Barry Keoghan Explains How To Pronounce His Surname After People Struggle To Get It Right

Saltburn's Barry Keoghan has finally confirmed how to pronounce his name after the whole internet had a debate about it.
Credit: Alamy & Warner Bros. Pictures

Saltburn’s Barry Keoghan has finally confirmed how to pronounce his name after the whole internet had a debate about it.

Irish names are amongst some of the most beautiful out there – but let’s face it, they can be notoriously difficult to pronounce.

When Saoirse Ronan hit the big time a few years back, people were absolutely baffled by her spelling and pronunciation.

And now, another huge Irish star has hit the big time.

Barry Keoghan has already won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in The Banshees of Inisherin, and now his leading role in Saltburn is generating a lot of buzz.

And as his star continues to rise, fans have one major question.

How, exactly, do you pronounce Barry Keoghan’s name?

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So, first things first: why are Irish names spelt like that?

Well, an interesting article on Medium explains it all, but the general gist is that Irish has a phonetic writing system, meaning seemingly weird combinations of letters produce different sounds.

However, the surname Keoghan has sparked a fierce debate on Reddit.

One person writes on the forum: “I’m sure some of you have heard about Barry Keoghan winning a BAFTA recently and is currently nominated for an Oscar. It appears he has always pronounced the ‘g’ in his surname, but it’s an Irish name, and when ‘gh’ are together, you don’t pronounce the ‘g’.”

Barry Keoghan in Saltburn.
Barry Keoghan has revealed how to pronounce his surname. Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

People have been quick to offer their opinions on the matter.

One responds: “It’s pronounced the same as Keown (ie Kyown, 1 syllable).”

Another adds: “In Galway, we pronounce it Keo-hin.”

A third, who is also called Keoghan, affirms: “I’m another Keoghan from Dublin, we think that the link with Barry is back as far as great-grandparents (I don’t know him at all), but we always pronounce the G. As far as I know that my paternal grandad and his family in Eastwall all did.

“Based on comments here, it seems to be specific to Dublin. I know that I have cousins who spell it without a H now, to better fit how we pronounce it in English. Maybe some of you are here? Hello, other Keoghans!”

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Now, that’s all well and good – but how does thee Barry Keoghan pronounce his name?

Well, he’s revealed all to Geek Ireland, confirming the pronunciation as: “Keo-Gan. You pronounce the G. Or at least I do.

“Maybe I’ve just been pronouncing it wrong all these years but yeah, the ‘g’ sound is in there.

“But I find that if you have a difficult-to-pronounce name, you’re more likely to go far, especially in the US.

“Like Saoirse Ronan and all the talk of how to pronounce her name; so maybe it’s a benefit having a peculiar name.”

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Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.