What Is The Older Irish Version Of The Name Grace?


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The name Grace itself didn't appear until the 17th century, when it became one of the "virtue" names adopted by the Puritans. It became popular in Ireland for quite another reason; because in sound and spelling it vaguely resembles the ancient Celtic name Grainne (with an accent on the "a"; the name is pronounced GRON-you.) Grainne probably derives from the old Gaelic word gran, or "grain" and may be the name of an ancient goddess of corn and fertility.

In Irish mythology, Grainne was the daughter of King Cormac. The hero Finn, leader of the Fenian warriors, loved Grainne, but she eloped with his nephew Diarmait. Finn pursued them, eventually causing Diarmait's death, after which Grainne killed herself. In the 16th century an Irish sea commander, known to the English as Grace O'Malley, was actually named Grainne.

The name is still occasionally used in its old Gaelic form, especially in Ireland. The name Grace has never been very common, though it is sometimes chosen by parents for its religious connotations. Famous Graces include the late singer Gracie Fields.

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