I was inspired to chose the name Jams O’ Donnell because of an episode in the Poor Mouth. In it the main character Bonaparte O’ Coonassa, is at his first day at school:
We all gathered in the schoolhouse. We all sat on benches, without a word or a sound for fear of the master. He cast his venomous eyes ever the room and they alighted on me where they stopped. By jove! I did not find his look pleasant while these two eyes were sifting me. After a while he directed a long yellow finger at me and said: “Phwat is yer nam?”
I did not understand what he said nor any other type of speech which is practised in foreign parts because I had only Gaelic as a mode of expression and as a protection against the difficulties of life. I could only stare at him, dumb with fear. I then saw a great fit of rage come over him and gradually increase exactly like a rain-cloud. I looked around timidly at the other boys. I heard a whisper at my back: “Your name he wants!”
My heart leaped with joy at this assistance and I was grateful to him who prompted me. I looked politely at the master and replied to him: “Bonaparte, son of Michelangelo, son of Peter, son of Owen, son of Thomas's Sarah, grand-daughter of John's Mary, grand-daughter of James, son of Dermot…”
Before I had uttered or half-uttered my name, a rabid bark issued from the master and he beckoned to me with his finger. By the time I had reached him, he had an oar in his grasp. Anger had come over him in a flood-tide at this stage and he had a businesslike grip of the oar in his two hands. He drew it over his shoulder and brought it down hard upon me with a swish of air, dealing me a destructive blow on the skull. I fainted from that blow but before I became totally unconscious I heard him scream:
“Yer nam, said he, is Jams O'Donnell!”
So there you have it. I hope you sleep easier with this knowledge in your head. It’s like will never be there again….