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101 Old, Unique And Modern Irish Boy Names And Meanings

101 Old, Unique And Modern Irish Boy Names And Meanings

Irish boy names are found far and wide, from Dublin to Dallas and everywhere in between.

However, while some Irish male names, like ‘Conor’, are fairly common others, like ‘Caolán’, are reasonably rare.

In this guide, you’ll find a mix of unusual Irish boy names, many of which date back to ancient Ireland, and more modern Irish boy names. Dive on in!

Table of Contents

Irish boys names beginning with A

We’re going to work through the various Irish boys names alphabetically. You’ll notice that some letters, like ‘A’, have considerably more names compared to others.

Below each name you’ll find how to pronounce it, what it means and a little section with famous people who have the same name.

1. Aodhan (Aidan + Aedan)

Aodhan

Aodhan (anglicised as ‘Aidan’) comes from the very old Irish boy name, ‘Aodh’.

In Irish mythology Aodh was the prince of the Daoine Sidhe – a supernatural race.

He was the son of High King Lir who ruled the Tuatha de Dannan.

Unique Irish names for boys: what you need to know about the name Aodhan

  • Pronunciation: Ay-dawn
  • Meaning: Fiery, bringer of fire or little fire
  • Famous Aodhans: Aidan Gillen (actor)

2. Aengus (Angus)

Aengus

This is a common name throughout Irish mythology and is spelt ‘Angus’ outside of Ireland.

Aengus was a member of the warriors the Tuatha Dé Danann. He was a Celtic God of love and poetry.

Ancient Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Aengus

  • Pronunciation: Ang-gus
  • Meaning: One choice or one strength
  • Famous Aenguses: Aengus Finnan (folk musician)

3. Ardan

Ardan

In Celtic mythology, Ardan was one of the Sons of Uisnech.

In the tale of Deirdre, Ardan and his brothers Naoise and Ainnle helped Deirdre flee to Scotland.

Unusual Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Ardan

  • Pronunciation: Ar-dawn
  • Meaning: High aspiration or high ambition
  • Famous Ardans: Na

4. Anluan

Anluan

Anluan (pronounced ‘An-lon’) is one of the more unique Irish boys names and it means ‘Champion’.

It’s rare that you’ll hear this name which makes it all the more appealing if you’re looking to move away from commonly used Irish boy names.

Unique Irish names for boys: what you need to know about the name Anluan

  • Pronunciation: An-lon
  • Meaning: Champion, hero or warrior
  • Famous Anluans: NA

5. Abbán

Abbán

Abbán is a beautiful Celtic boys name. According to Ireland’s national biographical dictionary, the name ‘Abbán’ is often interpreted as ‘little abbot’.

However, it’s likely that the name originates from the diminutive form ‘abba,’ with a repeated middle consonant, influenced by the Irish girls name Ailbe.

Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Abban

  • Pronunciation: Ab-awn
  • Meaning: Abbot or father
  • Famous Abbans: Abbán moccu Corbmaic (Irish saint)

6. Ailill

Ailill

Ailill is an old Irish boys name and it’s one that many struggle to pronounce.

In Irish mythology, Ailill was the King of Connacht and husband to the warrior Queen Medb.

Unusual Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Ailill

  • Pronunciation: Ah + yill
  • Meaning: Beauty
  • Famous Ailills: Ailill mac Máta (King of Connacht)

7. Anrai (Annraoi + Henry)

Anrai

Anrai is the Irish version of ‘Henry’. Although the spelling may intimidate some, it’s simply pronounced ‘Awn-ree’.

Meaning wise, this is another of the strong Irish boys names and it’s said to mean ‘Rules the home’/’Ruler of the home’.

Unique Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Anrai

  • Pronunciation: Awn-ree
  • Meaning: Rules the home/estate
  • Famous Anrais: Annraoi Ó Liatháin (Irish writer)

8. Ainmire (Ainmuire)

Ainmire

Ainmire is another name with strong links to ancient Ireland. Ainmuire mac Sétnai was a High King of Ireland from 566 to 569.

He notably defeated Uí Néill’s high king at the Battle of Cúl Dreimne in 561.

Irish names for boys: what you need to know about the name Ainmire

  • Pronunciation: Ayen-mire
  • Meaning: Great lord
  • Famous Ainmires: Saint Ainmire

9. Ardál

Ardál

If you’re looking for unique Irish baby boys names that have strong Irish links and are easy to pronounce, ‘Ardál’ is a good option.

Although the fada over the ‘a’ will confuse some, most will have no trouble with this one.

Classic Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Ardál

  • Pronunciation: Ar-dahl
  • Meaning: High valour
  • Famous Ardáls: Ardal O’Hanlon (Irish comedian)

10. Art

Art

Art is an old Celtic boys name that means ‘bear’ or ‘champion’. In ancient Ireland, this was a name steeped in royalty.

Two High Kings of Ireland (Art mac Cuinn and Art mac Lugdach) bore this name. 

Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Art

  • Pronunciation: Art
  • Meaning: Bear or champion
  • Famous Arts: Art Garfunkel (singer)

11. Alroy

Alroy

Although the origin of the name ‘Alroy’ is unclear, its meaning has a fair bit of Irishness to it.

Alroy is said to mean ‘red haired’ which will suit those of you with red-headed newborns!

Unique Irish names for boys: what you need to know about the name Alroy

  • Pronunciation: Ahl-roy
  • Meaning: Red haired
  • Famous Alroys: Alroy from ‘The Wondrous Tale of Alroy’ by Benjamin Disraeli

Irish male names beginning with B

The second section of this guide looks at old and modern Irish boy names that begin with ‘B’.

Some, like ‘Brian’, you’ll be familiar with while others, like ‘Bradán’ are some of the more rare Irish boy names.

1. Braon (Braonán + Brennan)

Braon

Braon is one of the more unusual Irish boys names and, because of it’s meaning (rain or sorrow), it’s not one of the more popular.

Brennan, which is most commonly seen as an Irish last name, is Ó Braonáin in Ireland and means ‘descendant of Braonán’.

Unusual Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Braon

  • Pronunciation: Bray-on
  • Meaning: Rain or sorrow
  • Famous Braons: NA 

2. Brian

Brian

The name ‘Brian’ possibly stems from an Old Celtic word signifying ‘high’ or ‘noble’.

It became one of the most popular Irish boys names due to Brian Boru, a historic High King of Ireland.

Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Brian

  • Pronunciation: Bry-an
  • Meaning: High or noble
  • Famous Brians: Brian O’Driscoll (rugby player)

3. Brendan (Breanndán, Brandon+ Brénainn)

Brendan

Brendan, meaning prince or king, originates from ‘Breandán’, a name that comes from an old Irish boys name ‘Brénainn’.

In ancient Ireland, St. Brendan was an Irish monk who wrote ‘The Voyage of St. Brendan the Abbot.’ It tells the story recounts St. Brendan’s legendary journey in pursuit of a remarkable island.

Modern Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Brendan

  • Pronunciation: Brenn-dan
  • Meaning: Prince or king
  • Famous Brendans: Brendan Gleeson (Irish actor)

4. Barry (Báire)

Barry

Barry is both a first name and an Irish surname.

It’s linked to Báire, Barrfind, and Finbar and it means ‘fair-haired’.

Popular Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Barry

  • Pronunciation: Ba-ry
  • Meaning: Fair-haired
  • Famous Barrys: Barry Keoghan (Irish actor)

5. Brady (Brághadach + Brádach)

Brady

Although you’ll rarely here Brady used as a first name in Ireland, it’s common ‘across the water’.

The name Brady has no clear meaning. However, the name comes from ‘Brághadach’ which means ‘large-chested’ or ‘spirited’.

Unique Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Brady

  • Pronunciation: Bray-dee
  • Meaning: Large-chested or spirited
  • Famous Bradys: Brady Parks (musician)

6. Bradán (Bradan +Braden)

Bradán

The name ‘Bradán’ (‘Bradan’ or ‘Braden’ in English) is a funny one. You’ll rarely hear ‘Braden’ used as a first name in Ireland. The name comes from the Gaelic surname ‘Ó Bradáin’.

However, ‘Bradan’ is a commonly used name in the US, in particular. The Irish word ‘Bradán’ means ‘Salmon’ (see the story of the Salmon of Knowledge for more).

Uncommon Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Braden

  • Pronunciation: Bray-dawn
  • Meaning: Salmon
  • Famous Bradáns: Braden Danner (actor)

7. Bain

Bain

Bain is one of several names that has a variety of origins, ranging from French and Scottish to Irish and English.

This is one of the more common Gaelic boys names and it means ‘white’ or ‘fair’.

Unusual Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Bain

  • Pronunciation: Bay-ne
  • Meaning: White or fair
  • Famous Bains: NA

Irish baby boy names beginning with C

We spent many day conducting research for this guide to Irish baby boy names and, surprisingly, we found more that start with ‘C’ than any other letter.

Below, you’ll find everything from modern Irish boy names, like ‘Cillian’ to the more unique Irish boys names, like ‘Caolán’.

1. Conor

Conor

This is one of the most popular old Irish boy names, both inside and outside Ireland.

It’s believed to come from ‘Conchobhar‘ or ‘Conaire’, which are names that frequent many tales from Irish folklore.

Old Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Conor

  • Pronunciation: Con-or
  • Meaning: Lover of wolves/hounds
  • Famous Conors: Conor McGregor (UFC fighter)

2. Cillian (Kilian + Killian)

Cillian

Cillian, anglicised as ‘Kilian’ or ‘Killian’, is a traditional Irish boys name linked to Saint Kilian, an Irish missionary to Germany in the 7th century. It’s believed that the name means ‘little church’.

Fr Patrick Woulfe who authored ‘Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall’, a dictionary of Irish names and surnames, said the name Cillian is the ‘pet’ diminutive of ‘Ceallach’ which means ‘strife’ or ‘bright-headed’.

Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Cillian

  • Pronunciation: Kill-i-an
  • Meaning: Little church, strife or bright-headed
  • Famous Cillians: Cillian Murphy (actor)

3. Cían

Cían

In Irish mythology, Cían was the son-in-law of Brian Boru, the King of Muster who was conquered in the battle of Clontarf.

Cían is consistently recognised as one of the most common boys names in Ireland.

Unique Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Cían

  • Pronunciation: Kee-an
  • Meaning: Ancient or enduring in Gaelic
  • Famous Cíans: Cian Healy (Irish rugby player)

4. Callum

Callum

It’s believed that Callum derives from a Latin word meaning ‘dove’, which made it a popular name amongst early Christians.

It’s still a common Irish baby boys name that’s given in Ireland as well as in Scotland and the UK.

Old Irish male names: what you need to know about the name Callum

  • Pronunciation: Cal-um
  • Meaning: Dove
  • Famous Callums: Callum Wilson (British footballer)

5. Conchobhar (Conchúr + Conochúr)

Conchobhar

This is one of the more unusual Irish boys names that has a variety of spellings and means ‘Lover of canines’.

It’s also commonly associated with the more popular name, ‘Conor’.

Unusual Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Conchobhar

  • Pronunciation: Con-uh-chur
  • Meaning: Lover of canines
  • Famous Conchobhars: Conchobar mac Nessa (King of Ulster in mythology)

6. Caolán (Kelan, Keelan + Kealan)

Caolán

This traditional Irish boys name can be difficult to pronounce for many and is often spelt ‘Keelan’ or ‘Kelan’.

Meaning ‘Slender’ or ‘Fine’, it’s easily pronounced ‘Kee-lin’.

Unique Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Caolán

  • Pronunciation: Kee-lin
  • Meaning: Slender or fine
  • Famous Caoláns: Caolan Lavery (footballer)

7. Ciarán

Ciarán

This traditional Irish boys name appears in Irish mythology and was also the name of two early Irish saints.

The name became prevalent due to Ciar, the King of Ulster.

Two early Irish saints (Ciarán the Elder and Ciarán the Younger), both of whom were part of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland, shared this name.

Old Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Ciarán

  • Pronunciation: Keer-awn
  • Meaning: Little dark one or dark-haired one
  • Famous Ciaráns: Ciaran Hinds (actor)

8. Conán

Conán

Conán is one of the more beautiful Celtic boys names and it’s said to mean ‘little wolf’ or ‘small hound’.

The name ‘Conán’ has strong links to Irish mythology. Conán mac Lia was a member of the Fianna – some of the mightiest warriors in ancient Ireland.

Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Conán

  • Pronunciation: Cone-an
  • Meaning: Small hound or little wolf
  • Famous Conáns: Conan the Barbarian (famous fiction character)

9. Craig

Craig

The name Craig is a modern Gaelic boys name that has Scottish, Irish and Welsh links. 

A name symbolic with strength, it comes from the Gaelic word ‘Cread’ which translates to ‘Rock’.

Unique Irish names for boys: what you need to know about the name Craig

  • Pronunciation: Cr-ay-g
  • Meaning: Rock
  • Famous Craigs: Craig David (singer)

10. Colm

Colm

This name is a modern Irish variation of the Latin name ‘Columba’ and is often considered an alternative spelling to Callum.

Pronounced ‘Coll-um’, it means ‘Dove’.

Short Irish boy bames: what you need to know about the name Colm

  • Pronounced: Coll-um
  • Meaning: Dove
  • Famous Colms: Colm Meaney (actor)

11. Cathal (Cahal)

Cathal

The name ‘Cathal’ comes from the word ‘Cath’, meaning ‘battle’, and ‘val’, meaning ‘rule’. It’s likely for this reason that is a name that was given to many Irish kings.

Kings of Munster, like Cathal Cú-cen-máthair, and Kings of Connacht, like Cathal mac Conchobair, have favoured this name.

Beautiful Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Cathal

  • Pronunciation: Cah-hall
  • Meaning: Battle or rule
  • Famous Cathals: Cathal Pendred (MMA)

12. Cormac

Cormac

Cormac is another old Irish boys name, although it’s meaning is not exactly clear. In Irish, the word ‘Mac’ translates to ‘son’.

However, it’s the ‘Cor’ part that’s unclear. It’s believed that ‘Cor’ relates to ‘Corb’ which is an old Gaelic word for ‘Wheel’.

Others believe it is an old Irish word for ‘Raven’, which was seen by the Celts as a mythical creature.

Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Cormac

  • Pronunciation: Cor-mack
  • Meaning: Charioteer or raven
  • Famous Cormacs: Cormac McCarthy (novelist)

13. Coileáin (Colin, Cailean + Cuilen)

Coileáin

Colin is the anglicised version of ‘Coileáin’, ‘Cailean’ and ‘Cuilen’. Now, although ‘Coileáin’ may look intimidating, it’s easily pronounced ‘Quill-awn’, and it has a fine meaning.

It’s said to mean ‘Young pup’ or ‘Trickster’ which may be very apt for your newborn.

Unusual Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Colin

  • Pronunciation: Quill-awn
  • Meaning: Pup or trickster
  • Famous Colins: Colin Farrell (Irish actor)

14. Caoimhín (Kevin)

Caoimhín

One of several traditional Irish boys names that can be near impossible for some to pronounce, ‘Caoimhín’ is the Irish version of ‘Kevin’.

It’s believed that Caoimhín means ‘Noble at birth’. The most famous Kevin from ancient Ireland was Saint Kevin who founded Glendalough Abbey.

Unique Irish names for boys: what you need to know about the name Caoimhín

  • Pronunciation: Kwee-veen
  • Meaning: Noble at birth
  • Famous Caoimhíns: Kevin McCarthy (actor)

15. Canice (Cainnech + Coinneach)

Canice

Although it may look like one of the more popular Irish girls names, ‘Canice’ is the anglicised version of ‘Cainnech’ and ‘Coinneach’.

This is a Celtic boys name that means ‘handsome’. 

Celtic boy names: what you need to know about the name Canice

  • Pronunciation: Can-is
  • Meaning: Handsome
  • Famous Canices: Cainnech of Aghaboe (Irish saint)

16. Connell

Connell

Few old Irish boys names have catapulted in popularity like Connell (yep, it was Paul Mescal’s characters name in the hit Irish show ‘Normal People’).

The name either means ‘hound’ (‘con’ comes from the ‘cú’, meaning hound) or ‘valour’.

Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Connell

  • Pronunciation: Con-il
  • Meaning: Hound or valour
  • Famous Connells: NA

17. Conlaoch (Connla)

Conlaoch

Conlaoch is an old Irish boy name that’s said to mean ‘hero’ or ‘chief’.

The most notable Conlaoch in ancient Ireland is the son of the fierce warrior Cú Chulainn.

Unusual Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Conlaoch

  • Pronunciation: Connla (Kawn-lah). Conlaoch (Con-lay-ick)
  • Meaning: Hero or chief
  • Famous Conlaochs: NA

18. Conal

Conal

Although there are many Celtic symbols for strength, you won’t need any of them with a name like ‘Conal’, which means ‘Strong as a wolf’.

One famous Conall in Irish mythology was Conall Cernach who was described as ‘one of the fairest of the warriors of Ireland’.

It’s said that he had a crooked neck and slept with the head of his enemies under his knee.

Unique Irish names for boys: what you need to know about the name Conal

  • Pronunciation: Coh-nal
  • Meaning: Strong as a wolf
  • Famous Conals: Conal Gallen (Irish comedian)

19. Colmán

Colmán

Said to be the equivalent of the name ‘Colm’, ‘Colmán’ is a name that was given to many Irish Saints.

One of the most notable was Saint Colmán of Cloyne who was a monk that was said to have extraordinary poetic powers.

Traditional Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Colmán

  • Pronunciation: Cohl-a-man
  • Meaning: Little dove
  • Famous Colmáns: Colmán mac Cobthaig (Irish king)

Irish names for boys beginning with D

The next section in our guide to the most unique, traditional and unusual Irish boy names is dedicated to those beginning with ‘D’.

Below, you’ll find a mix of old and modern Irish boy names to consider.

1. Dónal (Domhnall + Donald)

Dónal

Dónal is an old Irish boy name that came from an even older name, ‘Dòmhnall’.

The anglicised version is ‘Donald’ and it means ‘World ruler’.

This is easy-to-pronounce and it’s one of the more popular short Irish boys names.

Unique Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Donal

  • Pronunciation: Doh-nal
  • Meaning: World ruler or world wielder
  • Famous Donals: Domhnall Gleeson (Irish actor)

2. Diarmuid (Diarmuit + Dermot)

Diarmuid

If you’re looking for strong Irish boys names, look no further than ‘Diarmuid’.

Although not too common outside of Ireland, versions of this name have been given to countless ancient Irish kings.

Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Diarmuid

  • Pronunciation: Deer-mid
  • Meaning: Without envy or free from envy
  • Famous Diarmuids: Diarmait mac Cerbaill (King of Tara)

3. Dáire (Dara, Darragh + Darren)

Dáire

The name ‘Dáire’ is common in Ireland while the more anglicised versions (see above) can be found across the world.

Dáire is thought to have several meanings, two of which are ‘fruitful or fertile’.

However, it’s also believed that the name could be linked to ‘Doire’, the Irish word for ‘oak’ (linked to the Dara Knot).

Short Irish male names: what you need to know about the name

  • Pronunciation: Dai-reh
  • Meaning: Fruitful, fertile or oak tree
  • Famous Darrens: Darren Clarke (Irish golfer)

4. Donnacha (Donnchadh)

Donnacha

You’ll often see the name Donnacha top lists to ‘Unusual Irish Boys Names’, but it’s a very common name here in Ireland.

In Irish legend, Donnacha was the name of a High King in Ireland. ‘Donn’ means brown/dark in Irish while ‘Chadh’ means noble or chief.

Unique Irish names for boys: what you need to know about the name Donnacha

  • Pronunciation: Done-acka
  • Meaning: Dark chief
  • Famous Donnachas: Donnacha Ryan (Irish rugby player)

5. Dáithí (Dathí + David)

Dáithí

This old Irish boy name is hard to pronounce for some, which is why you’ll more often than not see boys given the name ‘David’ instead.

Pronounced ‘Dah-hee’, it means ‘Swiftness’ or ‘nimbleness’.

Classic Irish boys name: what you need to know about the name Daithi

  • Pronunciation: Dah-hee
  • Meaning: Swiftness or nimbleness
  • Famous Daithis: Dáithí Ó Sé (tv presenter)

6. Deaglan (Declan)

Deaglan

If you see your young lad giving Irish blessings from an altar in the future, the name ‘Deaglan’ might be worth considering.

Meaning ‘Man of prayer’ or ‘full of goodness’, the name is closely tied to Saint Declán who founded a monastery in Ireland during the 5th century.

Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Deaglan

  • Pronunciation: Dehk-lun
  • Meaning: Man of prayer or full of goodness
  • Famous Deaglans: Declan Dale (filmmaker)

7. Desmond

Desmond

The name ‘Desmond’ is said to come from Desmond (South Munster) in Ireland.

Although it’s meaning isn’t anything fancy, it’s tied to the Earl of Desmond – a title of nobility.

Traditional Irish male names: what you need to know about the name Desmond

  • Pronunciation: Des-mond
  • Meaning: South Munster
  • Famous Desmonds: Desmond Tutu (South African archbishop)

Unique and unusual Irish boys names beginning with E, F, G, H and I

The next few sections of our guide to modern and old Irish boy names chucks several letters together as some letters, like ‘H’, have very few names.

Below, you’ll find some unique Irish boy names, like ‘Eachan’, to some common Irish male names, like ‘Eoghan’.

1. Eoghan (Eógan, Eoin + Owen)

Eoghan

If you live outside of Ireland, it’s likely that the name ‘Eoghan’ will cause your little fella a heap of hassle in later years.

This is yet another old Irish boy name that appears in Irish legend as the name of one of Niall of the Nine Hostages’ sons.

Unique Irish names for boys: what you need to know about the name Eoghan

  • Pronunciation: O-in
  • Meaning: Noble born
  • Famous Eoghans: Eoghan Quigg (singer)

2. Éamonn (Eamon)

Éamonn

In Irish, ‘Éamonn’ is akin to the English names ‘Edmund’ or ‘Edward’.

It’s said to mean something along the lines of ‘Wealthy protector’.

Gaelic boys name: what you need to know about the name Éamonn

  • Pronunciation: Ay-mon
  • Meaning: Wealthy protector
  • Famous Éamonns: Éamon de Valera (Irish president)

3. Eachan

Eachan

One of the more unusual Irish boys names, ‘Eachan’ is, strangely enough, anglicised as ‘Hector’.

It’s believed that the name means ‘Horse lord’ (each meaning ‘Horse’ and donn meaning ‘Lord’).

Unusual Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Eachan

  • Pronunciation: Eac-h-an
  • Meaning: Horse lord
  • Famous Eachans: Eachann Mac Goraidh MacAlasdair (chief of Clan MacAlister)

4. Ernan

Ernan

Ernan is a name that was given to several Irish Saints, one of which was St. Ernan, Son of Eogan who was a nephew of Saint Columba.

Simply pronounced ‘Air-nen’, it’s one of several Gaelic boys names that means ‘Wise one’.

Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Ernan

  • Pronunciation: Air-nen
  • Meaning: Iron or wise one
  • Famous Ernans: NA

5. Enda

Enda

Enda is one of several gender neutral Irish names in this guide. In ancient Ireland, Enda was a warrior-king in Ulster.

Around 484, he established the first monastery on Arranmore Island in County Donegal.

Old Irish male names: what you need to know about the name Enda

  • Pronunciation: En-dah
  • Meaning: Like a bird/bird-like
  • Famous Endas: Enda Kenny (former Taoiseach of Ireland)

6. Fintan

Fintan

Fintan is arguably most suited as an Irish boys name if the new arrival is fair (the name means ‘Little fair one’).

In Irish mythology, Fintan MacBochra was a shapeshifter who survived the Great Flood. He symbolised knowledge.

Unique Irish names for boys: what you need to know about the name Fintan

  • Pronunciation: Fin-ten
  • Meaning: Little fair one or white-haired
  • Famous Fintans: Fintan O’Toole (journalist)

7. Fiachra (Fiach)

Fiachra

If you’re a fan of Irish folklore, you may recognise the name ‘Fiachra’ from the famous story of the Children of Lir.

Although it may look like one of the more intimidating Irish boys names to pronounce, it’s easily said – ‘Fee-uh-kra’.

Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Fiachra

  • Pronunciation: Fee-uh-kra
  • Meaning: Crow or raven
  • Famous Fiachras: Fiachra Ó Ceallaigh (bishop of Dublin)

8. Féilim (Felim, Féidhlim + Fedlimid)

Féilim

The chances are you’ll be more familiar with the anglicised version of this traditional Irish boys name – ‘Felix’!

The name ‘Féilim’, which means ‘beauty’, ‘ever good’ and ‘constant’ is easily pronounced – ‘Fail-em’.

This is another name that was worn by many High Kinds of Ireland, like Felim Ua Conchobair, King of Connacht.

Unusual Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Felim

  • Pronunciation: Fail-em
  • Meaning: Beauty, ever good and constant
  • Famous Felims: Felim O’Neill of Kinard (Irish politician)

9. Fionn (Finn)

Fionn

Next up is arguably one of the most beautiful Irish boys names and it’s one that rings loud in the tales of Irish mythology.

‘Fionn’, which means ‘White’ or ‘Fair-haired’, is a name that many will know from the stories of the mythical Irish warrior Fionn Mac Cumhaill.

Popular Irish names for boys: what you need to know about the name Fionn

  • Pronunciation: Fee-y-un
  • Meaning: White or Fair-haired
  • Famous Fionns: Fionn O’Shea (Irish actor)

10. Fearghal (Fergal)

Fearghal

Fearghal is another Irish boys name that can be tricky to pronounce for some, however, it’s simply ‘Fer-ghal’.

There’s many a famous Fearghals, but few compare to Fearghal Ó Taidg an Teaghlaigh – a bodyguard of King Cathal Crobhdearg Ua Conchobair of Connacht (circa 1226).

Unique Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Fergal

  • Pronunciation: Fer-ghal
  • Meaning: Man of valour
  • Famous Fergals: Fearghal Purcell (footballer)

11. Feargus (Fergus)

Feargus

It’s said that Feargus is one of the oldest Gaelic boys names, with men across Ireland and Scotland proudly donning the name.

Easily pronounced (‘Fir-gus’), this another of the traditional Irish boys names and it means ‘Strong one’ or ‘Masculine one’.

Traditional Irish male names: what you need to know about the name Fergus

  • Pronunciation: Fir-gus
  • Meaning: Strong one or masculine one
  • Famous Ferguses: Fergus Bowes-Lyon (brother of the Queen Mother)

12. Finbar (Finbarr, Finbarre + Finnbar)

Finbar

The name ‘Finbar’, as was the case with the name ‘Fionn’, means ‘fair-headed-one’ (from the word ‘Fionnbharr’).

One of the more beautiful short Irish boys names, the most famous Finbar was Saint Finbar of Cork who founded a monastery that grew to be the city of Cork.

Unique Irish names for boys: what you need to know about the name Finbar

  • Pronunciation: Finn-bar
  • Meaning: Fair-headed-one
  • Famous Finbars: Saint Finbar (Irish bishop)

13. Gearoid (Gerald, Garrett + Gerard)

Gearoid

Gearoid is one of a handful of Irish boys names with a fairly unclear meaning – it’s believed that it means something along the lines of ‘strength of spear’.

Those familiar with Irish folklore may remember Gearoid Iarla – the 3rd Earl of Desmond. He was Chief Justice for Ireland in 1367 and was known to dabble in magic.

This was ancient Ireland, remember. Poor aul Gearoid was said to be sent to live beneath the ancient Lough Gur in Limerick where, every seven years, he rides around the lake on a white horse.

Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Gearoid

  • Pronunciation: Gah-rohd
  • Meaning: Strength of spear
  • Famous Gearoids: Gearoid Farrelly (comedian)

14. Iollan

Iollan

Next up is one of the more unusual Irish boys names – Iollan (pronounced ‘Ull-an’).

It’s said that Iollan means ‘the one that worships a different God’ and that it was used to describe Pagans in ancient Ireland.

Unusual Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Iollan

  • Pronunciation: Ull-an
  • Meaning: One that worships a different God
  • Famous Iollans: NA

15. Iain (Ian)

Iain

Iain is one of the more popular Celtic boys names and it’s found throughout Ireland and Scotland. It’s believed that it stems from the Hebrew name ‘Yohanan’.

Pronounced ‘Ee-n’, it means ‘God is gracious’, which will suit those of you looking for religious Irish boys names.

Old Irish male names: what you need to know about the name Iain

  • Pronunciation: Ee-n
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Famous Iains: Ian McKellen (actor)

Old and modern Irish boys names beginning with J to Z

The final section in our guide to old and modern Irish boys names contains names that begin with the letters ‘J’ all the way to ‘Z’.

Below, you’ll find a mix of traditional and uncommon Irish boy names. Enjoy!

1. Jarlath

Jarlath

Jarlath, pronounced ‘Jar-lath’ is another of the traditional Irish male names and it’s one that you don’t hear too often.

One of the most famous Jarlaths was Saint Jarlath, an Irish priest from Connacht who founded the Archdiocese of Tuam in Galway.

Unique Irish names for boys: what you need to know about the name Jarlath

  • Pronunciation: Jar-lath
  • Meaning: Prince, leader or tributary lord
  • Famous Jarlaths: Jarlath Regan (comedian)

2. Liam (Uilliam)

Liam

Uilliam is an old Irish boy name that the name ‘Liam’ stems from. ‘Liam’ is also said to be a shortened version of the Germanic name ‘William’.

It means ‘Guardian’ or ‘Helmet of will’ and is easily pronounced ‘Lee-um’.

Strong Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Liam

  • Pronunciation: Lee-um
  • Meaning: ‘Guardian’ or ‘Helmet of will’
  • Famous Liams: Liam Neeson (actor)

3. Lorcan

Lorcan

Next is another name that is rich in history – Lorcan. This name belonged to several kings, including the grandfather of the most famous king, Brian Boru.

Pronounced ‘Lor-ken’, there’s a lovely meaning behind this name – ‘Little fierce one’.

Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Lorcan

  • Pronunciation: Lor-ken
  • Meaning: Little fierce one
  • Famous Lorcans: Lorcan Cranitch (Irish actor)

4. Lachlan (Lochlan)

Lachlan

Lachlan is another of the more unusual Irish boys names and it’s said to be the anglicised version of the Gaelic name ‘Lochlann’.

In ancient Irish literature, ‘Lochlann’ refers to a vague faraway place. However, in more recent history, the name was used to refer to Norway.

Traditional Irish male names: what you need to know about the name Lochlan

  • Pronunciation: Lack-lan
  • Meaning: Norway or from the land of lakes
  • Famous Lochlans: Lachlan Watson (actor)

5. Naoise

Naoise

Naoise (pronounced ‘nee-sha’) is a strong Celtic boys name that some sources claim means ‘Warrior’, however, we couldn’t verify this.

In Irish mythology, Naoise was the nephew of King Conchobar mac Nessa of Ulster.

Naoise falls in love with Deirdre, a woman who the King is also persuing and the pair flee to Scotland. The story has a tragic ending.

Unusual Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Naoise

  • Pronunciation: Nee-sha
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Famous Naoises: Naoise Dolan (novelist)

6. Niall

Niall

Niall is one of the more popular Irish male names and it’s believe to come from the old Irish word ‘Niadh’, which means ‘Champion’.

Its popularity increased over the last decade, which may be down to the fame achieved by One Direction’s Niall Horan.

Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Niall

  • Pronunciation: Ni-el
  • Meaning: Champion
  • Famous Nialls: Niall Horan (singer)

7. Naomhan

Naomhan

Naomhan (pronounced ‘Nee-vawn’) is a one of the rare Irish boys names that you don’t come across too often.

It comes from an old Irish word ‘noíb’, which means ‘Holy’ or ‘Sacred’.

Old Irish male names: what you need to know about the name Naomhan

  • Pronunciation: Nee-vawn
  • Meaning: ‘Holy’ or ‘Sacred’
  • Famous Naomhans: NA

8. Nechtan

Nechtan

Nechtan (pronounced ‘Nye-ach-tan’) was the name of a mythical figure from Irish legend that was linked to the spring that gave birth to the River Boyne.

Aptly, the name Nechtan is said to mean ‘Clean’ and ‘Pure’.

Unusual Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Nechtan

  • Pronunciation: Nye-ach-tan
  • Meaning: ‘Clean’ and ‘Pure’
  • Famous Nechtans: Saint Nectan (nephew of Saint Patrick)

9. Odhrán (Oran)

Odhrán

Odhrán is one of the more beautiful Irish boys names and its more common anglicised version is ‘Oran’.

It’s believed that the name means ‘Pale green’. 

Irish names for boys: what you need to know about the name Odhrán

  • Pronunciation: Oh-ran
  • Meaning: Pale green
  • Famous Orans: Oran of Iona (Irish saint)

10. Oscar

Oscar

The origin of the name ‘Oscar’ goes back to Irish mythology and was the name of the grandson of Fionn Mac Cumhaill.

The word ‘Os’ means deer in Irish while ‘Car’ means friend or loving. The meaning of the name Ocar is open to interpretation, but ‘Friend of deer’ seems closest.

Unique Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Oscar

  • Pronunciation: Os-kar
  • Meaning: Friend of deer
  • Famous Oscars: Oscar Wilde (late Irish poet and playwright)

11. Oisín

Oisín

Oisin is a famous name from Irish mythology. He was the son of Fionn mac Cumhaill and is considered the greatest poet of Ireland.

Pronounced ‘Ush-een’, the name means ‘Fawn’ or ‘Young Deer’. In the legend of Tír Na nÓg, Oisín travels to the land of youth, but to great consequence.

Traditional Irish male names: what you need to know about the name Oisin

  • Pronunciation: Ush-een
  • Meaning: Young deer or fawn
  • Famous Oisins: Oisin Murphy (jockey)

12. Pádraig (Patrick, Pádraic, Páraic + Páidí)

Pádraig

Pádraig is one of the more famous Irish boys names and it comes from ‘Patrick’, a name with Latin origins.

The name means ‘Noble’ or ‘Nobleman’, which is apt when you consider Ireland’s most famous Patrick, Saint Patrick, is Ireland’s patron saint.

Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name

  • Pronunciation: Pádraig (Pah-drig), Páraic (Pah-rick) + Páidí (Pah-dee)
  • Meaning: Nobleman
  • Famous Patricks: Patrick Spillane (former Gaelic footballer)

13. Peadar (Peter)

Peadar

Peadar is one of the more common Gaelic boys names and it’s believed that it comes from the Greek word ‘Pertros’,which means stone/rock.

Although the name may look intimidating at first glance, it’s easily pronounced ‘Pah-dar’.

Traditional Irish male names: what you need to know about the name Peadar

  • Pronunciation: Pah-dar
  • Meaning: Stone/rock
  • Famous Peadars: Peadar O Guilin (author)

14. Proinséas (Proinsias)

Proinséas

Next up is an unusual Irish name that is the Irish variation of Francis, a name which became known thanks to St Francis of Assisi.

It’s rare to see/hear this name in Ireland and, if you’re living abroad and considering name your boy ‘Proinséas’, just keep in mind people will have trouble reading/pronouncing it.

Unusual Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Proinsias

  • Pronunciation: Pron-shiss
  • Meaning: Little French man
  • Famous Proinsias: Proinsias De Rossa (Irish politician)

15. Ruairí (Ruaidhrí + Rory)

Ruairí

Ruairí is one of the more traditional Irish boys names and it tends to be given to boys born with red hair.

The word ‘Ruadh’ means ‘red-haired’ in Irish while ‘Rígh’ means ‘King’. The name, pronounced ‘Rur-ee’ means ‘Red-haired king’.

Old Irish male names: what you need to know about the name Ruairi

  • Pronunciation: Roar-ee/Rur-ee
  • Meaning: Red-haired king
  • Famous Ruairis: Ruairi O’Connor (Irish actor)

16. Ryan

Ryan

The first name ‘Ryan’ comes from, the Irish surname ‘Ryan’ which in turn stems from the old Irish name ‘Rían’.

Pronounced ‘Rye’an’, it’s believed that it means ‘Little king’ (do note that this meaning is credited to more modern sources).

Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Ryan

  • Pronunciation: Rye-an
  • Meaning: Little king
  • Famous Ryans: Ryan Gosling (Canadian actor)

17. Rónán

Rónán

The name Rónán comes from the Gaelic word ‘Rón’, which means ‘seal’. This name pops up in an old legend about a mother seal that is warned to avoid getting close to the land.

However, a storm brigs her ashore and she gets trapped and becomes a Selkie. She marries a fisherman and has little ‘Rónáns’ (seals).

The story ends with her finding her seal skin and escaping back to sea yet always keeping a watch on her family from the waves.

Top Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Ronan

  • Pronunciation: Row-nan
  • Meaning: Pledge, seal and promising oath
  • Famous Ronans: Ronan Keating (singer)

18. Senan (Sennan + Senán)

Senan

Senan is an old Irish boys name that is still popular today.

It’s particularly popular in and around the County of Clare, where St. Senan is from.

Old Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Senan

  • Pronunciation: Se-nan
  • Meaning: Old or wise
  • Famous Senans: Senán mac Geirrcinn (Saint)

19. Seán (Shane + Seaghán)

Seán

Sean is a classic Irish boys name that has become famous the world over.

The name is said to come from the Hebrew name ‘Johanan’, which means ‘God is gracious’.

Shane, the anglicised version of Seán, is more common, but Seán is a beautiful and easy to pronounce (Shawn) name.

Traditional Irish male names: what you need to know about the name Sean

  • Pronunciation: Shawn
  • Meaning: God is Gracious
  • Famous Seans: Sean Penn (actor)

20. Séamus

Séamus

Séamus (prnounced ‘Shay-mus’) is the Irish equivalent of ‘James’ and it’s believed to mean ‘One who supplants’ or ‘One who grabs the heel’.

In recent years, Irish WWE wrestler Séamus has received world-wide fame.

Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Séamus

  • Pronunciation: Shay-mus
  • Meaning: ‘One who supplants’ or ‘One who grabs the heel’
  • Famous Séamuss: Seamus Heaney (poet)

21. Sé (Shay)

Sé

This modern Irish boys name is thought to be the Irish variation of the Hebrew name ‘Shai’.

It’s often considered for either boy’s or girl’s names, although it’s more common as a male name in Ireland.

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

  • Pronunciation: Sh-ay
  • Meaning: Admirable
  • Famous Shays: Shay Roundtree (actor)

22. Tadhg

Tadgh

Tadhg was one of the most common Irish baby boy names in ancient Ireland with many kings, like Tadhg mac Muireadach Mac Cárthaigh – King of Desmond, bearing the name.

Pronounced ‘Tie-g’, the name means ‘Poet’ or ‘Philosopher’.

Old Irish male names: what you need to know about the name Tadhg

  • Pronunciation: Tie-g
  • Meaning: Poet or philosopher
  • Famous Tadhgs: Tadhg Furlong (Irish rugby player)

23. Tómas (Thomas)

Tómas

Tomás is a name with origins in Ireland, Portugal and Spain and has several variations and is the equivalent of ‘Thomas’.

 ‘Thomas’ is an ancient name and it features in the Bible courtesy of Thomas the Apostle (one of the twelve apostles of Jesus).

Irish baby boy names: what you need to know about the name Tómas

  • Pronunciation: Tho-mas
  • Meaning: Twin
  • Famous Tómass: Tomás MacDonagh (Irish revolutionary leader)

24. Toirdelbach (Turlough)

Turlough

Toirdelbach (anglicised as ‘Turlough’) is a name that’s tied many a tongues.

It comes from the Irish word ‘toirdhealbh’, which means ‘instigator’ or ‘prompting’

Unusual Irish boy names: what you need to know about the name Toirdelbach

  • Pronunciation: Thur-lock
  • Meaning: Prompting or instigator
  • Famous Toirdelbachs: NA

25. Tiernan

Tiernan

Although it’s more commonly seen as a last name, Tiernan can also be used as a first name.

The name comes from the Irish word ‘tiarna’, which means ‘Lord’.

Traditional Irish male names: what you need to know about the name Tiernan

  • Pronunciation: Teer-nawn
  • Meaning: Lord
  • Famous Tiernans: Tiernan Killeen (Irish hurler)

26. Ultán

Ultán

Finally, we have one of the more unique Irish boys names – Ultán, which means ‘Ulsterman’ (Ulster is a province in Ireland).

Historically, the province of Ulster was located at the heart of the Gaelic world (the Isle of Man, Ireland and Scotland).

Unique Irish names for boys: what you need to know about the name Ultán

  • Pronunciation: Ul-tan
  • Meaning: Ulsterman
  • Famous Ultáns: Ultan Dillane (rugby player)

FAQs about common and rare Irish boys names

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

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

What are some cool Irish boy names?

Eoghan, Fionn, Iollan, Niall, Rónán, Séamus and Ultán are several cool Irish boys names when you take their meanings and origins into account.

What is a strong Irish boy name?

Ardál (meaning ‘High valour’), Conal (meaning ‘Strong as a wolf’) and Feargus (meaning ‘Strong one’) are some strong Irish boys names with ancient Irish links.

What are Irish names for handsome?

Canice (pronounced ‘Can-is’) is an Irish name meaning ‘Handsome’. Variations of this Irish boys name are ‘Cainnech’ and ‘Coinneach’.

What is the most Irish name ever?

You could argue that Tadgh (pronounced ‘Tie-g’) is one of the most Irish male names. It means ‘Poet’ or ‘Philosopher’.

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