Celtic languages are really hard to pronounce for English-speaking folk. One of my favorite Irish baby names, for example, is Aoife. How is it pronounced? Ee-fa. But one of the reasons why I love the Gaelic language so much is because it runs deep in my heritage. It's also so unique, making Irish names super fun and interesting. If you love them, too, there are plenty of famous Irish names for your wee babe to inspire you. Now let's just see how many of these you can pronounce correctly.
With Celtic-based shows growing in popularity — think Game of Thrones, Outlander, Derry Girls, Peaky Blinders — it's no surprise that Irish baby names are in demand. I've compiled a list of some seriously awesome Irish baby names that are true 100 percent Irish — both old and modern — that come along with some pretty famous faces. Whether you're interested in honoring your Irish heritage or you just like the names that go along with Irish culture, you'll definitely find some new personal favorites on this list. Hey, you may even find the one you've been searching for — if you're lucky, of course. (Shamrock not included with this list.)
Colin is my brother's name, so it deserves to be first on this list. If you want to be true Gaelic, you can spell it Coileáin for a more modern Irish twist meaning "whelp, cub." Famous Colins? Well, there are actors Colin Farrell, Colin Firth, and Colin Hanks and of course the football player Colin Kaepernick.
While most English speakers would never guess by the spelling, this Irish girl's name is pronounced lee-ree. Why is it famous? Well, if you've ever seen the show Outlander, you might recognize this name because it belongs to a very disliked character. But, according to the baby name website She Knows, Laoghaire means "shepherd."
Another name that, to Americans anyway, is spelled completely different than how it's actually pronounced is Siobhan. Siobhan is pronounced shiv-on, and can mean “God has been gracious” or “God’s grace," or “full of charm," according to an article on Irish Central. Famous Siobhans include American Idol contestant Siobhan Magnus, Downton Abbey actress Siobhan Finneran, and movie actress Siobhan Fallon Hogan.
Liam is a strong boys' name because it literally means, "strong warrior" or "protector." It's also short for the Irish name Uilliam (William), according to Irish Central. Famous Liams? So many. Liam has pop singer Liam Payne, movie actors Liam Hemsworth and Liam Neeson, and frontman for the band Oasis, Liam Gallagher.
Also spelled Aedan, Aidan, Aiden or Áedán if you want to go with the Gaelic spelling, according to an article on Legit Babe Names. Aodhan is typically an Irish boy's name and means "little fiery one," or "born of fire," according to Irish Central. Some famous Aidans include Game of Thrones actor Aidan Gillen who plays Lord Petyr Baelish.
According to Ancestry.com, Kelly means "bright-headed," which makes it an adorable choice for a wee blonde baby. It's spelled Ceallaigh in Gaelic and shares the name with famous pop singers Kelly Clarkson and Kelly Rowland, and TV host Kelly Ripa. It's also the most popular surname in Ireland, according to the Ancestry website.
Also spelled Connor, the name Conor means "lover of hounds" or "high desire," according to Irish Central. Conor is short for the name Conchobhar MacNessa, who was the king of Ulster. Irish Central says, "according to the legend, he was born on the same day as Christ." Famous Conors include MMA fighter Conor McGregor and TV actress Conor Leslie.
My absolute favorite name on this list. Aoife is pronounced ee-fa and means "beautiful, radiant, or joyful," and according to Irish Central, "in Irish mythology, Aoife is known as the greatest woman warrior in the world." Her marriage was also reportedly arranged by the Saint Patrick. I don't know of any other famous Aoifes, aside from this historical one, but there's always a first for everything. Maybe it could be your Aoife.
Pronounced either kwee-va or kee-va, according to Irish Central, Caoimhe means "gentle, beautiful, and precious." It's a famous name in Ireland, but its popularity hasn't spread too far elsewhere, making it a unique choice.
This one can also be spelled Shaun. According to Irish Central, Sean means "God is gracious" or "wise, old." Another form of this name is Shane, which means "gift from God." The feminine version of Sean is Shauna, which is pretty, too. Famous Seans include actors Sean Connery, Sean Penn, and Sean Bean, and music mogul Sean Combs.
While the spelling of this name may tell us differently, Ciara is actually pronounced kee-ra, according to Irish Central and means "dark," specifically referring to dark features such as hair and eyes. Ciara is also the feminine version of the Irish boy's name Ciaran. If you name your baby Ciara, she will share it with pop star Ciara who pronounces her name differently.
Pronounced kah-tree-nah, Caitriona is the Irish Gaelic girl's name meaning pure, according to the Baby Name Wizard website. One famous Caitriona is Outlander star Caitriona Balfe.
According to Irish Central, the name Finn means "small blonde soldier." It's a shorter version of Fionn (pronounced the same) which means "handsome." Your wee little Finn would share his name with actors Finn Wolfhard and Finn Wittrock, and Glee charactor Finn played by late actor Cory Monteith.
Pronounced like the Irish red beer, kill-ee-an, Cillian has several meanings, according to Irish Central, "including 'war,' 'strife,' and 'bright-headed.'" Your Cillian could share their name with famous movie actor Cillian Murphy.
The name Callum is Gaelic for "dove," according to Irish Central, and you could be inspired by Callum Turner, who played Theseus Scamander in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
The name Rory means "red" or "rust colored," according to Irish Central. Fun fact, Rory was the name of the last high king to reign over Ireland. If you're a Gilmore Girls fan, your little Rory would share their name with main character Rory Gilmore, played by actress Alexis Bledel.
Ronan is an old Irish name meaning "little seal," according to Irish Central. How cute is that? The name could be an ode to Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, or journalist Ronan Farrow.