Irish Names for Girls: The Complete List
Irish names for girls are among the most popular girl names in the US and other English-speaking countries. That may be because the Irish emigrated widely in the 19th and 20th centuries, seeking jobs and opportunities.
Irish language baby names were forbidden under British rule, but were revived after the Irish fight for independence a century ago. Irish names that had been anglicized in previous generations were used again in their original form: Siobhan instead of Joan, Aine rather than Anne.
The top female names of Irish origin today are very different than they were a century ago. Irish surname-names are popular for baby girls in the US, including Riley, Kennedy, and Quinn.
Along with Riley, other Irish girl names in the US Top 1000 include Nora, Reagan, Rowan, Finley, Cassidy, Sloane, and Teagan. Unique Irish girl names finding more widespread use include Saoirse, Una, and Teagan.
This list gathers our complete assortment of Irish names for girls, classic and modern.
Origin:Irish, diminutive of Honora, or Greek
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.
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.
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.
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: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.
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.
Origin:Spelling variation of Riley
Description:Another increasingly well-used, more feminine, form of Riley, this one is particularly popular in the South.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Origin:Irish and Scottish
Origin:Irish, feminine variation of Alan
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.
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.
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.
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.
Description:Delaney has been a popular Irish surname name for a couple of decades, projecting buoyant enthusiasm plus a feminine feel.
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.
Origin:Spelling variation of McKenna or Eastern African
Description:Part of the Mackenzie/Mackena/Mackenna family, this variation has a positive meaning.
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.
Description:This ultrapopular boys' name is rapidly becoming a hot name for girls; admired for its buoyant Irish spirit.
Description:Rory is a buoyant, spirited name for a redhead with Celtic roots. The name Rory is getting more popular overall, but for the past few years has been trending decidedly toward the boys' side -- however, it's been rising to new heights for girls in recent years.
Meaning:"little dark one"
Description:Keira is an attractive girls’ name that's gotten a huge boost from the meteoric rise of Keira Knightley. Original spelling Kiera, which relates more directly to the male Kieran, was the more popular form until the rise of Keira Knightley reversed the order. Both are Anglicized versions of the Irish Ciara.
Description:In the Old Testament, God changed Sarai's name to Sara, so this would make a very legitimate variation.
Origin:Spelling variation of Caitlin
Description:A huge name in the late 90's and most of the 00's, Kaitlyn's been on a downward trend in recent years. Kaitlyn has at this point been considerably overused and can no longer be seen as stylish. It's especially popular in Canada.
Meaning:"from the island to the west"
Description:First-wave Irish name and place name—the poetic name for Ireland—now supplanted by newer alternatives such as Maeve and Delaney.
Description:Kennedi is a spelling variation of Kennedy. Kennedi has been on an upward trend since she entered the Top 1000 in 1998. If you're going to go with this trendy Presidential name, we prefer Kennedy.
Origin:Variation of Aislinn, Irish
Description:Though it relates to the Irish original, Ashlyn and its next most popular form, Ashlynn, owe more of their popularity as baby names in the US to the megastar Ashley, though all three have been dropping on the charts lately.
Origin:Feminine variation of Brian
Meaning:"strong, virtuous, honorable"
Description:Spelled this way, Briana was coined by Edmund Spenser for his great literary work, The Faerie Queene, which gives the now-overexposed name a far classier pedigree than it's usually credited with. But spelling variations Breana, Breanna and onward are popular too, though feel more invented -- probably because they are. One enduring appeal of Briana and sisters is that they're girl names that mean strong, brave, or powerful, which may be why George R. R. Martin names his warrior maiden Brienne of Tarth.
Origin:Place-name and Irish
Description:Cowhand name trendy a decade ago for boys, but with plenty of life left for girls.
Origin:Variation of Cassidy
Description:Like Cassidy, Kassidy peaked near the turn of the millennium and has lost ground in recent years.
Description:This Anglicized spelling of Irish Aislinn or Aisling has enjoyed some popularity in the US as an updated Ashley.
Origin:Norse mythology name
Description:Kara peaked in the 1980s but remains more popular than the Cara variant. In Norse mythology, was a Valkyrie, lover of Helgi, who charmed his enemies in battle by enchanting them with song.
Origin:Irish variation of Helen
Meaning:"bright, shining light"
Description:Irish Aileen and Scottish Eileen may be pronounced the same way or Aileen can be pronounced with a long a at the beginning. While neither is particularly stylish, Aileen is slightly more popular and has reversed its downward slide to inch upward in the past few years, perhaps thanks to its stylish A beginning. Nicknames for Aileen include Isla, Ayla, Lee and Lena.
Description:Saoirse originated as a baby name in 1920s Ireland as an applied use of saoirse, the Gaelic word for "freedom." The name was first adopted during the Irish War of Independence, when the Irish Republican Army fought the British Army for the liberation of Ireland from British rule. In modern times, Saoirse, as well as a host of other Gaelic names, are being revived in Ireland, the UK, and the US.
Origin:Anglicized variation of Gaelic Brighid
Meaning:"strength or exalted one"
Description:Bridget is the Anglicized form of Brigid, an Irish-Gaelic name that was derived from the word brígh, which means "strength."
Description:Once the quintessential bouncy teenager name, Kelly helped launch the trend of unisex Irish names . But it now takes a backseat to more substantial surname names like Kennedy.
Origin:English and Irish from French
Description:Bellamy is emerging as an up-and-coming girls' name, an Irish surname-y riff on the super-popular Bella series of names. While the Bella connection makes Bellamy sound a little trendier and more popular than it really is, we see the name possibly rising through the ranks for both genders in the coming years.
Description:Fallon is one of several boyish surname names introduced in the over-the-top 1980s nighttime soap Dynasty: they sounded cutting-edge at the time, but no longer.
Description:A variant spelling of either Irish Shea or Hebrew Shai, Shay feels at once vintage and modern.
Description:Old Irish name that's taken off in its Anglicized forms, mainly Ashlyn or Ashlynn. Nonetheless, this more traditional version debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2015.