Misspelled and mispronounced names

Writer, comedian and illustrator Aoife Dooley tweeted a photo of her name being misspelled in the line-up for Electric Picnic, and I could relate!


I remember years ago, I was so excited to have been given a slot on New Years Day on Today FM - at 11am, a time where people would be awake and listening. Oh the excitement and the pride! I couldn't wait for the RTE Guide Christmas edition to come out, just so I could see my name printed in black and white. The excitement! With bated breath, I turned the page to New Years Day... and almost cried when I saw my name had been printed and my gender changed... Live on New Years Day would be Paul MacSweeney.

The disappointment! That happens a lot - and I'm not the only one. 


  • “Good morning from Dubai Paula. Try being a Siobhan in the Middle East! Nightmare.”


  • “Paula in Starbucks before my coffee arrived with the name Evil on it. I’m Avril.”


  • “Paula I lived in Boston for 4 years and I started to answer to Alien after mere weeks. My name is Aileen.”


  • “Paula speaking of Americans not knowing how to pronounce Irish names – I spent my entire J1 being called Pork Chop. My name is Pauric.”


  • “Paula speaking of Starbucks, I’m Jackie and I once got a coffee with Shaggy written on it. Shaggy!”


  • “Paula my name is Muireann and I couldn’t pronounce my own name until I was far too old. I used to call myself Worm. WORM! Still my nickname at home.”


  • “Ronan seems to be really hard for anyone outside Ireland to grasp. I was called Rolling for a full year on my travels. Started answering to it.”


  • “It’s not just hard names – I’m Pat and my electric bill still arrives as Bat with a B.”


  • “Morning Paula. Other way round with the names here, but my Dad who's a little hard of hearing was on the phone one day enquiring after some product. The receptionist said "I'll put you on to our rep, he's - and said his name". My Dad misheard her, so the first question he asked was, why are you embarrassed? To which the reply was, I'm not embarrassed, I'm Jason Barrett!”


  • “Morning Paula, I hate having an unusual name, I get called every name except mine... most regularly - Simon, Tyson, Tiernan, Tina or for some reason Ronan. It drives me nuts so I just call myself Ty... and even Starbucks can't get that right!” - Tynan


  • “Hi Paula, my 4 year old son's name is Ferdia and people called him Ferg, Fred, Fergus, Fergia, Fredia.  As it is an Irish name he gets very upset when he hears all these different versions! Love the show!” - Patricia


  • “Paula. The church wouldn't allow my parents baptise me Koe back in 65. They then baptised me Timothy but called me koe from then on. I've now spent the last 53 years explaining to people that I was named after my father's cousins Dutch husband who's name is Ofko.... great conversing opener!”


  • “Hi Paula, how are you? My surname does get mispronounced a good bit. My name is John Aughney and I do smile and laugh at the way some foreign and Irish people say it when they see it written down!”


  • “Paula we shouldn't complain about our hard to pronounce names. I worked with a lovely chap from Zimbabwe. When we first met him he told us his name was Jeff. When we got to know him we discovered his real name. It took me 2 years to get it right but let's just say it involved clicks and bopping sounds. Needless to say we just stuck with Jeff. From easy to pronounce Paul in Galway!”


  • “Paula it’s not just names you need to worry about – my initials are ASS. It’s hurt me my whole life.”


  • “Try Leogue  (lee-ogue) as a surname - every time I was asked my name I'd say Paul  Leogue and always got back Paul what? Needless to say at 52 I'm still reluctant to use it. Also with the l at the end of Paul and the beginning of leogue I also got know a paulleogue to be asked where that name came from!” – Paulleogue