Actually, Micheal where both the ‘i’ and the ‘a’ have a little accent over them – as in Mícheál.
This, as it happens, is the Irish way of writing and saying ‘Michael’, and not just another case of a kid’s parents not being able to properly spell one of the most popular masculine names of the twentieth century, if you’ll forgive the split infinitive.
So how do you pronounce Mícheál? Easy – MEE-HAWL.
Say again? MEE-HAWL.
And why is any of this important?
Well, there are many reasons, but not the least of them is that the newly installed Irish PM is a Mícheál – Mícheál Martin.
Here’s the new PM resplendent in a universally recognisable politician’s blue suit and tie – even in Poblacht na hÉireann. (We will leave you to pronounce that one. Perhaps Republic of Ireland is a tad easier for us lapsed Irish!)
And, by way of a very subtle segue, if you haven’t picked up on the fascinating realignment of old foes and new forces in Irish politics, read this excellent account in the New York Times. Much more interesting than Australian politics at the moment.