Irish name of the week: Siobhán

Our Irish name of the week is Siobhán. Read on for the history of the name, different pronunciations and spellings, facts, and celebrities sharing the Irish name Siobhán.

Siobhán is a quintessential Irish name. It’s also a name that can prove to be a mouthful to pronounce for people who aren’t from the Emerald Isle (and even for some of us from here). 

If it’s your name, we’ll go out on a limb and say you’ve probably had to correct a few people on how it’s said many times before. 

You’ve also probably had difficulty locating a fridge magnet with your name on it. 

But that’s okay. This article is a Siobhán-safe zone. We’ll give you all the details on what makes up this classic Irish name, from history to meaning to, of course, pronunciation. 

Pronunciation – a tongue twister

The Irish name Siobhán is a difficult one to pronounce.

It’s okay if you are Irish and don’t know how to say certain native names. It’d be wrong for us to say that we get them right every time because we don’t – and this name is no exception. 

For anyone wondering, no, it’s not pronounced Sib-e-on or Si-o-ban. 

It’s pronounced like Shiv-awn. Shiv. Awn. 

There you have it, excellent work. 

Different variations of the name – a versatile Irish name

There are a few variations of the name.

We know, we know, you just got used to saying it correctly and now we’re throwing alternatives into the mix. 

But don’t worry, pronouncing an Irish name is like learning to ride a bike: once you’ve learned, you’ll never forget. 

From searching around, we have found these different ways to spell the name Siobhán:

Chevonne, Shaevon, and Shivaun. The good things about these variations are that they’re probably much easier to pronounce for people unfamiliar with the name. 

Fun fact – more variations

A fun fact about the Irish name Siobhán.

Did you know that the male version of Siobhán is Sean? And that Siobhán is the Irish variation of “Joan”?

Meaning and history – where the name came from

Where did the Irish name Siobhán come from.
Credit: / @stempow

We found two different meanings for the name Siobhán, but they both more or less mean the same thing.

The first meaning states that Siobhán means “God’s grace”, and the second, “The Lord is gracious”, so this would be perfect for anyone wanting to give their daughter a religious name.

It was also the name of several of the early Celtic queens.

Apparently, Siobhán was first introduced to the American public on a grand scale due to the success of the actress Siobhán McKenna (more on her later).

Fictional characters with the Irish name Siobhán.
Credit: Instagram / @itsmartina_sam

The book world is alight with the Irish name Siobhán. Perhaps the most popular is the female vampire character appearing in Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. 

There was also a Siobhán in J.K Rowling’s literary novel The Casual Vacancy

In the world of T.V., there was a character called Siobhán Martin, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar in the short-lived drama Ringer. 

Famous people sharing the name – famous Siobháns

The Sugababes.

As mentioned above, Siobhán McKenna is the famous Irish person who helped bring the name into the American spotlight. McKenna is known for her roles in hit films like Doctor Zhivago, King of Kings, The Adventurers, Daughter of Darkness, and Philadelphia, Here I Come! 

Many will know Siobhán Donaghy, or if not her by name, then you’ll certainly recognise her former band The Sugababes. 

Siobhan Fahey is an Irish singer formerly of both groups Bananarama and Shakespeare’s Sister. 

Funny story – get ready to laugh

A funny story about the Irish name Siobhán.
Credit: / @thisismyurl

Just because we enjoy stories of people who are unfamiliar with Irish names mispronouncing them, we going to include a story taken from Reddit by user 2ndaveger about a mishap he had with a new co-worker.

“So a new girl started at my work, and her name is Siobhán. Ever since I’ve known that name, I’ve never heard anybody say it out loud until today.

“When I greeted her at the front door, I called her Siobhán saying it “see-ob-han”. She didn’t say anything, just looked at me a bit funny but not a word.

“I was introducing her around as, once again, “see-ob-han”, and it was after the third person that she stopped me and corrected me on it, saying her name was actually pronounced “shib-on.”

“Needless to say, I was too embarrassed to talk to her, so I said something had come up and went home.

“I think she thought I was joking and was going along with it? I don’t know, anyway I’ll update you tomorrow when I see her again and call her Siobhán the correct way. My boss even texted me and said he changed my name in his phone to seoban.

I’ve been pronouncing the name Siobhán wrong for 18 years, found out today how to actually say it, and probably offended the new girl.”

We can only assume the spelling mistakes came about because of how nervous he was about the prospect of having to spell Siobhán for this post.

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