Irish Baby Names: What’s Hot Now

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:

girls

    1. Sophie
    2. Emily
    3. Emma
    4. Sarah
    5. Lucy
    6. Ava
    7. Grace
    8. Chloe
    9. Katie
    10.Aoife

boys

    1. Jack
    2. Sean
    3. Daniel
    4. James
    5. Conor
    6. Ryan
    7. Adam
    8. Alex
    9. Luke
    10.Dylan

In the Top 100, however, the balance shifts and a bit over half of the names overall are authentically Irish. With their actual standing in the Top 100 in parenthesis, the Irish names most popular for girls, beyond Aoife, are:

Ciara (15)
Saoirse (18)
Caoimhe (24)
Niamh (25)
Roisin (32)
Erin (36)
Clodagh (39)
Aisling (42)
Eabha (55)
Aine (58)
Tara (62)
Sadhbh (65)
Aoibhinn (67)
Caitlin (75)
Aoibheann (76)
Eimear (78)
Aoibhe (79)
Orla (85)
Orlaith (94)
Sinead (97)

Irish boys’ names in the Top 100, beyond the Top 10, are:

Cian (14)
Liam (15)
Darragh (16)
Oisin (17)
Patrick (18)
Cillian (21)
Eoin (29)
Callum (32)
Shane (33)
Fionn (35)
Tadhg (40)
Cathal (42)
Finn (46)
Ronan (50)
Ciaran (53)
Rian (54)
Eoghan (55)
Rory (57)
Cormac (59)
Killian (62)
Dara (71)
Senan (74)
Oran (75)
Shay (76)
Odhran (77)
Ruairi (88)
Niall (91)
Calum (93)
Daithi (94)
Lorcan (97)
Daire (100)

There are a couple of other surprises within the list of Top 100 Irish baby names. Number 71 for girls, for instance, is the remarkable Zuzanna. Other girls’ names more popular in Ireland than in the US include Brooke, Natalia, Lena, Shauna, Zara, Millie, Hollie, and Ruth.

For boys, the outliers include Jamie, at number 11, Harry, Leon, Jakub (far more popular than the US number 1 Jacob), Martin, and PatrykIreland‘s national name dragged into the 21st century.

For lots more on Irish baby names, check out our book Cool Irish Names for Babies, now under $5 on Amazon!

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26 Responses to “Irish Baby Names: What’s Hot Now”

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rachelmarie Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 1:01 am

Although I’m not Irish and sometimes don’t always know how to pronounce the names, I have a soft spot for Irish names. They’re so interesting and cultural, and I love that.

Funny story: I found this musician named Fionn Regan. I knew he was Irish, but I was saying his name fee-on. Then I looked it up on here and found out it was pronounced the same as Finn. Haha. But I had no clue it’s so popular in Ireland!

Tilly Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 1:24 am

I love Aiofe and Saoirse. Two of my fav names by far! If I have twins it may be a nice set?

agirlinred Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 1:32 am

I love Irish names! It takes me a while to figure out some of the Irish spellings though. But I’m getting better!

Olivia Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 6:17 am

Tilly – Aiofe and Saoirse are gorgeous together!

If I’m honest, I’m not usually one for Irish names – even with my partly Irish heritage, but I do really love Aine, Clodagh (it’s ClOH-dah, right? Same beginning as Chloe?) and Tara. From the boys I like Fionn/Finn, Oran and the very cool Patryk.

Great post 🙂

murp Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 6:54 am

It’s lovely to see some Irish name news here! I was disappointed though not to see my son’s name (Oscar) on the boys list, although it is number 61 in the cso list. I would guess that most people using this name in Ireland would have got the name from the character in Irish mythology, so I would class it as an Irish name.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_(given_name)
Names like Patryk, Jakub, Filip and Zuzanna reflect the Eastern European population in Ireland, rather than creative spellings.
@rachelmarie, I love the name Fionn (meaning fair, as in blond). Anyone that I know with this name pronounces it fee-UN or fee-ON, although I’m sure some people would say finn.

pam Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 7:16 am

Murp, Thanks for the clarification. We’d heard conflicting pronunciations on Fionn but I will change. I didn’t realize the Eastern European population was so big in Ireland: Wow, that’s interesting. And yes, you’re right, Oscar is an Irish name but it also is connected to so many other cultures I didn’t count it as such. But the Irish have legitimate claim!

Tilly, Aoife and Saoirse do make a perfect twinset — but I always have trouble getting the vowel order right. For an English speaker, aoi makes no sense at all!

kyemsma Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 7:59 am

I love some of the girls’ names: Roisin and Orla, especially. And I was surprised that my son’s name, Kyle, was NOT on the top 100 for boys!

Lola Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 8:45 am

Roisin is a favorite of mine from the girls and Cillian, Callum, Ronan, Eoghan & Lorcan are favorites from the boys. Once again, I like more boys than girls!

Macy Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 9:46 am

I love Rory and Shay for boys!

murp Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 9:57 am

Cheers Pam!

Macy Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 9:59 am

kyesmama, Kyle is in the top100 for boy.

Just noticed Cillian and Killian are both in the top100 😀

Andrea Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 10:03 am

Ireland likely has a fair number of Polish immigrants like the UK, which is probably where Zuzanna and other Slavic names/spellings comes from.

Linelei Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 10:25 am

They also have a lot of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants. When I lived there they were cracking down on immigration because of it – they told me I could stay if I married an Irishman!

I adore both Aoife and Aine. I like that spelling more than Anya, but it can cause pronunciation issues outside Ireland. Still beautiful, though! And Callum has been a favorite of mine since high school.

Claire Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I’m swooning over Shay for boy. I’m also crazy about Roisin but could never use it as long as I live in the good old U.S. of A.

Jay Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

What a great list! I have family throughout the UK and Ireland and I’ve always been interested in Irish names. It’s interesting to see what Irish parents are choosing today. I love the names Niall, Ronan and Rory for boys, and pretty much all the girls’ names listed, lol. Thanks for this info!

Jay

sparklesanonymous Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 5:35 pm

I know a Caoimhe. She loves it but here in Italy she goes through hell. (Cah-oeemhay? Coaimhay? Cahaiomay? etc.) I love love love Aoife and Niamh!

Sunday Summary: 7/3/11 | Appellation Mountain Says:

July 3rd, 2011 at 11:40 am

[…] Nameberry covered Irish Baby Names following the announcement of their official statistics for 2010.  I love Orla for a girl and Lorcan for a boy – oh, and Cathal, though I find it feminine; […]

Namestory Says:

July 3rd, 2011 at 9:13 pm

This top 10 is so disappointing!! The Irish have such cool names, and it seems to me like the most popular ones are very ordinary. We seriously considered Saoirse for our American daughter, but knew that we would be saddling her with a very difficult name. Plus, we don’t have any Irish in us! I kind of have a crush on Ireland, though. (the country, not the name)

Elle Says:

July 5th, 2011 at 12:43 am

I’ve been able to trace my family roots back to Ireland and found some incredible name gems in the line. I adore Irish names…from this list my favorites are…
Caoimhe
Niamh
Aine
Sadhbh
Cian
Cillian
Eoin
Callum
Tadhg
Cormac

Allison Says:

July 5th, 2011 at 10:31 am

I seriously considered naming my youngest daughter Mhaire. Love the look and the sound of it. So classy and elegant, yet with a fun side for a little girl. Could not get my husband to go along with it. He thought no one would ever spell it correctly, or get the pronunciation right the first time they saw it. No one ever pronounced my older daughters’ names correctly the first time (Alanna and Annika), so that wasn’t a concern for me, but I had to agree with him that misspellings would forever be a problem for poor Mhaire. 🙁

Colleen Says:

July 5th, 2011 at 9:50 pm

My boys name aren’t here Declan and Tiernan! I love their names!

pam Says:

July 6th, 2011 at 9:03 am

I love those names too, Colleen! They’re not on the Irish Top 100 and it’s frustrating that the Irish government doesn’t publish more than that — they may well be number 101 and 102.

NameJunkie Says:

July 6th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I`m from Ireland and lived here by entire life, in my opinion its refreshing to see some non Irish names on the list. You have no idea the amount of Aoifes, Niamhs,Ciaras, Sorchas, Saoirses, Patricks, Seans, Liams etc. I know. Most people here have an Irish name. And quite frankly I hate most of them because I know so many people with these names and I`ve a feeling thats why there is less then usual Irish names on the list!
Also someone mentioned about above about Ireland having a lot of people from Eastern Europe now live here. Thats also a factor. Over the past maybe 5 years we`ve had a lot of people from various countries move over here 🙂

olivia Says:

July 6th, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Totally agree with the above comment. Im from Ireland too and i know countless little Ciaras, Niamhs, Aoifes, Conors, Eoins, Darraghs,etc etc!! I couldnt ever see myself giving my child an Irish name because im very sick of hearing them all the time and theres also the pronunciation problem should they decide to emigrate when they grow up so i was actually delighted to see so few of them in the top 10.While a lot of Irish names are still popular i think people are slowly moving away from them. My husband loves Irish names and he had his heart set on Aoife when our daughter was born four years ago, thankfully i managed to change his mind and we did go with Erin as her middle name which i can live with!

Shelly Says:

July 28th, 2011 at 9:02 pm

I love the name Ireland for a girl but I’m having a hard time finding a middle name that will sound nice with it. Ireland Raine is the best I’ve come up with so far. Any suggestions?

emilymaryjane Says:

December 29th, 2011 at 6:14 am

Love Sophie but can’t use it (my niece is Sophia) and I know a Ciara said Kirra

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