Irish names you’re probably saying wrong and how to pronounce them

Cillian Murphy (from left), Saoirse Ronan and Sarah Snook as Shiv from "Succession."

Do you know your Gearóid from your Gobnait? Your Fearghal from your Muirgheal?
To the untrained eye, Irish names can seem like a daunting ambush of rogue consonants and surprise vowels.
That’s because while the Irish language uses the same Latin alphabet letters as English, they represent different sounds and have different spelling rules.
To mark St Patrick’s Day this March 17 – and Cork actor Cillian Murphy’s Oscar win last weekend – here’s a guide, with audio clips, on how to pronounce some common Irish names.
We also have some Irish language hacks so you can figure out names yourself.
Read on to find out why Sinéad starts with “Shin,” how a “h” can turn a “b” into a “v,” and why you’ll never hear “St Patty’s Day” said in Ireland.
To help navigate the minefield, CNN has called in help from Irish language and culture expert Darach Ó Séaghdha, author of the books “Motherfoclóir” and “Craic Baby.”
So if you see the star of “Oppenheimer” in the street and want to call out to congratulate him, the first thing to remember is that there’s no K in the traditional Irish alphabet.
When you see an Irish name beginning with C, it’s always a hard C, Ó Séaghdha explains. So Cillian is “Kill-ee-an.” The Germanized version, Killian, used to be the dominant spelling in Ireland, says Ó Séaghdha, but in 2003 – the year after Murphy’s breakthrough movie “28 Days Later” was released – the C spelling took over and has reigned supreme ever since.
That same C rule goes for the boys’ names Cían (Kee-an), Ciarán (Keer-awn) and – here you need to forget everything you learned from the US singer of the same name – the girl’s name Ciara (Keer-ah).
If you’re familiar with Irish actor Saoirse “rhymes with inertia” Ronan, our pronunciation might seem like a curveball. But here’s another hard rule: expect the unexpected.
There are three Irish dialects – Connacht, Munster and Ulster – and the way names sound often varies with regions and accents. Our audio clips are with a northeast accent, influenced by Ulster Irish, so might not sound exactly as you’ve heard the names said before.
Typically a girl’s name, Saoirse, meaning “freedom,” first became popular in the newly independent Ireland of the 1920s and has most commonly been pronounced “Sorsha” or “Seersha.” Saoirse Ronan’s twist on it is “partly her accent,” reckons Ó Séaghdha, but it’s already fast on its way to becoming a new dominant pronunciation.