We all know that vowels are big these days. And boys’ names ending in -n? There’s nothing hotter. So we were surprised to learn that this choice has never cracked the US Top 1000.

Thanks to Laney for suggesting our Name of the Day: Eamon.

We had to think about how to pronounce Eamon, but it turns out our initial hunch was correct: he’s AY man or AY mon. If we only had a Scottish accent, I suspect the latter would sound better, but since all we can offer is a bland, Mid-Atlantic approach, we’re favoring something closer to AY man.

Either way, Éamonn is the Irish version of Edmund. We like Edward and Edwin, but Edmund feels a bit dour. Eamon offers an intriguing means to revive the name with a lot of modern style and spirit. We think the spelling variant with just one “n” is more accessible in the US – and seems to appear more often in the census records, too.

His roots are Old English. All the Ed- names derive from the element ead, meaning rich. The ending mund is usually translated as protector. Back in the day, Edmund was worn by kings and saints, and it’s never really gone out of use. But it has declined rather dramatically, disappearing from the US Top 1000 entirely after 1997.

Famous Eamons are many, but they tend to hail from the other side of the Atlantic, including:

  • Éamonn Ceannt, an Irish nationalist known for his role in the 1916 Easter Rising and a colleague of Éamon de Valera;
  • Eamonn Andrews, a radio host who made the leap to television early in its development in Ireland;
  • Eamonn Holmes, a well-known UK television presenter currently active;
  • The Italian-Irish, Staten Island-born pop rap one-hit-wonder Eamon Doyle, whose 2004 single boasts a name too R-rated for inclusion here;
  • Golfer Eamonn Darcy;
  • Swimmer Eamon Sullivan;
  • Most famously, American-born Irish president Eamon de Valera, born Edward.

The name is still used sparingly in Canada and Scotland, along with variant spelling Eamonn.

While we suspect it would strike a more familiar note on the other side of the Atlantic, even in the US, it has a ring of authenticity about it that recent innovations like Drayton and Braven lack.

Eamon was also the name of an early adventure game written for Apple computers in 1980. Unlike today’s flashy, graphics-intensive productions, Eamon felt more like a Choose Your Own Adventure story. But it was one of the first interactive games to encourage users to write expansion modules and had a faithful following for many years. While today Eamon is mostly a memory, it holds an interesting place in gaming history.

We think Eamon works as an authentic Irish heritage name, though choices like Ronan might be easier to pronounce and even spell. Still, when compared with the tired Aidan, Eamon seems incredibly fresh – and not at all difficult to love.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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25 Comments

  1. Hi, loved reading this article and comments too. I stumbled upon it as I research why Edward is the English name for Eamonn. This was very informative. My brother and father are called Eamonn. My partner is Eddie. His best friend is Eamonn and his father is also Eamonn. So no shortage of this wonderful name here in Cork Ireland.

  2. Eamon can only be pronounced as it is written by Irish or Scotish accents. The northern English accent is close and possibly American accents. This is because the ‘ea’ is diphthong which is a different vowel formed by two vowels. This sound is natural in Irish accents but totally alien in a southern English accent. The pronunciation is neither ‘a’ as in ‘tame (how it is pronounced in southern England) or ‘e’ as in beam. Northern English English and American English give a more similar pronunciation but it is not the same.

  3. My wife and I struggled over picking a name for our boy. I wanted traditional, she wanted unique. When I sprung on her the wish to name our boy Éamonn, she was very soon on board.

    But I really wanted to comment because I noticed the posting date of this name of the day. My son, Éamonn Miles was born September 25, 2008 – the day before this was posted.

    It was also about a month after Australia’s Eamonn Sullivan set a world record at the 2008 Summer Olympics. My son’s name had already been decided by that point. 🙂

  4. I grew up in America and am of Irish family descent. I love my name as it is a family name, but dammit if every teacher I ever had in school didn’t butcher my name each first day of class.

    I’m often complimented on my name and it always makes for good conversation. With so many Americans claiming family history with the Irish, the name Eamonn really sets you above the rest.

    I’ve met 3 other Eamon(n)’s in my time, our names were an immediate bond. I guess it’s not so often you meet one, like Mike or John.

  5. There is so much confusion over the way Éamonn or Eámonn or Eamonn can or is pronounced especially if your not from Ireland and don’t understand how the Irish language works. So to clear things up, it was originally spelt with what is called a “fada” over the “E” or “A”. A fada is basically an accent used in Gaelic {Irish language} similarly to other languages that have markings over certain letters to change the way the letter is pronounced. In this case it causes the the “E” to act like a silent letter hence the pronunciation “Ay-Min” or “Ay-Mon” depending on what part of Ireland your from. Over time the fada seems to have gotten lost in use regarding the name which in my opinion is where the confusion stems from about how to pronounce it.

  6. My name Eamonn and i live in Ireland. the correct way to pronouce my name is
    aim mon Once you get to know a person their name nearly always seems to suit them
    Eamonn is no different, and its roots originate in Ireland.