Category: Irish baby names

By Lisa Spira

Before Liam became the second most popular baby name in the United States, as it has been since 2013, it was a lesser-known Irish short form of William. It was distinctively Irish. Today, however, Liam is so popular that it feels more “American” than anything else.

It’s not the first name to broaden in usage this way. In past generations, names such as Sean and Nicole became simply American, dissociated from their Irish and French roots, respectively.

Which names from other cultures might be the next popular American names?

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By Linda Rosenkrantz and Pamela Redmond Satran

Irish baby names appeal to a wide range of parents, whether your background is Irish or not. But the Irish baby names most popular here are very different from those that are hot in their homeland. St. Paddy‘s Day is the perfect moment to look at the top Irish baby names today.

Irish names have, of course, long been popular in America, brought here by immigrants from the middle of the nineteenth century through the present day.

There have been waves of popular Irish names in the US, starting with such stalwarts as Patrick and Bridget and moving through Kelly and Kevin, Shannon and Sean.

Today, the top Irish baby names are very different in both places from those in the past. Let’s take a look and see how they compare.

Here are the Irish baby name currently in the US. Top 100:

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Irish Baby Names: 17 Fresh Ideas

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Irish Names

By Sophie Kihm

So many Americans have Irish ancestry, yet relatively few have embraced authentic Irish names. I’m not talking about Caoimhe or Eithne necessarily, but using names with Irish origins can be a meaningful way to showcase your heritage. If you’re looking for a name that hits the sweet spot between unusual and familiar (and without a difficult pronunciation), one of these could be the perfect name for your little lad or lassie.

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By Clare Bristow

You might know the Irish poet William Butler Yeats (it rhymes with Gates, not Keats) from his much-loved poems like The Lake Isle of Innisfree, possibly the most peaceful poem ever written, or memorable lines like “tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.”

One thing (among many) Yeats is remembered for is his retelling of Irish myths and legends. He helped to introduce characters from ancient literature – and their names – to the English-speaking world. Today we take it for granted that it’s easy to access Irish culture – like stories, music, and of course names – but that wasn’t always the case.

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For many decades, baby namers have had a mad romance with Irish family names. From Ryan to Riley to Rowan, Connor to Quinn, the US popularity rolls have been populated with cheery Irish surnames. Below are 12 of the many that embody that infectious Celtic charm—some of them new to the scene, others on their way up, and a few from the past that deserve a fresh look. By Linda Rosenkrantz

Though most of these names read boy, let’s not forget the female examples of Cassidy and Casey and Delaney and Murphy Brown, Tierney Sutton and Rooney Mara—that have gone to the other side!

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