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Irish Baby Names: The Complete List

Irish Baby Names: The Complete List

Irish baby names are international stars, ranking near the top of popularity lists in Ireland and the US along with many other countries.

Liam is the top Irish boy name in the US, standing at Number 1, and Riley is the top Irish girl name. Many new Irish baby names are replacing old standards like Kathleen and Patrick.

Top Irish Baby Names in the US

The top Irish boy names in the US are:

1. Liam

2. Aiden

3. Ryan

4. Nolan

5. Connor

6. Carson

7. Declan

8. Brayden

9. Rowan

10.Ayden

The top Irish girl names in the US are dominated by surname names. They are:

1. Nora

2. Riley

3. Kennedy

4. Quinn

5. Reagan

6. Brianna

7. Ryleigh

8. Maeve

9. Sloane

10.Teagan

Top Baby Names in Ireland

The top baby names in Ireland itself look rather different than they do in the US, though there are also several crossovers. Notably, not all of the top Irish baby names are actually Irish.

The top ten boy names in Ireland are:

1. Jack

2. James

3. Noah

4. Daniel

5. Conor

6. Finn

7. Liam

8. Fionn

9. Harry

10.Charlie

The top ten girl names in the Emerald Isle include only one Irish-language name:

1. Grace

2. Fiadh

3. Emily

4. Sophie

5. Ava

6. Amelia

7. Ella

8. Hannah

9. Lucy

10.Mia

Irish baby names enjoying international popularity include Liam, which ranks among the top names in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Norway as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Finn ranks among the top names in the Netherlands while variation Fynn is on Germany’s most popular list, and Nora is the second most popular girls’ name in Norway.

Unique Irish Baby Names

Many unique Irish baby names go far beyond the Old School Kevins and Kathleens.

If you define unique baby names as names that break the rules on what's conventionally considered a name, then these nontraditional Irish surname names and place names may be ones you want to consider for your daughter or son.

Bellamy

Brady

Callahan

Clancy

Crosby

Dublin

Flannery

Ireland

McCoy

O'Brien

Uncommon Irish baby names in the US and most places outside the Emerald Isle include the following. Many of these are in the Irish Top 100. Correct Irish spelling and pronunciation can be challenging for non-native speakers.

Ailbhe

Aoife

Caoimhe

Cian

Clodagh

Donnacha

Eoin

Oisin

Sadhbh

Tadhg

Browse our complete list of Irish baby names both classic and modern, for girls and for boys, here.

The top names below rank among the current US Top 1000 Baby Names and are ordered by popularity. Unique names rank below the Top 1000 and are listed alphabetically.

LiamHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish short form of William
  • Meaning:

    "resolute protection"
  • Description:

    Liam originated as a nickname for Uilliam, the Irish variation of William. William is an English name from Germanic roots that was brought to Ireland when the British fled England following the Norman Conquest. The Irish began using English names, including William, which led to the development of Uilliam and its short form, Liam.

AidenHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Aidan, Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little and fiery"
  • Description:

    Aiden is a variation of Aidan, the anglicized version of the Irish Aodhán. Aidan/Aodhán was originally a pet form of the Irish name Aodh (pronounced 'ee'), who was the old Celtic god of the sun and fire. St. Aidan was a famous seventh century Irish saint, noted for his kindness and generosity and for spreading Christianity.

NoraHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, diminutive of Honora, or Greek
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Nora has two separate origin stories, as a derivative of both Honora and Eleanor. The Irish and Anglo-Norman version derives from Honora, based on the Latin word honor. The Hungarians spawned Nora as a short form of Eleonora, a variation of Eleanor.

RileyHeart

  • Origin:

    English, Irish
  • Meaning:

    "rye clearing; courageous"
  • Description:

    Riley originated as both an English and an Irish surname. The former was derived from British place names that got their names from the Old English words for "rye clearing." Irish Riley is a variation of Reilly, a surname taken from the given name Raghailleach.

RyanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little king"
  • Description:

    Ryan’s use as a given name was inspired by the surname Ryan, a variation of the Irish O’Riain meaning "son of Rían." Rían is composed of the Irish-Gaelic elements , meaning "king" and an, a diminutive suffix. Ryan is considered a unisex name in the US, where variant spellings Ryann and Ryanne are also valid for girls.

NolanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "champion"
  • Description:

    Nolan is one of the rising Irish surname names, in the spirit of Conan and Ronan, partially inspired by pitcher Nolan Ryan-- who was named Lynn at birth, after his father. Nolan is a cheerful, friendly traditional Irish surname with the appropriate meaning of "champion," and one of the new attractive boy names starting with N.

KennedyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "misshapen head"
  • Description:

    This attractive surname name still projects that Kennedy family charisma. While it didn't come into widespread use until long after the deaths of martyred heroes President John F. or Senator Robert Kennedy, Kennedy is now one of the most popular unisex names for girls as well as the top girls' name starting with K. This is one name that manages to sound trendy and classic at the same time.

ConnorHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "lover of hounds"
  • Description:

    Connor, the appealing name of an early semi-legendary king of Ulster in Irish mythology, sits firmly in the Top 100 and taken together with its alternate spellings would rank even higher. In its native Ireland the Conor version is one of the highest charting boys’ name.

CarsonHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish and Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "son of the marsh-dwellers"
  • Description:

    Carson is one of the most long-running popular androgynous baby names, with a dash of the Wild West via the legendary Missouri frontiersman Kit Carson. Dating back to when it was the name of Nancy Drew's Dad, Carson is still steadily in the Top 100 baby names.

    Current Carsons include TV personalities Carson Daly and Carson Kressley, and Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer. Carson Wells was the bounty hunter character played by Woody Harrelson in No Country for Old Men, and Carson is the name chosen by actress Kathryn Erbe for her son.

QuinnHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "descendent of Conn"
  • Description:

    Quinn is the Anglicized version of the Irish patronymic surname Ó Cuinn, meaning "descendent of Conn." Conn has two possible derivations—the Old Irish cond, meaning "intellect," or cenn, meaning "chief." One of the most notable Quinn clans was from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland.

DeclanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, meaning unknown, possible "man of prayer"
  • Meaning:

    "man of prayer"
  • Description:

    Declan is the Anglicized form of the Irish name Deaglán. St. Declan was one of the first missionaries to bring Christianity to Ireland, preceding St. Patrick. Originally from Wales, he founded the monastery of Ardmore in Ireland.

BraydenHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Irish surname Braden
  • Meaning:

    "salmon"
  • Description:

    Brayden is the top spelling of one of the epidemically popular rhyming cousins of Aiden, hitting the Top 100 in 2005.. It has dipped a bit recently, but is still widely used. Other popular spellings include Braden, Braeden, Braydon, Braiden, Braedon and Bradyn. Take your pick.

RowanHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish and Irish
  • Meaning:

    "rowan tree; little redhead"
  • Description:

    Rowan – a strong surname and nature name (it's a tree with red berries) – is deservedly growing in popularity. Some scholars identify Rowan as originally a girls’ name, related to Rowena and Rhonwen, while others say Rowan's always been used for both genders. Sharon Stone chose the Roan spelling, which also relates to the reddish color, for her son, while Brooke Shields used Rowan for her daughter. Yet another increasingly popular spelling is Rowen.

ReaganHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little king"
  • Description:

    A strong, straightforward Irish unisex surname, with a merry glint in its eye, Reagan has been leaping up the popularity lists, to become one of the top girl names starting with R. Some will inevitably link it to President Ronald, but spell it Regan and it's a Shakespearean name: a daughter of King Lear.

AydenHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Aidan
  • Meaning:

    "little and fiery"
  • Description:

    Aidan in all its many splendored varieties, particularly Aiden, had a spectacular rise up the list, and the phonetic Ayden came along for the ride. It is also used in Turkey.

BriannaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Brian
  • Meaning:

    "strong, virtuous and honorable"
  • Description:

    Many different versions of Brianna are in the Top 1000 -- a sure sign that, though pretty, Brianna's gotten more and more difficult to make distinctive. This is the most popular spelling. It entered the US list in 1976, rose to the Top 100 in 1988, then got as high as Number 14 in 1999. Country singer Trace Adkins called his daughter Brianna. Though it sounds like it might be a modern invention, the name actually appeared as far back as the sixteenth century in Edmund Spenser's poem The Faerie Queen.

KevinHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "handsome"
  • Description:

    Kevin was derived from the name Caoimhín, which originated from the Irish elements coém, meaning “handsome,” and gein, “birth.” The feminine name Caiomhe, anglicized as Keeva, comes from the same origins. Kevin was first popularized by the seventh century Saint Kevin, who founded a scholastic monastery near Dublin and was rewarded by being made one of that city's patron saints.

RyleighHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Riley
  • Description:

    Another increasingly well-used, more feminine, form of Riley, this one is particularly popular in the South.

MaeveHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "she who intoxicates"
  • Description:

    Maeve appears in Irish mythology in two forms, one as the powerful Queen of Connacht, the other as the queen of the fairies. Maeve of Connacht was a warrior queen, famous for starting a war in attempt to steal her ex-husband’s stud bull. Other spellings are Meabh, Medb and Meadhbh, which are connected to mead, a honey-based wine that was produced in many ancient cultures.

FinnHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "fair or white"
  • Description:

    Finn is a name with enormous energy and charm, that of the greatest hero of Irish mythology, Finn MacCool (aka Fionn mac Cuumhaill), an intrepid warrior with mystical supernatural powers, noted as well for his wisdom and generosity.

SloaneHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "raider"
  • Description:

    Sloane is a sleek, sophisticated surname name that has gradually morphed over to the girls' side. Sloane is definitely a name that's going to continue to rise. Spelled without the final "e," Sloan joined Sloane in the Top 1000 for the first time in 2011.

TeaganHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish or Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "little poet or fair"
  • Description:

    As Meghan/Megan and Reagan/Regan show signs of wilting, along comes Teagan to take up the slack: definitely one to consider. The vast majority of American babies named Teagan are now girls. A variant spelling is Teaghan.

AlanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "handsome, cheerful"
  • Description:

    In its three most popular spellings -- Alan along with Allen and Allan -- this midcentury favorite has tended to skew older. It was a Top 100 name from 1938 to 1971, peaking at Number 40 in 1951. Alan has had leading roles on recent TV, in shows like Two and a Half Men, 24 and Boston Legal.

AlainaHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Alana, variation of Alana
  • Meaning:

    " or :harmony"
  • Description:

    Alaina, part Alana and part Elena and maybe also a little bit Elaine, is one of the many feminine forms of Alan (or its French form Alain) that have grown in popularity over recent decades, surpassing the male original. Not quite fashionable but also not quite un, Alaina is a choice that may feel more distinctive than it really is.

FinleyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish and Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "fair-haired hero"
  • Description:

    This was a 100 percent boys’ name until celebs Jason Sehorn and Angie Harmon bestowed it on their daughter, recently followed by Lisa Marie Presley, who used it for one of her (female) twins. Finlay is also now among the most popular unisex names.

AlanaHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, feminine variation of Alan
  • Meaning:

    "handsome, cheerful"
  • Description:

    Alana, in all its various spellings, was at one time reserved for daughters of dads named Alan, but is now much more widespread. It came into prominence via model/actress/celeb spouse Alana Hamilton Stewart.

OscarHeart

  • Origin:

    English or Irish
  • Meaning:

    "God spear, or deer-lover or champion warrior"
  • Description:

    Oscar has Irish and Norse roots—Norse Oscar comes from the Old English Osgar, a variation of the Old Norse name Ásgeirr. The Irish form was derived from the Gaelic elements os, meaning “deer,” and car, “loving.” In Irish legend, Oscar was one of the mightiest warriors of his generation, the son of Ossian and the grandson of Finn Mac Cumhaill (MacCool).

RowanHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish and Irish
  • Meaning:

    "rowan tree; little redhead"
  • Description:

    Rowan is the name of a tree with red berries that's commonly found in Scotland (and said to ward off witches). Some scholars say this name has been used for girls as well as boys since the Middle Ages, though no Rowans are found outside literature until modern times. It's also a genial Irish surname choice, especially for a redhead – girl or boy.

BryanHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Brian, Irish
  • Meaning:

    "strong, virtuous, and honorable"
  • Description:

    An alternate spelling of Brian, Bryan's one of the most enduring of Irish imports. Bryan is now slightly more popular than the original, with associations to Bryan Cranston, Bryan Ferry and Bryan Brown.

RileyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "courageous"
  • Description:

    Riley -- one of the most popular unisex names -- is rising faster now for girls than boys. Still, there are lots of athletes and other notable real-life namesakes for a boy named Riley, as well as fictional ones in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight: Eclipse.

AidanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little and fiery"
  • Description:

    Aidan was originally a pet form of the Irish name Aodh (pronounced 'ee'), the name of the old Celtic god of the sun and fire. The name was borne by numerous early Irish saints, one of whom was noted for his kindness and generosity. Aidan has many variations, among them, Aiden, Aden, Adan, Aedan, and Ayden.

RonanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little seal"
  • Description:

    Ronan is the compelling legendary name of twelve Irish and Scottish saints that is now drawing some deserved attention; this cousin of the ascending Roman and Rowan was chosen by actor Daniel Day-Lewis and his writer-director wife Rebecca Miller in 1998, and more recently by actress Catherine Bell.

BrianHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "strong, virtuous, and honorable"
  • Description:

    The origins of the name Brian are not entirely clear, but it is suspected that it evolved from an Old Celtic word related to nobility. In Ireland the name is associated with Brian Boru, the most famous of all Irish warrior-kings, credited with driving the Vikings out of Ireland. Bryan is a common alternative spelling.

DallasHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name and Irish
  • Meaning:

    "skilled"
  • Description:

    Relaxed, laid-back cowboy name with broad appeal, although none of the western place-names packs the same style power they did a few years ago.

MckennaHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "son of the handsome one"
  • Description:

    Mackenzie begat McKenna -- a catchy but very trendy choice. While the Mc or Mac prefix means "son of," this is exclusively a girl's names in the US, with no boys recorded with either spelling of the name.

ColinHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Nicholas or Irish and Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "pup"
  • Description:

    Thanks to its dashing Anglo-Irish image--due partly to Colins Firth and Farrell-- and its c-initialed two-syllable sound, Colin and its cousin Collin have enjoyed a long run of popularity, reaching as high as Number 84 in 2004.

LennonHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "lover"
  • Description:

    A growing number of high-profile (and other) parents are choosing to honor their musical idols, such as Hendrix, Presley, Jagger, and now Lennon, an Irish name for girls as well as boys with a wonderful meaning on many levels. Lennon first came to notice when Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit used it for their son in 1999, and singer-musician Adam Pascal followed their lead two years later.

FinleyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish and Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "fair-haired hero"
  • Description:

    Finley is a Scottish royal name (it belonged to Macbeth's father) riding the wave of Finn names. Chris O'Donnell used it for one of his sons, and Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn did a gender switch when they named their daughter Finley.

BradyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "broad meadow or large-chested"
  • Description:

    The Irish name given to Miranda Hobbes's son on the dearly departed Sex and the City is a friendly and energetic choice. You well might want to make your son part of the Brady bunch.

DelaneyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "dark challenger"
  • Description:

    Delaney has been a popular Irish surname name for a couple of decades, projecting buoyant enthusiasm plus a feminine feel.

RoryHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "red king"
  • Description:

    This spirited Gaelic classic, which became popular in Ireland via the illustrious twelfth century king Rory O'Connor, makes a highly energetic choice, now used for either sex. Rory's gender split is still trending boyward; it's one of the coolest boys' names starting with R.

SeanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish variation of John
  • Description:

    Sean, after a long reign as one of the top Irish boys' names in the US, has now slipped as parents look to fresher Irish choices such as Liam and Aidan. In Ireland, Sean is still highly popular, but variation Senan, an Anglicized spelling of diminutive Seanan, is also stylish in Ireland. While Sean is the Irish form of John, Seanan and Senan may be thought of either as Sean diminutives or relatives of the Latin word "senator".

KillianHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "church"
  • Description:

    Killian – aka Cillian – is a spirited yet resonant Gaelic name that was borne by several Irish saints and could make a distinctive replacement for the dated Kelly. Possible downsides: an unsavory first syllable and a connection to the trendy brew.

CollinsHeart

  • Origin:

    Surname derived from Nicholas or Colin
  • Description:

    Collins is a surname name that has made the girls' Top 1000 thanks to its use for the daughter of the real-life Blind Side heroine. This derivation of the Greek Nicholas—which means "people of victory"—or the Irish and Scottish Colin—which may itself be a Nicholas derivation or an Anglicization of the word for pup—has a stylish feel made more so by that final s.

GarrettHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish variation of Gerard
  • Meaning:

    "spear strength"
  • Description:

    Garrett, also spelled with one 't', is an Irish-inflected name that was in the Top 100 in the nineties, but has now slipped in popularity.

DevinHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "poet"
  • Description:

    Devilishly handsome, Devin arrived as Kevin was moving out. Not to be confused (though it often is) with the English place-name Devon. While both Devin and Devon are flagging somewhat for boys, the names have dropped out of the Top 1000 for girls, making it more a masculine and less a unisex name these days.

GradyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "noble, illustrious"
  • Description:

    Following in the footsteps of popular brother Brady, Grady is another lively, ebullient Irish surname name. The O'Gradys (originally O Gradaugh) were an ancient clan that produced an impressive number of bishops.

    Perhaps the most remarkable O'Grady descendant is Muhammad Ali, whose mother's maiden name was Grady.

SullivanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish surname
  • Meaning:

    "black-eyed one"
  • Description:

    Sullivan is a jaunty Celtic three-syllable name, with a real twinkle in its eye. It was immortalized in the 1930s classic film Sullivan's Travels and was chosen for one of Patrick Dempsey's twin boys. Nickname Sully is equally jaunty.

MakennaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of McKenna or Eastern African
  • Meaning:

    "happy one"
  • Description:

    Part of the Mackenzie/Mackena/Mackenna family, this variation has a positive meaning.

CassidyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "curly-haired"
  • Description:

    Has fallen off its Kathie Lee Gifford inspired peak in the 1990s, but since that notably celebrity baby is now a grownup and out of the limelight, Cassidy may once again reclaim its own Irish charm.
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