gaelic names

Great Gaelic Names for Baby Girls and Boys

Gaelic names describe names from Irish, Scottish, Manx, and all of the Goidelic languages. Gaelic and Celtic are two descriptors that are often conflated but Gaelic is a subset of languages spoken by the Celts. Yes, a name can be both Celtic and Gaelic but it’s important to understand the specificity here as the Celts were a culture that inhabited huge swaths of western Europe. The Gaels inhabited Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk names. Gaelic names are gorgeous treasures that originated in Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, or Manx. These appellations have changed over time as the English language developed and spread throughout the land. However, many of the baby names were retained and capture a unique cultural marker. Let’s take a look at some attractive options. First, we discuss Gaelic names for girls and then, Gaelic names for boys. Let’s go!

Gaelic Names for Girls to Consider

Aoife

gaelic names

Pronounced EE-fah, Aoife is a storied appellation that is found numerous times in Irish mythology. In one such telling, the name belonged to one of the fiercest female warriors in the world. This name comes from Irish Gaelic and means “beauty.”

Eilidh

gaelic names

Eilidh is a Scottish Gaelic name that is pronounced AY-lee. It’s a Scottish form of the name Eleanor. The name is virtually unknown in the US but its attractive sound would be accessible even if you had to correct pronunciation every now and again.

Siobhan

gaelic names

Pronounced Sheh-VON, Siobhan is well-loved across the UK. The name was once a mildly popular choice in the US but it has been out of style for decades. The name belonged to a number of Irish queens making it a noble choice. Siobhan is an Irish Gaelic name and form of Joan, meaning “God is gracious.”

Fiadh

gaelic names

One of the Gaelic names that’s on the rise in a considerable way in Ireland today, Fiadh just might end up on some American birth certificates in the coming years. The Anglicized spelling is Fia which hints at its true pronunciation in FEE-ya. The appellation means “wild.”

Niamh

gaelic names

Niamh is often spelled Neve, Nieve, or Neave in the United States. It is pronounced NEEV. The name has a long history in Ireland where it belonged to a goddess. The name means “bright.”

Aine

gaelic names

One of the most popular baby names in Ireland, Aine is more commonly found spelled Anya in the US. The name is well-used in Irish folklore as a queen of the fairies and as a deity. Aine has a winning meaning in “splendor.”

Roisin

gaelic names

Pronounced ro-SHEEN, Roisin is of Irish Gaelic origin and means “little rose.” The name is extremely popular in its native Ireland and we see the potential for it in the US even if some parents will have to correct pronunciation a few times.

Eithne

gaelic names

You’re likely more familiar with the Anglicized spelling of this name worn by Irish musician Enya. Eithne’s root means “nut kernel,” a term of praise. The name has a storied past as a character in Irish mythology and later a 6th-century Saint.

Morag

gaelic names

Pronounced MOR-ack, Morag is a common name in Scotland today. It’s one of the Gaelic names for girls that we love that might not translate well for American parents. The name is considered the Gaelic equivalent of Sara.

Orlaith

gaelic names

More commonly seen English counterpart, Orla comes from Irish Gaelic as Orlaith. Orlaith names a sister and a niece of high king Brian Boru. This name means “golden princess.” Not bad, right?

Caitriona

gaelic names

Caitriona is one of the Gaelic names that’s popular in both Scotland and Ireland today. The name is pronounced kah-tree-nah. For this reason, you might want to avoid confusion and spell in Katrina. Either way, the root of this name is related to Katherine and means “pure.”

Meabh

gaelic names

Meabh is a very popular choice in Ireland and it is found spelled Maeve in the US. The name has a history belonging to a legendary queen who we might consider a sovereignty goddess. This charmer means “she who intoxicates.”

Bronagh

gaelic names

Bronagh, along with Anglicized form Brona, is a beloved name in Ireland today. The name belonged to a notable 6th-century mystic. The Irish Gaelic root of this name means “sadness.”

Dorrin

gaelic names

One of the rare Gaelic names in Manx, Dorrin proves an attractive and accessible option. The name means “sullen” to the Irish but it means “tempest” in Manx.

Alistrina

gaelic names

Pronounced ol-iss-TREE-nah, Alistrina is a Manx form of the name Alexandra. It’s like the perfect marriage between Alexandra and Katrina. The name’s root means “defender of men.”

RELATED: 25 Scottish Baby Names for Girls, Traditional Names for Your Little Lassie

Great Gaelic Names for Boys

Ronan

gaelic names

Let’s kick off the Gaelic names for boys with a name that’s growing fast in the US. Ronan names a dozen Irish and Scottish saints. The charming Gaelic option means “little seal.”

Callum

gaelic names

Callum is the Scottish Gaelic form of Columba, a name of Latin origin that means “dove.” St. Columba was one of the most critical of the early Celtic saints. Callum is another one of the Gaelic names that are on the rise in the US.

Cormac

gaelic names

Cormac Mac Airt was one of the great legendary high kings of Ireland. He had a delightful appellation in Cormac which means “charioteer.” You likely have heard of this name thanks to author Cormac McCarthy who changes his name to Cormac from Charles.

Cillian

gaelic names

Cillian is pronounced with a hard K at the beginning. For this reason, the Anglicized form of the name, Killian is employed more in the US. However, the traditional spelling, Cillian, made its first appearance on the US top-1000 names for boys last year. This name means “war” or “church.”

Cian

gaelic names

Again, Cian is also pronounced with a hard K as in KEE-en. This Irish Gaelic name belongs to the son of an Irish god of medicine who would go on to father Lugh, the sun god. This attractive choice which is growing in popularity in England, Cian could be one of the newer imports to the US among Gaelic names in coming years. The appellation means “ancient.”

Tadhg

gaelic names

You are likely more used to the spelling Teague for this appellation that has a traditional spelling that will throw non-Gaelic speakers. The name belonged to a number of Irish kings and princes. The name was so commonplace at one point that it was used to describe a Gaelic man in the same way Jack or John might in English. Tadhg means “poet.”

Lorcan

gaelic names

Lorcan names a patron saint of Dublin as well as several Irish kings. The name is one of the most accessible Gaelic names for boys as it is easy to spell and pronounce. Lorcan’s roots mean “little” or “fierce.”

Niall

gaelic names

Pronounced nye-al, Niall is close to Neil but offers a fresh take. This Irish Gaelic name belonged to some legendary high kings of Tara. Niall also works as a subtle nature name, meaning “cloud.”

Ciaran

gaelic names

Since the 1990s, the Anglicized spelling of this name, Kieran, has taken off for baby boys in the US. Ciaran is how you will find it spelled in Ireland and beyond across the UK. We feel both have their merits. Over twenty Irish saints bore the name. It means “little, fiery one.”

Odhran

gaelic names

The Anglicized form of this name, Oran, is the more accessible vehicle for American parents. Odhran names an ancient Irish saint and although the appellation is very old, it’s extremely popular in Northern Ireland today. Odhran means “little, pale, green one.”

Rian

gaelic names

Rian is the more authentic Gaelic form of Ryan. The name enjoyed popularity, in the traditional spelling, in the early 1970s before Ryan became the ubiquitous choice. This old standard means “little king.”

Darragh

gaelic names

Darragh is a unisex name in Ireland but it is given to far more boys than girls. The name is spelled Dara outside of the Emerald Isle, but Darragh is the more authentic form. This handsome name means “oak tree.”

Cathall

gaelic names

Pronounced KA-hall, Cathall is an Irish Gaelic name that means “battle rule.” The name was borne by an ancient Irish saint and in contemporary Ireland, it’s a top-50 choice for boys born today.

Finlo

gaelic names

Finlo is an appellation from the Isle of Man, deriving from that island’s pagan Sun God named Lugh. Thus, this Manx name means “fair Lugh.” For those who love the name Finn, but want something with more variety, Finlo could prove a winning option.

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Loch

gaelic names

Loch is the Scottish Gaelic word for “lake.” It’s also considered a shortened form of Lochlan (and its many spellings that include Lachlan), a name that means “land of lakes.” It’s one of the Gaelic names that is a nod to nature and might appeal to parents who love those Scottish lochs.

There you go! We hope you discovered some Gaelic names worth considering for your baby on the way. These charming names have a storied past that will impart added meaning to these already inspired appellations. Happy baby name hunting!

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