Irish names are hard to pronounce, but they are also impossible to spell for a lot of people, just take a look at these ten names.
Irish is a difficult language, so it is not surprising that many Irish first names get butchered when they are being spelt.
The language has a mix of silent and tricky letters to make up for some letters that we don’t have in the Irish alphabet, so to others, it might just look bizarre.
Many people pronounce or spell Irish names as they look, which is where they are going wrong, so we are here to put an end to the misspelling of some beautiful Irish names, once and for all.
It is not until we travel abroad that many of us finally realise that we have a ‘weird’ name, it is almost like going to Starbucks, but on another level.
We always wonder how they can mix up completely normal names. Even better, we would love to see how exactly they would cope if they got an order with one of these ten Irish first names that no one can spell properly below.
10. Siobhán − meaning ‘God is gracious’
Siobhán is one of the most popular Irish girls’ names in Ireland and abroad, yet it seems no one can spell it properly, except people who are called Siobhán.
Many add an ‘i’ into the name such as ‘Siobhain’, and some spell it as it sounds. Either way, the correct spelling is ‘Siobhán’. This name is sometimes anglicised as Joanne.
9. Dearbhla − meaning ‘poets daughter’
Like many confusing Irish names, it is generally the ‘bh’ that brings problems when it comes to spelling. Many spell this name as it sounds, ‘Dervla’.
However, the correct spelling is in fact ‘Dearbhla’. This name is sometimes anglicised as Derval or Dervla.
8. Bláthnaid – meaning ‘flower’
With a beautiful meaning like ‘flower’ or ‘blossom’, it’s a shame this name gets misspelt so often.
People will often spell it exactly as they hear, like ‘Blonid’, but the proper spelling of this Irish first name is Bláthnaid.
7. Sadhbh − meaning ‘goodness’
This name has a double whammy of confusion, and many spell this name like ‘Sive’ or even ‘Syve’.
However, in Irish, it is ‘Sadhbh’, where the ‘dh’ acts as a ‘y’ and the ‘bh’ acts as a ‘v’.This name is sometimes anglicised as Sally.
6. Padraig – meaning ‘noble’
The Irish name for Patrick is Padraig, and we can only imagine that any Padraig’s out there just wish they were called Patrick instead, considering how many times this gets messed up. This name is commonly anglicised as Patrick.
5. Beibhinn − meaning ‘white or fair lady’
One of the main Irish first names that no one can spell properly is Beibhinn. It is commonly misspelt as ‘Bevin’.
The correct spelling of this name is ‘Beibhinn’. This name is commonly anglicised as Vivian.
4. Cathal − meaning ‘battle’
Any Cathal who has travelled abroad has probably had their name spelt like the surname ‘Cahill’.
However, this Irish first name that no one can spell is really spelt as ‘Cathal’. This name is sometimes anglicised without the ‘t’.
3. Ruairi − meaning ‘Red King’
Although this is the Irish name for Rory, many people still spell it like this, not realising it is the Irish version. The way to spell this Irish boy’s name is ‘Ruari’. The English version of the name is ‘Rory’.
2. Caoimhe – meaning ‘gentle or precious’
When it comes to this ultra-popular Irish girl’s name, we have seen spellings like ‘Keeva’ or ‘Kiva’, both of which are very far from the reality.
The proper way to spell this Irish first name that no one can spell is of course, ‘Caoimhe’. This name is commonly anglicised as ‘Keeva’.
1. Aoibheann − meaning beautiful
Just like some other names that have the confusing ‘bh’ sound, Aoibheann has seen many misspellings, such as ‘Aveen’ or ‘Ayveen’. It is, in fact, spelt as ‘Aoibheann’.
The English spelling of this name is ‘Eavan’. It is definitely one of the Irish first names that no one can spell properly.
We sincerely wish we could say these were the only Irish names that are commonly misspelt but believe us when we say there are many more where they came from.
For more, check out our list of Irish surnames that always get spelt wrong.
Other notable mentions
Niamh: In Irish mythology, Niamh was the daughter of Manannan, the god of the sea.
Aoife: In Irish mythology, Aoife was also one of the wives of Lir in the Oidheadh chloinne Lir, who turned her stepchildren into swans.
Eabha: This is the Irish form of the name Eve.
Saoirse: Because of how you say it, people struggle to spell this Irish name.
Eimear: Eimear is the Irish form of the anglicised Emer.
Sorcha: This name, the Gaelic form of Sarah or Sally, is a struggle to spell for many.
Daithi: Daithi is a name with Irish roots and could confuse native Irish people and tourists alike when it comes to the spelling.
Eoghan: This name is of Irish origin and is often spelt wrong.
Tadgh: The spelling and pronunciation of this name could throw anybody.
Fionn: For some reason, the ‘o’ in the name always catches people out. This name comes from Irish folklore and Fionn MacCool.
FAQs about Irish first names
Is Siobhan a girl’s name?
Yes, Siobhan is traditionally a name for girls.
What is the English version of Siobhan?
Most Irish names have anglicised versions. For Siobhan, this can include ‘Joanna’ and ‘Shavon’.
What is the most popular Irish boy name?
Conor, which comes from old Gaelic, roughly translates to ‘lover of wolves’. It has several variations but is often considered the most popular Irish boy name.