Irish names: The best celebrity imports for St. Patrick’s Day

Irish names have been making the trans-Atlantic crossing for centuries, beginning with easily assimilated ones like Patrick and Kathleen, Kevin and Brian and Ryan. But recently, thanks to a few high-profile celebs in both the entertainment and literary worlds, we’ve been introduced to some intriguingly authentic Irish names we hadn’t met up with before. Here, to commemorate  St. Paddy’s Day, are some of the best.

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Saoirse Ronan

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The pronunciation of the first name of this young actress, Saoirse, who first attracted attention with her extraordinary performance in Atonement, has posed some real problems for her U.S. admirers. As an explanation, she herself has said, “'Searsha' is how Irish people pronounce  my first name, but I would pronounce it 'Sersha,' like 'inertia'. It's "Irish language" Irish for 'freedom.”

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17 Responses to “Irish names: The best celebrity imports for St. Patrick’s Day”

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Darci Says:

March 15th, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Love both Aidan and Liam, although they’re now too popular for my tastes.

I also love Tierney, Maeve, and Declan. Saoirse and Roisin are growing on me.

UniqueNameLover Says:

March 16th, 2012 at 12:10 am

I love Saoirse and the meaning behind it. Both Maeve and Saoirse are on my list. Enya is lovely, and I like the look of Eoin, though I want to pronounce it “Ian.”

UniqueNameLover Says:

March 16th, 2012 at 12:16 am

Oh, and Cillian Murphy is hot. And so is Liam. Poor Liam. The anniversary of his wife’s death is in a couple of days!

Love Sinead too. Irish names are so much fun. Tierney is interesting, but it sounds too much like tyranny.

Alexandra.Iseult Says:

March 16th, 2012 at 12:29 am

I love Saoirse, Roisin, Maeve, and Enya, and I agree UniqueNameLover, that Tierney just brings that sound.

Likewise, I love Irish names. Too bad Liam and Aidan are just explosively popular.

I thought maybe Rooney Mara would be present here, though I know she’s been featured not too long ago, and is a fairly new name influence.

kyemsma Says:

March 16th, 2012 at 6:09 am

I love all of these names, especially Maeve and Liam! Also, don’t forget Kyle MacLachlan!

Lola Says:

March 16th, 2012 at 9:21 am

I ‘ll second Cillian Murphy is HOT! Gotta love those eyes. 😀

I live near Boston and hear the same Irish names day in & day out. I’d just about kill to find a Roisin, Cillian or Malachy. I adore those three! 🙂

celestemilmun Says:

March 16th, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I love Saoirse, Roisin, Maeve, Aoife, Cillian, Liam, and Eoin.

One thing re: Enya…Maire is a female name. Enya’s sister Maire also sometimes goes by Moya Brennan.

isabel_r Says:

March 16th, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Wow! I know a set of brothers with names off this list, as well as their surname. Cillian Tierney & Cormac Tierney. They do both hate their names though. Cillian is exclusively Ian, Cormac only answers to Cory or Mac. It’s a shame in my mind, such nice names.

isabel_r Says:

March 16th, 2012 at 6:57 pm

One more thing- my brother brought home a friend a week or two ago named Malachy. I thought it is was cute 🙂

corsue Says:

March 16th, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Most of these names didn’t share the pronunciation, and/or included more Irish names within the post that lacked the pronunciation. I’m disappointed.

edenlyla13 Says:

March 16th, 2012 at 9:58 pm

I adore Irish names so this was a post I really enjoyed! Thanks:)

jame1881 Says:

March 17th, 2012 at 10:26 am

Love Irish names! Especially Roisin – my ultimate favorite right now 🙂 I wish some of these names were more popular. But surprisingly I know someone named Cormac. I always thought they were calling him by his last name as though he was a football player or something. Also, I know one kid named Declan, whom everyone thinks is annoying. Why can’t more kids be named Declan to get his image off this wonderful name???

auroradawn Says:

March 17th, 2012 at 6:04 pm

I love Irish names too. Fun post. Just this January I met brothers named Cillian and Tadhg, who were raised near Dublin, and I was so pleased. I’d seen the names in my baby name books and liked them, so I was thrilled to meet them in the flesh. I didn’t hear anyone have trouble pronouncing Cillian’s name, but Tadhg (prn Tige) was more trouble. I like it anyway!
I would have liked to see the pronunciation for Aoife…

murp Says:

March 18th, 2012 at 5:51 am

Love seeing posts on Irish names as an Irish berry!
@auroradawn, Aoife is pronounced EE-fa.
Just a note on Enya, this would be quite an unusual regional pronounciation of Eithne, which the majority of people would pronounce ETH-na (which I much prefer). I would pronounce her relatives’ names
Máire= MAW-ra,
Pól= POLE,
Ciarán= KEER-awn
Pádraig= PAW-drig,
although if they are also from Donegal they may have slightly different ways of pronouncing their names. (They speak very odd Irish up there ; )!)
Colm would usually be pronounced COL-um, although I have known one Colum who pronounced it CUL-um.

linzybindi Says:

March 18th, 2012 at 6:24 am

I love so many of these names! Malachy, Cormac, Cillian and Colm have all danced around my name list at one time. Such great Irish names!

As an Erin I appreciate this so…Erin Go Bragh!

auroradawn Says:

March 18th, 2012 at 8:25 pm

@murp–Thank you! I appreciate the pronunciation notes on Aoife and the others.

Buttonhead101 Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 10:29 am

I love Irish names, but I was a little surprised you didn’t have Niall Horan.

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