Where Did You Come From? Where Did You Go?

I’m starting this post with a smile on my face, as I stole the title from Cotton-Eye Joe. Now I never thought I would do that, but at least it’s appropriate for my topic of discussion! Earlier this week, I joined a writing class at the town centre near where I live (I don’t know I single guy my age who would join such a thing; then again, I don’t have any friends who want to become journalists). The ice-breaking activity was to write my full name down on paper and state what each name means, where it came from etc. Simple, yes, but it really got me thinking – how much meaning and history lies behind our names? What hides behind those names that we say near enough every day?

Now for poor Cotton-Eye Joe, his name doesn’t exactly paint a great picture of himself (Yeah…  it’s not just the ‘ultimate redneck song’). Names are a crucial part of today’s society. They help to make a first impression, to define yourself as a person and make yourself known to others. Personally, my name is just something that I write to fill in forms and introduce myself to others – but there is a lot more behind it than that. I’ll show you my full name and tell you how it reflects on me as a person: Adrian Charles ‘Peter’ Horan.

Adrian quite literally means ‘From Hadria’, a place who’s name was borne by the emperor who had this built in his reign:            

Yeah, he was pretty powerful. Charles has been the name of numerous kings and princes throughout history (there’s even a prince alive now who’s called Charles. He is Her Majesty’s son, no biggy). Peter is my Catholic confirmation name, which I chose because even though he did wrong against Jesus, he was always close and faithful to him. Horan is one of the most common Irish surnames to date. To sum up, I’m a powerful Irish Catholic. Well… not really, but it’s not something people would guess when you look at me and ask me what my name was.

My last name is something which tends to surprise people, because not many people even know I’m part Irish apart from my close friends. I’ve always been primarily English – I speak with a Yorkshire accent, I love British food and I love Doctor Who (If you don’t like Doctor Who, then you might need to consider doing so. It’s ‘amazeballs’, to quote one of my past articles). But there is a part to both me and my family that wants to embrace our Irish heritage. My Dad is the Irish-bred member of the household, and it has certainly rubbed off on the family as we have grown up. We have a ‘FECK’ reg plate hanging above our kitchen door and there’s an ornament in our garden holding a Magners bottle. ‘Nuff said, really. Ireland’s my favourite place in the world; I have travelled with my family there umpteen times and I always want to go back after each visit. I’ve always wanted to embrace my heritage (I’ve finally perfected an Irish accent being constantly around my Dad = win), and I think it is important that we all should. Names are not just something we apply to ourselves. They are a reason to delve into our past and explore what makes the history of ourselves. Hopefully this has inspired my readers to do the same, or to listen to Cotton-Eye Joe for old times sake? Heck, why not do both?

And for all you Horans out there (or just anyone who was interested, really) here’s a picture of my family crest. It’s something to be proud of!              

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4 thoughts on “Where Did You Come From? Where Did You Go?

  1. Cool post! As a writer myself, I find names (and their history) fascinating, as well.

    Thanks for the follow, BTW. I look forward to reading more of your work.

  2. Glad to hear you joined the writing class. Is it the young writers one at Darts? Did you hear about it via my Facebook page or twitter? If so it would be nice to know, so I can add it to my (as yet rather small) list of examples of the benefits of using social networking as a teacher.

    A blog post about the writing group would be interesting, I think.

    1. I did indeed! And that’s a great idea, my next writing class is on Thursday so hopefully it gives me some ideas. The worst thing about it though… I was the only one turned up! Is there any chance that you might be able to spread the word to your form or other students? It’s a great class and it’d be good if it became much more noticed.

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