Will we ever run out of Irish appellations common in Europe, obscure in the US? Let’s hope not!
Thanks to Corinne for suggesting another Gaelic choice. Lorcán is our Name of the Day.
Lorcan sounds brainy, but his meaning is from the Gaelic lorc – fierce. Notable Lorcans have run the gamut from saints and scholars to a warrior king:
- The ninth century Lorcán mac Callaig was King of Leinster. There’s not much about him in the history books, but we know that he scored a victory against the Vikings. At least one of his successors wore the name, too;
- Irish king Brian Boru’s grandfather was called Lorcan;
- You may have heard of St. Laurence O’Toole, a twelfth century Irish-born saint. He was born Lorcan, and while he died in Normandy, he left his heart in Dublin – literally. You can still visit it at Christ Church Cathedral.
He’s certainly a valid heritage choice, and he’s perfectly current in Ireland, where he hovers near the Top 100. Irish television staple, the long-running RTÉ One soap opera Fair City, included a character by the name. While the original Lorcan has gone to his reward, he left behind a son called Lorcan Jr.
Americans might think of actor Lorcan Cranitch as the villainous Erastes in HBO’s Rome. Other modern Lorcans include a computer scientist, an architect and an Irish politician.
Future parents may be more likely to stumble on this name in the epilogue to the Harry Potter series. Ordinary readers wanted to know how the characters turned out; the name-obsessed wanted to hear the names of their offspring. JK Rowling came through splendidly, passing on family names to Harry and Ginny Potter’s trio and even telling us that Luna Scamander, née Lovegood, was mom to twin boys Lysander and Lorcan.
Plenty of appealing Gaelic options are scuppered by their spellings. (Remember our discussion about Tadhg?) Lorcan’s pronunciation is trouble-free. Plus, with Logan, Landon and Liam all among the more popular picks for American boys, and plenty of parents seeking an alternative to Aidan, Lorcan could fit the bill. Nameberry even listed him among their Ten Classic Names You’ve Never Considered.
You’ll notice that Lorcan was sometimes Anglicized as Laurence. Despite some superficial resemblance, there’s no etymological link between the two names. Still, tradition has connected them, and the saint’s popularity strengthens the tie. So if you’re looking to honor a grandpa Larry, you might consider Lorcan. Laurence’s medieval diminutive Larkin is another possibility, but with the rise of Lark as a girls’ name, some parents may wish to steer clear.
While Lorcan’s “orc” sound conjures up killer whales and Robin Williams’ breakthrough role as a sitcom alien, those are the kind of minor challenges shared by many a name. (Of course, swap out the “l” for a “d” and you can imagine another teasing nickname, one that could prove burdensome.)
He doesn’t require a nickname, but Lorry is an option, at least until he gets to middle school.
Overall, Lorcan is a rarity in the US that would prove straightforward to spell and pronounce. He has a solid history and impeccable roots as a valid Irish import. If you’re looking for a kelly green name for your son, Lorcan is one to consider.