We love Irish baby names — including those with strange, backward-seeming old Irish spellings. Did you ever think “Niamh” would be pronounced “neeve?” Well it is in Ireland. Many of these names have gone in and out of style over time. It’s also interesting to note that a few, such as “Tara” and “Erin” are far more widely used by Irish-Americans in the U.S. than they are in Ireland.

irish boy and girl baby namesHere’s a fun list of Irish baby names for boys and girls, with Irish spellings, pronunciations and original translations and meanings. Boys names are listed at top. Click here to see Irish Girl’s Names.


Aidan (aid+an)

Translates as “small fire.” Honors St. Aidan of Iona, who in 600 AD brought Christianity to Northumbria, England.

Andrew (ann+drew)

An apostle of Christ. Andrew is actually Scotland’s patron saint. His name was brought from there over to Ireland by Normal invaders.

Bram (bramm)

Irish variant of Abraham.

Brendan (bren+dann)

Several different saints are baned Brendan. The name translates as “little raven” or “prince.”

Brian (bry+enn)

Derived from “brigh,” an Irish word that means “strong” or “noble.” It’s an extremely popular Irish baby name U.S., partly due to the fame of of Brian Boru, a king of Ireland who won the battle of Clontarf in 1014, defeated the Vikings.

Cathal (ka+hal)

An amalgamation of “cath,” which means “battle,” and “all,” which means “mighty.” Probably a variation on “Charles.”

Cian (kee+an)

Means “ancient.” It’s an ancient name, given to the son in law of Brian Boru.

Ciaran (keer-awn)

Dozens of Irish saints have this name. It’s Irish for “little dark one.”

Cillian (kil+e+en)

Translates as “near to the church.”

Colm (kul+im)

Irish for “dove.” Associated with Saint Columba of Iona, a scholar who worked on the famous Book of Kells, and who founded many churches in Ireland around 500 AD.

Conan (cone+ann)
Old name meaning “little warrior.”

Connor (con+er)

Very popular name both in Ireland and America. Traslates as “strong willed,” “desire” and sometimes “lover of hounds.” Believed to relate to the word “con,” which means wolf in Irish.

Cormac (core+mac)

Translates from Irish as “son of the charioteer.”

Declan (dek+lan)

Means “filled with goodness.” St. Declan brought Christianity to Ireland before St. Patrick did. “St. Declan’s Stone” in Ardmore is allegdly the site of several miracles he performed.

Dermot (der+mott)

A very old name that translates as “free of envy” or simply “free man.”

Donal (doe+naal)
A bit more popular in Ireland than the U.S., the name is a variant of “Donald” or “Daniel.” It translates, rather auspiciously, as “ruler of the world.”

Dylan (dill+ann)
Possibly from an Irish word meaning “loyal,” it may also derive from the word “dealan,” which means “flash of lighting.”

Eamon (ay+mun)

An English name brought over to Ireland by Normans, it’s probably a version of “Edmund.”

Emmet (ehm+et)

Comes from “Amete,” an old Saxon name. It’s been popular in Ireland for many years due to Robert Emmet, a famous politician who led the 1798 rebellion against England. Unfortunately, the rebellion failed and Emmet was executed.

Fergus (fer+gus)

Irish for “strength,” though some say it’s a variation on an old word for “fear.” Fergus was an ancient king of Ulster.

Finnian (fin+ey+ann)
A very Irish name that translates as “fair” or simply “white.”

Flann (flahn)

Irish for “blood red.” Once a name of kings and many saints, it’s now become less popular.

Gerard (jer+ard)

A very widely used name for Irish and American boys, it comes from an old Irish word that means “shining.”

Kevin (kev+in)

Descents from old Irish name “Coemhghin.” It translates as “gentle child” or “beautiful offspring.”

Liam (lee+am)

The Irish variation of “William,” an old German name that means “protector.”

Malachy (ma+la+key)

One of many old Irish names starting with “mael,” which means “devotee” or “servant.”

Michael (me+haul)
The name of the great archangel who defeated Satan.

Niall (nigh+all)

Northern Irish name that means “chivalry.” Neil is thought to derive from it. May relate to the old Irish word “nel,” which means “cloud.”

Oisin (osh+een)

Oisin was the son of Irish legendary characters Finn MacCool and Sive. The word translates as “deer” or “little deer.”

Padraig or Padraic (paud+rik)

Patrick is the name of Ireland’s patron saint. It may be the most popular of all Irish baby names, so much so that Americans once referred to all Irish immigrants as “Paddys.” It comes from the Latin word “patricus.” From old Irish, Padraig translates as “noble.” It was once considered to sacrilegious to give a baby this name, because it was to holy for anyone other than the old saint.

Peadar (peed+ar)

Means “the rock.” Peter led Christ’s disciples, and he is seen as the very first Pope.

Quinlan (quin+lin)

Translates simply as “strong.”

Reamonn (ray+-moon)

The Irish version of “Raymond.”

Roibeard (ro+baird)

Ireland’s version of “Robert,” and English name.

Ronan (ro+nan)

Irish for “seal,” it’s a name that’s associated with the legend of a seal who changes into human form and becomes a “selkie” or “seal maiden” after wandering too close to shore.

Riley (rye+lee)
Translates as “coragous.”

Ryan (rye+an)

Means “little king.”

Seamus (shay+mas)

The Irish version of James. It literally means “one who supplants.”

Sean (shawn)
Irish version of “John.” Translates from Irish as “gift from God.”

Tomas (toe+moss)

Means “twin.” The Irish version of the name “Thomas.”

Terence (ter+rense)

Comes from a very old Roman name “Terrance.” It is believed by some to translate from Irish as “tender.”

Trevor (trev+err)

An old name from Wales that means “prudent.”


Ailbhe (alv+eh)

Comes either from the English name “Olive” or from the Irish word that means “white.”

Aine (awn+ya)

The Irish name for Ann. It means “radience” or “joy.”

Aisling (ash+ling)

Irish for “vision” or “dream” from old Gaelic. A name that was quite obscure until recently, it’s become far more popular in Ireland over the past 25 years.

Aoife (ee+fa)

A very old Irish name that comes from “Eva.” Several characters in Irish legend are named Aoife, which, like Ann, translates from the old Irish as “radient.”

Bernadette (ber+na+dett)

A name associated with Saint Bernadette, to whom the Virgin Mary appeared in Lourdes, France in the 1800’s.

Blath (bee+law)

Old Irish for “flower.”

Brigid (brid+gett)

An old girl’s name that derives from “brigh,” the Gaelic word for “strength.” Name of the fire god’s daughter in Irish mythology.

Branna (bran+na)
From the Irish word “bran,” which translates as “raven.”

Caitriona (ca+tree+na)

Irish version of American Katherine, it means “pure.”

Cecilia (si+sill+ya)

Comes from a very old name originating in Rome, “Caecilius,” which translates literally as “blind.”

Ciara (keer+ah)

Irish word meaning the “black haired one.”

Clare (claare)

Clare is a lovely western county of Ireland. It’s name comes from the latin for “bright.”

Clodagh (clo+dah)

An Irish name of unknown translation.

Colleen (col+een)
Simply “girl” in old Irish. Some parents refer to all young girls as “colleens.”

Deirdre (deer+dra)

Old Irish name long popular in the U.S., it means “sorrowful.” According to one Irish legend, Dierdre was the most beautiful woman on the island.

Eibhlin (eye+leen)
Irish form of Eileen. Meaning is unclear.

Eireen (eye+reen)

Same as American “Irene,” it means “peace.”

Enda (en+dah)
From the word “ean,” which means “bird” or “free spirit.” Sometimes also used as a boy’s name.

Erin (air+in)
It translates simply as “Ireland” from the old Gaelic. Has only become popular in relatively recent times.

Fiona (fee+nuh)

In Irish “fion” translates as “clear” or “fair.” Some in Ireland use the longer name Fionnuala (fin+oola) which means “white shoulders.”

Grainne or Grania (grow+nyuh)

Old Irish for “grain goddess.” Grania is associated with notorious pirate Grace O’Malley, who’s Irish name was Grania Mhaol Ni Mhaolmhaigh.

Keeva (kee+va)
Same derivation as “Kevin,” Keeva means “beautiful” or “precious.”

Kerry (ker+rhee)
Means “dark” or “dark hair.” Popular due to association with County Kerry. Also used as a boy’s name.

Maeve (mayve)

Irish name associated with Queen Maeve, a very colorful warrior of Irish legend. The name has no counterpart in American English.

Maire (moy+ra)

Irish version of “Mary,” widely used for many years in honor of the Virgin Mary. Like “Patrick,” it was once considerd too sacred to use as an ordinary person’s name.

Mallaidh (mal+ee)

Gaelic version of “Molly,” a name that derives from “Mary.”

Muireann (moo+eer+en)

Irish for “long haired.”

Niamh (neeve)

Old Irish name that translates as “bright.”

Patricia (pa+tri+shuh)

Feminine “Patrick.”

Rioghnach (ree+oh+na)

Irish translation is “queen.”

Sadhbh (she+veh)

Irish for “goodness.”

Sinead (shin+aid)

Irish for “Jane.”
Siobhan (shu+vahn)
Irish name for “Joan.“

Triona (tree+nuh)
A shortened “Catriona,” the Irish version of “Katherine.”

Tara (ta+ruh)
Tara is the famous hill known as the seat of kings in central Ireland. The word was almost never used as a name until the twentieth century, perhaps because of it’s use as the name of Scarlett O’Hara’s home in “Gone With The Wind.” Today it’s particularly popular in the U.S.

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