Thanks to Machion for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.
The Irish Muireann comes from muir – meaning sea – and finn – fair. So “white sea” is a fair description of the meaning of Murron.
In Irish mythology, Muireann is the mother of legendary hero Finn MacCool.
Her story goes like this. She’s courted by many, but her father refuses them all, convinced that her marriage would lead to his downfall.
One of her would-be husbands decides he’s not willing to take no for an answer. He kidnaps Muireann and they wed.
Her dad pursues the couple, and the new groom dies in battle. But Muireann is already pregnant. The young widow gives birth to her son and leaves him in the care of his aunt. He grows up to be a warrior of great renown, as well as a poet.
The name also appears as Muirenn or Muirne, among other variations.
The story of Finn MacCool was well known in Ireland, and eventually filtered into Scottish folklore, too.
That makes the baby name Murren a thoroughly Gaelic name … unless it’s not.
Let’s skip forward to the year 1995.
In 1995, the Braveheart movie told the story of William Wallace, a thirteenth century warrior who led his native Scotland in rebellion against King Edward III of England.
Mel Gibson played the title role, and directed the movie, too. The film went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
It would be easy to miss the name Murron in the film.
Murron MacClannough is the childhood friend of William Wallace. The two marry. King Edward has recently conquered Scotland, and English soldiers wreak havoc on their new territory. When English soldiers attempt to rape Murron, William intervenes. While he’s fighting, the soldiers execute Murron.
And that tragedy is the spark that transforms everything, ultimately winning Scotland its freedom – though William does not live to see that day, either.
So that appears to cement the baby name Murron as a Scottish heritage choice, tied up with the history of the nation.
Except Mrs. Wallace’s name is not recorded in any official record.
The story was written in an epic poem titled The Wallace in the fifteenth century by a poet named Blind Harry.
It’s believed that the real Mrs. Wallace was named Marion Braidfute.
And that suggests that Murron may simply be yet another form of the evergreen Mary.
After all, Maureen comes from the Irish Máirín.
Given how widely Mary has been used, and how utterly transformed it is in many languages, it’s not a stretch to imagine that some looked at the Scottish name Muireann and decided that Murron was the most logical way to make Marion more authentically Gaelic.
It’s also worth noting that the late fifth/early sixth century Saint Mirin can help push Murron onto the list of unisex names.
Mirin – or Mirren or Mirenus, to list just two – was the founder of an early church and religious community at Paisley Abbey, outside of Glasgow.
The future saint helped convert new believers across Ireland and into Scotland. During the Middle Ages, Paisley Abbey was a popular destination for religious pilgrims.
The name remains widely used in the surrounding area. The last name Mirren – as in Helen – probably comes from the saint.
Except Mirren is also widely accepted as a Scottish diminutive for Marion, so once again, two names meet.
Another possible Murron name meaning is hinted at here. It’s possible that a Gaelic origin connects Murron to “love” or “joy” or similar ideas. That’s thanks to the word muirn. It also occurs in longer words with translations like “darling.”
BY the NUMBERS
Some mix of Mary and mythology, local custom, terms of endearment, and a revered saint, all combined to create the baby name Murron as we know it today.
Except we don’t really know it.
In 2001, five girls received the name – marking the only time Murron has surfaced in US popularity data.
As of 2021, 17 girls were named Mirren.
If it’s used as a boy name in the US, it’s vanishingly rare.
Overall, the baby name Murron is a Gaelic rarity. It might make an intriguing Scottish heritage choice, and it could appeal to parents looking for something related to the sea, or possibly Irish myth, too.
But even in the immediate post-Braveheart excitement, this name failed to catch on.
It could, perhaps, appeal to parents who love current favorite Maren, but want something just slightly different. But it seems like to remain among the rarest of names.