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Irish Boy Names

By Pamela Redmond

Irish baby names for boys have been growing in popularity in the U.S. in recent years, with Liam reaching Number 1 and all the different spellings of Aiden climbing to the top of the list. Along with Liam and Aiden, other Irish boy names on the US Top 1000 include Finn, Declan, Connor, and Brody. In Ireland, top Irish boy names include Conor, Fionn, Oisin, and Cillian. Unique Irish names for boys attracting attention include Cashel, Cormac, and Rafferty.

While Irish names have become more popular for both genders, we see the style factor on the rise particularly in Irish boys' names unheard of here a generation ago, such as Declan and Finn. This list gathers some of our favorite Irish baby names for boys you might want to consider. Or you can browse our more comprehensive list of all Nameberry's Irish boy names.
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FinnHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "fair or white"
  • Description:

    Finn is a name with enormous energy and charm, that of the greatest hero of Irish mythology, Finn MacCool (aka Fionn mac Cuumhaill), an intrepid warrior with mystical supernatural powers, noted as well for his wisdom and generosity.

RowanHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish and Irish
  • Meaning:

    "rowan tree; little redhead"
  • Description:

    Rowan – a strong surname and nature name (it's a tree with red berries) – is deservedly growing in popularity. Some scholars identify Rowan as originally a girls’ name, related to Rowena and Rhonwen, while others say Rowan's always been used for both genders. Sharon Stone chose the Roan spelling, which also relates to the reddish color, for her son, while Brooke Shields used Rowan for her daughter. Yet another increasingly popular spelling is Rowen.

OscarHeart

  • Origin:

    English or Irish
  • Meaning:

    "God spear, or deer-lover or champion warrior"
  • Description:

    Oscar has Irish and Norse roots—Norse Oscar comes from the Old English Osgar, a variation of the Old Norse name Ásgeirr. The Irish form was derived from the Gaelic elements os, meaning “deer,” and car, “loving.” In Irish legend, Oscar was one of the mightiest warriors of his generation, the son of Ossian and the grandson of Finn Mac Cumhaill (MacCool).

RonanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little seal"
  • Description:

    Ronan is the compelling legendary name of twelve Irish and Scottish saints that is now drawing some deserved attention; this cousin of the ascending Roman and Rowan was chosen by actor Daniel Day-Lewis and his writer-director wife Rebecca Miller in 1998, and more recently by actress Catherine Bell.

KieranHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little dark one"
  • Description:

    Long popular in Ireland and England, Kieran, the name of Ireland's first-born saint and twenty-five other saints, has been building its U.S. fan base thanks to its strong and attractive sound, and its fashionable Irish brogue. While Ciaran is the more authentic Irish spelling, Kieran is more popular this side of the Atlantic.
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LiamHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish short form of William
  • Meaning:

    "resolute protection"
  • Description:

    Liam originated as a nickname for Uilliam, the Irish variation of William. William is an English name from Germanic roots that was brought to Ireland when the British fled England following the Norman Conquest. The Irish began using English names, including William, which led to the development of Uilliam and its short form, Liam.

RoryHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "red king"
  • Description:

    This spirited Gaelic classic, which became popular in Ireland via the illustrious twelfth century king Rory O'Connor, makes a highly energetic choice, now used for either sex. Rory's gender split is still trending boyward; it's one of the coolest boys' names starting with R.

FlynnHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "son of the red-haired one"
  • Description:

    Flynn, a charming Irish surname, is still used only quietly, despite its easygoing, casual cowboy charm, unlike Finn which is a star of this genre. Flynn was the choice of Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr for their baby boy, and is also the middle name -- used as his first -- of a son of Miranda's fellow supermodel Elle Macpherson, of Gary Oldman's son Gulliver and Marley Shelton's daughter West.

DeclanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, meaning unknown, possible "man of prayer"
  • Meaning:

    "man of prayer"
  • Description:

    Declan is the Anglicized form of the Irish name Deaglán. St. Declan was one of the first missionaries to bring Christianity to Ireland, preceding St. Patrick. Originally from Wales, he founded the monastery of Ardmore in Ireland.

NolanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "champion"
  • Description:

    Nolan is one of the rising Irish surname names, in the spirit of Conan and Ronan, partially inspired by pitcher Nolan Ryan-- who was named Lynn at birth, after his father. Nolan is a cheerful, friendly traditional Irish surname with the appropriate meaning of "champion," and one of the new attractive boy names starting with N.
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CillianHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "war strife or church"
  • Description:

    This classic Irish name , which is better known in this country by its Anglicized form Killian, is one of several newer recommended Gaelic choices that have entered the American name pool. Killian now stands at Number 516 in the US, while Cillian is 22 in its Irish homeland.

BrodyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, English, and Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "broad eye or broad island"
  • Description:

    The energetic Brody is a name that claims different meanings and origins depending on whether you're looking at its Irish, Scottish, or English history -- and Eastern Europeans claim a version too. An alternate spelling is Brodie.

TorinHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "chief"
  • Description:

    Though it has a Scandinavian ring, this is an out-of-the-ordinary Irish family name. The hard 'T' at the beginning prevents it from sounding as feminine as, say, Loren. Torin's Passage was an early video game.

FinneganHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "fair"
  • Description:

    If you like the Finn names and love James Joyce, Finnegan is extremely winning. Will & Grace 's Eric McCormack chose the Finnigan spelling for his son. And of course Finnegan gains you access to the great short form Finn.

CianHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "ancient"
  • Description:

    A handsome Irish name for boys, very popular in that country, but in the US this traditional spelling might cause pronunciation problems. Still, whether Cian or Kian, it's simple and straightforward enough for the initiated. Cian is rising in the British popularity charts. This was the name of several legendary figures, including Cian, son of the god of medicine. His own son was Lugh, the sun god and father of the Ulster warrior Cuchulain and Cian is also the name of the son-in-law of the high king Brian Boru. So very well connected.
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SeamusHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish variation of James
  • Meaning:

    "supplanter"
  • Description:

    Parents who have tired of Sean are now contemplating Seamus, the Irish form of James, which has a lot more substance and verve.

AidanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little and fiery"
  • Description:

    Aidan was originally a pet form of the Irish name Aodh (pronounced 'ee'), the name of the old Celtic god of the sun and fire. The name was borne by numerous early Irish saints, one of whom was noted for his kindness and generosity. Aidan has many variations, among them, Aiden, Aden, Adan, Aedan, and Ayden.

OisinHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little deer"
  • Description:

    Oisin is one of the most popular Irish baby names in its native land, though largely unknown in the US. The original Oisin was the mythological son of Finn McCool and Sadb, the goddess who was changed into a deer. A legendary war hero and poet, Oisin had a name that is also reminiscent in sound of the ocean. Pronounced correctly, this name has an attractive sheen.

RaffertyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "floodtide, abundance, prosperity"
  • Description:

    Jaunty and raffish, Rafferty is one of the most engaging of the Irish surnames, used by Jude Law and Sadie Frost for their son. Fortunately, it doesn't still go by its original form: O'Raighbheartaigh.

QuinnHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "descendant of Conn, chief leader, intelligence"
  • Description:

    Quinn is an engaging Celtic surname that is on the rise for both genders. Quinn has started leaning decidedly toward the feminine thanks to a female cheerleader character on the television show Glee. It retains some testosterone from "The Mighty Quinn," the name of a movie, a band, and a Bob Dylan song.
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CormacHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "charioteer"
  • Description:

    Both offbeat and upbeat, this evocative traditional Irish name that runs through Celtic mythology is known here via award-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy (born Charles). The author's adopted name is related to Cormac Mac Airt, one of the great legendary high kings of Ireland.

CarsonHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish and Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "son of the marsh-dwellers"
  • Description:

    Carson is one of the most long-running popular androgynous baby names, with a dash of the Wild West via the legendary Missouri frontiersman Kit Carson. Dating back to when it was the name of Nancy Drew's Dad, Carson is still steadily in the Top 100 baby names.

    Current Carsons include TV personalities Carson Daly and Carson Kressley, and Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer. Carson Wells was the bounty hunter character played by Woody Harrelson in No Country for Old Men, and Carson is the name chosen by actress Kathryn Erbe for her son.

ShaneHeart

  • Origin:

    Anglicized variation of Sean
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Shane ambled into the picture via the 1953 movie, adding a cowboy twist to its Irish essence. Shane is even more popular in Ireland than in the USA or the UK. Singer Siobhan O'Connor and actor Kevin Sorbo have sons named Shane.

EamonHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish variation of Edmund
  • Meaning:

    "wealthy protector"
  • Description:

    Eamon is one of the traditional Irish names that has not yet emigrated to the US. This Irish name pronounced ay-mon was popularized by early president of the independent republic Eamon de Valera (birth name George), who was born in the United States to an Irish mother and a Cuban father. Eamon definitely has possibilities as a successor to the epidemically popular Aidan/Aiden.

LorcanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little, fierce"
  • Description:

    Lorcan is a name rich in Irish history as belonging to several kings, including the grandfather of the most famous high king of Ireland, Brian Boru. Lorcan O'Toole, known in English as Laurence O'Toole, is the patron saint of Dublin, so it's not too surprising that Irish-born actor Peter O'Toole named his son Lorcan.
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SullivanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish surname
  • Meaning:

    "black-eyed one"
  • Description:

    Sullivan is a jaunty Celtic three-syllable name, with a real twinkle in its eye. It was immortalized in the 1930s classic film Sullivan's Travels and was chosen for one of Patrick Dempsey's twin boys. Nickname Sully is equally jaunty.

GarrettHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish variation of Gerard
  • Meaning:

    "spear strength"
  • Description:

    Garrett, also spelled with one 't', is an Irish-inflected name that was in the Top 100 in the nineties, but has now slipped in popularity.

FinnianHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "fair"
  • Description:

    Finnian is a fair jig of a name, energetic and easy on the ear. Finnian (and brother Finian) is also familiar in its alternate spelling through the classic 1968 Broadway musical Finian's Rainbow, later made into a film starring Fred Astaire as Finian McLonergan.

KeirHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "dark, black"
  • Description:

    Keir is a single-syllable name that packs a lot of punch, might suggest -- thanks to its similarity to the word care -- a caring person. Sir Keir Rodney Starmer is a British politician and head of the Labour Party in 2020. Keir Dullea is an American actor who starred in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

MackHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish or Irish
  • Meaning:

    "son of"
  • Description:

    Mack, when "formalized" with the final k, makes an engagingly amiable choice, a far more
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RoanHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Rowan
  • Meaning:

    "little redhead"
  • Description:

    Warm-hued spelling spin on Rowan that was chosen by Sharon Stone for one of her three young sons.

RileyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "courageous"
  • Description:

    Riley -- one of the most popular unisex names -- is rising faster now for girls than boys. Still, there are lots of athletes and other notable real-life namesakes for a boy named Riley, as well as fictional ones in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight: Eclipse.

EoinHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, variation of John
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Though Eoin is a Gaelic form of John, its Anglicized pronunciation links it directly to Owen. Eoin is currently a Top 30 name in Ireland. Other variations: Ewan, Ewen, Evan and Eoghan (pronounced as Owen but also translated as Eugene).

LennonHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "lover"
  • Description:

    A growing number of high-profile (and other) parents are choosing to honor their musical idols, such as Hendrix, Presley, Jagger, and now Lennon. Lennon first came to notice when Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit used it for their son in 1999, and singer-musician Adam Pascal followed their lead in two years later. Thanks in part to female singer and actress Lennon Stella, it's now more popular for girls than for boys.

MurphyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "sea warrior"
  • Description:

    This jaunty Celtic surname -- the most common family name in Ireland -- is totally viable as a first. Although there was a possibility of its being feminized via the old TV sitcom "Murphy Brown," it has never taken off for girls and very much retains its masculine image.
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NiallHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "cloud"
  • Description:

    Niall is pronounced nye-al--something like Neil, but this Irish spelling of the name makes it much more current and cool.

MalachyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish version of Malachi, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "second"
  • Description:

    This spelling, which came to the attention of readers of the best-selling Angela's Ashes as the name of author Frank McCourt's father and brother, the latter of whom wrote a bestseller of his own, lends the biblical name a more expansive, almost boisterous image. Malachy is one of the Irish baby names that manages to strike the golden mean between familiarity and distinctiveness.

BradyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "broad meadow or large-chested"
  • Description:

    The Irish name given to Miranda Hobbes's son on the dearly departed Sex and the City is a friendly and energetic choice. You well might want to make your son part of the Brady bunch.

KellenHeart

  • Origin:

    German; Irish
  • Meaning:

    "swamp; slender"
  • Description:

    Kellen is German in origin and Irish in spirit. Kellen has fallen a bit in popularity for boys since its peak in 2012, but it has possibilities for girls too. In fact, Kellen's similarity to such feminine names as Helen, Ellen, and Kelly makes it feel more unisex or even female, though Twilight actor Kellan Lutz has done much to popularize this name for boys.

CullenHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "holly tree"
  • Description:

    Cullen is an appealing Irish surname name that upped its cool factor considerably when it became the Twilight family name of Edward et al. It's considerably less popular than it was at its peak in 2010, but is still widely used.
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CallahanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "bright-headed"
  • Description:

    Callahan, the simpler spelling of Callaghan, is a rhythmic jig of a name whose history harks back to the ancient King of Munster. In the Dirty Harry movies, the Clint Eastwood character is Harry Callahan.

BlaineHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish and Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "slender, angular"
  • Description:

    Attractive Scottish and Irish surname name of a seventh-century saint, associated with the illusionist and escape artist David Blaine.

GradyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "noble, illustrious"
  • Description:

    Following in the footsteps of popular brother Brady, Grady is another lively, ebullient Irish surname name. The O'Gradys (originally O Gradaugh) were an ancient clan that produced an impressive number of bishops.

    Perhaps the most remarkable O'Grady descendant is Muhammad Ali, whose mother's maiden name was Grady.

SheaHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "the stately, dauntless one"
  • Description:

    A common surname in Ireland that projects a complex image for a short-one-syllable name, combining spirit and substance.

BrennanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "descendent of the sad one"
  • Description:

    Brennan is a winning Irish surname name, more modern than Brian or Brendan, more unusual than Conor and Aidan. The only possible problem with Brennan: people might think you're saying Brendan.
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RohanHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Rowan or Hindi
  • Meaning:

    "sandalwood"
  • Description:

    From India, but feels like an Irish surname (and can in fact be a variation of Rowan), so a possible cross-cultural choice.

ConallHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "strong as a wolf"
  • Description:

    Too many Connors in your neighborhood? This name--spelled with one 'l' or two--is equally authentic and much more unusual.

SeanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish variation of John
  • Description:

    Sean, after a long reign as one of the top Irish boys' names in the US, has now slipped as parents look to fresher Irish choices such as Liam and Aidan. In Ireland, Sean is still highly popular, but variation Senan, an Anglicized spelling of diminutive Seanan, is also stylish in Ireland. While Sean is the Irish form of John, Seanan and Senan may be thought of either as Sean diminutives or relatives of the Latin word "senator".

ConorHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Connor, Irish
  • Meaning:

    "lover of hounds"
  • Description:

    Conor's more popular brother name Connor has been in the Top 100 for long enough that both are ready to make way for a new generation of Irish boys' names.

TullyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "flood, peaceful, or hill"
  • Description:

    Tully is a relaxed, rarely used Irish surname possibility. Sources disagree on the meaning, depending on what root is used. The Irish tulach means hill or mound, while tuile means flood. Other sources relate it to the Roman Tullius, most notably the name of the philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero, sometimes anglicized as Tully. Statesman Alexander Hamilton used the pen name Tully when he wrote editorials denouncing the instigators of the Whiskey Rebellion.
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