On Irish Names and their Pronunciation

A stained glass featuring Saint Patrick at a Catholic church in Junction City, Ohio (Photo by Nheyob, CC-BY-SA4.0)

A recent article by Maureen O’Hare published on CNN Travel discusses Irish names and how the English speaking world most likely mispronounces them. The article is comprehensive and, as noted by one ANS member, offers “a fuller presentation than most journalistic articles on the subject”.

On one name, Fiadh, for example, O’Hare shares: “The girl’s name Fiadh (Fee-ah) is perhaps “the biggest Irish name of the 21st century,” says Ó Séaghdha. It was the second most popular girl’s name in Ireland in 2023, after Grace. “In the late 20th century, popular Irish names tended to come from mythology – Deirdre, Niamh, Oisín and Gráinne – but in the 21st century there’s been a shift towards adjectives” and nouns, he says. Fiadh means “grace and wildness” while Rían (Ree-an) – the fourth most popular boy’s name in Ireland last year – means “kingly.””

Read more from Maureen O’Hare over at CNN Travel.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!