by Mari Elspeth nic Bryan (Kathleen M. O'Brien)
© 2000-2004 by Kathleen M. O'Brien. All rights reserved.
Version 2.6, updated 28 July 2004
This article is a compilation of feminine given names that appear in various Irish annals, along with the few descriptive bynames and hereditary surnames found in women's names.
Irish annals are historical records that (for the most part) were created at a particular time by copying information from whatever records were available to the authors of those annals. As such, much of the early material included in the annals is more mythology and legend than real historical fact. In an attempt to exclude names that are unique to mythological or legendary figures, I have only collected given names that appear in entries referring to years after 500 A.D.. Even so, there are a few names that may not have been in general use. I have noted instances of this situation on the pages for the names affected.
Names of foreign women sometimes appear in the annals. That these names appear in Gaelic records cannot be viewed as an indication that these names were used by women in Ireland at that time. Some of the names eventually migrated into the Anglo-Norman Irish or Irish Gaelic name pools. Others did not.
I would very much like to thank the members of the Academy of Saint Gabriel for their support and feedback through the drafts of this article. I would especially like to thank Talan Gwynek (Brian Scott), Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn (Heather Rose Jones), Effrick neyn Kenneoch (Sharon Krossa), and Arval Benicoeur (Josh Mittleman) for the copious amounts of help they gave in figuring out the nuances of Irish Gaelic as it appears in these annals. Without their help, creating this article would have been nearly impossible. Any mistakes that may be included in this article are most certainly mine, not theirs.
Over the centuries, the pool of names that were in use as feminine given names changed. While doing this analysis, I created a grid (broken down into 50 year spans) and noted when names were or were not used. In this grid, there were very visible patterns of groups of names going in and out of popularity at the same time. The time periods below are split at the years indicated by this data.
A complete list is also available of
all these names (listed alphabetically) [26K]
A list of descriptive bynames found
in women's names is also available.
Medieval Scotland | Medieval Names Archive | Index of Names in Irish Annals
Feminine Given Names | Feminine Descriptive Bynames | Masculine Given Names | Masculine Descriptive Bynames
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