Top 10 Irish first names that always get spelt wrong

Irish first names are some of the most beautiful sounding names on the planet, but good grief, do they have some of the most bizarre spellings?

Irish is a separate language from English, and although many of us speak English as our first language, we’re still fond of using Irish names.

While some Irish people can spell the more familiar names with ease, many have alternating spellings that can wreak havoc when spelling them out.

Even within Ireland, some Irish names are difficult for natives to spell correctly. So, we’ve listed the top ten Irish first names that always get spelt wrong.

While some people may find some names here easier to spell, we can guarantee the owners of these names have dealt with misspellings time and time again.

Did your name make the list? Read on to find out, and let us know some of the crazy ways people have spelt your name over the years.

10. Tadhg (tie-g) – sounds like the start of ‘tiger’

Tadhg is one of the Irish first names that always get spelt wrong.

Tadhg’s of the world, we feel your pain. It sounds like the first part of the word ‘tiger’, yet it’s not spelt that way.

Tadhg is is a Gaelic Irish boys name which is generally known to mean ‘poet’ or ‘storyteller’. We’d love to learn the story as to how this name got its spelling! Common misspellings: Tige, Tag, Tadgh.

9. Maedbh (may-v) – the mysterious ‘v’ sound

Maedbh is also spelt Maeve.

Where can that ‘v’ sound possibly come from? Like many Irish names, Maedbh comes with multiple spellings, each one more complex than the last.

Maiv, Madbh, Maeve, and Madb are just a few variations. Common misspellings: Mabhdh, Maevbh, Mayve.

8. Ruairí (roo-ree) – one of the most common Irish boy names

Ruairí is one of the Irish first names that always get spelt wrong.

One can never be too sure where to put the fada (the accent), which quickly puts it on the list of Irish first names that always get spelt wrong.

However, this name means ‘red king’, which we think is pretty cool and well worth the spell checks! Common misspellings: Ruari, Ruirí, Ruirai.

6. Mairéad (mar-aid) – Irish versions of English language names

Mairéad is an Irish version of an English name.
Credit: Pixabay / Free-Photos

Common spellings also include Máiréad or Mairéad, so you never know which way to spell it. Always best to wing it if you don’t know for sure. You might get lucky.

This name means ‘pearl’ and is a variation on the English version Margaret. Common misspellings: Maraid, Marade, Meraid.

5. Turlough (tur-lock) – one of our confusions Irish baby names

Turlough is one of the Irish first names that always get spelt wrong.
Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

The longer and lesser-known names are always more complex, making it an easy target for Irish first names that always get spelt wrong.

Turlough is a type of Irish lake, which makes for a nice yet hard to spell name. Common misspellings: Turlock, Terlough, Turrlough.

4. Siadbh (sigh-ve) – one of the most difficult Irish girl names to spell

Siadbh is notoriously difficult to pronounce.

How can such a short sounding name have so many consonants? The ‘dbh’ is such a curveball every time.

Siadbh means ‘good’ or ‘sweet’ in Irish. Other spellings include Sadb, Saibh, Sadbh, Sadhb, Saoibh. Common misspellings: Siave, Saibdh, Sadbh.

3. Oisín (uh-sheen) – one of the Irish first names that always get spelt wrong

Oisín is one of the Irish first names that always get spelt wrong.

Another hard one; were you expecting anything less? Irish mythology often mentions this name, with the great warrior Oisín appearing in many Irish legends.

Though the name is mighty, it is very confusing to spell. Common misspellings: Osheen, Osin, Ohsen.

2. Béibhínn (bay-veen) – one of the most fair Irish girl names

Béibhínn means 'fair lady'.

The more fadas, the more complex the spelling. This name means ‘fair lady’, but we’re not so sure that the spelling is all that fair.

Common misspellings: Bayveen, Bebhin, Bebinn

1. Caoilfhionn (kweel-in) – notoriously difficult to spell

Caoilfhionn is one of the Irish first names that always get spelt wrong.

We even had to look up the spelling for this one! Caoilfhionn stems from the word ‘caol’, meaning ‘slim’, and ‘fionn’, meaning ‘fair’.

We’re not sure this is a very fair spelling, either. Common misspellings: Kweelin, Caolin, Calfhionn

People with Irish first names that always get spelt wrong, we feel you. We pray for you. Our grannies light candles for you regularly.

But while your names may drive you up the wall with other people’s misspellings, we hope you’re proud to carry your Irish heritage in your very title.

Irish language names are some of the most beautiful sounding names out there, with the most beautiful meaning and hidden culture linked to them. So be proud of your name, and wear it as a badge of honour. 

Did your name make the list? If so, we’d love to hear some of the weirdest ways your name has been misspelt over the years. Let us know in the comments, and we’ll be sure to light a candle in your honour. 

Notable mentions

Saoirse Ronan answering how is Saoirse pronounced on the Ellen Show.
Credit: Instagram / @theellenshow

Saoirse: Made popular by Irish-American actress Saoirse Ronan, Saoirse is one of the most beautiful but notoriously difficult to spell Irish girl names

Aoife: One of the most common Irish girl names, according to common myths, Aoife was a brave female warrior. This name is pronounced ‘ee-fa’.

Bláthnaid: A stunning Irish name meaning ‘flower’ or ‘blossom’. Bláthnaid is pronounced ‘blaw-nid’.

FAQs about Irish first names that always get spelt wrong

What is the most difficult Irish name to pronounce?

Irish names are notoriously difficult to pronounce for non-native speakers. Read our article on the hardest to pronounce Irish first names here.

Why is Siobhan spelt that way?

Siobhan is an Irish language name, so it follows Irish language spelling. You pronounce it ‘shiv-awn’.

How do you say Caoimhe in Irish?

Caoimhe is pronounced ‘kee-va’.

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