Wednesday, October 14, 2015

10 Irish Names You Never Thought of Using: Girls

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So many Americans have Irish heritage, yet few have embraced truly Irish names. I'm not talking about Caoimhe or Eithne necessarily, but using names with Irish origins can be a fun way to showcase your heritage. I have ten more than usable choices here--stay tuned for the boys list next week.

Aine- You've definitely seen the anglicized version of Aine before--Anya. Aine is much the same, but with a slight pronunciation difference. Aine is said more like AWN-ya. In Irish mythology, Aine is the queen of the fairies.

Carlin- Spunky, androgynous Carlin is the modern answer to Carly. She's an uncommon unisex choice, but the -lin suffix has me thinking she's better on a girl, although Carlin was traditionally a boys name. Carlin is the perfect name for your young star--she means "little champion."

Darcy- Darcy is quite the pan-European choice, with roots in Irish, English, and French. Like Carlin, it can be used for boys and girls, though in Ireland Darcy is strictly feminine. Darcy's lack of popularity in the U.S. has always surprised me. She's very similar to Lucy, and many Americans love Pride & Prejudice.

Fia- Talk about a pan-European name--Fia blows Darcy out of the water with use in Ireland, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, and more. In Ireland, she's spelled Fiadh, but that could prove tricky for anyone without (or even with) Irish heritage. Last Monday I talked about Full Names for Fia, in case she's a bit too short for you.

Flannery- Flannery is one of the most striking literary names out there. She's heavily associated with Southern Gothic writer Flannery O'Connor (born Mary Flannery O'Connor), who makes for a mystical namesake. We're seeing a rise in names like Waverly and Bellamy, so why not Flannery?

Mirren- Speaking of notable namesakes, how about everyone's favorite Dame, Helen Mirren? Her last name is of Irish-Scottish origins with a puzzling history. She may be a variation of the Irish Saint Mirin's name, or possibly a Scottish nickname for Marion and other Mary names. Either way, Mirren is a lovely, fashionable name waiting to be discovered.

Oona- We've all heard of Oona, right? She's hardly unheard of, but the chances that you'll run into one on an American street are slim to none. Spelled Oonagh, she's quite popular in Ireland. Like Aine, she has roots in Irish mythology, this time as a princess.

Orla- Oona may have been a mythological princess, but Orla actually means "golden princess." She's very trendy in Ireland and Scotland, ranking #69 and #29, respectively. If the "oral" anagram bothers you, consider spelling her the traditional Irish way, Orlaith (which is actually a slimmer version of Orfhlaith).

Roisin- Rose is a beautiful name. She's particularly alluring as a middle name, as evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of girls named "first name" Rose "last name" every year. I suggest as a country, we look for alternatives to this admittedly lovely, but perhaps overused appellation. Roisin is (part of) the answer. She's a perfect middle name, means "little rose," and sounds an awful lot like America's Favorite Middle Name. Roisin isn't just reserved for the middle though. She makes a delightful first name as well.

Tierney- Tierney is a unisex first name and familiar Irish surname. The surname actually came second in this case--in the beginning, Tierney was only a first name. Like most Irish names, this isn't her original spelling. Tierney is a variation of Tighearnach--but don't worry, that spelling doesn't get much use anymore.

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