Aidan has gone supernova. Connor is heard everywhere. What’s a parent in search of an authentic Irish appellation to do?
Thanks to Bek for suggesting one fresh option. Today’s Name of the Day is the dashing Doyle.
Doyle is indeed a surname, and he’s undeniably Irish. He roots are with the Gaelic Dubhghall. It translates roughly to dark stranger from dubh – black – and gall – stranger. What’s interesting is that the dark strangers were actually Scandinavians. Most histories suggest that Dubhghall would’ve been applied to the Danes, who were just a smidge less fair than the Norwegians – who were called the Fionnghall, or fair strangers.
Over the centuries, Dubhghall was reduced and Anglicized until it became Doyle – one of the most common surnames in Ireland today. It may also have become a popular substitute for many an unrelated name, including MacDowell.
Doyle has all the friendly openness of other Gaelic choices like Aidan and Ronan, but also a certain cerebral appeal thanks to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creative force behind über-sleuth Sherlock Holmes.
Plenty of other real life Doyles can be found, in nearly any field of endeavour. A sampling includes:
- Clyde Doyle, a California politician in the 40s and 50s;
- David Doyle, the actor who played Bosley on Charlie’s Angels;
- Poet Kirby Doyle, a contemporary of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac;
- Actress Maria Doyle Kennedy, known as Katherine of Aragon on Showtime’s The Tudors.
There are also fictional Doyles galore, including:
- Roz Doyle, Frasier’s producer;
- Gene Hackman’s character in The French Connection, Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle;
- There’s been a Maggie Doyle on ER and on the Australian police drama Blue Heelers;
- Remember when Rick Schroder guest starred on 24? His character was Mike Doyle;
- Another Doyle was Allen Francis Doyle, a part-demon character on Buffy-spinoff Angel.
Lest you think Doyle is only a surname, it is worth noting that Doyle was once regularly in use as a first name, charting as high as #195 back in 1931, and appearing every year between 1894 and 1981.
Overall, Doyle is undeniably appealing. He’s a surname choice that seems unlikely to be stolen by the girls. He’s as Irish as Aidan, but far more distinctive. And while he’s not often heard as a first name, he’d be instantly familiar to all.