Category: Irish girls’ names
The new most popular Irish baby names were just announced, with the Top 10 dominated by — non-Irish names.
The new Top 10 for girls contains not a single Irish choice:
When I was expecting my first child, I wanted a name with a lot of energy, for reasons that seem insane from the perspective of having raised three kids. But I didn’t anticipate that a high-energy toddler might run me ragged; I just knew I wanted my little boy or girl to be active, outgoing, not hobbled by the shyness and insecurities I felt had plagued my own childhood.
Well, I got my wish. Rory burst into the world, all 9 pounds, 5 ounces of her, with a shock of jet black hair and a voice that woke the whole maternity ward. At two weeks old, she was able to stand on my husband’s lap and sing along with him. As she grew, she starred in all the school plays and dominated on the lacrosse field.
The search for a high-energy name was part of the inspiration for our first name book. It was so difficult to sift through all the conventional name dictionaries on the market at the time and try to find names that sounded energetic (and Irish and that meant red, two of my other criteria). There should be a name book that put all the energetic-sounding names in one place, I thought, along with all the names that sounded smart and stylish, that were good for redheads or popular in the 1920s. That’s the thinking I brought to the first Beyond Jennifer & Jason (Linda, meanwhile, a friend and fellow writer, had conceived the same idea from a different direction), now grown up to Beyond Ava & Aiden.
Irish baby names are in the news this week, with the release of the official statistics on the top names of 2010. Leading the list: Sophie and Jack, holding onto their Number 1 crowns from last year. But there are lots of other changes and surprises in the statistics.
The first surprise, especially if you don’t live in Ireland, is how few of the top Irish baby names are actually Irish. Four of the top ten boys’ names — Sean, Conor, Ryan, and Dylan (Welsh, actually, with Dillon the Irish cognate) — are Irish; only one of the girls’ names — Aoife at Number 10 — is a native choice.
The top ten Irish baby names are:
The current popularity lists are full of Irish baby names that are also surname names—Ryan, Riley, Brody, Brady, Brennan, Connor, Keegan, and Quinn, to name just a few—and have been for quite some time. For the most part, they have been two- and occasionally one-syllable names; we’d like to suggest that the next wave will consist of the bouncier, even friendlier and more genial names with three syllables, and here are some of the best candidates.
Branigan—a possible update for Brandon; the name means the descendant of the son of the raven, the latter being a nickname for the first chief of the clan. Spelled Brannigan, it was a 1975 John Wayne movie, and Zapp Brannigan is the antihero of the satirical animated sitcom Futurama
Cullinan—not as familiar as some of the others but has a long and distinguished Irish history—and, for a bit of trivia, the Cullinan diamond was the largest rough diamond ever found (3,000+ carats) when discovered in 1905.
Every now and then we like to take a look at the most recent British and Irish newspaper birth announcements, to see what parents in those countries are naming their babies at this particular moment in time.
What we see right now in Ireland is a mix of old and revived Gaelic/Celtic names, classic Anglo names, nickname names similar to those popular in the UK, and more internationally trendy modern names.
The most widely used recorded Emerald Isle favorites of the last two months include Alice, Florence, Grace, Lily and Molly for girls; Henry, Hugo, Liam and Oscar for boys, as well as several varieties of Fin-starting names. ( One trivia note—if you’re surprised by the unusual geographical middle name Abyssinia, you should know that little Luke was actually born in Ethiopia.)
And if you need some pronunciation help for one of the Gaelic names, you can hear the way many of these actually sound as recorded by the late Irish writer Frank McCourt on the website babynamesof Ireland.com
Here are some of the most interesting examples, with sibling names in parentheses.
- Alice Dáire
- Alice May (Charlie, Aoibheann)
- Amélie Anne
- Aobhai Sadhbh (Deborah, Bródaí)
- Aoife (Caoimhe, Aisling)
- Aurelia Isabelle
- Dearbha Margaret (Ruairi)
- Eleanor May (Matthew, Aisla)
- Elsa (Quin, Muireann, Milo)
- Elsa Elizabeth