66 celtic last names

66 Celtic Last Names That Make Great First Names

Celtic last names encompass a variety of surnames from many different traditions. Celtic languages include Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Breton, Manx, and Cornish. This means there are a lot of fabulous last names to choose from but we will mainly concern ourselves with Irish last names and Scottish Gaelic surnames as they are some of the most well-known and beloved names in the US today and they work extremely well as given baby names for both boys and girls.

Celtic last names began being used widely in the 11th century when common given names no longer helped people distinguish individuals in growing populations. Tribe names and Gaelic Clan names emerged as the best way for people to identify themselves. The Clan system further broke down into different Septs until many were forced to adopt more Anglicized forms of their names. Today, Irish last names are varied as are many other Celtic last names that you will find across Europe. Let’s take a look at the best last names that work incredibly well as given names for your baby!

Try These Amazing Celtic Last Names As First Names!

Celtic Last Names That Works As First Names for Girls

Kelly

66 celtic last names

Kelly derived from Ó Ceallaigh an Irish Gaelic surname that means “bright-headed.” This Irish name is technically gender-neutral as are many of the appellations on this list which have been given liberally to both boys and girls through the years.

Ryan

66 celtic last names

Ryan is commonplace in the US today but before it was Ryan this name came from the Irish Gaelic name Ó Maoilriain, meaning “king.” We love this name for girls but it can easily be used for baby boys as well.

Kennedy

66 celtic last names

Kennedy is a storied Gaelic name that can be found in both Irish and Scottish traditions. For the Irish, this name came mainly from Ó Cinnéide which means “helmet-headed.” However, in Scotland Kennedy is associated with Scottish Gaelic surnames: Ceanadach, Ceannaideach, MacCnusachainn, MacRusachainn, and MacUalraig.

Quinn

66 celtic last names

Quinn is a versatile name that comes from Irish Gaelic Ó Cuinn. This appellation means “wisdom” and “chief.” It was associated with a clan in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland. In Scotland, you will find it associated with the name MacCuinn or MacQueen.

Shea

66 celtic last names

We thought that O’Shea was a little much as a first name so we decided to present you with Shea which is derived from the Irish Gaelic name Ó Séaghdha. The name means “stately” and “fine.”

Healy

66 celtic last names

Healy makes for a perfectly offbeat yet familiar given name. It comes from the Irish Gaelic name Ó hÉalaighthe, meaning “artistic” and “scientific.” It’s one of the perfect Irish surnames to use as a first name.

Casey

66 celtic last names

A unisex classic in the US, Casey comes from a few Celtic last names, namely the Irish Ó Cathasaigh, which means “vigilant in war” and “watchman.”

Regan

66 celtic last names

We love the name Regan for a baby girl. It comes from the Irish surname  Ó Riagáin, meaning “little king.” The name has been a mildly popular choice in the US off and on since the 1970s.

Reid

66 celtic last names

This name remains mostly intact and unchanged like many of the Anglicized forms of the names on this list, at least for the Irish surname, which means “red hair” or “ruddy complexion.” For the Scots, however, this name evolved from many surnames including MacIlleRuaidh, Roid, Roideach, Ruadh, and Mac’IlleRuaidh.

Channing

66 celtic last names

A very common surname, Channing means “people of Cana” or “wolf cub.” The name comes from Mac Cana. The Mac Cana clan originated as chiefs of Cenél Aengusa, the name of a kindred and its territory in Tír Eoghain.

Murphy

66 celtic last names

The most popular surname in Ireland today, Murphy comes from Ó Murchadha and means “sea battler.” In fact, it’s one of the most popular Celtic surnames in the world. In Scotland, you will find it applied to those who previously used MacMhurchaidh.

Sheeran

66 celtic last names

Sheeran would make for a fabulous alternative to Sharon! This Irish last name comes from Ó Síoráin or Ó Sírín or Mac Searthuin. It means “descendant of Sírín/Síorán/Searthuin” or “eternal.”

Dillon

66 celtic last names

Dillon is an Irish surname of Breton origin derived from Diolun. Do not confuse this one with a Welsh name that sounds the same, Dylan. Dillon means “loyal.”

Fay

66 celtic last names

From the Irish Gaelic surnames  Ó Fiaich and Ó Fathaigh, Fay is the Anglicized form but Fahey is also common. This name means “descendant of Fathaigh” which itself means “base” or “foundation.”

Fee

66 celtic last names

How do you feel about using Fee as a given name? We think it has its charms. Ó Fiaich was the surname of a Gaelic-Irish erenagh and Brehon family from County Fermanagh. Not only does that name give us Fay, it also gives us Fee! Thus, this name also means “base” and “foundation.”

Flannery

66 celtic last names

One of the Celtic last names you are likely familiar with, Flannery was popularized as a given name for girls in the US by Flannery O’Connor. Flannery comes from the Irish surname Ó Flannghaile, meaning “descendant of Flannghal.” That name can be further translated to “red eyebrows” or “red warrior.”

Kearney

66 celtic last names

Kearney is another one of the Celtic last names that sound special as a first. The surname derives from the Gaelic O Catharnaigh, derived from the word “cearnach,” meaning “warlike” or “victorious.”

Lucey

66 celtic last names

One of the Celtic last names that sounds surprisingly like Lucy, Lucey comes from Old Gaelic Ó Luasaigh, anciently, Mac Cluasaigh. The meaning of the original name is debated but it could come from Lucius by way of a Norman conquest, meaning “light.” Or it might be a name denoting someone with “big ears.”

Reilly

66 celtic last names

O’Reilly is a very popular surname in Ireland today. It was derived from Ó Raghallaigh, a Sept that was based in Counties Cavan and Westmeath. While a similar name, Riley, is more popular as a given name in the US, Reilly would be a standout way to give an appellation more character. The name means “courageous.”

Rowan

66 celtic last names

Rowan is a commonly given name today but it comes from a variety of Celtic last names originally. In Ireland, the name is derived from Ó Ruadháin. The name can means “the rowan tree” or “little red one.”

Seery

66 celtic last names

Seery is one of the best Celtic last names to use as an alternative to Sara. It is derived from the Gaelic name Ó Saoraidhe meaning “descendant of Saoraidhe,” a personal name derived from saordha, meaning “noble.”

Sloane

66 celtic last names

An Irish last name that is sometimes Anglicized as Sloan or Sloane, it comes from Ó Sluaghhadáin which means “raid” or “little raider.” Sloane has emerged as a trendy unisex name in the US today and we are thrilled with it!

Tierney

66 celtic last names

Tierney is derived from Ó Tighearnaigh or Ní Thighearnaigh. The names simply come from an Irish word that means “lord.” There were five unrelated Clans with this name all over Gaelic Ireland.

Blair

66 celtic last names

Blair is an Anglicized name from Scottish Gaelic origin. It comes from the Scottish Gaelic surnames Blàr or Blàrach. The name means “dweller of the plains.”

Cameron

66 celtic last names

We find another Scottish Gaelic surname in Cameron which is derived from Camran, Camshron, and Camshronach. Cameron is a popular choice for both boys and girls today even though this name means “crooked nose.”

RELATED: 25 Rare Celtic Baby Names for Girls That Are Virtually Unheard of in the US

Lennox

66 celtic last names

Leamhanach and Leamhnach are the primary Scottish surnames that give us Lennox. Of all the Celtic last names on this list, Lennox feels most distinct as a given name for girls. It is a habitational surname that means “from many elm trees.”

Logan

66 celtic last names

From Loganach, Logan is a very popular choice in the US today. The name means “little hollow.”

Blain

66 celtic last names

Derived from the Celtic last names MacBhlàthain and MacIlleBhlàthain, it’s easy to see that Blaine is the streamlined form here. The name is considered to come from both Scottish and Irish Gaelic origin, meaning “slender” or “yellow.”

Awbrey

66 celtic last names

Now, we look to other Celtic last names, this one from Wales, which means “son of Aubrey.” The Welsh roots of this name mean “one living with elder trees.”

Dew

66 celtic last names

Another Welsh surname that seems like a natural fit to us, is Dew. The name is a result of a Norman conquest and refers to someone from Eu in Seine-Maritime, France. However, some argue that the Celtic meaning of this name is “dark complexion.”

Wynn

66 celtic last names

Another Welsh last name, Wynn comes from the name Wyn and the word Gwynn. It means “blessed” or “fair.”

Malone

66 celtic last names

Malone is an Irish surname from Mael Eòin, meaning “servant,” a reference to being devoted to Saint John. Malone is currently more popular for baby girls than boys but it is technically gender-neutral.

Meara

66 celtic last names

Meara is a gorgeous name that comes from the Ó Meadhra Clan who resided in the Irish Gaelic Kingdom of Limerick. The Irish meaning of the name is “pool” or “lake.” Others claim the name is related to the word myrrh and means “jovial.” We’ll take any of those wonderful meanings!

Celtic Last Names That Fit Perfectly As First Names for Boys

Doyle

66 celtic last names

Now, let’s take a look at some Celtic last names for boys. Doyle is a bold name from the Irish Gaelic surname Ó Dubhghaill. The name means “dark foreigner.”

Stewart

66 celtic last names

Stewart is the Anglicized form of the Irish last name Stiobhard. The name means “one who superintends.” This is one of the true Celtic last names that’s also found in Scottish Gaelic as a form of Stiùbhart or Stiùbhartach. The name can also be taken to means “steward.”

Graham

66 celtic last names

Graham is a very Irish surname that’s one of the most popular ones in Ireland today. It means “grey home” or “gravelly homestead.” In Scotland, it was derived from Greum and Greumach.

Buckley

66 celtic last names

From the Irish family name Ó Buachalla, Buckley means “cowherd.” This name has never been a popular given name option in the US but we think it is one of the Celtic last names that could really be beloved as a first name for boys.

Flynn

66 celtic last names

One of the top 50 most popular surnames in Ireland today, Flynn comes from Ó Floinn and means “bright red.” It would make for a fresh alternative to Finn.

Brady

66 celtic last names

Brady comes from the Irish surname Mac Brádaigh, meaning “spirited one.” Brady is a top 500 pick for baby boys born in the US today.

Whelan

66 celtic last names

Similar to Weylan, Whelan comes from Ó Faoláin which is an Irish surname that means “wolf.” This is one of the Celtic last names that has gone largely unused as a given name in the US.

Briody

66 celtic last names

From the Irish surname, Ó Bruaideadha, we get Briody. It is a very old name from a personal name Bruaided. The Clan with this name inhabited Counties Longford and Cavan. The Gaelic meaning of this name is unknown but could potentially be “broad eye” or “broad island.”

Burke

66 celtic last names

Burke is another Irish surname that comes from de Búrca and refers to Richard de Burgh. The name was adopted by the Irish after one of the Norman conquests. The name means “from the fortress.”

Clarke

66 celtic last names

One of the ever-popular Celtic last names to use as a first name is Clarke! Clarke comes from ÓCléirigh meaning “clergyman.” The Scottish surname Mac a’ Chléirich might also have been Anglicized into Clarke or Clark as well.

Conroy

66 celtic last names

Conroy is likely derived from  Ó Maolchonaire and Mac Conraoi. Conroy makes for an interesting and evocative first name. It means “hound of the plains.”

Cregg

66 celtic last names

Cregg comes from the Scottish Gaelic word creag, meaning “a rock” which became the Scottish word “craig.” The Scottish surnames Creag, Creagach, and Mac na Carraige all predate the name.

Fergus

66 celtic last names

From Scottish Gaelic we get many names that became Fergus or Ferguson, mainly Fearghasdan and MacFhearghais. In Ireland, you will find the name Ó Fearghusa (which the Scottish names likely have been derived from). The name means “man of force.”

Finn

66 celtic last names

Finn comes from the Irish Ó Finn, meaning “descendant of Fionn.” The byname means “white” or “fair-haired.”  The name belonged to the hero of Irish mythology Fionn mac Cuumhaill, a brave and warm warrior. It’s one of the most popular names for boys in the US today.

Giles

66 celtic last names

Giles is an Irish name too! It comes from the surname Ó Glaisne, a County Louth name. The name likely means “green” or “blue.”

Griffin

66 celtic last names

The Irish surname Ó Gríofa comes from the Welsh name Gruffudd (Griffith). Both were Anglicized to Griffin. The Welsh meaning of the name is “lord” or “strong lord.”

Keefe

66 celtic last names

Keefe or O’Keeffe are Irish surnames from  Ó Caoimh, meaning “gentle.” It is used as both a surname and a given name and we think it makes for a fabulous alternative to Keith.

Mack

66 celtic last names

The biggie of all Celtic last names Mack means “son” and is the basis for much of Irish and Scottish surnaming tradition. Many, many, many names contain Mack or Mac or Mc in some form.

Nolan

66 celtic last names

Nolan is a handsome name for boys but also an Irish surname from Ó Nualláin, meaning “son of the famous one.” Today, the name is more popular than ever before for boys in the US.

Patrick

66 celtic last names

A big one! Patrick can be considered an Anglicized form of the surname Mac Phádraig or diminutive forms of Fitzpatrick and Mulpatrick. In most cases, the Gaelic form of the name is taken to mean “a devotee to Saint Patrick.” The name was adopted from Latin, Patricius, meaning “noble patrician.”

Tobin

66 celtic last names

Tobin is another one of the Celtic last names that was adopted after the Norman conquest in the 12th century. The name is often found spelled Tóibín in Ireland. It is related to the Norman surname de St. Aubyn. The name means “of St. Aubyn.” Tobin was once a popular given name to boys in the US but fell out of fashion in the 1970s.

Troy

66 celtic last names

Troy is an Anglicized form of a few Irish surnames. Ó Tréamháin, Ó Troighthigh, and Ó Turráin might have all been changed to Troy. Because each of these names has its own meaning there are several possibilities here. Troy can mean “son of the foot soldier,” “son of the journals,” or “son of the turrets.” The name has been a favorite in the US for decades.

Keir

66 celtic last names

There is an Irish name Keir that means “black” but this name is also derived from Scottish surnames MacIlleChiar, Mac’IlleChiar, Ciarach, and Ciar. The name can also mean “dark” or “dusky.”

Dallas

66 celtic last names

Dallas comes from the Scottish Gaelic name Dalais. The Gaelic root of this name means “skilled” or “from the meadow.” It’s one of the Celtic last names that feels American thanks to the city in Texas.

Gibson

66 celtic last names

Gibson is an English form of Scottish surnames Giobsan, MacGilleBhrìghde, and MacGilleBhrìghde. Today, we consider this name to mean “Gilbert’s son.”

Lorne

66 celtic last names

From the Scottish Gaelic name Lathurna or Loarn we get Lorne. It is associated with the legendary king of Dál Riata, Loarn mac Eirc of Scotland’s western coast. This name can potentially refer to that place or come from the Celtic word that means “fox.”

Vaughan

66 celtic last names

One of the Celtic last names from Wales, Vaughan comes from the Welsh word bychan, meaning “small.”

Roderick

66 celtic last names

The Welsh name Rhydderch was Anglicized as Roderick. The name means “reddish-brown.”

Ellis

66 celtic last names

Yet another Welsh name, Elisedd gave us Ellis which means “benevolent.” Ellis is a top 500 name for boys in the US today! It’s one of the Celtic last names that truly bridged the divide!

Edris

66 celtic last names

Edris is sometimes spelled Idris and comes from Welsh roots: uud and ris, meaning “impulsive lord.” It’s one of the Celtic last names that sounds so very fresh and modern today thanks to A-list star Idris Elba.

Keane

66 celtic last names

A very popular surname in Ireland today, Keane comes from Mac Catháin. The name is sometimes Anglicized to Kane. The root of the name means “war.”

Campbell

66 celtic last names

Caimbeul and Caimbeulach are two Scottish Gaelic surnames that were changed to Campbell. Campbell today is a popular last name in both Scotland and Ireland. The Gaelic root of this word means “crooked mouth.”

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 25 Rare Celtic Baby Names for Boys That Never Crossed the Pond

Grady

66 celtic last names

One of the most popular names for boys in the US is Grady and it comes from the Irish surname O Gradaugh which you might have seen spelled O’Gradys. The Irish Clan gave us an impressive number of bishops through the years. The Gaelic root of the name means “noble.”

What did you think of these Celtic last names as first names? We found amazing names used in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales today as well as their root names that once named great Clans and Septs. Celtic last names are beautiful and storied and we hope you will honor your heritage whether it be Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Cornish, or Manx with a given name taken from these cherished surnames!

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