13 Irish surnames that are always mispronounced in America
Life & Style

13 Irish surnames that are always mispronounced in America

CAHILL

Cahill has to be one of the most contentious Irish surnames of all time. Soccer stars such as Tim and Gary have put the name in the spotlight in recent years and commentators have rarely, if ever, pronounced it correctly – much to the chagrin of Irish fans.

How others say it: “KAY-Hill”

How it should be said: “CAH-Hill”

KINSELLA

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The usual mispronunciation of Kinsella makes it sound more like an occupation than a surname. To be fair it’s not just our American friends who mess this one up – the Aussies and New Zealanders are some of the worst offenders.

How others say it: “Kin-SELL-A”

How it should be said: “KIN-Sel-La”

MORAN

This one makes even less sense, but at some point either the Americans or the British began to rhyme Moran with Batman – and it stuck.

How others say it: “More-ANNE”

How it should be said: “MORE-An”

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DOHERTY

Believe it or not, but there’s no “C” in Doherty. Inexcusable.

How others say it: “DOCK-Er-Tee”

How it should be said: “DOH-Her-Tee”

GALLAGHER

Just because there’s a second “G” there, it doesn’t mean you have to use it.

How others say it: “GALL-Ag-Ger”

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How it should be said: “GALL-Ah-Her”

O’MAHONY

In fairness, Irish people can’t even decide upon how to pronounce this one. Cork natives tend to turn it into three syllables (Oh-Maaaaahny) so we can’t really complain.

How others say it: “Oh-Ma-HOE-Nee”

How it should be said: “Oh-MAH-Ha-Nee”

COUGHLAN/COUGHLIN

To be fair, virtually no one anywhere can agree on how to pronounce this surname. Only die hard Cork Coughlans pronounce the first syllable like “saw” – but it’s their name so we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

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How others say it: “COFF-Lan”/”COCK-Lan”/”COG-Lan”

How it should be said: “CAWL-An”/”COR-Lan”

O’DEA

We’re not denying that there is actually a name “O’Dee”, but that is not a Clare name – as any proud O’Dea will emphatically tell you their surname is.

How others say it: “Oh-DEE”

How it should be said: “Oh-DAY”.

COSTELLO

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See “Kinsella”. It’s not on, lads.

How others say it: “Cos-TELL-Oh”

How it should be said: “COS-Tell-Oh”

O’SHAUGHNESSY

We’re actually blaming America for this one. You’ve already created the monstrosity “Shaun” and now you want to put it in our surnames.

How others say it: “Oh-Shaun-Nessy”

How it should be said: “Oh-Shock-Nessy”

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MAHER

Bill Marr, you say? Never heard of him. Bill Maher is all right though. This one is pretty inexcusable because it’s actually spelled how it sounds, for once.

How others say it: “MARR”

How it should be said: “MAH-Her”

KEOGH

Last but not least... oh boy. One of the most constantly mispronounced Irish surnames ever!

How they say it: “KEE-Oh”

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How it should be said: “KYOH”

Have we forgotten any? Let us know!