Irish Names and meanings

Traditional naming of Irish children: An Genealogical perspective

The Irish traditions of selecting children's names can prove to be a useful tool when trying to research Irish family history. It was common for parents to name their children in a set pattern. By following this pattern, many have discovered siblings belonging to their ancestors, which in-turn has widened their family tree.

  • First son named after father's father
  • Second son named after mother's father
  • Third son named after father
  • Fourth son named after father's oldest brother
  • Fifth son named after mother's oldest brother

  • First daughter named after mother's mother (or father's mother)
  • Second daughter named after father's mother (or mother's mother)
  • Third daughter named after mother
  • Fourth daughter named after mother's oldest sister
  • Fifth daughter named after father's oldest sister
  • Irish Boy's Names

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    Irish Girl's Names

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    Irish Names, their Meaning and their English Derivative

    Irish names usually consist of a given name, middle name and a family name or surname. In Ireland it is common for people to have both an English name as well as an Irish name, for example, current Irish president Michael D. Higgins is also known in his Irish name, Mícheál D. Ó hUiginn. Other derived given Irish names are still common. The names can be spelled in traditional Irish or the Anglicized (English) form. For example Diarmaid - Dermot.

    Traditional names can be related to physical and worldly things as well as spiritual entities. Here are a few examples;


  • The Sea - Muirín meaning born of the sea. Muirgheal meaning sea-bright or sea-white.
  • Nature - Cullen meaning holly. Enya meaning either kernel or gorse.
  • Places - Erin meaning Ireland. Ultán meaning Ulster man.
  • The Arts - Tadhg meaning poet. Aimhirghin meaning born of song.
  • Supernatural - Aillén meaning little elf or sprite. Fionúir meaning white ghost.
  • Abilities - Nuadha meaning cloud-maker. Dalbhach meaning guileful or full of sorcery.

  • Click on the tables below to see either Boy's or girl's Irish names. Each page will have the Irish spelling of the name, its pronunciation, its English form and meaning.

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