How to Pronounce Barry Keoghan's Name (We've Been Doing It Wrong All Along)

How to Pronounce Barry Keoghan's Name (We've Been Doing It Wrong All Along)
Image credit: Amazon Studios

Keoghan believes the complexity of his name attracts more attention. Well, it is hard to argue with that.


  • The name Barry Keoghan is of Irish Gaelic origin.
  • However, it is not pronounced exactly according to the rules.
  • The actor jokes that this has allowed many Irish people to break through to the world stage.

In the mid-2010s, not many people had a clue who Barry Keoghan was. Sure, Irish film and television aficionados had heard of the actor, but it was 2017 that marked a pivotal moment for the actor, with the release of three internationally produced films that made him a star on a global scale. First there was the Bulgarian indie drama Light Thereafter, then the insane Yorgos Lanthimos' The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and then, of course, Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk. Now Keoghan is one of the most recognizable up-and-coming actors, working with HBO, A24, Disney, Warner Bros, Amazon and Apple.

And it looks like we'll be hearing about more high-profile roles for the Irish actor in the coming years, so his mentions in the media and news headlines will only increase. And if you like the actor, it's definitely worth memorizing the spelling and sound of his name, which isn't really obvious since it doesn't quite follow the accepted Irish Gaelic pronunciation. Let's take a look at how to pronounce Barry Keoghan's name correctly.

Barry Keoghan Is Irish through and Through

Today, Barry Keoghan, 31, may be an international star, appearing in British and American film and television, as well as an ambassador for Dior and Burberry, but he is a Dubliner to the core. Although his childhood and adolescence were not easy, it was in Dublin that he grew up, studied drama, and landed his first roles in Irish film and television.

Thus, the actor's name has a fitting Irish origin. Barry is an anglicized or shortened version of the Gaelic names Báire, Finbarr or Fionnbharr.

The family name Keoghan is also of Irish origin, coming from either the Irish Mac Eochagáin or the Ulster Irish Mag Eochagáin, which translates as 'son of Eochagán'. Keoghan is a shortened and anglicized form.

Correct Pronunciation of Barry Keoghan's Name

The name Barry is pronounced the same as in any other English-speaking country, there can be no disagreement except perhaps about accents. The pronunciation of the surname, however, is less obvious.

In New Zealand, for example, the surname is so heavily influenced by English that it is pronounced without any Gaelic connotation, 'KOHG-ən', as in the case of TV personality Phil Keoghan. What's more, in Gaelic, the combination 'gh' usually means a silent 'g', but in many Irish families it is customary to pronounce it. This is the case with Barry Keoghan, as the actor explained in an interview with Geek Ireland:

'You pronounce the G. Or at least I do. Maybe I've just been pronouncing it wrong all these years but yeah, the g sound is in there.'

As for the 'Keo' part of Barry's last name, it is pronounced 'KYOH'. In other words, it sounds like 'KYOH-gən', as you can hear in the video below of the actor saying his name:

Notably, Barry Keoghan is well aware of how confused people in other countries are by Gaelic names, and joked that this is what has made him and other Irish people so popular:

'But I find that if you have a difficult to pronounce name, you're more likely to go far especially in the US. Like Saoirse Ronan and all the talk of how to pronounce her name; so maybe it's a benefit having a peculiar name.'

So there you have it folks, we now know the correct pronunciation of Barry Keoghan's name and it is actually not as hard as it might seem!

Source: Geek Ireland.