50 Irish Baby Boy Names With Strong Meanings

Jordyn Smith | Nov 14, 2019 Pregnancy
50 Irish Baby Boy Names With Strong Meanings

baby lying in green grass
NataliaDeriabina/iStock

Ireland is chock-full of rich history, beautiful language, and interesting legends, making it the perfect place to mine for unique baby names with a wide range of meanings. Irish names are a pretty common thing in the United States, so many non-Irish parents have recognized the beauty of these historic names. Their popularity here has caused boy's names like Keegan, Riley, and Quinn to be commonplace in classrooms all over the country. 

Still, there are so many Irish boys' names that have gone unnoticed by American parents due to the fact that they are a little more "out there" than others. While they might take a little time to learn how to pronounce and can be a little harder to spell, "unusual" Irish names are becoming increasingly more common in American culture as parents seek to outfit their kids with names that are both unique and meaningful.

More from CafeMom: 

Just like the culture they come from, the names on this list are full of life and personality. Whether they came into popularity as the name of a famous king or share their history with a Shakespearean hero, these 50 Irish boy names are unlike anything many folks have ever seen before.


SvetlanaFedoseyeva/Shutterstock

  • Cullen

    1
    cullen irish boys name
    Getty

    Parents may remember Cullen as the last name of everyone's favorite sparkly vampire in the Twilight series, but it has been used as a first name in Ireland for decades. Meaning "holly tree" in Gaelic, the name reached peak popularity in Ireland in 2010, though it's still relatively uncommon in the US.

  • Aidan

    2
    aiden irish boy name photo
    CafeMom

    Aidan, a variant of Aiden, is well known across the United States but not necessarily widely used. Meaning "little fiery one" in Gaelic, Aidan is thought of as the modernized Irish version of the traditional name Aodhan. While it peaked in popularity in the '90s, the name has appeared on the top 100 boys names in Ireland as recently as 2014.

  • Eoghan

    3
    Irish baby boy name Eoghan
    Getty

    Eoghan is the Irish version of the name Owen and is pronounced exactly the same way. Meaning "born of the yew tree" in Gaelic, Eoghan was the name of multiple Irish kings and saints. This traditional spelling hasn't made its way to America yet but it has remained on the list of top 100 boy names in Ireland since 2010.

  • Cathal

    4
    irish baby boy name Cathal
    Getty

    Pronounced KA-hal, Cathal means "powerful in battle" in Gaelic. As the name of an ancient Irish saint, Cathal has been one of the most popular contemporary boys' names in Ireland since 2010. It has yet to reach a similar level of popularity in the US, but that just means it's unlikely to see two in the same classroom at once.

    More from CafeMom: 

  • Colin

    5
    baby boy name Colin
    CafeMom

    Often thought to have originated in England, Colin is actually a name of Irish and Scottish origins. The name was created as a shortened form of Nicholas and means "pup" in Gaelic. No matter its origins, the name is popular in countries all over Europe, as well as in the US.

  • Brendan

    6
    baby boy name Brendan
    Getty

    Another name that should already be recognizable to American parents, Brendan means "prince" in Gaelic. The name rose in popularity due to an Irish legend claiming that Saint Brendan was the first European voyager to reach American soil. While the name is a little less popular now than it was in the past, Brendan remains a staple in both the United States and Ireland. 

  • Darragh

    7
    darragh irish boys name
    iStock.com

    Darragh, pronounced DA-rah, is a traditional Irish name that means "oak tree" in Gaelic. Also spelled Dara and used as a girls' name, it is technically unisex but used for boys way more often than girls.

  • Colm

    8
    irish boy name colm
    Getty

    Colm is a classic name in Ireland and means "dove" in Gaelic, but it is thought of as an Irish version of the Latin name Columba. With its peaceful meaning and its simple pronunciation, Colm is a great choice for any baby boy, even if it's not the most popular name choice.

    More from CafeMom: 

  • Brion

    9
    Irish baby boy name Brion
    Getty

    A simple variation of the name Brian, Brion is an Irish name that has a murky history. It is thought to mean "strong" or "honorable" in Gaelic and has been used in many places outside of Ireland. While this spelling of the name has never been popular in the US, it's actually a standard choice overseas.

  • Odhran

    10
    odhran irish boy names
    iStock.com

    Pronounced O-rawn, Odhran certainly isn't popular in the US. But the name, meaning "little pale green one" in Gaelic, has remained on the list of the top 100 boy names in Ireland since about 2010. Given to a popular Irish Saint, the name has meaning to parents invested in ancient Irish traditions.

  • Sullivan

    11
    sullivan irish boy names
    Getty

    Sullivan is easily recognized as a common Irish surname in the US, but it has held firm as a popular first name, as well. Translated to mean "black-eyed one" in traditional Gaelic, it became popular in the US in the late 19th century before falling off the charts and coming back again in the '00s.

  • Daithí

    12
    Daithí irish boys name
    Getty

    Daithí, pronounced DAH-hee, is said to be the Irish version of the Hebrew name David. Like the Hebrew version, Daithí means "beloved," and while it's a popular choice in Ireland, it has yet to catch on over here.

    More from CafeMom: 

  • Cian

    13
    Irish baby boy name Cian
    iStock.com

    The name Cian is usually pronounced like KEE-in or KEEN -- whichever parents prefer -- and it carries the strong meaning of "ancient." The name is pretty unheard of in the US but it remains incredibly popular in Ireland, finding its way in the top 100 boys name in Ireland since 2010. 

  • Niall

    14
    popular baby boy name Niall
    Getty

    The name of one of the members of the popular boy band One Direction, Niall has made its presence known in the US -- but it's not quite topping the popularity charts yet. It is thought of as the Irish version of the name Neil and means "cloud" in Gaelic, making the translation just as sweet and simplistic as the name itself.

  • Finn

    15
    baby boy name finn meaning
    CafeMom

    Finn has been incredibly popular in the US in recent years. A modernized version of the traditional Irish name Fionn, Finn has made its way up the charts, thanks to popular culture (Glee) and celebrity parents like Owen Wilson, Christy Turlington, and Tori Spelling. The name means "fair." 

  • Donal

    16
    irish baby boy names Donal
    Getty

    The Irish version of the name Donald, Donal should sound relatively familiar to American parents. Meaning "proud chief" in Gaelic, Donal is a strong, simplistic name that is traditionally Irish but still has a hint of familiarity.

    More from CafeMom: 

  • Lorcan

    17
    baby boy name Lorcan
    Getty

    Lorcan is a name that is common all throughout Irish history. Given to multiple saints and kings, Lorcan means "little" or "fierce" in traditional Gaelic. With strong, empowering meanings like that, it's no wonder the name has remained popular all over Ireland since 2010. 

  • Cormac

    18
    cormac irish boys names photo
    iStock.com

    Both a strong and quirky name, Cormac is thought to translate to "charioteer" in Gaelic, but that definition is often contested. The name has never made it big in the US, but it counts famed author Cormac McCarthy as an association.

  • Fitzgerald

    19
    baby boy name Fitzgerald
    Getty

    While Fitzgerald is still a very common Irish surname, it has been transformed into a popular first name for boys in recent history. The name simply translates to "son of Gerald" in Gaelic but can be used no matter what the name of the baby boy's father is.

  • Eoin

    20
    eoin irish boy names
    CafeMom

    For parents looking to take a classic name and put a unique spin on it, Eoin is the perfect choice. It's the traditional Irish version of the name John, and it means "God is gracious" in Gaelic. Much like another name on this list, it is pronounced like the name Owen and is still incredibly popular all over Ireland. 

    More from CafeMom: 

  • Darby

    21
    baby boy name Darby
    Getty

    While Darby is often used as a unisex name these days, it was originally given to boys. Translated to mean either "free one" or "from the deer estate" in Gaelic, Darby is thought of as a sweet, lighthearted name. The popularity of the name peaked in Ireland in the '60s, though it's rarely heard these days.

  • Senan

    22
    Irish baby name Senan
    Getty

    Senan is another Irish name that that has Latin roots. Coming from the word for senator, the name means "old" or "wise" and started out as a respectable nickname that transformed into an awesome first name.

  • Ciarán

    23
    Ciarán Irish baby boy name
    Getty

    Ciarán is a classic variation of the Irish name Kieran. Both are pronounced the same way, and the name means "little dark one" in Gaelic, so it's traditionally given to little boys with black or dark hair. Neither the name nor this spelling of Ciarán is widely used in the United States but it is very popular in Ireland and England. 

  • Killian

    24
    killian irish boy names photo
    CafeMom

    Whether it's spelled Killian or Cillian, this name translates to the strong meanings of "war" or "strife." Killian is a name given to many Irish saints, and despite its slightly brash meaning, it has remained on the list of top 100 boys names in Ireland since 2010. 

    More from CafeMom: 

  • Kevin

    25
    baby name Kevin meaning
    Getty

    Most American parents know the name Kevin, but they may not be aware that it is Irish in origin. Kevin is the modern version of the name Caoimhín, and simply means "handsome" in Gaelic. That makes the name absolutely perfect for any adorable baby boy. 

  • Diarmaid

    26
    diarmaid irish boys name
    CafeMom

    The traditional Irish version of the name Dermot, Diarmaid translates to mean "free from envy" in old Gaelic. The name is thought to belong to a mythological hero in Irish legend who had the power to make women fall in love with him instantly. The traditional spelling of Diarmaid isn't popular in Ireland anymore either, which makes it even more unique. 

  • Lachlan

    27
    lachlan irish boy names
    iStock.com

    Lachlan is originally derived from the name Lochlainn and means "lake-land" in Gaelic. The name exists across various cultures and countries, so while it isn't necessarily popular in the United States yet, it's all the rage in places like New Zealand and Australia in addition to Ireland. 

  • Murphy

    28
    murphy irish boy name
    CafeMom

    Murphy may be incredibly recognizable as a surname in America, but Irish parents have taken to using it as a first name as well. The name means "sea warrior" in Gaelic, and while it's the most common surname in Ireland, it isn't known to be a popular given name in the US -- until now, that is.

    More from CafeMom: 

  • Conor

    29
    conor irish boys name
    Getty

    The name Conor -- often spelled Connor -- is an Irish moniker that translates to "lover of hounds" in Gaelic. After being one of the most common names in Ireland, Conor has also earned its spot as one of the most popular boys' names in the US in recent years. 

  • Angus

    30
    angus irish boy names photo
    Getty

    Angus is a name that is incredibly popular across many Celtic cultures. The name is translated to mean "one strength" in Gaelic and is thought to have belonged to the God of love according to Celtic legend. While the name still isn't popular in the US and has waned in Ireland, it's still going strong in places like New Zealand and Australia. 

  • Rian

    31
    uncommon baby boy name Rian
    CafeMom

    Rian is a name of Irish origin that means "little king" in Gaelic. While it was originally derived from the surname O'rian, Irish parents have been using it as a first name for decades. This traditional spelling definitely isn't common in the US (where we tend to prefer Ryan), which makes it perfect for anyone trying to spice up a name they're already comfortable with. 

  • Patrick

    32
    common baby boy name patrick
    iStock.com

    Probably one of the most commonly recognized Irish boy names of all time, Patrick is the Irish version of the Latin name Patricius. It means "noble" in Latin, and while the name is pretty popular in both Ireland and the United States, it yields some pretty great nicknames like Pat, Paddy, and Rick. 

    More from CafeMom: 

  • Donovan

    33
    donovan irish baby boy name
    Getty

    Another name that American parents should be able to easily recognize, Donovan is a name of Irish origins that simply means "dark" in Gaelic. While Donovan started off as an Irish surname, it has been transformed into a common first name in recent history.

  • Ruairí

    34
    Ruairí irish boy name
    CafeMom

    Ruairí is the traditional Irish spelling of the name Rory. It translates to "red king" in Gaelic and holds a ton of Irish tradition behind it. Ruairí isn't very common in the United States or in Ireland these days, making it all the more unique. 

  • Liam

    35
    liam irish boy names photo
    iStock.com

    Liam is a well known name that is said to be a shorter version of Ulliam, the Irish version of the name William. Liam means "resolute protection" in traditional Gaelic and has steadily risen in popularity all across the world since 2010.

  • Seamus

    36
    seamus irish boy names photo
    iStock.com

    A name that is probably familiar to just about everyone, Seamus is one of the most iconic Irish boy names in the world. Beautifully pronounced SHAY-mus and carrying the meaning of "supplanter," Seamus is the Irish version of James and perfect for any parent who's a little tired of the name Sean.

    More from CafeMom: 

  • Duncan

    37
    duncan irish boy names photo
    Getty

    The name Duncan originated in Scotland but has since been heavily adopted by the Irish. Translated from Gaelic to mean "dark warrior," Duncan is a strong boys' name that hasn't waned in popularity in Ireland, Scotland, or in American since the 19th century. 

  • Tadhg

    38
    tadgh irish boy names photo
    Getty

    Traditionally pronounced in Ireland like "tiger" without the "-er" at the end, Tadhg provides a great spelling to an Irish name that still sounds relatively familiar to Americans. It translates to mean "poet" in Gaelic, and always feels super romantic. As an added bonus, it's an incredibly popular name in Ireland that hasn't managed to make its presence known in the United States yet. 

  • Ronan

    39
    ronan irish boy names photo
    Getty

    A name given to 12 different Irish saints, Ronan is an incredibly old Irish name that comes from the name Rón. It beautifully translates to "little seal" in Gaelic, and while its definition is a little strange, that hasn't stopped Irish parents from putting it at the top of baby boy name lists in their home country. 

  • Tristan

    40
    baby name tristan meaning
    CafeMom

    Tristan is a name used in many cultures; in Ireland it is thought to be the modernized version of the name Drysten. The name is said to mean "noise" or "sorrowful" and was given to a powerful, dragon-slaying hero in Celtic legends. Tristan has been steadily rising in popularity in the United States since the '70s and remains familiar but not too common. 

    More from CafeMom: 

  • Sean

    41
    baby boy name meaning sean
    Getty

    Sean has been an incredibly popular name in the United States -- while it peaked in the '70s, as of 2012, it's still going strong. Meaning "God is gracious" in traditional Gaelic, the name has a strong biblical meaning, keeping it firmly on the top 10 list of boy names in the incredibly Catholic country of Ireland. 

  • Garrett

    42
    garrett irish boy names photo
    iStock.com

    Some believe the name Garrett was born out of the surname Gerald, while others think it is simply the Irish version of the name Gerard. Either way, the name means "spear strength" in Gaelic and is an incredibly popular boys name in both America and Ireland. 

  • Cashel

    43
    cashel irish boy names photo
    Getty

    Cashel can be pronounced as both CASH-ill or KAH-hal, but whichever way it is said, it's a name drenched in rich Irish history. Meaning "castle" or "stone fort," Cashel is the name of a small city in Ireland. The name isn't incredibly popular in Ireland or the United States, but with nickname options like Cas and Cash, that may change soon. 

  • Flynn

    44
    flynn irish boy name
    CafeMom

    The name Flynn may be recognizable as the name of the hero in the movie Tangled, but it started out as a surname until Irish parents decided to transform it. Translated to mean "son of the red-haired one" in Gaelic, it is thought to have been derived from the traditional Irish name Flann.

    More from CafeMom: 

  • Breccan

    45
    baby boy name Breccan
    iStock.com

    The name Breccan appears in a lot of Irish myths and fiction, but still remains pretty scarcely used. Translated to mean "freckled," it can also be spelled Breckin and Brecken. With nickname options like Breck and Beck, this name is strong, unique, and relatively simplistic. 

  • Grady

    46
    grady irish boy name
    Getty

    Grady means "noble" or "illustrious" in Gaelic, and while those definitions are a lot to live up to, that hasn't stopped Irish parents from being drawn to the name. Like many other Irish monikers, Grady started out as a surname and was eventually transformed into a common boys' name. The name has never caught on in the United States but it still sounds very classic. 

  • Eamon

    47
    eamon irish boy names photo
    Getty

    Eamon is the Irish version of the English name Edmond. In Gaelic, the name translates to "wealthy protector" and is usually pronounced AY-mon. Admittedly, Eamon is a name that was popular in Ireland in the '60s and '70s and has never made its way to America, but it's a great name nonetheless. 

  • Redmond

    48
    redmond irish boy names photo
    CafeMom

    Redmond is a variation of the popular name Raymond. Beautifully translated to mean "wise protector" in Gaelic, the name is classic but not overused. In Ireland, parents tend to use the nickname Mundy, but Red may be more suitable for American moms and dads. 

    More from CafeMom: 

  • Rory

    49
    rory irish boy names photo
    iStock.com

    While Rory can be used as both a girl's and boy's name, it is traditionally thought of as masculine. While it's a little too short and simple for nicknames other than Ro, it has remained firmly on top 100 boys names lists in Ireland, Wales, and England for years.

  • Malachy

    50
    malachy irish boy names
    Getty

    A brother to the traditional Hebrew name Malachi, Malachy means "my messenger." The name became popular in Ireland due to an ancient king who defeated the Vikings in a famous battle. Malachy is also the name of a popular Irish saint. Still, the name hasn't gotten much shine in its home country or in the US in recent years.

baby names

More Slideshows