Here's an explanation of how we chose the name "ní Dhána"
(pronounced "nee ghawna")
We wanted a last name we both could share. We decided to use the Gaeilge
(Irish Gaelic) prefix "ní" (in ASCI text sometimes a "/" is used
after the "i" to indicate that there should be an accent mark over the
"i") which means "daughter of" (this seemed appropriate for a couple of
We didn't want to use a family name from either of our respective ancestries,
though, as this didn't seem fair! So we selected "Dana" because it is a
common enough last name, but also could be considered a derivative of the
name of the Pan-European Goddess Danu/Dannan (her name is found on rivers
spanning Europe: the Danube, Dnieper, the Don, etc.
This seemed fitting as we are both predominantly Irish by descent, but
also each have "American Mutt" ancestry as well (I have a Grandmother who
was born in the Ukraine - in the general direction that the Celts came
from in the first place!).
In addition, "Dána" means "bold or brash" (and maybe a bit of a
troublemaker) in Gaeilge. That seems fitting!
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© 1997 Robin A. NíDána
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