When choosing the name that your child will carry with them throughout the rest of their life, a name that evokes feelings of a picturesque remote island and a cozy sweater at the same time is perfect for parents inspired by Scotland's Fair Isle. These 20 Fair Isle baby names are the pinnacle of rustic perfection, much like the island itself.
For those of you who may not be familiar with this jewel of an island, BBC Travel calls Fair Isle, "one of Britain’s most remote inhabited islands" with a population of about 55 people, drawing tourists mainly in the form of rare bird and lighthouse enthusiasts. The Scottish island's terrain is mostly rugged with rocky beachfronts and rolling green grassy hills between the shores, but the reason for the island's popularity around the world has to do with a certain type of knit sweater originally produced there.
Knit sweaters, or jumpers as they are commonly referred to across the pond, with intricate patterns that weave multiple colors of yarn together in the shape of crosses, ram's horns, star-like patterns, Xs and Os, and the like originated from the small island. Although similar sweaters are now often mass-produced by retailers, the practice of knitting in the tradition of Fair Isle is a method still practiced on the remote island, which serves as the inspiration for these 20 Fair Isle baby names.
The traditional Scottish baby name Aileen is Gaelic for "ray of sunshine," according to the website Scottish At Heart. If you're looking for a baby name that will mimic the feeling of happiness found when you live in such a small, remote community like Fair Isle, this name is absolutely perfect.
Bonus: If you're a fan of the 1980s one-hit wonder "Come On Eileen" by UK group Dexy's Midnight Runners, you can sing this song to your baby as a lullaby every single night.
The traditional Welsh last name Calder means "rocky water," according to Cafe Mom, and can be used as a baby boy name for anyone who wants to honor the rocky waterfront terrain of Fair Isle with their baby's name.
Pronounced "VAY-luh," Vaila is the name of another small Shetland island and means "foreign isle," according to Nameberry. The traditional Scottish name currently ranks in the top 400 baby names in Scotland, even though the population dictates that only about 10 babies born each year bear the name, Nameberry reported.
The Scottish version of the name Alan, the baby name Aklen means "the one who is a little rock," according to Mom Junction. Another reported meaning for the baby name Aklen is "handsome and cheerful," according to Nameberry — which are two qualities you could certainly be hopeful that your little Fair Isle lad would have.
Scottish for "island," Isla is a common baby girl name that gives off major Fair Isle vibes. Also the name of a Scottish river and popular Scottish-Australian actress Isla Fisher, according to Nameberry. If your family happens to have Spanish roots despite your love for Fair Isle, Isla is also the Spanish word for "island" as well.
Although this baby name is Greek in origin, according to Cafe Mom, the baby name Zale can be used for either a boy or a girl, which makes it especially versatile. The name Zale means "strong sea," according to Nameberry, which gives it an alluring appeal to parents who want to honor the seaside traditions of the community of Fair Isle.
Celtic in origin, the baby name Fenella means "fair shoulders" according to the website Scottish At Heart, connecting it to the Fair Isle. Although not particularly popular in the states, the baby name Fenella first saw a rise in popularity when Sir Walter Scott used it for his character Finella Christian in his novel Peveril of the Peak, according to Nameberry.
Although the Texan in me wants to give my great state all of the credit for this one, the baby name Dallas can also be attributed to the Scottish town with the same name that means "valley of the water" or "resting place," according to What To Expect.
The unisex baby name Innis is a Scottish-derived name that means "from the river island" in Gaelic, according to Nameberry. Although Fair Isle is an oceanic island, the water-island connection is still strong enough to garner a name like Innis for parents who adore Fair Isle.
Norse settlers in Fair Isle named it Fridarey, or the island of peace, when using it as a lookout post for Viking warlords, according to the Shetland Island Council. To play off of this historic name, the baby name Freya could be used. Freya is reported to be the name of the Norse goddess of love and fertility, according to Babble.
If you're a country music fan, you might feel especially connected to the name Garth, but you can also blame your love for this name all on its Norse roots, according to Babble. The baby name Garth means someone who lived or worked near a garden, which is fitting for Fair Isle fans thanks to the lush, flowering plants that inhabit the island, according to the Shetland Island Council.
Although many sweaters made in the Fair Isle style will not offer this exact type of patterning, the baby name Paisley has a meaning connected to the Scottish town with the same name and is a type of pattern used in sweater-making as well, according to Babble.
Another name from the historic Norse settlers of Fair Isle is the baby name Fell, which means "from the rough hill," according to Babble. The hill-covered terrain of Fair Isle is beautiful, but rugged and rocky, which lends itself to this unique baby name.
Parents wanting a traditional name that alludes to the beauty of Fair Isle's oceanside serenity will love the baby name Bonnie, which means "beautiful" and "cheerful," according to Nameberry. A perfect lullaby selection for a baby with this name is the traditional Scottish folksong "My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean" that has become a pop culture mainstay.
Although this name has Latin roots, the fact that the baby name Ava is derived from the Latin word "avi" which means "bird," according to Nameberry, makes it ideal for parents seeking a baby name with a strong connection to Fair Isle. Fair Isle is home to the Fair Island Bird Observatory, which researches bird migration patterns thanks to the abundance of birds that fly through Fair Isle each season, according to the Shetland Island Council.
The Celtic meaning of the baby name Gavin is "white hawk," according to Nameberry. The connection to birds and the traditional Celtic people makes this name ideal for parents wanting a baby name inspired by Fair Isle.
The two-syllable baby name Tyrone is a powerful, strong name meaning "island dweller" in Scottish, according to Babble. If your family not only seeks to add a name with a Fair Isle connection, but is aiming for a name also associated with Irish heritage, Tyrone is a perfect choice, as Nameberry reported that the name also has Irish roots.