Great Irish Names for Your Baby

On March 17, millions of Americans of Irish heritage celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with parades and parties.  If you love the vibe of St. Patty’s and want a little luck o’ the Irish, consider naming your baby one of these cool Gaelic names. According to irishcentral.com, these are the top Gaelic names being used in Ireland today.

Of course if you’ve ever stared at the name “Sean” and wanted to say “scene”, you understand that pronunciation can be an issue for Americans using Irish names. One suggestion is to “Americanize” the spelling. For example, we named our son from the Gaelic name Tadhg, but changed the spelling to Tighe so it better resembles the pronunciation (TIE-guh). Plenty of people still mispronounce it, because they haven’t seen it before. But it’s definitely an original name and in seven years we’re only met one other boy with the same name. For that we love it!

If you think you might want an Irish name, you need to check out this list of the top Gaelic names (and their pronunciations).

Top Irish Girls Names

  1. Aoife (ee-fa): In Irish mythology, Aofie is the greatest female warrior in the world. The name means beautiful, radiant, or joyful.
  2. Caoimhe (kwee-va or kee-va): It means beautiful or precious.
  3. Saoirse (ser-sha): This name has only been around since the 1920s, and means liberty or freedom.
  4. Ciara (kee-ra): This name comes from the Gaelic ciar which means dark.
  5. Niamh (neev or nee-iv): This translates to radiance or luster.
  6. Roisin (ro-sheen): An old name dating to the 16th century, Rosheen means little rose.
  7. Cara: Cara is the Gaelic word for friend.
  8. Clodagh (cloda): The river Clodagh runs through Ireland’s Tipperary and Wexford Counties.
  9. Aisling (ash-ling): This one has only been in use as a girl’s name for the last 100 years. It means dream or vision.
  10. Eabha (ey-va): Eabha is the Irish form of Eve.

Top Irish Boys Names

  1. Conor: This one’s already been Americanized, from the Gaelic name Conchobhar. It’s often translated as lover of hounds.
  2. Sean: The Irish version of John, Sean means God is gracious.
  3. Oisin (uh-sheen or o-sheen): In Irish mythology, Oisin is the son of a renowned hunter and a goddess. After dark forces turn his mother into a deer, she raises him the forest. Oisin means little deer.
  4. Patrick: The Gaelic version is Padraig, the patron saint of Ireland. It means nobly born.
  5. Cian (kee-an): This name means ancient or enduring.
  6. Liam (lee-am): Liam means strong willed or protector. It’s the Irish version of the German-origin William.
  7. Cillian (kill-ee-an): It can refer either to war or the church (there are several St. Cillians in Irish history).
  8. Fionn (finn): Popular in the United States as Finn, this name means fair headed or small blonde soldier. Well known in Irish mythology, Fionn MacCool is the generous, brave, and handsome leader of the warrior band “The Fianna.”
  9. Rian (ree-an): From the Irish word for king, Rian means little king.
  10. Callum: Callum means dove.

What do you think of these cool Gaelic names? Which ones do you love?

About Katie Quirk Dunyon

I'm a married mom of two living in Seattle, WA. I have a seven-year-old little boy, a first grader! He's a fairly reserved kid and all about Legos and building sets. I also have a little girl who turned three at the end of February. She's a tiny thing but a big ham; we call her our clown. They're a lot of work but also a ton of fun. I love to eat, cook, and run (in that order). But at the end of the day, give me a spot on the couch and a little bit of TV or a good book, I'm done!
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