These 25 Irish Baby Names for Girls Are Rare in the US Today

Irish names have been popular in the US for quite some time now. Thanks to the Irish diaspora, many baby names for girls with Irish origins also immigrated to the US. Further, there are tons of Anglicized versions of traditional Irish names being used that most parents likely think are of English origin when in fact, they came from Celtic origins. Because Irish baby names for girls are so popular in the US and across the UK, we wanted to uncover some appellations that are being overlooked by American parents.

We came up with dozens of possibilities for your daughter and while some of these spellings and pronunciations can present a bit of a challenge, we do not feel that any of these names are impossible. We believe that each of these appellations has so much potential as a baby name in the US. Take a look to find a unique name that not many parents are using today!


Rare Irish Baby Names

Aoife is an exciting Irish Gaelic name that has a storied history in Irish legend. According to one tale, the name belonged to one of the fiercest warriors in the world. Aoife is pronounced EE-fa and it’s highly favored in Ireland today. The name means “beautiful” or “radiant.”


Rare Irish Baby Names

Another name with Irish origins, Beatha is a glorious name for girls. However, it’s going to be mispronounced a lot so take you and your future child’s patience into account. Beatha is pronounced BEH-tha. The name means “life.” If you’re looking for a unique alternative to Bethany or Beth, Beatha would be a wise choice.


Rare Irish Baby Names

Boudicca is an ancient Irish Celtic name that doesn’t get as much play today as it should. The name belonged to a first-century queen who led her Brittonic Iceni tribe in a revolution against the Romans occupying England. Pretty fierce, right? The name means “victory.” It’s pronounced Boo-di-kah.


Rare Irish Baby Names

Larkin is both a boy’s name and a girl’s name of Irish origin meaning “rough” or “fierce.” Despite it being unisex and having a slightly masculine sound, this name is currently more popular for girls than boys in the UK. We love the idea of Lark as a nickname.


Rare Irish Baby Names

You might be familiar with the new age-y musician, Enya. Her moniker is the contemporary spelling of Eithne which is pronounced the exact same way. The singer’s full name is Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin. Eithne has Irish Gaelic roots and means “nut kernel.” Cute.


Rare Irish Baby Names

Ailbhe is phonetically spelled as Elva or Alva, and indeed means “leader of the elves” or “noble one.” The name is growing in popularity today in Ireland but it has yet to land on many birth certificates in the US. The Elva spelling was once popular in the US but it has been decades since that was true.


Rare Irish Baby Names

If you love the name Freya but fear it’s becoming too popular for you to settle on, consider the Irish name Fiadh. Fiadh is a rising star in Ireland and it hit the top ten most popular names for girls this past year. You won’t hear it much outside of Ireland, however, and that’s in part due to its spelling versus pronunciation. The name is pronounced Fee-a. Such a simple name, but the spelling belies that for most people.


Rare Irish Baby Names

Although it enjoyed mild favor for girls in the US from the late 1950s to the early 1990s, American parents have largely abandoned this name. The Irish Gaelic version, Darragh, is well-used in contemporary times for boys across the UK. The name means “oak” and we would love to hear it more in the future!


Rare Irish Baby Names

Tristan is having a moment, but the other member from this Arthurian romance has yet to take off in the US. Iseult, while known, has never been a popular choice for parents in the states. The name has many spelling variations that change depending on what Celtic nation you’re in. You’ll also find Iseulde, Yseult, and Isolde. The name means “ice ruler.”


Rare Irish Baby Names

Name to a town in Northern Ireland, Keely is a spending name that means “beautiful” or “slender.” If you’re over names like Kelly or Kaylie or Kylie, Keely is a fun alternative. In 1997, Keely placed at number 455 in the US. It hasn’t seen that sort of popularity in decades and we think it’s time for a return.


Rare Irish Baby Names

Liadain is an Irish Gaelic name that means “gray lady.” The name belonged to a lovelorn poet in Irish folk legend. You’ll also commonly see the name spelled as Liadan or Liadin. However it’s spelled, the name is pronounced LEE-din. Get ready to have to explain that to many folks as this name has never been popular in the US.


Rare Irish Baby Names

Pronounced ash-LEEN or ASH-lin, Aisling could be a very cool alternative to the ubiquitous Ashley. You see it more commonly spelled phonetically in the US as Ashlynn. In Ireland, it’s currently one of the most popular baby names for girls.


Rare Irish Baby Names

You’ve probably seen the name Morgan, popularized by Arthurian myth, but it’s got a darker, Irish counterpart, Morrigan. Morrigan and Morgan are unrelated, although they are often confused for one another. Morrigan was the mythological ancient goddess of war, often symbolized by a crow. Therefore, this name means “phantom queen.”

RELATED: 25 Mythological Baby Names For Your Legendary Baby


Rare Irish Baby Names

You’ll find the name Moya in a ton of different languages and traditions. For our purposes, we’ll consider Moya as the Irish form of Mary. In Scottish, it’s Morag. In Welsh it’s Mairwen. Pick your favorite! We like Moya over Moira, but they’re both variations of the same name. The name means “water” or “bitter” or “star of the sea.”


Rare Irish Baby Names

Neala is the feminine form of the Irish name, Niel which means “cloud.” The name has never been popular in the US, but we sure hope that changes. This is also a great, understated nature name.


Rare Irish Baby Names

Another Irish name with a somewhat perplexing spelling, Niamh is pronounced Neev. You’ll also see the name spelled Neve (as in Neve Campbell). The name was one of the most popular names in Ireland, making the top 10 for many years of the 1990s. The name is broadly popular throughout the UK. We’d love to hear it more in the US.


Rare Irish Baby Names

For fans of Nora or Norah, you can take the preferred Celtic form of an ancient Roman name, Onora. The name means “honor” or “woman of honor.” While Nora climbs the charts in the US, Onara remains relatively unseen.


Rare Irish Baby Names

Another surprisingly modern-sounding mythological name, Tuiren was the aunt of Finn MacCool, famed for her beauty. The name is pronounced TIR-en. Tuiren is most popular in the Republic of Ireland, where it was given to 10 baby girls last year. So, it’s a name that’s not entirely popular anywhere today.


Rare Irish Baby Names

Sheridan is an ideal Irish name that has two possible meanings: “searcher” or “untamed.” This elegant name is familiar enough without being too obscure. We’d love to see this name for girls more often.


Rare Irish Baby Names

Siobhan is the Irish Gaelic variation of Joan. The name is pronounced sheh-VAHN. The name means “grace of God.” Siobhan was the name of several early Irish queens and was introduced to the American pop culture by the actress Siobhan McKenna.


Rare Irish Baby Names

Already popular throughout the British Isles, Orla is the most popular spelling of the Gaelic name Órlaith or Órfhlaith, borne by the sister of the 11th-century Irish king Brian Boru. It means “golden princess.”

RELATED: 25 Rare Celtic Baby Names for Boys That Never Crossed the Pond


Rare Irish Baby Names

You’ll see both Una and Oona in Ireland. This beautiful name can be traced all the way back to ancient Roman times when it was adopted by the Irish. Now, it’s one of the few places the name lived on. The name means “lamb” or “one.”


Rare Irish Baby Names

In Irish mythology, the Fianna are small bands of warriors, who are famously led by the hero Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool). The singular form fiann is cognate with modern Irish fine “family group” and Old English wine “friend.” This name is pronounced FEE-uh-nah, making it a lovely alternative to Fiona. Fianna may also be used as an elaboration on the hugely popular Irish name Fiadh (Fia), which was the #1 girl name in Ireland last year.


Rare Irish Baby Names

The Old Irish name for Ireland, now Éire, which is the source of Erin (via its possessive form Éireann “of Ireland”). In Irish mythology, Ériu is the mother goddess of Ireland, whose name may derive from a Proto-Celtic word meaning “full, abundant.” The name is pronounced EH-ryu.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 30 Lucky and Beautiful Irish-Inspired Baby Names for Boys and Girls


Rare Irish Baby Names

Pronounced CLEE-uh-nah, Cliona is one of the lesser know Irish mythology names. In Irish lore, Clíodhna is a beautiful queen of the sidhe (a word for faeries) who falls in love with a mortal and is swept out to sea. The tide in the harbor of Glandore in County Cork is still known as Tonn Chlíodhna  meaning “Cliona‘s Wave.”

There you go! We hope you enjoyed these rare Irish baby names for girls in the US. If you would like to learn about other Irish baby names, please keep on reading. We have some names for girls inspired by Irish saints.

Discover a Name for Your Daughter Inspired by an Irish Saint!

25. Eithne / Enya

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

This phonetic Anglicization of the Irish name Eithne was made familiar by the single-named Irish singer and composer, Enya. Just a heads up, we will be providing you with Anglicized or at least more manageable forms of this names when necessary! St. Eithne was the daughter of a king and an early Irish convert to Christianity. This Irish baby name means “fire.”

24. Brigid / Bridget

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Born around 450, St. Brigid is one of the three chief saints of Ireland, along with St. Patrick and St. Columba. Born out of wedlock to a pagan chieftain and an enslaved Catholic mother, Brigid was raised a Catholic and was involved in many charitable acts. There are a number of notable Irish women with this name including more saints on this list who enjoyed its many variations. Brigid or Anglicized, Bridget, are both excellent choices. This Irish baby name means “power, vigor, virtue.”

23. Bronagh / Brona

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Born in the 6th century, Bronagh is well known for the bell from Cell Brónche (the church of Bronagh) in County Down. As a disciple of St. Patrick, Bronagh looked after shipwrecked sailors, and legend has it she used her bell to warn seafarers of any rising storms and to summon nuns to prayer. Brona is a little easier for most Americans to say and spell. This beautiful Irish baby name means “sorrow.”

22. Caoilfhionn / Kaylin

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

There’s very little known about this virgin saint from the 6th century, but a church bearing her name was apparently built in Roscommon. Meaning “slender” and “pure,” this tricky-to-spell name is both pretty and unusual. We suggest going with Keelan or even better Kaylin. This name is traditionally gender-neutral, but today it is favored for little boys in Ireland, often spelled Caelan.

21. Ciara / Kiera

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

The life of St. Cera, born in the 7th century, is often mixed up with another Cera born a century earlier. Yet, legend has it that when a town went up in flames, St. Brendan instructed the inhabitants to seek the prayers of Cera. Following her prayers, the town was saved. She would go on to form her own monastery, Kilcrea, in Cork. We love the name Ciara but its traditional pronunciation is closer to Kiera so we favor that option to honor this saint. This Irish baby name for girls means “little dark one.”

20. Darerca / Dareka

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

One of the wilier names on this list, but nonetheless one belonging to the alleged sister of St. Patrick, who had at least 17 sons, all of whom became bishops. As a saint, herself, a mother of saints, and of course, as sister to the Apostle of Ireland, your child will have a worthy Irish namesake. We prefer the spelling Dareka for American parents as it allows others to pronounce this one correctly. This name is so closely tied to the legendary saint that it means “St. Darerca.”

19. Fidelma

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Fidelma “the red” was the sister to Eithne “the fair,” with both dying at the Well of Clebach. Along with her sister, she is included in the Acts of St. Patrick. He built a church in their honor as a testament to his reverence for them. Fidelma is said to be St. Patrick’s first convert to Christianity. The pronunciation of this name is pretty straightforward, just be sure to put emphasis on the last syllable, and say fid-el-MA. Fidelma means “beauty, forever good.”

18. Ite / Ita

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Ite is deceptively simple in that most will say it wrong with confidence. Ite is pronounced Ee-da so we suggest the Anglicized spelling, Ita. Saint Ite, baptized Deirdre (also a great name), was born in 480 in County Waterford. As a pious young woman, she traveled to Killeedy in County Limerick and founded a small convent. With a capacity of prophecy and “spiritual discernment,” she was held in great regard by contemporary religious men and women and was a foster mother to many future saints. 

Ita is a beautiful Irish baby name that means “thirst for holiness.”

17. Maire / Myra

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Although this name is not attributed to an Irish saint, it is one that belongs to a beloved saint worldwide. As the original name in Ireland for the Holy Virgin, it was held in such respect that it didn’t come into use until the 15th century. This name is not pronounced like mare, it is closer to Myra. Maire shares its meaning with Mary, “drop in the sea.”

16. Athracht / Attracta

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Athracht lived in the sixth century and is associated with Conainne. Local tradition remembers her great healing powers and compassion. Her convents were famous for hospitality and charity to the poor. Athracht will likely throw some people so we suggest going with the Latinized form of the name, Attracta. The meaning of this name is “St. Athracht,” it’s completely tied to her.

15. Bega / Bridget / Becca

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Bega is a shortened form of a name most Americans will recognize as Bridget. Bega means “tiny” or “life.” St. Bega is associated in legend with a number of miracles, the most famous being the “Snow miracle” in which snow fell around the lands of a monastery to prevent a land dispute. She is the subject of many an earthy folktale due to people’s attraction to miracles.

14. Begnet / Begneta

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Two ruined churches in Dalkey are named for St. Begnet, one on Dalkey Island, and the other near the 15th-century stone townhouse now serving as Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre. Like many other female, virgin saints, she is described as beautiful and desirable, but she refused her numerous suitors in favor of religious devotion. Begnet is a diminutive form of Bec, which also gives us Bega. This name also means “tiny” or “life.”

13. Breage / Breaca

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Breage Parish Church is the Anglican parish church of the parish of Breage, Cornwall, England. It is dedicated to Saint Breage or Breaca, said to have been an Irish nun who came to Cornwall in the 5th-century. Since the traditions about Breage that have come down are late, the veracity of the details are doubted. This is so true that folks mixed up this saint’s gender and began calling her St. Brioc (a male name). The meaning of this is unclear and we think it is associated with Bearach which means “steep” or “pointed.”

12. Buriana / Breonna

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

St. Buriana is said to have been the daughter of an Irish king and travelled to Cornwall from Ireland as a missionary (this is a common Cornish theme) to convert the local people to Christianity. According to the Exeter Calendar of Martyrology, Buriana was the daughter of a Munster chieftain. Buriana is another form of Brian an Irish name meaning “strong” and “virtuous.”

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11. Conainne / Dachonna

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Conainne is somehow pronounced exactly the same as cognac, so you might want to go with this saint’s other name, St. Dachonna. Conainne was a female missionary who evangelized in the Soghain area of County Galway. She founded a church at Cell Conainne (“the church of Conainne”), in modern-day Kilconnell. It appears that the name of the more widely known St Connell was by error substituted for Connainne/Dachonna after the 16th century. This Irish baby name means “strong as a wolf” and shares the same roots with Connell.

10. Cere / Cyra

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

St. Cyra was a virgin saint and abbess of the monastery of Killchere (“Cyra’s Church”) in that part of Munster which was called Muscragia or Muskerry. This name is pronounced exactly like Kiera but without the A at the end. So, KEER. The names are related and thus it means “black” or “little dark one.”

9. Dymphna / Dimpna

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

St. Dymphna was born in Ireland in the 7th century. Dymphna’s father Damon was a petty king of Oriel. Dymphna devoted herself to christ and took a vow of chastity. Shortly thereafter, her religious mother passed away which caused her father to go mad. Eventually, he killed Dymphna after she fled his wrath in Belgium. St. Dymphna is known as the Lily of Éire, due to her spotless virtue. St. Dymphna’s name derives from the Irish damh meaning “poet.”

8. Edana

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Edana of Ireland was ordained monastic by St. Patrick himself. She is the patron saint of several parishes in western Ireland. A “famous holy well,” known for its healing properties, was named for her. Some sources state that the city of Edinburgh, close to the site where she founded a convent, was named for her. Her Irish name means “little flame.”

7. Sárnait / Sourney

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Sárnait, also known as Surney of Drumacoo or Sourney, was a 6th-century Irish saint. Surney was the founder of the church of Drumacoo, in the parish of Ballinderreen, County Galway. She was an associate of Colman mac Duagh, who was the bishop of the locality at the time. Sárnait is pronounced SAWR nit, which would be an interesting choice today! The name means “noble chief.”

6. Faber

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

There is a popular myth that St. Faber had a pet deer which carried the sacred books that she was entrusted with. One day, as she was travelling to meet Baron O Phelan at his castle in Boho, the deer was harassed by some hunting hounds. In order to escape, the deer jumped into the Sillees River and in the process ruined St Fabers books. The saint then placed a curse on the river that it would run backwards and sour. The meaning of this name is unclear. It could come from a Latin clan name meaning “smith” or it could be a form of an Irish name meaning “Constance.”

5. Samthann / Samhthann

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Samthann, modernized spelling Samhthann (pronounced SAHW-en), was an Irish folk saint purportedly a Christian nun and abbess in Early Christian Ireland. She is one of only four female Irish saints for whom Latin Lives exist.

According to legenc, on one occasion a lascivious monk visited the saint’s monastery and attempted to seduce one of the virgins living there. When he left the monastery and crossed the river to meet the girl a giant eel rose out of the water, bit him on the genitals, and wrapped itself around his waist. The eel remained in this position until the monk returned to the monastery and begged for and received forgiveness from St Samthann.

This name is believed to be related to Samhain, a folk festival marking the end of the harvest season. Thus this name likely means “summer’s end.”

4. Femia / Femme / Eufemia

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

St. Femia lived towards the end of the 6th century. A sister of Saint Felim of Kilmore and Saint Daig of Inniskeen, little is known about this Irish saint. The name is traditionally pronounced FE-va but you could go with the Latinized, Euphemia. The Irish meaning of this name is “modest.”

3. Ia / Hia

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Saint Ia of Cornwall (also known as EiaHia or Hya) was an evangelist and martyr of the 5th or 6th centuries in Cornwall. She is said to have been an Irish princess, the sister of Erc of Slane, and a student of Saint Baricus. A church of her namesake was erected on her grave in St. Ives. EE-ah is the Cornish pronunciation, but EYE-ah is also accepted. The name means “ice.”

2. Modwenna / Modwen

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

St. Modwenna or Modwen was an Irish noblewoman by birth and founded the abbey on an island in the River Trent. Modwenna spent seven years at the abbey with two other Irish nuns called Lazar and Althea, before the three embarked on a pilgrimage to Rome. Upon their return to England, they built a church at Stapenhill in honor of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. This name likely means “mannerly.”

RELATED: 25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

1. Cinnia / Cynnia

25 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Irish Saints to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Cinnia, or Cynnia, was an Irish saint who lived during the 5th century. She was a princess of Ulster, the only daughter of Echu (or Echadius), a king in the land of Neil in Ireland. She converted to Christianity, but her father wanted her to marry, so Saint Patrick intervened on her behalf. She became a nun and converted many pagans to Christianity. Cinnia is an Irish name that means “beauty.”

There you go! What did you think of these Saints’ names? We hope you found at least a couple worth considering. We know that these names can be a challenge for many Americans but some could totally work out here.

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