Top 35 Most Popular Irish Girl Names
Need to know the most popular Irish girl names
before your baby girl is born?
Not only will you find many of the most popular and unique Irish baby girl 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 an Irish baby name that is right for you and just use the pronunciation you feel most comfortable with. Perhaps you'll find a great Irish girl name by tracing your family tree. Start your free family tree here, then come back and look up its meaning here.
Regardless of which baby name you choose, where you find it, or how you say it...I hope you will find the perfect Irish girl name for your baby...the baby name that inspires you and feels right for your little lass.
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 girl names in 2003 were: Emma, Sarah, Aoife, Ciara, and Katie.
In 2003, there were 791 girls registered with the name Emma. There were nine new names in the CSO's top 100 girl names: Six new Irish girl names made the top 100 for the first time: Alana, Amber, Aoibhe, Ailbhe, Cara, Clara, Faye, Naomi, Sophia, and Sorcha. Faye, Naomi, Aoibhe, and Sophia 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 girl 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 girl names. Because I have added to the CSO's list of most popular Irish girl names. I have included many of the most popular Irish girl names in America and elsewhere, which are derived from old Irish girl names.
Overall you have 35 popular Irish girl names that are either very popular in Ireland, popular in other countries, but derived from old Irish girl names, or both.
I hope you enjoy them and find the perfect Irish girl name for your little angel...
Top 35 Most Popular Irish Girl Names
- Ailbhe - One of the top 100 most popular Irish girl names registered in Ireland for the year 2002, according to the Central Statistics Office. Actually this is the Irish version of the English name "Olive", which is derived from an ancient Latin name.
- Áine (AWN-ye) It has ranked in the CSO's top 40 most popular Irish girl names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998. From the Old Irish áine, meaning 'brilliance, wit, splendor, glory, radiance'. Connected with fruitfulness and prosperity. According to Irish legend, Áine was the daughter of Fer I (Man of the Yew) and queen of the fairies of South Munster. Irish folklore held that she lived at a place now called Knockany (Cnoc Áine, "Áine's Hill") and was "the best-hearted woman who ever lived – lucky in love and in money." Anglicized versions include: Anya, Anna, Hannah.
- Alana - (ah-LAH-na) One of the top 100 most popular names given to baby girls in Ireland in 2003 and 2001. Influenced by the Anglo-Irish term of endearment alannah, meaning 'attractive, fair, peaceful' and the Gaelic a leanbh, meaning "O child, or "darling child". Anglicized versions include: Alaina, Alannah, and Alanna.
- Aoife (EE-fe) From the Old Irish Aífe, a goddess name meaning 'beautiful, radiant, joyful'. In a tale of apprenticeship of the Ulster hero Cú Chulainn, Aífe was the fiercest woman warrior in the world. After she was defeated by the hero, she bore him his only son, Connlach. Aoife Dearg ("Red Aoife") was a daughter of a king of Connacht who had her marriage arranged by St. Patrick himself. In 2003 Aoife was the third most popular Irish baby girl name, second only to Emma and Sarah. It has also been one of the top 5 most popular Irish girl names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998. Anglicized versions include: Eva and Ava.
- Briana - (BREE-a-na) Feminine version of Brian. Origin is uncertain, but it is probably derived from brig, meaning 'high, noble'; might mean 'strong' and be a variant of Brighid. Anglicized versions and alternate spellings include: Breanne, Brina, Breanna, Breann, Briona, Bryna, Bryana, Riana. According to NameNerds.com, the poet Edmund Spenser coined this name in the 16th Century, for his book The Faerie Queene. They also say it is actually the feminine form of the name Brian.
- Bríd, Bríghid - (BREED, BRI-jid) An Old Irish goddess name from the Celtic brigh, meaning 'power, vigour, virtue'. The most famous female saint of Ireland is Brigid, who was abbess of Kildare, previously the site of the shrine of a pagan goddess of the same name. According to myth, there were three sister goddesses of the Tuatha Dé Danaan named Brigid: the goddess of poetry, the goddess of healing, and the goddess of smith work. This Irish girl name epitomizes the Irish genius for layering old and new. The Celtic goddess, Brigid made the land fruitful and the animals multiply, she blessed poets and blacksmiths. The stories of Saint Brigid's compassion and miracles are told now as they have been for more than 1500 years in every part of Ireland. She is equal in esteem and shares a grave with St. Patrick and St. Columcille. Saint Brigid's feast day is February 1, or Imbolc in the old Celtic calendar, and it is the first day of Spring in the Celtic calender. She is the patron saint of scholars. Anglicized versions include: Bride, Brigid, Brigit, Bridget. Nicknames include Bridie, Bidelia, Bidina, Breda.
- Caitríona - (kaw-TREE-a-na) This is the Irish version of the name Cathleen. Devotion to St. Catherine came to Ireland with Christianity. Revered for her courage and purity, Cathleen, became such a popular Irish girl name that W. B. Yeats chose it for the heroine of his 1899 play "The Countess Cathleen" which was inspired by an Irish folktale. In a time of famine the Devil offers food to the starving poor in exchange for their souls. But Cathleen convinces Satan to take her soul instead. When she dies the Devil comes to collect her soul but God intervenes and carries Cathleen to heaven, saying that "such a sacrificial act cannot justly lead to evil consequences." Anglicized versions include: Catherine, Kathleen. Nicknames include: Caít (KAYT), Caítín (kay-TEEN), Caítlín (kayt-LEEN), and Tríona.
- Chloe - (KLO-ee) This was the fifth most popular name registered for baby girls in Ireland in 2002, after Sarah, Aoife, Ciara, and Emma, according to Ireland's Central Statistics Office. There were 516 baby girls registered with this name that year. It has ranked in the CSO's top 10 most popular Irish baby girl names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998. But although it is a popular baby girl name in Ireland, it is actually of Greek origin and means 'young', 'blooming', and/or 'green shoot'. According to BehindTheName.com, chloe was an epithet of the Greek goddess, Demeter. The name Chloe is also mentioned in one of the epistles written by the Apostle Paul in the Christian New Testament.
- Ciara - (KEE-ra) The feminine form of Ciarán, from the Irish ciar, meaning 'dark' and implies 'dark hair and brown eyes'. Saint Ciara was a distinguished seventh-century figure who established a monastery at Kilkeary in County Tipperary. It was the fourth most popular Irish girl name in 2003, with 535 registrations. It has ranked in the CSO's top 5 most popular Irish girl names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998. Anglicized versions are: Keera, Keira, and Kira.
- Claire - (KLARE)- A medieval Irish girl name derived from Latin clarus, meaning 'clear, bright, famous'. One of the most popular Irish baby girl names. It has ranked in the CSO's top 100 most popular Irish girl names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998. One of the most respected female Irish saints is Saint Claire, who was one of St. Francis of Assisi's many followers. She came from a wealthy family, but left it all behind to found the order of nuns known as the "Poor Clares".
- Cliona - (KLEE-a-na) From the Old Irish girl name Clídna. According to Old Irish legends, Clídna was the name of one of the three beautiful daughters of the poet Manannán mac Lir. A fairy named Clídna was the guardian spirit of the MacCarthy's. Clídna had three magical birds that could sing the sick to sleep and heal them. In the tale of "Clídna's Wave" she falls in love with a mortal, "Keevan of the Curling Locks," and leaves Tir-na-n'Og ("Land of Eternal Youth") with him. But when he goes off to hunt, leaving her on the beach, she is swept to sea by a great wave, leaving her lover desolate. The Modern Irish form, Clíodhna, is a very popular Irish girl name today.
- Deirdre - (DYEER-dre) An Old Irish girl name as well as one of the most popular Irish girl names in the world today. According to an old Irish story, The Exile of the Sons of Uisliu, Deirdre was the daughter of King Concobar's bard, Feidlimid. Her birth was predicted by the druid, Cathbad. He foretold that she would have great beauty, but would bring great sorrow to Ulster. Alternate spelling: Derdriu.
- Dervil - (DER-uh-vil) From the Old Irish girls' name Derbáil, probably derived from der, meaning 'daughter' + Fál, an ancient name for Ireland. So the meaning of this Irish girl name would be 'daughter of Ireland'. Many ancient Celtic and Medieval Irish princesses were named Derbáil. It was also a traditional name for baby girls born into the MacDermott family. Modern Irish version spelled Dearbháil, and it is currently a very popular Irish girl name. Another spelling is Dervla (DAYR-vla).
- Éabha - (AW-va) Irish form of the Hebrew name "Eve", which is derived from the word chavah, meaning 'breath of life'. According to the Judeo-Christian Bible, in the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve were the first humans created by God. One of the top 100 most popular names registered to baby girls in Ireland for the last 2 years, according to Central Statistics Office.
- Eibhlín - (ay-LEEN) Derived from the French girl name Aveline, and brought to Ireland by the Anglo-Normans. Meaning 'bringer of light'. This was a very popular Irish girl name among the nobility throughout the Middle Ages. Alternate spelling: Eveleen. Anglicized versions include: Eileen, Aileen, and Ellen.
- Eithne - (AY-he-ne) This ancient Irish girl name has become very popular again in modern Ireland. According to Irish mythology, Eithne was the mother of the god Lugh. Many legendary queens were also named Eithne, including the wives of Conn of the Hundred Battles and Cormac mac Airt. Eight saints were also named Eithne. Alternate versions include: Ethna (ET-na), and Enya (EN-ya).
- Emma - (EHM-uh) Not originally an Irish girl name, but very popular in Ireland. In fact, if was the number one most popular baby girl name in 2003, with 791 registrations, according to Ireland's Central Statistics Office. It has been in the top 10 since they began publishing the report in 1998. Derived from Germanic ermen, meaning 'whole' or 'universal'.
- Erin - (AYR-en) Meaning 'peace'. Erin is the anglicized version of the Irish girl name Eirinn, From Eirinn, the diminutive form of the Gaelic word for Ireland, Eire. which comes from an ancient goddess whose name was Eriu. Eriu was one of the three queens of the Tuatha Dé Danaan and daughter of the Dagda. Erin is the traditional Anglicized word for Ireland, and it has ranked in the CSO's top 100 most popular Irish girl names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998.
- Étaoin (AY-deen) From the Old Irish ét, meaning 'jealousy'. According to Old Irish legends, this heroine was more beautiful and gentle than all the other woman in Ireland. An early Irish tale, The Wooing of Étaoin, tells the story of how fairy king Midir and the mortal king Eochaid Airem vied for her love. Étaoin was a traditional Irish baby girl name in the O'Connor, O'Hara and O'Flannagan families. It is also one of the most popular Irish baby girl names today.
- Gormlaith - (GOORM-la) From the Old Irish gorm, meaning splendid + flaith, meaning 'queen, sovereignty'. An especially popular Irish girl name throughout medieval times, shared by many queens, including Brian Boru's wife. Gormlaith is enjoying a revival in popularity as an Irish girl name, but is now usually spelled in its Anglicized version, Gormley.
- Grania - (GRAW-nya) From the Old Irish gráinne, meaning 'grain, seed'. Most experts agree this was the name of the Irish goddess of grain. According to medieval Irish folklore, Gráinne was to marry the hero Finn mac Cunhaill, but instead eloped with Diarmaid. Grania Mhaol Ni Mhaolmhaigh (Grace O'Malley) was a chieftainess of the Burkes of County Mayo. She was admired for her seafaring skills and fought valiantly against Queen Elizabeth I's forces. Gráinne is becoming a very popular Irish girl name again in modern times. Gráinne has ranked in the CSO's top 100 most popular Irish girl names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998.
- Heather - (HEH-thur) One of the top 100 most popular Irish girl names for the last two years, according to Ireland's Central Statistics Office. Heather has long been one of the most popular names in America. The plant, heather, is a native of Ireland. But in Irish the plant is called fraoch, which is also an Irish male name.
- Isabel, Isabelle - (IZ-uh-bel) One of the top 100 most popular baby names in Ireland in for the last two years, according to Ireland's Central Statistics Office. Originally of Spanish origin, a form of the English name Elizabeth. Some etymologists believe Isabel dates back to ancient Hebrew times, and is a derivative of the Semitic name which means either 'daughter of Baal' or 'God is my oath'. Irish spelling: Isibéal, (ISH-ih-bale).
- Kelly - Ranked in the CSO's top 100 most popular Irish girl names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998. Derived from the Gaelic word for 'warrior woman'. At an ancient shrine of the goddess Brigit at Kildare, there were sacred priestesses and warrior women called kelles. According to BehindTheName.com, Kelly could be related to the first name for males, Caillach and/or the surname Ó Ceallaigh. These names are derived from the Gaelic word ceallach meaning 'war, strife' or from another Gaelic word meaning 'bright-headed'. They say another possibility is that Kelly is related to the Pictish word meaning 'wood' or 'holly'. Anglicized versions include Kellie, Kelli, and Kaley.
- Laoise - (LEE sha) Irish form of the name Louise, which is of French origin. According to NameNerds.com, Laoise means 'radiant girl'. Even though it would be considered quite a unique name in America, it was one of the top 100 most popular baby names in Ireland in for the last two years, according to Ireland's Central Statistics Office. Alternate spellings: Leesha, Louisa.
- Lara - One of the top 100 most popular names Irish girl names in Ireland in the year 2002. Either taken from the Icelandic name Lára, which is a form of Laura, or Lara (no accent), the Russian form of the name Larissa.
- Maeve - (MAYV) From the Old Irish name Medb, meaning 'intoxicating'. The goddess of sovereignty at Tara was Medb Lethderg, meaning Maeve of the Red Side. According to legend, she was the wife of nine successive kings, including Conn of the Hundred Battles, his son Art, and Art's son, Cormac mac Airt. Another famous Medb was the mighty queen in the epic The Cattle Raid of Cooley. This Irish baby girl name is becoming very popular again in Ireland. Maeve has ranked in the CSO's top 100 most popular Irish girl names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998.
- Nadine - (nay-DEEN) Nadine was one of the top 100 most popular baby names in Ireland in for the last two years, according to Ireland's Central Statistics Office. According to BehindTheName.com, Nadine is actually the French form of the Russian name, Nadya, which is derived from the Slavic name Nadezhda, which means 'hope'.
- Niamh - (NEE-av) From the Old Irish niamh, meaning 'luster, sheen, brilliance'. Many women of Old Irish legends shared this name. One was a princess of Tir-na-n'Og ("Land of Eternal Youth"), the daughter of the sea god Manannan. She was known as "Niamh of the Golden Hair," a beautiful princess riding on a white horse, who fell in love with Finn mac Cumhaill's son Oisín and took him to to live with her in the Otherworld, Tir-na-n'Og. Three years passed, even though it only seemed like three weeks. In 2003 it was the eleventh most popular Irish girl name, according to the CSO. And before that, it ranked in the top ten from 1998 to 2002. It is also written Niam. The Welsh version of the name is Nia.
- Nora - (NOH-ra) This classic girls name is the Irish version of the Latin name Honoria, meaning 'honor, reputation'. Nora became so popular in Ireland in the Middle Ages that many people assumed it was originally Irish. Noreen is the diminutive of Nora and means 'little honourable one.'
- Sadhbh - (SAH-eev) From the Old Irish name Sadb, which means 'sweet, goodness'. Many famous Irish princesses, both historical and legendary, were named Sadhbh, including the daughters of King Brian Boru, of Queen Medb of Connacht, and of Conn of the Hundred Battles. Alternative spelling: Sabha (SE-va). Sadhbh has been one of the top 100 most popular baby girl names in Ireland in for the last two years, according to Ireland's Central Statistics Office.
- Sarah - (SEYR-uh) This is a widely popular name all over the world, and was the second most popular name in Ireland in the year 2003, according to the Ireland Central Statistics Office. There were 606 girls registered with the name Sarah in that year. It has ranked in the CSO's top 3 most popular Irish girl names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998. It is of Hebrew origin, and means 'lady' or 'princess'. In the Judeo-Christian Old Testament, Sarah was the wife of Abraham, who became a mother for the first time at the age of 90 when she gave birth to Isaac, after God promised Abraham that he would bear a son and be the Father of the Chosen People.
- Shannon - (Irish pronunciation: SHAH-non; American pronunciation: SHA-non) This is the name of the longest river in Ireland. The River Shannon was named after the old Irish goddess Sinann, granddaughter of Manannan Mac Lir. Since the Irish have always held rivers in high regard as sources of life, and wisdom, this name has come to mean 'wise one'. It has ranked in the CSO's top 100 most popular Irish girl names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998. This name holds a special place for us, personally. It is the name we chose for our daughter before she was born in 1999.
- Sinéad - (SHEE-naid) An Irish version of the Norman French name Jonet, which means 'gracious'. Alternate spelling: Sine (SHEE-na). Anglicized version: Jane. This name gained popularity in America after Irish musician, Sinéad O'Conner took the world by storm. It has ranked in the CSO's top 50 most popular Irish girl names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998.
- Sorcha - (SOO-ruh-xa) From the Old Irish sorchae, meaning 'bright, radiant'. Since the middle ages, Sorcha has always been a very popular female Irish girl name and it continues its popularity even today. It ranked in the CSO's top 100 in 2003, 2000, 1999, and 1998.
- Tara - (TAH-ra) From the Old Irish girl name Temair. According to legend, the ancestors of the Irish were the Sons of Mil. Teamair was the wife of their leader, Érémon. The traditional seat of ancient Irish kings took her name and became known as the Hill of Tara. Modern version Teamhair (TOHR). It has ranked in the CSO's top 50 most popular Irish girl names every year since they began publishing the report in 1998.
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