Naming a baby is an incredible experience. It’s fun, and it also carries enormous responsibility. We talk about ‘baby names’ but parents are picking out a name that this new little person will probably have for life. It will go on the top of their school homework, driver’s license, job applications and countless other important documents throughout their life. (No pressure!) Parents have a lot of different intentions when they pick a baby name. It can be a balance of how a name sounds, honoring their family or heritage, and the name’s meaning. Some parents want a name that is distinctive and unusual, while others worry about a child being teased or how difficult a name is for others to spell or pronounce.
Traditional Irish baby names can cover all of the bases. If you have Irish roots, giving your baby an Irish name is a good way to honor your heritage and help your child embrace it too. While some Irish names such as Sean and Kathleen are very familiar all around the world, others are unusual enough to stand out. People everywhere quickly learned how to pronounce Liam Neeson, Sinead O’Connor, Cillian Murphy and Saoirse Ronan. So don’t despair about Irish names being too difficult.
Picking an Irish Baby Name
Some Irish names have become extremely popular around the world. Liam, Aidan and Connor are now common names in the USA. Katie and Ciara also feature frequently. Irish surnames such as Riley and Quinn are also popular as first names. But how do you pick the perfect Irish baby name for your child?
Well, arguably, you can’t really be sure a name is right until you’ve held your child in your arms. But if you are drawing up a short-list of Irish names, here are some tips to find a name with a meaning that appeals to you and celebrates your Irish roots while being easy enough to pronounce.
Your own family tree is a good place to start. Do you want a name that honors a relative? Don’t worry is that relative’s name isn’t Irish. You can find the Irish translation of the name. For example, if your grandfather was named Edward, but you want an Irish name for your son, you can choose Eamonn, the Irish version of Edward. You can honor your aunt Rose by naming your daughter Roisin. Did you know Sean is the Irish for John?
Names also carry deep meaning. What do you wish for your child? What strengths do you hope they have? Tadh is an Irish boy’s name meaning poet or philosopher, and Cathal means great warrior. Bridget means powerful. Cara, girl’s name, is the Irish word for friend, and the boy’s name Diarmuid means friend of all.
Some Irish names are associated with places, plants and symbols. Shannon is the name of a river. The name Daragh, used for both boys and girls and spelled many different ways, is from the Irish word for oak. ‘Dar’ and ‘Der’ show up in many place names including Kildare and Derry, and oak is associated with St. Bridget, who set up her convent in County Kildare. You can choose an Irish name linked to a place you’ve visited or one where your own roots are.