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John Bell ( -
Posted on Thursday, May 17, 2001 - 12:50 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Could someone help me with the following translation:


This is suppose to be the Gaelic pronunciation of the surname:


I need to verify the translation.

If you can help please email me @
Thank you in advance

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Seosamh ( -
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2001 - 06:08 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

It wouldn't be the pronunciation of Bell in Irish, of course, but a surname used in Irish as its equivalent. I assume Mac Giolla Mhaoil means the attendant of Maol (from the word for bald). It is proonounced MAK GILL-uh WEEL.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything to link Bell and Mac Giolla Mhaoil. The latter, Gaelic surname is not listed in any of the books I have access to. MacLysaght does have an entry for Bell, but gives no native surname as equivalent to it. Bell is described as one of the ten most common English surnames to have taken root in Ireland and to have come ultimately from the Old French Bel, meaning beautiful. In Ireland, Bell is found mostly in the four counties of the Northeast.

It could still very well be that the two surnames are linked. When people with foreign surnames became Irish enough, the would take a Gaelic name as an equivalent, not necessarily one that matched very well. The Anglo-Norman name Bermingham, for example, has Mac Fheorais as its Irish language version. That's not much for you to go on. Maybe some one else has more information.

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