The BIG Guide To Beautiful And Old Irish Girl Names And Their Meanings

irish girls names guide
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If you’re in search of popular Irish girl names and beautiful Irish baby girl names, you’ve landed in the right place.

If you read our bumper guides Irish boys names, Gaelic girl names and Irish last names, you’ll know that we embarked on a project recently to cover all things Irish names.

In this guide, we’re tackling Irish girls names – the most traditional, the most beautiful and the most unique. Each name contains a brief explanation along with interesting facts.

A guide to popular Irish girl names

Irish names can be found all over the world, from County Carlow to California and everywhere and anywhere in between.

Originally Irish people lived in family “kin” groups or clans (read our guide to the Celts for more info). And many of those Irish first names are present to this day.

Over the years Ireland has been settled by Anglo-Normans, Vikings, Scots and the English and each group has added to the tapestry of Irish culture.

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

The Most Popular Irish Baby Girl Names

The first section of our guide tackles the most common popular Irish girl names. This is where you’ll find your Aine’s and your Eimear’s.

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

1. Aine

Irish names for girls
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Aine is arguably one of the best-known traditional Irish girls name and, interestingly enough, it stems from Irish mythology and a very powerful Goddess.

The name Aine, which means radiance, is the name of an Irish Celtic goddess who represents both wealth and summer.

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

  • Pronunciation: Awn-yah
  • Meaning: The meaning is linked to the goddess of summer and is thought to mean brightness, radiance or joy.
  • Famous Aine’s: Aine Lawlor (radio broadcaster), Aine Minogue (harpist, singer and composer) and Aine O’Gorman (footballer)

2. Aisling

Aisling
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Aisling is one of several Irish baby girl names that has numerous different spellings (Ashling, Ashlynn and Aislinn) and it was a name given to a poetic genre from the late 17th and early 18th centuries in Ireland.

Despite being one of the most popular Irish girls names over the last number of decades, the name Aisling wasn’t actually used as a first name until the 20th century.

Old Irish female names: what you need to know about the name Aisling

  • Pronunciation: Ash-ling
  • Meaning: The name is derived from the Irish-Gaelic word “aislinge” which means dream or vision
  • Famous Aisling’s: Aisling Bea (comedian) and Aisling Franciosi (actress)

3. Fiona

Fiona
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The name Fiona is another popular one, and you’ll see it pop up in movies (remember Shrek… or, eh, maybe don’t!).

Despite having Scottish and Gaelic origins, the name Fiona has become popular all over the world and is said to mean ‘White’ or ‘Fair’.

Common Irish baby girl names: what you need to know about the name Fiona

  • Pronunciation: Fee-oh-na
  • Meaning: The name is thought to come from the Gaelic word ‘Fionn’ meaning white or fair
  • Famous Fiona’s: Fiona Shaw (Irish actress) and Fiona Apple (American singer)

4. Deirdre

Deirdre
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Deirdre is one of many Irish girl names in this guide that you hear less and less of these days. It’s origin all begins with a tale from Irish folklore.

The heroine was known as Dierdre of the Sorrows who passed tragically after her lover was taken from her. Despite the tragic tale, it’s still somehow emerged as a popular name in Ireland.

Pretty Irish baby girl names: what you need to know about the name Deirdre

  • Pronunciation: Deer-drah
  • Meaning: True to the Irish legend of Deirdre of the Sorrows, the name means ‘Sorrowful’, ‘Raging’ or ‘Fear’
  • Famous Deirdre’s: Deirdre O’Kane (Irish comedian and actress) and Deirdre Lovejoy (American actress)

5. Roisin

Roisin
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Roisin is arguably one of the most beautiful Irish baby girl names and it has been popular since the 16th century thanks to a famous love song called “Roisin Dubh” (there’s also a pub in Galway of the same name).

Although the name can be tricky for some to pronounce, this is a name steeped in Irishness and its meaning, ‘Little rose’, is one of the reasons it’s a popular Irish girls name amongst new parents.

Traditional Irish female names: what you need to know about the name Roisin

  • Pronunciation: Ro-sheen
  • Meaning: Roisin means ‘Little rose’ in Gaelic
  • Famous Roisin’s: Roisin Murphy (singer-songwriter) Roisin Conaty (comedian)

6. Eimear

Eimear
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The name Eimear, like several classic Irish girl names in this guide, has origins in Irish folklore. It is thought that it is a variant of Emer, the wife of the hero Cu Chulainn.

She was said to possess the six gifts of womanhood: beauty, a gentle voice, speech, skill in needlework, wisdom and chastity.

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

  • Pronunciation: Ee-mer
  • Meaning: It’s thought that the name comes from the Irish word ‘Eimh’ which means ‘Swift’ or ‘Ready’
  • Famous Eimear’s: Eimear Quinn (singer and composer) Eimear McBride (author)

7. Caragh

Caragh
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Caragh is a popular Irish girls name that is considered to be a variant to the more commonly known name outside of Ireland, ‘Cara’.

Believed to mean either ‘Beloved’ or ‘Friend’, the name Caragh has a gorgeous Irish twang to it. Go on – say it out loud and you’ll see what I mean!

Beautiful Irish names for girls: what you need to know about the name Caragh

  • Pronunciation: Car-ah
  • Meaning: The beautiful meaning of Caragh means ‘Beloved’ or ‘Friend’
  • Famous Caragh’s: Caragh O’Brien (author)

8. Riona

Riona
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Riona is one of the more traditional Irish baby girl names and it’s believed to be a variant on the name ‘Rionach’. There’s a bit of ‘greyness’ around where this name comes from.

Some sources online says that Rionach was a wife of Niall of the Nine Hostages, but further research leads us to believe that wasn’t the case, so be wary of any meanings for this name you find online.

Traditional Irish female names: what you need to know about the name Riona

  • Pronunciation: Ree-ona
  • Meaning: The name apparently means ‘Queenly’ or ‘Queen-like’
  • Famous Rionas: Ríona Ó Duinnín (musician)

9. Kayleigh

Kayleigh
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This name Kayleigh is another of the more beautiful Irish female names that both reads and sounds very Irish. However, there is some dispute online over whether it’s origins are Irish.

Kayleigh in Irish is Caoileann, which means ‘Fair and lender’. This also has plenty of variations in spelling from Kayley to Kaylee and has become a popular girls’ name around the world.

Unique Irish baby girl names: what you need to know about the name Kayleigh

  • Pronunciation: Kay-lee
  • Meaning: Kayleigh comes from the Irish name Caoileann which means ‘Fair, beautiful and slender’
  • Famous Kayleighs: Kayleigh McEnany (political commentator)

10. Orla

Orla
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Orla, which means ‘Golden princess’, is arguably one of the most popular Irish girl names. It’s easy to pronounce (for most) and it has a close link with Brian Boru – the High King of Ireland.

Boru’s sister was called Órlaith íngen Cennétig and she was queen to another Irish High King – Donnchad Donn. It was one of the most common names back in the 12th century and had a more recent revival in the late 20th century. 

Classic Irish girl names: what you need to know about the name Orla

  • Pronunciation: Or-lah
  • Meaning: The original form of the name is Orfhlaith which translates to ‘Golden princess’ in Gaelic
  • Famous Orla’s: Orla Brady (actress) Orla Kiely (fashion designer)

11. Laoise

Laoise
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If you’re looking for hard to pronounce Irish names for girls, you’ve found one. Laoise is the feminine version of the mythological names Lugh and Lugus.

It’s one of the most mispronounced Irish female names for those who are unfamiliar with Gaelic words.

Traditional Irish female names: what you need to know about the name Laoise

  • Pronunciation: Lah-weese
  • Meaning: The name comes from Irish words that mean light and is thought to mean ‘Radiant’
  • Famous Laoises: Laoise Murray (actress)

The Most Beautiful (In Our Opinion) Irish Names For Girls

The second section of our guide tackles what we think are the most beautiful Irish female names. These are popular Irish girls names that people sometimes find hard to pronounce.

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

1. Caoimhe

Caoimhe
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Caoimhe is a very popular Irish girls name and it is said to mean ‘Beautiful’, ‘Dear’, ‘Gentle’ and ‘Graceful’. It’s also the name of an Irish saint and is closely related to the boy’s name ‘Caoimhim’.

Interestingly enough, the name ‘Caoimhe’ was ranked 19th in a collection of the most popular Irish bay girl names in Ireland in 2014.

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

  • Pronunciation: Kwee-vaah
  • Meaning: Caoimhe has a Gaelic-Scottish origin and is said to mean Beautiful’, ‘Dear’, ‘Gentle’ and ‘Graceful’
  • Famous Caoimhes: Caoimhe Butterly (activist) Caoimhe Archibald (politician)

2. Saoirse

Saoirse
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Ah, Saoirse, the classis Irish girl name that people tend to butcher the most! This unique name became popular in Ireland in the 1920s and means ‘Liberty’ and ‘Freedom’.

The famous Irish American actress Saoirse Ronan has certainly helped the name gain popularity and clarity around its otherwise difficult pronunciation to people outside of Ireland.

Traditional Irish female names: what you need to know about the name Saoirse

  • Pronunciation: Seer-sha or sur-sha
  • Meaning: The name means ‘Freedom’ and many believe that its emergence in the 1920s was tied to Irish independence which had dominated the decade
  • Famous Saoirses: Saoirse Ronan (actress)

3. Cara

best irish girl names
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Cara is one of my favourite Irish female names, as it means ‘Friend’ in Irish. One of the simpler Irish names to pronounce, Cara has a range of origins from Latin and Greek to Celtic.

In Latin it means ‘Darling’, ‘Loved one’ and ‘Beloved’, so regardless of origin, it has a some lovely tones attached to it.

Beautiful Irish names for girls: what you need to know about the name Cara

  • Pronunciation: Kar-ah
  • Meaning: In Irish, Cara simply means ‘Friend’
  • Famous Caras: Cara Dillon (Irish folk singer)

4. Treasa

Treasa
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Treasa is another Irish girls name that has ties to several different countries. It also has a plethora of different spellings.

This is an old name that is often considered to be the Irish version of ‘Teresa’, which is a popular English name.

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

  • Pronunciation: Tre-sah
  • Meaning: It’s thought to mean ‘Strength’ or ‘Intensity’ in Gaelic
  • Famous Treasas: Mother Teresa (Saint) and Theresa Ahearn (Irish Member of Parliament)

5. Clodagh

Clodagh
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This name became popular in the 20th century after Lady Clodagh Anson was named after the River Clodagh that flows in County Waterford and Tipperary.

This is one of many Irish baby girl names that you don’t really see outside of Ireland. However, you do see it from time-to-time the US.

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

  • Pronunciation: Clo-dah
  • Meaning: We can’t find a clear meaning for this name
  • Famous Clodaghs: Clodagh Rodgers (singer) Clodagh McKenna (chef)

6. Ailbhe

Ailbhe
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The name Ailbhe name has been used as both a male and female name over time, although now it’s considered mostly an Irish girls name.

This is another very pretty name that has a lovely Irish twang to it when pronounced correctly (al-vah).

Traditional Irish baby girl names: what you need to know about the name Murphy

  • Pronunciation: Al-vah
  • Meaning: In Gaelic, it’s considered to mean ‘White’ or ‘Bright’, while some believe it means ‘Noble’
  • Famous Ailbhes: Ailbhe Reddy (singer)

7. Aoibheann

Aoibheann
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The name ‘Aoibheann’ comes from the ancient Irish girls name ‘Óebfinn’ (if you can pronounce that, fair play to you!). Óebfinn means ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Fair’ (Óeb is ‘Beauty’ and Finn means ‘Fair’).

While this is often seen as one of the more modern Irish baby girl names, it has close ties to the name Enda, which has been around for many a year (Enda of Aran passed in c.530).

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

  • Pronunciation: Aey-veen
  • Meaning: This name is said to mean ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Fair’
  • Famous Aoibheanns: Aoibheann McCaul (actress)

8. Niamh

Niamh
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This is one of the most popular Irish baby girl names in Ireland and its origin goes back to Irish mythology. Niamh was the daughter of the God of the Sea and lover of the poet Oisin.

She was often referred to as ‘Niamh of the Golden Hair’, which relates to the name’s meaning (yep, another one that means ‘Radiant’).

Traditional Irish girls names: what you need to know about the name Niamh

  • Pronunciation: Kneev
  • Meaning: Niamh translates to mean ‘Radiance’ or ‘Brightness’
  • Famous Niamh’s: Niamh Cusack (actress) Niamh Algar (actress)

9. Ciara

Ciara
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Ciara isn’t just a popular classic Irish girls name, it’s also used across the world and pronounced in a multitude of ways.

The name ‘Ciara’ is the female version of the boys name ‘Ciaran’, which means ‘Dark haired’. You’ll also see it spelled ‘Keira’.

Common Irish baby girl names: what you need to know about the name Ciara

  • Pronunciation: Keer-ah
  • Meaning: The name is a female version of ‘Ciaran’, which means ‘Dark haired’ in Irish
  • Famous Ciaras: Saint Cera (7th century abbess)

10. Aoife

Aoife
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While Aoife is one of the more common Irish girl names, it’s one of the most beautiful (it’s also handy enough to pronounce, for most).

In Irish mythology, Aoife was a warrior and lover of Cuchulainn. The name is closely related in meaning to several others including, ‘Aoibheann’ and ‘Aoibhe’.

Beautiful Irish names for girls: what you need to know about the name Aoife

  • Pronunciation: Ee-fa
  • Meaning: The name is considered to be derived from ‘Aoibh’ which means ‘Radiance’ and ‘Beauty’
  • Famous Aoifes: Aoife Dooley (Irish writer) Aoife Mulholland (Irish actress)

Unique Irish Girl Names

The next section of our guide tackles some of the more unique Irish names for girls – and there’s plenty of them!

Many of the names below are often regarded as traditional Irish girls names, but each is also beautifully unique (and some are a little unusual).

1. Fiadh

Fiadh
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Fiadh (‘Fee-ahh’) really is a stunner of a name. And, interestingly enough, last year, this was the 3rd most popular Irish girls name according to the Central Stastics Office in Ireland.

Fiadh is definitely of the more unique Irish names for girls and it both looks and sounds beautiful. It’s meaning (‘Wild’ or ‘Wildness’) also gives it a nice edge.

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

  • Pronunciation: Fee-ahh
  • Meanings: ‘Deer’, ‘Wild’ and ‘Respect’

2. Aoibhe

Aoibhe
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Aoibhe is one of many Irish names for girls that has numerous variations (‘Eva’ or ‘Ava’ outside of Ireland) and it’s beautiful to both read and hear spoken. Getting an accurate meaning for ‘Aoibhe’ has been tricky, as many online sources contradict each other.

Often, you’ll hear people say that ‘Aoibhe’ means ‘Beauty’, which is what the similar sounding name ‘Aoife’ means. Others say it means ‘Life’, as this is what ‘Eva’ means.

Traditional Irish girl 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

3. Cadhla

girls Gaelic names
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Cadhla. You’d be doing well to say that aloud 10 times quickly! ‘Cadhla’ really is one of the more unique Irish baby girl names and it’s very easy to pronounce (‘Kay-La’).

You’ll often see ‘Cadhla’ Anglicised as ‘Keely’ or ‘Kayla’, but we’re partial to the spelling ‘Cadhla’, as it really is beautiful… the name also means ‘Beautiful’, funnily enough!

Old Irish girl names: 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)

4. Cliodhna

Cliodhna
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If you’re fond of Irish mythology, you’ll know that Cliodhna is a member of the Tuatha De Dannan tribe of warriors. There’s also a Goddess of Love called ‘Cliodhna’.

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

Popular Irish baby girl names: what you need to know about the name Cliodhna

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

5. Blathnaid

Blathnaid
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Blathnaid‘ (‘Blah-nid’) is one of the old Irish girl names that remains popular to this day, and that has close ties to Irish folklore.

There is a tale of a woman called Blathnaid that ends up being the reluctant wide of Curai Mac Daire. She was rescued from the fortress by her true love, Cu Chulainn.

Popular Irish girls names: what you need to know about the name Blathnaid

  • Pronunciation: Blah-nid
  • Meaning: The name comes from the word ‘Blathl which means ‘Flower’ or ‘Blossom’
  • Famous Blathnaids: Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh (Irish TV presenter)

6. Eabha

Eabha
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Eabha is one of the more unique Irish female names and I love the way it’s both spelled and pronounced (‘A-vah’). This name has an often confusing origin.

Despite being pronounced as ‘Ava’, it’s believed to actually stem from the name ‘Eve’ which means ‘Life’. It’s closely related to other Irish girls names, ‘Aoife’ and ‘Aoibhe’.

Old Irish female names: what you need to know about the name Murphy

  • Pronunciation: ‘A-vah’
  • Meaning: The name comes from the Irish word for ‘Life’ or ‘Living’
  • Famous Eabhas: Eabha McMahon (singer)

7. Sile

common irish girl names
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Sile is one of the more traditional Irish baby girl names and is commonly spelt ‘Sheila’ in both Ireland and abroad.

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

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

  • Pronunciation: ‘She-lah’
  • Meaning: ‘Sile’ is believed to be the Irish version of ‘Caelia’, a Latin name that means ‘Heavenly’ or ‘Heaven’
  • Famous Siles: Sile Seoige (TV Presenter)

8. Dearbhla

Dearbhla
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Dearbhla was a common medieval Irish girls name and it is a Gaelic hybrid of the names ‘Deirbhile’ and ‘Dearbhail’.

This is a name that could be good for a family of musicians, as ‘Dearbhla’ is said to mean ‘Daughter of the poet’. The three spellings above are still commonly used in Ireland today.

Unique Irish names for girls: what you need to know about the name Dearbhla

  • Pronunciation: ‘Derv-la’
  • Meaning: It comes from the word ‘Deirbhile’ which means ‘Daughter of the poet’
  • Famous Dearbhlas: Dearbhla Molloy (Irish actress) Dearbhla Walsh (Irish film director)

9. Bebhinn

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

If you’re looking at the name above and thinking ‘Hooooow would you go about saying that?!’, you’re likely not the only one.

Bebhinn is one of countless Irish baby girl names names that’s tricky to pronounce for the first time. According to Irish myth, Bebhinn was a goddess associated with birth, while others suggest that she was an underworld goddess.

Stunning Irish girl names: what you need to know about the name Bebhinn

  • Pronunciation: ‘Bay-veen’
  • Meaning: ‘Melodious’ or ‘Pleasant sounding woman’

10. Sadhbh

Sadhbh
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Sadhbh is an is one of the older Irish female names and it’s one, like Bebhinn, that we’ve seen pop up in both mythology and history… in the form of princesses.

There were several real and legendary Irish princesses have had the name ‘Sadhbh’ and it means ‘Goodness’ or, literally, ‘Sweet and lovely lady’.

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

  • Pronunciation: ‘Sigh-ve’
  • Meaning: ‘Goodness’ or, literally, ‘Sweet and lovely lady’.

11. Muireann

Muireann
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The name ‘Muireann’ is another of several Irish girls names that’s steeped in legend, and its lovely meaning (‘Of the sea’) tells the tale of a mysterious mermaid.

The story goes that the mermaid bumped into a Saint (at sea, we presume!) who turned her into a woman. This could be a fitting name for those living near the ocean.

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

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

12. Aoibhinn

Aoibhinn
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It’s the meanings behind out next Irish girls name, ‘Aoibhinn’, that makes it so popular amongst parents-to-be.

In Irish, ‘Aoibhinn’ means ‘Delightful’ and/or ‘Blissful’. While in Scottish Gaelic, it means ‘pleasant, agreeable, delightful’.

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

  • Pronunciation: ‘Ay-veen’
  • Meaning: ‘Delightful’ and/or ‘Blissful’ in Irish
  • Famous Aoibhinns: Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain (Presenter) Aoibhinn McGinnity (actress)

Traditional And Pretty Irish Girl Names

The third section of the guide tackles some traditional Irish girls names. Some of these, like ‘Gobnait’, you tend to hear less and less these days.

While others, like ‘Deirbhile’, are still as popular as ever. Below, you’ll find the pronunciations and meanings behind these traditional and very pretty Irish girls names.

1. Blaithin

Blaithin
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Although you’ll here ‘Blaithin’ often enough while travelling around Ireland, this is one of several old Irish 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 gorgeous is that?!

Old Irish female names: what you need to know about the name Blaithin

  • Pronunciation: ‘Blah-hin’
  • Meaning: Little flower

2. Deirbhile

Deirbhile
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Deirbhile is a variation of the names ‘Dearbhla’ and ‘Dearbhail’, and it’s a beautiful name when pronounced correctly (‘Derv-la’ or ‘Der-vil’).

This is another name that may suit a musical family, as ‘Deirbhile’ is said to mean ‘The daughter of the poet’.

Classic Irish baby girl names: what you need to know about the name Deirbhile

  • Pronunciation: ‘Derv-la’ or ‘Der-vil’
  • Meaning: It means ‘Daughter of the poet’
  • Famous Dearbhiles: Dearbhile Ni Bhrolchain (singer)

3. Doireann

Doireann
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This traditional name comes up numerous times in Irish legends. It was the name of the daughter of Bodb Derg who poisoned Fionn mac Cumhail.

Despite its dark origin and meaning, it has been one of the more popular Irish baby girl names, and it’s said to mean ‘Stormy’ or ‘Hostile’.

Unique Irish names for girls: what you need to know about the name Doireann

  • Pronunciation: ‘Deer-in’
  • Meaning: ‘Stormy’ or ‘Hostile’
  • Famous Doireanns: Doireann Garrihy (Irish actor) and Doireann Ní Ghríofa (Irish poet)

4. Eadan

Eadan
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The very unique Irish girls name ‘Eadan’ is a bit of a funny one. It has several variations, and it can be given to both boys and girls.

For boys, it’s usually a variation, like ‘Aidan’ or ‘Eamon’, while for girls, you’ll often see ‘Eadan’ or ‘Etain’ used.

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

  • Pronunciation: ‘Ee-din’
  • Meaning: ‘Little Fire’ or ‘Jealously’, depending on the variation

5. Etain

Etain
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We mentioned this old Irish female name above, but it’s worth it’s own section, as it’s a beautiful name steeped in myth and legend.

Etaine‘ was the heroine of Tochmarc Etain. The princess in Rutland Boughton’s opera, ‘The Immortal Hour’, is also called ‘Etain’.

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

Beautiful Irish female names: what you need to know about the name Etain

  • Pronunciation: ‘Ee-tane’
  • Meaning: It’s believed to mean ‘Passion’ or ‘Jealousy’

6. Gobnait

Gobnait
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Although the name ‘Gobnait’ has an obscure origin, it’s one that was very popular for a long period of time in Ireland, thanks to Saint Gobnait.

Although easily pronounced (‘Gub-nit’), this is one of many Irish female names with a meaning that is unclear. Some believe it means ‘Little smith’, as ‘Goba’ translates to ‘Smith’, while others believe it means ‘To bring joy’.

Popular Irish baby girl names: what you need to know about the name Gobnait

  • Pronunciation: ‘Gub-nit’
  • Meaning: ‘To bring joy’
  • Famous Gobnaits: Saint Gobnait

7. Grainne

Grainne
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Ah, ‘Grainne‘ – this is one of several classic Irish girls names names with an almost endless number of tales, myths and legends tied to it.

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

Common Irish 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)

8. Liobhan

Liobhan
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Liobhan is another of the more traditional irish female names that stems from Irish mythology. It’s believed that ‘Liobhan’ is a variation of the name ‘Li Ban’.

If you’re familiar with Irish legends, you’ll know that ‘Li Ban’ was the name of a mysterious mermaid who was found in the waters of Lough Neagh in 558.

Old Irish girl names: what you need to know about the name Liobhan

  • Pronunciation: ‘Lee-vin’
  • Meaning: ‘Beauty of women’ or, more simply, ‘Beautiful’

9. Muirgheal

Muirgheal
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Muirgheal‘ (‘Mwer-e-yaal’) is considered to be the Irish spelling of the popular English name Muriel. In Irish, ‘Muir’ means ‘Sea’ while ‘Gheal’ means ‘Bright’.

This is another one that could be nice if you live along the coast, or if you have a particular fondness for the sea.

Unique Irish names for girls: what you need to know about the name Muirgheal

  • Pronunciation: ‘Mwer-e-yaal’
  • Meaning: ‘Bright sea’
  • Famous Muirgheals: Muriel Angelus (actor) and Muriel Anderson (musician)

10. Shauna

Shauna
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Although the name ‘Shauna‘ (‘Shaw-na’) has origins in England, it is regarded as a traditional Irish girls name.

The reason for this is that the name ‘Shauna’ is believed to stem from the boys names ‘Sean’ and ‘Shawn’.

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

  • Pronunciation: ‘Shaw-na’
  • Meaning: It means ‘God is gracious’
  • Famous Shaunas: Shauna Lowry (TV presenter) Shauna Robertson (film producer)

Popular Modern Irish Girl Names

The final section of this guide contains some of the more modern Irish baby girl names that are popular in 2021.

These are gorgeous Irish names for girls, like Clare and Sinead, that you’ll likely have heard many times before.

1. Clare

Clare
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This popular name has a variety of origins in different languages, but this spelling is thought to be the Irish variation of the English name ‘Clara’.

The name ‘Clare’ is most often associated with the Irish county of the same name. The county name was in fact taken from the name of a little bridge that was perched at the River Fergus in Clare’s county town, Ennis.

Traditional Irish names for girls: what you need to know about the name Murphy

  • Pronunciation: ‘Cl-air’
  • Meaning: ‘Small bridge’
  • Famous Clares: Clare Maguire (British singer)

2. Sinead

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

It’s wonderful meaning, ‘God’s gracious gift’, is arguably the main reason that it is so popular amongst new parents. 

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

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

3. Oonagh

Oonagh
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There are a few different varieties of the name ‘Oonagh‘ (‘Ou-nah’), with the original Irish spelling considered to be ‘Una’. It’s also spelled ‘Oona’.

The name is associated with the Queen of the Fairies and the wife of Fionn Mac Cool in Irish mythology.

Old Irish female names: what you need to know about the name Oonagh

  • Pronunciation: ‘Ou-nah’
  • Meaning: From the Irish word ‘Uan’ which means ‘Lamb’

4. Fionnuala

old irish girl names
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The name Fionnuala is arguably best-known from its appearance in the legend ‘the Children of Lir‘. ‘Finnguala’, along with her siblings, was cursed by their stepmother and transformed into a swam.

The name, pronounced ‘Fin-oo-lah’, means, quite strangely, ‘White shoulder’. Despite its odd meaning, it’s a very Irish name in both origin and appearence.

Beautiful Irish names for girls: what you need to know about the name Fionnuala

  • Pronunciation: ‘Fin-oo-lah’
  • Meaning: The name literally translates to ‘White shoulder’
  • Famous Fionnuala’s: Fionnuala Murphy (actress)

5. Shannon

Shannon
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If you’ve spent any time in Ireland, you’ll have likely heard the name ‘Shannon‘, thanks to the mighty River Shannon. However, there’s much more to this name.

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

Traditional Irish girls 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)

6. Meabh

Meabh
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The name ‘Meabh’ is rooted in Irish legend, thanks to the fierce warrior Queen Medb of Connacht who has many great legends tied to here (see the Cattle Raid of Cooley).

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

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

  • Pronunciation: ‘May-v’
  • Meaning: ‘Intoxicating’

7. Orlaith

Orlaith
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Orlaith (or ‘Orla’) is one of the most popular Irish baby girl names.’Órfhlaith’ which, when broken down, means ‘Golden princess’.

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

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

  • Pronunciation: ‘Or-lah’
  • Meaning: ‘Golden princess’

8. Mairead

Mairead
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Mairead‘ is considered to be the Irish variation of the name ‘Margaret’. It’s thought that it become popular due to Saint Margaret of Scotland, who was often referred to as the Pearl of Scotland.

However, it has had a more recent revival in its popularity in Ireland and it is easily pronounced (‘Muh-raid’), which makes it popular abroad.

Unique Irish names for girls: what you need to know about the name Mairead

  • Pronunciation: ‘Muh-raid’
  • Meaning: ‘Pearl’
  • Famous Maireads: Mairead Nesbitt (musician)

9. Sorcha

Sorcha
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The beautiful name ‘Sorcha‘ (‘Sor-kha’ or ‘Sor-cha’) is believed to have stemmed from an old Irish word, ‘Sorchae’, meaning ‘Brightness’.

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 Irish girls names: what you need to know about the name Sorcha

  • Pronunciation: ‘Sor-kha’ or ‘Sor-cha’
  • Meaning: ‘Bright’ or ‘Brightness’
  • Famous Sorchas: Sorcha Cusack (actress)

10. Bronagh

old Gaelic girl names
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Although it’s a popular name in 2021, ‘Bronagh’ is one of the older irish names for girls. It’s believed to be a modern variation of the name ‘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’) can put some parents off.

Irish female names: what you need to know about the name Bronagh

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

Irish Girls Name List

  • Eimear
  • Roisin
  • Deirdre
  • Fiona
  • Aisling
  • Aine
  • Blaithin
  • Muireann
  • Sadhbh
  • Bebhinn
  • Sile
  • Eabha
  • Cliodhna
  • Caragh
  • Riona
  • Kayleigh
  • Orla
  • Mairead
  • Clare
  • Oonagh
  • Fionnuala
  • Siobhan

FAQs about the most common Irish girls names

If you’ve gotten this far, fair play – that was a long read to say the least. The final section of our Irish female names guide looks at FAQs about common and popular Irish girl names.

Below, you’ll find everything from lists of Irish surnames to further insight into certain names and their origins. 

What are the most common Irish baby girl names?

According to Ireland’s Central Statistics Office, some of the most common Irish girls names from last year were Ava, Sophie, Fiadh and Grace.

What are the most unique Irish names for girls?

There are some lovely, unique old Irish girl names. Our favourites are Cadhla, Blathnaid, Dearbhla, Sadhbh and Muireann.

What are the most unusual Gaelic names for girls?

Some of the best Irish girls names (and the most unusual) are Cliodhna, Sile and Bebhinn.

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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