690+ Irish Names (With Meanings and Popularity)
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.
Along with Riley, Irish girl names in the US Top 1000 include Kennedy, Quinn, Nora, and Maeve.
Along with Liam, Irish boy names in the US Top 1000 include Finn, Ryan, all spellings of Aiden, Declan, and Rowan.
Unique Irish girl names we're hearing more of include Saoirse, as in actress Ronan; Niamh; and Una.
Unique Irish boy names trending now include Lorcan, Cashel, and Phelan.
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 most popular boy names in Ireland include the classic Hebrew James and Noah along with Irish names Conor, Finn, and Liam. The top ten girl names in the Emerald Isle include only one Irish-language name, Fiadh. Other popular girl names in Ireland are Grace, Emily, and Sophie.
Irish language names are a subset of Gaelic Names, which also include Scottish names and Manx names. Along with Finn and Fiadh, other Irish Gaelic choices among the popular names in Ireland include Eabha, Saoirse, and Aoife for girls; Darragh, Cillian, Oisin and Tadgh for boys.
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.
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.
Unique gender neutral Irish names that work for boys and girls include Bellamy, Brady, and Callahan.
Uncommon Irish baby names in the US and most places outside the Emerald Isle -- though some are among the Top 100 names in Ireland -- include Aoife, Cian, Oisin, and Tadgh. Correct Irish spelling and pronunciation can be challenging for non-native speakers.
Browse our complete list of Irish baby names both classic and modern, for girls and for boys, here, ordered according to their current popularity on Nameberry.
Meaning:"she who intoxicates"
Description:Maeve is a short and sweet name that has become one of the most stylish Irish names for girls in the modern US. Maeve would make an excellent first or middle name choice, with more heft than Mae/May and more modern charm than Mavis.
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.
Origin:English or Irish
Meaning:"God spear, or deer-lover or champion warrior"
Description:Oscar is one of the most stylish Old Man Names of our era. While it's softened slightly in popularity over the past 20 years, that may be considered a very good thing.
Origin:Irish, diminutive of Honora, or Greek
Description:Nora is a lovely, refined name that conjures up images of Belle Epoch ladies in fur-trimmed coats skating in Central Park. Long seen as a quintessentially Irish name, Nora is a quietly stylish favorite tiptoeing up the popularity ladder.
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.
Meaning:"war strife or church"
Description:Cillian is one of the native Irish names that, along with Aiden and Declan, is becoming an unlikely favorite in contemporary America. The Killian spelling has been more popular in the US, but Cillian's star is rising, perhaps thanks to Irish actor Cillian Murphy, star of Oppenheimer and Peaky Blinders.
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.
Origin:Irish short form of William
Description:Liam is the top boys' name in the US, holding the Number 1 spot for the past five years and also ranking as one of the most popular boys' names around the western world.
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.
Meaning:"little dark one"
Description:Long popular in Ireland and England, Kieran, the name of Ireland's first-born saint and twenty-five other saints, has been building its U.S. fan base thanks to its strong and attractive sound, and its fashionable Irish brogue. While Ciaran is the more authentic Irish spelling, Kieran is more popular this side of the Atlantic.
Meaning:"leaping water, lady of abundance"
Description:As memories of the outragrous actress Talullah Bankhead have faded, this hauntingly euphonious Choctaw name has re-entered the public domain. A modern hipster favorite, it's been chosen for their daughters by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Patrick Dempsey, Damian Dash, Rachel Roy and Sara Rue, trail-blazed by Demi Moore and Bruce Willis for their now grown daughter. (Trivia tidbit: Bankhead's namesake was her paternal grandmother who, in turn, was named after the Georgia town of Tallulah Falls.)
Meaning:"yew wood, archer"
Description:Ivo is an unusual, catchy name with the energetic impact of all names ending in 'o'. Hardly heard in the U.S., it is used a bit more frequently in England, as is the related Ivor, a favorite of such novelists as Evelyn Waugh and P.G. Wodehouse. Ivo is currently most popular in the Netherlands.
Description:Lorcan is a name rich in Irish history as belonging to several kings, including the grandfather of the most famous high king of Ireland, Brian Boru. Lorcan O'Toole, known in English as Laurence O'Toole, is the patron saint of Dublin, so it's not too surprising that Irish-born actor Peter O'Toole named his son Lorcan.
Description:Before the young Irish actress Saoirse Ronan made her mark in the films Ladybird and The Lovely Bones, few of us had heard this name, let alone known how to pronounce it. But now it is slowly way edging its way into the mainstream, particularly, of course, with parents who have Irish roots. It made its first appearance in the US Top 1000 in 2016, when it was the third-fastest-rising girls' name.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Meaning:"descendant of the red-haired one"
Description:Flynn, a charming Irish surname, is still used only quietly, despite its easygoing, casual cowboy charm, unlike Finn which is a star of this genre. Flynn was the choice of Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr for their baby boy, and is also the middle name -- used as his first -- of a son of Miranda's fellow supermodel Elle Macpherson, of Gary Oldman's son Gulliver and Marley Shelton's daughter West.
Origin:Irish and Scottish
Description:Finley has been used for both sexes for enough years to become one of the most popular unisex names. Given nearly equally to boys and girls, Finley appeals to contemporary parents as a truly gender neutral choice.