The success of Siobhan Magnus on "American Idol" has fueled new interest in hard-to-pronounce Irish names.
Boston area Irish Americans say Siobhan's difficult-to-pronounce name (Shiv-awn) is part of a new effort to identify with their Irish roots by many Irish.
"I think people like the authenticity and the romanticism of it," Deb Maguire, co-owner of Liam Maguire's Irish Pub in Falmouth told the Cape Cod Times on why traditional Irish names are becoming popular.
Maguire has heard her share of people mispronouncing Siobhan, "she-o-barn," and had an interesting experience when her niece, Niamh, worked at the family restaurant. "It's pronounced 'neev.' She would tell people, 'I'll buy you a beer if you can spell it, but you have to buy me one if you can't,' " Maguire recalled.
"I'm sure you'll see a lot of Siobhans popping up after 'American Idol,' " he said.
This St Patrick's Day 2010, it's clear that old Irish names like Siobhan (Shiv-awn), Seamus (Shay-muss), Padraig (Paw-ric), Deaglan (Dec-lan), and Aedan (Ai-dan) are becoming more and more popular.
God be with the days when parents avoided names like Niamh (Neev), Sinead (Shin-ayed), Saoirse, (Ser-sher) for daughters, and Donal (Doh-nal), Cormac (Cor-mack) and Traolach (Tray-lock) for their sons.
The names work better in their Irish phrasing too. Siobhan has been Anglo-cized into Chevonne, Savon and Shevann and it doesn't look half as romantic.
And here's hoping for the luck for Siobhan Magnus as she waits to hear if she's made it to the next 11 of "American Idol."
Most popular Irish baby first names in the United States