Menu
ADVERTISEMENT

Unique Irish Girl Names

Irish baby names have been well used for girls outside the Emerald Isle for decades, but there's a new wave of Irish girl names that sound fresh and intriguing. Some of these beautiful Irish names for girls, such as Aoife, Niamh, and Fiadh, have been in Ireland's Top 100 for years, and are just starting to catch on in England and the US too.

All of these unique Irish girl names rank outside of the US Top 1000. Along with Aoife and Fiadh, Irish girl names that are rare in the US but common in Ireland include Caoimhe, Róisín, Ciara, Clodagh, Éabha, Sadhbh, Aoibhín, and Áine. Formerly obscure Irish names, such as Saoirse and Bellamy, are now rising in the US, and many of these choices could have similar trajectories.

Here are some of our favorite rare Irish names for girls. You may also want to expand your search to our full list of Irish girl names. Or go here for a list of the best Irish baby names for boys.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

TallulahHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, Anglicized variation of Tuilelaith, or Choctaw
  • Meaning:

    "lady of abundance, or leaping water"
  • Description:

    As memories of the outragrous actress Talullah Bankhead have faded, this hauntingly euphonious Choctaw name has re-entered the public domain. A modern hipster favorite, it's been chosen for their daughters by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Patrick Dempsey, Damian Dash, Rachel Roy and Sara Rue, trail-blazed by Demi Moore and Bruce Willis for their now grown daughter. (Trivia tidbit: Bankhead's namesake was her paternal grandmother who, in turn, was named after the Georgia town of Tallulah Falls.)

CaoimheHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "beautiful"
  • Description:

    Caoimhe, pronounced (more properly) kwee-va or kee-va, is a pretty and distinctive Gaelic name but one that could well lead to no end of confusion outside the Irish community. Even in its native habitat, it is sometimes spelled Keeva.

AoifeHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish Gaelic
  • Meaning:

    "beautiful, radiant"
  • Description:

    Aoife, pronounced EE-fa, is derived from the Irish word aoibh, meaning “beauty.” Aoife was borne by several different heroines of ancient Irish legend. In one tale, she was the fiercest woman warrior in the world and enemy of her twin sister, Scathach.

NiamhHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish Gaelic
  • Meaning:

    "bright"
  • Description:

    Niamh, derived from the Old Irish Niam, is an ancient Irish name that was originally a term for a goddess. In Irish myth, one who bore it was Niamh of the Golden Hair, daughter of the sea god, who falls in love with Finn's son Oisin and takes him to the Land of Promise, where they stayed for three hundred years. Niamh can be Anglicized as Neve, Nieve, or Neave.

OrlaHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "golden princess"
  • Description:

    Orla is an Irish name closely associated with the high king Brian Boru, as it was the name of his sister, daughter and niece. It was very popular in the Middle Ages – the fourth most popular name in twelfth century Ireland – and has become popular again in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales today. In Irish, the name is commonly spelled Orlaith or Orlagh.
ADVERTISEMENT

DarcyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish or French
  • Meaning:

    "dark one, or from Arcy, or from the fortress"
  • Description:

    Delicate ballerina name with grace, charm, and heft courtesy of Jane Austen's Mr.

FiadhHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "wild"
  • Description:

    Fiadh is the fastest-rising girls' name in Ireland, derived from the ancient root word for "wild". The Anglicized form Fia is one we might see rising in the US as well – to take the place of its popular cousin Mia.

FallonHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "leader"
  • 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.

UnaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "one; also, lamb"
  • Description:

    In an epic poem, the personification of truth, beauty, and unity; this ancient name is popular in Ireland but rarely heard here. The Oona spelling has more oomph.

OonaHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, variation of Una
  • Meaning:

    "lamb"
  • Description:

    Oona is a name made famous by Eugene O'Neill's daughter, who became Charlie Chaplin's wife. One of the original Oona's granddaughters was named after her, and is now an actress famous in her own right for playing Talisa of Volantis in HBO's "Game of Thrones." The double-o beginning gives their name a lot of oomph.
ADVERTISEMENT

AineHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "brightness, splendor"
  • Description:

    More commonly seen here as Anya, this traditional yet unique Irish name belonged to the queen of the Munster fairies and is sprinkled throughout Irish folklore as an early Celtic goddess of summer and prosperity. One of the most popular baby names in Ireland, Aine's spelling and pronunciation might seem simple but could prove confusing in the U.S.

EnyaHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "fire"
  • Description:

    This phonetic Anglicization of the Irish name Eithne was made familiar by the single-named Irish singer and composer. St. Eithne was the daughter of a king and an early Irish convert to Christianity.

FiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish or Portuguese or Italian
  • Meaning:

    "wild or weaver"
  • Description:

    Fia may be most notable at this moment as the Anglicized version of the Irish Fiadh, one of the fastest-rising names in the Republic of Ireland. The meaning of Fia or Fiadh is sometimes given as "deer" but that's in the sense of a wild deer, as the name relates to the ancient word for wild.

MoiraHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, variation of Mary
  • Meaning:

    "bitter; beloved; drop of the sea"
  • Description:

    Well-established Irish and Scottish name that has never really caught on across the pond. Remembered by an older generation as the beautiful red-haired ballerina in the film The Red Shoes, Moira Shearer.

CiaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little dark one"
  • Description:

    Ciara is very popular in Ireland, more familiar here as the Anglicized Kiera or Keira. The uninitiated will tend to pronounce Ciara as the Italian Chiara, a form of Claire—kee-AHR-a or even see-AHR-a, like the American singer-songwriter Ciara. In the US, Ciara peaked in 2005, when it was the Number 150 name; it's since fallen down to Number 882.
ADVERTISEMENT

AislingHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "dream, vision"
  • Description:

    Aisling is currently a very popular Irish name for girls. Pronounced variously as ASH-ling, ASH-lin or ash-LEEN, it was part of the revival of authentic Irish names in the twentieth century, and is now being sparingly used by U.S. parents in place of the dated Ashley--though often spelled phonetically as Ashlyn or Ashlynn.

SiobhanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish Gaelic
  • Meaning:

    "god is gracious"
  • Description:

    Siobhan is the Irish variation of Joan, which is derived from the ancient Anglo-Norman name Jehanne. In this way Siobhan is indirectly related to the name Sinead—the Irish form of Jeannette, which also derived from Jehanne—although Sinead is not a nickname for Siobhan. Siobhan was the name of several early Irish queens and was introduced to the American public by the actress Siobhan McKenna.

EithneHeart

  • Origin:

    Gaelic
  • Meaning:

    "nut kernel"
  • Description:

    Pretty and soulful name of a goddess from Irish mythology and several Irish saints. Singer Enya, born Eithne Ní Bhraonáin, has made the Anglicized spelling familiar. Eithne comes from the vocabulary word "kernel", which was used as a term of praise in old bardic poetry.

RoisinHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish. "little rose"
  • Meaning:

    "little rose"
  • Description:

    No, the pronunciation--ro-SHEEN--isn't immediately obvious to the non-Gaelic viewer, but the sound of this shiny Irish version of Rose is pretty enough to make it worth considering. Very popular in its native Ireland, it is now at Number 34. Earlier generations Anglicized at as Rosaleen, but we stay stick to the original.

BrigidHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish variation of Brighid
  • Meaning:

    "strength or exalted one"
  • Description:

    Brigid is the simpler Irish version of the name of the goddess of fire, which may also be spelled Brighid. Other variations include Bridget, the most usual spelling in the U.S., and the French Brigitte.
ADVERTISEMENT

MorriganHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "phantom queen"
  • Description:

    The mythological Morrigan was the ancient goddess of war, often symbolized by a crow. Besides being a name, this is also used as a proper noun preceded by an article: the Morrigan, defined as a monster in female form. The meaning of Morrigan has been related to both terror and greatness. While some relate the name to Morgan of the Arthurian legends, Morrigan and Morgan are actually unrelated.

SorchaHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "bright, shining"
  • Description:

    A popular Irish name virtually unknown here, but one that feels like it could follow in the footsteps of Siobhan and Saoirse. It's pronounced SOR-ka, but with a little hiccup between the 'r' and the 'c' that's difficult for non-Gaelic speakers to reproduce. Spelled (and pronounced) Sorsha, she is a major character in the movie Willow.

BrennaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine form of Brennan
  • Meaning:

    "descendant of the sad one"
  • Description:

    Brenna is a feminine form of the Irish surname Brennan, or perhaps a variation of Brenda or Brendan—all of which have different meanings. Whatever its derivation or authenticity, it's a modern sounding name which has steadily decreased in popularity since 1995 when it peaked at Number 235 in the United States.

AilisHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "noble"
  • Description:

    This attractive and unique Irish form of Alice can also be found in the spelling Ailish. It was introduced into Ireland by the Normans in the French form ALIZ.

DarbyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish or Norse, "free from envy, or, from the deer estate"
  • Meaning:

    "free from envy, or, from the deer estate"
  • Description:

    Once a common boys' name in Ireland (e. g. , Darby O'Gill and the Little People), the dynamic Darby now has a definite unisex feel. Actor Paul Rudd has a young daughter named Darby.
ADVERTISEMENT

EilishHeart

  • Origin:

    Anglicized variation of Eilis, Irish form of Hebrew Elizabeth
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    Eilish is one of those Irish names that, thanks to a celebrity, has suddenly become much more familiar to English speakers. Irish-American singer Billie Eilish (Eilish is actually one of her middle names) introduced the wider world to this Irish name as actress Saoirse Ronan did with hers. Interestingly, Saoirse Ronan's character in Brooklyn, based on the novel by Colm Toibin, was named Eilis, pronounced AY-lish.

AilbheHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "noble, bright"
  • Description:

    While Irish Gaelic spellings add intrigue to a name, they'll prove endlessly confusing. Ailbhe is pronounced like the less intriguing but infinitely simpler Alva.

ClodaghHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish river name
  • Description:

    A popular choice in Ireland, Clodagh was the name of a river and later a saint. The "cloddy" aspect of the name has prevented it from spreading beyond Ireland, but that could change. Famous namesakes are singer Clodagh Rodgers and chef Clodagh McKenna.

LarkinHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "rough, fierce"
  • Description:

    While Larkin takes this name from girlish bird to boyish surname, there are actually more female Larkins these days than male, and it's a name that works as well for either gender.

SadhbhHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "sweet, goodness"
  • Description:

    Sadhbh was the name of several real and legendary Irish princesses, including the daughters of Conn of the Hundred Battles, of Queen Medb of Connacht, and of King Brian Boru. It's also written Sabha. One of the most authentic Irish names for girls, it is also unfortunately one of the most difficult to export.
ADVERTISEMENT

LaoiseHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Pronounced lee-sha, Laoise is the feminine form of the Irish mythological names Lugh and Lugus, which means light. Lugus was the Celtic god of commerce and craftsmanship, the equivalent of the Roman Mercury, thought to inspire the later Irish hero Lugh. Laoise is among the Top 100 Irish names for girls, but Americans will definitely have pronunciation issues.

SineadHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish form of Janet
  • Meaning:

    "God's gracious gift"
  • Description:

    One of the best known of the Irish girls' names, thanks to singer Sinead O'Connor. Though it's still in the Irish Top 100, it's no longer quite as fashionable in Ireland as Aoife or Aisling. But by now everyone in the Western World knows it's pronounced shin-aid and so would have no trouble fitting in on an American playground.

MurphyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "hound of the sea"
  • Description:

    This surname name popularized for girls by TV's Murphy Brown back in the 80's and 90's still has some breezy energy.

NualaHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, short form of Fionnuala
  • Meaning:

    "white shoulders"
  • Description:

    Officially a shortening of the traditional and tricky Gaelic Fionnghuala/Fionnuala, Nuala makes a lovely choice all on its own. Nuala is well-used in Ireland.

TullyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "flood, peaceful, or hill"
  • Description:

    Tully is one Irish surname waiting to be adapted as a first. Cute and lively, it's got a long history and a range of possible meanings, depending on which root you use. Tully can also be a modernizing short form for the ancient Roman name Tullia.
ADVERTISEMENT

AoibheHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "life, or beauty"
  • Description:

    Aoibhe may be considered a form of either Aoife -- beauty in Irish -- or Eve, which means life. Either way, this popular Irish name for girls is pronounced as Eva though outside of Ireland few would guess that. Leave Aoibhe to the Gaelic speakers.

GrainneHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "grain or love"
  • Description:

    Grainne is the Gaelic form of the phonetic Grania. It was the name of the ancient grain goddess and also of the fiancee of mythological hero Finn McCool and lover of Dermot who was a heroine of the seas. In the past, the name was anglicized as Grace.

SiofraHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "sprite, changeling"
  • Description:

    A relatively modern (18th C) Irish Gaelic name, Síofra has its roots in superstition: in the past, when babies were born in Ireland their families feared that the fairies would steal the baby and leave an elven changeling child in its place. It’s an uncommon name just starting to pick up in its native country.

FionnualaHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish Gaelic
  • Meaning:

    "white shoulders"
  • Description:

    This lovely Gaelic name, very popular in the Emerald Isle, has inspired a whole host of diminutives (including Nuala and Nola) and variant spellings, from Finola to Finula to the Scottish and English Fenella. In Irish legend Fionnuala was one of the four children of Lir who were transformed into swans for 900 years.

KieranHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little dark one"
  • Description:

    Kieran is a boys' name that could cross over, as an update of outmoded Karen or a variation on trendy Kiera (or Keira or Kyra). Keren Ann is an Israeli-born singer. The proportion of babies named Kieran who are girls is less than ten percent.
ADVERTISEMENT

TierneyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "descendent of a lord"
  • Description:

    An uncommon Irish-accented surname that seems particularly well suited to a girl. Tierney Sutton is a well-known jazz singer. Tierney, in its original Tiarnach form, was the name of several saints. It can also join the ranks of Old Hollywood names, via the haunting actress Gene Tierney. ER actress Maura Tierney is a current surname bearer.

EmerHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "swift"
  • Description:

    Popular name in Ireland -- it's pronounced ee-mer -- from the legendary wife of Cuchulainn who was supposed to possess the six gifts of womanhood: beauty, voice, speech, wisdom, chastity, and of course, needlework. Is found in the poetry of Yeats.

EimearHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish Gaelic
  • Meaning:

    "swift"
  • Description:

    Sometimes spelled Emer and pronounced "EE-mer," the legendary wife of Cuchulainn possessed the six gifts of womanhood: beauty, voice, speech, wisdom, chastity, and needlework. A fresh alternative to Emma, but the two have the potential to be frequently confused.

KiernanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little dark one"
  • Description:

    Kiernan Shipka, aka Sally Draper on Mad Men, brings this Irish surname into the girls' column. And, like Kieran and Tierney and Tiernan, it's one of the perfectly unisex baby names. Only 14 girls were named Kiernan in the US in a recent year...and three times as many boys. If you want to move beyond Riley and Kennedy to one of the more unusual surname-based Irish names for girls, this may be a good choice.

FlanneryHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "descendant of Flannghal"
  • Description:

    Long before the vogue of using Irish surnames for girls, writer Flannery O'Connor gave this one some visibility. It has a warm (flannelly) feel and the currently popular three-syllable ee-ending sound.
ADVERTISEMENT

MadiganHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little dog"
  • Description:

    An unusual, energetic surname choice that would make a good Madison alternative. Madigan was a typical police detective series of the 1970s, starring Richard Widmark.

MareHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish variation of Mary
  • Description:

    With this spelling, and one-syllable pronunciation, it sounds less like a whole name than a cut-off version of Mary. In fact, actress Mare Winningham was christened Mary.

SheridanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "searcher"
  • Description:

    Upper crust-y surname Sheridan gains some energy when used for a girl.

EavanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "beautiful sheen"
  • Description:

    Anglicized spelling of the difficult-to-decipher Gaelic Aoibheann, the name of several Irish princesses, this name rhymes with Steven. Eavan Boland is a distinguished Irish poet who teaches at Stanford University.

KeeleyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "slender"
  • Description:

    The one that's not Kelly or Kaylee.
ADVERTISEMENT
Loading ...