Naming your baby is one of the most import things you'll ever do as a parent. It's the crucial first step toward your child having an identifying feature. Long before what you know what they'll look like or how they'll act, even before you're sure of their eye and hair color, people will know their name. Traditional names are all the rage, with people looking back in their own ancestral record to choose a name with significance to them, and with St. Patrick's Day just around the corner, I've gathered 58
traditional Irish baby names that will be perfect for your little shamrock.
There is one thing about Irish Gaelic or Celtic names that should be mentioned — phonetically, they often don't align with modern English, even in the abstract. For instance, the name Aoife, is pronounced "EE-fuh," and Siobhan is "Shuh-vawn." Gorgeous, powerful names that can sometimes make modern eyes go crossed trying to sound them out. That's why for all of the names I've listed here, I will spell them out phonetically so that you can see them and hear them in your head. (If you're a hearing person.) Gaelic and Celtic names are bard's names. They are the lyrics of Irish song, the simplest phrases of poetry, and they're all great choices for your little one.
The names generally fall into two categories: sweet, nice names, or warrior, earthly names. I've compiled them here to inspire you and, one day, your little babe.
The legend of Etain (pronounced EE-tun) is a sad story with a happy ending. It has to do with fairies and curses, and a
woman turned into a butterfly. It's also just a gorgeous name. Niamh
This name sounds like a whisper. "Neevf" or "Neh+vf," it's just the barest hint of a syllable, and it is rich in meaning. She was either
the fairy queen or princess, according to Celtic legend The Last Feast of the Fianna. She met Oisin when he was fighting for the Fianna, and she thought he was the most beautiful man she'd ever laid eyes on. She whisked him away to Tir na n'Og, the fairy land, where he would live for centuries by her side and she had two children by him. Humans weren't permitted to stay in her lands at that point, but she broke the laws to keep her love. Coinneach
Pronounced "Kuh-nick," the name is simple but adorable.
It means "handsome" according to Behind the Name, and it's still pretty popular in Scotland and Ireland. Anglicized, it's a variant of "Kenneth," but also sounds a lot like "Connor" without the huge American popularity of those names. Moira (Moy-ruh or Mye-rah)
More than just the best character on the show,
Schitt's Creek, Moira is Irish via Greece, and it's a name for one of the fates of destiny. BrÍghid (Bridge-id)
BrÍghid is both a Celtic goddess and an Irish saint. It's the perfect mix of the old and the modern. It's imbued with a sense of history with every syllable.
An Irish diminutive
form of "Avila," it's meaning is mostly unknown, and it's still quite rare. Eithne (Enya) Eithne means "kernel" or "seed" according to Baby Names of Ireland, and more than nine saints have been named Eithne, the most famous being the mother of St. Columba who saw the vision of an angel cloaked in flowers while she was pregnant, and that foretold her son's future missionary travels. Oengus (Ain-gus)
Another spelling of "Aengus," it's the name of the Tuatha De Danon, and is the name of the god of love. How sweet is that?
There are multiple saints named Cronan, but the most famous is the Abbot of Roscrea, who, according to the Vatican, when he bade one of his monks to transcribe to gospels, it is said that the
sun shone for 40 days so that he could complete the task. Lochlan (Lock-lan)
Lochlan, or Lachlan is the
name of a Gaelic king of the 13th Century. It is a name with a long lineage, and a regal air about it. Granuaile (Grawn-you-ale)
Granuaile was the
Irish pirate queen. Born Grace O'Malley, she had no desire to live the life thrust upon her, so at the tender age of 14, she left to make her fortune on the high seas. Earthy/Warrior Names
There are a ton of cool, traditional Irish baby names that mean things like "of the river" or "little fire." There are equally as many that have meanings such as "unconquerable" and "great warrior." And it's not limited to just the names for boys, either. There are equally as many femme-presenting names that mean things that amount to "come at me, bro." It's pretty awesome, to be honest. Some are old Irish Gaelic, some are Celtic, but all of them are extremely cool.
Aednat (Eye-nit) Tiarnán (Tear-nun) Ardan (AR-duhn) Dáithí (Da-hee) Aoife (EE-fuh) Aideen (Aye-deen) Lorcan (Lore-cuhn) Donnacha (Dunn-uh) Bradan (Bray-dawn) Carrig (Care-ig or Craig) Coilin (Col-lin) Conchobhar (Conner) Dónal (Donn-all) Sweet Names
These names have sweet meanings, like springtime months and confections. Unlike Aoife, a murderous and jealous witch of a stepmother who was
turned into a bird for all eternity, as per Bard Mythologies. Aibreann (Av-rawn) Roisin (Ro-sheen) Brandubh (Bran-duh) Ailbe (Alva) Cliodhna (Clee-nah) Eoghan (Owen) Aoibh (Eve) Nollaig (Null-ig) Fionn (Fie-uhn) Dubheasa (Due-vessa) Rory (Roar-y) Eilis (Aye-lish) Tadhg (Tie-ig or Tag) Ciaran (Kee-ran) Ciara (See-arr-uh) Finola (Finn-oh-luh) Banon (Bon-uhn) Cillian (Kill-ee-un) Niall (Nile) Seamus (Shay-muss) Dara (Dare-uh) Oran (O-run) Diarmuid (Dear-mwid) Aislinn (Ashling) Names With Legends Attached
There's something fantastic about a name with a great story, like the one of Etain. While not everyone can be a lake mist butterfly lady fetus, they can be great warriors, or fertility goddesses, or even made of oak. The Irish are bards for goodness sakes. Of course there are plenty of rich, historical names.
Daimhin (Dah-veen) Grainne (Grawn-yuh) Dillon (Dylan) Dubhlainn (Dove-lin) Eamon (Aim-un) Eoin (Owen) Fearghal (Fer-gull) Fiachra (Fee-awk-ruh) Garbhán (Gar-van) Maebh (May-v) What Parents Are Talking About — Delivered Straight To Your Inbox