32 first names: the most popular first names in every county in Ireland

Word on the street is Irish first names are all the rage. With celebrities like Saoirse Ronan making it big, traditional Gaelic names are sweeping the globe. Travel to anywhere in the world, and there’s a chance you’ll run into a Liam or Aoife, probably neither with any Irish heritage.

But what are people calling their kids nowadays in the Emerald Isle itself?

Judging from the most recent statistical data, you may be surprised at some of the names that made it to the top spot.

There are some clear overall winners. The Irish boys’ name, Jack, has swept up a whopping 21/32 counties as the most popular baby boy name of 2019.

Other counties seemed to prefer a more traditional touch, such as Kerry with its fondness for baby girl name “Fiadh”. The northern counties shake it up a bit with “Charlie” coming through as a popular choice.

What have new Irish parents been naming their little ones where you live? Check out the results below!

1. Carlow

This county just can’t seem to make up its mind.

Boy: Charlie/Fionn/ Thomas (Joint winners)

Girl: Emily/Grace/Ruby/Isabelle (Joint winners)

2. Dublin

One of the most popular first names in Ireland is Emily.
Dublin-born actress Emily Taaffe. Credit: Instagram / @emilytaaffe

Boy: Jack (Dublin City saw the name “James” reach the hotspot)

Girl: Sophie (city dwellers preferred “Emily”)

3. Wicklow

You may start to see a trend here…

Boy: Jack

Girl: Emily

4. Wexford

Boy: Jack

Girl: Emily

5. Louth

Boy: Jack

Girl: Emily

6. Kildare

Boy: Jack

Girl: Emily/Sophie (Joint winners)

7. Meath

Boy: Jack

Girl: Emily

8. Westmeath 

Grace O'Malley is a well-known historical figure.
Irish pirate Grace O’Malley. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

This county shook things up a bit this year, starting the trend of sending the name “Grace” to the top spot, which other counties in Leinster followed.

Boy: Jack / Conor (Joint winners)

Girl: Grace

9. Kilkenny

Kilkenny seemed to agree with the city dwellers in Dublin’s metropolitan area, with the name “James” beating out the hugely popular “Jack”.

Boy: James

Girl: Emma

10. Laois

Boy: Jack

Girl: Grace

11. Offaly

Anna is one of the most popular first names in Ireland.
Irish writer Anna Burns.

Boy: Jack/James/Conor/Daniel (Joint winners)

Girl:  Anna

12. Longford

Boy: Jack

Girl: Emily/Grace

13. Clare

Clare sees the worldwide climber “Ava” reach the top spot for most popular girl name in the county. This name has seen a surge in popularity, particularly in the US, since 2000.

Boy: Jack

Girl: Ava

14. Cork

Jack Doyle was otherwise known as the 'Gorgeous Gael'.
The grave of Cobh’s Jack Doyle, known as ‘The Gorgeous Gael’. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Boy: Jack

Girl: Grace

15. Kerry

Kerry saw one of the only Gaelic Irish names to reach the top spot, with Fiadh taking the prize of the most popular name for baby girls in the county in 2019. The name is pronounced “Fee-ah” and comes from the old Irish word for “wild”.

Boy: Jack

Girl: Fiadh

16. Limerick

While Limerick followed the trend of many of its neighbours with its most popular boy name, a girl’s name of German origin, “Amelia” proved most popular for baby girls. It means “work” or “industrious”.

Boy: Jack

Girl: Amelia

17. Tipperary

Boy: Jack

Girl: Grace

18. Waterford

Tadhg is one of the most popular first names in Ireland.
Irish poet Tadhg Williams. Credit: Facebook / @tadhgwilliamspoet

The most popular name for baby boys in Waterford also happens to be one of the most notoriously difficult names for non-Irish folk to pronounce.  This name is pronounced “Tige,” like tiger, but without the R.

Boy: Tadhg

Girl: Emily

19. Galway

Galway took a leaf from Kerry and Waterford’s books in their most popular girl names with the Gaelic Irish “Fiadh”.

Boy: Jack

Girl: Fiadh

20. Leitrim

The warrior queen, Aoife.
The warrior queen, Aoife. Credit: Twitter / @NspectorSpactym

There were certainly no clear winners in some counties and Leitrim seems especially confused. We can see the rise in Irish language names in this county.

Boy: Jack/James/Oisin/Senan (Joint winners)

 Girl: Mia/Aoife/Éabha (Joint winners)

21. Mayo

Boy: Jack

Girl: Grace

22. Roscommon

A break from “Jack” in Roscommon. “Luke” is an English form of the Latin “Lucas” and means “light”.

Boy: Luke

Girl: Lucy/Chloe/Katie (Joint winners)

23. Sligo

Caoimhe is one of the most popular first names in Ireland.

“Noah” (meaning “rest” or “repose”) appears twice on the top spots on our list, while traditional Irish girls name “Caoimhe” (meaning “noble”) was the most popular girl’s name.

Boy: Noah

Girl: Caoimhe

24. Cavan

Boy: Rian

Girl: Emily/Grace (Joint winners)

25. Donegal

Boy: James

Girl: Emily/Ella (Joint winners)

26. Monaghan

The grave of Irish poet Thomas Moore.
The grave of Irish poet Thomas Moore.

Boy: James/Thomas (Joint winners)

Girl: Ella

27. Antrim

Boy: Jack

Girl: Emily

28. Armagh

Boy: Noah

Girl: Sophie

29. Down

Charlie, an English name short for “Charles”, appears twice on this list, and both in the Northern counties of Ireland. Sophie remains a popular choice in the north also, meaning “wisdom”.

Boy: Charlie

Girl: Sophie

30. Derry

Boy: Jack

Girl: Olivia

31. Fermanagh

Charlie is one of the most popular first names in Ireland.
Fermanagh-born actor Charles Lawson. Credit: Facebook / @birminghamrep

Boy: Charlie

Girl: Emily

32. Tyrone

Boy: Jack

Girl: Emily

While the majority of the most popular baby names on this list are more recent trends, an enduring love for more traditional Irish names remains in some counties.

But whatever your thoughts on the emerging popular Gaelic names across the Emerald Isle, in twenty years there sure will be a lot of Jacks and Emilys in your workplace!

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