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Does this little fella look like a Daithi, a Cathal or a Ruari? Photo by: Google Images

IrishCentral’s top Irish baby names for boys and girls

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Does this little fella look like a Daithi, a Cathal or a Ruari? Photo by: Google Images

Unusual names are without a doubt a growing trend in the fine art of baby naming.

Why not go for an unusual name that reflects your Irish heritage?

Below are ten boys and ten girls names still in their traditional Gaelic forms.

Is your own name on the list? Which are your favorites?

Let us know in the comments below.

Girls:

1. Aine

Pronounced: “awn+ye”

Ancient Irish name from the noun aine that means “splendor, radiance, brilliance.” Aine is connected with fruitfulness and prosperity. The queen of the Munster fairies was called Aine as was one of the wives of Fionn Mac Cool. Aine appears in folktales as “the best-hearted woman who ever lived – lucky in love and in money.”

2. Blathnaid, Blanaid

Pronounced: “blaw+nid”

Blath means “flower, blossom.” In legend, Blaithnaid, the reluctant wife of Curai Mac Daire, loved Cuchulainn, her husband’s rival. She revealed the secret entrance to her husband’s fortress to him by milking her cow and letting the milk run down the hill into a stream. Cuchulainn followed the stream, raided the fortress and rescued Blathnaid.

3. Caoiliainn

Pronounced: “kay+linn”

Caol ”slender” and fionn ”white, fair, pure.” Several saints were named Caoilainn, and one was described as “a pious lady who quickly won the esteem and affection of her sister nuns by her exactness to every duty, as also by her sweet temper, gentle, confiding disposition and unaffected piety.”

4. Dearbhail, Dearbhal or Deirbhile

Pronounced: “dare + voll” or “dare + villa”

From der + fal “daughter of Fal,” “Fal” being an ancient name for Ireland.

5. Fianna

Pronounced: “fee+ina”

Fionn Mac Cool’s warrior band were known as the Fianna (read the legend). In early Ireland women had equal rights and while the warriors were usually men, there is a strong tradition of Celtic women fighting alongside the men, dating as far back as Roman times.

6. Fionnula

Pronounced: “finn + ula”

The name comes from fionn + ghuala ”fair shouldered.” The chieftan King Lir and his wife Aobh had a daughter Fionnoula and three sons Aedh, Conn, and Fiachra. When Aodh died, Lir’s new wife Aoife was so jealous of her husband’s love for his children that she cast a spell on them and turned them into swans and condemned them to spend 300 years on Lake Daravarragh, 300 years on the Sea of Moyle and 300 years on Innis Glora. However, if they heard a Christian bell in Ireland they would become people again. One morning they were awakened by the sound of a Mass bell. St. Patrick had arrived. The children were brought to him and he baptised them and they have lived on in Irish mythology as the “Children of Lir.”

7. Maire

Pronounced: “my+ra”

The name that was used in Ireland for Our Lady was Muire and interestingly, her name was so honored that it was rarely used as a first name until the end of the fifteenth century. Then Maire became acceptable as a given name but the spelling Muire was reserved for the Blessed Mother.

8. Meara

Pronounced: “meer+a”

The Irish word mara means “sea.”

9. Radha

Pronounced: “row+a”

From radharc meaning “a vision.”

10. Sile, Sheelagh

Pronounced: “she+la”

The Irish form of the Latin name Cecilia, the patron saint of music and implies “pure and musical.”

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Read More: 

The top 100 Irish last names explained

Who is your patron saint? Match your name to the Irish holy day

IrishCentral Roots

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Boys:

1. Ardan
 

Pronounced: “are+dawn”

From ardanach meaning "high aspiration." Ardan was one of the sons of Usna who helped Deirdre escape to Scotland so that she would not be forced to marry King Conchobhar MacNessa.

2. Cabhan

Pronounced: “kav + an"

In Irish cabhan means "grassy hill" or "hollow" and is the name of the Ulster county Cavan.

3. Cathal, Cahal

Pronounced: "ka + hal"

cath "battle" and all "mighty" and signifies "a great warrior." On his way home from a visit to Rome (c. 666 AD) St. Cathal was asked to fill the vacant see of Taranto in southern Italy and served as it"s prelate until his death. Known as St. Cathaldus, he is still venerated in the area and a fresh water stream in the bay is known as "l’annello di san Cathaldo," "the ring of St. Cathaldus," as it marks the place where he is believed to have stilled a storm by throwing his ring into the water. He was the patron saint of the Italian army during WWI.

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