Deciding what to name your baby is one of the most fun experiences of early parenthood.
We share the meanings behind these traditional Irish names, and reveal the right way to pronounce them.
You may want to chose an baby name with a special meaning that conveys the kind of person you believe your little one will grow up to be. Or, maybe you want a name that just sounds right – one you won’t get sick of as you repeat (or, let’s face it, yell) it over and over again for the next 18 years.
If you’re looking for a source of inspiration or want to reflect your family heritage, you might want to consider some traditional Irish names. To make things a bit easier for you, we have compiled a list of our fifteen favourite Irish names for girls and boys, with pronunciations and their meanings.
Irish names: Irish girl names
- Pronounced: ‘awn-ye’
- Meaning: ‘splendor, radiance, brilliance’.
Aine appears in Irish folktales as ‘the best-hearted woman who ever lived – lucky in love and in money’.
- Pronounced: ‘ave-leen’
- Meaning: ‘wished for’ or ‘longed for child’
- Meaning: ‘little raven’
- Pronounced: ‘deerv-la’
- Meaning: ‘true desire’
- Pronounced: ‘fee-a’
- Meaning: ‘wild’, in the sense of a wild animal
- Pronounced: ‘e-salt’
- Meaning: ‘one who is gazed upon’
Iseult was a mythological Irish princess who was on her way to marry King Mark of Cornwall, when she drank a love potion and fell in love with his nephew.
Keela or Kyla
- Pronounced: ‘kie-la’
- Meaning: derived from the Irish word ‘cathal’, which implies ‘a beauty only poetry can capture’
- Pronounced: ‘lee-sha’
- Meaning: ‘radiant girl’, also refers to brightness and light
- Pronounced: ‘may-ve’
- Meaning: ‘she who intoxicates’
In the Irish legend, Meabh was the warrior queen of Connacht.
- Pronounced: ‘nee-iv’ or ‘neev’
- Meaning: ‘radiance, lustre, brightness’
In Irish folklore, Niamh was a princess known as ‘Niamh of the Golden Hair’, she fell in love with Oisin and lived with him in Tir-na-n0g (‘Land of the Eternal Youth.’)
- Pronounced: ‘neesha’
- Meaning: ‘hunter, warrior’
Although originally a boys name, Naoise has become very popular for girls in recent years.
- Pronounced: ‘row-a’
- Meaning: ‘a vision’
- Pronounced: ‘sor-aka’ or ‘surk-ha’
- Meaning: ‘bright, radiant, light’
- Pronounced: ‘sa-hive’
- Meaning: ‘goodness’
In Irish mythology, Sadhbh was the wife of famous mythical hunter and warrior, Finn Mac Cool.
- Meaning: ‘rocky hill’
This name originated to commemorate a famous hill in Ireland and has risen in popularity ever since.
Irish names: Irish boy names
- Meaning: ‘fair-haired’, Irish version of the name ‘Barry
- Pronounced: ‘keer-awn’ or ‘keer-in’
- Meaning: ‘little dark one’, also connected with ‘knowledge’ and ‘wisdom’
Historically, St Ciaran of Clonmacnoise established a monastery on the banks of the River Shannon in the West of Ireland, which became a major spiritual and educational centre.
- Meaning: ‘lover of hounds’, can also mean ‘high desire’
- Pronounced: ‘da-rah’
- Meaning: fruitful or fertile
- Meaning: ‘charioteer’
Cormac was a great Irish king of legend.
- Meaning: ‘son of the sea’
- Pronounced: ‘e-ian-a’
- Meaning: ‘birdlike’, Eanna was a prestigious name given to kings and heroes
- Meaning: ‘little church’, in reference to someone who is spiritual
Killian was a well-known Irish missionary.
- Meaning: ‘small, blonde soldier’
Finn Mac Cool was a hunter-warrior of Irish mythology. Legend has it he built the Giant’s Causeway as stepping-stones to Scotland from Ireland.
- Pronounced: ‘mee-hall’
- Meaning: Irish translation of the name Michael, connected with strength and humility
- Pronounced: ‘Pierce’
- Meaning: derives from the Latin meaning of ‘rock’, connected with solidity and strength
- Pronounced: ‘osh-een’
- Meaning: ‘little deer’
Oisin was the warrior and poet son of legendary warrior Finn Mac Cool and the goddess Sadhbh – best remembered for his love of Niamh, who he spent 300 years with in Tir-na-n0g.
- Meaning: ‘deer lover’ or ‘friend of deer’
In Irish mythology, Oscar was the son of poet Oisin, and the grandson of Finn MacCool.
- Pronounced: ‘ro-ree’
- Meaning: ‘red king, great king’
- Pronounced: ‘shay’
- Meaning: ‘hawk’, ‘hawk-like’, ‘noble’