PRONOUCE: “di + re”
DESCRIPTION: daire “fruitful, fertile.” The Brown Bull of Cooley (read the legend) was owned by Daire Mac Fiachna, and his refusal to sell his bull to Queen Maebh was part of the reason for the fight between the provinces of Ulster and Connacht. At present it is a very popular name in Ireland with all four spellings and it is often used as a girl’s name with the spellings Daire and Dara.
Daithi, Dahey , Dahy
PRONOUCE: “dah + hee”
DESCRIPTION: It is an old Irish name meaning “swiftness, nimbleness.” Daithi, the last pagan king of Ireland, ruled from 405 AD to 426 AD, and he had twenty-four sons. Along with Crimhthan the Great (366 A.D.) and Niall of the Nine Hostages (379 A.D.) (read the legend) Daithi led Irish fleets to raid the Roman Empire. He was killed by lightning in the Alps and is buried under a standing stone called “King Daithi’s Stone.” As in all these matters there is debate over where the stone is located, either in County Roscommon or on the Aran Islands, off the coast of County Galway.
PRONOUCE: “dawl + ee” or “dale + ee”
DESCRIPTION: dalach meaning “frequenter of gatherings” and refers, therefore to a “counsellor.” The Irish Parliament is known as the Dail (pron. “doyle”), which means “a gathering.”
Darcy, Darcie , D”Arcy
DESCRIPTION: From the surname O’Dorchaidhe “descendant of the dark one.”
DESCRIPTION: From damh + -in meaning “little deer.”
PRONOUCE: “deck + lan”
DESCRIPTION: From dag “good” and lan “full” suggesting “full of goodness.” St. Declan was the founder of a monastery at Ardmore in County Waterford and may have preached in Ireland before the arrival of St. Patrick. Many miracles are attributed to a rock on the beach at Ardmore known as St. Declan’s Stone. According to legend, on a trip back from Wales one of his disciples, Runanus, forgot Declan’s sacred bell. But a prayer from Declan and, miraculously, the stone carried the bell over the waves back to Waterford.
DESCRIPTION: “like an oak.” It is often used as a short version of Derek and Dermot but can be a name in its own right. The city of Derry in Northern Ireland comes from Doire Colmcille, the name of a 6th century monastery.
DESCRIPTION: Meaning “one from Desmond,” Desmond being an area of South Munster, one of the four provinces of Ireland. Popular diminutives are Des and Dessie.
PRONOUCE: “deer + mid”
DESCRIPTION: “without enemy.” The name of early kings, legendary heroes and saints, Diarmuid was the lover of Grainne and the most beloved of that warrior band, the Fianna (read the legend). Grainne, as the daughter of Cormac Mac Airt, the High King of Tara, was betrothed to a much older man, the legendary Fionn Mac Cool (read the legend). When Grainne saw Fionn at the wedding banquet she realised he “was not for her” and put a a “geis,” a spell, on his nephew, Diarmuid, to run away with her. For sixteen years the lovers were forced to roam the countryside, all the time knowing that they were being constantly pursued by the furious Fionn. Each night they made a fresh bed in a sheltered spot and legend has it that these beds can still be seen today in many remote places. (Read the legend of Diarmuid and Grainne).
DESCRIPTION: From dealan “a flash of lightning” or it may come from an Irish word for “faithful, loyal.” A common surname it is the Irish form of the Welsh name “Dylan.” As Dylan it was the tenth most popular name for Irish baby boys in Ireland for 2003.
DESCRIPTION: domhan “world” and all “mighty” implying “ruler of the world.” “Donal Og” (“Young Donal”) is the title of a fifteenth-century love song that is still popular among Irish traditional musicians and singers.
PRONOUCE: “done + acka”
ENGLISH: Donagh (pron. “done + a”)
DESCRIPTION: donn “brown” and cath “battle” meaning “brown-haired warrior.” Brian Boru’s (read the legend) son Donncha was a High King of Ireland until his death in 1064.
PRONOUCE: “dove + lin”
DESCRIPTION: From dubh “black” and lan “blade, sword” means “black sword.” Dubhlainn loved the fairy queen and legendary harpist Aoibhell who gave him her cloak of invisibility to wear in battle.
PRONOUCE: “aim + an”
DESCRIPTION: Is the Irish form of Old English ead “rich” + mund “guardian”, and implies “guardian of the riches.” In more recent times the name has been given to honor Eamon De Valera who was President of Ireland for 14 years, the maximum allowed, from 1959 to 1973.
PRONOUCE: “air + nin”
DESCRIPTION: Meaning “iron.” The name is often linked with Ernest, a Germanic word meaning “vigor.” The name of sixteen Irish saints, St. Eirnin is the patron saint of Tory, an island off the coast of County Donegal.
DESCRIPTION: The name is given to boys as a mark of respect to the great Irish orator and patriot Robert Emmet who was a leader of the unsuccessful 1798 rebellion against the British. He was captured on August 25, 1803 and tried for high treason and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. When asked if he had any thing to say in response to this sentence Emmet gave what is considered to be one of the most moving speeches of the period: “…When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written. I have done.”
DESCRIPTION: ean meaning “bird” and suggests “birdlike” or “freedom of spirit.” A soldier and a prince Enda was converted by his sister, Saint Fanchea. He renounced his dreams of conquest and decided to marry one of the girls in his sister’s convent. When his financé died suddenly the night before their wedding, he surrendered his throne and a life of worldly glory to become a monk. He made a pilgrimage to Rome and was ordained there before returning to establish ten monasteries on the Aran Islands, off the west coast of Ireland. The name is used for boys and girls.
DESCRIPTION: Comes from inis “island.” Ennis, a town in County Clare is situated on an island between two streams of the River Fergus.
PRONOUCE: “o + in”
DESCRIPTION: Comes from an old Irish word and means “born of the yew tree.” In Northern Ireland the name Eoghan is found in Tir Eoghan, County Tyrone or “The Land of Eoghan” and is often accompanied by Roe in memory of the Irish patriot Eoghan Roe (“Red Eoghan”) O”Neill who won a great battle over the British at Benburb in 1646.
PRONOUCE: “fwail + awn”
DESCRIPTION: Comes from the word faol “wolf.” The earliest record of the name seems to be for a follower of the warrior Fionn Mac Cool (read the legend) who was so loyal that he would have rescued Fionn from captivity, even from God himself.
PRONOUCE: “fail + im”
DESCRIPTION: feidhil “beauty” or “ever good.” Three kings of Munster bore the name. Feidhelm Mac Crimthainn was both a king of Munster and a Bishop of Cashel. He contested the sovereignty of Ireland with the O’Neill kings. He was unsuccessful in the ensuing battle and in 842 AD the annals record… “The crosier of devout Feidhelm was abandoned in the blackthorns. Neill, mighty in combat, took it by right of victory.”
DESCRIPTION: Comes from fear + Dia “man of God.” Ferdia battled with his friend and foster-brother Cuchulainn (read the legend) in the battle over the Brown Bull of Cooley (read the legend). They fought for four days, each night sending each other food and sweet herbs as medicines for the wounds they had inflicted on each other during the day. They fought so bitterly that the river itself fled its bed in terror to give them room for their warfare. And each morning they resumed fighting until, on the fourth day, Cuchulainn flew into a rage and let loose his magical spear, the dreaded Gae Bolga, which destroyed his friend Ferdia.
PRONOUCE: “fer + gull”
DESCRIPTION: It seems to come from fearghal “brave, courageous, valorous.” Fergal Mac Maolduin was an eighth-century High King renowned for his efforts in battle.
PRONOUCE: “fer + guss”
DESCRIPTION: Derived from fear “man” and gus “strength” and signifies “a strong warrior, virile.” According to the legend of the Cattle Raid of Cooley (read the legend) Fergus was the king of Ulster and his lover, the cunning Nessa, duped him into letting her son Conchobhar rule in his place for a year so that in years to come her son could be called “the son of a king.” Fergus consented but after the year Conchobhar refused to relinquish the throne and so Fergus joined Maebh in her battle against Ulster, his native province.
DESCRIPTION: Meaning “fair-haired,” the name has been popular since the sixth century when St. Finbar came to an area of Cork that was being tormented by a serpent. The people begged him to do something to help them. One night he went to where the serpent was sleeping and sprinkled it with holy water. The angry serpent tore and devoured the land until she slithered into the sea at Cork Harbor. The track she left behind filled with water and became the River Lee and that’s why St. Finbar is the patron saint of Cork. It is said that the sun didn’t set for two weeks after Finbar’s death.
DESCRIPTION: “fair-haired” or could mean “white fire.” There have been seventy four saints with this name, including St. Fintan of Clonenagh in County Laois (c. 600 AD) who lived the life of a hermit on a diet of bread and water. Before he established his monastery Fintan sought the advice of his mentor St. Colmcille. When Colmcille looked out from the mountain, Slieve Bloom, over the wood-covered foothills to the south-east, he saw the angels of God coming and going over Clonenagh and he told Fintan that this was to be the place of his monastery. In mythology, Fintan is said to have been the only Irishman to have survived the Biblical flood.
DESCRIPTION: Means “fair-headed.” Fionn Mac Cool (read the legend), a central character in Irish folklore and mythology lead the warrior band, the Fianna (read the legend). Fionn was not only incredibly strong but he was also extremely brave, handsome, generous and wise, a wisdom he aquired by touching the “Salmon of Knowledge” (read the legend) and then sucking his thumb. The name is popular in Ireland with both spellings Fionn and Finn.