TheHolidaySpot - Festivals and Holidays

What's in a Irish Name...

Incase you had ever wondered what Aaron, Bran or Candice means, here's how you can learn about them. TheHolidaySpot has an interesting feature on Irish First names and their meaning popularly used in Ireland. You can now go ahead and figure out why or what exactly your Irish neighbor's name is all about, simply recommend these beautiful names to your friends or dear ones for their new bundle of joy, or may even decide to have your own with an Irish name. In general, equip yourself with more Irish information to share with others. Feel free to add in more names and their meaning incase you have any information about them. You may also go ahead and refer this page by clicking on the link given below.

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Aaron (male)
This name comes from the Bible. It was borne by the brother of Moses in the Old Testament, and the suggested meaning is 'high mountain'.
Abigail (male) 'father rejoiced'
The name was used to anglicise the native name Gobinet in Ireland.
Abraham (male)
Hebrew, 'father of a multitude'.
Abram (male) Hebrew, 'high father'
This was the name originally borne by Abraham in the Old Testament.
It means a form of Eochaidh, mainly used in Scotland.
Adam [Adhamh] (male)
A name of uncertain meaning. 'Red earth' and 'ruddy' are the suggested. Adam has been quite a popular name in Ireland.
Adamnan (male) 'little Adam'.
The name of an important Irish saint,(c.624-704), the biographer of St Columba and an acquaintance of the Venerable Bede.
Adrian (male) Latin 'of the Adriatic'.
Hadrianus, in its original form. This was the name of a well-known Roman emperor. It's a popular Irish name in Ireland today.
Aeneas (male) Greek, worthy of praise'
The name of a character in Homer's Iliad who became the hero of Virgil's Aeneid. It has been used in Ireland to anglicise the
native name Aengus.
Aengus [Aonghus] (male) 'one vigour'
This early name, still found in Ireland. Aengus of the Birds was the love god of the pagan Irish. St Aengus the Culdee was a well-known bearer of the name.Aeneas was used as a substitute name.
Aidan (male) 'little fire'
St Aidan (died 651), a monk at lona who became bishop of Lindisfarne, is the most famous bearer of this name. It was quite common in Ireland in the eighth and ninth centuries and it is still used today.
Aine (female) 'joy'; 'praise'; also 'fasting'
Aine was said to be the queen of the South Munster fairies,living at Knockany (Cnoc Aine - 'Aine's hill'). The name is still used in Ireland. It has tended to become confused with Anne.
Alfred (male) Anglo-Saxon 'elf counsel'
This name was imported into Ireland by the English.It is established,but not common.
Alma (female) 'all good'
An early Irish name;it is the feminine of Latin almus, It means 'loving' or 'good' and as such, it is applied to the Blessed Virgin.
Art (male) 'stone' or 'bear'
In England Art is a pet form of Arthur, but in Ireland it constitutes a separate name.
Arthur (male)
A name of doubtful derivation, perhaps Celtic in origin, or perhaps a Roman sept name, borne by the legendary king of the Britons. The first historical record of the name occurs in the writings of St Adamnan (c. 624-704), who mentions an Irishman bearing the name. The name is used in Ireland today. In Irish legend there was an Artúur, son of Nemed.


Beircheart(male) From Anglo-Saxon, 'bright army'
This name has been anglicised often as Benjamin and Bernard.
Bernadette (female) A feminine diminutive of Bernard
Used in memory of St Bernadette (1844-79), the visionary at Lourdes,it is a popular name in Ireland.
Berneen (female)
An Irish diminutive feminine form of Bernard. It has the characteristic Irish diminutive suffix -een, representing Gaelic -in.
Bernard (male) Germanic, 'bear stern'
Bernard is used in Ireland to anglicise Brian and Beircheart (the latter is itself originally Anglo-Saxon).It contines to be used to this day,but it is less popular.Bernadette and Berneen are feminine forms.
Bran, (male) 'raven'
The name of a Celtic deity,known on both sides of the Irish Sea.His adventures are chronicled in the early Irish literary work The Voyage of Bran Son of Febal.Bran was also the name of a dog belonging to the legendary hero,Finn MacCool.
Brandan (male)
The first part of this name is Celtic and signifies 'hill'.
Brian (male)
Its a popular name in Ireland. It was the name of the most famous of Irish high kings, Brian Boru (reigned 1002-14),the victor of the decisive Battle of Clontarf.Brian was also the name of the Co.Clare poet, Brian Merriman (c.1757-1808), whose extraordinary work,Cúirt an Mheadhoin Oidhche is an early advocation of the emancipation of women.


Candice (male) 'comely'
The name of a saint (c. 515-599) who founded a monastery at Aghaboc and who gave his name to the city of Kilkenny,in Irish Cill Coinneach,'Canice's church'as well as St.Canice's Cathedral in the city.


Darerca (female)
The name of a saint associated with Valentia Island who,according to tradition,was the sister of St Patrick.Legend credits here with nineteen children.
Deirdre, (female)
A name of uncertain meaning, may signify 'fear', perhaps 'one who rages', or perhaps 'broken-hearted one'. It was borne by the heroine of a tragic Irish legend. Deirdre, the betrothed of the king of Ulster, eloped with one of the three sons of Uisneach. All three sons were slain by the king, and Deirdre was left to mourn them.
Dudley, (male)
Originally, this was a surname coming from Dudley in Worcestershire, England. It became a first name in the nineteenth century, and was used in Ireland to anglicise Duald, Dubhdaleithe ('black man of the two sides'), and Dubhdara. It continues in use.


Ealga, (female) 'noble'
Ireland is sometimes referred to as Inis Ealga, 'the Noble Isle', which is the source of this unusual name.
Eavan, (female) 'fair form'
A name used in early times which has been revived. Eavan Boland is a contemporary Irish poetess.
Egan, (male) 'little fire'
Egan O'Rahilly was an Irish language poet in the seventeenth century. Egan is common nowadays as a surname.
Ernan, (male) 'little experienced one'
This name is used in Ireland as an equivalent of Ernest
Etain, (female)
According to Irish legend, Etain was the lover of the fairy man, Midir. Aideen is a variant.
Ethna, (female) A feminine form of Aidan
Annie was used to anglicise it - which at one time resulted in Annie being extremely popular, much more so than Ann(e).


Fiach, and Fiachra (male)
These are the other names derived from an Irish word for 'raven'.


Geraldine, (female)
The Fitzgeralds, earls of Kildare, were known as the Geraldines, and in the sixteenth century the poet Surrey saluted Lady Elizabeth Fitzgerald as 'the Fair Geraldine;


Harold, (male), Germanic, 'army power'
This was introduced into Ireland by the Norsemen, who used the spelling Harald. The name was given to Harold's Cross in Dublin.
Heiro, (male) Greek 'holy'
St Heiro (died 885) was an Irish martyr. The custom of naming children after saints continues.


Irene, (female) Greek, 'peace'
A name which was used by the Byzantines, and imported into England in the nineteenth century. It presumably spread from there
to Ireland. It is sometimes pronounce with two syllables, sometimes with three, as in the original Greek.
Isaac, (male) Hebrew, 'he may laugh'
A rare name in Ireland. The Annals of the Four Masters note the death of an Isaac O' Maolfoghmair in 1235. The name was used in the Glenny family of Co Down. Iosac and Iosac are Irish language variants.


Jennifer, (female) means 'white wave'.
The Cornish form of Guinevere, the name of the wife of King Arthur. It is frequently bestowed in Ireland.
A Latin name, the queen of the Roman gods, which may mean 'young'. It was used in Ireland to anglicise Una, but its true Irish forms are Iunainn and Iúnó.Sean O'Casey used the name for the matriach in his play Juno and the Paycock (1924).


A name usually associated more with Scotland than Ireland, seems to have been quite popular in Ireland during the Middle Ages in the form of Cinaed. The name Coinneach (English, Canice) was also translated into English as Kenneth. Kenneth MacAlpine (died c. 860) was king of Scots, whose reign united the Picts with the descendants of the Irish settlers in Scotland. Cinaeth O Hartagain (died 975) was an Irish poet.


Laoghaire,(male) 'calf-herder'
Laoghaire, king of Tara, was said to have had a confrontation with St Patrick. The name is pronounced something like Leary. Dun Laoghaire ('Laoghaire's Fort') is the name of an important town in Ireland, south of Dublin.
Linda, (female)
A name derived from German Lind, 'serpent' or 'snake', which is now becoming quite popular in Ireland. It is supposed - wrongly - to be connected with Spanish linda, 'pretty'. The variant Lynda is also found.
Loughlin, (male)
Lochlainn was originally the name of a land in Irish legend, then it was applied to the homeland of the Norsemen. The first name Loughlin may spring originally from MacLochlainn, 'son of the Scandinavian'. It became widespread in Ireland. Lochlainn was a variant in Irish. Laughlin, a variant in English, was also used to translate Leachlainn, a short form of Maeleachlainn ('servant of St Secundinus'). There is a similar Scottish name, Lachlan, probably 'heroic', 'warriorlike', from Gaelic laoch.
Lysagh, (male)
Meaning 'of Laois'. Laois is a county of central Ireland - sometimes known by its English name, Leix - which was formerly called Queen's County The change of name came after Independence. Lysagh/Laoiseach was anglicised as Lewis or Louis.


Mago, (male)
A name used in the Kilrush and Dingle areas.
Malvina, (female)
The name is an invention of James Macpherson. In his Ossianic poems (1765) Malvina is the lover of Oscar, grandson of Finn MacColl. It has been used as a Christian name.
Mogue, (male)
A pet form of Aidan given to St Aidan of Ferns (died 626). The name was adopted into Welsh as Madog. In Ireland it was anglicised as Aidan by Protestants, and Moses by Catholics.
Morrin, (female)
Meaning 'long-haired', this early Irish name has been anglicised as Marion or even Madge, a pet form of Margaret. Muirinn was an Irish language variant.


The name of an early Irish saint. His name is also given as Natalis, a Latin word meaning 'birth'. Naal may be a form of this word.
A Russian form of Natalie, 'Christmas', occasionally found in Ireland.
Nevan, (male) 'little saint'
A not so popular name in modern Ireland.
Niamh, (female) 'bright'
In Irish mythology, Niamh, princess of the Land of Promise, departed with Ossian, son of Finn MacCool, for the Otherworld. The name is popular in Ireland today. Niav is an anglicised spelling.


Orla, (female) 'golden lady'
A name which is increasing in popularity. It may also be spelt Orlagh.


Phelan, diminutive of faol, 'wolf'
This is more common as a surname, but it has been given as a first name.


Riona, (female)
This name may mean 'queenly', derived from rioghan, 'queen'. Regina was used to translate this name.
Ronan, (male)
Meaning 'little seal'. The name is known in France, sometimes in its variant form Renan.
Roy, (male)
Gaelic ruadh, 'red', unconnected with French roi, 'king'. It is becoming increasingly popular in Ireland.


Tara, [Teamhair]
The name of a hill in central Ireland, a seat of kingship in early times, which is now used as a feminine first name.


Valentine, (male) Latin, 'healthy'
A name used from time to time in Ireland, but at present it is declining. An Irish example in the seventeenth century was Valentine Greatrakes, who was reputed to be able to heal scrofula by touch.


Whiltierna (female)
An early name, a combination of faol, 'wolf', and tiarna, 'lord'.
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