- Irish Names, Donnchadh Ó Corráin & Fidelma Maguire, 1981 (p. 15)
- Pronounced 'ay-val' with stress on the first syllable. (Can be prounounced 'evil'.)
- Meaning 'daughter of'
- Pronounced 'in-gen'
- Genitive Form: Dairmata
- Lenited Sound: The 'D' is written as 'D' and pronounced '\dh\' (like the 'th' in 'this').
- 100 Most Popular Men's Names in Early Medieval Ireland , Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn
- Corpus Genealogiarum Hiberniae, M.A. O'Brien, Vol 1, Dublin: The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1976
- Irish Names, Donnchadh Ó Corráin & Fidelma Maguire, 2nd Ed., 1990
Or, a pair of flaunches gules, overall three snails in fess counterchanged.
Note: My father's name is used in the genitive case and lenited. The genitive indicates possession and the lenition indicates that my name is feminine. Lenition is a softening of the initial sound of a word. It is sometimes shown by a change in spelling. (Lenition information from Early Irish Feminine Names from the Index to O'Brien's "Corpus Genealogiarum Hiberniae")
My History. Munster, Ériu: The mid 11th century. Donnchad O'Brien has been King of Munster since the death of his father Brian Bóruma in 1014 at the battle of Clontarf. Diarmait MacMáil na mBó has been King of Ériu and Leinster since 1042.
My father's parents, Colmán and Uaithne, met at a village fair in the spring of 1045. Colmán was the son of a well to do vintner and Uaithne's parents ran a modestly prosperous Inn. Uaithne, who had lead a fairly sheltered life up to this point, was quickly taken with the charming vintner's son. Their parents arranged many meetings between the two (It was widely suspected that merging their businesses into one large well-stocked Inn played a part in this) and they married a year later. Uaithne became noticibly pregnant soon after their marraige. Colmán who was learning to manage the Inn, advisioned happy years spent with children underfoot and was overjoyed. Unfortunately, Uaithne's pregnancy was troublesome and she was often too tired to take much interest in the Inn. Their parents cared for the her as much as they could while making sure their offspring would be well settled.
In the winter of 1047, Uaithne gave birth to a son, Dairmait. He was a small and weak baby at first but grew stronger quickly as months passed. Uaithne remained weak long after the birth and the midwife suggested she bear no more children. Uaithne and Colmán were saddened by this advice but Colmán loved his frail wife and was not willing to risk her loss even for a larger family. Both of them had many siblings with children of their own who visited regularly so they were content. Dairmait grew into a tall handsome young man. He was at ease around the nobility who came through having dealt with them all his life. He helped his father run the family's inn and care for his mother who had never quite recovered from his birth.
My mother's parents, Lugaid and Macha, grew up in the same village and eventually married in the summer of 1043, much to the dismay of the other unmarried lads in the village. They had twin sons born in 1044 and a daughter, my mother Sinech, born in 1050. Macha worked as a muslin sewer, a trade she learned from her mother and eventually taught to mine. She sold her fine embroidery to gentle ladies and was well know for her tiny precise stiching. Lugaid was a fewterer, a hound keeper, for Donnchad O'Brien, the King of Munster.
In 1063, Donnchad O'Brien abdicated the throne of Munster and things were very tense for awhile. Lugaid feared for his livelihood. His sons left to find work as soldiers in the various armies that gathered to fight for the throne. Sinech, 13 at the time, helped her mother embroider for even in the unsettled times, they still had many orders from gentle ladies. Colmán's Inn suffered in the harsh times but with the help of his son, they pulled through.
Uaithne passed away due to an illness in 1066 and Colmán followed soon afterwards, from grief it was said. Devastated over the death of his parents, Dairmait ran the Inn as best he could by himself. Lugaid took his daughter along with him while going to pick up a new puppy for the head fewterer. During the trip, they passed a night at Dairmait's Inn. Dairmait flirted with Sinech who responded in kind (somewhat to the annoyance of her father). However, he had a good eye for promising circumstances and reasoned that a prosperous innkeeper would be a good match for his daughter. During the next year, he found many excuses to travel with his daughter and somehow they always managed to stay at the Inn.
A year later in 1067, Murchad macDonnchada became King for a very short period of time followed by Toirrdelbach O'Brien who also gained the throne of Ériu. Lugaid, fearing for the families safety, did not travel much during this time and Sinech worried that Dairmait would find another in her absence. When the dust had settled, Dairmait having missed Sinech desperately asked her parents for their permission to wed her. In spring of 1068 Dairmait mac Colmáin and Sinech ingen Lugdach were married.
My Story. I was born in the year 1074 to Dairmait and Sinech. I was the youngest of four children, 3 girls and a boy. My next older sibling, my sister Temair, was only two years older than me so I spent most of my childhood alternatively fighting with her and following her around.
My parents owned an inn, the best in Munster. My mother worked as a muslin sewer and so the linens in our Inn were always covered in pretty patterns. My father ran the Inn and was reputed to have connections to vintners and so had some of the best wine around. My older siblings waited tables under my mother's watchfull eye. Temair and I were too young so we spent most of our time in the kitchen getting underfoot and cleaning dishes.
The mid 1080's were troublesome years. In 1083, Domnall macArdgar O'Lochlainn O'Néill became king of Ériu. Toirrdelbach O'Brien retreated to Munster and was soon succeded by his son, Diarmait macToirrdelbaig O'Brien, in 1086. Domnall remained king of Ériu for only 3 years and was succeded by Muirchertach II MacToirdelbaig O'Brien also in 1086. There was heavy fighting during this time which made my father nervous about our safety. During a storm one night the inn caught fire, whether by lightning or bandits, I do not know. The storm drenched the fire and we were all unhurt but my father decided it was time for the family to move.
Some family friends knew an Englishman who was hiring men to work on the Domesday for William the Conquerer. The Englishman swore that times in England were much more peaceful. My father decided that life in England was better than raising his family amidst all the fighting in Ireland. In 1086 we, and my grandparents, moved to Witham, Essex.
My father counted sheep and other livestock for the Domesday while my brother ran our new inn with the help of my mother and grandparents. Temair and I cooked and waited tables. My father made friends with the local wine merchants, a knack that had always served us well, and in time the inn prospered and we were able to hire an actual staff, we were truly merchant class.