Before you read any part of this post, put both hands in front of your face, so the only thing you can read is this sentence. Good. Now lower your hands a little and you will see a list of three Irish girls’ names and three Irish boys’ names. See them? Good. Don’t peek any lower.
Irish Girls’ Names: Aoife, Caoimhe, Niamh, Saoirse
Irish Boys’ Names: Cian, Daithi, Eoin, Oisin
Now, without peeking at anything below this paragraph, try to pronounce every name on these two lists. OK. You’re probably wondering where I found these names and their correct pronunciation: Nancy’s Baby Names. It’s a blog I visit whenever I want to find something interesting about names that’s different from what anyone else is blogging and tweeting about. If you go there, you’ll find a lot more hard-to-pronounce Irish names. You’ll also find lots of comments from inhabitants of the Emerald Isle (and others) about these and other hard-to-pronounce names. Many Irishman are almost as confused about these names as I was.
End of commercial. Now I can show you how you should have pronounced these names, but didn’t. Go ahead and look below this line at the Irish girls’ names. Then look at the Irish Boys’ names. Did you get any of them right (I mean without peeking)? If so, good job!
How To Pronounce the Girls’ Names
Aoife is pronouonced (EE-fa).
Caoimhe is pronounced KEE-va or KWEE-va.
Niamh is pronounced NEE-av or NEEV.
Saoirse is pronounced SEER-sha or SAIR-sha.
How to Pronounce the Boys’ Names
Cian is pronounced KEE-an or KEEN.
Daithi (Dáithí) is pronounced DAH-hee.
Eoin is pronounced O-in.
Oisin (Oisín) is pronounced UH-sheen or O-sheen.
To see a revised version of this post which contains 32 hard-to-pronounce Irish names click here.