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Cold feet on Fionnuala

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or Brenda.

Nuala and Brenda would be pen pals.

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

I'm Irish too.

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

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

I like Tabitha though!

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

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

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


Ah, the dialects excuse.

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

Dún Laoghaire dialect?

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

That's not about dialect.

Unless you mean London dialect.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think Fenella is an anglicised version of Fionnuala.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

loving ottilie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

Fen as nickname for Fionnula?

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

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

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

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

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

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

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