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Irish & Celtic Names
I have put together a small sample of Irish names for both boys and girls on this page. This list is in no way complete but does include a wide variety to give you some ideas.

Irish names still do and always have enjoyed an ever increasing popularity among the to-be parents both of Ireland and the world. There are in fact far more people today in Ireland who are choosing Irish names for their children than there ever were before.

Parents are reluctant to break away from traditional names and their usage, and give in to the urge to be 'unique' or 'individual', thinking this to be an expression of whimsical fancy. There is a lot to be said for restraining yourself from burdening a child with a potentially cumbersome name.

There is a strong tradition in Ireland of choosing the name of a family member, particularly a grandparent, for your child. Often, the child will be officially named after a relative, but use their middle name for everyday life. There is also a widespread trend of local patterns. In Cork, there are many Finbarrs and in Waterford many Declans. There are also many Bernadettes and Deirdres wandering the Emerald Isle, quite obviously named after saints and folklore characters.

Wherever their root may lie, few will dispute the beauty and character of the traditional Irish names. For those of you who haven't had the benefit of an education in the Irish language, I have added pronunciation aids (pr. ____), so that this index might be of benefit to anyone looking for a name for their child, pet or even for a character in a book. I have stuck to the more frequently used names in Ireland, to talk about the rarest ones would give an inaccurate picture of what Irish people are called. I do not intend to give the impression that all Irish people have got Irish language names-in fact, only a fraction do. I hope that whatever your purpose might be, that this information is helpful.

Boys' First Names:

AINDR�AS (pr. Andrayas), AINDR�AS (pr. Andree-ass), AINDRI� (pr. Andrew): This name is the Irish version of 'Andrew'. He was one of the twelve apostles and St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. This was one of the most common names among the Anglo-Norman settlers in Ireland, so any visitor here will undoubtedly encounter a few Andys.

ALPHONSUS, ALFONSUS: This is a name more common among the older generation of Irish, usually shortened to Alf. It is taken is honour of St. Alphonsus Liguori and is also the title of quite a number of streets and roads in Ireland.

AODH (pr. Ae): the Irish language version of 'Hugh'. This is a very ancient and very common traditional Irish name. Aodhaigh, (pr. �-ee) is a pet form. This name is more common in Irish literature than in Irish life.

�RDAL (pr. Aurdal): This name has always been more common in Ulster than in the rest of Ireland. Its popularity has risen slightly over the last few years due to the commercial success of Irish comedian Ardal O'Hanlon of Father Ted fame.

BARRA (pr. Borr-ah): The Irish version of 'Barry'. This name is a shortened version of the less popular Barrfhionn (pr. Barrion). It is derived from the name of the patron of the diocese of Cork-Fionnbharr (pr. Fyun-var).

BRIAN: This is one of the most widespread Irish names ever, in honour of King Brian Bor�, who won the battle of Clontarf in 1014 and became the most revered king in Irish history. Out of any class of 30 boys in any school in Ireland you can be sure of finding at least one or two Brians.

CATHAL (pr. Cah-hill): A variation of 'Charles'. This is an ancient Irish name steeped in tradition, and very popular to this day. In old-Ireland, Cathal was a mighty warrior type of name with great honour and valour attached.

C�AN (pr. Kee-an): This is an old Irish name which actually means 'ancient'. It was taken partly from C�an, the son of Olioll Olum, an ancient King of Munster, and partly from Brian Bor�'s son-in-law who led the Desmond forces at the Battle of Clontarf. This name is also among the most common in Ireland of all names - Irish or otherwise.

C�AR�N (pr. Kee-rawn): This is another fairly common name, with the variation 'Kieran'. This name is widely used and is the name of many many Irish saints.

CILLIAN (pr. Killian): He was originally an Irish missionary who was martyred in Wurtzenburg, Germany. This is a very popular name in Ireland using both the C- and K- variants.

COLM (pr. Cullum): This is an old Irish name which signifies the dove, a symbol of peace. This name was first spread by St. Columcille which means 'Dove of the Church'. The name Colm is prolific in Ireland which is full of 'doves'.

CONOR: Another very common Irish name found in most families. It comes from the word for 'high-will' or 'desire'. The name is also famous for its connection to Conor McNeasa, a prominent figure in Irish history.

CORMAC: This is an ancient Irish name meaning 'charioteer' or 'son of Corb'. This name is more common in rural Ireland and has a strong religious base. There are no less than eight saints of this name mentioned in the Martyrology of Donegal.

DARA: This is an old Irish name which is fairly well used. The name Darragh may be an Anglicanisation of it.

DIARMUID, DIARMAID (both pr. Deer-mid): This name is a variation of 'Jeremiah', 'Jeremy', 'Dermot'. There are again many saints of this name, and the word itself comes from 'freeman'. Diarmaid and Dermot are frequently found around Ireland.

D�NAL, DOMHNALL (both pr. Doh-nall): From English 'Donald' and 'Daniel'. This name means 'mighty' and is used all over Ireland, and has been since ancient times.

�AMON, �AMONN (pr. Ay-munn): From 'Edmund', 'Edward'. Meaning 'blessed protection'. This name was introduced to Ireland by the Anglo-Normans and has become extremely widespread, although its popularity has waned somewhat in recent decades.

E�IN (pr. Owen): Derived from the name 'John', which in turn comes from both the Hebrew Johanan-'gracious gift of Jehovah' and the Anglo Norman John. The name John is common in all Christian countries, and the name E�in, or Owen is extremely popular in Ireland.

FEARGHUS, FEARGHAIS (pr. Ferghus): From 'Fergus'. This name is of Celtic origin and means 'super-choice'. While quite a scarce name, it is still used enough to merit a mention.

GEAR�ID (pr. Garr-owid): From 'Garrett', 'Gareth', 'Gerard'. This name is fairly common in Ireland and is frequently shortened to Gary.

L�AM (pr. Lee-am): This is a pet form of 'Uilliam' which comes from 'William'. This name, spelled with and without the 'fada' or <�> is of middle popularity which has neither increased nor decreased in recent years.

LORC�N (pr. Lor-caun), LORCAN: This name is the Irish version of 'Laurence' and is descended from the word 'Lorc' which actually means 'fierce'. There are also a small group of Irish saints bearing the name.

M�IRT�N (pr. Marteen), M�IRTAIN (pr. Martin): This name originally came from Mars, the Roman god of war. It has been in use in Ireland from early Christian times. While the English version 'Martin' would be more common, the Irish spelling is still used fairly regularly.

MAITI� (pr. Matt-chew): This is derived from 'Matthew', the first of the four evangelists and one of the apostles - again illustrating the deep immersion of Irish culture in religion. Again, this Irish spelling is less common than its English counterpart, but is not extinct. It can be shortened to its pet form, Mait (pr. Matt).

M�CHE�L (pr. Mee-haul): From 'Michael', the archangel who conquered Satan and commanded the heavenly ghosts. Until recent enough times this name was scarce, but is now extremely popular.

NIALL (pr. Ni-al), N�IL (pr. Nail): From 'Neil', 'Neale'. This is an Ulster derived name, now used all over Ireland.

P�DRAIG (pr. Paud-rig-h),
P�DRAIC (pr. Paud-rick),
P�DHRAIG (pr. Paw-rig-h),
P�DHRAIC (pr. Paw-rick): This name comes from 'Patrick' which is both the name of the patron saint of Ireland, and is also a derivation of 'patricius', the Latin word for 'noble'. It can be shortened to Pat, Paddy, Padhra (pr. Paw-rah), P�id (pr. Paud), P�id� (pr. Paud-ee) and P�id�n (pr. Paud-een). This name is undoubtedly one of the most common names, if not, THE most common name in Ireland.

PEADAR (pr. Padder), PEADAIR (pr. Paddir): This is the Irish diminuitive of 'Peter' which comes from the Latin 'petrus' or 'rock'. It is also the name given by Christ to Simon, who he then made leader of the apostles and the foundation 'rock' of his church. The original Irish for 'Peter' was actually 'Piaras' but that is an extinct name nowadays.

ROIB�ARD (pr. Rob-ay-erd), ROB�IRD (pr. Rob-au-ird): From the English 'Robert', and the Norman 'Rodbert'. When the Anglo-Normans brought the name to Ireland it was very popular, but this popularity declined and now it is actually quite rare.

R�N�N (pr. Rowe-naun): This name comes from the Irish word 'r�n' (pr. Rone) which means seal. It has been anglicised to Ronan and has long been a popular and traditional name.

S�AMUS, S�AMAS (pr. Shay-mas): This name is the Irish for 'James'. This was the name of two of the apostles, and is used in Ireland in honour of St. James the Greater. It can be shortened to Simidh (pr. Shimmih) which means Jimmy. The commonness of this name in Ireland is not to be undermined, as it is used with shocking frequency.

SE�N, SEAGH�N, SE�N (all pr. Shaun): Sean, Shane, John. This is a variant on the Irish for 'John'. This version was introduced to Ireland by the Anglo-Normans and became amazingly popular and still is to this day.

TADHG, TAIDHGH (pr. Tie-gh): This name comes from 'Thaddeus' or 'Timothy'. It means 'poet' or 'philosopher' and is an ancient and traditional Irish name, still holding steady in the popularity stakes.

TOM�S (pr. Tom-aws): The Irish version of 'Thomas'. This is an Aramaic word meaning 'twin'. Thomas was also one of the names of the twelve apostles, and this name is once again very popular in a Catholic country such as Ireland.

Girls' First Names:

AILBHE (pr. Alv-eh), OILBHE (pr. Olv-eh): From the English name 'Olive'. The former is quite common as a woman's name in Ireland.

�INE (pr. Awn-ya): The Irish version of 'Ann'. This is an ancient Irish name which is quite common still.

AISLING (pr. Ashling): The original form of the name 'Ashling'. This Irish name which means 'dream' or 'vision' originated in Northern Ireland, but is well used all over Ireland nowadays.

AOIFE (pr. Ee-fah): This old Irish name is a variant on 'Eva'. There have been many Aoifes in Irish mythology and folklore, one of the most notable of which was the Aoife who married the legendary Irish warrior Strongbow at Waterford many centuries ago.

BERNADETTE: In honour of St. Bernadette to whom the Virgin Mary appeared at Lourdes, this name has always been very popular in Ireland. It is often shortened to Bernie or Ber. Once again, Ireland's devotion to the Catholic faith is a major influence on name-choice.

BL�TH (pr. B-law): this is an ancient and very beautiful Irish personal name. Meaning 'blossom' or 'flower-bud', it is one of the best-loved names in Ireland.

BRIGH�D (pr. Brih-eed): St. Brigid of Kildare was the female patron saint of Ireland. This name is among the most used in Ireland, male or female. It can be shortened to Br�d (pr. Breed), Br�ghde (pr. Breedah), Br�ghd�n (pr. Breedeen). This has long been the most traditional name in the country, especially rural Ireland.

CAITR�ONA (pr. Cat-reena): This name was brought to Ireland by the crusaders but that is not the reason that it is so popular. St. Catherine of Sienna evoked the religious influences ever-present in Ireland and made the name quite widespread here. It can be shortened to C�it (pr. Caught),Cait� (pr. Catty), Caitil�n (pr. Cat-ill-een), Caitl�n (pr. Cat-leen), C�it�n (pr. Caught-een) as well as all the English abbreviations of the names Catherine and Katherine.

CAOIMHE (pr. K-wee-vah): The Americanised name 'Keavy' is a variation on this name. This saint-name signifies gentleness, grace and beauty, and is very popular in Ireland.

CARMEL: This name is used in Ireland in honour of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It literally means 'fruitful field'. It is one of the less common names in Ireland.

CLODAGH (pr. Clow-dah): The name of a Co. Tipperary river, this name is quite widespread in Ireland-its commonness increasing steadily.

DEIRDRE (pr. Deer-drah): This is an extremely ancient Irish name-one of the most ancient. Deirdre was the heroine of the stories of the Sons of Uisneach. The name has also been used extensively in Irish literature over the years and is very common amongst Irish girls.

EIBHL�N (pr. Eileen): The name of the mother of Constantine the great, Emperor of Rome. Nell and Nelly are pet forms of the name, also frequently used.

FIONNUALA (pr. Finn-oola): This name has now transformed into the name Nuala. It comes from the words 'fionn' meaning 'fair', and 'guala' meaning 'shoulder'. This is an ancient Irish name, but the newer version is more popular nowadays.

GR�INNE (pr. Graw-inn-ah): This name was frequently used in Celtic mythology and likewise in Irish history.

M�IRE (Moyra), M�IR�AD (Moyr-ade): From Mary, the name of the Holy mother of God. Originally, it is a Hebrew name signifying bitterness related to some sort of childbirth/motherhood situations. The name M�ir�n is also used, although less commonly.

M�ADHBH (pr. Mayv): The Irish version of the name Maeve. It the first century a.d. it was the name of the Queen of Connaught. This same queen was the owner of the mythological Brown Bull of Cooley.

MUIREANN, MUIRIN (pr. M-wirrin): No relation to Muire or Mary, this name literally means 'of the long hair'. Its popularity has increased rapidly in the last few years.

NIAMH (pr. Neeve): means "brightness." From Irish mythology, Niamh of the Golden Hair, from the Land of Youth, where no one ever grows old.

PATRICIA (pr. Patrisha): Derived from 'Patrick', this name has Scottish origins. It is of recent use in Ireland, but has become quite common.

SADHBH (pr. Sive): This is a variation of 'Sophie' or 'Sally'. This ancient Irish name means 'goodness' and can be shortened to the pet-name 'Saidhbh�n'.

S�LE (pr. Sheila): This is a name of Roman origin. It is also derived from the name 'Celia'. This name with this spelling is fairly well and evenly distributed around Ireland.

SIN�AD (pr. Shin-ade): This name is related to the name Siobh�n and comes from Jane and Janet.

SIOBH�N (pr. Shivawn): 'Joan', 'Hannah', 'Julie', 'Susan'. This is the feminine form of 'John' which transformed to 'Jeanne' in France, and then 'Joan' in England, finally becoming 'Siobh�n' in Ireland. It is a quite common name here.

SORCHA (pr. Sorka): This is an old Irish name which comes from 'Sarah' and 'Sally'. It signifies 'clear' and 'bright'. It has experienced a remarkable increase in popularity in recent years.

�NA (pr. Oona): Also 'Juno', this name is said to be the Irish version of the Anglican 'Winifred'. It is still a quite common name, although it is nowhere near as common as it once was.