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Ireland is a beautiful island filled with warm people and a rich culture. They also have a lot of beautiful and uncommon Irish baby names. Well, definitely uncommon if you don’t live in Ireland. These are not your typical American baby names. If you’re looking for something almost guaranteed to sound like a poem, an Irish baby name is the way to go. Irish Culture has had a significant influence on other cultures, especially in the fields of literature. Maybe that is why all the names are so lyrical sounding. Alongside mainstream Western Culture, a strong indigenous culture exists. This is most evident in the Gaelic games, Irish music and Irish language. Ireland’s culture shares many features with Great Britain, including the English Language, and favorite sports such as football, rugby, horse raising and golf. Yet, the people and the names of Ireland seem to be in a league of their own.
We all think of Patrick, Aidan, Liam, Mary Catherine, Molly. and Cathleen when we think of traditional Irish baby names. Maybe it’s movies, music or folklore but being American these names come to mind first when we think of Irish names. If you are of Irish heritage or you just love all things Irish, why not go with a baby name that is maybe not so common in your part of the world but easily identifiable as Irish in Ireland and unique.
Aengus is of Celtic origin and the Gaelic version of Angus. It is derived from “aon” which means “excellent” and “gus” which means “strength and vigor.” In William Butler Yeats, “The Song of Wandering Aengus” he as immortalized. Aengus was the god of love and of youth. His words were so sweet they attracted bees and birds. He fell deeply in love with a beautiful girl that he saw in a dream and passed through many trials to win her over. The name has been steadily growing in popularity in the United States since 1996. In 1996, Aengus accounted for one in every 11,896 births and in 2016 Aengus was given to 1 in every 6913 boys born in the United States.
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The name Ailill is a boy’s name from the Irish Ailleacht which means “uncertain”, “rock” or “beauty.” In Celtic, and in most Gaelic speaking countries, Ailill refers to the Mythical King of Connaught. Ailill was the young husband of Queen Maebh. He was chosen by her as a spouse because he was “a man without meanness, fear or jealousy, a match for my own greatness.” His argument with Maebh over who had the greater herd of cattle led to The Cattle Raid of Cooley (the legend), one of the greatest epic tales in Irish mythology. Ailill is pronounced (AL yil).
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Declan is an ancient Irish boy’s name. It is the anglicized version of the Gaelic name Deaglán. The name is pronounced DECK-Lan. Declan is a traditional Irish name meaning "man of prayer" or "full of goodness." The name Declan has grown in popularity from 1998 from ranking 710 in the top 1000 baby names in the United States to ranking 116 in 2017 in the top 1000 names in the United States. St. Declan founded a monastery in Ireland in the 5th Century. St. Declan's Stone has purportedly been the site of many miracles. Some famous Declans are actor, Declan Mulholland, Singer Declan Bennett and soccer player, Declan Rudd.
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Keon is an Irish last name turned first name, often a boy’s name. Keon is pronounced Key-yawn. The name is an Anglicization of the Gaelic last name MacEoin which means “Descended from Eoin” which is the Gaelic form of John. Keon has the same Hebrew meaning as John which is “God is gracious.” Keon also means, “young warrior.”
Recently, the name has been rediscovered and adopted by the African-American community. It’s funny to think that in just 1970 there were only 4 Keons per 1 million children and in 2017 it was 83 babies per million. In 2003 the name peaked in popularity at 164 babies per million, so as you can see, while the name has greatly increased in popularity it is still a very unique name for a baby boy in the United States.
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Lorcan or Lorcán is an Irish name, meaning “silent” and “little fierce one.” Lorcan is pronounced “lor+can.” Lorcan is sometimes used as a nickname for a “brave warrior.” St. Lorcan O’Tuathail, known as St. Laurence O’Toole, was an influential bishop of Dublin and an important mediator between the Norman invaders and the Irish in the twelfth century. Other variants of the boy’s name Lorcan are Labhrás,Lanty,Larry,Laurence, Lawrence, Lasse, Lorenzo, Lory, Lorccán, Lorcon. While the name is growing in popularity it is still a very unique name. In 1997, there were 16 baby boys per million in the United States named Lorcan. In 2018, there are only 21 baby boys per million named Lorcan.
Mannix is an Anglicized version of the surname Munchin. Mannix is pronounced “MAN-ix.” The meaning of the Irish boy’s name Mannix is “a little monk.” This rare and interesting name originated as an Irish surname. It has two possible sources the first is a variant of (O) Manahan, which is from the Gaelic "O' Mainichin", derived from "manach", a monk. If you are looking for an obscure name that will surely make your little boy’s name unforgettable, Mannix could definitely fit the bill. In 1967, there were only 4 baby boys per million named Mannix. Today, in the United States, there are only 16 baby boys per million who are given this unique name.
This name Oisín is pronounced Oh-sheen. Oisín means "little deer. In Irish legend Oisín was a warrior hero and a poet. Oisín was regarded in legend as the greatest poet of Ireland, and is a warrior of the fianna in the Ossianic or Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology.
The son of the legendary warrior Fionn Mac Cumhail and the goddess Sive. His mother was turned into a deer by the Dark Druid and she reared him in the forest until he was seven years old. When Fionn was out hunting he found the child and recognizing him as his son, gave him the name Oisín “little deer.”
Riordan is a boy name of Irish/Gaelic origin meaning “bard.” Rearden is a variant of Riordan. From ri “king” and bardan “poet”, it means “royal poet.” The name Riordan is pronounced, “reer+ don.”
In Irish tradition, the poet was very highly regarded in any royal household, as he acted as scholar, historian and advisor to the king. Looking for a name that no one else has? When you yell Riordan at the playground, no one else will come running, just your little one. In 1997, 16 baby boys per million in the United States were named Riordan. Today, only 2 baby boys per million born are given the name Riordan in the entire United States.
Séamus is a Gaelic male first name of Latin origin. This is the Irish form of James and is pronounced SHAY-mus. In English, the meaning of the name Séamus is, “one who supplants.” 1995 Nobel poet laureate Séamus Heaney was awarded the Nobel prize in Literature for his,” works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past.” In the United States, Séamus is a relatively unique name. In 1972, there were only 16 baby boys per million named Séamus. Today, there are 114 baby boys per million named Séamus at any given time in the U.S.
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Agneis is an Irish form of Agnes which is a female name derived from the Greek name Ἁγνὴ hagnē which is from hagnos, meaning chaste, pure or sacred. It also means holy. The baby girl name Agneis is pronounced as, “AEGN-IYZ.” The most famous person to have this name was a 13-year-old Roman girl martyred for her Christian beliefs during the reign of the Roman emperor Dioletian. The name passed to Italian as Agnese, Portuguese as Inês, and to Spanish, as Inés or Inéz.
Agneis is rare as a baby girl name. So rare that it is not even ranked within the top 1000 baby girl names.
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Calla is a form of the Irish girl’s name Caoilainn. Of Greek origins, Calla means, “the most beautiful.” It is pronounced, “KA-lə.”
Calla is a lily name that is much more distinctive and delicate than Lily. Rarely heard today, it did appear in the popularity lists in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Calla is a true throwback name. In 1881, in the United States, there were 88 little baby girls per million who were named Calla. In 1948, there were only 2 baby girls per million who were given this name. However, in 2017, there were 102 baby girls per million named Calla in the United States. Calla is making a big comeback, considering that more for most of the 1900’s the name was in the single digits.
Mab is a girls' name of Irish, Gaelic and Welsh origin. Mab is pronounced, “mab.” The meaning of the name Mab is "happiness, intoxicating; baby". In Irish folklore, Queen Mab is monarch of the fairies. The fairy queen is said to be able to control people’s dreams. This name is both adventurous and simple. If you want your daughter to feel special and unique, Mab is a great choice and you can never have too many Mabs. In the United States, in 2002 there were 8 baby girls per million who were given this name at birth. Currently, there are 6 baby girls per million in the U.S. who are given this name. Definitely a one of a kind name.
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Maeve is the Anglicized form of Meadhbh. From an old Irish name, Madb, means “the cause of great joy” or “she who intoxicates.” Meave is pronounced, “Mayv.” The great warrior queen of Connacht and embodiment of sovereignty she stars in Ireland’s greatest legend “The Cattle Raid of Cooley". In Irish mythology, Maeve is also the queen of the fairies.
Maeve is a short and sweet legendary ancient Irish queen's name that has become one of the most stylish Irish names for girls in the modern US. The name Maeve has been on the upswing in popularity since the 1990’s. Irish spelling Meabh is popular in Ireland, but not recommended in the US.
Morna is a girl’s name of Irish origin. This name means “affection”, “high-spirited” and “Festive.” In Gaelic, Morna means beloved. Morna is a variant of Myrna. Muirne is another variant of Morna. Muirne loved Conall who was from an opposing tribe. Her father, a druid, opposed the match and had Conall killed but not before Muirne had conceived a son, who grew up to be the legendary warrior Fionn Mac Cool (read the legend) and who later avenged the death of his father. In 1891, in the United States, there were 27 per million baby girls born named Morna. Today, there are none recorded in the United States so if you’re looking for a name that nobody else has, Morna would be a great option.
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Nola is a Celtic baby name and a short form of Fionnula. The Celtic meaning of Nola is “Famous.” Nola is pronounced, “NO-la.” Nola is a nickname for Finola, Enola and Magnolia which is the anglicized form of Nuala, the Irish nickname for Fionnuala (the Gaelic form of Finola). The Irish-Gaelic name Fionnuala means “white shoulder.”
Most of Nola’s popularity as a baby girl’s name in the United States was at the turn of the 20th century. For many years, 40 to be exact, Nola was not on the list at all. Nola reentered the Top 1000 in 2008, for the first time in 50 years.
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The name Saoirse is pronounced SEER-sha. Saoirse is a girl's name of Irish origin meaning "liberty" and “freedom.” The name has only been used since the 1920s and has strong patriotic overtones in Ireland where it was used as a symbol of freedom during the revolution. It was fairly unknown until the emergence of Irish actress, Saoirse Ronan, gained popularity through movies like Ladybird and The Lovely Bones. Now, it’s gaining popularity and becoming more mainstream, especially with parents who are of Irish descent. In fact, in 2016 it made its first appearance in the United States as one of the top 1000 girl names. At the time, it was the third fastest growing in popularity girls’ name.
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The name Siobhan is pronounced sheh-VAHN. It’s a girl’s name. Siobhan is an Irish Gaelic variation of Joan. The meaning of the name Siobhan is “God is gracious.” Siobhan is the feminine form of John. It’s a beautiful Irish girl name that’s spelling is often confusing to readers but changing the spelling would only diminish the integrity of such a unique name. Hopefully, people will only have to ask once and then know how to pronounce it correctly.
Siobhan has been the name of several Irish queens. It first came to the United States with the popularity of actress Siobhan McKenna.
Sorcha is a baby girl’s name of Irish origins. Sorcha is pronounced as, “SOR + ca." The pronunciation of Sorcha is not what it looks like, not obvious to the average person who is not familiar with the name. It's basically SOR-ca, but with a little hiccup between the 'r' and the 'c' that's almost impossible for the average English speaker to say. Other phonetic pronunciations used are sir-eh-ka, sur-aka and surk-ha
Sorcha means “bright, shining” “bright, radiant, light." What a beautiful name for the bright new shining light in your family. The name was popular in the Middle Ages but is virtually unheard of in the United States, though it is very popular in Ireland.
These are 18 uncommon Irish baby names to make your baby stand out from the crowd. Name your child one of these names and you will never have to worry about there being 4 kids in the class with the same name! Your little one will stick out in the best way possible.