DUP : The Gaelic Party?

Posted this somewhat in jest over on me wee blogeen a while back. Must admit, it is not exactly an academic paper and more about just pointing out something interesting, whatever the deficiencies, our surnames tell us something about ourselves, and certainly make talk of the ‘planter and the Gael’ somewhat more complicated.Now, a health warning, your surname is simply one ancestor of many, it is not who you are, it is a part of who you are, who you are is your choice, or at least it is in my book, and as Nelson McCausland has pointed out if you say you are an ‘Ulster-Scot’ then you are an Ulster-Scot.

All these surnames could be described therefore as ‘Ulster-Scots’, that is a cultural label however, nothing to do with the linguistics of the matter.

Lets hae a wee luck at thems a’ tha DUP whas up in tha big hoose.

Key : * (Gaelic surname), ** (possible Gaelic surname), *** (Gaelic place-name as a surname, note these are not considered Gaelic and do not necessarily indicate any Gaelic speaking ancestors).

Allan Bresland* (Ó Breasláin)
Wallace Browne** (Reasonable chance of being from Mac a’ Bhriuthainn or Mac ‘ille Dhuinn)
Thomas Buchanan* (from the place-name Both a’ Chanáin ‘Canán’s hut’ but it is believed that they were once MacAusaláin)
Gregory Campbell* (Caimbeul ‘twisted mouth’)
Trevor Clarke** (good chance of being Ó Cleirigh or Mac a’ Chleirich é)
Jonathan Craig*** (form Gaelic Creag ‘a rock’)
Alastair Ian Ross* (Rosach ‘from Ros’)
Nigel Dodds
Alex Easton
Jeffrey Donaldson* (Mac Domhnaill)
Arlene Foster
Simon Hamilton
William Hay (Not a Gaelic name but it has a Gaelic form, MacGaraidh)
David Hilditch
William Irwin** (there is a small chance it is from Ó hEireamhóin)
Nelson McCausland* (Mac Ausaláin, this one is may favourite)
Ian McCrea* (Mac Rath ‘son of grace’)
William McCrea* (Mac Rath)
Michelle McIlveen*(Mac Giolla Mhín)
Adrian McQuillan* (Mac Uighilín, this is a Gaelicised family)
Maurice Morrow** (small chance Mac Murchaidh)
Stephen Moutray (?)
Robin Newton
Ian Paisley*** (from the Gaelic Páislig, a place-name originally Latin)
Ian Paisley Jr*** (from the Gaelic Páislig, a place-name originally Latin)
Edwin Poots
George Robinson
Iris Robinson
Peter Robinson
Jim Shannon* (Ó Seanáin)
David Simpson
Jimmy Spratt
Mervyn Storey
Peter Weir** (good chance it is from Mac a’ Mhaoir)
Jim Wells
Sammy Wilson

So, 10/36 of the DUP assembly team have Gaelic surnames, more than a quarter. There are a further five possibles and there are three with a Gaelic place-name as a surname.

Interesting at least. I make no further comment. I will not be able to hang about but will call in tomorrow.

Update : Well one more thing, having done quite alot of ‘cross-community’ work, I have always found that the pupils I have met have always been more interested in their surnames than in any other subject I am asked to talk about.

Freelance journalist, working mostly in Irish.

Have my own independent news website – antuairisceoir.com – which is in constant need of material.

I am the former editor of the newspaper Gaelscéal, www.gaelsceal.ie