What's your name, where does it come from, and what does it mean? Donnchadh Ó Corráin and his wife Fidelma Maguire attempt to answer these questions in their new book on Gaelic names.

Names come and go in popularity.  In the 1960s it became popular to name children with an Irish name. But what exactly are Irish names? And are they authentic?

A new book 'Gaelic Personal Names' by University College Cork Professor Donnchadh Ó Corráin and his wife Fidelma Maguire looks at Irish names, their origin and meaning.

The reference book contains almost a thousand Irish names, some of which have their origins as far back as the early medieval period. The book is a useful resource in tracing family roots and for seeking out unique Irish names for a new family member.

Reporter Pat Butler meets the authors and chats to them about the book. Fidelma describes the book as a collection of about 1,000 Irish names which go back centuries. While researching the book Fidelma notes that it was easier to find men's names than women's. The societies of the time were dominated by men and it is men's names that are on record. Female names were however found in the text 'A History of the Great Women of Ireland'. 

Donnchadh describes what constitutes an Irish name and comments,

There was no Irish man before the year 1200 who was called Patrick

Donnchadh also points to the fact that many names have their roots in paganism and mythology.

They provide many examples of names which are generally perceived to be Irish are not.

This episode of 'Ireland's Eye' was broadcast on 10 February 1981.