Donald Trump is the most famous man on the planet with this first name. The only problem is my Irish first name is Donal, not Donald. What is the real meaning and origin of Donal?
I've often had difficulties with my Irish first name and the ways in which I have to explain it to people who aren't accustomed to Irish-language names or names derived from the Irish language.
“Well, it’s like Donald but without d”
“Oh, OK – nice to meet you Onald!”
– or: “Donal? Just Donal? Are you sure there’s no d at end?”
Anyone with an Irish name that is not well-known outside of Ireland will recognize such an exchange. Never mind challenges of venturing out into the wider world with Irish names like Sadhbh, Tadgh, Lasairfhíona or Daithí.
Read more: 100 Irish first names and their meanings
Meaning and origin of the name Donal
The name Donal is an anglicized form of Irish name Dónall, which is derived from more traditionally-spelled Dómhnall. Some people, like young actor Domhnall Gleeson, use older spelling but drop the "fada," the accent over the vowel.
There has been something of a fashion in certain circles in recent years to use more obscure, ancient Gaelic spelling for names. The name Dómhnall itself derives from Old Celtic word for world ruler.
Donald Trump: name meaning
Where does the confusion with Donald come from?
Donald is, in fact, an Anglicization of the Scottish-Gaelic version of the exact same name although it has, of course, been used far more extensively in the English-speaking world and indeed elsewhere, for instance, current US President Donald Trump.
There is, however, no pesky little d at end of original Scottish version either, that was introduced by English to make it sound more "normal."
It has also been suggested that name Donal is Irish translation of Biblical Daniel. The roots may not be the same but certainly, a relationship between the two names has developed over years.
Many Irish names are indeed simply Irish-language versions of well- known Bible and/or saints’ names: Mary is Máire, Paul is Pól, Anne is Áine, John is Seán (although it can also be Eoin, as in Pápa Eoin Pól II: Pope John Paul II) Catherine is Caitríona, David is Dáithí and, more challengingly, Francis is Proinsías and James is Séamus.
Do you know the meaning of your Irish first name? Let us know about it in the comments section below.
*Originally published in Ireland of the Welcomes in 2013.