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Irish Names Now: What’s doing in Dublin?

Irish Baby Names

We’ve been scrutinizing your responses to our recent survey, in particular the question that asked what you’d like to see more of on nameberry, with an eye to accommodating your suggestions.  Quite a few responders put in requests for more ethnic names— with pronunciations—and a couple took note of our blog on birth announcements in the London Times, interested in seeing similar subjects, which Pam will be updating soon.

So, since we aim to please, this time we are taking a look at announcements in the Irish Times over the past few months–the ethnic and not-so-ethnic names found there–with pronunciations when needed.

The current batch of newborn names in Ireland shows a typical mix of Anglo-Saxon classics (especially for boys), modern Irish standards , and the old Gaelic names that have been revived and become fashionable in recent years, as well as some internationally trendy choices.  Below are some of the more interesting, with pronunciations where useful–bearing  in mind that they change from region to region (and reference book to reference book).

GIRLS

Among the currently most popular girls’ names are Emily, Lucy, Isabel (and Isabelle, Isabella and Isobel), and Grace, with several appearances of Hazel and Sophia/Sofia , Rose and Ruby.  Leading middle names in this sampling appear to be Elizabeth, Grace, Rose, Louise, May and Maeve.

Here, some of the more unusual choices–including some interesting combos:

AMELIE Rose

ANNA Catriona (kat-REE-na) Monica

AOIFE (EE-fa)

ARABELLA Elizabeth

ASHLING Elizabeth

AVA Maeve

BEVIN

BRONA Rose

CAMILLE Ita

CAOIMHE (KEEV-eh) Nadine

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Scottish Baby Names: From Ailsa to Angus

With all the interest in Irish names these days (including by us–our Cool Irish Names for Babies will be out on St. Patrick‘s Day)–and all the talk about Gaelic and Celtic charm, we sometimes forget that there are other species of Gaelic/Celtic names out there.  You don’t have to be one of the 9.2 million Americans with Scottish or Scots-Irish roots to find these names engaging, though if you happen to be a Ferguson or a MacPherson, Scottish baby names would have special meaning for you.

A blend of several different cultures, Scottish names make for a varied mix.  The Scots themselves were a Celtic tribe that emigrated across the Irish Sea around 500 AD, so that many Scottish names derive from Old Irish ones.  New names were added to the pot by waves of invaders and settlers, including Viking warriors, and others were inspired by places and words.  The Scots were in the vanguard of using the mother’s maiden name as a child’s first–leading to examples  like Blair, Keith and Fraser–and were also prone to feminizing boys’ names, with such curious results as Williamina and Angusina.

Many modern Edinburgh parents tend to stray away from the traditional Scottish names and follow international trends–the current top 5 girls’ names are Sophie, Emma, Lucy, Katie, and Erin–but others are returning to their roots.  Here are some interesting Scottish baby names you may not have considered:

GIRLS

AILIE (from the Gaelic Eilidh)

AILSA

ANNELLA

EFFIE (from the Gaelic Oighrig)

ELSPETH

FINELLA

GREER (also used for boys in Scotland)

IONA

ISOBEL/ISHBEL

KENNA

LILLIAS

NESSA

PEIGI (pronounced Peggy)

BOYS

ALASDAIR

ANGUS

AULAY

BAIRD

DOUGAL

EUAN

GRAEME

HAMISH

IVOR

KEIR

LACHLAN

MAGNUS

MUIR

TAM

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