PRONOUCE: “gar + roid”
DESCRIPTION: Means “brave with a spear” or “spear carrier.” The name is associated with Gearoid Fitzgerald, the 3rd Earl of Desmond (1338-98) and leader of the most powerful Norman family in late medieval Ireland. It was believed he had magical powers and is reputed to protect the environment at Lough Gur, where he had a castle in County Limerick. In one story, when a local landowner planned to drain the lake or forbid local people access to it Gearoid made his horse bolt, fatally injuring the landowner. Some even say that he is sleeping at the bottom of Lough Gur, waiting to return to the land of the living.
DESCRIPTION: gleann “valley, glen” and dun “a settlement, fortress” implying “one from the settlement or fortress in the glen.”
DESCRIPTION: Hugh is a translation of an ancient name Aodh meaning “fire.” A name with nationalistic connotations as Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone and Red Hugh O’Donnell, Earl of Tyrconnell together led a rebellion and won some major battles against the forces of the English queen Elizabeth 1st, before being defeated at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601.
PRONOUCE: “ul + an”
DESCRIPTION: “one who worships a different god.” Iollan was the son of the High King Fergus Mac Roth and a champion at the court of King Conchobhar Mac Nessa. When Deirdre and Naoisi eloped to Scotland Iollan went with his father to persuade them to return to Ireland, believing that Conchobhar really had forgiven them. When he returned with them and discovered that all Conchobhar really wanted was revenge he died defending them.
PRONOUCE: “jar + lath”
DESCRIPTION: St. Jarlath (born c. 550 AD) was noted for his piety and his ability as a teacher. In old age he decided to found a monastery where he could end his days. He asked one of his pupils, St. Breandan the Navigator, to drive his chariot east and when the chariot broke a wheel at Tuam in County Galway he took it as a sign that that was where he should end his journey, founding a church that became a great center of learning and art. The name is still popular in this part of Ireland.
DESCRIPTION: Means “gentle child” or “well born.” St. Kevin founded a great monastery at Glendalough in County Wicklow in the seventh century. Noted as a man who wasn’t always comfortable in the company of other human beings, he was very much at home with the animals. One story tells that while Kevin was praying a blackbird came and nested in his hand. He remained at prayer, motionless, until the eggs had hatched. In another story, when he dropped his psalter in a lake an otter came by and retrieved it. The name is still very popular in Ireland.
DESCRIPTION: From laoi “poem” or from the River Lee, the river which runs through County Cork. (See also Finbar.) It is currently popular as a given name for boys.
DESCRIPTION: The Irish form of William, originally a German name will + helm”desire + helmet” and suggests “strong protector.” It is currently a very fashionable name in Ireland and across the world.
PRONOUCE: “lok + lun”
DESCRIPTION: The Vikings plundered Ireland in the 9th and 10th centuries and the native home of the Norwegian invaders was known asLochlan “land of the lochs.” But once they settled and intermarried with the Irish Lochlan became a popular name and was generally given to boys that had fair or red hair – a tribute to their Viking ancestors.
PRONOUCE: “lor + can”
DESCRIPTION: Means “silent” or “fierce” and was probably used as a nickname for a “brave warrior.” Sometimes equated with Laurence, Lorcan is a name in its own right. One Lorcan was the grandfather ofBrian Boru, two kings of Leinster bore the name and St. Lorcan O’Tuathail, better known as St. Laurence O’Toole, was an influential bishop of Dublin and an important mediator between the Norman invaders and the Irish in the twelth century. The name is growing in popularity again in Ireland.
PRONOUCE: “mala + ki”
ENGLISH: Malachy (pron. “mala + kee”)
DESCRIPTION: A name with two sources, St. Malachi (1095-1148 AD) was the Bishop of Armagh who adopted the name from the Hebrew prophet “Malachi” whose name means “my angel” or “messenger of God.” It is also linked to the High King Maoilseachlainn “devotee of St. Sechnall” one of Saint Patrick’s first companions.
PRONOUCE: “mur + tah”
DESCRIPTION: muir “sea” and ceardach “skilled” implying “skilled in the ways of the sea.” The name of three High Kings and one of the greatest Irish military commanders known as “Murtagh of the Leather Cloak,” he set out in mid-winter, wearing leather cloaks against the bitter cold, and turned back the maurauding Vikings. He beat the invaders in a sea battle on Strangford Lough in 926, took and burned Viking Dublin in 939, ravaged the Norse settlements in the Scottish Isles with an Ulster fleet in 801 and died in combat in 803, presumably wearing all his cloaks.
PRONOUCE: “nye + al”
DESCRIPTION: The name could come from “passionate, vehement” or from nel”a cloud.” Niall of the Nine Hostages (read the legend) was a fourth-century king of Tara who gained the throne because of a test – he and his brothers had to enter the forest and find their own food and shelter. As time wore on they grew thirsty and approached a well guarded by a hideously ugly woman. Before she would allow them to have a drink she asked for a kiss. Only Niall agreed and when he had kissed her she was transformed into the most beautiful woman on earth and in turn she granted him sovereignty of Erin.