Irish name of the week: Brendan

There’s always someone that comes to mind when you hear the name Brendan.

It could be your favourite actor, an old crush from school, or even a fictional character.

Brendan is one of the most popular names in Ireland, but also around the world, especially in North America, Australia, and some parts of Europe.

Brendan has a long history, and there are some facts which you may not know.

We are here to break down this oh so familiar name and get to know it just that little bit better.


The name Brendan, unlike many other Irish names, which tend to trick us into thinking they’re pronounced in a certain way, is actually one of the more simple of the Irish male given names.

You see, Brendan is pronounced just as it is written, so no matter where ‘Brendan’ goes around the world, he can rest easy that his name won’t become a mess of its original.

Put simply, Brendan is pronounced BREN-DAN, but maybe a little like BREN-DIN, if it’s been said by a fast speaker.

Either way, there are no tricks, silent letters, or awkward combinations to this Irish name so say it with confidence.

Spelling and variants

The Irish name Brendan is common amongst those on the island.

Of course, having spread worldwide, and having come from a long line of history, the spelling of the name has changed over time as well as numerous variations appearing over the years too.

The traditional Irish way of spelling Brendan would be Breandán and is pronounced slightly differently, BREN-DAWN.

However, there have been many other spellings of the name, including Brendon, Brenden, and Brendin.

Many names have also branched off from the original and become just as popular, such as Braden, Brandon, Braden, Brennan, and, of course, the female version being Brenda.

With alternative names becoming more and more popular to use as baby names, we can expect to see a few more variants of Brendan to come.

History and meaning

The Irish name Brendan means "Prince" or "King".

Better treat the next Brendan you meet like royalty, because this name, believe it or not, means ‘Prince’ or ‘King’, originating in Wales.

Although the name dates back to the earlier Old Irish when it was initially Brénainn, it actually goes back even further to Old Welsh when the name derived from the word ‘breenhin’, which indeed meant ‘prince’ or ‘king’.

To go back even further it can also be traced back to Latin, in which the word derived from ‘Brendanus’.

It has been mentioned in Old Irish literature that there were 17 saints called Brendan and with Ireland being a traditionally religious country, we can see how the name took off, just like Patrick, Mary, or John.

So much so that as the story goes, it was the arrival of St. Brendan the Voyager, the first European to touch American soil, that brought popularity to the name especially among Irish-Americans.

Famous people with the name Brendan

The Irish name Brendan is common all across the world.

So by now, you’ve probably got that image of Brendan you know circling around in your mind, but there are plenty of Brendan’s out there that you probably never came to think of.

For instance, in the Hollywood scene, there are numerous actors with the name Brendan, such as George of the Jungle star Brendan Fraser, and our very own Irish export Brendan Gleeson, as well as Mark Wahlberg, who named his son Brendan.

Other famous Brendan’s include our own Mrs. Brown – Brendan O’ Carroll, the late great Brendan Grace, Irish playwright Brendan Behan, and even fictional character Brendan Brady from the TV soap Hollyoaks.

For all those sports fans out there, you may be familiar with professional golfer Brendan Smyth, Canadian hockey player Brendan Morrison, or even professional American swimmer Brendan Hansen.

The list goes on and so it should for this popular Irish name.

It’s a name we hear almost every day, a name that is still being chosen for newborn babies around the world, and so it should be.

We think that this is a name is even cooler knowing that it was made popular by a saint with love for adventurous travel and exploring.

We also think it’s just a matter of time before Brendan hits the charts once again as a top Irish name.

Related Posts


Ireland Before You Die is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more