What One American City Girl Did for Love

Dingle Dooks Spiddle Cong!

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2009 at 3:12 pm

The Irish have a way with names. Names of people, places, things. This is one big observation I have made which always makes me grin and wonder what I will stumble upon next…

This topic comes to mind as yesterday I was called over to the home farmhouse to have tea and visit with a cousin of Richard’s, Maire (pronounced MYRA) and her gorgeous 2 year old daughter, Caoimhe, pronounced “QWEEVA”.  Ok what?!!! Qweeva?! I remember when Maire first had Caoimhe, I always imagined that her name would be pronounced like “CAMEY” and when I heard it spoken for the first time I was shocked.  I adore the name, but am still completely puzzled over how C-a-o-i-m-h-e becomes Q-W-E-E-V-A. When we were choosing a name for Geoffrey we looked into a lot of Irish names and almost decided on Tristan, but chose Geoffrey in the end which was also my late brother’s name. In our search, we came across and had suggestions of several popular Irish boys names, namely Roisin (ROSHEEN), Tadgh (TYGE), Ruari (RORY), Seamus (SHAME-US), Eamonn (AMON), Diarmuid (DY-EAR-MID), Donncha (DONNIKA), Donagh (DOE-NA). I never knew the Irish language was so complex. The spellings and pronunciations are difficult at best.  It’s quite impressive really, but I had to name my little boy something that I could say easily and never forget how to spell. Call me simple, but it’s true.

Then, of course, we have the illustrious town names. Knicker. Cong. Cloontyprucklish, Nobber. Kill. Dingle. Dooks. Hospital. Kilmacow. Kilmacat. Ringaskiddy. Tang. Granny. And lest I forget, Newtownpothouse.  I will always remember the time that my American friend, Sonia, was visiting and we went to a cocktail party whereby a group of women were discussing going to Dooks for the weekend.  She said, “Now where is Dooks?” and they replied “Right near Dingle”. Needless to say, she nearly wet herself with laughter.  And I realized that all of these names were becoming so commonplace to me that I would have thought nothing of it had she not found the humor in it.

I look forward to writing more on this topic, but for now I must run—I have to bake a tart and collect my son from the crèche. (i.e. pie and playschool)



  1. Imen, I think I’m really going to enjoy this blog! May be a book in your future?
    Thanks for sharing ~ I can’t wait to read more.

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