Modern Monikers

names to think about

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Irish Faves for Boys

I have a soft spot for Irish boy names. They just seem so masculine, distinguished, and slightly unique to me. Here are some of my favorites from the Emerald Isle.

Cian (KEE-an)- Cian reminds me of the really popular -an names a la Aidan, Keegan, Brendan (which are all Irish), but it still remains a fresh choice. Its meaning, “ancient” gives a nod to yesteryear while remaining modern.

Cormac – This strong name, with its rustic meaning (“tree trunk”), is aces in my book. I’m not sure that it can get much better than Cormac. Famous bearer, author Cormac McCarthy, gives this name a literary edge. Trade in the tired Corey nickname for spunky, friendly Mac, and you’ve got a winner.

Desmond – Ah, Desmond. Once thought of as only the name of Bishop Tutu, it has been brought back into the limelight, thanks to Henry Ian Cusick’s character on the ABC mega-hit, Lost. The meaning, “man from south Munster”, isn’t much to write home about, but the nicknames Des and Desi may be enough to nudge you in his camp.

Flynn – Given new credence from Disney’s Tangled, Flynn has a fresh spirit that is a great replacement for Finn. Although the meaning, “son of the red-haired one” is slightly awkward, it remains a solid choice for those wanting a simple, earthy name.

Rafferty – Rafferty has an old-school quality that is becoming very hip. Meaning “prosperity”, Rafferty was chosen by Jude Law for his son. I love the nicknames Rafe and Raff to make the stoic Rafferty a bit more approachable.

Rory – While having a similar beginning and ending as Rafferty, Rory has a decidedly different feel. Rory is much more light-hearted that has slowly shifted to the girls’ side. However, at #750 in 2010, the masculine Rory is more popular than the feminine one. Meaning “red king” Rory is all-boy to me. It also doesn’t hurt to be the namesake of a male Doctor Who companion.

Seamus – While Sean is the Irish form of John, Seamus is the Irish form of James. With its meaning, “supplanter”, light nickname, Sea (Shay), and Harry Potter connection, I am surprised it isn’t higher on the list; at #878, it’s even lower than Rory. But I have a feeling it could climb higher if more people realize all it has going for it.

What are some of your favorite Irish names for boys?

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Irish Faves for Girls

Even though St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, I just can’t stop thinking about some of my favorite Irish names. Of course, these names may not be so easy to pronounce by just looking at them, but don’t let that ruin their charm.

Aoife (EE-fa)- This gorgeous Gaelic name, meaning “beautiful”, is one of my favorites. I think it makes a great, if uncommon, replacement for the super-trendy Bella.

Bridget – Also spelled “Brigid”, “Brighid”, “Brigitte”, etc., this lovely Irish name, meaning “strength, power” is just perfect. I has some great nicknames, from Bree to Biddy to Bridie, as well as a pop culture heroine in “Bridget Jones”. At #448 in SSA’s top 1,000 baby names, it isn’t too popular, yet remains recognizable.

Fionnuala (fin-OO-la)- Alright, this is a long shot, but I can’t help myself. This one has a ridiculous amount of spelling variations, from the simplified “Finola” to the long-winded “Fionnualagh” and everything in between. The meaning, “white shoulders” is somewhat odd, but the spunky nicknames, Finn and Nuala, are just too cute to pass up. She’s my guilty pleasure.

Maeve (mayv)- I love Maeve. Mae, Maevie, Maisie. I think Maeve could be the new Grace. Her meaning, “she who intoxicates” is certainly appropriate. I am just entranced by Maeve. And at #536, she’s not common, but not unheard of.

Moira (moy-rah)- Oh, I have a huge crush on Moira. It reminds me of Peter Pan when Wendy says her full name, “Wendy Moira Angela Darling”. I always feel like saying it with a British accent. Moira’s Irish meaning, “bitter” (it’s a variant of the uber-classic, Mary), is less appealing than its Greek one: “fate”. In Greek mythology, the Moirae (plural of Moira), also known as the Fates, are the keepers of the thread of life. They map out a person’s destiny and everyone, even the gods, bow to their will. Awesome.

Niamh (neev)- I know, the pronunciation makes no sense. But I love it. I could be the meaning (“bright”), it could be the simple one-syllable, it could even be the confusing pronunciation. Whatever it is, I think it’s gorgeous. But it may be better suited for the middle.

Sinead (shin-AID)- Despite the controvesrial namesake in Sinead O’Conner, I think Sinead is really pretty. Just say it out loud. Sinead. Ahhhh. So lovely. As a variant of John, Sinead means “God is gracious” and can be used to honor any bearer of a John variant (Jane, Ivan, Sean, Janet, Evan, etc.).

I just love these names, but I have a soft spot for monikers from the Emerald Isle. What are some of your favorite Irish names?

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