Irish Eyes Are Smiling with St. Paddy’s Day Names:
Family History Sources for Funny Names and Much More
Craig L. Foster
On St. Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish! Race and ethnicity don’t matter as people wear green, eat and drink green, hum Irish tunes and try their best to look like they’re from River Dance, much to the amusement of other Irish wannabes. It’s okay if they’re really not Irish because the Irish themselves are more than happy to share their heritage on this special day.
But some people are not satisfied to just be Irish – for a day, or every day. Some people were blessed with a name that celebrates their Irish heritage. And then others just have names that celebrate Ireland. By scanning census, voting, birth and death records, social media and online directories, a treasure trove (leprechaun or not) of interesting and funny names celebrating Ireland were found.
Here are some other examples of names found in genealogically helpful records:
Irish Boy 1851 Llanwnda, Wales
Irish Child 1850 Grafton, OH
Ireland Ireland 2013 Gainesville, FL and another in Toms River, NJ
Love M. Ireland 2013 Baltimore, MD
Irish Irish 1870 Skaneateles, NY
Emerald Isle 2013 Tucson, AZ; Kissimmee, FL; and Wabash, IN
Irish Love 1930 Tuckaleechee, TN
Irish pride didn’t stop with just these names. There were those who named their children for famous Irish in history, like Saint Patrick Daugherty who appeared in the 1940 census for Baugo, Indiana. He was not alone. Brian Boru was another early Irish figure of renown and respect and there were a few men with that name:
Brian Boru 2013 Winchester, VA and Berkeley Springs, WV
There were also Brian Boru Gallagher who resided in New South Wales, Australia in 1958 and Brian Boru Macnamara who was residing in the Bronx, NY in 1930. Brian Boru was the High King of Ireland around 1011 AD.
Oliver Plunkett Bruce 1949 New South Wales, Australia
Oliver Plunkett was the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. He was also the last victim of the so-called Popish Plot which was concocted to encourage anti-Catholicism. He was tried and executed in 1681 and canonized as a Catholic saint in 1975. While there were several men in Australia named after Oliver Plunkett, there appears to have been none with that name in America.
While early Irish figures received some recognition, it was the Irish rebels that seemed to be more popular. Here are some examples, including the year and place the people were residing, of names honoring the rebels in Irish history:
Hugh O’Neill Bell 1890 Solana, CA
Hugh O’Neill, the earl of Tyrone, led “Tyrone’s Rebellion” between 1594-1603 against the English in Ireland.
Patrick Pearse Finlayson 1963 Victoria, Australia
There were several men on the Australian electoral rolls with the name of Patrick Pearse, who was a poet, teacher, writer, nationalist and political activist. He was killed in the Easter Rebellion in 1916.
Éamon De Valera Connolly 1943 Queensland, Australia
Once again, several men on the Australian electoral rolls with the name of Éamon De Valera who was a rebel who fought in the War of Independence against Britain and then served as the third President of Ireland, as well as the Taoiseach (prime minister) on a couple of occasions.
These names are interesting, especially for those who love Irish history, but it’s the names celebrating Irish culture, music and food that are really interesting. The names Erin, Sean, Seamus, Shannon and Patrick seem to just ooze Irishness and there are a lot of people with those popular Irish names. In fact, the variations are amazing with Erin Shannon, Sean Seamus, Seamus Sean, Sean Shannon, Seamus Shannon, Patrick Shannon, and Shannon Patrick, for example. But here are a few variations that really standout:
Erin Ireland 2013 Residing in AL, NC, and other American states
Erin Irish 2013 Residing in CA, CT, IA, and MI
Patrick Ireland 1940 Santa Monica, CA
Paddy Irish 1815 St. Lucia
Patrick Irish 1870 Sacramento, CA
Patrick Patrick 1898 Newark, NJ
Shannon Ireland 2013 Layton, UT and other American cities
Shannon Irish 2013 Kings Mountain, NC
River Shannon 2013 Chicago, IL
Shannon Shannon 2013 Boulder, CO and other American cities
The Irish word for welcome is fáilte and the parents of two people obviously wanted to express that by naming their children, Fáilte Clifford, 1920 from Springfield, MA and Fáilte Johnson, 1900 from Richland, OH, respectively. Caed mile fáilte means a thousand welcomes and that is a great way to get into the other names with a St. Paddy’s day flair.
St. Patrick’s Day is known for wearing green, partaking of green food and drink and just about everything else green. There are also green names to celebrate the Irish:
Emerald Green 1978 Kalamazoo, MI
Irish Green 1940 Chicago, IL
Kelly Green 1940 Pointe Coupee, LA
Shamrock Green 2013 Fremont, CA
Dawn Green Ireland 1978 Albany, Auckland, NZ
Green A. Ireland 1910 Jones Bay, NC
Continuing the green theme, are shamrock-related names:
Shamrock Flower 1908 Seattle, WA
Shamrock Green 2013 Fremont, CA
Shamrock Ireland 1960 Amarillo, TX
Clover Shamrock 2013 Northridge, CA
Shannon Shamrock, Jr. 1956 Richmond, VA
There are other popular symbols of Ireland such as Irish music and unsurprisingly there are people with names from Irish songs:
Danny Boy 2013 MN, NY, and OH
Tim Finnigan 1880 St. Louis, MO, and a number living in 2013
Betty Slievenamon Grant 1963 Cowra, New South Wales, Australia
Molly Malone 1940 Nashville, TN
There are also a number of women residing presently in the United States with the name of Molly Malone. As to whether or not they sell cockles and mussels, isn’t known.
William Irish Eyes McCabe died in Pleasantville, NJ in 2012 but hopefully, before that, his Irish eyes were smiling.
Irish Rose 2013 Living in CA, IL, OK, and RI
We won’t even ask if these women are wild or not. Nope, not going there.
In spite of the fact that “banshee” is from Irish mythology as an omen of death and a visitor from the spirit world, and means “woman of the fairy mounds,” some men, like Banshee B. Herman, 1940, Lauderdale, MS and Banshee Dallas Lawler, 1977, Kerr, TX, were given the name. There were, of course, women who also had the name, like Banshee Jo Wassall, 1999, Brevard, FL. Other people with names symbolizing Irish culture are:
Green Beer 1839 Huntsville, AL
Erin Bragh 2013 Salt Lake City, UT
We’ve just got to wonder if her full name is Erin go Bragh!
Donnybrook Brooks 1962 Boston, MA
Irish Denease Dance 1954 Pasquotank, NC
Shillelagh Mae Carver 1996 Madison, KY
Shillelagh L. Dubay 2013 Sebring, FL
Colin J. Leprechaun Faggetter 1957 Twickenham, England.
With a name like that, we can’t help but wonder if he ever sought revenge on his parents.
Leprechaun Hobbs 1995 Dayton, OH
Irish Limberick 1940 Stafford, VA
She can only blame herself for how close the name comes to Irish Limerick since this was her married name.
Irish B. Linnins 1910 Coble, NC
Iris Stew 1954 Bermondsey, London, England
It was so close to Irish stew it belonged here.
Probably one of the best known symbols of Ireland is the Blarney Stone and while there are several people named Blarney Stone living in California, Illinois, Wisconsin and other states, none of these Blarney Stones have the pizazz of the name, Blarney Killarney Orr who died in Sandy, Blanco, TX in 2011.
Remember that doing family history is not only worthwhile and rewarding, it can also be very funny when coming upon funny and interesting names. In between watching the St. Paddy’s Day Parade and downing another helping of corned beef and cabbage, take a little time to search for your own Irish roots. Visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City or go online to FamilySearch.org and a host of other websites to find your own Paddy O’Reilly. Whether or not he’s actually from Balyjamesduff remains to be seen. Either way, it’s worth doing your family history. In fact, doing family history is like having your own lucky charm. But please don’t bother the people named Lucky Charm who live in Phoenix, AZ or Anaheim, CA or Palo Alto, CA or Honolulu, HI or Florence, SC. They’re going to be busy enough this St. Patrick’s Day.