both have Irish surnames.

Interesting points on the pronunciation. I had always thought it was pronoucned Fin-oo-la. I think if we choose it we will go with the traditional spelling as other variations look a bit phonetic.

To be honest my favourite name is Isobel/Isabel but one of my really close friends has an Isabel and DH feels it would be difficult to give our daughter the same name. Fionnuala and Ottilie are my second choices, I think Fionnuala has the edge for us but everyone's thoughts are really helpful.

vesti23 Sun 30-Dec-12 10:41:43

Love Fionnuala !!!

onedev Sun 30-Dec-12 11:02:52

I think Isabel is also lovely, but its very popular currently - there are at least 6 in my sons small infant school & more in my younger sons Pre school but I've never heard a Fionnuala in England at all.

Teapig Sun 30-Dec-12 11:34:32

Thanks vesti and onedev. Good point about how popular Isobel is these days, would ideally like our little one to have something that's a bit unique.

We have three names in the running now all of which we'd give a family nickname. I know lots of people don't like nicknames but we do and with my family everyone has a nickname version of their name. So this is the new shortlist:

Fionnuala Olive (nickname could be Lula)
Ottilie Saffron (nickname could be Ottie, Tilly or Lottie)
Isla Pru (nickname could be Isy) - not sure about Pru as a middle name but have gone off our original 'Bo'.

Thanks for everyone's comments, they've been really useful for making me realise what I want from our name choice.

BoyMeetsWorld Sun 30-Dec-12 12:04:06

Still loving Fionnuala Olive out of those. The other combos don't sound as 'right' together. I think with Irish heritage & surname you can perfectly justify the name choice plus the fact this is the only name combo youve stuck with since start of thread says a lot about what your heart's telling you.

Really don't like Saffron, one of my all time worst names. But that's just personal taste. & Isla is ok but bit candy fluff American nowadays although I know it's original roots are far from it.

TheSecondComing Sun 30-Dec-12 13:07:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Teapig Sun 30-Dec-12 15:23:43

boymeetsworld, good point that Fionnuala Olive is the one I've stuck with. I think my heart tells me that's the right name, it's just my head thinking of our little girl having to always spell her name out to others her whole life, correcting pronunciation etc.

I think I may just be lacking the courage of my convictions, thanks boy and secondcoming, I think that may well be our name choice if I can just cast my doubts aside.

IAmLouisWalsh Sun 30-Dec-12 20:02:42

Fen as nickname for Fionnula?

DaughterofLir Sun 30-Dec-12 22:52:46

Isobel is a Celtic name too (Scottish) - you could always have Fionnuala Isobel? If you're looking for a shortened form to use from the beginning I would personally go with Nuala as I think it's by far the prettiest (and it's also the most "Irish", depending on whether that matters to you).

Personal experience - well, people usually either pronounce it right first time, or they ask about it and it becomes a talking point (like I said, it attracts a lot of interest/compliments!). Gets misspelled sometimes, but that happens to a lot of people and it's not often enough to bother me - I just correct people if I want to! Personally I love it, wouldn't change it, and as I live in England I like having a name that reflects my/my family's country of origin.

GingerJulep Sun 30-Dec-12 23:31:24

Are you based in the UK? Would Fiona or Fion sound similar enough but more 'usual'?

Teapig Mon 31-Dec-12 10:40:34

Thanks for the really helpful comments. I'm not keen on Fiona or Fion although it's similar Fionnuala has a different feel to me and I quite like the shortening to Nula or our own made up version of Lula. Thanks for the suggestions though it really helps to think about it from all angles.

Thanks for sharing your experience daughteroflir that's really helpful.

flyingsprocket Mon 31-Dec-12 15:50:40

Love the name Fionnuala. I don't put it in the same category with Gertrude!!

I'm Irish, living in the UK, with an even weirder spelled name. I wear a name badge at work which makes things harder as my name isn't pronounced at all like its spelled. I've had many people suggest that I change the spelling, I find that really insulting! I don't suggest that you change the spelling of Worcester sauce or Gloucester.

Go with Fionnuala & please don't change the spelling. My Fionnuala friend gets called Foo.

forgetmenots Mon 31-Dec-12 15:58:31

Like Nuala a lot. And I second the 'please keep the Irish spelling'. I'm probably having Orla if dc is dd - but that's as widely used in Ireland as Orfhlaith - I have never seen anyone spell Fionnuala any other way.

Teapig Mon 31-Dec-12 20:21:27

Thanks flying and forget. If we go with Fionnuala we will definitely go with the correct spelling and I guess people will just have to learn how to spell it.

Foo is a sweet shortening. Orla is a beautiful name.

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jan-13 04:25:38

A lovely, elegant name imo. I think Finola is very lovely too. There is also Una...

A little Fionnuala would have no more trouble than any other child learning to spell her name afaics -- Irish children learn to do it after all, even those whose names have BH or MH combinations.

The Fionn part is more of a Fun than Finn sound but again this is a subtle U sound that may be hard for speakers of British English to hear or do. The A is a schwa so it's not quite -noola for the ending, more like Noo-uh-la, but the UH is barely noticeable.

3smellysocks Tue 01-Jan-13 23:21:14

loving ottilie

DaughterofLir Wed 02-Jan-13 14:03:24

Technically, I believe Fionnuala is a reformed version - the really Irish spelling is Fionnguala or Fionnghuala (the gh is silent), and I have come across two Fionnghualas living in England as well. But Fionnuala is perfectly fine, and definitely used in Ireland - it's not considered a "fake" spelling or anything. If you're worried about pronunciation, probably best to go with that one I'd guess.

GetorfsaMotherfuckingMorrisMan Wed 02-Jan-13 14:08:54

I really like Fionnuala. I would stick with that. You never know what nicknames a child will end up with. My daughter is Sophia and her nickname is Johnnie, fgs. grin

Fionnuala is so much prettier than your other choices, I would go with your first preference. Not keen on the Bo, either.

I think Fenella is an anglicised version of Fionnuala.

forgetmenots Wed 02-Jan-13 14:09:05

Indeed daughter, you're right - was clumsily trying to make the same point re Orla/Orfhlaith, some spellings will be Old Irish, some modem Irish and some anglicised. Only some (and it strikes me as ones never used in Ireland) are 'fake' to me. (cough Efa cough)

sorchatallulah Tue 08-Jan-13 01:27:35

Isn't Fionnuala technically supposed to be like 'fyun-oo-(ah)-la'? With the first syllable pronounced like the name 'Fionn' (which is fyun - fee-on said quickly)? 'Fin-oo-la' sounds very anglicised to me!

Unfortunately I'm also siding with the poster in Ireland who says it's in the same category as Gertrude - I don't really know how else to describe it though! It's not quite an old lady name, and it's 'normal', but still a bit weird somehow. That probably doesn't make any sense...

AThingInYourLife Tue 08-Jan-13 07:12:06


It's weird how people get all up in arms about keeping the Irish spelling, but then use an anglicised pronunciation that doesn't match.

forgetmenots Tue 08-Jan-13 07:28:18

Yep it is, though it sounds closer to Finoola in some dialects (like in my family if you said Fyon-uala they would think you were being weird ;))

AThingInYourLife Tue 08-Jan-13 07:35:06


Ah, the dialects excuse.

Which dialects is it that don't recognise the pronunciation of a broad vowel sound?

Dún Laoghaire dialect?

The full Fionn is not normally pronounced in such a long name, but the vowel sound is not i, it is u.

That's not about dialect.

Unless you mean London dialect.

atthewelles Tue 08-Jan-13 16:30:39

Fionnuala is nice but Nuala is a very dated name in Ireland - the Irish equivalent of calling your baby Shirley or Gail.

squoosh Tue 08-Jan-13 20:59:25

I'm Irish too.

Fionnuala is really not one of my favourite names. I wouldn't place it with Gertrude, it's not that bad, more of a Michelle or a Nicola. All the Fionnualas I know were born in the 70s. A bit dated.

As for Nuala............very, very dated. A real middle aged woman's name, farmer's wife. In England the equivalent would be Maureen or Patricia.

I like Tabitha though!

squoosh Tue 08-Jan-13 21:01:41

Or Brenda.

Nuala and Brenda would be pen pals.

forgetmenots Tue 08-Jan-13 22:13:46

AThing, that's a wee bit bold! smile Don't want to out myself but have a relative called fionnuala, and although the older Irish family members pronounced more of the sounds 'oo-uh-la', she is mostly Finoola or Funoola depending on the person to be honest with no oo-uh-la. She doesn't bat an eye at either but would with one where each sound was voiced. (To be honest I think the confusion is that 'Finoola' to an Irish or Scottish person is often said with an 'u' sounds, it wasn't my intention to say it was like a London English i. Some of my relatives take the 'uh' really far, though which is why I wanted to differentiate.)

It isn't like that with all names I grant you,in some rarer ones in the family I think they pronounce each sound, but that may be because folk aren't used to the name. Partly generational, partly dialectal, partly anglicisation creeping in? Maybe. I don't live in Ireland so wouldn't be sure enough.

forgetmenots Tue 08-Jan-13 22:19:49

Meant to say btw either way I still love the name, partly because I've never met a bad one and Nuala is a nice NN.

forgetmenots Tue 08-Jan-13 22:31:59

And also meant to say 'folk with no Irish aren't used to the name'... Blaming baby brain while I can, sorry...

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