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!

NMM Thu 09-May-13 23:14:13

Emer (not the 'correct' Eimear spelling I know, but pronounceable!)

katkoala Thu 09-May-13 23:18:22

we love Nuala, but having a ds grin

amonthefence Thu 09-May-13 23:19:26

I know several Irish friends called Aine. (On-ya)

Movingtimes Thu 09-May-13 23:19:37

I also like Orla.
I have an Aoife and we never meet any others until we go to Ireland where we are tripping over bucket loads of them. She does get a lot of people spelling her name wrong or not knowing how to pronounce it, but once they know they know. I would go with the name you like best and not bother to worry about what other folk make of it.

Beehatch Thu 09-May-13 23:21:09

All Irish names, even with trad spelling seem to be getting more common here in SE England. In our nursery pretty much all the names you have listed are on the current rolls, even Caoimhe.

I think that if you want to give an Irish name, then go the whole hog and give one that has a specific pronunciation rather than Aoibhe which, as you say, lazy sods will try to spell Eva. At least if you use Caoimhe you know they're going to have to make an attempt to spell it correctly, there's no easy get out.

All of them are lovely, I do like Eimear as suggested by NMM though smile

Irishmammybread Thu 09-May-13 23:22:18

Catriona (though the sneaky silent o catches everyone out!)
I really like Caoimhe too.

Dervla has issues of its own although it's a gorgeous name (Dearbhla, Deirbhile anyone?)

tethersend Thu 09-May-13 23:22:54

Caoimhe is lovely.

AThingInYourLife Thu 09-May-13 23:24:11

Aoife is soooo much nicer than Aoibhe.

Why call a child Eva but make them spell it Aoibhe?

You could try Aoibheal grin

Apparently this is an old name that has inexplicably fallen out if favour wink

onedev Thu 09-May-13 23:27:09

I love all of your suggestions except Clodagh & I also love Nuala (& Fionnuala.)

I don't think Aoibhe is too out there at all (although I'm from NI, so all your names sound normal to me). Eva is vv popular around here, living in England (as is Eve, Evie etc) so Aoibhe would be great as its that bit different!

onedev Thu 09-May-13 23:28:37

Should add, that bit different & also reflects your heritage smile

intheshed Thu 09-May-13 23:29:11

I once knew a girl called Fionnula, which I thought was lovely.

Or how about Aisling?

AThingInYourLife Thu 09-May-13 23:33:04



AThingInYourLife Thu 09-May-13 23:35:19

Actually maybe not for a child in England.


Sadhbh? (tricky spelling, but v easy to say)

AThingInYourLife Thu 09-May-13 23:36:41

OK, just two more



threepiecesuite Thu 09-May-13 23:39:51


dontblameme Thu 09-May-13 23:43:16


CointreauVersial Thu 09-May-13 23:56:20

I'm not Irish, but DH is, so we wrestled with this exact dilemma.

I think there are some Irish names which the average Brit may have encountered and can probably cope with (Niamh, Siobhan, Orla etc).

Then there are some which are more tricky (my friend has a least, I think that's how it's spelled...). You will always be struggling with a name like that. Pretty names, but make sure that spelling/sounding out DD's name for the next 20 years won't drive you nuts.

We ended up with a Sorcha and an Erin (not Irish, but means Ireland....and no-one ever asks us how to spell it grin ).

K8Middleton Fri 10-May-13 00:05:15

Caitlin (pronounced Cat-lin) is lovely though I expect lots of people will call her Kate-lin.

ALittleBitOfMagic Fri 10-May-13 00:13:02

Oooooh I love beibhinn !! (sorry no help)


Cookethenook Fri 10-May-13 07:38:15

As a person with a non-phonetic, difficultly spelt name, I would never use a spelling like that dor my child's name when there is an alternate, easier spelling available. Sorry. I just spend half my life spelling my name for people and them going 'oooh, that's unusual!', it drives me nuts!

forgetmenots Fri 10-May-13 08:38:28

Hahaha Cooke I've got a common as muck name that has a few variant spellings, everyone knows how to do them but I always have to spell it out - has meant I'm so much more likely to support unusual hard-to-spell names, at least there's a point then smile

Stokes Fri 10-May-13 18:11:48

I went to school with a girl called Aoibhe who pronounced it Aoife. Used to drive the teachers crazy and does the same to me now. Anyway, that's beside the point!

Aoibhe is nice, I would've thought it would be more like Eev-uh than Eev-a, but it's a lovely name. There's also Aoibh and Éabha in a similar vein.

My favourite on your list Clodagh, although I see what you mean re Chloe. What about Bronagh? It's a lovely sounding name, but would the meaning put you off?

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 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 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?!)

diddl Fri 10-May-13 22:02:14

"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." shock

blueshoes Fri 10-May-13 22:03:48

English is the working language. Why saddle your dd with a name that is a potential liability in the workplace?

DamsonJam Fri 10-May-13 22:08:00

I'd never heard the name Hermione before I read Harry Potter. When I read the books I pronounced it to myself as Herm - ee - own (sad I know!). I don't think its a bad thing that I have been educated on a new name and how to pronounce it.

But then I think (cultural) diversity is something to be embraced and celebrated (and the fact that the UK does this so well is something I love about this country).

Phineyj Fri 10-May-13 22:08:08

Of the names you listed I think Clodagh is the one that people would get the hang of quickly as it doesn't have a scary looking combination of vowels/consonants (to an English eye). I met a Clodagh in London a while back and while I'd never heard the name before it was easy to remember how to say and write. Aoife and Caoimhe, not so much.

MummyBurrows Fri 10-May-13 22:10:02

Oh yea,now I know how to say them its fine! I'm just saying when the OPs dd goes to school OP won't be there to tell teachers how to say the name,obviously dd will be but when a (clueless) teacher starts calling the register and gets to the name (which ever one it may be) they're going to be stumped and trying to say the name phonetically which will confuse all the kids too and perhaps cause dd some embarassment at realising its her name and having to correct the teacher...once corrected problem solved!...until the next one comes along and same problem all over again...

Fwiw I've got no idea how to pronounce Ptolemy either!! I thought it was an irish name because it confused me so much! I'd say Pah-toll-me?? God knows!! Lol!

forgetmenots Fri 10-May-13 22:12:19

Applauding damsonjam again and biting my tongue now

I too had a Hermione problem. Until very recently.

DamsonJam Fri 10-May-13 22:14:05

Fair enough MummyBurrows - but as forgetmenots said - once you had met the person and been told how to pronounce it, then surely you would remember (as actually meeting someone and hearing their name is quite different to reading a list of names that I can fully appreciate must read as gibberish to you). And then you would have learnt something new - which is surely a positive thing?

Blueshoes - I guess I'm biased as having lived with an unusual name I've never seen it as a liability but as an asset. I've never considered myself "saddled" with it.

forgetmenots Fri 10-May-13 22:14:59

Haha no mummyburrows not Irish but I've no idea how the hell it's said and it's popular (on here, at least...)

I'd put up with that irritation tbh (but as I say, I'm someone who has a very dull name who always has to spell it out - doesn't bother me but at least it could have been unusual to make it worthwhile!)

DisappointedHorse Fri 10-May-13 22:19:24

How about Mhairi (vari)? I love that.

intheshed Fri 10-May-13 22:21:05

Surely variety is a good thing?! The school register would be very boring if it was full of Emilys and Sophies.

The school my DC go to is very multicultural so it is not unusual for children to have to spell out their names to new teachers etc, and the kids are used to a wide variety of names, so noone bats an eyelid. And then it's not unusual anymore.

I also think Irish names are becoming more popular in England- I know a Niamh, Siobhan and Caoimhe from toddler groups etc, none of the parents are first generation Irish (I have no idea if there is Irish heritage somewhere). So people will be more used to the spelling.

I used to work with a girl with a very Welsh name- she always had to pronounce and spell it several times to clients, got letters addressed to Mr X all the time as people assumed it was a male name. But as she worked in sales she always said it was a conversation starter and made her memorable, so she quite liked it!

DamsonJam Fri 10-May-13 22:22:59

In answer to the question of what happens when the OPs DD goes to school - in the case of my DD1 (reception) and DD2 (pre-school, starting reception in September), both of whom have Irish names, when we met the teachers at the initial parent's evening, the teachers asked me and DH how to pronounce them and it has never been an issue (and I'm guessing they had to do this with a few other Asian/Eastern European children in the class).

Interestingly my DDs' peer groups don't have any issue with my DD's names as they're used to the diversity and don't seem to find it unusual to hear a new name (that includes new English names too - after all, there are a lot of English names that the average 4/5 year old won't have come across yet so they don't yet seem to have a concept of what constitutes an "unusual name").

blueshoes Fri 10-May-13 22:24:51

Damson, I don't think people necessarily remember unless they come into contact with you a lot.

In my job and where I live (London), I met lots from all sorts of countries and different names. In my firm, people with unusually spelt/pronounced names tend to go by a more phonetically logical nickname. Nobody has the time or inclination to relish a tricky name. If you were the boss and had a number of subordinates to choose from, would you choose someone with the tricky name? Maybe in time but not at first.

Theyoniwayisnorthwards Fri 10-May-13 22:27:02

Yes lots of people meet me, listen politely, ask me to repeat it and get it right from then on but plenty don't listen, can't remember or just can't get their heads around it.

Think about how often you use your name. It's not really school or work that is a problem, people you see regularly learn your name. Things like ringing the bank, booking a cab or a restaurant, introductions in loud bars (sorry WHAT was your name?!)..My name is constantly misspelled on tickets too.

Look it's not exactly a massive burden! It's just a little irritation I would happily have done without.

Theyoniwayisnorthwards Fri 10-May-13 22:29:45

And I was adamant neither of my children have Irish names!

DamsonJam Fri 10-May-13 22:34:56

Blueshoes - I guess either I move in different circles to you or am incredibly naive. I find it quite disheartening to think people would pass someone over like that in a work situation, where presumably you spend a lot of time with people (as opposed to a restaurant booking situation or similar where I wouldn't expect someone to remember the name - and actually in those sort of situations I admit I always use my surname (an Irish but "recognisable" name) to make things easier).

It is definitely NOT my experience (also work in London though SE based). As I said earlier, one of the things I love about the UK is how much it seems to embrace diversity (in my personal experience).

deleted203 Fri 10-May-13 22:35:34

Fucking hell blueshoes I'm glad I don't work for your firm. And if you live in London then that is just plain ignorant, sorry.

London is particularly multi-cultural - and how fucking arrogant for anyone to decide that they are too important/idle to learn how to pronounce your name and will call you something different.

Or for a boss to decide a subordinate with a 'tricky' name isn't good enough. I work with a colleague whose Christian name is 'Azubuike'. He is African. We don't fucking decide 'we'll call the black man 'Alan' shall we?'.

Jesus, wept. It's like a Victorian mistress deciding that the parlourmaid would be known as 'Jane' because it was more suitable than her actual name for her station in life.

DamsonJam Fri 10-May-13 22:38:37

In fact I'm so depressed by Blueshoes' assertion that I think it's a good excuse to open a bottle of wine! :-)

MummyBurrows Fri 10-May-13 22:39:50

It is a positive thing,and you would remember it,I just worry how dd would feel later in life at having to correct people trying to say the name from paper who,like myself,have/had no idea how to pronounce it and having to spell out their name to people later in life,over the phone,for example. Eva won't automatically make people say "is that Eva as in E-V-A or A-O-I-B-H-E? When they hear it iyswim? That's my only concern,seeing as dd will presumably be growing up and living in the UK where such irish names aren't common and not phonetically pronouncable in the english language. If op was in Ireland and bringing dd up there I wouldn't of even bothered commenting as the names make perfect sense over there and would cause little to no confusion but it could very easily be a different story here which I why I thought I should probably say how much they confused me,blueshoes probably said what she has for the same reason. The names just don't make sense here unless you've previously encountered them and that may well be a small minority of people so could cause a lot of,I don't know,hassle or embarrassment maybe,for dd later in life..

Don't get me wrong,its not my dd,and none of them are names I would pick myself (obviously!) So it doesn't bother me what name op decides on,I just thought she might like something to consider but seeing as her dh has reluctantly agreed to using an irish name I'm going to guess he was somewhat against it for the same kind of reasons that I've said,essentially to avoid any confusion or trouble with spelling/pronounciation? I assume his family are british so may struggle with spelling initially too but won't have any trouble with pronounciation as they will obviously hear the names before they read them! I'm just guessing here though!

jellybeans Fri 10-May-13 22:40:40

I think it will be hard to be honest. How about Aisling or Aislynn (not sure how to spell but have heard it and thought was nice).

blueshoes Fri 10-May-13 22:44:01

soworn, you are getting het up for nothing. People don't decide to nickname someone. Usually it is the person with the unusual name that gives themselves the nickname.

ItsAllTLAsToMe Fri 10-May-13 22:45:21

Aoife is absolutely lovely - I'd seen it written down before, but wasn't sure how to say it (I suspected Weef blush).

Given some of the other posts on this thread, I just wanted to say that I have a very Scottish name and live in England. If someone hears my name, they often can't spell it, if they read my name, they often can't say it grin. Nonetheless, I love my name (and often other people do too, even when they hadn't heard it before), and I like the fact that it's relatively uncommon.

blueshoes Fri 10-May-13 22:45:38

Where I work it is very competitive and the rewards high. Every little edge counts. Not for everyone, then again, do you want to close off your dd's options? Not the end of the world, she might just give herself an easier nickname.

forgetmenots Fri 10-May-13 22:48:20

If I wasn't heavily pregnant I'd be cracking open the wine right about now! Will make do with brew

OrangeLily Fri 10-May-13 22:49:48

Love Clodagh!! I know a gorgeous little Clodagh too.

MummyBurrows Fri 10-May-13 22:50:56

In blueshoes defence,I used to work with a guy called wasn't his actual name,not even close,but he was African and nobody could say his real name properly so he decided to call himself Jim to make it easier for the people he works with smile if anyone at blueshoes workplace was deciding on names for people with foreign,pretty un-pronouncable names without the persons say-so then that's just plain racist,but I doubt that's the case,if someone knows their name is difficult they'd probably choosen an alternative themselves to make everyones like easier.

forgetmenots Fri 10-May-13 22:55:36

Or, because they're used to having ignorant colleagues who won't make any attempt to pronounce their actual name...

I can't believe being one of twenty odd Sarahs or whatever is better in any competitive business than being the only one with a particular name, really can't - seems counter-intuitive to me (the boringly named woman) to want to blend in to get ahead. I'd never forget an Azubuike!

elah11 Fri 10-May-13 22:57:18

How about Tierna ( Tee-er-na) or Laoise (Lee-sheh)?

Designjunkie Fri 10-May-13 23:00:02

I think Saorsia is a beautiful Irish name - unsure of spelling.
I fail to see how having an Irish name is a hindrance in the workplace. The city is full of foreign workers from all parts of the globe. Many in positions of power. Perhaps a made up name can hold you back, even then I'd have my doubts. I have an English surname and am always asked how to spell it, so what ? This is true of many names.

blueshoes Fri 10-May-13 23:00:11

In my limited experience of African names, they appear to be pronounced phonetically. So not as tricky as Aoibhe. Azubuike would probably become 'Azu'.

intheshed Fri 10-May-13 23:00:18

I honestly think there is much more diversity in names for our DC's generation anyway. When I was at school there were always at least 2 Sarahs, Catherines, Emmas etc. In my class there were 5 boys called James! Given the wide range of names of kids I meet, I think attitudes like BlueShoes has described will thankfully become obsolete in time.

MorrisZapp Fri 10-May-13 23:00:34

Are you an Irish speaker, op? I'm Scottish and tear my hair out at the endless 'Scottish' names chosen by people who don't speak Gaelic and who grew up in eg the Central Belt where traditional names are Andrew, James, Margaret etc

If those names are from your native language then fair play. But if you are an English speaker then I dunno, these names don't seem appropriate. Fwiw, I don't know how to pronounce any of them, and would need to be told.

blueshoes Fri 10-May-13 23:02:10

Intheshed, I think you will find I am actually living in the thick of funny unusual names here, so I represent the future, not the past ...

MummyBurrows Fri 10-May-13 23:05:10

Perhaps,I can't really say,Jim had been working for the company for many years before I came along! He did tell me his real name,but I honestly can't remember it,I know it was a very long and difficult name to say though,he was pushing 80 though so it was a very old African name...think it ended in something that sounded like kim-bay and it was the kim sounding part that inspired him to go by Jim...something like that anyway!

I don't think there's anything wrong with having a "stand out" name as such,providing its not ridiculous obviously,but Irish names aren't ridiculous,they just look somewhat ridiculous on paper to those of us who don't know/understand the Irish language/spellings,but pronouncing them is easy-especially once you've been told/heard it! So I can't see that it would hinder any work promotions/advancements as obviously everyone will know the name...

forgetmenots Fri 10-May-13 23:05:42

Hear what you're saying on this morriszapp, I'm in the central belt of Scotland and a Gaelic speaker so a bit of both, think a lot of Gaelic names have been taken to mean 'Scottish' when there are several other traditions, including Norse names in Orkney and Shetland.
We've settled on Angus for dc1 if he is a boy - works with slightly different pronunciation/spelling as a Scottish name in Gaelic, English and Irish (a lot of our family ties are in Ireland and are Irish speaking). Didn't want to pick one that only worked for one of those 'threads' if that makes sense.

RedLentil Fri 10-May-13 23:07:08

Sowornout. - we have an Eibhlin. Don't get me started about using a more ulster pronunciation than Cork people can live with. wink

I grew up in the UK when my Irish name was unpronounceable, but evidently it's become obvious since then. The Bananarama effect ...

mrspaddy Fri 10-May-13 23:09:26

I have an unusual Irish name and I really like it but don't want to 'out' myself.

What about Mairead, Grainne or Kathleen (coming back into fashion!)
Edel is lovely.


Nora is also a name I have heard for a newborn. Roisin.Ciara, Finola

forgetmenots Fri 10-May-13 23:10:19

totally fair enough mummyburrows. As i said before I'd live with that for the sake of the nice name with meaning, heritage etc etc, but everything you've said there is fair.

deleted203 Fri 10-May-13 23:10:36're a Siobhan! grin

5madthings Fri 10-May-13 23:16:40

There are children with Irish names at the toddler group I go to and last my boys school. Its not an issue children quickly learn their friends names and if I ask not sure re spelling I simply ask.

There was a little aoife at toddlers today, its a lovely name smile

ReindeerBollocks Fri 10-May-13 23:17:50

I love Caoimhe and Aiobhe, they are on my list of future DD names despite the fact I'm not having any more.

I know an Aoife which is pronounced with the 'a' sound rather than the traditional 'ee' sound. But I think even now you would be fairly safe with Aoibhe.

I adore Caoimhe. This is my top girls name, but have seen the bastardised version Keeva - to help those who can't get to grips with the Irish version. I also love Orla, but that is rather popular too.

DH wouldn't let me have Caoimhe - he can't even spell Niamh FFS! Silly man has welsh ancestry, he has no rights to be giving out about Irish spellings grin

RedLentil Fri 10-May-13 23:21:38

Got it in one. And repeating 'like the one from Bananarama' for 20 years before we moved here did me no harm <twitch>. grin

I love Nuala and Aoibhinn, but here it's names like Maggie, Eliza and Kate that seem to be catching on.

Xmasbaby11 Fri 10-May-13 23:21:52

I think they are all quite difficult, TBH. Depends how much it would bother you to continually spell/pronounce it over the years.

MummyBurrows Fri 10-May-13 23:23:14

In all fairness,its not just Irish names that can cause name causes some confusion despite how simple it is,but only because it can be spelt 2 ways,either with a G or a J,I'm a G but I have to state this over to people over the phone...I find it highly annoying. Also my name sounds like another name so sometimes I even have to spell out my full name if they've misheard me! Sometimes I wish my mum and dad had chosen a simple name that has only one spelling and can't possibly get confused with any other name! Like Penelope for example!

forgetmenots Fri 10-May-13 23:25:23

Similar to my name problem mummyburrows, wish if I had to spell it out at least I was called something amazing!! smile

5madthings Fri 10-May-13 23:26:01

My ds's have their name spe,t wrongly sometimes, mainly ds3 and ds4. They are Dylan and rudi, so not difficult names to spell...

Allalonenow Fri 10-May-13 23:29:28

Maeve and Grainne are my favourites, and both have lovely meanings, so many pretty Irish names it is hard to choose.

MummyBurrows Fri 10-May-13 23:33:48

Same here! It really doesn't help that even spelling my name out doesn't always help..."No its M for Mother,not N for November"...grrrr!! It should be pretty obvious what my name is by the G so why on earth some people still need it spelling out is beyond me but hey! If it began with a J I could understand the confusion past the G or J bit but the other name isn't even spelt with a G!...sorry,completely off subject and ranting now lol!

DamsonJam Fri 10-May-13 23:39:14

Are you a Gemma by any chance? (just being nosey now!) :-)

MummyBurrows Fri 10-May-13 23:43:39

Hahaha! Yes damsonjam! What gave it away lol?! The G or J bit or the "No its M for Mother,not N for November" part wink

Quangle Fri 10-May-13 23:47:36

Agree with mummy burrows. I know an AOife a little bit through work and I do find it hard to keep the name in my head because I have never heard the name before and the spelling of it gives me no clue as to how to say it. As I only come into contact with her once a year or so, each time I have to go back and check on the sound. To be fair I have it now but the first few times it was a conscious effort.

Aoibe would be a real struggle I think. Yes her friends and teachers will get it but you often share your name with lots of other incidental people and I don't think it's fair to expect people to have a notion how to say it. Not through ignorance - just through that not being the spelling in use in this country. I actually don't think it's fair to talk about ignorance in this context. After all, how's your Cyrillic ?

It's very nice to have an unusual name but don't expect anyone to have the remotest idea how to say it. (though Clodagh I do know and it's perfectly easy to render that with just English sounds at your disposal so most people could probably guess that one)

DamsonJam Fri 10-May-13 23:52:49

MummyBurrows - I used to work with a Gemma who has the same problem so it was the first name I thought of with the G or J issue (although also worked with a Gill who had the same issue so that was a contender too), but when you said M for Mother not N November, that nailed it. (am now feeling super sleuth clever though! :-)

Picoo Fri 10-May-13 23:54:30

Aoife is lovely and means beautiful as far as I can recall. what about Aoibheann which I think can be pronounced evanne or aveen?

Or totally screw people's minds and call her Sadhbh or Orfhlaith!!! :-)

forgetmenots Sat 11-May-13 00:02:57

I only meant ignorance quangle if people don't learn how to say it after being told, and I'd be happy to learn any name (written and spoken forms!) in the Latin alphabet, I'd learn how to pronounce any name written in Cyrillic by asking and learning the sounds and would genuinely give the writing a bash! It's someone's name after all.

I think we can all learn how to say any name when we have been told it and as you've said that might take a few attempts (spelling is less important to me), but it's manners - to rule out all names that aren't phonetic in English is lunacy to me.

Perhaps it's harder having this discussion in the abstract, when it's real people I genuinely can't imagine people making it an issue.

MummyBurrows Sat 11-May-13 00:04:38

Hahaha! Yea I guessed that part would of nailed it for people! Worst part is that I worked with a Jemma at one point,can you imagine the confusion that caused! Especially when we were both on shift and somebody needed one of us to deal with a specific customer or go somewhere but could only call us using a tannoy system?! And to make it worse we both worked on the same 2 departments so they couldn't call Gemma/Jemma from X either!

MsJupiterJones Sat 11-May-13 00:10:58

I think it's great. People are used now to the Aoi in Aoife, also the bh in Siobhan. I'm sure they can get their heads round a combination of the two.

Clodagh is also lovely (and Bronagh to whoever suggested that).

Quangle Sat 11-May-13 00:28:51

I tend to think its a bit intrinsic to the function of a name that it's vaguely attemptable without help by the majority of people coming across it. Its primary function is to be your label after all, for use by other people. Once it's done that job it can also be pretty or expressive or culturally significant or whatever.

On that basis Orla and Dervla yes. Some of the others no.

oscarwilde Sat 11-May-13 00:32:10

What about Labhaoise (Lee-sha)? grin for the unspellable or Dearbhaile/Dervala (der-vlA)
I like Aisling/Ashling myself for a UK based Irish baby. Or Aileen

BlackBlackBlack Sat 11-May-13 00:34:20

Wow - a lot of of ignorance on this thread. Verging on the offensive, actually. Irish names 'ridiculous'? Bosses choosing subordinates depending on how 'pronounceable' their name is? Nicknames in order to fit in? How depressing.

PerfumedPonce Sat 11-May-13 07:23:56

Totally agree BlackBlackBlack. As usual on Mumsnet, a load of anti-Irish/anti-Celtic sentiment emerging whenever a more unusual Irish or Welsh name is mentioned. If the spelling or pronunciation if your name actually held you back at work then you would have a fine case for discrimination. Fwiw I work in a field with a good number of people from all backgrounds and a variety of names and non-English spellings. The idea that it would have held anyone back or prevented them from getting the job in the first place is just ridiculous.

EeyoreIsh Sat 11-May-13 07:34:36

I used to work with a Caoimhe. lovely lovely name, and really easy to learn how to say. my struggle was with trying to spell it. But go for it if you like it grin

AThingInYourLife Sat 11-May-13 08:01:03

I think there is some validity to the complicated spellings argument.

I'm an Irish speaker, and my daughters all have Irish names.

And their spellings won't be straightforward in England.

I chose them so that they would be easy to say for their English family - so no Caoilfhinn or Líadan.

But with the spelling thing I think simplicity for English speakers is important.

Why choose Orfhlaith instead or Orla?
Or even Orlaith instead of Orla?

The more modern spelling is more standard, more straightforward, and completely acceptable in Irish.

Choosing to make a simple name very hard to spell seems kind of dickish to me.

If I were living in England I might even choose Maeve over one of the many Irish spellings.

I would consider Dervla ahead of Deirbhile.

I would definitely pick Finola over the uglier and more complicated Fionnuala (and no way would I dream of using Fionnghuala.)

Aoibhe falls under the pointlessly complicated spelling rule.

It's just a way of giving a nice, simple English name an Irish spelling.

I don't see the point of it in Ireland. But why would you lumber an English child with what is effectively Eva but with complicated spelling?

I feel the same about Éabha and Eimile. Just use Ava and Emily FFS. Emily is a far more traditional name in Ireland than giving your child the name of a town in Offaly and then mangling the pronunciation to make it sound like Emily.

I love Irish names, but pointlessly complicated spellings irritate me.

Sadhbh basically has to be Sadhbh (although Sive is OK), Róisín has to be Róisín. And they are both easy to say for English speakers.

But Orfhlaith? No
Aoibhe? No

PerfumedPonce Sat 11-May-13 08:15:04

Found your post quite depressing, AThing. You are calling the correct spellings of Irish names 'pointlessly complicated'? hmm Are we really heading towards the anglicisation of all Irish names in case, shock, the person might meet someone who is unfamiliar with the name or spelling? So all traditional and, yes, proper, spellings should be allowed to die out of usage. How depressing to think that this is what an self-proclaimed 'Irish speaker' would advocate.

forgetmenots Sat 11-May-13 08:18:20

Agreed blackblackblack, and perfumedponce. Depressing.

I totally agree with you too AThing (I'm going for Orla I reckon and I agree with you about the older variants not even being needed in Irish), but if it was a name that needed the Irish spelling I wouldn't even mention it on here, such is the tone of the chat.

forgetmenots Sat 11-May-13 08:21:17

Perfumedponce I think AThing means that in some cases it isn't necessary, whereas some names need it - which I think is true. That doesn't mean people shouldn't use the older (richer? smile ) spellings in my book - and it certainly doesn't mean they should get crap on here for doing so, but there's a similar thing going on in Scotland where people spell English names using Gaelic phonetics to Gael it up a bit which can be confusing for everyone!

intheshed Sat 11-May-13 08:40:00

Well one good thing is that since having this in my active convos for the last couple of days, the name Aoibhe looks completely normal to me now!

AThingInYourLife Sat 11-May-13 08:54:21

"You are calling the correct spellings of Irish names 'pointlessly complicated'?"

No. I am not.

I am calling the use of archaic spellings (Orfhlaith, Iarfhlaith etc) pointlessly complicated.

The modern Irish spellings of those names are Orla and Iarla.

I also think the recent fashion for taking standard English names and giving them Irish spellings a horrible affectation.

There have been generations of Irish women called Emily. Eimile doesn't even sound like Emily. Terrible.

"Are we really heading towards the anglicisation of all Irish names"


I really get a pain in my face listening to people who never speak a word of their 14 years of school Irish whingeing about anglicisation.

Irish barely exists as a spoken language in Ireland. That's the anglicisation that matters.

This sentimentality about archaic spellings of names is part of an admission that Irish is just a dead piece of cultural junk people wheel out to brand themselves as Irish.

"So all traditional and, yes, proper, spellings should be allowed to die out of usage."

You mean like what happens in most languages?

I'm going with yes.

Otherwise why not ditch the Roman alphabet and start using the old style dot séimhiús?

That's the "proper" spelling after all.

Not Sadhbh, but Sadb. Not Niamh, but Niam.

mika2 Sat 11-May-13 11:40:01

You're prob right stokes Aoibhe a bit softer than Eva so more eev-uh... Tbh there's so much debate/confusion on how to pronounce it (i.e. lots of pp, insisting it's Ava) it's totally putting off!! Can't bear the thought of this for the next 20 yrs!
Thanks for all the suggestions. I do love Caoimhe, but just can't convince DH - just sounds way too foreign to his English ears.
I like Sadhbh, but DH almost choked when he saw the spelling!
I used to hate names like Orla, Una etc. as there were bucket loads of them in school back in the day, but warming to Orla recently, although every time I saw suggest it DH says "as in Orla kiely"!
The meaning of the name Bronagh does put me off, as wouldn't like to be explaining to my daughter that her name means "sorrow" in a few yrs, although it is nice, same goes for Aisling, which I always heard meant "sad dream".
Aargh it's so bloody hard!! smile
Aoife seems to be front runner at the moment, but every time I google it, get about 20 pgs on Una from the Saturdays (who I'd never heard of before! blush) so not sure if that should put me off or not??!

mika2 Sat 11-May-13 12:20:40

Just saw a lot of the later posts! I really don't agree that an unusual, i.e. Irish name, would hold someone back in the workplace. DH has been worrying about this though and hence suggesting (what I would consider) typical middle class British names, but i just cannot imagine myself as a mother to a child called Isabella etc. Speaking from experience (with a fairly unusual Irish name that's definitely unpronounceable here) I've always found it made me more memorable at work and was a great conversation starter - hopefully my daughter will feel the same and be proud of her heritage!
Also I grew up in a Gaeltacht, went to all Irish schools and don't agree that Irish "barely exits" as a spoken language in Ireland - all my family in Ireland regularly speak Irish to their children

DamsonJam Sat 11-May-13 13:24:49

Sive is an alternative spelling for Sadhbh if you like the name but your DH worries about the spelling

lovesmileandlaugh Sat 11-May-13 16:21:32

My DH is a dubliner and felt that a Gaelic name would be really hard work for kid in the UK. I really really wanted to call DD2 Roisin, but used it as a middle name instead. I regret it, but every grown up Roisin I've met since has said I did the right thing!

JennyMakkers Sat 11-May-13 16:27:04

I really liked Clodagh but an english friend's reaction to it put me right off it. She said 'what, like the ring?' and I thought 'what ring, a Clodagh ring, what?' and then I realised what she meant! I went right off Clodagh then. (for use in the UK that is) It's a beautiful name though.

Smudging Sat 11-May-13 16:33:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JennyMakkers Sat 11-May-13 16:37:44

Athinginyourlife, I couldn't agree with you more wholeheartedly. Choosing to spell Irish names that have a well-established simplification in a more complicated fashion, when you are living outside of Ireland, it is a bit misguided dickish. I can get to grips with Maedhbh but there are several different legitimate Irish spellings, and only one English form, so yes, I would pick Maeve every time.

AThingInYourLife Sat 11-May-13 16:42:24

"I really liked Clodagh but an english friend's reaction to it put me right off it. She said 'what, like the ring?"


Reminds me of (English) DH ruining the name Laoise for me by saying "as in Port Laoise (prison)"?

EleanorFarjeon Sat 11-May-13 16:45:51

I showed your names to my Irish parents and they have no idea how to pronounce most of them!

If I am honest, I am really not keen on the archaic spellings of most of these names. To me, they look ugly and most people would struggle to pronounce & spell them. I say that as a sister of a Siobhan, and even this very common name gets mis-spelled & mis-pronounced on a daily basis.

JennyMakkers Sat 11-May-13 17:05:22

haha ! and funnily enough, I ruled out Joy as a mn for a similar reason. Couldn't get 'de joy' outta me hed.

AThingInYourLife Sat 11-May-13 17:09:58

What about Maze-y? grin


finickypinickity Sat 11-May-13 17:10:28

How do you pronounce Clodagh?

It looks awful written down but i'm guessing its pretty when spoken.

RonaldMcDonald Sat 11-May-13 17:11:57

lolling at Maze y

JennyMakkers Sat 11-May-13 17:12:10

ps, and I don't see any anti-irishness on this thread! spare me! what i see is some first generation irish people hardwired to the absolute core as we are with common sense and practicality running up against some fancy notions. I often observe on these threads that people who are married to an irish person, or who have irish parents, they want to use the Irish spellings because it feels ethereal or something (?) confused

My name is Jenny, I'm a hundred percent Irish and I can't be doing with fancy notions. Also, on a serious note, I wanted my chidlren to be able to reveal or (not reveal as they saw fit) their ancestry. OFTEN the mothers feel a strong connection to Ireland at the time of naming their child but it's entirely possible that their child will grow up feeling 90% english, and, oh yeh, ps, my mum's irish.

DolomitesDonkey Sat 11-May-13 17:13:20

I'm a scot with two Gaelic names. I've spent my entire life spelling them out and pronouncing them - mostly for the humour of others.

The English simply cannot pronounce a particular sound, it's not in their language. In the same way the a in cat does not exist in Dutch - where people pronounce my name correctly. wink

Can't go wrong with Sarah and James! grin

Back to OP, I like Roisin and Clodagh.

RonaldMcDonald Sat 11-May-13 17:13:38


DolomitesDonkey Sat 11-May-13 17:14:09

How would I pronounce Grainne please? <for shames>

AThingInYourLife Sat 11-May-13 17:18:57


Either Graun-yeh or Graahn-yeh (Ulster dialect)

Hassled Sat 11-May-13 17:19:16

I came here poised to say (as another one with an unpronounceable Gaelic name) that yes, Aoibhe is definitely a step too far in the UK.

But if you grew up in a Gaeltacht and have an Irish-speaking background that changes things a bit - and really, as the UK becomes more multi-cultural everyone becomes more used to unusual spellings/pronounciations; I'll have a reasonable stab at some Polish names, for example, that I wouldn't have had a chance at being able to pronounce 20 years ago.

elah11 Sat 11-May-13 17:22:43

DolomitesDonkey you pronounce it Graw-nya. And someone up the thread asked about Clodagh? Its Clow (as in show or grow) dah.

DolomitesDonkey Sat 11-May-13 17:26:27

Thank you, that's lovely! I once knew a Grainne by email and had often pondered!

nooka Sat 11-May-13 17:48:35

I think that the work/professional issue is more likely to be email than anything else. I would imagine that people with names with very (to an English eye, which does matter if you live in England) different/unlikely sort of spelling will have problems getting email addresses misspelled and therefore not received.

It doesn't really matter if people mispronounce or misspell names on occasion in the general scheme of things, but getting emails wrong is a major nuisance.

I have an unusual name, which people generally pronounce OK, but I always have to spell it, and for email purposes I always double check they have it right. I have missed important emails on a number of occasions. My name is very unusual but follows the same sort of rules as a number of other more common names, I think the problem with some of the names talked about on this thread is that the spelling/pronunciation combos are so unfamiliar to an English eye that there is nothing to help someone coming across them.

I know that when I worked with a Siobhain I had to think about her consciously as both 'shevaun and siob-hain' to hold both the spelling for email and the pronunciation for talking, and that's a pretty easy Irish name.

JohnSnowsTie Sat 11-May-13 17:59:17

Bugger... was really starting to like Bronagh until someone upthread pointed out the meaning!

squoosh Sat 11-May-13 23:40:05

Ugh not Gráinne, my least favourite Irish girls name ever, well, after Gobnait.

It sounds far too like gránna (grawna) which means 'ugly'.

squoosh Sat 11-May-13 23:41:29

I do find it funny that names like Aoife and Orla are fashionable in England when to my ears they're about as hip as Karen and Sharon.

hollyisalovelyname Sun 12-May-13 01:30:12

Squoosh are you me? My sentiments exactly. Gobnait followed by Grainne are my least favourite Irish names. I think Gobnait sounds like gobdaw as in ' you're a right gobdaw'

CounselorTroi Sun 12-May-13 01:56:04

or Grainneog (hedgehog). My sister is Grainne, we called her 'ugly hedgehog' . We were lovely smile

Loving the idea of 'fancy notions'!!

squoosh Sun 12-May-13 03:48:43

I forgot about Grainneog! <memories of Sr. Agnes' class coming back to me>

'Ugly hedgehog', I mean, it just does not get any worse! grin.

squoosh Sun 12-May-13 03:49:45

Gobnait is in a special class of UGLY all by itself. I've never met one in real life.

JennyMakkers Sun 12-May-13 11:16:50

Oh gobnait is a good name for a dog I thnk. My friend is trying to re-name a rescue dog. I will suggest that. I think she'll like it. she was thinking of something along the lines of Beryl.

JennyMakkers Sun 12-May-13 11:18:53

I like Grainneog for a scruffy long-haired little urchin too! good doggie names. keep 'em coming! wink

CounselorTroi Sun 12-May-13 21:22:58

My mother is a Gobnait.

Quangle Mon 13-May-13 17:31:31

How do you say Gobnait?

I'd say Gob Nate. It doesn't sound pretty, I confess, but maybe in Irish it comes out sounding melodious.

squoosh Mon 13-May-13 17:43:36

It's pronounced Gub-nut, with a short u in the 'nut'.

CounselorTroi is your mother, ummmmm, fond of her name?

squoosh Mon 13-May-13 17:44:08

It doesn't sound melodious from anyone's voice Quangle!

Quangle Mon 13-May-13 21:56:59

OK, that's not good. Perhaps it means "beautiful ethereal maid of the hills"? <hopeful>

It sounds like it means "mouthy old bat".

AThingInYourLife Mon 13-May-13 22:06:37

Gubnitch is how I say it.

I just can't believe that is how it is meant to be said.

There must have been a different name once that got misspelled or something and it was somehow transformed into a bizarre ugly name.

How could anyone look at a tiny little baby, minutes old, so new and precious and delicate and think "you are Gobnait"?


squoosh Mon 13-May-13 22:16:37

I presume Gobnait was some local saint somewhere in Ireland. People could be very loyal to their local saints no matter how butt ugly their names were.

Baby Gobnait - it really doesn't get worse than that!

squoosh Mon 13-May-13 22:22:34

Wikipedia says 'The main centres of devotion to Gobnait are Inis Oírr (Aran Islands), Dún Chaoin in West Kerry and Balleyvourney near the Cork / Kerry border'she was from Cork.'

My thoughts and prayers are with the Gobnaits of Cork, Kerry and Inis Oírr. Life won't be easy!

forgetmenots Mon 13-May-13 22:29:30

I say gub-nitch too. Even less attractive. I think you might be on to something there AThing!

My parents gave me and my brothers old/odd names - and did not spell them as they are pronounced in English - not phonetic spelling - we have grown up with an English pronounciation of our names, it is such a shock when someone pronounces my name correctly.

Dd has an Irish name (dh is Irish) it has a Scottish connection which isn't obvious - we used the anglicised spelling - people with certain accents still struggle with it because of the combination of letters. I think her name is becoming more popular but it is still fairly uncommon.

I like Orla, if I ever had another girl that would be my first choice, even though I like the Irish spelling I would go for the anglicised spelling, just because I have lived with the annoyance of having to explain my name all my life.

AThingInYourLife Mon 13-May-13 23:54:14

Orla is not an anglicised spelling.

It's the standard spelling in Irish.

Maeve is anglicised (no v in Irish)

Finola is anglicised (the Irish name is Fionnuala)

But Orla is Irish. Just a more simple, modern spelling than Orfhlaith, which is archaic and anachronistic.

hollyisalovelyname Tue 14-May-13 07:27:54

I pronounce it Gobnit. smile

AThingInYourLife Tue 14-May-13 09:11:24

Nordy? smile

PerfumedPonce Tue 14-May-13 22:16:23

Jaysus, the spellings Orfhlaith and Orlaith are archaic and anachronistic? Says who? I presume this is just your opinion AThing because there is absolutely no truth in what you are saying. You don't like old Irish spellings of Irish names. Fine. Whatever. But don't pretend that anyone who chooses the correct spelling of a name (I.e. spelling an Irish name in the Irish language! Imagine!) is somehow out of touch or burdened with 'fancy notions'. Mother of God, arrogant much?

chipmonkey Tue 14-May-13 23:50:27

Gobnait always reminds me of that mad "12 days of Christmas" song that Frank Kelly ( Fr Jack) sang years ago. Gobnait O'Lunacy!

I love that someone always comes on one of these threads and suggests Shannon. I don't think I've ever met an Irish Shannon. Plenty of American and UK ones but never an Irish one.

I met a little Aoibhe a couple of weeks ago through work. Have to say it did cause a little confusion. Someone booked the little one in under "Aoife", then I was told by Mum, "No, Aoibhe" I apologised and wrote down Eva, then to be told by poor, patient Mum, "No, it's A-O-I-B-H-E"
But I have to say, I did think it was pretty, once I knew!

AThingInYourLife Wed 15-May-13 07:21:01

Yes, they are archaic and anachronistic.

That is not how Irish spelling works any more.

No that is not just my opinion.

No, I am not being arrogant.

Choosing to spell the name Orla as Orfhlaith is like using an Early Modern English spelling of a name rather than the current standard.

"But don't pretend that anyone who chooses the correct spelling of a name (I.e. spelling an Irish name in the Irish language! Imagine!) is somehow out of touch or burdened with 'fancy notions'"

The correct spelling of the name Orla in the Irish language is just that - Orla.

Orlaith and Orfhlaith are not wrong. But they are anachronistic, using spellings that are not used any more.

Adding extraneous, unnecessary letters into your child's name does seem a little pretentious to me, yes.

Maybe you should start actually using this language you seem to get so worked up about?

PerfumedPonce Wed 15-May-13 08:39:05

Urm....admittedly it has been over a decade since I did my degree but I wasn't aware that Irish spelling had changed confused

I know so many Orlaiths and Orflaiths that I'm afraid your opinion - and it is just your opinion - that those names are no longer in use is just wrong. And to be honest I can't for the life of me understand your opposition to Irish names and spellings. You could just as easily call the name John archaic...but it is still in use. Perhaps you should look up the history of the name and current usage. See how many Orlaiths are out there and tell me that that spelling it is not used.

I couldn't give a damn what anyone chooses to name their child but, yes, having been raised in the environment where I was and in the family that I came from, I do have a fondness for Irish names. I also have a degree in Irish but don't use the language in a day-to-day basis. So does that mean i am 'allowed' to use Irish names on my kids or not? I don't see 'unnecessary' letters. I just see the correct spelling. They aren't your cup of tea and that's fine but why do you need to rubbish the choices or preferences of those who do like then? How on earth does it affect you?

Surely all anyone does when they choose their child's name is look for a name that they love the sound, meaning and spelling of? If they choose an Irish bane then does it really matter if they are living on the Aran Islands, an ex-pat wanting to keep a connection with their home country or someone with no connection to Ireland but who just likes a particular name? Don't think everyone who chooses, say, Marianne or Chloe has a link to France.

But really why do you care? Live and let live.

PerfumedPonce Wed 15-May-13 08:43:06

Name...not 'bane!

JennyEnglish Wed 15-May-13 10:05:28

Well, I knew a few Orlas growing up and it's my opinion that it wasn't in common usage until after that English girl on bb, Orliath. Until then, I just thought it was Orla (I'm Irish btw, despite my rowanatkinson inspired name).

I don't care more or less than perfumedponce, but it's my opinion that Orla was the accepted spelling in Ireland until the gaelscoil fashion for names took hold. And that's how I see it, a fashion, at the moment, Irish names are de rigeur in certain circles. It'll pass!

So use Irish spellings, don't use Irish spellings but it's not ludicrous or unreasonable to discuss the impact that'll have on your child growing up in the UK. Tbh, even in Ireland it's a problem if you veer away from the twenty most popular irish names. Tell the guy in starbucks your name is Maeliosa and see what he makes of it. Chances are even in Ireland he'll think, a bloke called melissa confused

Peevish Wed 15-May-13 10:06:32

Gosh, some depressingly Little Englander AND holier-than-thou Gaeltacht attitudes on this thread, though I have more sympathy with the latter. To the former group, please be aware of how provincial and small-minded you sound. People are not obliged to name their children for your convenience, and all that faux-concerned guff about being so terribly worried for children who have to spell their names all the time and facing workplace discrimination does little to hide your determination not to have to go one inch out of your comfort zone. I have an Irish first name and surname, have lived in the UK all my adult life, and have been very successful in my field. My baby son has an Irish name that isn't pronounced phonetically in English, and people are dealing with it, even now we have left London for rural England.

OP, go for it. Several of those names are lovely. You can't just call your baby Molly/Sarah/Olivia purely because everyone can pronounce it.

squoosh Wed 15-May-13 10:44:21

I really don't think having a traditionally spelt Irish name will hold you back career wise in the UK but having to spell your name out 5 times a day every day can get a bit tiring in the old behind.

<voice of experience>

JennyEnglish Wed 15-May-13 11:39:01

i agree squoosh. it seems like the simply spelt conor has become chalked up as a bad boy name in the uk, whereas it's just dull classic here, but having a name like Oisin, Fiachra, Diarmuid might be less of a but perceived better.... but would be a far bigger pain to have to spell out, So, two slightly different things going on with Irish names I think. I'm thinking of having a special starbucks name. I like Stella (star) Books.

JennyEnglish Wed 15-May-13 11:40:20

And I agree with the e-mail issue as well. I used to have people give out to me about how my sur name was spelled.

Theala Wed 15-May-13 11:48:31

Of course, your child might not spend all there life in the UK.

Personally, I've spent most of my adult-life in a non-English speaking country, so it wouldn't have mattered much if my parents had given me a traditional Irish or a very English name as I would have had to spell it out all the time anyway (as my friend Amy who also lives here can testify).

In my work, I have colleagues from Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the US. Sometimes we don't know how to spell and prononce each other's names. But we learn it, because why would you not unless you're an ignorant lump?

I will admit that for Starbucks and the like, I give the equivalent of the name "Mary" though. Because I can't be arsed having the spelling/prononciation conversation with someone I'll never see again.

Theala Wed 15-May-13 11:49:04

*their life. blush

BabyRuSh Wed 15-May-13 11:55:25

I think it would be annoying to have a name that was mispronounced and that you would have to spell out frequently. Regardless of the Orion of the name. Dh wanted to give our dc rather long traditional names that he love but I vetoed them on the basis that they were going to grow up in England and needed names that they could easily grow up with. I think if you envisage your kids growing up in the uk, it may eb worth going for a name that at least 2/3 of the people they meet could pronounce correctly!

VenusRising Wed 15-May-13 11:56:38

How about uimhirahaon? Iv-er-a-haine.
Then the next one is.... well you can guess, it's simples!

Mairead is a lovely name, but can be mispronounced terribly, Marie- ad etc.

I like Realt, or Neidín. Shona's pretty simple, and Ineagh. Beibhinn is a great name, also sadhbh, and medb.

I suppose you want a name which reflects your heritage, but how about widening the net and including some Celtic ie not particularly irish names as well. Welsh names are lovely, also Cornish, and Breton.

squoosh Wed 15-May-13 12:02:09

Uimhiradó - just beautiful.

AThingInYourLife Wed 15-May-13 12:02:21

"And to be honest I can't for the life of me understand your opposition to Irish names and spellings."


I can't imagine where you are getting the idea that I have any opposition to Irish names.

I've already said that all 3 of my children have Irish names.

And my siblings, my cousins, my aunts and uncles, my mother, my niece and nephew etc etc

Orla is an Irish name. And Orla is the standard spelling.

I can't believe you have a degree in Irish and are unaware of how Irisg spelling has changed.

Orfhlaith and Orlaith use old forms if spelling.

That is a fact.

I think using the older forms of the name is pretentious in Ireland and unfair on a child in England.

That is an opinion.

JennyEnglish Wed 15-May-13 12:06:38

It's an opinion I agree with. I'm Irish and have lived in Ireland and UK. My opinion isn't less valid for not having a degree in Irish. In fact most Irish people don't have a degree in Irish!

lol at squooosh, you've reminded me, i have two lotto tickets in my wallet i must check.

aquashiv Wed 15-May-13 12:14:34

This is a useful website for pronounciations Op - I really wouldnt worry about people not being able to get to grips with those names. All ours have Irish names but we do live in a place where there is no such thing as normal.


Locketjuice Wed 15-May-13 12:20:52

My brain hurts reading this thread.. I can't pronounce most of the names because I have no idea where to start hmm

Meant nicely by the way!

AThingInYourLife Wed 15-May-13 12:28:37

Have you considered Ailbhe, OP?

I think it was suggested earlier.

I love it smile

It's easy to pronounce for English people.

Connie49 Wed 15-May-13 14:04:14

Have to say I agree totally with PerfumedPonce and Peevish. There is at least one poster who is coming across as quite aggressive on this thread. If you don't like the names or spellings yourself, then don't use them. But why come on just to say that people who do are being pretentious or unfair on their children. That's just nasty and if that's your opinion then why not just keep it to yourself?

Perhaps some of those dissing names like Aoibhe and Orlaith should tell us what they have chosen to call their children so that we can judge the levels of pretentiousness or dickishness in their own choices. hmm

Deirdre, pronounced the Irish way - 'deer-dra' not the Coronation St way 'deer-dree'?

AThingInYourLife Wed 15-May-13 14:50:52

"There is at least one poster who is coming across as quite aggressive on this thread. "


Now there are two wink

Passive aggressive is still aggressive.

squoosh Wed 15-May-13 15:00:16

I think people's opinions are legitimate, they come from experience. I personally don't get why someone raising a child outside of Ireland would name their child Orlaith instead of Orla. However I wince when I see Niamh spelt as Neve.

I also agree with the point made up thread that Aoibhe isn't a 'real' Irish name, it's Eva that's been made to look Irish. A bit like an O'Neill's pub in Hong Kong or wherever, it's an Irish pub but not really.

My personal opinion is to keep it authentic but don't create a spelling headache.

JennyEnglish Wed 15-May-13 15:14:16

I agree with you Squoosh. Authentic where possible if that doesn't create a spelling nightmare. +1 to that!

AS for who's rude and who's not rude, well that's subjective. I thought Peevish's post was sailing a little close to rudeness, although I didn't know what to say to it, categorising everybody and pronouncing people either little-englander or holier-than-thou-gaelteachtar. I'm not having a pop at her, that's how it seems to her. I'm just saying that it's entirely subjective. The posts you agree with seem far less rude.

PerfumedPonce may well have a degree in Irish but several of us grew up in Ireland and know for a fact that Orla is the accepted spelling of the name. Loving Irish MORE than we do doesn't make you more right.

PerfumedPonce Wed 15-May-13 15:14:22

Aoibhe is a variation of Aoibh (wife of Lir in the story) and means beauty.

Eva is Hebrew in origin and means life.

They are different names albeit with similar (but not identical) pronunciations.

JennyEnglish Wed 15-May-13 15:18:56

But in the story she was Aoibh not Aoibe? So by variation, I am thinking that that means an e was put on the end of Aoibh so that it sounds like Eva confused

PerfumedPonce Wed 15-May-13 15:21:08

I mentioned the fact I took Irish at university only in response to the idea that it's ok for some people to use Irish names but not others. I really dislike the tone that this thread has taken. Can't we just let people choose whatever names they like without getting so het up? There will be people reading this thread whose children are called the names that have been mentioned and I would rather not label them as dicks or whatever because it isn't what you or I might choose. It's so easy to be hurtful on naming threads. Like I said earlier, can't we just live and let live?

ipswitch Wed 15-May-13 15:29:07

I love the Irish name Eithne.

JennyEnglish Wed 15-May-13 15:38:06

I suppose it's the inevitable consequence of people having different opinions. There's no right or wrong, it seems there is different degrees of right, and then, there is ignorance and wilful ignorance! It's a minefield.

I say live and let live too although I'll admit to enjoying a good discussion. I apologise for throwing the fact that you've a degree in Irish back at you like that. If I'd been more articulate I could have made the same point but in a less snarky way.

PerfumedPonce Wed 15-May-13 15:40:06

No problem smile

AThingInYourLife Wed 15-May-13 16:15:18

I love that Aoibh and Aoife were sisters.

Their other sister was probably called Caoimhe grin

Quangle Wed 15-May-13 18:28:31

Just to be clear - English people would have no problem pronouncing these names. They just wouldn't know how to say them from reading them.

I don't think it's pretentious. And I don't think it holds people back at work. It's probably going to be a talking point for some people which could be quite nice.

But it is, I think, a bit odd, if you are based in GB and intend to stay in GB, to provide a name for your child that would fox most people in GB unless they had someone tell them "you say it like this". Most people these days probably know Siobhan etc but that's because there have been some famous ones. The others on this list I have never a) heard of or b) seen written down and I live in London and my child is the only Anglo -Saxon origins child in her school so we are hardly mono-cultural!

It's not like having a French name in English. That would actually be easier. It's nothing to do with "foreignness". It's to do with the alphabet.

sashh Thu 16-May-13 07:50:09

My parents gave me a very normal English name with a very abnormal spelling. I changed it to the standard spelling by deed poll I was so fed up of people not being able to spell it.

If you give a child a name with a spelling that is not standard in the country they are living they will spend their lives spelling the name.

Also the names are going to be pronounced more by English people than Irish, so might not get the sound right. Would that bother you?

Not through lack of trying. I've seen a few posts about Niamh and Neve, to me they sound exactly the same and I'm normally good at picking up subtle sounds.

Where in the UK will you be living, I'm related to a Niamh who has lived her entire life in Yorkshire and it sounds different with that accent, much deeper, more knee-ev. Are you going to be happy with that? Well with whatever accent your children will grow up with.

Then there is teaching your child to write their own name. I went to school with a Philomena, she thought she was stupid because at 5 she couldn't write her name when all the Traceys and Janes could.

No matter how beautiful a name is in Irish, is it as beautiful pronounced with an English accent?

I suppose it depends how much you are attached to the spelling, how important you feel it is.

Siobhan, Niamh and Sinaed are common enough for English people to know the name and the spelling, although I know there should be accents over the letters but not where.

Although I did once shout Siobhan X to a crowded waiting room and Siobhan and her mother looked at each other stunned. In 15 years no one had pronounced her name correctly without them explaining it.

I was also at school with a Dymphna which can easily be worked out with phonetic English spelling.

working9while5 Thu 16-May-13 08:23:33

Being pigeonholed as Irish is a problem? Where did that come from?

Ireland is not a province. It is a country. The use of an Irish name is not provincial and yeah, you can be Irish as you like called Miriam or Emma or Stephanie and English as you like being called Aoife, Maeve or Clodagh.

There are a great many O'Connors, O'Briens, O'Neills and O'Reillys living for generations here and across the world. Should they all change their names so as not to be pigenholed at work as Irish? Why on God's earth...? I have yet to meet an English person who can pronounce Keogh to my liking but giving up a surname to not stand out is, frankly, nuts.

My son has a completely nuts and ridiculous Irish second name, Amhlaoibh. Do I think anyone will ever be able to pronounce his second name? No but it is a family name and he can do with it what he wills but I gave it to him partially to kick against this nonsense that Irish names are inferior that I have seen time and time again on here.

Most of our kids will probably end up in Asia where all of this will mean nothing.

JennyEnglish Thu 16-May-13 12:19:25

I said this upthread, but I think there are two different issues with Irish names. I can't speak for all English people (even if I were English I couldn't do that) but I don't think names like Amhlaoibh are names that would,,, how do I phrase this? pigeon-hole a child. I think it's names like Conor and Calum and Aoife and Niamh that might sometimes do that. Names that have become popular in the uk. Although they continue to be perceived as quite classic in Ireland. Im guessing your son's second name is amleev?

AThingInYourLife Thu 16-May-13 12:49:05

working - did you have a thread about Amhlaoibh a few years ago?

I remember one where I was encouraging someone to use it. And it was a family name.

You don't usually get feedback from name threads.

" I'm related to a Niamh who has lived her entire life in Yorkshire and it sounds different with that accent, much deeper, more knee-ev"

Sounds closer to the proper Irish pronunciation that Neev, which is how it is usually said in English smile

That's quite neat. smile

squoosh Thu 16-May-13 12:56:26

I don't think I've ever heard of Amhlaoibh before.


Maryz Thu 16-May-13 13:04:25

How come no-one has mentioned Síofra? Easy to spell and pronounce, but definitely Irish.

And I agree with all of AThing's posts about spelling. For example, did you know that Conor should actually (if you want to use the correct version) be Chonchubhair?

Which really would be unnecessarily complicated.

JennyEnglishTwo Thu 16-May-13 13:17:26

lol at Chonchubhair! The English primary school teachers wouldn't think he was from a 'chav family' though.

Maryz Thu 16-May-13 13:23:00

Yes, it's ridiculous isn't it. But really no more ridiculous than Orfhlaidh, or whatever the latest fashion is for the spelling of Orla grin

I'm in Ireland, and almost all of dd's friends have Irish names, but they are spelled in the most sensible way, so Aisling, Aoife, Niamh, Orla, Roisín, Etáin, Naoise, to mention a few.

working9while5 Thu 16-May-13 13:27:34

Yes AThing, it was a sign of my deep dickishness and pretentiousness. I mentioned it was an Irish version of Olaf, anglicised on baptismal forms in the days when Irish names weren't allowed as Humphrey of all things. I had an uncle Free and a cousin Lee, both of whom had Amhlaoibh as a given name.

Apparently giving a name that looks like someone threw up a scrabble board was disgustingly twattish. And pretentious. And designed to bring about bullying and lack of employment forever more, even though it was only ever going to be a second name. I think at the time I was looking at Finbarr Amhlaoibh but in the end we went with Rory Amhlaoibh with an English spelling and pronunciation. We pronounce it Oh-lee-iv with a dark l, though in many places in Ireland it would be Owl-leev as this is the most common pronunciation with the Oh for amh being a West Cork thing.

Outed myself massively there to anyone who comes across this grin.

working9while5 Thu 16-May-13 13:28:16

(Oh and when I asked about Rory separately, I was told THAT was "very difficult to pronounce" hmm at which point I just rolled my eyes and got on with it!)

AThingInYourLife Thu 16-May-13 13:40:57

Oh yes, I remember Amhlaoibh! It was you smile

So glad you went with it. It's awesome.

Uncle Free and Uncle Lee, love it grin

Conchubhar is pronounced Cruthúr grin

I believe there might be another Ulster pronunciation, with that being the Munster version, but that's how all the Conchubhars I've known have said it.

The (anglicised) Conor is so much nicer.

squoosh Thu 16-May-13 13:59:29

Oh yeah, Rory is such a tongue twister!

I think as far as middle names go people should feel free to go as crazy/medieval/foreign/Gamoe of Thrones/quirky/bat shit mental as they like.

Not that I'm referring to Amhlaoibh as bat shit mental!

Maryz Thu 16-May-13 14:04:04

Bloody hell, working, that sounds like a humdinger of a thread grin

I like Rory. And Ruarí. But if someone came up with Ruaghraidh I'd probably go hmm

Quangle Thu 16-May-13 14:06:24

To be fair Rory is difficult to pronounce if you are David Bellamy grin

Maryz Thu 16-May-13 14:08:34

And, actually, while we are at it, are both Ruaridh and Ruarí wrong, because of the broad/slender vowel rule, or are they exceptions confused?

squoosh Thu 16-May-13 14:09:00

I think it's Ruairidh.

forgetmenots Thu 16-May-13 14:13:30

If I was being a pedant maryz aye, they're not quite right. They are very popular spellings though amongst non Gaelic speakers, in fact I think in Scotland Ruaridh is the most popular one.

Maryz Thu 16-May-13 14:17:30

Yes, squoosh, that does look better.

Looking at it's very confusing. I've never seen it with a d in the middle. I also think it's mostly Ruairí without the end dh in Ireland.

Ruaridh really does look wrong to me.

forgetmenots Thu 16-May-13 14:21:58

I don't know any Irish Ruairis with a ''d' (can't do fadas on my phone), it's a Scottish Gaelic thing, though I'd imagine the old Gaelic for both variants is Ruadhri (red king)?

AThingInYourLife Thu 16-May-13 14:30:47

I don't think the broad/slender vowel thing exists in Gaelic.

Hence Irish Ruairí/Ruaidhrí and Gaelic Ruaridh.

Irish Caitríona and Gaelic Catriona (not sure where Gaelic accents should go.)

Totally agree, squoosh, about all bets being off when it comes to middle names. Why be sensible with a name most people will never even hear?

fallingover Thu 16-May-13 14:38:03

Nooo, not Síofra! It means changeling. I have never understood people calling their daughters that.

The changing fashions in terms of Irish names are interesting, if you look at this link to the 1901 and 1911 census you can search for all of these Irish names mentioned upthread - there was only one Niamh in the whole of Ireland in 1911, for example, two Aoifes, 10 Clodaghs, and no Orla/Orlaith/Orfhlaiths! It just shows how relatively recent (and deep) the process of gaelicisation after 1916 was. Of course it's entirely possible that people used anglicised versions of some names on the census forms but it's an interesting glimpse into how baby names operated all the same.

As it happens, I believe Rory/Ruairi became really popular after August 1916, when Roger Casement was hanged.

fallingover Thu 16-May-13 14:41:05

AThing I'm not sure about your distinctions between Irish and Gaelic, I think you might mean Gallic (if you mean the language spoken in parts of Scotland) ...Gaelic also refers to Irish/Gaeilge

squoosh Thu 16-May-13 14:41:50

I think Irish people using Irish names took off in a big way in the late 60's early 70's. Before that there seems to stock Irish names that were used like Micheál, Finbarr, Seán, saints names I suppose.

But the trend for using names from Irish myths and legends is recent-ish.

squoosh Thu 16-May-13 14:43:18

In Ireland though the Irish language is generally referred to (in English)as 'Irish', in Scotland it's always referred to as 'Gaelic' (pr. Gallic).

AThingInYourLife Thu 16-May-13 14:46:28

Exactly, squoosh.

fallingover Thu 16-May-13 14:54:50

Apologies if I misunderstood you AThing.

AThingInYourLife Thu 16-May-13 14:56:31

No worries smile

forgetmenots Thu 16-May-13 14:57:13

It definitely does exist in Scottish Gaelic AThing, though not all the spellings of names demonstrate this. I use Gaelic to refer to both languages, sorry, have relatives fluent in each and a couple in both.

AThingInYourLife Thu 16-May-13 15:03:40

Does it?

I've long wondered that.

Good to know smile

I just guessed that it didn't from seeing names that clearly didn't obey any such rule.

forgetmenots Thu 16-May-13 15:23:27

Haha - yep you wouldn't know, Ruairidh is particularly interesting as Ruaridh is now the dominant spelling, due mainly to non Gaelic speakers attempting a traditional spelling (also there's a Scottish rugby player who spells it like that..)

It's meant that even people who have Gaelic who should know better go with this spelling for 'ease', worse than a full-on anglicisation for some, compromise for others...

But aye, caol le caol and all that... smile

cyberboots Thu 16-May-13 16:03:37

Erm....has anyone seen this?
I know the pain...

squoosh Thu 16-May-13 16:12:07


The photo captioned 'It's ok, the fada just isn't that big a deal' made me giggle.

mathanxiety Thu 16-May-13 16:15:00

I agree with the remarks about Orla -- perfectly acceptable modern Irish spelling. Agree about Gaeilscoil-inspired extraneous letters too (and also Gaeilscoil-inspired stripping away of letters, Medb being the result). Also agree Ruaridh looks all wrong makes my teeth itch

Well done for using Amhlaoibh, Working. It was indeed a humdinger of a thread but not as humdingerish as Sorchagate.

Harking back to the 'old African man' who had a name nobody could be bothered trying to learn or pronounce. Being renamed for the convenience of others is just sad. Your name is a vital part of yourself and it is a connection to your parents and family. I think it's horrible for others to have so little respect for other people as individuals that they couldn't get a name right.

JennyEnglishTwo Thu 16-May-13 16:21:03

I love the daily edge!

mathanxiety Thu 16-May-13 16:25:42

At the risk of outing myself, there are worse things you could be called than Mermaid...

KatyDid02 Thu 16-May-13 16:28:32

are ones I like. How about Enya?

forgetmenots Thu 16-May-13 16:34:10

.., you're a Gobnait, aren't you?


AThingInYourLife Thu 16-May-13 16:34:38

Enya = Eithne

forgetmenots Thu 16-May-13 16:45:41

AThing, help me out - is there another common pronunciation of Eithne (in the north/Donegal perhaps?)

Enya is what I've thought but have heard another that I can't recall...

Penny6Pence Thu 16-May-13 16:46:13

Coming to the party a little late but youngest dd is named Aoibhe. Dh wanted to call her Aoife and I wanted we landed on Aoibhe instead. So it was a bit of a compromise for us both but we absolutely love it and it suits her perfectly. Bit sad to read some of the comments about it on here. We also live in UK (though we are Irish) but we don't know if we are going to be here forever so didn't let that put us off using Irish names for the kids. We would definitely have used Irish names if we had been at home anyway and you don't know what the future may hold. Little bit gutted to read that some people think we might have done dd a disservice. We adore her and love her name. Oh, well... sad

mathanxiety Thu 16-May-13 16:46:32

Sometimes I wish I was.. grin

Maryz Thu 16-May-13 16:55:17

The only Eithne I knew was when I lived in Galway, and she was Eth (as in rhyming with Beth) nyeh, as in nyer without the r, iyswim.

So pronounced Eh-ne, both e's sounding the same, with a little y before the second one.

ds is looking at me as though I have three heads as I'm pronouncing all of these grin

math, I remember Sorchagate - wasn't that the op who wanted to spell it Sorcha, but pronounce it Shorsha, with a "sh" sound? And dismissed all the detailed advice about Shorsha actually being Seoirse and the Irish for George.

iirc, she wasn't interested in actually using an Irish name, though.

Sorry if you are upset, Penny.

forgetmenots Thu 16-May-13 16:58:08

Thanks maryz!

Penny, don't be disheartened, I like the name and any general statements about Irish names being a bad idea I'm just ignoring now to be honest, have only ever heard comments like that about Irish and Scottish names on here which really winds me up. I'm sure your Aoibhe loves her name smile

squoosh Thu 16-May-13 17:09:33

Is Eithne pronounce as Enya in the North??

mathanxiety Thu 16-May-13 17:31:27

Yes indeed, that was the one, Maryz. I don't know if it can be mentioned on MN..

I think Enya is the northern pronunciation. A girl I knew in school whose parents were from Donegal pronounced her name Enya while all the other Eithnes were Eth-neh.

forgetmenots Thu 16-May-13 17:42:26

That's what I'd thought, but I'd heard another pronunication which is probably closer to what maryz was suggesting - was surprised because I didn't know there was more than one.

SJisontheway Thu 16-May-13 18:44:07

I'm not suprised there aren't too many Irish names turning up on the old census. Previous generations were beaten for speaking Irish, so giving your child a traditional name probably wouldn't have done them any favours. I think its wonderful a lot of the old names have been revived. Including Éabha which incidently is an ancient name and not a modern gaelic version of Ava.

PerfumedPonce Thu 16-May-13 19:07:59

Fwiw, Penny, I also think Aoibhe is a very lovely name. Always have. Don't let any of the guff on this thread get you down. You chose a great name for your dd and if there are many more threads like this it will soon become a very well-known name in the UK which will help counter some of the current opposition to it!! grin

hollyisalovelyname Fri 17-May-13 07:56:24

I thought Enya was Aine pronounced by Donegal people.

hollyisalovelyname Fri 17-May-13 07:58:09

Just checked wiki- Enya (the singer) was born Eithne

KatyDid02 Fri 17-May-13 20:16:35

Enya/Eithne - I think both spellings and pronunciations are lovely.

JohnSnowsTie Fri 17-May-13 21:41:41

I'd love to use Enya but DH's cousin loves it so will leave it for her.

Penny don't feel down - it's just people's opinions and they're bound to clash sometimes. flowers

sorchatallulah Sun 19-May-13 21:23:40

I too am late to the party but I love the Irish name threads :D I like Aoibhe, as long as it's pronounced properly. I vaguely remember a thread (perhaps on a different board) where a guy asked for advice on whether or not he should pronounce it as ay-va then raged when he was met with a resounding no.

Surely Eithne can't be eth-nyeh? When is a th in Irish ever pronounced as a th is in English? I would say Eithne phonetically as eh-n(y)eh with the subtle y, and maybe the first syllable between an eh and an ey... if that makes sense. I can't work out why it would be just an English "th".

And I remember Sorchagate - as that's my name I thought it was brilliant. It was good to see a lot of people sticking up for the right pronunciation, thanks guys!

mathanxiety Sun 19-May-13 21:28:46

It's a bit like Mairead pronounced without the narrow R or Fionnuala with the English F sound. Or all those Neev's and names with an E at the end sounding like names with an A at the end. I think they fall into the category of sturdy indefensibles. (I think En(y)eh is a much nicer pronunciation and of course it is correct. Eth-neh is too close to Edna for my liking).

sorchatallulah Sun 19-May-13 21:52:39

mathanxiety, could you spell out Mairéad and Fionnuala for me phonetically in English? I'm now starting to worry I don't say them properly...

mathanxiety Sun 19-May-13 22:25:15

Murzhade would be the closest I can render it (the R runs into a ZH sound as it is made with tip of tongue against the middle of the alveolar ridge. The D at the end is more of a French D than an English D. The sound is made with tip of tongue at the back of the top teeth, right at the front of the alveolar ridge. The only non-Irish people I have ever heard pronouncing the name Mairead correctly (sorry, have sticky juice dried into my number pad and fadas are impossible at the moment) are Russians.

And Fyun-OO-uh-la. The proper Irish F sound is created with the lips and not with lips and teeth. A lot of Irish people use an echo of this sound when they say the consonant digraph WH, where the WH sound is made with the lips -- most English accents do not distinguish between WH and W at the start of a word. Many Victorian writers used 'fwhat', 'fwhere', 'fwhy' when including speech by the peasants in their novels set in Ireland. Flann O'Brien also did this iirc as a device to ridicule a Garda character but I can't remember exactly which book he did it in. The UH sound is a schwa, barely audible. The L is broad - the tongue doesn't really touch the top of the mouth and it's almost a Wah sound as a result.

But 'Marade' and 'Finnoola' work fine..

sorchatallulah Sun 19-May-13 22:30:14

I can't quite work out Fionnuala, but I think I'm saying Mairéad properly, so that's good. I know exactly what you mean about the "rzh" sound, and the French D smile Thanks!

I've only known 2 Fionnualas in my time but I've just called them both Fyun-oo-ala but with the ooala more... subtle? Like instead of it being 3 syllables it's oo and la but with a schwa in the middle. Or something. The Fionn part I would just pronounce the same as I'd pronounce Fionn - fyun.

God, Irish is weird. I never even did it at school (I want to a proddy school and they taught Latin instead!) so I think the kind of Irish I've started picking up on is some bastardised hybrid of different dialects.

mathanxiety Sun 19-May-13 23:21:50

Yes that is how I hear Fionnuala in my head.. (It's really hard to convey the sounds using the Latin alphabet when you try to type it blush)

Irish is very phonetically consistent, and even within the different accents/dialects the consistency remains. And actually the grammar is very like Latin, I have been told by DS who never learned any Irish either (school in the US). I think most children attending school in Ireland pick up a bastardised hybrid of the accents their teachers speak. I learned Kerry Irish in junior school and then Connemara Irish in secondary. My mother's national school teachers (two room school, only two teachers from junior infants to 6th class) were from The Rower, Leinster's last Gaeltacht, and her Irish is more like the dialect of An Rinn in Waterford. Dad never learned any as he was home schooled and then went to boarding school where they focused on Latin and Greek. (I speak French godawfully with a Waterford accent thanks to Miss H).

CounselorTroi Mon 20-May-13 23:11:33

squoosh no, my mother is not a fan of her name, handed down as it was from her aunt, an elderly nun. Same elderly nun not impressed when I decided not to lumber DD with the name, not even as a middle name. I have lumbered her with an apparent chav-Irish name though, according to this thread smile

CounselorTroi Mon 20-May-13 23:16:21

vividly remember sorchagate mentallyslapsyerwan shorshamyarse

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Tue 21-May-13 00:34:59

Ha ha, I remember Sorcha-gate too, Irish name threads never go well. grin

Look, unless your name is Anna or Jack, you might as well get used to the fact that you will have to spell your name out to people. My name is Isobel, and I always, always have to spell my name out to people. Always. Without exception. It's not that big a deal...?

And I absolutely adore the utter irony from MummyBurrows offering up Penelope as an example of a simple name. grin A Greek name, which absolutely does not follow English phonetic rules at all. If we can all get used to Penelope to the point where it's touted as a simple, easy name - then surely people can use Irish spellings for their own children with gay abandon, if they so wish.

forgetmenots Tue 21-May-13 04:43:52

(Stands in applause for Biggles)


LeoandBoosmum Tue 21-May-13 04:53:02

OOooh, Orla is pretty! I do like Aoife though...not too common here, I don't think. I heard the name for the first time when the singer from The Saturdays named her baby Aoife.

LeoandBoosmum Tue 21-May-13 04:57:30

I don't like the name pronounced Quee-va. Maeve is also nice but Orla would be my first choice, then Aoife. smile

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