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Máire is the Irish language form of the Latin Maria, which was in turn a Latin form of the Greek names Μαριαμ, or Mariam, and Μαρια, or Maria, found in the New Testament. Both New Testament names were forms of the Hebrew name מִרְיָם or Miryam English language name Mary. It was and still is a popular name in Ireland, and is sometimes spelt in its Anglicised form Maura. Historically, Maol Muire (devotee of Mary) was the reverential form used by the Irish, just as Giolla Phádraig (servant of Pádraig) was the reverential usage for what subsequently became Pádraig. Following the Norman Invasion of Ireland, Máire gradually replaced Maol Muire as a given name, as Pádraig gradually replaced Giolla Phádraig. Its overwhelming popularity was due to the Irish devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, but in recent times Irish religious devotion has waned and far fewer girls are being named Máire or Mary.
Completely unrelated to this, Maire is also a female first name in Finland and Estonia.
Anyone who is usually known by the name Maria or its derivatives would have been registered as Máire at school in Ireland as this is the norm with all names where there is a translation. Even outside of school, a woman may, if she so chooses, be known as Máire on all legal documents as an Irish person's name has a legal form in either official language of the State. For example; a woman named Mary Murphy in English would be known in Irish as Máire Ní Mhurchú if she is unmarried and Máire Uí Mhurchú if she is married.
Due to a very strong devotion of Irish Catholics to the Blessed Virgin Mary, a special exception is made for her name. In Irish, she is known as Muire and no one else may take that name similar to the way the name Jesus is not used in most languages.
People with the given name
- Maire Aunaste (born 1953), an Estonian journalist
- Maire Breathnach, an Irish actress
- Máire Breatnach, an Irish fiddle player
- Maire Comerford (1892-1982), an Irish republican
- Máire Drumm (1919-1976), the vice president of Sinn Féin and a commander in Cumann na mBan
- Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (born 1950), an Irish politician
- Máire Gill (1891–1977), a political activist
- Maire Gullichsen (1907–1990), Finnish art collector and patronage
- Máire Hoctor (born 1963), a former Irish Fianna Fáil politician
- Máire Hughes, 2012 Miss Ireland
- Maire Lynch (fl. 1547), a member of the Tribes of Galway
- Máire MacNeill (1904-1987), an Irish journalist, folklorist and translator
- Máire Mannion, an Irish choral director of RTÉ Cór na nÓg
- Máire Mhac an tSaoi (born 1922), an Irish language scholar, poet, writer and academic
- Máire Mullarney (1921-2008), an Irish environmentalist, educationalist and Esperanto advocate
- Máire Nic an Bhaird (born 1982), a secondary school teacher and Irish language activist
- Máire Ní Bhraonáin or Moya Brennan, an Irish singer
- Máire Ní Chathasaigh (born 1956), an Irish harpist and singer
- Máire Ní Chinnéide (1879–1967), an Irish language activist, playwright and first President of the Camogie Association
- Máire Ní Ghuairim (1896-1964), an Irish teacher, author and Sean-nós singer
- Maire o Ciaragain, a woman who led Irish clans in revolt against the English in the 15th century
- Maire O'Neill (1885-1952), an Irish actress of stage and film
- Maire Tecnimont, the head of an Italian Group in Engineering & Main Contracting sector
- Máire Uí Dhroigneáin, an Irish actress
- Máire Whelan, an Irish barrister and senior counsel
|Look up Appendix:Names_derived_from_Miryam in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|