The Revival of Irish Names

From The Irish Fireside Volume 6, Number 133, January 2, 1886

We publish to-day the first of the lists of Irish baptismal names sent us in response to the offer of a prize of three guineas which appeared in the Fireside some time ago. When we started the project, we had no idea that it would have been taken up with anything like the positive enthusiasm which it elicited. The enormous number of lists forwarded, the numerous letters which reached us from time to time regarding the proposed revival, and the extraordinary amount of attention attracted by the movement generally, all convinced us that it only needed a little aid from the Irish people to insure its success. For this aid we look confidently, not alone amongst our own people at home, but to wherever an Irishman has made his home.

The committee of Irish scholars who were kind enough to take charge of the various lists for consideration, had no idea of the enormity of the work it entailed until they were fairly face to face with the task. Had it been otherwise the publication of the lists would have been carried out long since. In selecting the list compiled by Mr. Fahy as that most deserving of the prize, the judges felt somewhat embarrassed by the large number of those whose lists ran very closely to his. Some of them, in fact, were even longer than that prepared by Mr. Fahy, but euphony and adaptability to modern tastes being considered, they had to be placed lower down in the list of competitors They have thought it only just to offer a special word of commendation to Mr. J. Rogers, of London; Mr. Dermod O'Meagher, of Dublin; Mr. J. H. Lloyd, of Dublin; and Mr. Hugh O'Donnell, of Leixlip.

We shall publish in our next two, or, if necessary three issues, further lists containing any euphonious names supplied by the other competitors and omitted by Mr. Fahy.

We wish also to direct the attention of our readers to the second competition, of which particulars will be found in the last page of this issue.

THE PRIZE LIST OF IRISH BAPTISMAL NAMES, COMPILED ON BEHALF OF THE SOUTHWARK LITERARY CLUB

BY

F. A. FAHY, VICE-PRESIDENT.

COMPILER'S INTRODUCTION.

The subject, which has been taken up by the Fireside, is a highly interesting one, embracing as it does the consideration of the origin and meaning of the names most in use by our Pagan and Christian forefathers, of the enforcement of family names by King Brian Boriohme, and the selection from the multitude of ancient names of those which were handed down as Christian patronymics. A highly enjoyable paper might be written on the subject showing how the Irish, like other nations, exhibit the characteristics of their race in their choice of names.

I, however, confine myself to a few remarks on the list I forward. My principal authorities were as follows:—

(1) The Four Masters
(2) Various Irish histories, MacGeoghegan's, &c, drawn from that source.
(3) Several Genealogical Translations by O'Donovan.
(4) A Valuable Essay on Irish Names, by O'Donovan, prefaced to his "Topographical Poems of O'Hearin."
(5) Curious Collections in O'Hart's "Pedigrees" and "Landed Gentry when Cromwell came to Ireland."
(6) Notes made at various times from Taylor, Joyce, &c.

A host of names have been omitted--(1) Those of which only few instances occurred; (2) those which were unharmonious in sound or low in meaning; (3) a number of names commencing with "cu" (a hound or warrior), Giolla (a servant), Maol (a follower); (4) and a number of names of saints, euphonious enough, but which did not appear to have been adopted as Christian names. I might remark that a large proportion of formidable looking Pagan names might be easily made suitable by the softening of the guttural "h".

The meanings of names, instances of their use where rare, the various forms they have assumed, and the curious corruptions made in them, are shown where clearly ascertained; and the pronunciation is given where the spelling of the name does not sufficiently indicate it.

Norman names, such as Gerald, Redmond, &c., where given are so indicated, and are not meant to be included, excepting for reference.

Several old baptismal names have been omitted, for minor reasons, such as their prevalence at present as surnames (such as Kelly, Mullony, Dea), or their likelihood of being confounded with English words of similar sound, e.g. Coon (Cunn).

I have but few remarks to make on the best method of reviving and perpetuating these old Celtic names. The revival of the Irish as a spoken language would perhaps do more in that direction than all other means together, as it would reveal to everybody the intrinsic beauty of those names. Among the possible things might be attempted--

(1) The restoration to their original Celtic form of such abortions as Jeremiah, Darby, Barney, Dionysius, Cornelius, Luke, Panastasia, &c.

(2) The adoption of a second and Celtic name at confirmation period by the youth of both sexes.

(3) The aid of the clergy of all denominations in giving at baptism Celtic names, instead of as at present, giving a Latin form to Celtic names, e.g. Lucius, Constantine.

FEMALE NAMES
A Origin/Meaning Pronunciation
Abban Abban or Obban
Aileen (Eibhlin), angl. Ellen, Helen, etc., Eveleen Eye-leen
Aine (--joy), angl. Anne or Anna, Hannah, Anastasia (joy), angl. Anne or Anna, Hannah, Anastasia Ann-ya
Alba }(all-binn--very melodius) Alba
Albin
Alma (all-maibh--all good)
Allin (Aluinn--beautifully) Aw-linn
Alphin, Alfin (all-fionn--(very fair) Awl-finn
Amory (O'Hart, p.127) Amory O'Brien
Avice (Do. p.147) Avice O'Hurley
Aoibhin }(pleasure, O'Donovan) Eeven
Evin
Arrah
Aoife }pleasant Eefa
Eva
Ailne beauty, joy Awl-nye
Ailphe Alva
B
Borba proud
Berva
Baine Bon-ye
Banntigh angl. Binnery, house-wife b n found in Galway Ban-tee
Befinn fair being, angl. Vevina Bay-feen
Barduv black haired (barr-dubh)
Blanid blosom bright (blath-naidh) Blaw-nidh
Brigh, Bree vigour Bree, Breedh
Brigid }fiery dart
Bride
Buana Boona
Benmee (Bean-midhe), woman of Meath, very common
Benmoon (Bean-mumhain), woman of Munster, very common
Blaob, Blaw (blosom) Blaw
Banba one of the names of Ireland
Breaca a saint Brakka
C
Carinna
Cloara
Ceara, Cara ruddy Kara
Cula (Cobflaith, victory) Kuvla
Crea, creidh
Clothfionn (fair fame) Cloafin
D
Darinna (dearbh-fionn), truly fair
Devnet, Damhnait corrupted into Dymphna
Derval
Deirdre, alaom Derd-rye
Dil fond D-yeel
Dudeasa, Dubdeas dark-haired beauty Dhoodhos
Duvessa Dub-essa, dark-haired nurse Dhuvessa
Duinseach brown-haired Dhoon-shagh
Dunla Dhoonia
Dervorghil purely fair daughter Dhervuril
Dianiv, Dianimh Dheeniv
Dervnin Dhervneen
E
Edina }
Edaoin
Eithne, Inny, Ethna, Enna Ethne or Enna
Elana Ellana
Eibhlin or Aileen  changed into Eveleen, Ellen, Helen, etc Eye-leen
Elbrigh, Elbry Elbree
Eiver, Emeria Ever
Eri Err-ee
Essa a nurse
Eany, Eugenia feminine form of Eoghan Oan-ee
Eva see Aoife
Einen little bird Ayn-een
Eevin see Aoibhin
Etta, Eitche
F
Fanchea
Feidhlime }ever good, feminine form
of Thelim
Faylim-mee
Fhelemy
Finbil white blosom
Findelva, Fionn dealbh fair of countenance
Finnavar }Fionn-abair, of the fair
eyebrown
Finnore
Finnore
Finora
Finni comely Finny
Finnsco fionn-scot, fair flower Finnsku
Finnda fionn-dath, fair colour Finndha
Fal faithful, generous Feeal
Foala, Fodhla Fodhla, and ancient name for Ireland Foala
Foal, Finnal, Finola, Nuala fair shouldered, angl. Penelope Finoola
Flanna ruddy
Fincara (Fianchaire)
G
Gelges (swan-white--O'D) Gell-gesh
Glorvina fair-voiced Gloar-veena
Graine love, angl. Grace Grawn-ya
Gyllis Giolla Iosa, servant of Jesus Gill-ish
Glaniua (clear-spoken--Joyce)
H
Honor, Nora, Honora, Omy, Winny
I
Ineen, Inghin daughter Innein
Ida, Ita (thirst--Latin)
L
Lasreena
Lann
Lassair flame Loss-er
Leeran, Lerthan L-arn
Liathan (grey-eyed--O'D) Lee-an
Ligach (pearly--O'D) Leegach
M
Maev, Mauve }Medheibh--mirthful, corrupted into Mabel, Maude, Martha
Mave
Macha from maith, good Moho
Merva
Mella
Moncha (L-monica), Muncha, Munchin Monagha
Mor, Mora great, a very common name, corrupted into Martha, Mary
Moyne }see O'Hara's L. Gentry, p. 342 Mawnya
Maine
Murgel muir-geal--fair one of the sea, or fair as the sea
Murrin, Murne long-haired
Moya Moyya
Maoin wealth Mween
N
Neev, Niamh effulgence Neeve
Narra (naire, bashful)
Nessa
Nuala Noola
Norna
Nora (see Honor)
Naesi Nayshei
Nano (Irish, or for Anne)
O
Oileana, ex Oileana O'Brien (see O'Hart's L. G.) Ill-yaana
Onny, Una, or Nora
Orla Orrhlaith (golden-haired lady--O'D) Ur-la
R
Ranalt fem. of Randal (O'D and O'H)
Ronat fem. of Ronan (O'D) Roa-nath
Ros, Rose (rosa) Roass
S
Saev, Sive (Sadhbh, corrupted into Sabina, Sidby--O'D) Soyr, Saer
Saraidh (excellent--O'D--corrupted into Sarah)
Shella, Shalla (Sealbhlaith--lady of possessions--corrupted into Sally)
Selma fair
Sighle (Fairylike) Sheela, corrupted into Celia, Julia, Judith, Cecily
Sioda, Sheeda silken-haired Sheedha
Slaine health, very common Slawn-ya
Sheema (Simait) good, tranquility--O'D Sheema
Sodhelva (so-Qealbha)--of the good aspect (O'D) Soelva
Sodomina good lady (O'D) So-oana
Scota an ancient name of Eire Skoata
Sorroghy (Sorcha--clear, bright), corrupted into Sarah, Sally Surr-ughee
Sheevan ?Irish, or equivalent for Jane
T
Tindi sensitive Tinndy
Tressi strength, corrupted into Theresa Treey
Thuala tuathal-haith, noble lady Thola
U
Una (famine) corrupted into Honny, Winny, etc. Oona
Uailse proud (O'D) Oolshe
Uaisli gentle born (O'D) O'Hara, p.364 Ooshle
Uallach, Ualla proud (O'D) Oola
V
Vevina befronna--fair being

MALE NAMES
A Origin/Meaning Pronunciation
Achy, Atty, Ecca (Eachaidh--horseman)
Adhna, Ana ex-Adhna--Chief Poet, first century Ahna
Aedan a saint, common baptismal name (root, aedh) Ay-dan
Aedh }(Aodh--fire) very common Eve
Aodh
Aengus }(a great strength) popular in Scotland, corrupted into Eneas, Ennis, etc
Angus
Ailill ex Ailill, husband of Maebh; nname of several saints Ali
Ainle e.g. Pagan King Anla or Aynla
Ainin Aneen or Ayneen
Ailbe e.g. a noted saint Alba or Aylba
Albin }(most melodious) a saint
Alpin
Alt, Altan high
Anluan (great hero) a quo O'Hanlon
Ainmir, Anmire
Annay, Annadh ex Annay O'Reilly
Ardan very noble
Art (noble), very common, e.g. Art M'Murrough, angl. Arthur
Artane (very noble), ex Artane O'Reilly
Ardell ex Ardell M'Mahon
Atin
Awley, Auliff Awly O'Sullivan, angl. Humphrey
Avrey Hugh Avry O'Neill, 14th century
B
Banan (White) (O'Donovan) Bawnan
Becan (little) (O'Donovan) Bechan
Beon (lively) (O'Donovan)
Barry (looking straight at a mark, Taylor, Irish--Berach)
Benin a noted saint
Blathmac (blooming youth) (O'Donovan) Blaw-mac
Bran raven
Branduff black raven
Braon, Breine drop Brain
Boyle
Brasil, Breasail
Brendan a noted saint (Brandun, brown raven)
Brian, Bryan (great strength) corrupted into Bernard
Brocan (badger) (O'Donovan)
Breas (a prince)
C
Cairbre, Carbra (--ruler of a chariot) Karbra
Carbury
Cainneach }head chief, angl. Canice, Kenny
Kenny
Caoilte, Kylta Keelta
Caol (--slender) "Caol O'Cowan" Kail
Cahal, Cahill (Cathal, warlike), angl. Charles Kahall
Cahir (Cathir, great warrior) Kahir
Calva(ch)
Carroll (Cearbhaill)
Ceallach, Ceallachan (strife) Latinised Celsus Kallagh
Caomhin }(Taoimhin, gentle born) Kevin
Kevin
Cimbaobh ex Cimbaoth, a pagan King Kimbay
Ciaran }(from `Ciar,' a coal) zealous Kieran
Kerin
Cian, Kian (head) angl. Keen, King Keen
Cisby O'Hart's Landed Gentry, p.437, p.364 Kisby
Colm (Colm, a dove) Kahum
Colga, Colla see O'Hart, p.320 Kalla
Conn (wisdom or from `cu', a hound, a warrior--impr. Latinised Quintus
Connor }helping warrior--impr. Latinised Cornelius, Constantine
Crohoore
Conary
Conan one of the followers of Finn M'Cool
Congal
Connell friendship
Conla
Cormac boy
Corc, Corcan
Coovey, Covey, Cooey (cu-mhaighe, dog of the plain) impr. Latinised Quintin
Cronin
Cullen (Cuchullin) visitor warrior
Culne }Cu-uladh
Cuala
Cool
Cuan hound, warrior
Cosney
Crom
D
Dalton
Diarmaid }(`god of arms' or `freeman') vulg. Darby, Jeremiah(!) D-yeer-madh
Dermot
Dallan Dhollan
Dathi (agile) vulg. David Dha-hee
Davin, Devin
Daire, Dara Dhar-ya
Deargan (red) (O'Donovan) Dhargan
Donat Dhunath
Donchadh (brown warrior) vulg. Donogh, Denis, Dionysius(!), Donald Dhunn-agh
Donn brown
Domhnall (world-ruler) vulg. Donnell Dhoanall
Donae
Deagh (good) D-ya
E
Eneas, Aongus
Evin Evin or Eevin
Erard examples--a saint and a poet
Evir, Eibhear miswritten Heber Evir
Eremon }miswritten Heremon Erevon
Eirvin
Ersevan
Errill
Egar
Eochy, Ecca see "Achy"
Erc
Eoghan (youthful warrior) vulg. Owen, Eugene Ow-an
Elim Eelim
Enna
Ennis, Aongus
Eilbe Elba
Ernagh
Ernan
F
Fachtna (just, upright) Fachny, a great O'Farroll name
Failbe, Falvey Falva(ey)
Felim (great goodness) vulg. Phelim, Felix
Feargus (a strong warrior)
Fearfasa (a man of knowledge), b, name of one of the Four Masters Farfasa
Faragh
Fearan (manly) saint Farran
Finn, Fionn (fionn--fair) Finn
Fingal fair stranger
Finneen (fionnghin--fair born) vulg. Florence
Fintan a noted saint
Fiach, Fiachy (a hunter) Fee-ogh
Fiachra (an eagle) Feek-ra
Finbar a saint
Flann (ruddy)
Feichin Fekn
Fermac
Fergor (manly voice) Ferghoir
Fithil Fihil
Firbis
Ferdana (strong man)
Fial (generous, faithful) Fee-al
Felan, Faolan Faylan
G
Gerald }this is not Celtic, but Norman
Garrett
Garva (from garth, rough)
Gall Gawl
Gavan
Gill, Giolla servant, disciple. With Giolla as postfix occur a multitude of baptismal names, as Gillpatrick, Gillbride, Gillmhil, Gillchrist, Gillissa, Gillespie, Gillduff, Gillglass
Glaisin green, (O'Donovan) Glasheen
Glasney, Glisnea O'Hart, p. 149, 297
Guaire (excellent, noble) Goor-ye
Geanan (great affection) Gannon
Globy ex Globy O'Boyle, Aboot, hanged 1580
H
Hugh see Aodh
Heber see Eibear
Hereman see Eremon
Hussey ex Hussey Burgh
I & J
Iarlath (a saint, Jarlath, A.D. 481) Yarlath
Iber
Irane (ex Irane O'Donogh)
Iriel ex Iriel O'Farrell, very common
Irvin
Ivar
Inna
Ihbrec (Joyce)
Jldana (all strong) Illdhauna
Justin (a literal translation of "Saer-brethnac," a common baptismal name among the M'Carthys
K
Kane }a great O'Hara name from Cean
Keane
Kedagh Kay-dagh
Kellagh
Kenyon
Kevin see "C"
Kenny see "C"
Kilian, Killen
Kieran (Ciaran)
L
Lachtna green (see "O'Donovan")
Lian, Liathan (gray) O'Donovan Lee-an
Lir }sea--Lear M'Swiney
Lear
Logan
Lochlan
Lorcan }Anglicised Lawrence, as St. Lawrence O'Toole Lurchan
Larry
Lugaidh Anglicised Louis, Lucius, Luke Looey
Lysaght, Lysach (Laoiseach), a common name among the O'Mores
Loarn
Lonan Pagan "first" names
Lynan do.
Lothra do. Loara
Lara (Lathra) La-ra
Loman noted saint
Liban
Luath (swift) Joyce
M
Maol (follower), also prefixed to names of saints, etc. Mail
Marcus (a horseman)
Manus (great)
Mhaghlin M'lachlin
Mahon anglicised "Matthew" Mahun
Myler
Maidoc }(beneficient), a well-known saint; corrupted into Moses
Mogue
Macon ex Macon M'Namara, O'Hart, L. G, p.368 Makkun
Maine
Maomora (proud, noble, majestic) a favourite among b.n. among the O'Reillys Mailmorye
Maolcolm }follower of Columba, common in Scotland
Malcolm
Mil, Miles }
Milesius
Managh }ex Monagh O'Carroll Monogh
Monagh
Moran (very great)
Molaise }Maol-Iosa (servant of Jesus) Maleese
Malise
Murchadh {(Murchadh--sea protector), corr'd. Maurice, Morris Mur-ra-ha
Morogh
Molua, Milo Molloo
Melcher
Milsher
Molsher
N
Niall } N-yeel
Neal
Neart Narth
Nualan Noolan
Naghten Nawtan
O
Odhran a saint, etc. O-ran
Oisin the noted Fenian bard Usheen or Isheen
Oscar (bounding warrior) Uskar
Orgiall a name among the O'Reillys Ur-eel
Olla Ulla
Oltan a saint Ull-than
Oiloll ex Oiloll O'Byrne Illihl Ullil
Owen see Eoghan
P
Phelim
Patrick (is Latin, Patricius--noble)
Pierce, Petrus
R
Ralph is Norman
Randall }
Rannall
Redmond is Norman
Ronan (sea-calf, seal) Roa-nan
Ruadri (Ruadhrigh, red or valiant king) corrupted into Roger, Roderick
Rory
Ruan a saint Rooan
S
Senan
Standish is an English corruption of Aneslis (O'Donovan)
Sharry }ex Shearon M'Gibbon, O'Hart p.632 (Geffrey) Shar-run
Shearon
Sherrone
Suibhne Seevna, Sweena
Shiel
Sheelan
Sielan
Siorne Latin--Longoevus Sheerna
T
Tadg corrupted into Thaddeus, Thady Theigue
Tarragh for ex see O'Hart, p.631
Tailteach Tholl-thogh
Tiernan (Tighearnan, lordly) ex Tiernan O'Rourke Theer-non
Thomhas (Thomas) (weight)
Tomaltach (Thomas) (hospitable)
Tuathal (Toole), from tuath--territory
Turlough (Toirdealbac--tower-like), Angl. Terence, Terry Thur-logh
Tibot (Norman--Theobald, Toby)
Thallach (Taichleach), ex Thallach O'Boyle, A. D. 1281
U
Uisneach Ush-nogh
Ualarg (Ualgarg--fierce warrior) a great name among the O'Rourkes Ool-org
Uaithne (Oona--green), O'Donovan, ex Uaithne O'Loughlin, O'Hart, p.117 Oona
Ulick great name of the Burkes You-lick
Uriell (ex Uriell O'Farrell) Oor-yell

See also Celtic Surnames

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