Irish Girl's Names - C

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NAME

PRONOUNCE

ENGLISH

DESCRIPTION

Caireann, Cairenn, Ciaran

“care + in”

Karen, Karan

From the Gaelic cara + the diminutive -in meaning “little friend or little beloved.” Caireann Chasdubh (“Cairenn of the Dark Curly Hair”) was the mother of the legendary warrior Niall of the Nine Hostages (read the legend) and thus was the maternal ancestor of the high kings of Ireland.

Caitlin or Cathleen

“koit + leen” “kath + leen”

Catherine, Kathleen

Devotion to St. Catherine came to Ireland with Christianity. Revered for her courage and purity, Catherine in the Irish form, Cathleen, became such a popular name that W. B. Yeats chose it for the heroine of his 1899 play “The Countess Cathleen” which was inspired by an Irish folktale. In a time of famine the Devil offers food to the starving poor in exchange for their souls. But Cathleen convinces Satan to take her soul instead. When she dies the Devil comes to collect her soul but God intervenes and carries Cathleen to heaven, saying that “such a sacrificial act cannot justly lead to evil consequences.”

Caoilainn

“kay + linn”

Keelin (“kee + linn”) or Kalin (“kay + linn”)

caol ”slender” and fionn ”white, fair, pure.” Several saints were Caoilainn and one was described as “a pious lady who quickly won the esteem and affection of her sister nuns by her exactness to every duty, as also by her sweet temper, gentle, confiding disposition and unaffected piety.”

Caoimhe

“kee + va”

Keeva, Keva

From caomh ”gentle, beautiful, precious.” The same root as Kevin, the name has become very popular in Ireland with the original Irish spelling.

Cara, Caragh or Caera

“car + a” “keer + a”

 

In Irish cara simply means a “friend.”

Cassidy

 

 

From cas ”curly-haired.” The Cassidys were the hereditary physicians to the Maguires, the chiefs of County Fermanagh between 1300 and 1600. As their healing skills became widely known, many Cassidys were employed by other chieftans, particularly in the north of the country.

Catriona, Caitriona

“ka + tree + na”

Catherine

An Irish form of Catherine that derives from an older Greek name meaning “clear, pure.”

Ciara

“kee + ra”

Keera, Keira, Kira

The feminine form of Ciaran, from the Irish ciar meaning “dark” and implies “dark hair and brown eyes.” St. Ciara was a distinguished seventh-century figure who established a monastery at Kilkeary in County Tipperary.

Claire, Clare

 

 

A medieval name derived from Latin clarus ”clear, bright, famous.” St. Claire, a follower of St. Francis of Assisi, who left her wealthy family to found the order of nuns known as the “Poor Clares,” has always been very respected in Ireland and the name is still popular today.

Cliona, Cleona

“klee + ona”

 

From clodhna meaning “shapely.” Cliodhna had three magical birds that could sing the sick to sleep and cure them. In the tale of “Cliodhna’s Wave” she falls in love with a mortal, “Keevan of the Curling Locks,” and leaves Tir-Na-Nog (“Land of Eternal Youth”) (read the legend) with him but when he goes off to hunt, leaving her on the beach, she is swept to sea by a great wave, leaving her lover desolate.

Clodagh

“clo + da”

Cloda

The river Clody runs through County Tipperary and County Wexford and like most Irish rivers is named for a local female deity. Rivers become places for prayer and Clodagh is a popular name in this part of the country.

Colleen, Coleen

 

 

From the Irish cailin meaning “girl” and used by the Irish in the USA and Australia as a way of connecting to their Irish roots.

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