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The Importance of your Surname as Gaeilge

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Post November 10 2009, 10:23 AM
Scéalaí Mór
Posts: 1754
My surname is neither Irish nor English, but Spanish so I can't switch.
I was always last at the role call at school. When my girlfriend told her family my name they thought I was black. My name should really be Mac Lochlainn (McLoughlin) but my family inherited my great grandmothers name because my grandfather was born out of wedlock in 1914, even though his father reared him.
Is foghlaimeoir mé
Wait for 3 confirmations

Post November 10 2009, 13:53 PM
Laoch na nGael
Posts: 1406
czam2007, its quite common, as you probably know, for learners - if they are not Irish on their fathers side, to use their mothers (or closest Irish ancestor's) name when speaking Irish. Im by no means saying people with Irish ancestry should adopt Irish names (in case people have read this wrong), just maybe we should think about using the Irish version of our Irish names :)

Brian, I was refering to what Bríd said, on the passport application, when entering the name you want on your passport it gives you the option, if your birth name is different to have your birth name noted on another page, like Bríd said this can help ID you when your birth cert is different. But from what I read on another forum because the guy opted to have the 'english' version noted down on his as well they processed it without requiring the 2 year evidence, he seemed to think theyd of sent it back requesting evidence if he didnt opt to have to have his birth name noted.

I wonder how then, considering everyone has differing opinions, we could make it easier for people to use their Irish name officially. I think if someone wants to use it then they shouldnt have to change their name by deedpoll. I think a passport is an official document of identity & citizenship, so I agree that if someone wants to use their Irish name they should have to prove they use it, but how can they prove it when Bank Accounts/ PPS numbers etc are issued from a birth certificate? A solution would be to render an Irish name at birth, that is joint, underneath the English version, and entered on all databases... sure they can record your address, telephone numbers, email addresses but cant record a 2nd name, with fadas!? There would be issues with immigrant babies etc but I lived in Cyprus for a year for my national id card they entered my name in light font and then above it in bold rendered a greek language name based on phonetics & their alphabet. I didnt have a problem with that, when in rome, my name is still my name. But then these kids will be able to grow up and have the choice which one goes on official documents.

P.S. Bríd's shown that it wasnt a bother in her case, but I think there are quite a lot of people who havent grown up using their Irish name, but perhaps get a love for the blas, but then have trouble changing it.

P.P.S Tell me in caps if im being a Phonetics Dave and trying to address a problem that doesnt exist

Post November 10 2009, 14:14 PM
Posts: 5543
MacFear wrote:PPS numbers etc are issued from a birth certificate?

My PPS is totally in Irish, and my birthcert is in English.
There was no problem atall with it.
Maybe that's where to start. If ones PPS is in English get it changed it to Irish, and everything else that follows will be simplier.
Opening bank accounts today is more difficult than in the past. They want photo ID etc now.

Living in a rural area is an advantage too insofar as people know you, like the bank teller, or the gardaí so proving who you are is not such a problem.

I'm known to the Gardaí haha

Post November 10 2009, 14:53 PM
Laoch na nGael
Posts: 1406
Haha naughty naughty. Can you just go in an get your PPS changed into Irish then without any ID? Mines in Irish too so im not sure about that for anyone wanted to do that. I can understand why it would be strict because of fraud, but I genuinely feel some people are denied their constitutional right, or have to work hard to get it. If they will change a PPS without any proof though, then thats your ticket then Brian, the banks accept that as a valid form of ID and will change your account, then you can submit that with the passport application.

Post November 10 2009, 18:15 PM
Posts: 4302
MacFear, after reading through most of this thread, I really don't know what your complaint is. You have the right to use the Irish version of your name if you so choose. If you've been using the English version of your name I don't think it unreasonable that certain irksome formalities have to be gone through in order to change it. Beaurocracy can be maddening but it's necessary.

You take a common situation in Ireland where someone is baptised Patrick Joseph Murphy. Everyone calls him Joe from birth to avoid confusion with his Uncle Pat. The local manager in the Bank of Ireland who is a friend of his Dad, opens an account for him under the name of Joseph. He hass CV's and references under the name of Joseph. His passport is under the name of Patrick. Later in his life he has a hell of a time when travelling or opening bank accounts because of his different names and proving identity. Nothing to do with Irish versus English - just the modern world we live in.

I don't think it reasonable to expect international travel agents and credit card companies to have to specifically alter their software to accept special letters for every small minority group in the world. And why is it a problem to let out the sínte fada just to fill out a form. Ó Múrchú v O Murchu, Pádraig v Padraig. 'Tis only paperwork.

As it happens I'm fully in favour of people using Irish forms of names, I'd love to see more people doing so.
If I had any say in the matter when I was born, and more importantly if I knew how I would feel as a grown up, I'd have a name as Gaeilge. But as a mature (in years at least) adult I'm not going around telling friends and acquaintances to call me a different name.

Ní fiú é. Tá an teanga labhartha i bhfad níos tábhachtaí ná siombalachas.
Warning: Reasonable command of Irish - but I still make basic errors.

Post November 11 2009, 7:38 AM
Posts: 331
In my opinion, all this switching between Irish and anglicised surnames is ultimately harmful to the Irish language. A lot of people do it depending on the situation or depending on which language they're speaking at the time. For those who mostly speak English (ie. the vast majority of Irish people) it widens the gulf between the two languages. Let's say they use their Irish surname in Irish speaking contexts or on Irish websites. Since most people live their lives primarily or exclusively through English, the Irish takes a backseat. Maybe it becomes associated with special occasions. Something to be trotted out from time to time for symbolic effect.

I see it as a clear example that some people just aren't at ease with their own identity. If you aren't happy with your birth name, change it. It's easily done if you're an Irish citizen. Otherwise, what's the problem? All this two name business is just a representation that there is an English language world and an Irish language world. And that there's often a massive gulf between them.

Why have two versions of your name?

Is this common in most countries? As far as I'm aware, it's not.

Are Alan Titley or Gabriel Rosenstock lesser Irish speakers because they don't have 'Gaelic' surnames? People in the past with non-Gaelic names have come up with some pretty outlandish forms in an effort to 'out-Irish' others, so the practice isn't restricted to those with anglicised forms of Gaelic Irish Sullivan>Ó Súilleabháin.

I too would like to see those with anglicised names revert back to the Irish form, but once done, just stick with one version!

Post November 11 2009, 9:18 AM
Posts: 183
Anyone heard of this guy before?

Post November 11 2009, 9:29 AM
Laoch na nGael
Posts: 1406
I agree, use one name, your name is your name, if your born with an anglicised name - like most people, and like it and use it then fair play. But I also think their are identity issues here, which was my main point, were trying to reverse a lot of years of domination and cultural oppression, but this issue has never come up, and as I first said I dont think it is an issue for most people, but having thought about it I think it should be discussed. There arent many examples of what happened in Ireland, but Id also say that they arent two names, id say there the same name, only one rendered as a bastard version. It just strikes me as ironic is all, that we fought for independence, and did many good things but we still keep these bastardised names - and im not niave that there were many reasons why we gave up the Gaelic names. Thats my opinion, but I wouldnt be so black and white because like Bríd says, we have made them our own, but to at least some degree they are not our own? Im not primarily talking about the Irish language, im talking about our names, maybe using them would instil a confidence that would in turn favour the Irish language though.

Antóin, though it wasnt the main topic, since reading about it further as the topic has developed it appears that some people are having a hard time changing their names. As you say its their right, and im sure a lot of people have changed their names with relative ease, but I feel sorry for people who were who decide they want to use their Irish name - whether or not they speak or learn irish, but cannot avail of their constitutional right without legally changing their name via deedpoll, they shouldnt have to go down this route, nowhere in the constitution does it say we have to be using - and prove - we've been using our Irish names for 2 years to get documents changed, we have the right to be known by either whenever we like, this is a real issue for people born with an anglicised name as their birth cert is their primary means to open a bank, enrol in school etc. Bríd got it done, but new anti-fraud laws etc have contradicted the constitution. All im saying is, to make it easier for people perhaps an Irish version should be recorded at birth - if thats too dictator like, make it at least optional to record an Irish name also, so when they bring the birth cert to the bank they get a choice, then the bank is satisfied of your identity and people dont have barriers to using their Irish name officially. I totally agree that not using your Irish name doesnt make you any less of a speaker.

I think its an interesting topic, one I believe in, I don't agree that its not a big issue or problem because I think it has implications for our heritage, culture & language. Some say a name defines you, if this is true using a bastard name, whether we've made them our own or not, is something that might subconsciously keep the 'gaelic' culture, and so language, down. I am very aware its not a topic people discuss or really think about as a whole, but maybe we should.

P.S. Sorry about the essays, i'll wind it down now, but its been interesting hearing the opinions.
Last edited by MacFear on November 11 2009, 9:33 AM, edited 1 time in total.

Post November 11 2009, 9:31 AM
Laoch na nGael
Posts: 1406
osraitheain wrote:Anyone heard of this guy before?

Lol yeah thats pretty quirky

Post November 11 2009, 9:36 AM
Posts: 183
MacFear wrote:
P.S. Sorry about the essays, i'll wind it down now, but its been interesting hearing the opinions.

Is your name 'DAVE' MacFear?
:lol: :roll: :twisted: :wink:


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