27 Of The Prettiest Irish Gaelic Girl Names And Their Meanings

irish gaelic girl names

If you’re in search of unique and beautiful Irish Gaelic girl names, you’ve landed in the right place.

We’ve published a lot of guides to Irish first names and Irish surnames over the years, yet we’ve received more emails about Gaelic names for girls than I can begin to remember.

So, here we are. In this guide, we’re bringing you the most unique, unusual, popular, beautiful and traditional Gaelic girls names.

You’ll find well known names, like Sorcha and Medbh, to some stunning Irish girls names, like Fiadh, Sadhbh and more. 

A guide to popular Gaelic girl names

You’ll find Gaelic names for girls in ever corner of the world, from the sandy beaches of Bondi to the lively streets of Bundoran.

Many years ago, Irish people lived in clans (read our guide to the Celts for more info). And many of the names from those times live strong today (albeit they’re regularly adaptions of Celtic names).

Over the years Ireland has been settled by everyone from the Anglo-Normans and the Vikings to the English and more, with each group adding to the tapestry of Irish culture.

Over the centuries many native Irish people emigrated (most notably during the Great Famine), carrying their Irish customs and way of life (and Gaelic girls names!) across the globe.

The most popular Gaelic names for girls

The first section of our guide tackles the most popular female Gaelic names. This is where you’ll find your Roisins and your Eimears.

Below, you’ll discover the origins behind each of the various Gaelic girls names, how to pronounce them and famous people with the same name.

1. Roisin

Gaelic girls names
Photo by Jemma See on shutterstock.com

Roisin is arguably one of the prettiest Gaelic names for girls. Interestingly enough, this name has been doing the rounds since the 16th century (it’s said the name Roisin increased in popularity thanks to the song the “Roisin Dubh”).

Although ‘Roisin’ can be tricky to say for some, this is a stunning name that’s steeped in Irishness. It also means ‘Little Rose’, which is why it’s one of the most popular Gaelic female names.

Beautiful Gaelic names for girls: what you need to know about the name Roisin

  • Pronunciation: Row-sheen
  • Meaning: Little rose
  • Famous Roisin’s: Roisin Murphy (singer-songwriter) Roisin Conaty (comedian)

2. Deirdre

Deirdre
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Deirdre is one of several Gaelic girls names that you tend to hear less and less of these days. However, its origin, which is linked to Irish folklore, gives it a quirky edge.

We’re talking, of course, about Dierdre of the Sorrows. Legend states that she tragically passed away after her partner was cruely was taken from her.

Pretty girls Gaelic names: what you need to know about the name Deirdre

  • Pronunciation: Dear-dra
  • Meaning: Sorrowful, raging or fear
  • Famous Deirdre’s: Deirdre O’Kane (Irish comedian and actress) and Deirdre Lovejoy (American actress)

3. Eimear

Gaelic names for girls
Photo by Jemma See on shutterstock.com

The name Eimear really is beautiful. It’s another one that owes its origins to folklore and the warrior king Cu Chulainn and his wife, Emear (Eimear is the modernised version of the name).

According to legend, Emer possessed what were then known as ‘the 6 gifts of womanhood’, and they included wisdom, beauty, speech, a gentle voice, chastity and a skull in needlework.

Cute Gaelic female names: what you need to know about the name Eimear

  • Pronunciation: E-mur
  • Meaning: Swift or ready (from the Irish word ‘eimh’)
  • Famous Eimear’s: Eimear Quinn (singer and composer) Eimear McBride (author)

4. Grainne

Grainne
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Ah, Grainne – one of a couple of Irish Gaelic girl names with an almost endless number of tales and legends attached to it.

The name ‘Grainne’ appears many times in Irish mythology and Irish history. In mythology, Grainne was the daughter of the legendary High King, Cormac mac Airt.

Common Gaelic girl names: what you need to know about the name Grainne

  • Pronunciation: Grawn-yah
  • Meaning: It’s thought the name is linked to the word ‘Ghrian’, which means ‘The Sun’
  • Famous Grainnes: Grainne Keenan (actress) Grainne Maguire (comedian)

5. Aine

Aine
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Aine is arguably one of the best-known traditional Irish Gaelic girl names and, like Grainne above, it has roots in Irish mythology.

We’re talking, of course, about the powerful Irish Celtic goddess of the same name that represents wealth and summer.

Popular Gaelic names for girls: what you need to know about the name Aine

  • Pronunciation: On-yah
  • Meaning: Summer, wealth, brightness, radiance and/or joy.
  • Famous Aines: Aine Lawlor (radio broadcaster) and Aine O’Gorman (footballer)

6. Laoise

Laoise
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If you’re looking for old Gaelic girl names that are both stunning and tricky to pronounce, you’ve found one in ‘Laoise’ – another name that’s said to mean ‘Light’ or ‘Radiant’.

The name Laoise is the female version of Lugh and Lugus (two names that frequent Irish mythology quite a bit).

Irish Gaelic girl names: what you need to know about the name Laoise

  • Pronunciation: Lah-weese
  • Meaning: Light and/or radiant
  • Famous Laoises: Laoise Murray (actress)

7. Aisling

Aisling
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Aisling is one of a handful of female Gaelic names that has several different spellings. You’ll often come across ‘Ashlynn’, ‘Aislinn’ and Ashling.

This was news to me until recently, but the name ‘Aisling’ was actually a name given to a specific genre of poetry that was practised in the 17th and 18th centuries in Ireland.

Well known Gaelic female names: what you need to know about the name Aisling

  • Pronunciation: Ash-ling
  • Meaning: Dream or vision (from the Irish-Gaelic word “aislinge”)
  • Famous Aisling’s: Aisling Bea (comedian) and Aisling Franciosi (actress)

Unique Irish Gaelic girls names

The second section of our girls Gaelic names guide is packed with some unique and unusual Gaelic names for girls.

Below, you’ll find gorgous (and fairly tricky to pronounce!) names like Sadhbh, Eadan and Cadhla to some old Gaelic girl names that have stood the test of time.

1. Cadhla

girls Gaelic names
Photo by Gert Olsson on shutterstock.com

Cadhla… you’d be doing well to say that 10 times quickly! This really is one of the more unique Gaelic female names and it’s easy to pronounce (Kay-La).

You’ll often see this name Anglicised as either ‘Keely’ or ‘Kayla’, but the spelling ‘Cadhla’ really is beautiful… the name also means ‘Beautiful’, which is a nice coincidence!

Old Gaelic names for girls: what you need to know about the name Cadhla

  • Pronunciation: Kay-la
  • Meaning: Beautiful or graceful
  • Famous Cadhlas: Yikes! We can’t find any (comment below if you know some)

2. Eadan

Eadan
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The name ‘Eadan’ is a funny one. It has many variations, and you’ll see both boys and girls give this as a name (usually ‘Aidan’ or ‘Eamon’ for boys and either ‘Eadan’ or ‘Etain’ for girls).

If we take the ‘Aidan’ variation, this name loosely means ‘Little Fire’, while the name ‘Etain’ means ‘Jealously’… I think I’d lean towards the former!

Unusual Gaelic girl names: what you need to know about the name Eadan

  • Pronunciation: Ee-din
  • Meaning: Little Fire or jealously, depending on the variation

3. Sadhbh

Sadhbh
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Sadhbh is an is one of the older Gaelic girls names and it’s one that we’ve seen pop up in both mythology and history.

In fact, several real and legendary princesses (you can see why it’s a popular one!) have had the name Sadhbh and it means ‘Goodness’ or, literally, ‘Sweet and lovely lady’.

Pretty Gaelic female names: what you need to know about the name Sadhbh

  • Pronunciation: Sigh-ve
  • Meaning:Sweet and lovely lady or simply, Goodness

4. Blaithin

Blaithin
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Although you’ll here ‘Blaithin’ often enough here in Ireland, this is one of several old Gaelic girl names that you rarely here abroad.

It’s the meaning behind the name ‘Blaithin’ that makes it so popular amongst new parents – ‘Little Flower’ – how beautiful is that?!

Old girls Gaelic names: what you need to know about the name Blaithin

  • Pronunciation: Blaw-heen
  • Meaning: Little flower

5. Sile

Gaelic female names
Photo by Gert Olsson on shutterstock.com

Sile is one of the more traditional Irish Gaelic girl names in this section of our guide, and you’ll often see it spelled ‘Sheila’.

It’s widely believed that the name ‘Sile’ is the Irish version of the Latin name ‘Caelia’, which means ‘Heavenly’.

Pretty Gaelic girl names: what you need to know about the name Sile

  • Pronunciation: She-la
  • Meaning: Heavenly
  • Famous Siles: Sile Seoige (Irish TV presenter)

6. Aoibhe

Aoibhe
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Aoibhe is one of many girls Gaelic names that has several variations (usually ‘Eva’ or ‘Ava’ outside of Ireland) and it’s beautiful to both read and hear spoken.

The meaning of this name is tricky. Usually, you’ll hear people say it means ‘Beauty’, which is what the similar sounding name ‘Aoife’ means. Others say it means ‘Life’, as this is what ‘Eva’ means.

Traditional Gaelic female names: what you need to know about the name Aoibhe

  • Pronunciation: Ee-vah or Ave-ah, depending on the person
  • Meaning: Beauty or life
  • Famous Aoibhes: We can’t find any, so please feel free to shout in the comments

7. Cliodhna

Cliodhna
Photo by Gert Olsson on shutterstock.com

If you’re familiar with your Irish myths, you’ll know that in some stories, Cliodhna is a member of the Tuatha De Dannan tribe of warriors, while in others she’s a Goddes of love.

During our research, the most accurate meaning behind this name that we could find was ‘Shapely’, which is a bit random, considering its links to such fierce warriors.

Popular Gaelic names for girls: what you need to know about the name Cliodhna

  • Pronunciation: Klee-ow-na
  • Meaning: Shapely
  • Famous Cliodhna’s: Cliodhna O’Connor (footballer)

Common Gaelic female names

Now, when I say ‘Common Gaelic female names’, I’m not saying it in a bad way – I just mean that these are Irish Gaelic girl names you hear pretty often.

Below, you’ll find your well known Gaelic female names, like Sinead and Sorcha, to some others that are very popular in Ireland, but that aren’t that common abroad.

1. Sinead

Sinead
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Sinead is arguably one of the best known girls Gaelic names and it has been one of the most popular Irish baby names in recent years.

It’s meaning, ‘God’s gracious gift’, is just one of the reasons it’s so popular amongst new parents. 

Old Gaelic girl names: what you need to know about the name Sinead

  • Pronunciation: Shin-ade
  • Meaning: God’s gracious gift
  • Famous Sinead’s: Sinead O’Connor (singer) Sinead Cusack (actress)

2. Sorcha

Sorcha
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The name Sorcha is believed to have stemmed from an old Irish word, ‘Sorchae’, which means ‘Brightness’. A gorgeous name for a bambino!

So, depending on the person, the way this name is pronounced will vary – I’ve a friend called ‘Sor-ka’. My girlfriend’s sister is called ‘Sur-cha’…

Common Gaelic female names: what you need to know about the name Sorcha

  • Pronunciation: Sor-kha or sor-cha
  • Meaning: Bright or brightness
  • Famous Sorcha’s: Sorcha Cusack (actress)

3. Bronagh

old Gaelic girl names
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Although it’s a popular name in 2021, ‘Bronagh’ is one of the older Gaelic names for girls. It’s believed that it’s a modern variation of Bronach, who was a 6th century holy woman.

She was also the Patron Saint of Kilbroney in County Down. However, it’s meaning (‘sad’ or ‘sorrowful’) puts some parents off.

Irish Gaelic names for girls: what you need to know about the name Bronagh

  • Pronunciation: Bro-nah
  • Meaning: Sad or sorrowful
  • Famous Bronaghs: Bronagh Gallagher (singer)

4. Shannon

Shannon
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Shannon is a name that many who’ve travelled to Ireland will know well, thanks to the River Shannon. However, there’s much more to this name.

Shannon, which means ‘Old River’, is linked to a Goddess by the name of ‘Sionna’ in Irish mythology (the name ‘Sionna’ means ‘Possessor of Wisdom’).

Traditional Irish Gaelic girl names: what you need to know about the name Shannon

  • Pronunciation: Shan-on
  • Meaning: Old river or possessor of wisdom
  • Famous Shannon’s: Shannon Elizabeth (American actress)

5. Meabh

Meabh
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Meabh is a fierce girls Gaelic name, thanks to the legendary Queen Medb of Connacht who was a formidable warrior and who has many great legends tied to here (see the Táin Bó Cúailnge).

However, the meaning of this name is a bit of a strange one. It’s said that ‘Meabh’ means ‘Intoxicating’ or ‘She who intoxicates’…

Old Gaelic female names: what you need to know about the name Meabh

  • Pronunciation: May-v
  • Meaning: Intoxicating

6. Orlaith

Orlaith
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The name Orlaith (or ‘Orla’) is believed to come from the name ‘Órfhlaith’ which, when broken down, means ‘golden princess’.

It’s not hard to see why this one is popular, is it?! In Irish legend, Orlaith was the sister of Brian Boru – the High King of Ireland.

Irish Gaelic names for girls: what you need to know about the name Orlaith

  • Pronunciation: Or-lah
  • Meaning: Golden princess

7. Emer

Emer
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Emer, like many girls Gaelic names, is an old name that has a few modern variations, such as ‘Eimhear’ and ‘Eimear’.

In the well-known legend, ‘The Wooing of Emer’, we learn the tale of Emer, the daughter of Forgall Monach, who was persuaded to marry Cu Chulainn.

Beautiful Gaelic girls names: what you need to know about the name Emer

  • Pronunciation: Ee-mer
  • Meaning: Swift
  • Famous Emers: Emer Kenny (British actress)

More beautiful female Gaelic names

The next section of our guide tackles some more gorgeous girls Gaelic names for you to consider (and, if you are considering, a congrats is in order!).

Below, you’ll find popular Gaelic girls names, like Bebhinn and Muireann, to several girls Gaelic names, like Liobhan, that you only tend to hear in Ireland.

1. Liobhan

Liobhan
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Liobhan is another of the more traditional girls Gaelic names that comes from Irish mythology. It’s believed to be a variation of the name ‘Li Ban’.

If you know your Irish legends, you’ll know ‘Li Ban’ was was the name of a mermaid who was captured in Lough Neagh in 558.

Popular Gaelic female names: what you need to know about the name Liobhan

  • Pronunciation: Lee-vin
  • Meaning: beauty of women or more simply beautiful

2. Etain

Etain
Photo by Kanuman on shutterstock.com

This old Irish name is steeped in mythology. It was the name of the heroine of Tochmarc Etaine. The fairy princess in Rutland Boughton’s opera, The Immortal Hour, is also called ‘Etain’.

This is one of several girls Gaelic names that you rarely hear these days, but it has a beautiful sound to it (even if the meaning is a bit muddled).

Beautiful Gaelic names for girls: what you need to know about the name Etain

  • Pronunciation: Ee-tane
  • Meaning: It’s believed to mean ‘passion’ or ‘jealousy’

3. Muireann

Muireann
Photo by Gert Olsson on shutterstock.com

The name ‘Muireann’ is another of several Gaelic girls names that’s steeped in folklore, and its meaning (‘Of the sea’) 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.

Unique Gaelic girl names: what you need to know about the name Muireann

  • Pronunciation: Mwur-in
  • Meaning: Of the sea
  • Famous Muireanns: Muireann Niv Amhlaoibh (musician)

4. Bebhinn

Irish Gaelic girl names
Photo by Gert Olsson on shutterstock.com

If you’re looking at the name above and scratching your head, you’re likely not the only one – this is one of countless Gaelic girls names that’s tricky to pronounce for the first time.

This unique name has been used throughout early Irish history. According to some mythological sources, Bebhinn was a goddess that was associated with birth, while others suggest that she was an underworld goddess.

Stunning Gaelic female names: what you need to know about the name Bebhinn

  • Pronunciation: Bay-veen
  • Meaning: Melodious or pleasant sounding woman

5. Fiadh

Fiadh
Photo by Gert Olsson on shutterstock.com

Last year, Fiadh was confirmed to be the third most popular girls name according to the Central Stastics Office in Ireland.

This is one of the more unique Gaelic girls names and it both looks and sounds beautiful (easily pronounced ‘Fee-ahh’).

Cool Gaelic names for girls: what you need to know about the name Fiadh

  • Pronunciation: Fee-ahh
  • Meanings: Deer, wild and respect

6. Clodagh

female Gaelic names
Photo by Jemma See on shutterstock.com

The name Clodagh has been around for quite some time, although it wasn’t until the late 19th century that it really saw a rise in popularity thanks to John Beresford.

Beresford, the 5th Marquess of Waterford, named his daughter after the River Clodagh in Waterford, and the name received a surge in popularity.

Popular Irish Gaelic girl names: what you need to know about the name Clodagh

  • Pronunciation: Clo-dah
  • Meaning: No clear meaning
  • Famous Clodaghs: Clodagh Rodgers (singer) Clodagh McKenna (chef)

List of Gaelic girl names

  • Liobhan
  • Etain
  • Muireann
  • Bebhinn
  • Fiadh
  • Clodagh
  • Cadhla
  • Eadan
  • Sadhbh
  • Blaithin
  • Sile
  • Aoibhe
  • Cliodhna
  • Roisin
  • Deirdre
  • Eimear
  • Grainne
  • Aine
  • Laoise
  • Aisling

FAQs about the most beautiful Gaelic girls names

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What are the prettiest Irish Gaelic girl names’ to ‘Which old old Gaelic girl names are the most traditional?’. 

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

What are the prettiest Gaelic girl names?

This will be subjective but, when it comes to female Gaelic names, we’re very fond of Fiadh, Aisling, Sorcha and Medbh.

What Gaelic names for girls are the most traditional?

Again, this depends on how you define ‘traditional’. The older Gaelic female names are the likes of Aine, Fiadh and Aoife.

What female Gaelic names are hardest to pronounce?

Although this varies person-to-person, some of the trickiest to pronounce Gaelic girl names area Saoirse, Muireann, Aoibheann and Sorcha.

I was born in a quiet corner of a Gaeltacht on the Dingle Peninsula. Over the years, I've explored Ireland far and wide, from the wilds of West Clare to the shores of Sherkin. Particularly fond of heritage, history and hikes (and words beginning with 'H', apparently...).

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