2020 Irish Name Ranking Analysis

So because we are deeply blessed and their are fewer of us to calculate [name_f]Ireland[/name_f]'s rankings for the last years most popular names comes out in [name_u]February[/name_u] instead of [name_f]May[/name_f] like the American rankings. So to celebrate the release and as a little early St [name_m]Patrick[/name_m]'s day present to Nameberry I thought I would do a Nameberry-style analysis of the new data. I hope you enjoy :sparkles:

The Top Ten

The Boys
  1. [name_m]Jack[/name_m]
  2. [name_u]James[/name_u]
  3. [name_u]Noah[/name_u]
  4. [name_m]Daniel[/name_m]
  5. [name_m]Conor[/name_m]
  6. [name_u]Finn[/name_u]
  7. [name_u]Liam[/name_u]
  8. [name_u]Fionn[/name_u]
  9. [name_u]Harry[/name_u]
  10. [name_u]Charlie[/name_u]
The Girls
  1. [name_f]Grace[/name_f]
  2. [name_f]Fiadh[/name_f]
  3. [name_f]Emily[/name_f]
  4. [name_f]Sophie[/name_f]
  5. [name_f]Ava[/name_f]
  6. [name_f]Amelia[/name_f]
  7. [name_f]Ella[/name_f]
  8. [name_f]Hannah[/name_f]
  9. [name_f]Lucy[/name_f]
  10. [name_f]Mia[/name_f]

This is a big year for the Irish Top Ten, especially on the girls side, the long reigning [name_f]Emily[/name_f] was knocked down to number three after nine years of being in the top spot. The internationally popular [name_f]Emily[/name_f] was replaced by [name_f]Grace[/name_f] and [name_f]Fiadh[/name_f]. [name_f]Grace[/name_f] is a name with deep connections to Irish history and culture with the famous pirate queen [name_f]Grace[/name_f] O’[name_f]Malley[/name_f] and [name_f]Grace[/name_f] [name_m]Gifford[/name_m] Plunkett, an artist and a figure in 1916 Rising with a popular folksong that bears her name. [name_f]Fiadh[/name_f] is a name that has taken the Irish naming world by storm, only entering the top 100 in 2018 and entering the charts for the first time ever in 2002, the name comes from the Irish word fia meaning ‘wild’ and is part of a greater trend that I will go into later. Other than the top two the girls names seem to align with [name_f]English[/name_f]-speaking trends and match pretty seamlessly with most popular names on the neighbouring island, [name_f]Ava[/name_f] gained some ground, [name_f]Hannah[/name_f] seems to be falling and [name_f]Ellie[/name_f] left the top ten and was replaced by [name_f]Lucy[/name_f].

There was no matching overthrow on the boys side, [name_m]Jack[/name_m] remains in his top spot with nearly 150 more births than the number two name [name_u]James[/name_u]. The biggest change was [name_m]Adam[/name_m] and [name_m]Luke[/name_m] falling from the top ten to be replaced by [name_u]Finn[/name_u] and [name_u]Fionn[/name_u] (which are pronounce differently in [name_f]Ireland[/name_f] as fin and fyun), these names come from the story of [name_u]Fionn[/name_u] mac Cumhaill and the [name_f]Fianna[/name_f], a classic Irish myth turned perennially popular children’s story. [name_m]Tadhg[/name_m] also left the top ten to be replaced by [name_u]Harry[/name_u], maybe [name_f]Ireland[/name_f] has a little admiration for the neighbouring island’s rebel prince.

As an Irish-American living in [name_f]Ireland[/name_f], I do feel the need to point out the both number one names are shared by possibly the most famous Irish-Americans ever: [name_m]Jack[/name_m] [name_u]Kennedy[/name_u] and [name_f]Grace[/name_f] [name_u]Kelly[/name_u]. Coincidence? I think not!

Playground Popularity

Playground Boys Top 10
  1. [name_m]Jack[/name_m]
  2. [name_u]James[/name_u]
  3. [name_u]Noah[/name_u]
  4. [name_u]Darragh[/name_u]
  5. [name_m]Seán[/name_m]
  6. [name_m]Rían[/name_m]
  7. [name_m]Conor[/name_m]
  8. [name_m]Daniel[/name_m]
  9. [name_m]Cillian[/name_m]
  10. [name_u]Fionn[/name_u]
Playground Girls Top 10
  1. [name_f]Ava[/name_f]
  2. [name_f]Fiadh[/name_f]
  3. [name_f]Grace[/name_f]
  4. [name_f]Amelia[/name_f]
  5. [name_f]Sophia[/name_f]
  6. [name_f]Emily[/name_f]
  7. [name_f]Sophie[/name_f]
  8. [name_f]Lily[/name_f]
  9. [name_f]Hannah[/name_f]
  10. [name_f]Mia[/name_f]

The Playground Popularity ranking included a major upset and several unexpected champions. [name_f]Grace[/name_f] was knocked down by not only [name_f]Fiadh[/name_f] (with her two other spellings [name_f]Fíadh[/name_f] and [name_f]Fia[/name_f]) but [name_f]Ava[/name_f] which took the number one spot from both of them due the the popularity of her homophone Éabha (the gaelization of [name_f]Eve[/name_f]). Also joining the girls top ten with their combined spellings are [name_f]Sophia[/name_f] and [name_f]Lily[/name_f].

On the boys side a somewhat international top ten became packed with popular Irish names with several spellings, [name_u]Darragh[/name_u], [name_m]Seán[/name_m] and [name_m]Rían[/name_m] had five spellings each. If [name_u]Fionn[/name_u] and [name_u]Finn[/name_u] had been combined they would have beaten [name_m]Jack[/name_m] by nearly 100 births, but as mentioned previously they have different pronunciations here. [name_u]Darragh[/name_u] though perennially popular has never been in the top ten on his own merits, but with three individually popular spellings ([name_u]Darragh[/name_u]/Dara/Dáire) he flew all the way up to number four. [name_m]Seán[/name_m] had fallen out of the top 10 on his own merits in 2017 having been there for twenty-eight years (everybody knows a [name_m]Seán[/name_m]). [name_m]Rían[/name_m] is definitely one to watch in the coming years (pronounced as ree-in not like [name_u]Ryan[/name_u]), he like [name_f]Fiadh[/name_f] has only enter the top 100 recently and is quickly storming the charts and has the rather sweet meaning of ‘little king’. [name_m]Cillian[/name_m] also made a jump from his number eleven spot into the top ten.

Greatest Rank Change Boys
  1. [name_m]Odhrán[/name_m]
  2. [name_u]Darragh[/name_u]
  3. [name_m]Eoin[/name_m]
  4. [name_m]Seán[/name_m]
  5. [name_m]Rían[/name_m]
  6. [name_u]Rory[/name_u]
  7. [name_u]Jackson[/name_u]
  8. [name_u]Kayden[/name_u]
  9. [name_m]Tadhg[/name_m]
  10. [name_m]Cillian[/name_m]
Greatest Rank Change Girls
  1. [name_f]Ava[/name_f]
  2. [name_f]Sophia[/name_f]
  3. [name_f]Amelia[/name_f]
  4. [name_f]Aoibhín[/name_f]
  5. [name_f]Ada[/name_f]
  6. [name_f]Fiadh[/name_f]
  7. [name_f]Isabelle[/name_f]
  8. [name_f]Méabh[/name_f]
  9. [name_f]Molly[/name_f]
  10. [name_f]Lily[/name_f]

Most of the names that saw the highest growth rates wound up in the revised top ten, with some interesting exceptions. There are the ones who always benefit from the Playground rankings like [name_u]Jackson[/name_u] and his brother [name_m]Jaxon[/name_m] and all of the Kaydens, all of the possible Lilys, we know the drill with these ones. Some more interesting ones are Nameberry favourites [name_u]Rory[/name_u] and [name_f]Maeve[/name_f] (here represented by her most common Irish spelling [name_f]Méabh[/name_f]) and some Irish names who’s multiple spellings really add up like [name_m]Odhrán[/name_m] and [name_f]Aoibhín[/name_f].

Irish Origins

Top 10 Boys Name of Irish Origin
  1. [name_m]Conor[/name_m] – 5
  2. [name_u]Finn[/name_u] – 6
  3. [name_u]Liam[/name_u] – 7
  4. [name_u]Fionn[/name_u] – 8
  5. [name_m]Cillian[/name_m] – 11
  6. [name_u]Darragh[/name_u] – 12
  7. [name_m]Rían[/name_m] – 15
  8. [name_m]Oisín[/name_m] – 16
  9. [name_m]Tadhg[/name_m] – 18
  10. [name_m]Seán[/name_m] – 20
Top 10 Girls Name of Irish Origin
  1. [name_f]Fiadh[/name_f] – 2
  2. Éabha – 16
  3. [name_f]Saoirse[/name_f] – 20
  4. [name_f]Aoife[/name_f] – 24
  5. [name_f]Caoimhe[/name_f] – 27
  6. [name_f]Róisín[/name_f] – 30
  7. [name_f]Cara[/name_f] – 36
  8. [name_f]Sadhbh[/name_f] – 39
  9. [name_f]Clodagh[/name_f] – 46
  10. [name_f]Ciara[/name_f] – 48

With these lists I included their rankings next to them, which reveals the interesting fact that all of the top ten boys names of Irish origin land in the general top twenty, while for the girls you have to expand your search to the top fifty. This could mean that is much more common to give a boy an Irish name than a girl, but I think based on my research that it instead means that there are a wider selection of girls names to chose from while there is a smaller set boys names. So essentially if you were to pick five boys with Irish names off street the you might get three Conors, a [name_u]Finn[/name_u] and a [name_m]Tadhg[/name_m], where with girls you’d get a [name_f]Fiadh[/name_f], an [name_f]Aoife[/name_f], an [name_f]Aisling[/name_f], a [name_f]Méabh[/name_f] and a [name_f]Niamh[/name_f].

It is also interesting to note that only four of these names ([name_u]Liam[/name_u], [name_m]Seán[/name_m], Éabha and [name_f]Róisín[/name_f]) are Irish equivalents of [name_f]English[/name_f] names ([name_m]William[/name_m], [name_m]John[/name_m], [name_f]Eve[/name_f] and [name_f]Rosie[/name_f]), the rest of them have their own histories. Other classic Irish equivalents like Séamus, [name_m]Pádraig[/name_m], Máire, Máiread, [name_f]Siobhán[/name_f] and Sineád have fallen to the bottom of the chart some with only single digit occurrences.


Irish Word Names

-Aoise [coming from Aois meaning age or era] (3)
-Cadhla [ rope ] (30)
-[name_f]Cara[/name_f] [friend] (135)
-Céilí [a friendly visit or an Irish dancing session] (3)
-Féile [festival] (5)
-[name_f]Fiadh[/name_f] [coming from [name_f]Fia[/name_f] meaning wild] (366)
-Líle [lily] (4)
-Nóinín [ daisy ] (4)
-[name_f]Saoirse[/name_f] [freedom] (214)
-Síofra [changeling] (33)

-Croí [heart] (3 girls) (3 boys)

-Bradán [salmon] (4)
-Crú [shoe (but like a horseshoe not a person shoe)] (3)
-Fiach [raven or hunt] (7)
-[name_u]Gael[/name_u] [an Irish person] (7)
-Grian [sun] (3)
-[name_m]Luan[/name_m] [[name_f]Monday[/name_f]] (20)
-Rí [[name_m]King[/name_m]] (7)
-[name_m]Rua[/name_m] [[name_u]Red[/name_u]] (13)

This is the trend that [name_f]Fiadh[/name_f] and the most recent foreign export [name_f]Saoirse[/name_f] come from. Some of these have links to nature (Líle and Nóinín), some to mythology and folk tales (Síofra and Bradán) and some seem to be entirely random. Croí the Irish word for heart manages to situate itself as a gender-neutral choice. Though my particular favourite is Aoise, because rather interestingly the word for Birth Certificate is Teastas Aoise, maybe some very last minute naming inspiration while filling out the forms.

Gods and Goddesses Names

-Áine (52)
-Clíodhna (4)
-Danú (3)
-[name_f]Diana[/name_f] (14)
-Éiru (5)
-Fódhla (8)
-[name_f]Freya[/name_f] (179)
-[name_f]Gaia[/name_f] (5)
-[name_f]Juno[/name_f] (15)
-[name_m]Lir[/name_m] (3)
-[name_m]Lugh[/name_m] (3)
-[name_f]Luna[/name_f] (61)
-[name_m]Odin[/name_m] (17)
-[name_f]Rhea[/name_f] (30)

These tend to mostly be Irish Gods and Goddesses, but there are some Norse ([name_f]Freya[/name_f] and [name_m]Odin[/name_m]), Greek ([name_f]Rhea[/name_f]) and [name_m]Roman[/name_m] ([name_f]Diana[/name_f] and [name_f]Juno[/name_f]) thrown in as well.

Double Barrelled Names

-[name_f]Anna[/name_f]-[name_f]Mae[/name_f] (3)
-[name_f]Ava[/name_f]-[name_f]Rose[/name_f] (6)
-[name_f]Bella[/name_f]-[name_f]Rose[/name_f] (3)
-[name_f]Demi[/name_f]-[name_u]Leigh[/name_u] (3)
-[name_f]Ella[/name_f]-[name_f]Rose[/name_f] (3)
-[name_f]Ella[/name_f]-[name_f]Mae[/name_f] (3)
-[name_f]Ellie[/name_f]-[name_f]Rose[/name_f] (3)
-[name_f]Ellie[/name_f]-[name_f]Mae[/name_f] (10)
-[name_f]Gracie[/name_f]-[name_f]Mae[/name_f] (4)
-[name_u]Harper[/name_u]-[name_f]Lily[/name_f] (3)
-[name_f]Ivy[/name_f]-[name_f]Rose[/name_f] (4)
-[name_m]John[/name_m]-[name_m]Paul[/name_m] (3)
-[name_f]Lily[/name_f]-[name_f]Mae[/name_f] (8)
-[name_f]Lily[/name_f]-[name_f]Rose[/name_f] (7)
-[name_f]Mary[/name_f]-[name_f]Jane[/name_f] (3)
-[name_f]Mary[/name_f]-[name_f]Kate[/name_f] (6)
-[name_f]Molly[/name_f]-[name_f]Mae[/name_f] (8)
-[name_m]Muhammad[/name_m]-[name_u]Ali[/name_u] (3)
-[name_u]Ruby[/name_u]-[name_f]Mae[/name_f] (3)
-[name_m]Tommy[/name_m]-[name_u]Lee[/name_u] (3)
-[name_u]Willow[/name_u]-[name_f]Rose[/name_f] (3)

The ever present import from the neighbouring island, double barrelled names seem to crop up everywhere, most of them are girls, most ending in either [name_f]Mae[/name_f] or [name_f]Rose[/name_f], though [name_m]John[/name_m]-[name_m]Paul[/name_m] (a catholic favourite) does make an appearance.

If you’ve stuck around all the way to the end thank you, I had a lot of fun putting this together.


I love to see [name_f]Fiadh[/name_f] so high up it’s a great name !

1 Like

such an interesting read, thank you!


this is so interesting! thank you

This is my favorite thing. I hope [name_f]Fiadh[/name_f] keeps getting more attention so that maybe it will become usable where I am!

This was interesting to read! Thanks for sharing with us :slight_smile:

Thank you so much for doing this! I love Irish names and I’m always looking for more info/education to broaden my knowledge of them :slight_smile:

I love some of these names! [name_f]Beautiful[/name_f].