Only a few weeks to go, and you haven’t made up your mind about your baby’s name? Have you made a list, but none of the names jump out at you? And are you starting to panic, feeling like time is running out, and so is your imagination? Don’t fret; we’re here to help.
Pregnancy is hard
I guess what I’m saying is, pregnancy can be a stressful time. As apart from the hormonal & physical changes, you’re suddenly expected to make decisions about things you never even heard of before.
And with all the extra weight you’re carrying at this stage, you might look, and certainly feel, like a mother-to-be, but that doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know about baby seats, modular nappy depots and baby wipes heating insulation boxes. (No, us either.)
We’ll help if you can’t agree on a name
So, if you’re suffering from decision fatigue, let us help. If you can’t choose a baby name or find it impossible to agree on a baby name with your significant other, then have a look at our carefully curated list of unique Irish girl names with their meanings and popularity ranking.
Let the enchanted land inspire you
Why Irish? Well, Irish names are magical and the stuff of legends. Imagine naming your little girl after a warrior princess, a queen of fairies, or even the Irish word for freedom? Coming from the Emerald Isle with its troubled history, Irish girl names are inspired by poets, legendary warriors, and rebels fighting for change.
Because baby name fads come and go, but ancient Irish girl names never go out of style. So if you’re ready to fall in love with a Celtic name, we’ve got you covered.
Our top 15 unique Irish girl names
Pronunciation: On-yah” or “awn-yah
Meaning: Brilliance, radiance, splendor
About: In Irish Mythology, Áine was one of the wives of Fionn Mac Cool and queen of the Munster fairies. In fact, people have always associated with fruit-fullness and prosperity.
Lately, Áine has gained in popularity in Ireland, moving into the 82nd position in the Irish top 100. Also, Áine doesn’t appear in the US or the English top 100, making this an exclusively Irish baby girl name.
Meaning: Caoimhe, or the Northern Irish Keeva, is derived from the Irish caomh meaning beautiful, gentle or precious.
About: Caoimhe shares the same Irish language root Caomh as the boys’ name Caoimhin (Kevin).
Caoimhe is not used internationally, but it occupies a healthy 25th position in the Irish baby name top 100. If you don’t mind any possible pronunciation issues, go for it. Caoimhe is a lovely, simple name that goes with most surnames
Meaning: In Gaelic, this means friend, a pure, cherished, and beloved one. The name Cara has its origins in Latin and Greek too.
About: If you love the meaning but prefer a longer name, then variations Carina, Cherie, and Cheryl work well too.
Another version: Kara (Cornish)
Cara is ranked at number 873 on the US top 100 and has climbed to the number 29th spot, up from 34 in Ireland. It doesn’t feature on the baby name list in England-making it a good choice if you’re looking for a short simple and international sounding name, that is not over-used.
Meaning: (Irish: Neasa, Nessa; Old Irish: Neas, Ness), not gentle
About: The Ulster Cycle of Mythology describes Nessa as a princess of the Ulaid. Beautiful and powerful, she is the mother of Conchobar mac Nessa and tricks her husband into giving up his kingdom for a year in favor of his stepson Conchobar. When he entered the throne, Nessa advised him every step of the way, enabling him to rule justly and honestly. After his successful tenure, his subjects campaigned for him to stay on.
Looking for unique Irish girl names that are easy to spell and pronounce? Nessa is a best-kept secret as it doesn’t register on the Irish top 100, the English, nor the US one. However, it does make a scant appearance in the Scottish chart, and it turns up on a list of Irish Central’s cool Irish names. Just think, your little Nessa could be way ahead of the bunch.
Meaning: The feminine form of Fionn, meaning fair, white, beautiful.
About: a popular name in Scotland, Ireland, and England, the name Fiona was first found in James McPherson’s Ossian poems. William Sharpe popularised the name in the late 1800s when he used it as a pseudonym.
While Fiona doesn’t appear on the Irish, or the UK top 100, she ranks at 222 in the US currently (possibly due to the Shrek effect), making it a perfect choice if you’re looking for a well-known Irish name (starting with the popular F) that isn’t too popular. Fiona can be a great option if your partner is from German descent, as it’s a popular name in Germany and even Liechtenstein. Who knew?
Meaning: Freedom or liberty
About: The use of Saoirse as a girl’s name became popular during the Irish revolution in the 1920s when republican parents used it to express their solidarity with the Republican Freedom Fighters.
Other versions: Sorcha or Sorsha
Currently, on the 20th spot in the Irish baby name top 100, Irish parents love Saoirse. In the US, the name has entered the mainstream mainly thanks to the phenomenal success of the young Irish actor Saoirse Ronan. For having put up with her name being mispronounced abroad all her life, she was seen poking fun at Americans butchering her name.
Indeed, her actions may have resulted in making the moniker more popular stateside, entering their top 1000 for the first time recently, as the third-fastest-rising girls’ name.
So, by all means, pick Saoirse if you’re after a unique baby name starting with an S.
Meaning: Cliodhna means shapely in Gaelic
About: While the spelling might be tricky, on the upside, your daughter will have a magical tale attached to her name. For in the Irish myth, Cliodhna’s Wave, the queen of the Banshees, is a goddess of love and beauty. She kept three beautiful & brightly colored birds who cured the ill by singing their sweet bird song. And they lived in the magic land of Tir Tairngire (“the land of promise”).
Then one day, she falls in love with the mortal Ciabhán and leaves paradise. But tragedy strikes and a wave takes her after she fell asleep listening to beautiful music played by a minstrel in the Glandore harbor in County Cork. Interestingly, in some versions of the myths she drowns, whereas in others she survives.
Even to this day, locals call their tide: Tonn Chlíodhna, “Clíodhna’s Wave”.
This name is not in the Irish top 100, making it a rather good option for any parent searching for a unique name with a beautiful meaning. Although, a popular Irish blog did rate it as an Irish hipster name to look out for in 2017, so it might catch on in the next few years…
Meaning: Dark hair + brown eyes, derived from the Gaelic word Ciar. Ciara is the female form of the boy name Ciaran.
About: St. Ciara founded a monastery in the place of Killkeary, County Tipperary in 7th century Ireland.
English version: Keera, Keira, Kira
Ciara is ever popular in Ireland, currently at number 43 in the Irish name charts. If you are looking for a unique Irish girl name that is easy to spell, then stop looking. In fact, given that the name resides at only 870 in the US baby name list, and is nowhere to be found in the English top 100, Ciara is the obvious name to pick.
Pronounce: “clo + da”
Meaning: Clodagh is a nature name, as it’s derived from the river Clody.
About: In Ireland, rivers are named after local female deity, which means that Clodagh is imbued with divine powers. And for those of you who are geographically dense, the Clody River runs through the counties Wexford and Tipperary.
Thanks to its association with their local river, Clodagh has always been a popular girls’ name in the sunny South East of Ireland. Also its popularity has spread over Ireland, as it has climbed to the 45th position in the Irish baby top 100 in 2018.
While not currently listed in the UK, Scotland, nor the US, Mummy pages
did feature Clodagh on her prediction list of popular names in 2019. In short, Clodagh would make a lovely choice if you’re after a name inspired by nature.
10. Maeve or Maebhe
Meaning: ‘She who intoxicates’ or ‘the cause of great joy’-from the Irish
About: Just like the name Darragh, Maeve stems from the epic legend: The Cattle Raid of Cooley, set in Cooley Peninsula, where the brown bull of Cooley lived. The legend tells of Queen Maeve, who left king Conchobhar Mac Nessa for the fearless Ailill. Together they were the power couple of their times. Alas, both strong personalities, which caused them to fight over each other’s possessions.
But one day, to her great annoyance, Maeve’s bull defected to her husband’s herd. So to compensate, she decided to buy Diare’s brown animal. Sadly he changed his mind and went back on the deal, causing Maeve and Ailill to hatch a plan to steal the animal, in turn leading the provinces Ulster and Connaught to feud.
While not in the Irish, UK, Scottish, or US top 100 at the moment, yet Nameberry has predicted Maeve to surge in popularity soon- based on her number 7 spot of their top 1000 baby name list of 2019. If you have been considering a unique name with an M, Maeve could be one for your list.
Meaning: Gaelic (Teamhair or Cnoc na Teamhrach) for: from the Crag of a tower.
This is an excellent name if you’re into myths and legends. Tara is a historic ceremonial and burial site located in County Meath, Ireland.
What’s more, it’s also the inauguration place and seat of the High Kings of Ireland, and as such, it frequently features in Irish mythology. Tara is an interesting place to visit, consisting of monuments and earthworks from the Neolithic to the Iron Age.
In fact, it forms a part of a broader ancient landscape and is a protected national monument.
The use of Tara as a female name gained traction in the 1960s. Owing to a namesake character Tara in the Avengers and in the soap All My Children. Despite slowly becoming more popular in Ireland (climbing to 96 from 136), it doesn’t feature in the US, UK, and Scottish top 100.
Meaning: deer, derived from Faidh, an old Irish word for wild animal.
English version: Fia
While little known before, Fiadh is trending in Ireland, coming up to 10 from 21 in the Irish baby name charts. So if you like a name inspired by nature, Fiadh could be the one, as it’s not listed in the US, UK, and Scottish baby name top 100. Also, Fia is a shortened version of Fiadh and would be a more unique version of Mia.
Meaning: to breath, to live from Chava (Hebrew)
About: Éabha is the Irish from of Eve. Ádhamh agus Éabha is Adam and
Eve in Irish.
English version: Ava
Considering it is a biblical name, Éabha has always been in popular use. Ranking 48 in the current Irish baby name top 100, the name might well rise in popularity due to its hipster roots.
In fact, its English cousin Ava has been a popular choice elsewhere, residing in the top ten in the US, UK, and Scotland. Ultimately, Éabha is a great choice if you’re after a unique and biblical name for your daughter girl.
Meaning: God is gracious
English: Joan, Siobhan, Chevonne, Shevaun and Shivaun
Siobhan is derived from the English name Joan, introduced in Ireland by the Anglo-Normans in the Middle Ages.
As it’s currently not listed in the Irish, English, Scottish, and US charts, so choosing this unique Irish name for your baby girl means that she won’t come across many peers with the same moniker.
In saying that, what with her powerful namesake in the popular series Succession generating lots of press, there might soon be a whole new generation of little Shivs ruling the world.
Pronounce: “di + re”
Meaning: Daire “fruitful, fertile”.
About: This name derives 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 bull to Queen Maeve and her husband Aili, who hatched a plan to steal it from its owner.
The refusal to sell partly caused for a feud between Ulster and Connacht. Meaning, if you like your legends lively, then this is for you. For one thing, this tale certainly runs the gamut of emotions from jealousy to anger to love and pride.
Other versions: Daire and Dara
Darragh doesn’t appear on the baby girl name top 100 list in Ireland, so your little girl will stand out with this simple and sweet-sounding name. Also, this name is unisex, making it a lovely name for both genders.
Didn’t find what you were looking for?
If these Irish girl names don’t float your boat, have a look at our round-up of the best royal baby names for girls.