I've a bit of a nerdy interest in names. Personally I use the Irish version of my name officially and in all circumstances because of my interest in names, history and Gaeilge. But here's the snag, my Irish would be quite basic. I am learning but not that often and i am fine with that, I have the cúpla focal and am delighted.

But my question is, does anyone know of anyone else using their Irish name with non-fluent Irish?

The reason I ask is because I feel like an oddball when people presume (hardly a great leap) that I have fluent Irish when they see or hear my name.

P. Breathnach Registered User

My "Irish name" is my only name, right back to my Birth Certificate. I have never been known by any English version, and simply do not identify with one.

The fact that I have reasonable Irish is largely coincidence, as my parents didn't make a big deal of equipping me with the language. That was down to school and holidays in the Gaeltacht. It doesn't seem to me that many people assume that I have fluent Irish.


I wouldnt see any problem with it whatsoever, I'm learning myself and love being referred to as mairtin in class, but outside of it my friends have known me as Martin that long that it just wouldnt catch on.
Sure arent they always saying 'use what you have" or "broken irish is better than clever English."

An gal gréine Registered User

muineachan said:

But my question is, does anyone know of anyone else using their Irish name with non-fluent Irish?

Some civil servants use the Irish form of their name as they feel it helps their promotion prospects even though they dont speak Irish. Another area is in big companies where you might have employed several Mary Murphys/Paddy Doyles etc and to save confusion along with avoiding the havoc of mixed-up pay-packets some will use the Irish form of their name even though they have little Irish!


Thanks for all the message seems there is a positive attitude out there!! I suppose another twist on my part is I spent most of my youth in England and have more of an English accent than Dublin (though Brits dont think its an English accent people in Ireland would say it is!) so i guess that adds to the shock factor when people hear my name and hear my accent AND my Irish is far less than fluent.

Anyway go raibh maith agaibh for the replies its made me feel a lot more confident about it!

Gael Registered User

I've met a few people who have Irish-language surnames, but who don't speak the language with any real competence (or at all). I've never examined it in detail, but I get the impression that some of them are decendents of earlier 20th century language revivalists who gaelicised their names, but that the enthusiasm for the language waned through the generations (children often don't hold the same passions as their parents), though the name was still maintained. That's just my personal theory though.

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