Ór + Flaith = Órfhlaith
Pronounce "Ohr" Pronounced Fla Pronounced Ohr-la
Órfhlaith is an Irish name that means golden princess. It is a combination of two words Ór – gold and Flaith – prince or princess. (We use the word flaith quite regularly in Hiberno-English – flaithiuil or flaithiulach – meaning generous or princely. Oh yeah, sez you, I know that one!) Putting the Ór before the Flaith, silences the f, so it becomes Ohr - la, rather than Ohr –fla. The symbol over the O is called a fada (meaning long in Irish) – so that means it’s a long O, like the exclamation Oh! (Oh! So that’s how you say it!) And the last la is short like that in Pamela.
And the Ni Chonaill – ni (pronounced like the knee in your leg) and Chonaill (pronounced Kunnill with a scratchy K sound – like gargling – in the back of your throat) simply means daughter of O’Connell.
I have agonized over the years about whether I should anglicise my name to reach a wider audience with my writing. Recently, my friend Nuala Ni Chonchuir changed her Irish name to Nuala O’Connor for the release of her book, Miss Emily, which was published by Penguin. But the common anglicisation of Órfhlaith is Orla which unfortunately translates as ‘vomit’ in Irish. And there are many Orla O’Connells around. Whereas, in internet circles Órfhlaith Ní Chonaill is almost uniquely me at the moment.