Fortunately for us, there are still plenty of beautiful and individual names around, which don’t sound like they were thought up on a mad night out on the town. And in recent years, Irish names have become hugely popular. There’s just something about the way they roll off the tongue, so poetic and evocative.
You’re waiting for the ‘but’, aren’t you? OK, well here it is – but they’re so hard to read and pronounce when they’re written down! Well as a public service, and to honour my ancient Irish roots, I have pleasure in presenting some truly gorgeous Irish names, along with pronunciation and meaning. Enjoy:
Meaning: ‘Beloved one’
I must admit to only including this one because I like it so much! It’s incredibly rare, and so unlikely that any girl outside Ireland and Scotland has ever had this lovely name. I had a wonderful cousin named Mhari, and wanted to name my daughter after her. I got overruled on that one, but I still love the name after all these years.
You may recognise this name from the American actress, Saoirse Ronan (Grand Budapest Hotel, Atonement, Hanna, etc). But admit it, there’s no way you could have figured out how to pronounce that name! Unless, of course, you caught Ryan Gosling on Graham Norton, spilling the beans!
Meaning: ‘Ancient, Enduring’
Still a very popular boy’s name in Ireland, Cian was the legendary leader of an army who fought the Vikings in the battle of Clontarf, in 1014. Sadly he and his father-in-law didn’t survive, but the name lives on!
Meaning: ‘Little deer’
There’s a beautiful story that goes with this name. The legend goes that Oisin’s mother was turned into a doe by a dark druid. She raised baby Oisin in the forest for 7 years, until one day his father Fionn (pronounced Fyun) happened upon them and recognised the boy as his own. He named him ‘little dear’, out of respect to his mother. Awww…
Hopefully that’s inspired you to go Gaelic when your own little one comes along! Now where’s my little Aibreann?