Irish Language Blog

Edward Moore Kennedy (1932-2009): An Mac Ab Óige de Chlann Uí Chinnéide ar Shlí na Fírinne (Cuid a hAon) Posted by on Aug 26, 2009 in Irish Language

As with the other recent capsúlbheathaisnéisí for McCourt, Jackson, and Thomas-Ellis, I will not attempt here to cover the wide realm of activities for the late Seanadóir Edward Moore Kennedy, but simply to touch on the Irish connection highlights.  The world has already expressed its comhbhrón, with statements pouring in since the Senator’s death was announced shortly before meán oíche last night (as I write this).  Among the sentiments expressed so far, which I have gaelicized here, are: “mothúchán mór bróin” (Máire Mhic Giolla Íosa, Uachtarán na hÉireann), “cara mór d’Éirinn” (An Taoiseach Brian Ó Comhain), “cara mór liom agus d’oileán Éireann go léir agus dona mhuintir” (Daniel Rooney, Ambasadóir Meiriceánach), “an seanadóir is mó inár linne” (Barack Obama, Uachtarán na Stát Aontaithe), and “déanfar mairgneach air, ní amháin i Meiriceá ach i ngach ilchríoch” (Gordon Brown, Príomh-Áire na Ríochta Aontaithe).


The Kennedy family’s Irish connections are well-known, but it might be suimiúil to see just how deeply entrenched they are.


Probably the best known link is to the Kennedy Family Homestead, which is located i mBaile Uí Dhonnagáin, which is near Ros Mhic Thriúin, i gContae Loch Garman.  If you’ve ever followed the history of President John F. Kennedy’s visit to the area (i mí an Mheithimh, 1963), you’ve probably seen all those names in their anglicized versions.  And note that the differences are not usually so extreme (for example, we have Galway for Gaillimh and Ballymore for An Baile Mór), but for the three place names above, there are quite a few changes.  Do you recognize them? 


Baile Uí Dhonnagáin is Dunganstown. Urú (B -> mB) is added after the preposition “i  Other points are that “baile” is a separate word, as usual, not as a suffix like (-town), that replaces “Ó” for the possession form of “Ó Donnagáin,” and finally, that the “Ó / Uí” is dropped anyway in English.


And where is Baile Uí Dhonnagáin?  Near Ros Mhic Thriúin.  This place name has even more points of difference from the English than Dunganstown, since the two versions of the place name really say two different things.  Ros Mhic Thriúin means “the wood of the son of Treon.”  The English is “New Ross,” presumably to distinguish it from other rosanna, such as Ros Beag (Rossbeg) and Ros Treabhair (Rostrevor).  Ros” can also mean promontory, isthmus, point, bluff, or burial ground, so don’t be surprised if the other place names aren’t consistently “woods.”  Mhic” replaces “mac” to show possession and likewise, Thriúin is for Treon.  


Finally, while most Irish county names are pretty clear-cut and recognizable (like Dún na nGall / Donegal), Loch Garman bears no resemblance to its English counterpart, Wexford.  The name “Wexford” is from the Viking period and isn’t an anglicized spelling of the Irish version.  A similar linguistic leap occurs with Port Láirge (Waterford).    


The Dunganstown farm was the homestead of Pádraig Ó Cinnéide (ca. 1823 – 1858), sinseanathair Éadbhaird and the site is now open to the public (


So now we’re out of space to discuss Ted Kennedy’s other Irish forebears, including Hickeys, Murphys, Fitzgeralds, Hannons, and Barrons, and this topic will continue for another blag nó dhó.       


Fuaimniú: Éadbhard [AYD-ward]; [ee]; comhbhrón [koh-vrohn]; mhic [vik]  

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  1. Séamaass Ó Teimhleáin:

    Is drochGhaeilge é Éadbhard Ó Móra Ó Cinnéide.
    Ba chirte Éadbhard Mórach Ó Cinnéide a rá.

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