On New Year's day, we made our Christmas trip home to Newmarket, Co.Cork. A bit later than usual this year. We had a great day my Dad recently celebrated his 70th birthday and it was nice to spend some time at home. My Dad and I went for a drive a paid a visit to the City of Shrone which I recently became interested in. And we also paid a visit to one of Dad's friends and an old neighbour. Photo of some of the pilgrim stones from City of Shrone, Co.Kerry.
During our travels, it struck me how the use of family nicknames is still very prominent in rural Ireland at least. A lot of families are still distinguished by the old names such as Dan Paddy Andys, Mick Mike Dennys, Paddy Jack Patsys or Young Con or Old Con or even Mad Con! Our own family was always known as the Mór Murphys (The Big Murphys) apparently stems from a story that our Murphy ancestors were very tall men. They would have even overshadowed myself as I am over 6 foot tall. Three Murphy brothers by all accounts ran the Knocknagree fair at one stage and some of them were nearly seven foot tall. These, of course, are all oral histories. Photo of Knocknagree.
These nicknames can often be a great genealogy source but were usually never written down or recorded. Mick Mike Denny, for example, is for Michael son of Michael who was the son of Denis. This tradition is still very prominent but perhaps all these nicknames should also be written down in local histories. You can even get the longer versions such as Con Jerry Jack Mikes. Of course, they can be terribly confusing for someone looking for directions. Which Murphys do you mean? Ah, you mean the Philly Jerh Cons??? Why didn't you say so?. There are also some funny ways of distinguishing between families some of them not the most flattering but still part of an old Irish oral history such as The Weasels or The Stalks. Now defunct with the families well gone from the area.
Also, those fond of the odd refreshment have acquired a few nicknames down the years such as Johnny Whiskey and Tadhy Whiskey. Someone not local to the area might have some issues and need a rural dictionary. Of course, everyone just assumes you know who they are on about.
So throw away the Sat Nav's and just ask for Mick Mike Dennys you can never go wrong.
Over and out for now from Ger Dan Dan Mick Owen Mór in case you can't find me. :)