Fionnula Flanagan

Next week will mark my four month anniversary as a contributor at The Blog of Funny Names. Can you believe it?! Doesn’t it feel like I’ve been talking here for at least fourteen months by now?!?

Wait; don’t answer that.

That’s not the point.

The point, fellow funny-name enthusiasts, is that I feel like we’ve established a deep and meaningful bond here. I mean, I swoon over my multitudes of Imaginary Boyfriends and you manage not to switch off your computer monitors; I rave about Television Shows That You’ve Never Heard Of and you refrain from reporting me to Dave and the boys; I make awkward acapella jokes and you still arrive to catch the latest Funny Names in the News every week …

I so appreciate you letting my geek flag fly around here, is what I’m saying. After all, if we didn’t have this connection, then I wouldn’t be able to introduce you to Fionnula Flanagan!

Fionnula Flanagan in Defiance

Fionnula, looking ageless on the set of “Defiance”

As with the subject of my inaugural BoFN post, Paulo Costanzo, I first spotted Fionnula’s fantastic name on my television screen. The difference, aside from some really awesome alliteration, is that Fionnula stars in of one of my favourite science fiction series, which is not something I would have shared with you in the early stages of our relationship.

But you and I both know we’ve moved way beyond that now.

Back to Fionnula: she was born and raised in Dublin, where her parents, Rosanna McGuirk and Terence Niall Flanagan wanted her to be fluent in both English and Irish. That education paid off when she got her big break: the role of Máire in the Telefís Éireann production of the Irish language play, An Triail. Her performance earned her a Jacob’s Award, which is the not-really-funny-named Irish version of the Emmy Awards. Luckily for us, Fionnula then proceeded to transcend this cultural difference by tackling a series of really-very-funny-named characters in television and film, including:

  • Gerty McDowell in “Ulysses”
  • Clothilde in “Rich Man, Poor Man”
  • Aimee Malissa “Teensy” Whitman in “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood”

More recently, Fionnula is known to geeks like me for her recurring characters on

Fionnula Flanagan with a puppy

Fionnula, looking adorable with a puppy.

supernatural series such as “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Lost”. Perhaps her selection of genre fare is the secret to her success, because at age 72 she shows no signs of slowing down, and is currently showing up in my living room every week as Nicolette “Nicky” Riordon in “Defiance“.

Well, I think that about wraps it up for me today! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to construct a miniature TARDIS out of popsicle sticks while listening to The Cranberries. Top o’ the morning to you all!

love amb

About amb

Would rather spend time in TV land than Corporate World. Writes at and wishes she was more like Ingrid Bergman.
This entry was posted in funny names in movies, funny names in tv and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Fionnula Flanagan

  1. Pingback: I’m at The Blog of Funny Names Today! | words become superfluous

  2. unfetteredbs says:

    Love alliteration. Her name is fun to say 🙂 she is a hot ticket for 72!
    Good morning to you as well

    • amb says:

      I do too. A word nerd to the core, I tend to use it a lot in my writing. I just love the rhythm it gives to sentences!

      Isn’t Fionnula just such a hot ticket? Must be the Irish genes, or something. I’m pretty sure she looks more put together than I do, most days 😉 Hope you have a fabulous day!

    • Dave says:

      I long for the days when people used terms like “hot ticket”… thanks for keeping a great thing alive!

  3. Marti says:

    I wonder what the puppy’s name is

  4. Liz says:

    Nicely written and fun to read post, amb 🙂 Looks a bit too “sweet old lady” to play in a sci fi like Defiance. Though it’s acting, yes? Fun to read about famous folks I hadn’t yet heard of. My mind has been expanded by yours yet again.

    lol–clicked over to your cranberry link and read about Arto’s being Freshly Pressed (yay!). Hadn’t known (or so I thought) and read through comments to find mine: “Nice food shot!” I called out the stock photo of cranberries (trying to be funny, I’d imagine), but said nothing about Arto’s amazing honor? Thinking I didn’t know what FP was at the time? heehee. Anyhoo, thanks for the ride, amb. Always a good way to start the day. Hope yours is grand.

    p.s. another blogiversary party–congrats on 4 mo 🙂 I’ll make a cake–with cranberries!

    • amb says:

      She’s totally not one of the good guys on Defiance, either. I think she uses her sweet old lady looks to her advantage – no one ever suspects the sweet old ladies, right?

      So glad you liked the post! I’m happy I could take you on a trip down BoFN memory lane. I don’t remember exactly what my comment was when Arto got FP’d, though I suspect there were a lot of exclamation marks. Clearly I was trying out something new and different back then 😉

      PS Thanks in advance for the cake – I love cranberries!!


    • amb says:


      Sorry to give you such a fright, my lovely! I hope you’re not too psychologically scarred to return – the boys will never forgive me if I’ve scared you off for good!

      • Arto says:

        That’s where I first remember seeing her too. In fact, she’s almost always played creepy old ladies in the stuff I’ve seen her in. Never once has she had an Irish accent acting opposite someone named Paddy that I recall. Great name!

      • Fortunately, I got over it pretty quickly, after having several brutal nightmares. But I don’t hold it against you. Hang on…. yeah I do a bit.

  6. Four months? Where has the time gone?

    I would love to look as good as Fionnula when I reach her age. She is a talented woman. Great post!

    • amb says:

      I know, I can’t get over it. She looks amazing, doesn’t she? Maybe it’s the name …

      Thanks for visiting as always, my friend!

  7. Dave says:

    What a lovely lady… and Fionnula ain’t bad either! *Winks at amb*

    I can’t recall seeing her in anything, but I’ll have to keep an eye open for her… I guarantee I will not overlook that name when I see it!

    Has it been 4 months?! Time does fly!

  8. Pingback: Troian Bellisario | The Blog of Funny Names

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s