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Got an Ann or Nan in your family tree? Our ancestors' penchant for naming a daughter after St. Anne has left so many of us with the daunting task of looking for a needle in a haystack. The good news is, we can help each other out.

Let's honour our female ancestors on their name-day this #StAnnesDay!

Add your Anna to our Ancestors roll-call for the day that's in it. Click here to ADD YOUR ANCESTOR

St Anne's Well in County Dublin

Lá Fhéile Áine ~ Anne's Feast Day or St. Anne's Day is traditionally associated with midsummer in Ireland. 

On July 25th every year, holy wells and shrines dedicated to St. Anne were visited by the locals to do a "pattern" (circumambulation and rosary recitation replicating the deiseal – an ancient Celtic rite). Visits to St Anne's Shrine still occur on this day in rural Ireland, with an open-air mass in some parts. 

People would come to Tobar Áine (Anne's Well) to bathe or drink the water as a cure. Such wells are numerous across the island. Even St Anne's Park in Raheny, was named for a holy well that sat on that site. 

  • In Dublin's fair city, the civil parish of St Anne covers the Georgian "suburb" of Merrion Square, St Stephen's Green North, Dawson Street, Nassau Street, and more. Was your ancestor from here? 

  • The nostalgic ballad "The Bells of Shandon" refers to St Anne's Church in Cork city. Was your ancestor baptised here? 

  • Montreal's St Anne's Ward, predominantly an Irish district in the 19th century, played a major role in the history of the Irish community in Canada.  Did your ancestor emigrate here?

Also, under the patronage of St. Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary, were schools, hospitals, parks, and even fairs (such as Co. Wexford's "Fair of St Anne's for young ladies and lambs"). In more recent times, many estates, community halls, and sports clubs bear the name. 

How Irish is the name Anne? 

Anne / Ann has long been a popular given name for Irish girls. But how far back does the tradition of this name go in Ireland? 

Devotion to StAnne came to Ireland with the Normans, who established shrines and chapels in her honour across the island. However, the Gaelic form predates Christianity.

Áine (pronunciation: AWN-ya or AW-neh) meaning "brightness, radiance, splendor" in Irish, was an Irish Celtic goddess of prosperity and the summer solstice. There are a number of ancient sites called Cnoc Áine after her. Rites in her honour (fire and the blessing of land) continued well into the 19th century at Knockainey Hill, Co Limerick.

Gaelic Notes  Anglicised
Áine Old Irish Anne / Ann / Anna
Áine Modern Irish  Anya / Aynia / Onya
Anna Latin Anna, Ann, Anne
Annie Little Anne Anny / Anni
Neansaí Nickname Nancy, Nan, Nanny, Nannie, Naney, Nanno, NanoNansí
Hannah Hebrew Hanna/ Johanna/ Joanna

In Roman Catholic baptisms (traditionally recorded in Latin) the Gaelic name Áine was often recorded as Anna / Annae or Annam. 


Got an ancestor named after St Brigid

Got an ancestor named after St Patrick

Got an Irish Ancestor named Mary or Maureen?

Over to you...

Got a 19th-century Anne or Nan in your family tree? We'd love if you added her to our Ancestors roll-call here:



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