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celtic14

By Linda Rosenkrantz

Like most people, I love Celtic names, which makes it a lot of fun to check out the Irish and Scottish birth announcements in their local newspapers every so often, with their mix of revived Irish Gaelic names and familiar English appellations, and often surprising—to us—first and middle combos. All the babes listed below made their debuts in 2014, and they include such beauts as Libby Letitia and Bobby-Charles Jack.

Pronunciation of Irish names can be a minefield for non-Gaelic speakers, as words/names are not pronounced phonetically and there are many variations in dialect. If you need pronunciation help, you can get audio assistance at this site: http://www.babynamesofireland.com/.

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posted by: Elea View all posts by this author
British baby names

By Eleanor Nickerson, British Baby Names

What names are quintessentially ‘British’?

I see this question a lot but it’s a hard one to pin down. Do we mean solely British in origin, or only British in use? When Prince George was born our media heralded it as a “quintessentially British” name — and why not? We’ve had numerous kings bear the name, and it’s even the name of the patron saint of England. But George was originally a Greek name, brought late into our Royalty by German Hanovarians. Ask many Americans and the first George they think of is Washington or Bush.

For me, the quintessentially British names are those which are very familiar to us as a nation, that have been or are currently popular, but are little used in America, Canada, Australia and other English-speaking countries. Names such as Nicola – our darling of the 70s – Darcy, Imogen, Poppy, Freya, Alfie, Jenson, Gareth, Alistair and Finlay.

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ireland3

By Jane Ní Chaoimh

There are many Irish place names that could happily be used as baby names — in the US or elsewhere–of which this list is just a sampling. I have chosen names which are easily pronounced outside of Ireland and which have a positive meaning or origin. I’ve purposely omitted some well-known options (Kerry, for example, which probably suggests politics – à la US Secretary of State John Kerry – more than the Emerald Isle, at the moment!). Several of these could also fit into the nature name category (river names and so on).

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Irish baby names

Kick up your heels, get out your shillelagh and prepare to dance a jig as we celebrate St. Paddy’s Day with twelve musical Irish names—some of which were introduced to us by musicians who, as a bonus, taught us the right way to pronounce them.

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Celebrity Names: The Mc’s and the Macs

mcmatthew

Most cultures have some word for names meaning ‘son of’—called patronymics– from the English son, the Danish sen , Armenian ian, and the Scottish and Irish, Mac and Mc. The latter two have made their way into first as well as surname use—as in Macauley Culkin, Mackenzie Phillips, McGeorge Bundy, and McCoy Tyner.These days, daughters as well as sons are given Celtic patronymics: Mackenzie (jump-started for girls by 80’s TV star Phillips, and used for her daughter by Harry Potter author J. K Rowling) now ranks at Number 71. Variant McKenzie is at 152, McKenna at 226, McKinley at 457, and the hybrid, non-Celtic McKayla at Number 701.Right now there are a number of Mc and Mac celebs on the scene, whose surnames could possibly be the next baby names. Well, maybe not McConaughey.

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