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Does anyone have/know an Ailbhe?

(31 Posts)
Shomac Thu 25-Aug-11 05:06:19

We are considering this name for our son. Our other children have Gaelic names too, for family reasons. It's pronounced Al-vey.

Has anyone else known an Ailbhe? Did it prove a tricky name with family and friends? Was it commonly abbreviated to Al? Any feedback welcome - honestly! Thanks

carciofi Thu 25-Aug-11 08:34:57

My cousin is Ailbhe but she is a girl, I have never heard it used for a boy.

eefs Thu 25-Aug-11 08:37:26

Heard it many times but only for a girl, beautiful name though.

Theala Thu 25-Aug-11 09:04:05

My cousin is Ailbhe also, but she's a girl. And we pronounce it Al-va.

A quick google reveals that St. Ailbhe was male though. Huh.

mopsytop Thu 25-Aug-11 09:17:55

Ailbhe is a girl's name! Pronounced Alva. Maybe traditionally male as Theala says but in Ireland only used for girls. Would be the equivalent of calling a boy Sarah or Jane in Ireland. And never abbreviated to Al, as far as I know.

I love the name myself. Are you living in Britain though? I am not going to call my child an Irish name purely because I know so many Irish people who have difficulties in Britain with noone able to spell or pronounce their name.

Shomac Thu 25-Aug-11 09:48:48

Wow! Thanks everyone. I'm astounded shock. Everything we have read indicates it's a boy's name. I appreciate it might cause a boy difficulty on the basis of the feedback above... sad

I am living in England, and apologise on behalf of those who are maybe a bit too lazy to just ask how names are said: that's all it takes! Gaelic names are beautiful and should be out there wink. We've certainly had our dramas with people who didn't agree that Gaelic names were a sensible choice; including my Dad and an (ex) GP who said our eldest's name was difficult in phonetic terms and he'd never be able to spell it. So that was nice.

mopsytop Thu 25-Aug-11 09:56:32

People are always rude about other people's choice of name, for some reason. Think I won't tell anyone the name we choose until the baby is actually here, then they may be less likely to say anything!

Irish names (and Scottish I presume) can be difficult due to different letter combinations for sounds (the -bh-, for example, being pronounced as -v-). I think go ahead and call your child what you want! Everyone else can get over it.

Having said that, so many people I know get so frustrated with people getting their names wrong all the time, e.g. Siobhán being called See-o-ban instead of Shovawn, or Clodagh being pronounced Clo-dag instead of Cloda and you can see why are the spelling really is quite different in Irish. But if you're happy with that, then why not! Are there any other boy names in Irish or Gaelic you've been thinking of?

Maryz Thu 25-Aug-11 10:25:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Shomac Thu 25-Aug-11 10:28:43

So true, mopsytop, I do agree with you - but might worry about taking him back to Ireland some day! It would only be for a visit, but still...

Ailbhe had really grown on me: this time is my husband's choice, so we may go with it anyway. My husband's other fave is Nuada (which always makes me laugh out loud; I can't say it with a straight face, sorry!) and Cahal. I like Dara and Milo.

Has everyone checked out the bad reactions to baby's names thread (or some similar title)? It's hilarious - as most people have managed to get past their initial anguish and stick two fingers up to anyone else's point of view. Which is just how it should be. Made me LOL anyway! wink

Shomac Thu 25-Aug-11 10:31:12

Thanks Maryz. Ailbe maybe a good alternative. The naming books are confusing - probably because they were written in England...confused

mopsytop Thu 25-Aug-11 10:32:59

Oh I really like Cathal. And if it's spelled Cahal, then it won't be mispronounced either. I never heard of Nuada before! How about Ronan? That's an Irish name isn't it? And easy to pronounce.

Haven't looked at the thread, but have had several bad reactions to some names I have suggested so have decided from now on to keep my gob shut! People always know someone of that name they dislike, or else suggest names that I dislike. So it's easier to say nothing I reckon!

mopsytop Thu 25-Aug-11 10:34:09

p.s. Ailbe might be easier to pronounce as well, with the b sound.

Shomac Thu 25-Aug-11 10:44:14

I will think of Ronan Keating, mopsytop! I certainly wouldn't tell any friends about any potential names; I didn't with my previous two (both boys). Don't want to know if they don't like our choice; I don't think it would change our minds anyway, but testing stuff out via mumsnet is great as people so helpful - and knowledgeable. Had no idea about the girl stuff with Ailbhe for instance!

Maryz, I just re-read your post again. Are you a teacher, or did you school in Ireland? If there are any lovely boys names you are willing to share I'd be pleased to hear them. Beginning with A isn't essential, but I'd rather avoid S and C smile

mopsytop Thu 25-Aug-11 10:51:29

Oh didn't think of that re: Ronan Keating. Good point!
How about Séamus, Eoin (or Eoghan), Conor, Cian, Liam, Oisín, Cormac, Cillian, Ciarán
Oh you don't want C names, duh! Sorry, loads of Irish boys names begin with C. Hmm what else ... Eamonn, Barra, Diarmuid, Dónal, Tadhg, Lorcan ... can't think of anymore for the minute.

Maryz Thu 25-Aug-11 10:56:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mopsytop Thu 25-Aug-11 11:04:44

Isn't the name of a sports channel now though, Maryz? I like Dara too. I like all of those names.

Theala Thu 25-Aug-11 11:10:59

Tadhg is the best Irish boy's name. smile

exoticfruits Thu 25-Aug-11 11:16:21

The one that I know is a girl and she pronounces it Al-be.

Shomac Thu 25-Aug-11 11:18:41

Setanta is fantastic! My Dad would laugh, I think!

They are excellent suggestions, but a lot are known to me already in some way. Yes, there is an issue with many of the best beginning with S and C! I'm afraid I have the postman issue going on, and so am trying for different initials (my DH thinks it's sad).

One of my sons is called Cormac, which I just love. I like Oisin (that was on the 'Cormac' list), and the alternative spelling of Daire.

DH's pick really! Will show him this thread later smile

Maryz Thu 25-Aug-11 11:21:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

carciofi Thu 25-Aug-11 11:34:00

What about Senan or Annraoi? Have fun choosing and congrats on your new baby.

PerryCombover Thu 25-Aug-11 11:43:57


is a LUUUUVERY name

HardCheese Thu 25-Aug-11 14:03:19

Irish, and I know two male Ailbhes in their thirties, and no female ones. Both pronouce it roughly as 'AL-va', but with a slightly softer final syllable, more 'AL-vuh'. I really like it.

I adore the name Setanta, and the toothsome S. O'hAilpin has done a lot to revive it. For god's sake, though, any of you considering calling a baby 'Dara' or any of its variants, make people realise it's not pronounced 'DAA-ra' with a long first syllable, just plain 'Dara', with the same short emphasis on both syllables. It drives me nuts when Dara O'Briain introduces himself, and then everyone else on Mock the Week apart from Ed Byrne calls him 'DAA-ra'.

There is also the issue of the Irish initial 'D' sound, though - which is soft and more like the 'th' sound at the beginning of 'though' ...

mopsytop Thu 25-Aug-11 14:09:26

Really HardCheese? That's mad, I'm Irish too and never heard of a male Ailbhe before in my life! You learn something new every day!

The thing that annoys me is pronouncing the surname Moran with the emphasis on the second syllable instead of the first. Grrrrrr.

But I don't think the different phonetic quality of the /d/ is something we can expect British people to know!

elliephant Thu 25-Aug-11 14:30:32

Ailbhe can be a boys name too but is mosre popular as a girls name at present

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