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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    UK
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    2,073

    Is Mairead too Irish to work?

    She's a matriarch of Irish descent, and I wanted a strong, Irish name - and I found one. Only problem is, on review, is it just too unusual to work in a novel? Would your average reader know how to pronounce the name, or does it not matter? After all, I never pronounced Hermione correctly until the first film came out, and that didn't stop my enjoyment of the first three Harry Potter books.

    Anna Katherine * Lydia Ellen * Zoe Madeleine * Phoebe ___ * Imogen ___ * Emilia ___
    Samuel * Thomas * Charlie * Reuben * Oliver * George


  2. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    3,462
    Well, it depends if she's full-blooded Irish and her ethnicity is a key point to her and her character. If she's a third-generation Brooklyn-ite, it's unlikely she'd have such an unusual name. If she is authentically Irish, make sure she has a name that is conceivable for her to have. For example, if Mairead is a name that's only likely to be heard in Ireland in the 60-and-over crowd, don't make young Mairead be a teenager. Honestly, I see this more often in literature (someone foreign having a name unsuitable for their age; it's like a toddler being named Edna in the US) and it bothers me far more than not knowing how to pronounce the name.
    If it makes a difference, I also know several first-generation Irish people, and none of them have such unusual names.
    If it's a big concern, I would just choose an Irish or Irish-influenced name that's more easily pronounced. Maeve comes to mind; also, Muirgen.

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    UK
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    2,073
    She's not a teenager, she's somewhere in her 50s with three teenage children, and she's an Irish immigrant to the UK, married an English guy and moved across the water. It's not a major plot point as such but it does come up on occasion, and the children have the traditional Irish spelling of more common names.

    I've never heard the name Muirgen before, but I quite like it, though I'm not sure Maeve is strong enough for her character.

    Anna Katherine * Lydia Ellen * Zoe Madeleine * Phoebe ___ * Imogen ___ * Emilia ___
    Samuel * Thomas * Charlie * Reuben * Oliver * George


  4. #7
    I think you can give her any name you'd like.

    My name is Irmgard. A highly German name. I'm not German. I'm Luxembourgish/British. Most people assume that I'm in my 60's or 80's. I'm in my early 20's.

    If you want to use a name stereotypical for a girl of Irish descent, go for: Caitlynn or Catelin or Katelinn.

    Parents choose to give their child names. I believe that a teenage girl of Irish descent could be given the name: Mairead. Perhaps it's the name of a family member or dear friend.

    I prefer unusual names. Names that not everyone else has. Names to remember.

    Either way, I think Mairead would be a wonderful for a grown woman in her 50's.

    Wish you the best of luck.

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    183
    I really like Mairead! I think it fits your character very well, from what you've said. If you're looking for other strong Irish names with more intuitive pronunciations/that are slightly more common, you could also try Sinead, Siobhan, Aileen/Eileen, or Bridget.
    teenberry -- writer -- drama kid
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