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New Popular Irish Names Revealed
New Popular Irish Names Revealed
Apr 19, 2024 6:00 AM

  Good news for lovers of Irish baby names! The latest popular Irish names data for 2022 has just been released, and it’s a treasure trove of intriguing options from the Emerald Isle.

  Happy St Patrick’s Day! Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit!

  

Top 10 Irish Girl Names

  There has been a reversal of fortune in the girls' ranking this year. Emily, which had been #1 from 2011 to 2019, was dethroned first by Grace in 2020 and then Fiadh in 2021. But 2022 saw her return to the top spot!

  Is this a return to her rightful place or one last moment in the sun before she falls back down? While Grace stayed in her #2 spot, the formerly rising star Fiadh has sunk down two places to third place. 

  The sweet and graceful nature name Lily has made a surprising four-point jump – perhaps on the back of the popularity of actress Lily James, who starred in Pam & Tommy last year, and model Lily-Rose Depp. Lily-Rose also made its debut on the Irish charts this year with five uses.

  New to the Top 10 are Ellie and Olivia. Ellie only left the Top 10 two years ago and has been milling around the teens waiting to come back.

  Despite its popularity elsewhere in the English speaking world, Olivia had not been in the Irish Top 10 since 1975 – following the release of Olivia Newton-John’s first US Billboard #1 album ‘If You Love Me, Let Me Know’ in 1974. It's sweet to see that it returned to the Top 10 in the year that she passed away. 

  Ella and Lucy dropped out of the Top 10, but I doubt it is the last we are going to see of them, especially as Lucy comes along with a trend of reviving more traditional names. 

  Here are the new Top 10 girl names in Ireland for 2022:

  1. Emily (+2)

  2. Grace (=)

  3. Fiadh (-2)

  4. Sophie (=)

  5. Lily (+4)

  6. Éabha (-1)

  7. Ava (+1)

  8. Mia (-1)

  9. Ellie (+7) 

  10. Olivia (+8) 

  

Top 10 Irish Boy Names

  The boys' Top 10 stayed relatively stable this year with Jack, Noah and James safely maintaining their position in the top three.

  Rían, a powerhouse from last year, continues to push upwards and it would not surprise me if next year we see Rían enter the top three. Rían entered the charts in 1992 as an alternate spelling of ultra-popular Ryan. Thanks to its more faithful pronunciation of the first syllable as REE rather than RYE, it became a fresh but familiar favourite for Irish parents.

  The only new entrant to the boys' Top 10 is Oisín (aw-SHEEN), which rose six spots to #6. Oisín was the son of legendary warrior Fionn mac Cumhaill in Irish mythology, and was said to be the greatest poet in all of Ireland.

  Oisín replaced classic Conor, which fell from its solid #4 rank down into the teens. This seems likely to be related to MMA fighter Conor McGregor’s fall from public opinion in Ireland. It may be a while before we see Conor stage a return.

  1. Jack (=)

  2. Noah (=)

  3. James (=)

  4. Rían (+1)

  5. Charlie (+2)

  6. Oisín (+6)

  7. Tadhg (+3)

  8. Liam (-2)

  9. Cillian (=)

  10. Daniel (-2) 

  

Fastest Rising Irish Names

  In this year’s fastest rising names we have some interesting trends, some unexpected returns and some boosts from pop culture.

  One of the trends we'll take a closer look at later is Irish language nicknames, and in this category Teidí definitely lead the pack. With Theodore, Theo, Teddy, et al on the rise around the English-speaking world, Teidí adds a fada and a bit of Irish charm.

  Another trend-follower is the fastest-rising girl’s name Éala, which shares sounds with uber-popular Éabha and Ella. This name is pronounced the same way as Ella, but receives an Irish pedigree from eala, the Irish world for swan. 

  From the world of pop culture we see musical star Taylor Swift boosting the popularity of her name by twenty-seven points after the release of her new album Midnights. Perhaps she’ll give the late 90s/early 2000s favourite another day in the sun.

  Rising star Phoebe Bridgers and screenwriter and actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge have brought more attention to this mythological classic, which rose 31 points.

  Luca has been rising everywhere recently following the 2021 Pixar film, and Ireland is no exception. Italian place name Lucca and pseudo-Irish Lúca are also on the rise, though surprisingly the k-alternate Luka fell by one place. 

  Last year when Mary fell by 29 points I did not expect her to be back for a while but she has returned triumphant and is back in the Top 100. I for one would love to meet a baby Mary!

  Along with the unexpected return of Mary, we also have Leonard starting to rise, as well as 80s darlings Eric and Sara

  

Fastest Rising Girl Names

Names are listed together with the number of places they rose on the charts since 2021. Names with the same number of births are assigned the same ranking (rather than being ranked in alphabetical order) to give a clearer picture of the names with the biggest change in position.

  1. Éala (+38)

  2. Phoebe (+31)

  3. Hailey (+29)

  4. Sara (+28)

  5. Mary (+28)

  6. Taylor (+27)

  7. Nevaeh (+25)

  8. Maia (+25)

  9. Elena (+23)

  10. Elise (+23)

  

Fastest Rising Boy Names

1. Teidí (+28)

  2. Cían (+28)

  3. Tomás (+27)

  4. Fiachra (+26)

  5. Jesse (+24)

  6. Leonard (+23)

  7. Luca (+22)

  8. Rowan (+22)

  9. Eric (+22)

  10. Nicholas (+22)

  

Fastest Falling Irish Names

  There weren’t many major falls this year. Most of the year's fastest-falling names were popular in the 90s and early 2000s, and are continuing their slow descent from popularity.

  The few exceptions to this include Shane, which peaked in the 80s and has been falling steadily ever since. With only 46 Shanes born last year, it might not be long before it’s off the list entirely.

  And Zara fell by 20 points after an almost equally big rise last year. Whether its changing fortunes are due to its connection to the royal family or to the fast fashion brand, it’s hard to say.

  

Fastest Falling Girl Names

1. Zara (-20)

  2. Ruby (-16)

  3. Paige (-15)

  4. Holly (-13)

  5. Megan (-13)

  6. Clodagh (-11)

  7. Julia (-11)

  8. Sofia (-11)

  9. Chloe (-10)

  10. Amy (-10)

  

Fastest Falling Boy Names

1. Shane (-18)

  2. Aaron (-15)

  3. Odhran (-15)

  4. Killian (-15)

  5. Eoin (-14)

  6. Danny (-13)

  7. Eli (-13)

  8. Lewis (-13)

  9. Jaxon (-12)

  10. Sebastian (-12)

  

Playground Popularity in Ireland

  Playground popularity – the ranking of baby names with variant spellings combined – is especially important in Ireland. Due to Irish names with several different anglicised spellings, imports from other cultures, and cross-cultural homophones, the playground numbers are often very different to the published Top 10. 

  This year, the boys' side of the playground popularity charts seems to predict coming trends. Rían nudges his way into the top three, beating James by a slim margin of 22 births.

  Darragh is a star of the playground popularity list, with several different accepted spellings. Darragh is the most common, followed by Dara and Dáire. Interestingly, Dáire and Dara, despite being homophones, have different meanings. Dara means “oak tree” and Dáire means ‘fruitful, fertile”. Darragh functions as an anglicization for both.

  On the girls' side, Éabha is boosted by her homophone Ava to make her way up into the #1 spot. Ella is also boosted by a homophone, the new Top 100 name Éala.

  With her combined spellings, Fiadh manages to climb a little bit higher up the list, passing Emily by a margin of around 50 births. 

  Internationally popular names like Sophia and Amelia also get a boost, while names with only one or two spellings like Grace and Sophie take a bit of a hit.

  Here are the Top 10 Irish girl and boy names when variant spellings are combined, given with the change in ranking compared to the official list.

  

Top Playground Girl Names

1. Éabha (+5)

  2. Fiadh (+1)

  3. Emily (-2)

  4. Sophia (+16)

  5. Lily (=)

  6. Grace (-4)

  7. Amelia (+4)

  8. Mia (=)

  9. Ella (+4)

  10. Sophie (-6)

  

Top Playground Boy Names

1. Jack (=)

  2. Noah (=)

  3. Rían (+1)

  4. James (-1)

  5. Tadhg (+2)

  6. Darragh (+11)

  7. Cillian (+2)

  8. Oisín (-2)

  9. Charlie (-4)

  10. Liam (+1)

  A lot of the names that benefited the most from playground popularity are Irish names that get counted differently for all their various anglicizations and decisions on whether and where to use fadas.

  The highest jump for boys is Odhrán, which could equally be spelled with no fada or as the anglicised Oran

  Eoin has been popular for years, as have his soundalike brothers Owen and Eoghan. And Lochlann, the Irish variation of Scottish favourite Lachlan, is just starting to rise. 

  Soundalike sisters like Lyla, Kayla, Maia and Leah seem to be the sleeper popular names, with dozens of slight variations all going for that breezily trendy two-syllable punch.

  Here, the names that get the biggest boost in ranking from combining variant spellings.

  

Highest Rising Playground Girl Names

1. Lyla (+26)

  2. Esmé (+23)

  3. Kayla (+22)

  4. Orla (+22)

  5. Aoibhín (+19)

  

Highest Rising Playground Boy Names

1. Odhrán (+41)

  2. Eoin (+32)

  3. Lochlann (+30)

  4. Zach (+26)

  5. Cuan (+25)

  

Top Names of Irish Origin

  There's an interesting spread in the Top 10 names of Irish origin. Some are so widely popular internationally that they barely register as Irish, like Conor, Seán, Cara and Erin

  Some are rising in popularity elsewhere in the world and bringing more attention to Irish names, like Finn and Saoirse. And some might still seem strange to non-Irish people, like Oisín (aw-SHEEN) and and Croía (KREE-a).  

  You have to look much further down the girls’ rankings to find the Top 10 Irish names than for boys, but that’s partly because a much broader range of Irish girls' names spreads out the numbers.

  Here are the most popular girl and boy names of Irish origin, together with their rankings.

  

Top Girl Names of Irish Origin

1. Fiadh (3)

  2. Éabha (6)

  3. Saoirse (17)

  4. Caoimhe (23)

  5. Aoife (29)

  6. Róisín (30)

  7. Sadhbh (31)

  8. Cara (32)

  9. Erin (34)

  10. Croía (37)

  

Top Boy Names of Irish Origin

1. Rían (4)

  2. Oisín (6)

  3. Tadhg (7)

  4. Liam (8)

  5. Cillian (9)

  6. Fionn (11)

  7. Conor (13)

  8. Finn (14)

  9. Darragh (17)

  10. Seán (19)

  

Hottest Irish Name Trends

  

Nana Names

Ireland started recording name popularity 59 years ago in 1964, and of the Top 25 girls names that year, thirteen of them rose in popularity this year. Three of them, Jacqueline, Sandra and Paula, returned to the charts in 2022.

  These names all have a strong connection to Ireland’s Catholic past, but also to women who have built this country for the past 100 years. Bridget rises in the same year that St. Bridget’s Day (Feb 1st) was made a national holiday and Mary as it becomes increasingly likely that we could see our first female Taoiseach, Mary Lou McDonald.

  Some of these names have a lot of connection to the very trendy mid-century modern style, but it’s equally nice to think that beloved Nana Marys and Aunt Kathleens are being honoured throughout the country by their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. 

  HeartAngelaChevron - RightHeartAnneChevron - RightHeartBridgetChevron - RightHeartElizabethChevron - RightHeartHelenChevron - RightHeartKathleenChevron - RightHeartMargaretChevron - RightHeartMartinaChevron - RightHeartMaryChevron - RightHeartPatriciaChevron - Right

  

Mid-Century Nicknames

Along with the full Nana Names, mid-century nicknames are also coming back in a big way with Annie, Billy, Bobby, Elsie, Molly, Rosie and Tommy all landing in the Top 100.

  A lot of these names are also popular in England and Wales, so it’s interesting to see which names aren’t as popular. Names like Paddy, Nellie and Frank were very common in Ireland a hundred years ago, though almost always those people had Patrick, Ellen and Francis on their birth certificate. 

  There are also names like Barry and Hughie which have historical links to Irish names. Barry originates from Barra, a nickname for Finbarr. Hughie comes from a tradition of anglicization, the historically very popular name Aodh or Áed was anglicised to Hugh (there are a lot of Hugh O’Neill’s in Irish history).

  Interestingly, though Hugh is nicknamed to Hughie, Aodh would be nicknamed to Aodhán from which we get Aiden et al. 

  HeartAnnieChevron - RightHeartBarryChevron - RightHeartBillyChevron - RightHeartBobbyChevron - RightHeartConnieChevron - RightHeartDollyChevron - RightHeartElsieChevron - RightHeartFrankChevron - RightHeartHughieChevron - RightHeartJerryChevron - RightHeartJimmyChevron - RightHeartJohnnyChevron - RightHeartMaggieChevron - RightHeartMollyChevron - RightHeartNancyChevron - RightHeartNellieChevron - RightHeartPaddyChevron - RightHeartPollyChevron - RightHeartRosieChevron - RightHeartTommyChevron - Right

  

Irish Nicknames

One very interesting trend this year is the rising popularity of Irish language nicknames, whether they’re gaelicisations of English nicknames like Aoibhí (Evie) and Teidí (Teddy) or nicknames of Irish classic Irish names themselves.

  Cáit gained some notice in the Oscar-Nominated Irish language film An Cailín Ciuin (The Quiet Girl). The similar Caitlín is the name that spawned not only the classic Kathleen, but also every variant of Caitlyn

  HeartAoibhíChevron - RightHeartBrídínChevron - RightHeartCáitChevron - RightHeartCaitlínChevron - RightHeartPáidíChevron - RightHeartRéidínChevron - RightHeartSéamieChevron - RightHeartSeánieChevron - RightHeartSéimíChevron - RightHeartTeidíChevron - Right

  Another trend in the world of Irish nicknaming is the return of Óg on the birth certificate. Óg is essentially the Irish equivalent of Jr but it goes directly after the first name, literally meaning ‘young’, making Liam Óg ‘young Liam’.

  In the 2021 chart only Seán Óg ranked, but he’s joined this year by Dónal and Liam, two other Óg’s that have ranked in the past were Cathal and Tomás. The nickname Ógie might be in itself something akin to naming a child Junior.

  

Interesting 3s 

The Irish charts list every name given to three or more children born in every given year. To give a broader idea of names being used, here are some interesting names given to only three children last year.

  HeartApolloChevron - RightHeartAriadneChevron - RightHeartArtemChevron - RightHeartAsaChevron - RightHeartAzaleaChevron - RightHeartAzariahChevron - RightHeartBéibhínnChevron - RightHeartBlaiseChevron - RightHeartBostonChevron - RightHeartBronwynChevron - RightHeartCameliaChevron - RightHeartCaoilfhionnChevron - RightHeartCaoilteChevron - RightHeartCarthachChevron - RightHeartCecilyChevron - RightHeartConnieChevron - RightHeartCreedChevron - RightHeartDahliaChevron - RightHeartDanannChevron - RightHeartElvisChevron - RightHeartEmeraldChevron - RightHeartFarrellChevron - RightHeartFelicityChevron - RightHeartFernChevron - RightHeartFiannaChevron - RightHeartFinbarrChevron - RightHeartFlaviaChevron - RightHeartGaiaChevron - RightHeartHendrixChevron - RightHeartHonorChevron - RightHeartLionelChevron - RightHeartManusChevron - RightHeartMillicentChevron - RightHeartMiracleChevron - RightHeartNalaChevron - RightHeartNevinChevron - RightHeartOrionChevron - RightHeartPercyChevron - RightHeartPhoenixChevron - RightHeartPioChevron - RightHeartPosieChevron - RightHeartPrunelleChevron - RightHeartRíoghnachChevron - RightHeartRoscoeChevron - RightHeartSaffronChevron - RightHeartScotiaChevron - RightHeartThorinChevron - RightHeartVitoChevron - RightHeartZiggyChevron - Right

  RELATED:

  Irish Name Generator

  

About the Author

  

Bridie Farrell

  Bridie Farrell is a genealogist and writer, she’s originally from Maine but has been living with her husband in Dublin for three years. You can contact her personally on Fiverr or @GenevieveReine on the Nameberry forums. 

  View all of Bridie Farrell's articlesChevron - Right

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