Category: Irish baby names
The world’s been abuzz lately with the casting of relative unknown Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander in the Hollywood version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and its sequels. While others might be interested in the young actress’s previous films or her fashion sense, we name nerds can think of only one thing: Where’d she get that cool name? And how can I get one like it?
Rooney Mara comes by her Irish-surname-as-first semi-honestly: It’s her real middle name and her mother’s original last name. Born Patricia Rooney Mara, the actress dropped her pedestrian first name in favor of her more exotic middle, which means red-haired. Great-grandfather Art Rooney founded the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Rarely heard as a first name — there were 23 boys born with the name in 2009, and fewer than five girls — the new prominence of Miss Mara can only add power to the growing trend of using Irish last names as firsts. And while Irish surname names have been used for girls as well as boys in recent years, Rooney Mara‘s fame seems certain to further feminize the image of these names.
Other choices with celebrity or pop culture connections include:
- Brady — Miranda‘s son in Sex & The City.
- Carson — Author Carson McCullers.
- Cassidy — Kathie Lee Gifford‘s much-discussed daughter.
- Cullen — Surname of Twilight hero Edward.
Celebrities on both sides of the Atlantic, those with and without Hibernian roots, have long been partial to Irish names for their babies. Here are some of the coolest:
BECKETT – Malcolm MacDowell, Melissa Etheridge, Conan O’Brian, Stella McCartney
An appealing last-name name rich in literary associations, both to the play and film based on the life of Saint Thomas à B. and to the Irish playwright-novelist Samuel B., it’s red hot in Hollywood.
BRODY – Gabrielle Reece & Lance Hamilton
This superstar athlete couple’s choice reflects the new trend towards using Irish surnames like Reagan/Regan and Riley for both sexes: this little Brody is a girl.
DELANEY – Martina McBride
A solid surname that’s now used far more for girls than boys.
FINN – Christy Turlington & Ed Burns, Jane Leeves, Andrea Catherwood
This is a name with enormous energy and charm, that of the greatest hero of Irish myth, Finn MacCool. Other related cool star-baby names: FLYNN (Elle Macpherson), and FINNIGAN (Eric McCormack of Will & Grace fame), not to mention Julia Roberts’ phabulous Phinnaeus.
JUNO – Will Champion (Coldplay)
The success of the eponymous little-movie-that-could was sure to establish Juno, with its lively image and classic roots, as a potential baby name–and it’s already started on its way.
LENNON – Patsy Kensit & Liam Gallagher
Naming a child after your cultural or other hero gives him two cool advantages: a name with real meaning and a positive image to reach towards. Another rocker, Zakk Wylde, chose Hendrix as his son’s musical hero name.
RÓISIN (Roh-sheen) – Sinéad O’Connor
An authentic selection for a little Irish rose.
TALLULAH – Patrick Dempsey, Simon LeBon, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Damon Dash, Demi Moore & Bruce Willis
The then Willises almost single-handedly launched the cool starbaby name concept when they chose SCOUT and RUMER as well as the more user-friendly Tallulah for their girls. This Anglicization of Tuilelaith is now being picked up on by other celeb parents.
For more Irish celebrity baby names, plus Irish names of all flavors, check out our new book Cool Irish Names for Babies.
One of the great mysteries of baby-naming is how a name comes seemingly out of nowhere to become a fashionable, popular choice.
But unlike other, far more complex Irish names, Finn has tremendous crossover potential. It’s also kind of Scandinavian, sort of fishy, easy to spell and say, plus has several attractive relatives: Finnian, Finnegan, Finlay.
And it’s been chosen by such high profile couples as Ed Burns and Christy Turlington for their son, while Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn named their daughter Finley, a version also chosen by Lisa Marie Presley for one of her newborn twin girls.
Once you dissect all that, it’s easy to see that Finn‘s popularity hardly came from nowhere. And it’s a name that’s unlikely to fade away again anytime soon.
For more names from Irish mythology, check out our new book, Cool Irish Names for Babies.