We’re relying on thoughtful comments from the community to help expectant parents narrow down their name decisions. Thank you in advance for sharing your insight!
Hayley and her husband are expecting their fourth child, a boy, in May.
Their new son will join:
- Lochlann James
- Saoirse Ann
- Aoife Joy
We want to stick with the Irish/Gaelic origin – not too mainstream that there will be numerous around.
We’re obviously not bothered by the unique spelling – but it is not necessary to choose something with a difficult spelling!
Middle names are family names. (Hayley and her husband have some possibilities in mind for this baby, but aren’t quite ready to share.)
Hayley and her husband prefer to wait until their child’s birth to make the final decision, but she adds: we need a couple (of names) to bounce around the day of – our last was ‘Cookie’ for 24 hours 😉 so want to make sure we aren’t internet surfing minutes after delivery!
Let’s help Hayley find some great possibilities for her baby-on-the-way! Please read on for my response, and add your own suggestions in the comments!
Hi Hayley –
Ooh! You’ve definitely established a pattern for your children’s names, and it’s one that leaves lots of room to find names for future siblings.
Though I laughed out loud at this part:
… it is not necessary to choose something with a difficult spelling!
Since you’ve already chosen three great names for your children, it is pretty clear what you’re likely to like:
- Something relatively uncommon. In other words, Aidan is out. But so are lots of go-Irish names for a boy, including modern classics like Ryan, as well as up-and-comers like Declan/Deaglan. Does it rule all of the Finns, too? Because there are some great, authentically Irish, and relatively rare choices like Fintan and Finbarr. Still, since Finn names are pretty popular, I’ll skip them all.
- Something clearly Irish. At first glance, this seems easy. There are tons, tons, of great Irish names ready for use by American parents. Except many of them are already in heavy use, and we’re always looking for new possibilities. Handsome Declan was obscure just ten years ago – and now the name is just outside of the US Top 100.
- Something that works with your older children’s names. Your older kids’ names are lovely heritage choices – so sticking with Irish names is a good approach.
This still leaves lots of options – no wonder narrowing it down is a challenge! My first brainstormed list easily sailed past eighteen names. I dropped a few because they were Welsh (Cadogan, Carew) or Scottish (Struan). I’m not sure how you’d feel about surnames, so I skipped Donovan and Sullivan. And Cian seemed like the right vibe, but maybe felt more trendy than Gaelic.
- Lorcan – I love the meaning of Lorcan – little fierce one. Bonus: the name is not currently in the US Top 1000. But is Lorcan too close to Lochlann?
- Ronan – One of my favorites on sound alone, and I’ve known a little Ronan – it wears well. The challenge with Ronan is that it sounds like Rowan and Roman, which might be frustrating. Plus, while Ronan remains rare (#433 in the US in 2013), it is among the more popular possibilities on this list.
- Eamon, Eamonn – One of the first names that came to mind! Emphasis is on the first syllable, a long ‘a’ sound, plus mon. It’s distinctively different, not in the Top 1000, and feels quite wearable. But is it too close to Aoife? I don’t think so …
- Seamus – It doesn’t get any more classic than James, and Seamus is the Irish form. It seems like an obvious addition to your list – but if you want to avoid repeating first initials – not sure if you’ve given than any thought – Saoirse and Seamus don’t work together.
- Rory – Like Ronan, Rory is more popular than you might think. And The Gilmore Girls made Rory a possibility for girls, too. But Rory seems like a fabulous masculine possibility, meaning red king and also spelled Ruaidhri. In fact, if your main concern is that Rory might be going to the girls (though the numbers don’t support that), the Irish spelling might be the better choice.
- Fergus, Fearghas – I think Fergus reads Scottish, but Fergus features in Irish myth, and was the name of two High Kings of Ireland.
- Torin – I’m not sure what to think of Torin. It’s an Irish name meaning chief, but it feels rather dramatic, doesn’t it? And like Fergus, it doesn’t immediately scream Irish.
- Killian, Cillian – Cillian is an Irish saint, and the given name of Irish actor Cillian Murphy. The actor has made it just big enough that most of us recognize the name. It’s got a great sound – unlike any of your other children’s names. The one hitch? Killian – equally Irish, and the name of a brand of (Irish) beer – has climbed in the US recently, reaching #766 in 2013.
- Conlan – I skipped Sullivan and Donovan for being too obviously surname-names. Conlan fits the same category, but I think it feels more like a given name. One problem – Conlan and Lochlann share the same sounds, don’t they?
- Ciar, Keir – Add an ‘an’ and you’ll have Kieran, but I think the one-syllable form of the name might be more distinctive.
- Tadhg, Teague – And now we come to my favorite name from this list – Tadhg! If complicated spellings don’t bother you, Tadhg is a great choice. It feels distinctively Irish, and the sound is upbeat. Plus the meaning? Poet. And Tadhg is the name of an eleventh century king, too.
- Tiernan, Tighearnan – My sense is that Tierney has a better chance as a girls’ name – blame it on Hollywood leading lady Gene Tierney. Tiernan, however, leans Blue. It’s an unusual possibility that feels very wearable in 2015.
Which Irish names would you suggest for a son? Do you think any of these pair well with Lochlann, Saiorse, and Aoife?