Christian Names

Christian names/First names – Ainmneacha baiste 

People are often searching for names for their new born babies. For those who resist the temptation to go for the exotic “ Barack”, “Chardonnay”,  here are some Irish / and / or  traditional names that will stand the test of time and will be more likely to give your child a strong sense of identity in an increasingly globalized world:

Boys – Buachaillí

Diarmuid / Diarmaid/ Dermot – one of the heroes of the Fianna 
Conchúr Conor – “lover of hounds”, legendary king of Ulster
Aodhán / Aidan – “fire” the name of a number of early Irish saints
Seán / John- Introduced to Ireland by the Normans
Eoghan / Owen – “born of the yew”, popular in early ireland
Eoin / John – from the biblical name John
Cathal – “Strong in battle”
Micheál / Michael – from the biblical name Michael
Peadar / Peter – from the biblical name Peter
Pádraig / Pauraic/ Patrick – from the Latin Patricius “ noble”
Liam / William
Tarlach – “instigator” traditional amongst Donegal families
Cathair/ Cahir – old Irish first name, common with the O’Doherty’s 
Colm – originally from Latin: “a dove” made famous by St Colm Cille
Caoimhín / Kevin – “of gentle birth” St Kevin of Glendalough
Dónall / Donal –  “world mighty” 5 high kings of Ireland had this name
Fionnbharr / Finbar – “ fair- haired”. 8 Irish saints had this name
Fiontán / Fintan- “ white fire” many Irish saints with this name
Fionn/ Finn- “fair, bright” most famous was the warrior Fionn Mac Cumhaill
Fearghas / Fergus – “ man strength” Old Irish first name
Tomás / Thomas – from the biblical Thomas meaning “ twin”
Tiarnán – “lord, chief” St Tiarnan of Mayo
Ultán – “the Ulsterman” a number of Irish saints had this name
Olcán- “ bold” A saint associated with Armoy and Cranfield
Órán / Odhrán – “ dark, sallow” 17 Irish saints if this name
Tadhg – “a poet”
Ruairí / Rory – “ great king, red king” a favourite with the O’Connors of Connacht
Féilim / Phelim the name of several Irish saints. A favourite name of the O’Neills
Oscar – “ deer lover” Mythical grandson of Fionn Mac Cumhaill
Oisín – “  little deer” Mythical son of Fionn Mac Cumhaill
Adhamhnán / Eunan – “ little Adam” Famous Donegal saint 
Máirtín / Martin – From St Martin of Tours ( France)
Maitiú / Matthew – from the biblical figure Matthew
Mánas, Mánus – From the Latin “magnus = great” this name was borrowed from the Norse invaders
Cian – “ ancient, enduring”
Lorcán – “ silent” one famous Lorcán was Lorcán O’Toole, archbishop of Dublin
Lochlainn / Loughlin – “ Viking”.  Was a prominent name on Rathlin island 
Caolán – “slender lad”
Cillian / Cillín –  derived from  “a church” many Irish saints of this name
Gearóid/ Gerald/ – “ German: spear rule”
Gearóid /Gerard – from St Gerard
Proinsias/ Francis – St Francis of  Assisi in Italy
Fionnán – “Little Finn” St Fionnan was bishop of Moville
Fiachra – “ battle king” the name of a number of Irish saints
Fearghal / Fergal-  “ valourous, courageous” 
Éanna/ Enda –St Éanna of the Aran islands
Art – “  a champion, a bear” name of many legendary kings
Éamonn/ Éamann/ Edward/ Edmund – “ rich/ protection” introduced to Ireland by the Anglo- Normans
Aogán – diminutive of Áed “ little fire”
Déaglán / Declan –  Patron saint of the Deisí ie Waterford
Dáithí/ David – from the biblical king David
Dáire – “fruitful, fertile” Common name in Irish legend
Cormac- Cormac Mac Airt – high king of tara
Críostóir/ Christopher – St Christoper, patron saint of travellers
Conn – “ wisdom” Conn of the 100 battles, a legendary king
Connla – “ great lord, chief” 
Cianán – diminutive form of Cian “ ancient, enduring” 2 saints of this name
Ciarán –  “Ciar dark, black” St Ciarán of Clonmacnoise
Conall –  “ strong as a wolf” The name of many warriors and kings
Colmán – Diminutive of Colm:  a dove. 234 Irish saints of this name
Conán- “ hound, wolf”  6 Irish saints of this name 
Cathán  – from Cath: a cattle, battler. St Cathan of Dal nAraidh, (Antrim)
Comgall – St Comgall of Bangor monastery
Breandán /Brendan –  “ a prince” St Brendan the Navigator from Kerry
Barra – Can be for Barry or Fionnbarr
Brian – “ high, noble” Most famously Brian Boru who won the battle of Clontarf
Antain / Antoin/ Antaine/ Anthony –  From Greek “ flourishing”. Also Saint Anthony
Dualtach –  “dark limbed” Common in Inishowen
Donncha – “ brown, lord” 
Stíofán / Stephen – St Stephen an early Christian martyr
Séamus / James –-from James the Apostle
Pól / Paul – Paul the Apostle
Eoin Pól / John Paul – from Pope John Paul 2
Allastar / Allister – from the Greek “Alexander” – common amongst the Mac Donnells
Rónán –  from “Rón” a seal – 10 saints of this name in early Ireland
Mura – pet form of Murchadh from Inishowen
Muircheartach / Murtagh – “skilled in sea – craft”. Very common in early Ireland
Matha – early Irish name used as equivalent of Matthew
Maol Íosa – “devotee of Jesus”
Mac Dara – “son of the oak” Popular in Connemara
Leannán – “ lover, sweetheart “
Marcas – from the apostle Mark
Flann – “ bright red” the name of a number of Irish saints
Senán – diminutive form of Sen = old.  Many  Irish saints of this name
Rian – from Rí = a king. Also St Ríán


Girls – Cailíní

Úna – popular girls’ name in medieval ireland
Éadaoin/ Aideen – probably connected with ét = jealousy, possibly originally a sun – goddess
Aisling /Aislinn – “vision, dream”
Eithne – mother of the legendary Celtic God Lug
Áine /Ann /Anne – the Irish name represented a legendary Goddess. Anne is a biblical name
Bairbre / Barbara – derived from Greek: “foreign woman”
Eilís – Irish form of Elizabeth
Bríd / Brigid – “ the holy goddess” Most famous irish saint was St Brigid of Kildare
Brídín / Bridgeen – “ little Bríd”
Eibhlín / Eileen / Aileen – a name brought to Ireland by the Normans. Identical to Avelina (old German)
Caitríona/ Tríona/ Catherine -Brought to Ireland by the Normans 
Cáitlín / Cáit / Kate –  as above
Sorcha –   bright, radiant. Anglicised as Sarah
Clár / Clare – from Latin: “ bright, clear” 
Córa –  possibly from the Greek for “ maiden”
Deirdre –  legendary sweetheart of Naoise, of the sins of Uisneach
Deirbhile / Dervla – a saint of Connacht
Clóda / Clodagh – a river in County Tipperary
Sionainn / Shannon – a recently used name after the river Shannon
Eimhear/ Emer –  the sweetheart of the warrior Cú Chulainn
Bláthnaid  / Blánaid – “ little flower” diminutive of Bláth = a flower
Fionnuala / Nuala – “ fair shouldered” 
Gráinne –  daughter of legendary Cormac mac Air and sweetheart of Diarmaid Ó Duibhne
Siobhán, Siún –  derives from Jehane  a French feminine form of John, brought to Ireland with the Normans
Sinéad –  Irish form of Jane, Janet 
Caoimhe – “ gentle”
Ciara – “ black haired”
Méabh / Medb/ Meadhbha/ Maeve – “ she who intoxicates men” The legendary queen of Connacht who stile the brown bull of Cooley
Muireann – “sea – white”  legendary wife of Oisin, son of Fionn mac Cumhail
Máiréad – from the Latin Margarita, originally “pearl”
Máire / Mary – from Mary, the Blessed Virgin
Máirín / Maureen – a variant of Mary
Neansaí/ Nancy – variant of Ann = Grace
Nóra – Honora from Latin meaning “ honoured
Síofra- “fairy child”
Niamh – “brightness, radiance” eloped with Oisín to Tír na nÓg
Nollaig – Noelle, Christmas
Orlaith / Orla – “ golden princess”
Pádraigín /  -Patricia “ noble” from Latin
Peig / Peigí – pet from of Margaret
Ríonach – “ queenly”  2 Irish saints of this name
Róisín / Róise / Róis – “Rose”
Treasa / Teresa – from Spanish. St Teresa of Avila
Luíseach – “radiant girl”. An Irish saint of this name 
Lasairíona – “ fire of wine” – Once common in Connaught
Grian –  “ sun goddess” Obscure Irish name
Doireann – daughter of fairy king, Midir
Caireann – Latin Carina – mother of Niall of the Nine Hostages 
Brónach / Bronagh – “ sorrowful”
Beibhinn – “white lady”
Aoife – from aoibh = “beauty”
Aoibhinn – “beautiful, radiance”
Nóirín / Noreen – a pet name of Nóra, Eleanor

NB: 
This is not an exhaustive list of Irish names
It is important to check the proper pronunciation of these names as there is a different sound system in Irish