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Short Courses / Evening Courses in the Department of Irish and Celtic Languages

A history of Irish personal names and surnames

This lecture-only course in Irish personal names and surnames will present a history of Irish names from the oldest sources up to the present day. The anatomy of the personal name will be examined and it will be demonstrated that Irish names have a Celtic past dating back into the pre-Christian period, and an Indo-European past of greater antiquity. Sources from Continental Gaul, Wales and Early Christian Ireland (Ogam inscriptions) will get the course started, and we will follow the development of Irish names through Old, Middle and Early Modern Irish manuscript sources, drawing on saga, genealogy, history and Dindshenchas. The Irish were first in Europe to develop hereditary surnames and that development will be examined, as will the influence of Latin, Welsh, Scandinavian, Anglo-Norman and English on the Irish name-types. The relative frequency of personal names will be assessed at different points to demonstrate changes in fashion, and here the census returns of the last century and a half will bring us up to the present day. The course will extend over a twelve-week term commencing on Monday 25th September, at 6pm, with a one-week break in the term (6th-10th November).


Damian McManus

How to apply

The closing date for online and postal applications is Friday 8th September 2017.You can download an application form from here and send it with a cheque/money order made payable to Trinity College Dublin number 1 account to: Damian McManus, Department of Irish and Celtic Languages, Room 4056, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2. Applications may be made in person by arrangement with Damian McManus by contacting him at 01-8961105 or at the e-mail address:


The fee for the series is €85. The concession fee is €45. A concession rate is available to OAPs, second and third level students and people whose primary source of income is social welfare, health board or a government-sponsored employment scheme.

Time, Place and Duration

This is an evening course. There will be one lecture per week over a twelve-week term, starting the week commencing 25th September, with a one-week break in the term (6th-10th November). The classes take place on Monday evenings from 6pm to 7pm. They will be held in Room 5033 in the Arts Building. Contact Caoimhe ní Bhraonáin at with any further queries.