|Meaning||poet, philosopher, storyteller|
|Cognate(s)||Tadgh, Taigh, Taidgh, Tighe, Teague, Taig, Ty, Tiger|
Tadhg or Tadgh (//, // or //), is an Irish and Scottish Gaelic boy's name that was very common when the Gaelic languages predominated, to the extent that it is a synecdoche for Irish Gaelic man. The name signifies "poet" or "philosopher". This was also the name of many Gaelic Irish kings from the 10th to the 16th centuries, particularly in Connacht and Munster. Tadhg is most common in south-west Ireland, particularly in County Cork and County Kerry.
The name has enjoyed a surge in popularity recently, becoming the 40th most common name for baby boys in 2010 according to the Central Statistics Office in Ireland, up from 69th place in 2005. Since the early modern period, in the guise of the strawman "Taig" the name has featured in sectarian propaganda contexts as a symbol of "the Other" for British descended Protestants.
The commonly accepted meaning of Tadhg is "poet" or "storyteller". The ultimate derivation is from the Celtic *tazg(j)o-, meaning 'badger'; the use of the badger's subcaudal secretions (Latin taxea or adeps taxonina) in healing was documented already in early Mediaeval times, and this may have associated badgers with healers, who were poets in early Celtic society. In any case, the related name element Tasgo-, Tasco-, or Taxo- is widely attested in Gaulish and early British names around the time of the Roman conquest (see, e.g., Tasgetius, Tasciovanus, Moritasgus).
When the whole of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom, many Irish names and place-names were given English meanings. Due to similarity in sound, Tadhg is often listed as an Irish equivalent of the Judeo-Christian names Thaddeus, Timothy (Tim) or sometimes Thomas, but these names are not actually related.
The name is also spelled "Taḋg" in the Irish uncial alphabet with an overdot over the d to indicate it is lenited; the "dh" serves a similar purpose in the modern spelling. Tadhg has been popularly anglicized as "Tighe" and "Teague". Alternative spellings are "Tadgh", "Taigh", "Taidgh" (found in North London). The name is found once in an Old Norse Viking source spelled as "Taðkr".
Tadhg is also a synecdoche and was once so common as an Irish name that it became synonymous with the typical Irishman in the same way that Paddy or Mick might be today. Hence, Irish phrases such as Tadhg an mhargaidh (lit: Tadhg of the market) or Tadhg na sráide (lit: Tadhg of the street) are similar to the English language expression "average Joe" or "the man on the street"
Williamite and Jacobite
In the late 1680s, the name "Taig" appears in the satirical Williamite ballad Lillibullero which includes the line "Ho brother Taig hast thou heard the decree?" In 1698, John Dunton wrote a mocking account of Ireland titled Teague Land - or A Ramble with the Wild Irish. Thereafter the derogatory use of the term was frequent.
However, there is also evidence from this era of the name continued to be used as a source of pride for assertive Gaelic Irish people. An Irish language Jacobite poem written in the 1690s includes the following lines:
"You Popish rogue" is not spoken
but "Cromwellian dog" is our watchword,
"Who goes there" does not provoke fear,
"I am Tadhg" is the answer given
Although the term has rarely been used in North America, a notable example of such use was when John Adams successfully defended the British Army soldiers responsible for the 1770 Boston Massacre by pleading to the jury that the soldiers were acting in self-defence against:
"... most probably a motley rabble of saucy boys, negros and molattoes, Irish Teagues and outlandish jack tarrs. —And why we should scruple to call such a set of people a mob, I can't conceive, unless the name is too respectable for them:"
"Taig" and the Troubles
In the context of segregation in Northern Ireland and sectarianism in Glasgow, the term "Taig" (along with Tim) is used as a racist epithet and derogatory term for a Roman Catholic, used by Northern Irish Protestants and Ulster loyalists. In this sense it is used in a similar way to the word Fenian, but is more ethnic or racial in terms of abuse against people of Gaelic descent than "Fenian" which more commonly signifies Irish republican. Extremist loyalists have also used in graffiti slogans such as "Kill All Taigs" (KAT) and "All Taigs Are Targets".
List of people
- Tadg mac Conchobair (died 900), king of Connacht
- Tadg mac Cathail (died 956), king of Connacht
- Tadg mac Conchobair (died 962), king of Ailech
- Tadhg mac Muircheartach (died 971), king of Uí Díarmata
- Tadhg Mór Ua Cellaigh (died 1014), king of Uí Maine
- Tadc mac Briain (died 1023), contender for king of Munster
- Tadg in Eich Gil (died 1030), king of Connacht
- Tadhg mac Muirchertach (fl. 11th century), king of Moylurg
- Tadg mac Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair (died 1097), king of Connacht
- Tadhg mac Muireadach Mac Cárthaigh (died 1123), king of Desmond
- Tadhg Mor mac Maelruanaidh (died 1124), king of Moylurg
- Tadhg Ua Cellaigh (abducted 1145), king of Uí Maine
- Teige Ua Con Ceannainn (fl. 1152), king of Uí Díarmata
- Tadg Gláe macDiarmata Ó Briain (died 1154), claimed king of Desmond
- Tadhg Cael Uisce Ó Briain (died 1269), tanist of Thomond
- Tadhg mac Diarmata (died 1281), king of Moylurg
- Tadhg Ó Cellaigh (died 1316), king of Uí Maine
- Tadgh Óg Ó Cellaigh (died 1340), king of Uí Maine
- Tadgh na gcoar Ó Ruairc (died 1376), king of West Breifne
- Tadgh Ruadh Ó Cellaigh (died 1410), king of Uí Maine
- Tadhg na Mainistreach Mac Carthaigh Mór (died 1428), king of Desmond
- Tadhg Riabhach Ó Dubhda (died 1432), king of Ui Fiachrach Muaidhe
- Tadhg mac Tigernán Mór Ó Ruairc (died 1435), king of West Breifne
- Tadhg an Glemore Ó Briain (died 1438), king of Thomond
- Tadhg an Chomhaid Ó Briain (died 1466), king of Thomond
- Tadhg mac Diarmaid Ó Máille (died 1467), king of Umaill
- Tadhg Caech Ó Cellaigh (abdicated 1476), king of Uí Maine
- Tadhg mac Diarmata (died 1499), king of Moylurg
- Tadgh Liath Mac Carthaigh Mór (died 1503), king of Desmond
- Tadgh na Leamhna Mac Cárthaigh (died 1514), claimed king of Desmond
- Tadhg Ruadh mac Toirrdelbach (died 1553), king of Mide
- Tadhg mac Brian Ballach Ó Ruairc (died 1560), king of West Breifne
- Tadhg mac Diarmata (died 1585), king of Moylurg
- Tadhg mac Briain na Murtha Ó Ruairc (died 1605), king of West Breifne
- Tadhg Cooke, Irish contemporary musician
- Tadhg Ó Donnchadha (1874–1949), activist for the Gaelic League
- Tadhg Kelly (born 1988), American actor and film producer
- Tadhg Kennelly (born 1981), Gaelic and Australian Rules footballer
- Tadhg Peavoy, Irish journalist and broadcaster for RTÉ
- Tadhg Dall Ó hÚigínn (1550-1591), Irish poet murdered allegedly for writing a satirical poem which insulted a rival aristocratic family
- "Teague, Taig". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) (pronunciations given for the name Tadgh separately from those for the slang/pejorative Teague)
- Irish Babies' Names 2010, Central Statistics Office
- Babies' Names, Oxford University Press, 1995, ISBN 0-19-211647-9, entry for "Tadhg"
- A Way With Words, Taig, retrieved August 2015 Check date values in:
- Céad buidhe re Dia ("A hundred thanks to God") by Diarmaid Mac Cárthaigh
- "Summation of John Adams" in Rex v. Wemms. umkc.edu. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- Conflict Archive on the Internet. "A Glossary of Terms Related to the Conflict". Retrieved August 2015. Check date values in:
- George MacDonald Fraser (1 December 2011). Flashman’s Lady (The Flashman Papers, Book 3). HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 978-0-00-744949-1.
- Lance Pettitt (2000). Screening Ireland: Film and Television Representation. Manchester University Press. pp. 124–. ISBN 978-0-7190-5270-5.