Following in the aftermath of the Great Irish Famine in the 1840’s, the Irish language dwindled.
Where once the Emerald Isle was alive with its native tongue being spoken by every man, woman and child, it is now an unusual occurrence to find a fluent young person.
Whilst the language lost its prominence, so too did some traditional Irish first names which now would be considered rare or even unheard of.
However, since the late 19th century, the Celtic revival has seen a resurgence in the Irish language, our heritage and roots.
And, with all that said, we hope soon these 10 rare Irish names will make a comeback, too!
Coming as a direct Irish interpretation of the name “Laurence”, this rare Irish name is scarcely seen on the Emerald Isle the days. It is a masculine name and can be spelt with or without a fada (e.g. Labhrás or Labhras).
Phonetically: low-ras OR lav-ras
This extremely rare Irish girls name was lost with the ages, but we’re hoping it will make a fierce come back in the near future.
The Irish word translates to mean “golden lady” in English, and although it will certainly baffle people with its pronunciation, it really is not too much of a tongue twister.
This epic name refers to Irish mythology where Nuada (other variants include Nuada, Nuadu or Nuadha), was the first king of the Tuatha Dé Danann.
He was a valiant warrior and the name itself translates to suggest the word “protector” in the old Irish language.
It is a boys name and rarely seen in modern day Ireland. Similar references to this name are seen in Welsh mythology, also.
Phonetically: new-dah OR nu-dah
This gorgeous Irish girls name has been dormant for decades. The name can be spelt as Mell or Mella, although neither of these variations is popular in contemporary Ireland.
Two common interpretations of this name are known. The first proposes this name to be of old Irish, meaning “lightning” – a name that was often given to holy women.
The second interpretation suggests that the name derives from the Irish word for “honey”, which is “mel” or “mil”, and thus, the name means “sweetness”.
This girls name has declined in popularity over generations. Rarely seen in current times, this traditional Irish name, from Gaelic into English means “shrewd”, which is the sharp and undisputed power to show good judgement.
Deriving from the Irish word “rionach”, which means “queenly” when translated into the English language, this old Irish name is certainly not one you’re likely to come by.
Saying that we feel it’s time this name takes its throne, once again. This girls name can be spelt with or without a fada (e.g. Riona or Ríona).
This Irish girls name comes from the Gaelic language and means “strong” or “strength”.
It can be used as an Irish variant of the English name Theresa. Alternative Irish spellings for this name can include Toiréasa or Terise.
In Gaelic, this rare Irish girls name means “good peace”. Other variants of spelling include Síthmaith, Sithmaith or Sheeva.
This name can also be spelt with or without a fada on the “I” (as in Síomha or Siomha).
The traditional name dates back generations, although it is practically unheard of in modern day Ireland.
It is safe to say that on appearance this name is a real head-scrambler. Extremely old and rarely seen in contemporary times, this traditional Irish boys name is well overdue a revival.
This name is, in fact, the Irish or Gaelic form of Francis, a name which originated from St. Francis of Assisi.
The name actually means “little French man” and was popularised in Ireland generations ago, only to wane over the generations.
This Irish girls name is sure to be a serious tongue twister for out-of-towners and locals alike, who have most likely never come across this ancient name.
Surprisingly, however, it is, in fact, an Irish or old Gaelic form of the Hebrew name Molly.
It could perhaps be a pet form of Mary, which means – translated from traditional Hebrew to English – “bitterness”.
Yet, regardless of its unique qualities is probably not the sweetest name for a newly born baby girl, we have to say!