As you may know, the Irish people have some of the most interesting names in the world. Although some of them might be a tad challenging to spell out, especially amongst the non-Irish, they definitely make a great topic for conversation. But have you ever wondered if there’s an Irish language version of your family name? Sure, your last name may not sound entirely Irish. However, there might be a chance that it has an Irish version or even an Irish origin.
There is a new database called Sloinne that will show you the Irish origins of your family name. And if you have an Irish surname, it will show you its English translation. The database is the brainchild of folks at Foras na Gaeilge, a public organisation that seeks to promote the Irish language throughout Ireland.
So how does the database work? It is quite simple, actually. All you have to do is type your name into the search field. Then, the database will reveal the translation and variations of your name, as well as its origins or the story behind it.
For example, the surname “Langan” means “descendant of longán.” According to the database, Longán is a diminutive of long or tall. It is also the name of an Ulster family who were chiefs of west ui breasail, in Co. Armagh during ancient times. Most of the descendants of this family are now said to be living in Mayo.
The database also revealed that “Langan” refers to an ecclesiastical family who were erenaghs of Ardpatrick in Co. Limerick and patrician stewards of Munster. After the destruction of the monastery of Ardpartrick, the family was scattered in Limerick, Kerry, and Cork. In the last century, the O’Longans (a variation of ‘Langan’) were a distinguished family of scribes and poets.
There are also other Irish versions of Langan, according to the database. They include Ó Langáin, Ó Longáin, and Ó Luingeáin. As for English versions, they are O Langan, Long, Langin, and Longan.
If you’re interested in knowing if your English last name has an Irish origin, you can log on to www.sloinne.ie. According to the website, “Sloinne” is basically the Gaelic translation for “surname.” The purpose of the online surname database is to “develop a comprehensive online database of Irish language surnames and their English versions with the aim of promoting the use of Irish surnames by the general public and in the worldwide Irish diaspora.
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