Irish Names Now: What’s doing in Dublin?

Irish Baby Names

We’ve been scrutinizing your responses to our recent survey, in particular the question that asked what you’d like to see more of on nameberry, with an eye to accommodating your suggestions.  Quite a few responders put in requests for more ethnic names— with pronunciations—and a couple took note of our blog on birth announcements in the London Times, interested in seeing similar subjects, which Pam will be updating soon.

So, since we aim to please, this time we are taking a look at announcements in the Irish Times over the past few months–the ethnic and not-so-ethnic names found there–with pronunciations when needed.

The current batch of newborn names in Ireland shows a typical mix of Anglo-Saxon classics (especially for boys), modern Irish standards , and the old Gaelic names that have been revived and become fashionable in recent years, as well as some internationally trendy choices.  Below are some of the more interesting, with pronunciations where useful–bearing  in mind that they change from region to region (and reference book to reference book).


Among the currently most popular girls’ names are Emily, Lucy, Isabel (and Isabelle, Isabella and Isobel), and Grace, with several appearances of Hazel and Sophia/Sofia , Rose and Ruby.  Leading middle names in this sampling appear to be Elizabeth, Grace, Rose, Louise, May and Maeve.

Here, some of the more unusual choices–including some interesting combos:


ANNA Catriona (kat-REE-na) Monica


ARABELLA Elizabeth

ASHLING Elizabeth

AVA Maeve




CAOIMHE (KEEV-eh) Nadine



CLODAGH (KLOH-da) Catherine

CHLOE Iris Hazel


ELEANOR Siobhan (sha-VAUN)


EMER (EE-mir) Maeve

EMILY Kariba

ESME Jemima


FREYA Kate/Rosalind Antonia


ISABEL Dot/Daisy Mabel


ISEULT (EE-sult) Estelle


JUNO Helena

LEDA Marie

LEILA Katherine


MARTHA Aisling (ash-ling)



NIAMH (neev)

NORA Elizabeth

NYAH Jennifer


PENELOPE Hilary Danielle (the latter two the names of both Grandmas)


ROSE Mairead

RUTH Harriette Lola

SABHBH (SIVE—rhymes with five) Olivia

SAOIRSE (SEER-sha) Mary Bronagh ( broh-nah)/Maureen

SEANNA (shaun-a)

SIOFRA (SHEE-fra) Ros Aine(oyn-nyeh)

SIONED (SHON-ed, the Welsh equivalent of Janet) Eva

SIUN (shoon) Margaret

SKYE Newsom

TESSA Mathilda


The boys’ roster is significantly Anglo-classics-heavy, with many Matthews, Michaels, Davids, Charleses, Jacks, Thomases, Jameses, Edwards, and a liberal sprinkling of the more Irish Patricks, Oscars and Hughs.  In addition to which we find:

BRETT Rocky (!)




CIAN (KEE-an) Patrick

CIANAN (KEE-anh-aun)

CONALL (KAW-nall) Jeremy Ailill (pron. not found)

CONOR Liam Patrick


DEVLINN Pearse Giles


EOGHAN (OH-an) Patrick

EOIN (OH-in) Alexander

FINN Michael


GAVAN Diarmuid (DEER-mud)

HUGO Michael/Thomas Andrew

JAMES Fintan

JUDE Thomas



LUKE Conor Niall (NEE-al)

MARK Declan


MICHAEL Oisin (OH-sheen) Charter (mother’s maiden name)

OSCAR Hugo/Simon George/Willem

RHYS James

RORY Peter

THEO James

THOMAS Diarmuid (DEER-mud)

TOM Ruari (ROO-re)

Coming soon–what’s in in Inverness: Scottish birth announcements.

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19 Responses to “Irish Names Now: What’s doing in Dublin?”

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lyndsayjenness Says:

November 5th, 2009 at 4:20 am

Love this! I don’t have time to say much, but I wanted to say that I would love more blogs like this one (and I didn’t even write anything about that on the survey!). I would really, really love to see French Names Now as well as Japanese Names Now!

Caren Jean Says:

November 5th, 2009 at 9:36 am

Love this!! Thank you!

Moonie Says:

November 5th, 2009 at 9:42 am

These are great; the examples you picked are beautifula and so authentic. I’m excited for the Scottish equivalents. Maybe some Welsh birth announcements can follow?

SJ Says:

November 5th, 2009 at 10:37 am

I am also excited about the prospect of seeing more current baby name announcements from around the world. Please be sure to let us know where they come from so we can check the sites ourselves in the future… I’m so disappointed that most major American newspapers don’t seem to have regular birth announcements anymore.

And–wow, I just cannot wrap my mind around some of the Gaelic pronunciations! Sabhbh = “sive”? Language is an amazing thing.

Incidentally, what do the slashes mean? E.g., Freya Kate/Rosalind Antonia? Is that indicating twins?

linda Says:

November 5th, 2009 at 11:00 am

Sorry-I should have explainted that the slashes are between the different middle names attached to that name.
And the current list came from the Irish Times:;type=birth

punkprincessphd Says:

November 5th, 2009 at 11:13 am

Thanks for the list – I’m less than a week to my due date and hunting for a specifically Irish name. I have to say that the Irish Times is not necessarily the best indicator of widespread Irish trends: it’s very geographically and class specific.

Also, “Sabhbh” is a typo, or just bad spelling on the parents’ part: it’s correctly spelled “Sadhbh” – which answers SJ’s question (a little): the “dh” is basically silent, while the “bh” produces the “v” sound. A double “bh” is just about unheard of in Irish Gaelic.

Finally, the boy’s name “Ailill” is usually pronounced “AY-leel” or “a-LYL”.

Cheers for a few more suggestions, though!

linda Says:

November 5th, 2009 at 11:20 am

Yes, Sabhbh was indeed a typo. Says:

November 5th, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Thanks very sharing, very interesting 🙂 Says:

November 5th, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Lovely list. I just published some of these on my blog. I love going through the birth announcements from London, Ireland, Scotland, and Australia. It’s nice to see what other countries are naming their babies.

SJ Says:

November 6th, 2009 at 10:20 am

Thanks for clearing up a couple of my questions, guys! I love these lists!

tony Says:

November 6th, 2009 at 2:21 pm

I always wondered how to pronounce those names.

Tracey Says:

November 6th, 2009 at 11:34 pm

When I was looking for baby names for my daughter a decade ago, I got out a map. I wanted something Gaelic if possible (settled for something of historic significance instead). I can’t remember now if it’s an island, river or town, but I came across “Brennish”. I mentioned it on a baby naming forum, and someone actually used it. I didn’t have a boy, so I didn’t. But I still think it’s a cool name for someone who wants a name tied to Ireland.

Emz Says:

November 8th, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Wow. These are like a hundred million times better than the Scottish names in the most recent post. We came off pretty bad in that one.

Bevin Says:

November 16th, 2009 at 7:33 pm

There’s me. Well not actually me obviously! Nice to see another Bevin around. Her parents obviously have great taste 😉

Really nice to see what’s going on back home. There’s a few pretty terrible Irish names that have been doing the rounds for a number of years, it’s good to see such great names becoming popular.

Cathal McKenna Says:

December 17th, 2009 at 1:55 am

Cathal is pronounced KAHILL

I know this because it’s my name and I’m from Ireland.

Margaret de Faoite Says:

December 10th, 2010 at 10:50 pm

I think one of the girls’ names in your list is misspelled.
Rose Amiread should be Rose MAiread? This would make a lot more sense to me — Mairead is Irish for Margaret. Amiread looks like a misspelling.

linda Says:

December 11th, 2010 at 1:03 am

Thanks, Margaret–I changed it.

NameLover Says:

July 9th, 2011 at 10:25 pm

I understand that these names are unusual in the USA and around the world,but when you call them “unusual names” its a bit misleading. Here in Ireland 90% of those names are extremely common!

NameLover Says:

July 9th, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Also Cathel isn’t pronounced KOH-hal, its KAH-hal but much softer.

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