Irish Baby Names

Search Ireland Fun Facts:

Here’s a list of Irish baby names, with a focus on names that are still alive in Ireland. There are hundreds more unique baby names in the Irish language, but we've passed over those that have fallen out of use.

The bolded version on top of each listing is the one that seems most popular in Ireland now -- that's sometimes an old Celtic name and sometimes a modernized version. It’s followed by other versions used in Ireland, with a pronunciation key.

Where historians disagree on the origin or translation of an Irish baby name, we’ve included several possible definitions (translations are from old Irish/Gaelic). If you think one is wrong, or you want to add some unique baby names that are Irish, please contact me.

Click to:   Baby Boy Names   Girl's Irish Names

Baby Boy Names

Aidan ir: Aedan, Aodhan p: “aid+an”
Means “little fire.” Often used in remembrance of St. Aidan of Iona, who restored Christianity to Northumbria, England, around 600 AD.

Aindriu or Andrew ir: Aindriu, Aindrias, Andreas p: “ann+drew”
Andrew was one of Christ’s 12 apostles. His name was popularized in Ireland by Norman settlers, who brought it there from Scotland. Andrew is that country’s patron saint.

Árdal p: “or+dal”
Variant on old Irish name Ardghal, which translates into “high valor.” More popular in Northern Ireland than in The Republic.

Bram p: "bramm"
Irish for Abraham.

Brendan ir: Breandan, Brandon p: “bren+dawn”
A large number of saints have this name, which is translated variously as “prince” (from original Welsh word “brenhin”) or “little raven.” Legend says that the most famous St. Brendan crossed the Atlantic, reaching North America, in the 6th century. Brendan Behan

Brian p: "bry+enn"
From the Irish word “brigh,” which means “noble and strong.” One of the most popular Irish baby names in Ireland and the U.S. because of Brian Boru, one of the best known figures in all of Irish legend. Boru was a king of Ireland who defeated the Vikings in 1014 at the Battle of Clontarf, though he was killed in the battle.

Cathal ir: Cahal p: “ka+hal”
Combination of the Irish words “cath” which means “battle and “all” which means “mighty.” This name is one of many variations on “Charles,” and has an association with warriors.

Cian p: “kee+an”
Means “ancient,” and is in fact a very old name associated with a son in law of King Brian Boru.

Ciaran ir: Kieran, Kieron, Keiran p: “keer-awn”
More than 25 saints have this name, which a fairly common among people of Irish heritage worldwide. Translates into “little dark one.”

Cillian ir: Killian p: “kil+e+en”
Cille means “close to the church.” St. Cillian went from Ireland to Germany around 650 AD, where he became the Bishop of Wurzburg. He was later executed for forbidding the marriage of a local lord to his brother’s widow.

Colm ir: Colum, Columb p: ”kul+im”
Translates as “dove.” After S. Columba of Iona, a scholar involved in creating the Book of Kells and founding over 40 churches in Ireland around 500 AD.

Connor ir: Connor, Conchobhar p: “con+er”
Extremely popular Irish baby name both in Ireland and the U.S. Connected to historical figure Conor McNeasa, who was King Of Ulster. Traslated variously as “strong willed,” “desire” and even “lover of hounds.” Derives from “con,” which means wolf.

Cormac ir: Cormick, Cormack p: “core+mac”
Means “son of charioteer.” Eight saints carry this name, as well as an ancient king of Ireland, Cormac Mac Airt, known for wisdom.

Declan ir: Deaglan p: “dek+lan”
Translates into “filled with goodness.” St. Declan promoted Christianity in Ireland even before St. Patrick. Several miracles have allegedly taken place on a beach near Ardmore known as “St. Declan’s Stone.”

Dermot ir: Dermott, Diarmid p: “der+mott”
Old Irish baby name translated variously as “free man” and “free of envy.”

Donal ir: Dohhnall, Dumhnuil, Dónall, Domnall p: “doe+naal”
Irish version of either “Donald” or “Daniel,” the baby boy name translates as “ruler of the world.” This was the name of many old Gaelic kings and noblemen.

Eamon p: “ay+mun”
An English name brought to Ireland by the Normans, probably a variation on “Edmund.” Signifies a guardian or protector. One of the more popular Irish baby names in modern times because of Eamon De Valera, the famous President of Ireland from 1959 – 73.

Emmet p: "ehm+et"
Derives from old Saxon name “Amete.” Long one of the most widely used baby boy names because of it’s association with Robert Emmet, a great orator who led the unsuccessful 1798 rebellion against England. Emmet was executed for high treason.

Fergus ir: Fearghus, Fearghais p: “fer+gus”
Translates as “strength” and associated with warriors, but also thought to derive from “fear.” Fergus was one of the famous kings of Ulster.

Flann ir: Flan, Flannery p: “flahn”
Translates as “blood red.” Many kinds, saints and scholars had this name. A particularly famous one, Flann Feorna, was King of Kerry, and is related to the O’Connor family. It was popular into the early 20th century, but is today one of the unusual baby boy names in Ireland.

Gerard ir: Gearoid, Gareth p: “jer+ard”
One of the most common Irish baby names for boys in Ireland, sometimes shortened to “Gary.” From an old Irish word that translates as “shining.”

Kevin ir: Kevan p: “kev+in”
Derived from old Irish name Coemhghin. Variously translated as “gentle child” and “beautiful offspring.” St. Kevin founded a major monastery at Glendalough, County Wicklow.

Liam ir: Uillium p: “lee+am”
The Irish version of William, which in tern is originally a German name meaning “protector.”

Malachy p: “ma+la+key”
The Anglicization of many many old Irish names that started with “mael,” which means “servant” or “devotee.”

Micheal p: “me+haul”
Popular Irish baby name from the archangel Michael, who defeated Satan.

Niall ir: Neal, Neil p: “nigh+all”
Name from Northern Ireland that translates as “chivalry.” NIALL (pr. Ni-al), NÉIL (pr. Nail): From 'Neil', 'Neale'. This is an Ulster derived name, now used all over Ireland. Possibly derived from “nel,” which means cloud.

Oisin p: “osh+een”
Son of legendary Irish figures Finn MacCool and Sive, the goddess. Means “a deer” or “little deer.” A figure who is reputed to have met St. Patrick, Oisin is the subject of dozens of Irish legends composed from the 13th century onward.

Padraig or Padraic ir: Padhraig, Padhraic p: “paud+rik”
From Patrick, the name of Ireland’s patron saint. Perhaps the most popular of all Irish baby names, it is often cut down to the nickname “Pat” or “Paddy.” Translates as “born noble” from the Latin word “patricus.” Interestingly, Patrick was never given to children as a name in Ireland before 1700, because it was considered too sacred.

Peadar ir: Peadair p: “peed+ar”
Translates as “the rock.” Christ made Peter the leader of his disciples, and he is considered the first Pope.

Quinlan i: Quilan p: “quin+lin”
Translates as “strong” or “athletic.”

Reamonn p: “ray+-moon”
Irish for Raymond.

Roibeard i: Riobard, Robaird p: “ro+baird”
Irish version of the English name Robert, brought to Ireland by the Normans.

Ronan p: “ro+nan”
From the Irish word for “seal.” The name is associated with a legend of a seal who becomes trapped in the form of a human (a “selkie” or seal maiden”) after after violating her parent’s warning never to stray to close to land. She lives a long life as a human but eventually returns to the sea. (A very nice, mysterious treatment of this story is offered in the 1994 movie “The Secret of Roan Inish” by John Sayles.)

Ryan ir: Rhyan, Rian p: "rye+an"
Translates as “little king.”

Seamus ir: Seamas, Seumus p: “shay+mas”
Irish for James. Translates as “one who supplants.” A shorter version sometimes used is Shimmih, or Jimmy.

Sean ir: Shaun, Shane, Seaghan p: “shawn”
Generally considered the Irish form of John; sometimes defined as another derivation of James. The variation Shane is quite popular in Northern Ireland because of a famous sixteenth century warrior there named Shane O’Neill. Name way brought to Ireland by the Normans. Variously translated as “gift from God” and “God is gracious.”

Tomas p: “toe+moss”
Irish form of Thomas. Translates literally as “twin.”

Terence ir: Terry, Turlough, Turlach, Terrence p: “ter+rense”
From old Roman name Terrance, which is of unknown translation. Sometimes translated as “tender.”

Trevor ir: Treabhar p: “trev+err”
Welsh name translated variously as “prudent” or “great settlement.”

Girls Irish Names

Ailbhe ir: Oilbhe p: “alv+eh”
Variously said to derive from the English name Olive or from the Irish word for “white” (from Greek word for while “alba.”)

Aine ir: Anne p: “awn+ya”
Irish for Ann. Translates as “joy” or “radience.”

Aisling ir: Aislinn, Aislynn, Isleen p: “ash+ling”
Translates as “vision” or “dream” from old Gaelic. One of the more uncommon baby names in Ireland historically, it has become more popular in the 20th century.

Aoife ir: Ava p: “ee+fa”
One of the oldest Irish girls names, derived from Eva. The name of many characters in Irish legend, and quite a popular baby name today in Ireland. Like Ann, translates as “radient.”

Bernadette p: “ber+na+dett”
Saint Bernadette (Bernadette Soubirous) is famous in Ireland and throughout Europe as the person the Virgin Mary appeared before in Lourdes, France in 1858.

Blath p: “bee+law”
Translates literally from old Irish as “flower” “flower bud.”

Brigid ir: Brigid, Breedah, Brighdin p: “bri+heed” or “brid+gett”
A very old and unique baby girl name, thought to derive from “brigh,” the Irish word for “strength.” Name of the daughter of the fire god in Irish mythology and also associated with Saint Brighid of Kildare, one of the patron saints of Ireland. Sometimes shortened to Bridin or “bride.”

Caitriona ir: Catriona, Caitlin, Caiti, Catraoine p: “ca+tree+na”
Irish form of Katherine. Translates as “pure.”

Cecilia ir: Cecily, Celia, Cilla, Sisily p: “si+sill+ya”
From a Roman family name “Caecilius,” which means “blind.” Brought to Ireland by the Normans.

Ciara ir: Ceara p: “keer+ah”
Translates from old Irish as “black haired one.”

Clare ir: Clair, Claire p “claare”
From a latin word meaning “bright.” Name of the western county in Ireland.

Clodagh ir: Clidna, Cliona p: “clo+dah” or “clee+oy+nah”
Old Irish name, whose meaning is not clear. Also the name of a river in County Tipperary.

Deirdre ir: Deedra, Diadra, Diedra p: “deer+dra”
Translated variously as “sorrowful” and “fear.” A very old but still-popular Irish name. In one celtic legend, Dierdra was Ireland’s most beautiful woman.

Eibhlin ir: Evelyn p: “eye+leen”
Irish form of Eileen. Meaning is unclear.

Eireen p: “eye+reen”
Translates as “peace.” The Gaelic form of Irene.

Erin ir: Éirinn p: “air+in”
Translates literally as “Ireland." Used as a girl's given name in modern times.

Fiona p: “fee+nuh”
From Irish word “fion” which means “fair” or “clear.” Sometimes lengthened to Fionnuala (p: “fin+oola”) meaning “fair shoulders” or “white shoulders.” Fionnuala, in turn, is sometimes shortened to Nuala (also pronounced “fin+ooh+la”).

Grainne ir: Grace p: “grow+nyuh”
Translates as “grain goddess.”

Grania p: “gran+yuh”
Also means “grain goddess.” A name most famous for it’s association with Grania Mhaol Ni Mhaolmhaigh, the female pirate known to her English enemies as Grace O’Malley. One of the more rare baby names in olden times, it has gained in popularity recently.

Maeve p: “mayve”
Irish form of Meadhbh. Popular in Ireland because of Queen Maeve, a first century B.C. warrior who is one of Ireland’s most colorful characters of legend. Her father gave her all of Connaught as a gift. The legendary Queen Maeve, who was possessed of tremendous military and sexual power, is said to be buried in a huge tomb at Knocknarea, in County Sligo. See article about
Knocknarea and Queen Maeve's tomb.

Maire ir: Mears, Maille, Mariead, Maureen p: “moy+ra”
Irish form of Mary, popular due to the association with the Virgin Mary. Was considered too holy to use as a given name in Ireland up to the 17th century.

Mallaidh p: “mal+ee”
The old Irish form of Molly, a name derived from Mary.

Muireann ir: Murainn p: “moo+eer+en”
Translates from old Irish as “long haired.”

Niamh p: “neeve”
Gaelic word meaning “bright.”

Patricia ir: Padraigin p: “pa+tri+shuh”
Feminine version of Patrick.

Rioghnach ir: Regina p:”ree+na” or “ree+oh+na”
Translates as “queen” or “queenly.”

Sadhbh ir: Sive, Sally p: “she+veh”
Translates as “goodness.”

Sinead ir: Sina, Shinead p: “shin+aid”
Irish for Jane, the feminine version of John.

Siobhan ir: Siubhan p: “shu+vahn”
Irish form of Joan.

Triona p: “tree+nuh”
Shorter version of Catriona, an Irish and Scottish form of Katherine.

Tara ir: Teamhair p: “ta+ruh”
One of the more unique baby names in Irish. Was not used as a name through most of Irish history, only as the name of the most famous hill of kings in the center of Ireland. The use of Tara as the estate’s name in “Gone With The Wind,” however, breathed new life into it as a girls Irish name.

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