We recently asked you, our loyal IrishCentral readers, to share your thoughts about your favorite Irish names.
Editor’s Note: This October, IrishCentral will be publishing a series of articles celebrating Irish family heritage, from genealogy and personal tales to interesting Irish names. With up to 80 million people around the world claiming Irish ancestry, IrishCentral’s Irish Family Heritage Month has a lot to celebrate! Keep up-to-date with all genealogy stories on IrishCentral here.
Nearly 400 of you took the time to respond to our recent IrishCentral readers survey, which asked you to share your favorite Irish names for girls, boys, and names that can be used for either girls or boys.
The results were a varied mix of stunning Irish names, proving yet again what great taste you all have!
You can check out IrishCentral readers’ favorite Irish names for girls here, and stayed tuned for our round-up of your favorite Irish names that can be used for boys or girls.
For now, here are IrishCentral readers’ favorite Irish names for boys, in descending order:
Liam – 10.57%
Liam means a strong-willed warrior and protector. It is the short form of the Irish name Uilliam, which comes from the Frankish Willahelm. It is also the Irish cognate of the name William.
Patrick – 7.99%
Patrick is the Anglicized form of the Irish name Padraig, from the Latin Patricius which means “nobly born.” The patron Saint of Ireland.
Sean – 7.73%
Sean is the Irish cognate of the name John, and means “God is gracious.” It can also mean “wise, old.”
Declan – 5.67%
Declan is an Irish given name, an Anglicized form of the Irish saint name Declán, also Deaglán or Déaglán. The name is believed to mean “man of prayer” or “full of goodness.”
Seamus – 4.64%
An Irish male name of Latin origin, Seamus is the Irish equivalent of the name James, which is the English New Testament variant for the Hebrew name Jacob. It entered the Irish and Scottish Gaelic languages from the French variation of the late Latin name for Jacob, Iacomus; a dialect variant of Iacobus, from the New Testament Greek Ἰάκωβος (Iákōvos), and ultimately from Hebrew word יעקב (Yaʻaqov), i.e. Jacob. Its meaning in Hebrew is “one who supplants” or more literally “one who grabs at the heel.”
Brendan – 4.38%
At least 17 saints bear the name Brendan, but perhaps the most famous would be Saint Brendan the Navigator. One of the rumors about the Navigator is that he was the first European to set foot on American soil, a thousand years before Columbus. Anglicized form of the Irish Breandan, meaning prince.
Connor – 3.09%
A variant of Conor, which also appears on this list. Connor is an Irish male given name and is Anglicized from the compound Irish word “Conchobhar,” meaning “Lover of wolves” or “Lover of hounds.” Its popularity likely derived from the name of Conchobar mac Nessa, a semi-legendary king of Ulster in Dál Riata described in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology.
Kevin – 3.09%
Derived from the Irish name Caoimhin, Kevin means “kind,” “gentle,” “handsome by birth. From Old Irish “caomh,” which means gentle, kind, or handsome, and “gin,” which means child or birth.
Aidan – 2.58%
The Anglicized form of Gaelic “Aodhan,” which means “little fiery one.”
Ryan – 2.58%
Ryan comes from the Irish surname Ryan, which in turn comes from the Old Irish name Rian. Popular modern sources typically suggest that the name means “little king” or “illustrious,” but the original meaning is unknown.
Kieran – 2.58%
The Anglicized version of Ciarán, which means “little dark one” or “little dark-haired one,” produced by appending a diminutive suffix to ciar (“black,” “dark”). It is the masculine version of the name Ciara. The name became common in reference to Ciar, son of Fergus mac Róich, who gave his name to the Ciarraige and County Kerry, and two early Irish saints both counted among the Twelve Apostles of Ireland: Ciarán the Elder and Ciarán the Younger.
Conor – 2.06%
A variant of Connor, which appears earlier in this list. Usually translated as “lover of hounds.” It can also mean “high desire,” as derived from the Irish word “coachuhhar.” Conchobhar MacNessa was the king of Ulster; according to the legend, he was born on the same day as Christ.
Rory – 2.06%
Meaning “red” or “rust-colored.” Borne by Rory O’Connor, the last high king of Ireland, who reigned from 1166-1170.
Shane – 2.06%
Meaning “gift from God,” Shane is the Anglicized form of Sean.
Finn – 1.55%
Finn is the Anglicized version of Fionn. Meaning fair, blonde, or “small blonde soldier.”
Tadhg – 1.55%
This name means “poet” or “bard” in Irish. It was the name of an 11th century King of Connacht.
Michael – 1.29%
A biblical name of Hebrew origins, Michael means “who is like God?”
Ian – 1.29%
Ian or Iain is a name of Scottish Gaelic origin, derived from the Hebrew given name יוֹחָנָן (Yohanan, Yôḥānān) and corresponding to the English name John. The spelling Ian is an Anglicization of the Scottish Gaelic forename Iain.
Brian – 1.29%
This name means high, noble, and strong. From the Gaelic ‘brigh.’ The name has been incredibly widespread in Ireland, in honor of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland.
John – 1.29%
John is derived from the Latin Ioannes and Iohannes, which are forms of the Greek name Iōánnēs (Ἰωάννης), originally borne by Hellenized Jews transliterating the Hebrew name Yohanan (יוֹחָנָן). In Irish, it is written as Eóin or Seán.
Eamon – 1.29%
Eamon or Eamonn (Irish spelling Éamon or Éamonn) is an Irish form of the English Edmund, which is derived from an Old English name containing the elements ēad (“prosperity, riches”) and mund (“protector”).
Niall – 1.03%
This name can either mean “champion, passionate, or vehement” from the Gaelic “niadh,” or “cloud” from the Gaelic word “neall.” Niall of the Nine Hostages was a 4th-century king of Tara.
Padraig – 1.03%
The Gaelic form of the Latin “Patricius” meaning “nobly born.” Patron Saint of Ireland.
Colin – 1.03%
Colin is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Cuilen, Cailean, modern Irish spelling Coileáin, meaning “whelp, cub.” The Old Irish word for “whelp”, is cuilén.
Eoghan – 1.03%
“Born of the yew tree.” Often associated with the Greek name “Eugenes.”
Ruairi – 0.77%
This name means “red-haired king,” from “ruadh” meaning red, as in the red-colored hair of foxes.
Daniel – 0.77%
Daniel is a masculine given name and a surname of Hebrew origin. It means “God is my judge” (cf. Gabriel—”God is my strength”), and derives from two early biblical figures, primary among them Daniel from the Book of Daniel. In Irish, it can be Dainéil or Dónall.
Dermot – 0.77%
The Anglicized version of Diarmuid, which means “without enemy.” It has been the name of kings, heroes, and saints. In Irish legend, Diarmuid was the lover of Grainne, and the most beloved member of the warrior band the Fianna.
Colm – 0.77%
Of Irish origin, Colm means dove in the Irish language. It is not an Irish version of Colin, but like Callum and Malcolm derives from a Gaelic variation on columba: the Latin word for ‘dove’.