Keeping your baby’s gender a surprise?
Unless you’re planning on using a unisex name, you will have to make a double baby name list. And despite your best intentions to find a unique name for your own one-off, it seems to be populated by Olivia, Isabella, and Daniel. Great names of course, but not exactly unique, and they can all be found in last year’s US top 20.
You may wish to explore the meanings behind certain names, and if you’ve got a word that’s not a name, then you can always discover birth names with other meanings. For example, if you want a name meaning light, then there are lots out there to explore.
Now, there is unique, and there is just plain weird. The trend for changing the spelling of popular names just leaves you cold. Saddling a child with an unusual spelling will stretch her patience, but will she thank you in the long run? Unfortunately, you can’t draw inspiration from relatives either; with Uncle Nigel on one side and cousin Harvey on the other, your best bet is to stick to an original.
Luckily, we’re here to help. We have carefully considered and chosen 11 gorgeous Irish names with their meanings from the land of legends & mystical myths that will make your child stand out from all their peers. While most of them are used in their native country, you can rest assured nursery or kindergarten won’t be populated with them, ensuring hipster credits for you.
We have listed their popularity alongside their meaning and story of origin, so you can share your child’s name back-story when they’re old enough to sit still & listen. Hopefully, they will love the name as much as you do and treasure it for the rest of their life.
Unique Irish Girl Names
Pronunciation: “ash + ling”
Other versions: Ashling, Aislin, Aislinn
Meaning: vision or dream
About: an Aisling is the name of a patriotic/romantic genre of poetry developed in the 17/1800’s in Ireland. It personifies Ireland as a beautiful woman.
Popularity: an all-time classic name, Aisling has been part of the fabric of Irish life. It has spent many years in the top 100, currently at number 96-down from 86. It’s nowhere to be found in the US and UK chart, making Aisling a great option if you’re looking for a truly unique Irish name with a beautiful meaning.
Pronunciation: “ee + fa”
English versions: Eva, Ava
Meaning: derived from the Gaelic word for beauty: ‘aoibh,’ Aiofe means ‘beautiful, radiant, joyful.’
About: legend has it that Aiofe was a warrior princess and known to be the greatest female fighter. Fighting against her own sister Scathach, she was defeated by the hero Cúchulainn, becoming his lover after reconciling with her sister. She bore one son- Connlach.
Popularity: a distinctive Irish name, that doesn’t appear in the US, England, nor the Scottish top 100. This name has been a steady favorite in Ireland for years. Her English, cousin Ava, has been a frontrunner in England for a long time.
Pronounce: Ro Sheen
English versions: Rose, Rosaleen or Rosie.
Meaning: Gaelic for ‘little rose.’
About: if you are a rebel at heart, you’ll be intrigued by the backstory of this name. The usage of Roiseen in Ireland goes back to the sixteenth century. In Ireland’s troubled history, patriotic songs and poetry were outlawed.
To overcome this, Irish bands penned love songs instead to cover up any nationalistic sentiments, leading to many well-known verses and poems. One of which was Roisin Dubh (‘Dark Rosaleen’), translated into English in 1835. The poem tells Rosaleen not to be sad, for her friends will soon return from abroad to help her.
Hipster version: according to the Daily Edge, Róise is the name to name your child if you’d like your child to stand out.
Popularity: the name is trending in Ireland, coming in at 38 in The Irish baby chart. Seeing the name doesn’t appear in the US top 1000, Róisín is ripe for the picking for any US-based parents to be who’d love to name their daughter after a unique flower.
Pronounce: “nee + iv” or “neev”
English versions: Neave, Niave
Meaning: radiance, luster, brightness.
About: Niamh is a central character in Irish mythology. Born to a sea god, Manannan, she was a beautiful princess, who captivated everyone who looked at her riding her majestic white horse. The Irish legend, in Tir-na-nOg (“Land of the Young”), tells of Niamh of the golden hair mesmerizing OIsin.
After a whirlwind courtship, he went to live with her there for 300 years before returning to Ireland and rapidly aging when he got there.
Popularity: At 59 in Ireland, down from a 47 position, this name’s popularity seems to go down rather than up. Then again, with Niamh staying steady at 51 in Scotland and the name is listed on Mummy pages prediction of massive baby names of 2019, its popularity might rise again.
Meaning: sweet and lovely
Other versions: Sadb, Saibh, Sadbh, Sadhb, Sive
About: the legend Tir-na-nOg (Land of Eternal Youth) tells of Oison-son of warrior hero Fionn Mac Cool and the goddess Sive. The Dark Druid turned Sive into a deer, leaving her no other option but to take her son to the forest and raise him there.
Popularity: while not known in many other countries, Sadhbh is gaining traction in Ireland, moving to 52 from 61 in the Irish baby top 100. Sadbh is an excellent choice for your daughter if you adore a unique name with meaning.
Unique Irish Boy Names
Meaning: literal meaning: ‘a bear.’ The name Art signifies strength as its purpose is interpreted as champion or outstanding warrior.
English version: Arthur
About: Cormac Mac Art was one of the most respected Pagan kings of Ireland. In fact, his rule was so honest, two angels would hover over him every time he entered a battle.
Popularity: while Art doesn’t get a look in any top 100’s, it has started to appear in lists of hipster baby names. No wonder. It’s a cool name with a wonderful back story. It would also make a unique middle name.
Meaning: daire: fruitful, fertile.
Female version: Daire and Dara
About: this name is derived from the legend The Cattle Raid of Cooley set in the Cooley Peninsula, where the Brown bull of Cooley lived. Its owner- Daire Mac Fiachna refused to sell his animal to Queen Maeve and her husband Aili, who hatched a plan to steal it from its owner.
The refusal to sell was partly the cause of a feud between Ulster and Connacht. If you like your legends lively, this tale runs the gamut of emotions from jealousy to anger to love and pride.
Popularity: coming in at 22 in the Irish baby top 100, you won’t have to worry about it becoming too popular as it dropped a few places over the last few years. Just like Cathal, Darragh hasn’t caught on in the US (yet), nor the UK.
Pronunciation: done + acka
Meaning: Donnacha is a name signifying strength-an Irish word for brown (donn) headed warrior.
About: Donnacha was borne by Brian Boru-Ireland’s mighty High King. He gave his life for his country during the battle of Clontarf. Donnacha, who fought bravely alongside his father in the bloody battle, survived and died later in 1064.
Popularity: If you are looking for a unique name that meaning strength, Donnacha is a good choice. Not widely used outside Ireland, it currently resides on the 57th spot in the Irish baby name top 100.
Pronunciation: o + in
Other versions: Eòghann, Eugene, Owen
Meaning: Gaelic for: ’born of the yew (youth) tree.’
About: Éogan mac Durthacht was King of Fernmag in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. He lost sight in one eye when a spear pierced his eyeball at a rambocous feast given by Mac Da Thó. A one-time enemy of Ulster and its king, Conchobar mac Nessa, he later made his peace with them
Popularity: currently holding a spot in the 70s in Ireland, making it a perfect choice if you are looking for a unique moniker for your son. It has not been widely used in the US nor the UK in the last twenty years. If you like the sound of this name, but prefer something more widely used, try Owen. This moniker is listed at nearly 100 in Scotland and is more common in the US.
Other versions: Sionan, Sinan, Synan, and Sinon.
Meaning: Senan is Gaelic for ‘little wise old man’.
About: listed as one of the twelve apostles in Ireland, Senan Mac Geircim was born in 488. As a young boy, Senan witnessed a miracle: while driving cattle at high tide, a path opened for him. This vision led him to devote his life to God. A virtuous life lay ahead.
After studying to be a priest and then becoming a missionary after completion of his studies, Senan founded a monastery on Scattery Island and became the island’s first bishop. He died in 544 and was buried there.
Popularity: currently, at number 59 in Ireland, this name doesn’t appear in the US, UK, nor the Scottish top 100. If you love a uniquely Irish name meaning wisdom, Senan is for you.
We hope you enjoyed reading our list of 11 gorgeous Irish baby names with their meanings and spotted your perfect name! If not, you might find what you’re looking for in our round-up of 15 Irish names for boys you’ll love so much, you wish you were Irish or 15 amazing Irish girl names for your own little warrior.