Serene Irene, the name of the Greek goddess of peace, was hugely popular in ancient Rome and again in the United States a hundred years ago.
One of the most popular names of the Roman Empire and the name of several early saints, this originally Greek name (then spelled Eirene) represented a daughter of Zeus who was the goddess of peace. Often pronounced with three syllables, it spread throughout Europe in a range of variations and is a royal name in Greece, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Much of Irene's popularity in England stemmed from the character Irene Forsyte in Galsworthy's The Forsyte Saga, while Americans identified it with the sparkling Irene Dunne of Hollywood's Golden Age. Irene was a Top 20 name from 1915 to 1925, remaining in the Top 100 until 1945. It is currently high up at Number 13 in Spain.
Some other references include the eponymous early smash hit Broadway musical, famed ballroom dancer Irene Castle (portrayed on film by Ginger Rogers), the Hollywood costume designer known simply as Irene, the Uma Thurman character in Gattaca, Irene Denholm, a Harry Potter student at Hogwarts School, and the lullaby-ready song Goodnight, Irene.
Trivia tidbit: Carreen, the name of Scarlett O'Hara's younger sister in Gone With the Wind, was a smoosh of Caroline Irene.
Lists containing Irene:
- Baby Names Headed for Harvard
- Princess Names
- Classic Baby Names for Girls
- Mythological Baby Names for Girls
- Traditional Baby Names
- Cool Baby Names That Start With I
- Baby Names That Mean Peace
- Fictional Princess Names
- 1920s Baby Names
- Goddess Baby Names
- Royal Baby Names
- Saints' Names for Girls