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Appendix:Irish given names

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Given names in Ireland consist of a mixture of names from many different languages. Names from the Irish are popular, but there is also a good proportion of English-language names such as Amy, Emily, Jack, or Hugh, some of which have Irish equivalents. Many English names, of course, originated in different languages such as French. In addition, many parents choose to give their children names from different languages and cultures, especially as Ireland has become increasingly multicultural in recent years.

Until recently, names such as Kevin and Dermot, although not Irish (their Irish equivalents are Caoimhín and Diarmuid), were particularly common among Irish people, to the extent that in countries with large numbers of Irish immigrants, such as the USA and the UK, they sometimes served as an indicator that a person was of Irish descent. But the increasing use of ethnically derived names in these countries means that such names have now become common among their general populations and are no longer seen as particularly "Irish". Irish names such as Seamus and Fiona are common in the Gaelic-speaking areas of the west coast of Scotland due to immigration from Ireland and the similarity to Irish of the language used in the Highlands.

Irish-language names

Until relatively recently the number of regularly used names in the Irish language was relatively small. Father Patrick Woulfe wrote in 1923 that the number of all names then in use in Ireland (in Irish and English) was not more than 80 or 100. At that time the only Irish-language name commonly in use among women was Bríghid. Since then the popularity of Irish-language names has soared. In the 1970s, names such as Ciara, Emer and Niamh were commonly given to girls, while names such as Eoin and Seán increased in popularity for boys. In the 1980s and 1990s, parents searching for unusual names resulted in many previously obscure Irish-language names being given a new lease of life. Among these were Sadhbh and Saoirse for girls, and Daire for boys.

However, the actual stock of Gaelic personal names is vast, estimated to be at least several thousand. A good example is the recently published "Leabhar Mor Genealach" (The Great Book of Irish Genealogies, written and compiled by Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh); it consists of five volumes. Of these, volume four entirely consists of an index of personal names.

, and became a well-known Irish girl's name in that country. Due to the influence of American culture in Ireland, the name was then reintroduced in Ireland with the American pronunciation.

, with the last "e" pronounced almost like a schwa (neutral vowel). However, the simplified pronunciation is close to that used by most Irish people whose mother tongue is English, and is also instantly recognizable to a native Irish speaker. This is true for most Irish names which end in "e".

, a diminutive meaning "little", the stress is nearly always on the first syllable when spoken by an Irish person.

Female Irish Names

A

) )

  • Aengus
  • Afraic

) )

  • Aidchearc
  • Aífe

) Other spelling: Aithbhreac. An old name, popular in medieval times, with a famous example being 15th century poetess Aithbhreac Inghean Corcadail.

  • Aighlinn
  • Aighneach

)

  • Ailbhine
  • Ailinn

) ( AWN-YA)("radiance, splendour, brilliance") ) "a vision, a dream"

  • Aithbhric

) from the German Avelina (see Eileen, Eibhlín) ) )Irish form of Alison

  • Annan
  • Anghan
  • Anslas

) Eve ) Eva

) Evelyn ) "life" ) Ellen

  • Athchosán
  • Athracht
  • Auice

B

  • Badhbh
  • Bairdlinn
  • Banbha
  • Barrdhubh
  • Bé Bhinn
  • Bé Bhóinne
  • Bé Bhoirche
  • Bé Chobha
  • Bé Chrotha
  • Bé Chuille
  • Bé Dhrona
  • Bé Gubha
  • Béabháil
  • Béaenad
  • Beagnat
  • Beatóid

) dim. of Bláth, "blossom" ) dim. of Bláth, "blossom"

  • Blínne
  • Boan
  • Branac
  • Brenna
  • Brigh

) from Brighid, pagan fire goddess, from brigh "strength" ) Anglicized spelling of Bríd

  • Broicseach
  • Bruitbhualaigh
  • Buing

C

  • Cacht
  • Caimín
  • Caine
  • Cainear/Caineadh/Connath
  • Cainnear
  • Caireach

) ) ) Katherine, Kathleen ) Kathleen. Intelligent, Pure ) Kate

  • Caitríona
  • Camhóg

) "beautiful girl, gentleness, loveliness and delicateness" ) "slender, fair lady"

  • Cat
  • Catatt

) Carolyn

  • Cearb
  • Cearbnat
  • Cearc/Creach/Searc
  • Ceasair "shower of hailstones"
  • Ciar

) "dark, black"

  • Cinge/Cingiu
  • Ciochba

) ) ) "programme, board, lid" ) name of river in Tipperary

  • Clothra
  • Cnucha
  • Cobhar/Combar/Comhar
  • Cochmas
  • Coimhgheall
  • Coincheann
  • Chícheach
  • Coip
  • Coirseach
  • Colaim
  • Colla
  • Coman
  • Comaín
  • Craobh (Crave)
  • Creibhrill
  • Criadha/Crón
  • Cróine
  • Cróinseach
  • Criadha

) fem. form of Christian

  • Cruimne
  • Cruithne/Loinchead/Onchaine
  • Cruithneach
  • Cuimín
  • Cumaín
  • Curach

D

Deirdre, a name taken from Irish mythology, has gained popularity even among people who don't identify as Irish. Drawing: Deirdre's Lament drawing by J.H. Bacon, c.1905.

) "fawn", "little deer"

  • Daol
  • Dar Chárthainn
  • Dar Cháirtheann
  • Darcy
  • Dar Earcha/Mo-Ninne
  • Dar Fraoch
  • Darchaoin/Uirne
  • Dealbhnat
  • Dear Draighin
  • Dear Inill
  • Dear Dearbhinnill
  • Dear Lir
  • Dear Mill
  • Dearnise
  • Dear Uise
  • Dearbháil
  • Dearbhla (Dervla) "True poet"
  • Dearchú
  • Dearmhór
  • Deirbhre/Deirbhinn

) ) daughter of Fál (legendary name of Ireland) )

  • Deirear
  • Deithchean/Deithghean
  • Díne

)

  • Donann
  • Donncha
  • Donellan
  • Dorngilla
  • Dovada
  • Drón
  • Druighean
  • Dúine

E

) Diminutive feminine suffix as in Caitlín/Cathleen (little Catherine) or Máirín/Maureen (little Mary)

  • Éabha (Aoife)
  • Éachtach/Éadaín/Eichtdhe/Etan

)

  • Eadhamhair
  • Ealán

) "noble island" origniates from an old Irish word meaning Ireland

  • Earc/Earca
  • Earnmhas
  • Eas
  • Easu
  • Éibhear
  • Éimhear
  • Éile
  • Eileag

) meaning Elizabeth

) "beautiful sheen, fair radiance" ) from the German Avelina ) from Norman-French Aliz, which is a borrowing of Adalheid "nobility" ) name of the beloved of Cúchulainn ) "little fire"

F

) "a vine", "fair/pale" ) "fair-shouldered"

G

) blacksmith (<Old Irish goba) anglicised Deborah or Abigail. ) grain (<Irish grán) anglicised Grace. ) female version of Glen meanig small secluded valley ) Little rough one Anglized version of Garbhán ) Gearaldine

I

) Ida

K

) Ceol's island, beautiful island; from the ship's island, shipping harbor. ) beautiful and graceful. Kilgarry (Kil - Garry) Faith follower, or follower of the church

L

) "grey lady" ) Lisa

  • Lauren

M

) Mary ) dim. of Mary ) "pearl" ) "intoxicating" ) "sea-white, sea-fair" ) "born of the sea" ?)

N

) ) "brightness", "radiance", "lustre", "brightness" ) Connemara form of "Nollaig" below

) honor (<Honora). ) Noelle "Christmas" ) "fair-shouldered", short form of Fionnghuala

O

) "golden princess"

P

) Paula ) Peggy ) Perry

R

) "queenly" ) ) "rose" ) Rosemarie

S

) "wise" ) "free" ) "freedom" ) Irish For Charlotte

) Georgina ) Jacqueline ) Sharon, "bitterness" ) Joyce ) ) Cecilia shin-AYD) Jane, Janet ) Jean, Joan, "God is Gracious" ) ), Joan, "God is Gracious" ) "bright, radiant"

T

) ) Theresa ) short form of Catríona

U

) Winifred

Male Irish Names

A

) Alan, Allen ) Andrew ) from Norse Ólafr ) Anthony ) "fire", Gaelicized Hugh ) "fire" ) oinos "one" + gustus "choice"

B

) "Marksman" ) Gaelicized Bartley, originally Gaelic Parthalán ) "a prince" ) )

C

) "slender" ) "beautiful child" ) "strong in battle" ) "enduring, ancient" ) "dark, black" ) "a church, a cell" ) "a dove" ) "lover of hounds/wolves" ) "son of the raven" ) Christopher

D

) "earnest, fertile and Brave" ) David, "swift, nimble" ) "Oak" ) "flame, fire" ) ) ) ) "dun, brown, or lord" ) Donald, "world-mighty"

E

) Edward ) Enda ) Edmond, "rich protector" ) "born of the yew" ) John )

F

) "valorous" ) "man-strength"

) ) "battle-king", "hunter" ) "guardian" ) ) "fair, light-hued" ) "fair, bright white" ) "fair-haired" ) "white fire"

G

) Gavin ) Garrett, Gareth (Lord of the spear or spear wielder) ) ) Gary

I

) "Prince of the West"

J

) Jake, Jacob

L

) William via Uilliam ) )

M

) Michael ) ) Maurice, Morris ) Mark, Marcus

N

) from Ángus ) ) "little saint" ) "passionate", "vehement"

O

) "a young deer" ) "Deer friend" )

P

)) ) "a patrician" (plus derivatives Pat, Paddy, Paudie) ) Peter ) Pearse, Pierce, Percy; borrowing of French Piers ) Francis ) Paul

R

) "little seal" ) "great king, red king" ) ) "red" ) "little king"

S

) borrowing of James/Jacobus ) John, Shawn; from Norman French Jean ) Shane ) George (not to be confused with the female name, Saoirse) ) Joseph

T

) "a poet" Timothy ) "a lord" ) "instigator, abettor" ) Thomas )

U

): Vincent "owner" ) "an Ulsterman"

Sources

Index of Personal Names, Vol. IV, "Leabhar Mor Genealach", Dubhaltach MacFhirbhisigh; ed. Nollaig O Muraile, De Burca, 2003.