Top Irish Baby Names for Boys and Girls
Every spring, the Irish Central Statistics Office (CSO) in Ireland releases a list of the most popular Irish baby names chosen for babies born in the previous year. It’s a great source of inspiration for those expecting a baby. Parents to be in Ireland can see which names might be so popular their child is likely to have a few in their class, and parents outside of Ireland can find some beautiful Irish names that might be more unique in their area.
One of the most enduring Irish gifts parents can give their children is an Irish baby name with deep roots and rich meaning. Not all of the names are Irish-language names. In 2020, Jack was the most popular name for baby boys and Grace was first for girls. But the top ten in both lists include some lovely Irish names that are less well-known outside of Ireland such as Fionn for boys and Fiadh for girls.
The CSO report tracks trends in Irish baby names, noting the names with the most dramatic increases in popularity. While the top five for both boys and girls haven’t changed much, a significant number of Irish parents are reviving some ancient Gaelic names. Rian is the Irish boy’s name that made the biggest leap up the charts, going from 119th place to 86th. It comes from the Irish word for king – rí. The -an on the end can mean ‘little’. It is also added to words as a form of endearment. Rian is pronounced ree-an. The female version would be Riona. The girl’s name Crioa jumped a whopping 67 places up the list, moving from obscurity into the top 100 at 95th place. Pronounced cree-ah, it means ‘from the heart’. The Irish word for heart is chroi.
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Some of Our Favorite Irish Baby Names
Like many Irish gifts, Irish baby names offer a variety of gorgeous meanings. The sound can be as complicated as Celtic Knotwork or as straightforward as a Shamrock. Many parents-to-be want to find a name that sounds nice, has a significant meaning and is reasonably easy to pronounce. In that spirit, we offer a few suggestions that are less popular than Aidan and easier to say than Siobhan.
Cian (key-ann) – This name means one who endures, a long life, something ancient. It was the 24th most popular name for boys born in 2020.
Fearghal (Fur-gul) – Fear is the Irish word for man, and this name means brave man. It’s a well-known Irish name, but it didn’t make the top 100 for 2020.
Ruari / Rory (Roar-ee) – Whether you opt for the Irish or Anglicized spelling, this is a perfect name for a red-haired son. It means red-haired. Ruari rose ten places to the 77th spot for 2020, and Rory was 72nd.
Dearbhla/ Dervla (Derv-la) – From the Irish words for truth and desire, this beautiful name means ‘the heart’s true desire’. It wasn’t in the top 100 for 2020, so it will sound fresh and different for girls born this year.
Fiadh (Fee-ah) – Meaning wild, untamed and natural, this name has rocketed up the charts in the last couple of years to hit second place for 2020. It’s from the Irish word for deer.
Meabh/ Maeve (May-ve) – Queen Meabh of Connaught was one of the most powerful women in Irish history. The name means ‘bringer of joy’. Meabh inched up to 77th place for 2020, and Maeve was 99th.
Choosing a child’s name is a way of expressing how you feel about them and what you wish for their future. These names might not be well-known everywhere, but they are lasting Irish gifts, rich in meaning, that can root your child in their heritage.