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So the first name origins of Irish Christian names and
surnames lie overwhelmingly in this gaelic Celtic culture
which was totally dominant until the end of the 19th century.
Only at this point do we see English culture making inroads
in language, games and of course in first name origins.
In fact, this was not voluntary as primary schools were
established in all the major towns from the 1830's onwards
where English was the only language of instruction and Irish
gaelic was forbidden.First name origins of Celtic descent
gradually declined and English baby names became popular for
the first time.
By the end of the 19th century, Irish was in crisis and
English totally dominant in all the commercial, legal and
cultural spheres of Irish life. At this time organisations
to stem the English tide were established such as the Gaelic
Athletic Association(to foster the games of hurling and
gaelic football), and the Gaelic League to prevent the
decline of the Irish language.
This brings us up to the present where the meaning of baby
names of most first names in Ireland are English in origin or
anglicisations of native Irish names.This bilingual melange
will continue. It remains to be seen whether first name origins
of Irish gaelic ancestry will increase as they have been doing,
or whether the sea of Anglo-American influence will predominate.
(c) John Lynch
About The Author
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