Thursday 20 May 2021

Names of Irish Saints

  I recently ended a series on Irish saints' names published in the Australian press in 1914, links to which can be found here. There is another example below, this time from 1918, where a selection of 'euphonious names of Irish saints which one hardly ever hears' are brought to the attention of prospective parents. A sense of regret that traditional names were falling into disuse was often expressed during the Irish national revival and immigrants in particular were encouraged to do their patriotic duty by bestowing historic saints' names on their offspring.  How realistic it was to expect people already facing the challenges of the immigrant experience to assume the responsibility for reviving archaic names, no matter how euphonious, is another question.

Names of Irish Saints.
His Eminence Cardinal O' Connell, Archbishop of Boston (U.S.A.), on a recent occasion said that the Irish people are returning to the laudable practice of giving the beautiful names of Patrick and Brigid in baptism to their children, and he cited several instances from his own experiences where even converts to the Faith gave their children the names of the Apostle and Patroness of Ireland. Apropos of this movement, we append a few other euphonious names of Irish saints which one hardly ever hears:
For women— Adine, Avine, Eileen, Naala, Orla, Reinalt, Saiv, Una, Ita, Colma, Ethne, Faela, Aglen, Macha, Melle, Brona, Lassair, Laurenn, Eina, Richelle, Aniltine, Feidela. 
For men — Albenan, Alvan, Cathal, Cahal, Cahir, Finn, Bran, Colman, Connell, Conor, Dermot, Donal, Flann, Nial, Rury, Art, Frill, Fridolin, Conan, Ultan, Angus, Kiran, Meil, Sheirl, Fintan, Bevin, Oran, Slevin, Gilnary, Gilchrist, Gilbride, Senan, Falry, Cuthbert, Caerlan, Fergus, Oisin, Brendan, Erc, Bron, Columbkille, Carroll, Lon, Rumould, Melmary, Kevil, Kilian, Cormac, Blan, Felimy, Loard, Danouhgh, Rial, Fergal, Gornan, Lonan, Lurcan, Siris, Oilan, Aleran.  


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Finola Finlay said...

I’m actually surprised at how many of these names are in use now. But it will probably be a while yet before Frill catches on as a boy’s name.

Marcella said...

Yes, some are quite mainstream, like Brendan, Conor etc. but like you I couldn't quite see an Irish immigrant docker in Boston called Frill !

Anonymous said...

I have looked all over the internet and can not find a saint Orla. Do you know of one? She must exist otherwise the bishop wouldn't have included the name on the list.

Marcella said...

That's a good question. I haven't come across a Saint Orla but it took me ages to track down a Saint Medbh/Maeve. Surprising really that these very old names aren't better-represented among the Irish saints.