Could this Irish surname be the next Bailey?
Thanks to April for suggesting one she’s considering for a daughter. Clancy is our Baby Name of the Day.
Clancy comes from an Irish surname, one that traveled a twisted path from his original form to his current state.
Flann Sinna became High King of Ireland in the late 800s, and he reigned for well over three decades. Flann meant red. A handful of names were inspired by Flann:
- Flynn, via the surname Ó Floinn;
- Flannery, from flann plus a word meaning valor;
- Flannchadh, which led to the surname Mac Fhlannchaidh, which was Anglicized as Clancy.
Most will recognize Clancy as Irish instantly thanks to the musical Clancy Brothers – Paddy, Tom, Bobby, and Liam. The quartet teamed up with fellow Irishman Tommy Makem, and recorded traditional Irish folk songs. After a 1961 performance on the Ed Sullivan Show, they scored a record deal, a Grammy nomination, and international superstardom. The group had their ups and downs, break-ups and reunions. All four of the brothers have passed away, but some of their children have musical careers of their own.
There are others who have worn Clancy in the first spot and as a surname, including:
- Fictional police chief Clancy Wiggum on The Simpsons;
- Best-selling author of spy thrillers, Tom Clancy;
- Actors Clancy Cooper and Clancy Brown. You might recognize Brown from his turn in The Shawshank Redemption – but your kids know him as the voice of Mr. Krabs on SpongeBob SquarePants;
- Early Jamaican reggae artist Clancy Eccles, best known as a member of The Dynamites. His son, Clancy Jr., is also a singer;
- The character Clancy in The Man from Snowy River – adapted for film and television – originated with an 1889 poem by Banjo Paterson in Australia’s The Bulletin, originally titled “Clancy of the Overflow” and apparently based on a real person with the surname Clancy;
- American football coaches Clancy Barone, currently with the Denver Broncos, and college coach Clancy Pendergast. Kendrick Clancy currently plays for the New Orleans Saints.
It’s tough to get a read on Clancy – he stretches from from the hyper-masculine worlds of the gridiron and espionage to the creative realms of music and theater.
Mostly, Clancy stands out as a kelly green Irish heritage pick. He still feels a tiny bit clunky, closer to Clarence than Connor. Still, Nancy tells us that 12 boys were given the name in 2009.
There’s another possibility. Clancy splits the difference between the retro Nancy and the more current Callie. Clancy could be a successor to Bailey and Riley – but for girls. Nancy tells us that 9 girls received the name in 2009.
Either way, there’s something upbeat and unexpected about Clancy. He would be refreshing in the middle spot, and undeniably Irish as a given name.