134 Great Gaelic Baby Names and Their Meanings - Baby Chick
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134 Great Gaelic Baby Names and Their Meanings

Explore Gaelic names rooted in Celtic culture and explore the Gaelic language for something that stands out for your bundle of joy.

Updated April 14, 2024

When choosing a name, parents often want something unique. While they are beautiful names, they want something that will be different from all the Avas and Emmas and Owens and Benjamins out there. Something that reflects a cultural heritage from a whole other continent — a heritage you can trace back hundreds, even thousands, of years. If that sounds like you, we’ve got a list you’ll love. And you might already recognize some of these names — if you speak Gaelic, that is.

What Does ‘Gaelic’ Mean?

Gaelic is one of many Celtic languages that goes back to the 10th century, but some still speak it today. Other Celtic languages include Welsh, Cornish, and Irish. Gaelic was the predominant language in Scotland until the 18th century but has been declining ever since. In Ireland, however, Gaelic is still a primary language, and students learn in public schools alongside English, making it synonymous with old Irish culture in today’s world.1,2

Some Gaelic names are easily recognizable, like Shannon and Cameron. Others are famous due to pop culture — like Fiona (thanks to Shrek) and Sinéad (we all remember the singer and activist Sinéad O’Connor). But most of the names on this list will be new to you unless you have a strong Gaelic connection. And the pronunciation of Gaelic names might surprise you — like Daithi, a boy’s name pronounced “Dah-hee,” or Ailbhe, a gender-neutral name you pronounce as “Alv-ah.”

Most Gaelic names are divided by gender, but not all, and Gaelic middle names are hard to find as the middle name is a modern invention. Therefore, nowadays, you’d likely choose an Irish middle name like Riley or Quinn to match the Gaelic first name you choose to name your child. (Don’t worry; we included some of those as well.)

20 Gaelic Girl Names

Gaelic girl names are beautiful and unique, and they definitely stand out. With a baby name like Eabha or Clodagh, your little one will have a name unlike anyone they know — and you’ll be honoring your Irish roots.

1. Aila — Meaning “from the strong place” or “bringer of light,” pronounce Aila “Ay-lah.”

2. Alanna — This name means “child,” and you pronounce it just as it looks: “Uh-lanna.”

3. Alba — Alba is Gaelic for “Scotland,” and you pronounce it “All-bah.”

4. Annag — Said to be the Scottish Gaelic version of “Anna,” this name means “graceful,” and you pronounce it “Ann-ig.”

5. Cairistiona — This name is religious, as it means “follower of Christ.” You pronounce it “Kare-is-tina.”

6. Caiside — Caiside is a unique name that you pronounce “Cass-i-juh” and means “curly-haired.”

7. Clodagh — Pronounced “Clo-dah,” this name’s meaning remains unclear. Clodagh became popular in the 19th century when a well-known nobleman named his daughter after the River Clodagh.

8. Eabha — This Gaelic name means “life,” and you pronounce it “Ave-ah.”

9. Eadan — Pronounced “Ee-din,” this name means “little fire” or “jealousy.”

10. Eibhlin — Meaning “hazelnut,” Eibhlin is much like modern-day “Evelyn,” and you pronounce it “Ev-lin.”

11. Eilidh — Eilidh means “light,” and you pronounce it “Ay-lee.”

12. Eithne — This name means “seed, kernel, or nut,” and you pronounce it “Eth-nuh.”

13. Fallon — Fallon is a Gaelic name for girls that means “leader.”

14. Iona — Iona is an island in Scotland and is a good fit if you’re looking to name your child after a place with a lovely name. You pronounce it “I-oh-na.”

15. Iseabail — This name is the Gaelic version of “Isabel” and means “God is my oath.” You pronounce it “Ish-uh-bel.”

16. Kyna — Meaning “goose” in Gaelic, you pronounce Kyna as “Kee-na.”

17. Laoise — Laoise means “light” or “radiant” and you pronounce it “Lah-weese.”

18. Saorlaith — This name means “free-born woman,” and you pronounce it “Ser-lah.”

19. Sorcha — Meaning “bright” or “brightness,” Sorcha has two pronunciation options: “Sor-kha” or “Sor-cha.”

20. Una — Una is a simple Gaelic girl’s name, meaning “lamb.”

13 Gaelic Boy Names

Looking for a Gaelic boy name for your newest arrival? We’ve got many choices, including names like Dáire, which means “fruitful, fertile, oak tree,” and Rian, which means “king.”

1. Anrai — Anrai is the Irish version of “Henry.” You pronounce it “Awn-ree,” this name means “ruler of the home.”

2. Ardan — Here’s a name for your little overachiever. Ardan (“Ar-dawn”) means high aspiration or high ambition.

3. Art — Meaning “bear” or “champion,” pronounce this name exactly as it looks. And it’s a royal name, as two famous high kings of Ireland had the name Art.

4. Barry — Pronounce this name just like it looks: “Ba-ry,” which means “fair-haired.”

5. Dáire — Meaning “fruitful,” “fertile,” or “oak tree,” pronounce this name as “Dye-ray.”

6. Daithi — Pronounce this name as “Dah-hee.” Daithi means “swiftness” or “nimbleness.”

7. Desmond — People often name babies after a special place. Desmond is one example, as it is the name of a historic kingdom in Ireland. And, this one’s another easy one to say, as you pronounce it, “Des-mond.”

8. Colm — This name means “dove,” and you pronounce it “Coll-um.”

9. Innes — Meaning “from the river island” or “one choice,” pronounce this name “In-ez.”

10. Rian — Rian means “king,” and you pronounce it “Rye-an.”

11. Séamus — Said to be the Irish equivalent of “James,” this name means “one who supplants, replaces.” Pronounce Séamus as “Shay-mus.”

12. Tadhg — Meaning “poet” or “philosopher,” pronounce this name “Tye-g.”

13. Tiernan — This name means “lord,” and you pronounce it “Teer-nan.”

5 Gender-Neutral Gaelic Names

Gender-neutral Gaelic names are just as popular, and with good reason. Who wouldn’t love the name Kenna, which means “born of fire”? Or the well-known choice Cameron, which means “crooked nose”?

1. Adair — Prounce this gender-neutral Gaelic name “Uh-dare,” which means “ford at the oak tree.”

2. Ailbhe — You pronounce this name “Alv-ah.” It has several meanings, including “noble,” “white,” “bright,” or “rock.”

3. Cameron — This gender-neutral name means “crooked nose” in Gaelic.

4. Enda — Enda is an old Gaelic name. In ancient Ireland, Enda was a warrior-king in Ulster who, around the year 484, established the first monastery on Arranmore Island in County Donegal. Enda means “like a bird” or “bird-like,” and you pronounce it “En-dah.”

5. Kenna — This unisex Gaelic name means “handsome” or “born of fire.”

15 Old Gaelic Names for Girls

Gaelic culture goes back centuries, so here are some Gaelic names for girls that have been around for a long time. If you like names that carry a bit of history, try Aisling, which means “dream or vision,” or Brigid, which means “strength or exalted one.”

1. Aifric — This ancient name means “pleasant” or “enjoyable” and you pronounce it “Ah-frick.”

2. Aisling — The name “Aisling” was a name given to a specific genre of poetry from the 17th and 18th centuries in Ireland. You pronounce it “Ash-ling,” and it means “dream” or “vision.”

3. Brigid — The modern version being Bridget, this name means “strength” or “exalted one,” and you can trace it back to St. Brigid of Kildare, sometimes called “Mary of the Gael.”

4. Bronagh — An older Gaelic name popular today, Bronagh is a modern variation of Bronach, the name of a 6th-century holy woman who became the Patron Saint of Kilbroney in County Down. Pronounce the name “Bro-nah;” it means “sad” or “sorrowful.”

5. Caireann — Meaning “little friend” or “little beloved,” pronounce this name “Ka-ren.”

6. Daireann — This old Gaelic name means “fruitful” or “fertile” and traces back to Irish mythology. Daireann was a beautiful woman in Irish myths who fell in love with legendary hunter-warrior Fionn MacCool. Pronounce the name “Dar-awn.”

7. Deirdre — This name is no longer common and is linked to Irish folklore. Legend says that Deirdre of the Sorrows tragically died after her partner was cruelly taken from her. “Dear-dra” means “sorrowful, raging, or fear.”

8. Gormlaith — “Gorm-lee,” this Gaelic name means “illustrious princess” and was the name of several Irish queens throughout history.

9. Grainne — A Gaelic name with endless tales and legends attached to it, Grainne appears many times in Irish mythology and history. In mythology, Grainne was the daughter of the legendary high king, Cormac mac Airt. “Grawn-yah” and means “the sun.”

10. Ide — “Ee-da,” Ide means “thirst.” Ide was the name of an Irish saint who had a “thirst” for knowledge and promoted education.

11. Imogen — This Gaelic name comes from an Irish legend, and you pronounce it “Im-o-jen.” It means “maiden” or “daughter.”

12. Muireann — Muireann means “of the sea” and tells the tale of a mermaid. According to legend, the mermaid encountered a saint who transformed her into a woman. This could be a fitting name if you live beside the sea. You pronounce Muireann “Mwur-in.”

13. Niall — Meaning “passionate” or “champion,” Niall was the name of a famous Irish king. You pronounce this name “Nye-ull.”

14. Orlaith — Orlaith means “golden princess,” and you pronounce it “Or-lah.” In Irish legend, Orlaith was the sister of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland.

15. Rionach — This name means “queen,” and you pronounce it “Ree-in-ock.” Rionach was part of a famous family in Irish history that ruled for centuries.

16 Old Gaelic Names for Boys

Here are some old Gaelic names for boys that have been around for hundreds of years. From well-known old Gaelic names like Ciarán, which means “little dark-haired one,” to more unique choices like Éibhear, which is said to be the Irish version of the name Harry, you’re sure to find an old Gaelic name you love on this list.

1. Aodhan — Although modern versions of this name include Aidan and Aedan, Aodhan is an old name derived from the Gaelic name Aodh. Aodh was the prince of Daoine Sidhe, a supernatural race in Irish mythology. Aodhan is pronounced “A-dun” and means “fiery,” “bringer of fire” or “little fire.”

2. Ciarán — Pronounced “Keer-awn,” Ciarán means “little dark-haired one” and was the name of two early Irish saints: Ciarán the Elder and Ciarán the Younger.

3. Cillian (also Kilian or Killian) — Cillian is a traditional Gaelic boy’s name linked to St. Kilian, the Irish missionary to Germany in the 7th century. This name has multiple meanings, including “little church,” “strife,” or “bright-headed.” It is pronounced “Kill-i-an.”

4. Diarmaid — This name means “without enemy” and is pronounced “Deer-mud.”

5. Dónal — This is an old Gaelic boy’s name that means “world ruler.” Dónal is pronounced “Doh-nal,” and its modernized version is Donald.

6. Donnacha — Pronounced “Done-acka,” Donnacha means “dark chief.” A famous high king of Ireland had this name.

7. Éibhear — Said to be the Irish version of the name “Harry,” Éibhear is pronounced “Ay-ver” and means “strong as a boar.”

8. Eógan — Meaning “noble-born” or “youth,” this name is pronounced “Oh-en” (like “Owen”) and is a historical name from Irish mythology.

9. Feargus — Feargus means “strong one” or “masculine one” and is pronounced “Fir-gus.” This name is one of the oldest known Gaelic names, so if you want a historic name, you might consider this one.

10. Fiachra — Fiachra is a name in “Children of Lir,” a famous story in Irish folklore. Pronounced “Fee-uh-kra,” this name means crow or raven.

11. Finten — Meaning “little fair one” or “white-haired,” Finten is a name from Irish mythology as Fintan MacBochra was a shapeshifter who survived the Great Flood and symbolized knowledge. It is pronounced just as it looks: “Fin-ten.”

12. Gearoid — This name means “strength of spear” and links back to Irish folklore. Gearoid Iarla, the Third Earl of Desmond, was the chief justice for Ireland in 1367 and was known to dabble in magic. Legend has it that Gearoid Iarla was sent to live beneath the ancient Lough Gur in Limerick, where, every seven years, he rides around the lake on a white horse. Gearoid is pronounced “Gah-rohd.”

13. Lorcan — Meaning “little fierce one,” this name is pronounced “Lor-kan” and was the name of many well-known Irish kings.

14. Oisín — Pronounced “Ush-een,” Oisín means “young deer” or “fawn” and was the name of a great poet from Irish mythology. So, if you like poetry (or woodland creatures — or both), this would be a great choice.

15. Oscar — Here’s another excellent choice for your nature-loving child. Oscar is pronounced “Os-kar” and means “friend of deer.” The origin of the name “Oscar” goes back to Irish mythology and was the name of the grandson of the mighty Fionn Mac Cumhaill.

16. Rónán — From the Gaelic word Rón, which means “seal,” this name originated with a famous legend about a mother seal that became trapped on land, married a fisherman, and had little rónáns (seals). She eventually returned to sea but watched her family from the waves. Pronounced “Row-nan,” this name is said to mean “pledge,” “seal,” and “promising oath.”

4 Traditional Gaelic Names for Girls

Traditional names more your style? We’ve got a few you might like that are Gaelic. Sile, which means “heavenly,” is a beautiful choice.

1. Aine – Arguably one of the best-known traditional Gaelic girls’ names, Aine has roots in Irish mythology, as there was a famous Irish Celtic goddess with this name. Pronounced “On-yah,” this name has many meanings, including “summer,” “wealth,” “brightness,” “radiance,” and “joy.”

2. Caoimhe – This traditional Gaelic name means “gentle” or “precious” and is pronounced “Kwee-va.”

3. Dara – Pronounced simply as “Da-ra,” this name means “second.”

4. Sile – Sile is a traditional Gaelic name often spelled “Sheila.” Sile means “heavenly” and is pronounced “She-la.”

5 Traditional Gaelic Names for Boys

There are many traditional Gaelic boy names, including Cormac, which means “son of the charioteer,” and Jarlath, a famous Irish priest.

1. Cian – This traditional Gaelic name means “ancient” or “enduring” and is pronounced “Kee-an.”

2. Cormac – Meaning “son of the charioteer,” Cormac is a legendary name thanks to the third-century high king of Ireland, Cormac Mac Airt. It is pronounced “Kor-mack.”

3. Jarlath – Jarlath (pronounced “Jar-lath”) is a traditional Gaelic name that is not common anymore. St. Jarlath was a famous Irish priest.

4. Odhrán – This traditional Gaelic name has several meanings, including “dark-haired” and “pale.” It is pronounced “Oh-ran.”

5. Ruairí – Pronounced “Ro-ree,” this Gaelic name means “red-haired” or “king.”

4 Gaelic Warrior Names for Girls

Do you have a future fighter on your hands? She needs a badass warrior name, then! You might consider Neala, which means “champion,” or Sloane, which means “expedition or raid.”

1. Eimear (also spelled Emer) — Emear was the wife of warrior King Cu Chulainn, and these spellings have developed from her name. This name is pronounced “E-mur” and means “swift.”

2. Meabh — Meabh is a fierce Gaelic name, thanks to the legendary Queen Medb of Connacht, a formidable warrior with many great legends tied to her. Pronounced “May-v” (rhyming with “save”), Meabh means “intoxicating.”

3. Neala — Neala is pronounced as it looks: “Nee-la,” which means “champion.”

4. Sloane — Sloane means “expedition” or “raid” and is pronounced “Slone” (rhymes with “bone”).

5 Gaelic Warrior Names for Boys

A Gaelic warrior name is perfect for your little one who will grow up to conquer the world. We’re partial to Conán, which means “small little hound or wolf” — but we love them all.

1. Aengus — This name is common and comes from Irish mythology. Aengus was the name of a famous warrior and also a Celtic god of love and poetry. It is pronounced “Ang-us” and means “one choice” or “one strength.”

2. Anluan — This name means “champion,” “hero,” or “warrior,” so it comes with a lot of expectations. It’s also a rare name if you’re looking for something less common; pronounce it “An-lon.”

3. Cathal — This name means “powerful in battle” and was the name of a famous Irish saint. Pronounce it “Ca-hall.”

4. Conán — Meaning “small little hound or wolf” in Gaelic; this name is pronounced “Cone-an.” And, this one’s a good name if you’ve got a brave little fighter, as Conán mac Lia was one of the mightiest warriors of ancient Ireland.

5. Fionn — Fionn means “white or “fair-haired” and is pronounced “Fee-on.” This name is very famous due to the well-known stories of the mythical Irish warrior Fionn Mac Cumhaill. The modern version of this name is Finn.

4 Gaelic Goddess Names

Looking for a name fit for a goddess? Gaelic mythology provides an endless list of beautiful and powerful girl names — like Etain, which means “passion or jealousy,” and Niamh, which means “radiance or brightness.”

1. Bebhinn — It is said that Bebhinn was a goddess associated with birth, but other tales say she was a goddess of the Underworld. Pronounced “bay-veen,” this name means “melodious” or “pleasant-sounding woman.”

2. Cliodhna — This name means “shapely,” and you can trace it back to two distinctly different historical roots. For one, Cliodhna was a member of the Tuatha De Dannan tribe of warriors. But also, Cliodhna was a goddess of love. You pronounce it “Klee-ow-na.”

3. Etain — An old Irish name rare today, Etain was the name of a famous heroine with unrivaled beauty. You pronounce it “Ee-tane,” and it means “passion” or “jealousy.”

4. Niamh — Meaning “radiance or brightness,” this name comes from Irish mythology. Niamh, the daughter of Manannan, the god of the sea, is pronounced “Nee-v” (rhyming with “Steve”).

7 Popular Names for Girls

Here are some popular Gaelic names for girls that pay homage to Irish ancestry but aren’t as rare as others on our list. We all know the name Fiona thanks to Princess Fiona in “Shrek.”

1. Fiadh — One of the most popular names for girls in modern-day Ireland, this name is pronounced “Fee-ahh” and has several meanings, including “deer,” “wild,” and “respect.”

2. Fiona — Thanks to Princess Fiona in Shrek and the well-known singer Fiona Apple, this name has been very popular over the years. It means “fair” or “white.”

3. Sadhbh — This is a popular Gaelic girl’s name, also found in history and mythology. Several real and legendary princesses have had this name. Sadhbh is pronounced “Sigh-ve” (rhyming with “hive”), and it means “sweet and lovely lady” or “goodness.”

4. Saoirse — Meaning “freedom,” this popular Gaelic name is pronounced “Ser-sha.”

5. Shannon — Shannon is another popular name with Gaelic roots. It means “Irish river” or “old river,” as the River Shannon is famous in Ireland. It is pronounced as you’d expect: “Shan-on.”

6. Sinead — A common name, Sinead means “God’s gracious gift,” and you pronounce it “Shin-ade.”

7. Siobhán — Pronounce this popular Gaelic name “Shiv-on” and means “God is gracious.”

3 Popular Names for Boys

And, of course, we’ve got popular Gaelic names for boys, too! We all know the names Brian, Conor, and Liam — but did you know they had Gaelic roots?

1. Brian — This name became one of the most popular Gaelic boys’ names due to Brian Boru, a historic high king of Ireland. Pronounced “Bry-an,” this name means “high” or “noble.”

2. Conor — A great choice for an animal lover, as it means “lover of wolves and hounds,” this name is one of the most popular boys’ names in and outside of Ireland. And, it’s easy to pronounce — “Con-er.”

3. Liam — This common modern name stems from the old Gaelic name Uilliam and means “guardian” or “helmet of will.” Pronounce it “Lee-um.”

12 Pretty Gaelic Names

Consider these options if you’re hoping for a Gaelic name that’s as pretty as the little one in your arms. Cadhla is a lovely choice, meaning “beautiful and graceful,” and Aoife, meaning “beautiful and radiant.”

1. Aoibhe — You pronounce this name “Ee-vah” or “Ave-ah,” depending on the person, and it means “beauty” or “life.”

2. Aoibheann — This name means “of radiant beauty,” and you pronounce it “Ave-een.”

3. Aoife — You pronounce this name “Ee-fuh,” and it means “beautiful and radiant.”

4. Blaithin — Pronounce Blaithin as “Blaw-heen” and means “little flower.”

5. Cadhla — This is a unique Gaelic female name you pronounce as “Kay-la.” It means “beautiful” or “graceful,” making it a lovely choice for your little one.

6. Fidelma — Pronounce Fidelma as it looks: “Fi-del-ma,” meaning “beautiful.”

7. Iseult — Iseult was an Irish princess and means “she who is gazed upon.” You pronounce it “Eesh-ult.”

8. Liobhan — Pronounced “Lee-vin,” Liobhan means “beauty of women” or “beautiful” in Gaelic.

9. Mairead — Meaning “pearl,” pronounce Mairead as “Mar-y-ed.”

10. Meara — Pronounce this pretty name “Mee-ra,” meaning “sea.”

11. Roisin — Roisin is a beautiful name that means “little rose.” You pronounce it “Row-sheen.”

12. Teagan — Meaning “beautiful,” this is a popular Gaelic name today, and you pronounce it “Tee-gan.”

Middle Names

Middle names are a relatively new idea, coming into use within the past couple hundred years in the Western world. That means ancient cultures that spoke Gaelic as their primary language didn’t use middle names, but Irish families today often do. For this reason, we’ve included some popular Irish middle names of the 21st century (that aren’t necessarily of Gaelic origin).

11 Irish Middle Names for Boys

Here are some Irish middle names, like Jamie, Lee, and Oliver, that would fit between any first and last name perfectly.

1. Blaine — This Gaelic name means “slender.”

2. Daniel — Daniel is popular worldwide, including in Ireland, and means “God is my judge.”

3. Darragh — Meaning “dark oak tree,” pronounce this Irish name “Dar-ah.”

4. Harry — Harry is a popular Irish middle name for boys and means “granite.”

5. Jamie — Jamie means “one who supplants” and is a common Irish middle name.

6. Lee — This middle name means “poem” or “song.”

7. Murphy — This common name means “sea warrior.”

8. Oliver — This cute middle name means “olive tree.”

9. Patrick — Patrick is a common Irish name that means “noble.”

10. Sean — Sean means “God is gracious.”

11. Thomas — Meaning “twin,” Thomas is a very popular Irish middle name.

10 Irish Middle Names for Girls

If you’re searching for an Irish middle name for girls, how about a common name like Kelly, which means “bright-headed”? Or Allie, which means “light or bright one”?

1. Allie — This middle name means “light” or “bright.”

2. Cara — Meaning “friend,” this is a lovely choice for a middle name.

3. Ciara — Pronounced “Kee-ra,” this cute name means “dark-haired.”

4. Kayleigh — This popular middle name choice means “fair.”

5. Kelly — This Gaelic name means “bright-headed” and is gender-neutral.

6. Kerrie — Also often spelled “Kerry,” this name relates to a place, as it derives from the Irish county of Ciarraighe.

7. Quinn — Quinn is a gender-neutral name that means “wise.”

8. Reagan — This name is another unisex Gaelic name. It means “king’s child.”

9. Riley — Meaning “rye clearing,” this name is common for boys and girls.

10. Shauna — Meaning “god is gracious,” Shauna is a fitting choice for a girl’s middle name.

Gaelic names are historical and reflect the beauty of an old language. From names you’ve heard of, like Deirdre or Liam, to names you may have never seen before, like Liobhan or Niamh, there are endless choices for first or middle names of Gaelic origin. And you can find names that mean gentle or precious (like Caoimhe) or warrior names like Aengus or Cathal on the other end of the spectrum. Whatever meaning you’re hoping for, if it’s Gaelic you want, this list likely has it. Happy naming!

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Karen Johnson is a busy mom of three who is probably driving a child to practice or a game right now. She writes about all things parenthood. Read more

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