Top 30 Most Popular
Irish Boy Names
Need to know the most popular Irish boy names before your baby boy is born?
Not only will you find many of the most popular and unique Irish boy names on Fantasy-Ireland, you'll also get the pronunciation, origin, meaning, and alternate spellings whenever possible.
One word of advice on pronunciations...
Keep in mind that pronunciations vary according to the source, so your best bet is to find a name that has meaning for you and use the pronunciation you feel most comfortable with. Perhaps you'll find a great Irish boy name by tracing your family tree. Then come back and look up its meaning here.
Regardless of which name you choose, where you find it, or how you say I hope you will find the perfect Irish boy name for your baby...the baby name that inspires you and feels right for your little lad.
Ireland's Central Statistics Office has been publishing the Most Popular Irish Baby Names since 1998. The most recent release is for name registrations in the year 2003. According to the CSO, the 5 most popular Irish boy names in 2003 were: Sean, Jack, Adam, Conor, and James.
In 2003, there were 897 boys registered with the name Sean. The other Irish boy names in the top 10 were Daniel, Michael, Cian, David, and Dylan. All these names had been in the top 100 in earlier years. Eight names were new additions to the top 100 in 2003: Cameron, Colin, Daire, Reece, Karl, Emmanuel, Max, and Ruairi. The last three were in the top 100 for the first time.
Ireland's CSO publishes the most popular names in Ireland every year, so it is a great source for seeing popular trends in baby names. Whether you want to find a popular Irish boy name or avoid one, you can find the CSO's most popular Irish baby names by clicking here.
But on Fantasy-Ireland, you'll find even more popular Irish boy names. Because I have added to the CSO's list of most popular names registered for baby boys in Ireland. I have added many of the most popular Irish boy names in America and elsewhere, which are derived from old Irish names.
Overall you have 30 popular Irish boy names that are either very popular in Ireland, popular in other countries, but derived from old Irish names, or both.
I hope you enjoy them and find the perfect name for your baby boy...
Top 30 Most Popular Irish Boy Names
- Adam - The third most popular name registered to Irish baby boys in 2003, for the third year in a row, according to Ireland's Central Statistics Office. Adam was the name registered for 787 baby boys born in Ireland that year. This boy name is actually of Hebrew origin, meaning "Man of Earth", undoubtedly in reference to the Judeo-Christian Creation story in the Old Testament of the Bible.
- Aidan - (AY-den) Anglicized version of the ancient Irish boy name, Aodhán. Derived from the Old Irish word aedh, meaning 'fire'. This is one of the most popular Irish boy names for babies. It has ranked in the CSO's top 100 most popular Irish boy names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998. An even earlier Irish version, Áedán, was the name of twenty-one Irish saints, including Saint Áedán of Iona who founded a great monastery on the island of Lindisfarne. Saint Aodhán used the monastery of Lindisfarne as a base to evangelize Northern England. In art Áedán is usually represented as a stag, a reference to the legend that he saved a deer that was being hunted by making it invisible. The modern version of the name, Aidan, is a very popular Irish baby boy name today made even more popular with the rising fame of respected actor, Aidan Quinn, who co-starred with Liam Neeson in the film, Michael Collins, about the legendary revolutionary hero, as well as starring roles in movies such as Avalon, directed by Barry Levinson.
- Art - (ART) From the Old Irish art, meaning 'bear'. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a nickname for the English name, Arthur. It is actually an ancient Irish boy name. Art Óenfer (Art the Lonely) was the legendary high king of Ireland and the father of Cormac mac Airt. This name was also shared by the medieval king, Art McMurrough, who ruled over Leinster and fought the English. Art was a traditional Irish boy name in the O'Hara, MacMurrough, O'Connor, O'Mulloy, O'Rourke, O'Neill, MacKiernan, and O'Keefe families. Needless to say, it is an extremely popular traditional Irish boy name. Alternate spelling: Artagán.
- Brendan - Anglicized version of the old Irish boy name, Breandán, pronounced "BRAWN-dan". This name has ranked in the CSO's top 100 most popular Irish boy names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998. Although the origin of this classic Irish baby boy name is uncertain, it is thought to be borrowed from the Welsh brenhin, meaning 'king'. There are at least seventeen saints who bear this name. Among these saints, the most famous is Saint Breandán. According to the folktale, The Voyage of Saint Breandán, Saint Breandán the Navigator explored the world in a small leather-clad boat, called a curragh, during the 6th century. It is said that he and his accompanying monks reached North America almost one-thousand years before Christopher Columbus. Saint Brendan's feast day is celebrated May 16 and he is the patron saint of seafarers and travellers. Alternate spellings include: Brandan, and Brandon.
- Brian - (BREE-an) The origin of this classic Irish boy name is actually uncertain. But it most likely is derived from the Celtic word brigh, meaning 'high, noble, and strong'. It has ranked in the CSO's top 50 most popular Irish boy names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998. Brian is one of the most widespread Irish baby boy names in history, primarily in honor of the most revered High King of Ireland, Brian Boru. According to Irish myth, Brian was one of the three sons of the goddess Danu of the Tuatha De Dánaan. High King Brian Boru ruled Ireland from 1002-1014 and defeated the Vikings at the battle of Clontarf in 1014 but died of wounds he received in the battle.
- Charlie - One of the 100 most popular names registered to Irish baby boys in 2003, for the second year in a row, according to Ireland's Central Statistics Office. Actually a nickname for the Anglo-Saxon name Charles, meaning "manly". The most famous Charles is known by most people as the Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, who instituted Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire and effectively established Christianity forever as one of the world's major religions. The nickname for Charles, Charlie, has been a name commonly given to Irish and Irish-American baby boys for quite some time.
- Conor - (KAW-nor) This is an extremely popular Irish boy name. The fourth popular name registered to Irish baby boys in 2003, for the third year in a row, according to Ireland's Central Statistics Office. Conor was the name registered for 705 baby boys born in Ireland that year. The only boy names more popular that year were Sean, Jack, and Adam. It has ranked in the CSO's top 5 most popular Irish boy names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998. It is the anglicized version of the old Irish boy name, Conchobar. From the ancient Irish words cu, meaning 'wolf, hound' + cobar 'desiring'. In the famous Irish legend The Cattle Raid of Cooley, Conchobar mac Nessa was the King of Ulster. Alternate spelling: Conner.
- Declán - (DEK-lawn) Every year on July 24, the feast day of Saint Declán is celebrated. He was the founder of the Ardmore monastery in County Waterford in the 6th century. This is also one of the most popular Irish boy names today. Modern spelling: Declan.
- Denis - (DEN-is) One of the 100 most popular names registered to Irish baby boys in 2002, according to Ireland's Central Statistics Office. This name is actually of French origin, derived from the name Dionysus, god of wine. In the 3rd century, Saint Denis, was a missionary to Gaul who was beheaded in Paris. He is now the the patron saint of France. In France, this name is pronounced de-NEE. Irish spellings: Donnchadh, Donnacha.
- Dermot - (DEER-mit) Anglicized version of the Irish boy names, Diarmaid and Diarmait. This was a traditional name for baby boys in the McCarthy, McDermott, O'Brien, and O'Connor families. It is also one of the most popular Irish baby boy names today. According to Irish folklore, Diarmaid was one of Finn mac Cumaill's warriors. Legend has it that he was blessed with a mark on his face which caused maidens to immediately fall head over heels in love with them as soon as they saw him.
- Eric - One of the 100 most popular names registered to Irish baby boys in 2002, according to Ireland's Central Statistics Office. This is not originally an Irish name. It's actually originally an old Norse name, Eiríkr, derived from the ancient words, ei, meaning "ever", + ríkr, meaning "ruler". It was introduced to Britannia by Danish invaders. Eric was the name of several powerful Norse, Swedish, and Danish kings. But the most famous bearer of this name was the 10th century explorer, Eiríkr inn Rauda (a.k.a. Eric the Red), who is credited with discovering Greenland.
- Fallon - Anglicized version of the old Irish boy name, Faolán, pronounced "FAY-lawn". Derived from the old Irish words faol, meaning 'wolf', + the diminutive suffix án. Ten of Finn mac Cumaill's warriors were named Faolán, as well as fourteen Irish saints. The surnames Phelan and Whelan are derived from this popular Irish boy name.
- Fergus - Anglicized versions of the old Irish boy name, Fearghus, pronounced "fay-REES". Derived from the old Irish words fer, meaning 'man', + gus, meaning 'strength'. This Irish boy name was given to many early historical figures and legendary heroes of folklore and mythology. The most famous was Fergus mac Róich the greatest of Ulster's heroes. He was honored for his strength and stamina on the battlefield, and was one of the great heroes from the Irish epic The Cattle Raid of Cooley.
- Finn - Anglicized version of the old Irish boy name, Fionn, pronounced "FYUHN". It has ranked in the CSO's top 100 most popular Irish boy names for three years in a row. Derived from the old Irish word finn, meaning 'bright and fair'. The most famous Finn was Finn mac Cumhaill, who was a hero, a poet, and an outlaw who led a band of warriors known as Fiana. Stories about Finn mac Cumhaill are prominent throughout Irish and Scottish literature, ballads, and folklore. Fionn was a traditional Irish name for baby boys born into the O'Dempsey and the O'Donnell families.
- Hugh - Anglicized version of the ancient Irish boy name, Aodh (AY). Derived from the old Irish word ed, meaning 'fire'. This was another name for the mythical Irish god, Dagda. Six high kings and twenty saints bore this Irish boy name, making it one of the most popular names in ancient Ireland. Aodh was also the name of two famous rebels against Queen Elizabeth I, Aodh (Hugh) O'Neill and Aodh Rua (Red Hugh) O'Donnell.
- Jack - The second most popular baby name registered to Irish boys in 2003, according to Ireland's Central Statistics Office, Jack was the name given to 800 baby boys born in Ireland that year. It has ranked in the CSO's top 3 most popular Irish boy names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998. It is actually a nickname for "John" (for example, John F. Kennedy - first Irish-Catholic American President). Although Jack is a common name shared by many boys and men of Irish descent, it is not originally an Irish name. It is a nickname for John, which is of Hebrew origin (for example, the Apostle John in the New Testament of the Christian Bible), and means "God is gracious" or "God's gracious gift".
- James - Fifth most popular name registered to Irish baby boys in 2003, according to Ireland's Central Statistics Office. James was the name registered for 626 baby boys born in Ireland that year. The only boy names more popular were Jack, Sean, Adam, and Conor. It has ranked in the CSO's top 5 most popular Irish boy names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998. James is another name that although popular with Irish parents, no doubt in part in honor of Irish writer James Joyce and King James, is not of Irish origin. James is the English form of the Hebrew name Jacob. In the Judeo-Christian Bible, Jacob was the man who was later given the name "Israel" by God. Jacob/Israel was the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, James and his brotyher John were two of the most important apostles.
- Kenneth - Anglicized version of the Irish boy name, Coinneach, pronounced "KON-ik". From the Old Irish boy name Cainnech, which is derived from cáin, meaning 'good and beautiful'. The Aghaboe monastery in County Laois was founded by Saint Coinneach, along with many other monasteries throughout Ireland and Scotland. His feast day is celebrated October 11. A modern nickname for this Irish boy name is Kenny. The popular Irish city, Kilkenny, takes its name from Saint Coinnech.
- Kevin - (KEV-in) Anglicized form of the Irish boy name Caoimhín. Kevin has ranked in the CSO's top 40 most popular Irish boy names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998. Derived from the old Irish name Coemgen, which combines the words coem, meaning 'kind, gentle, and handsome, + gein, meaning 'birth'. Saint Caoimhín established a great Irish monastery in the 7th century at Glendalough in County Wicklow. He is also the patron saint of Dublin. Saint Caoimhín was very uncomfortable in the company of other people, but felt right at home in the company of animals. According to an old Irish folk tale, a blackbird landed in his hand while he was praying. Saint Caoimhín remained motionless and continued praying, as the bird built its nest and remained there until the eggs had safely hatched.
- Liam - (LEE-am) This is the Irish version of the name William. Derived from Uilliam, meaning 'unwavering protector', it was introduced to Ireland by the Normans. It is currently a very popular Irish boy name, made even more popular with the rising fame of highly-acclaimed Irish actor, Liam Neeson, who starred in Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List, and who also portrayed the great Irish revolutionary, Michael Collins, in the film by the same name. Liam has ranked in the CSO's top 30 most popular Irish boy names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998.
- Miles - (MILES) Although the origin of this Irish boy name is not certain, it is likely from the Latin miles, meaning 'soldier'. Another possibility is that it is derived from The Sons of Mil, who were the last prehistoric invaders in Ireland. Miles has been a popular Irish boy name since the 17th century, when it was commonly used to Anglicize many old Irish boy names that began with máel, meaning 'servant or devotee'. Some of the old Irish boy names which came to be Anglicized as Miles were Máel Muire and Máel Mórda. Alternate spelling: Myles.
- Neal - (NEEL) Celtic/Gaelic origin. Original meaning unclear. Most likely derived from the word for 'champion'. Another possibility is that it comes from the words for 'passionate, vehement' or from nel, meaning 'a cloud'. Alternate versions include: Neale, Nealon, and Neil.
- Niall - (NEE-al) An old Irish boy name, derived from nél, meaning 'cloud'. Niall Noígiallach (Niall of the Nine Hostages) was one of the most legendary kings of Tara during the 4th century. But before he could become king, he had to pass a test. He and his brothers had to go into the forest and fend for themselves, finding their own food and and shelter. After a while, they grew dangerously thirsty. They found a well but it was guarded by an horribly ugly hag. She offered them water, but only in exchange for a kiss. Niall was the only one who was willing to kiss her, and once he did she transformed into the most beautiful goddess and granted him kingship of "Erin" (Ireland). He was the founder of the powerful Uí Neill dynasty and the ancestor of the Scottish MacNeil and Irish O'Neill families. He was a great and powerful king and "carried the name and the fame, and the power and the fear, of Ireland into all neighbouring nations". Not only is Neill a very popular Irish boy name today, it is a traditional Irish boy name given to many lads born into the O'Boyle, O'Doherty, O'Donnell, O'Higgins, O'Kelly, O'Neill, and O'Quinn families. A nickname for Niall is Niallán, pronounced "NEE-a-lahn". Niall has ranked in the CSO's top 100 most popular Irish boy names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998.
- Oscar - (OHS-kar) From the old Irish os, meaning 'deer', probably meaning 'one who loves deer', or 'one who is like a deer', since deer are a strong Celtic symbol of life, fertility, and strength. One of Ireland's legendary warriors was named Oscar. Oscar is a traditional Irish boy name for babies born into the O'Connor, MacLoughlin, and Maguire families. It is also a very popular Irish boy name in America.
- Patrick - Modern version of the classic Irish boy name, Pádraig, pronounced "PAH-drig" or "PAH-dreek". Derived from the Latin name Patricius, meaning 'noble'. As most everyone knows, Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, the man who introduced Christianity to Ireland when the rest of Europe was entrenched in the Dark Ages. Saint Patrick was an immensely successful missionary, and until 1700 his name was considered too sacred to be used as an Irish boy name for newborn boys. Saint Patrick's feast day is celebrated March 17, not only in Ireland, but all over the world. It has become a day to pay tribute to all Irish people in every country and has become a day of great celebration everywhere. Both Patrick and Pádraig are very popular Irish boy names all over the world. Patrick has ranked in the CSO's top 20 most popular Irish boy names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998, and Pádraig in the top 100.
- Ryan - Ryan has ranked in the CSO's top 20 most popular Irish boy names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998. Anglicized version of the old Irish name, Ríán, which is pronounced "REE-an". Ríán is the diminutive form of the old Irish word rí, meaning 'king'. One related Old Irish male name is Rígán, which is pronounced the same way.
- Rory - Anglicized version of the old Irish boy name, Ruairí, pronounced "ROO-e-ree". Derived from the words rúad, meaning 'red' + rí, meaning 'king'. This was the name of the last High King of Ireland, Ruaidri Ua Conchobair, who died in 1170. It is also a traditional Irish boy name for baby boys born into the MacCann, MacDonnell, McGinley, Mulloy, O'Connor, O'Donnell, and O'Shaughnessy families. Rory has ranked in the CSO's top 100 most popular Irish boy names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998.
- Ross - (RAWS) from Old Irish ros, meaning 'promontory'. Since ancient times, this has been a very popular Celtic name. Kings, heroes, and saints have all shared this strong Irish boy name. The great opponent of Oliver Cromwell, Archbishop of Armagh, was named Ross MacMahon. Ross has ranked in the CSO's top 100 most popular Irish boy names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998.
- Séamus - (SHAY-mus) One of the 100 most popular names registered to Irish baby boys in 2002, according to Ireland's Central Statistics Office. In America, this name is spelled Shamus. As an American, I can testify that this is not a popular name in America, though. That may be the very reason to use it, though, if you prefer a unique Irish boy name for your baby. It's popularity is unquestionable in Ireland however. Apparently it is the Irish version of an ancient Hebrew name which means "one who supplants" or "one who supercedes".
- Seán - (SHAWN) This was the most popular Irish boy name of all in 2003, according to the Ireland's CSO. Meaning 'God's gracious gift', the name Seán was given to 897 baby boys in Ireland in 2003. It ranked second every year before since the CSO's reporting began in 1998. This is the Irish version of John, which is derived from the Norman-French name Jehan. Alternate spellings include Shaun, Shawn, and Shane. Shane is a very popular version of the Northern Irish baby boy name in honor of the man whose forces fought against Queen Elizabeth I, Shane O'Neill. He and his forces won many memorable victories over her formidable armies during the 16th century.
- Stephen - One of the 50 most popular names registered to Irish baby boys every year since they began publishing the report in 1998. Derived from the Greek Stephanos, meaning "crown". Modern Greek spelling: Stefan. Alternate spelling: Stephen, most famously associated with bestselling writer Stephen King, Oscar-winning filmmaker Stephen Spielberg, and world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking. Saint Stephen is a famous Christian martyr, whose death-by-stoning is portrayed in the New Testament Book of Acts.
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