Irish name of the week: Ciara

From pronunciation and spelling to fun facts and meaning, here is everything you need to know about the Irish name Ciara.

Did you know that since 1880, over 30,000 people have been given the Irish name Ciara in the United States? And that the greatest number of people given the name (also in the U.S.) occurred in the year 2005? 

It’s one of the few Irish names that has become popular outside of our little Emerald Isle. In 2006, Ciara landed 10th on the list of most popular names given to baby girls within Ireland. 

That’s just a taster of what you’re going to learn in our article today about the Irish name Ciara. 

Read on for more and be sure to share this article with all the Ciaras you know! 

Pronunciation

All of you who instinctively tense up when they have to say an Irish name they’re unfamiliar with can breathe a sigh of relief with this one. Ciara is one of the few classic Irish names that’s not too difficult to say, though we know there can be confustion about whether to pronounce the C as a hard C or a soft C.

Traditionally, it’s a hard C, and you can say it like this: Kier-rah. See? Not so bad. 

If you want to test your Irish name pronunciation skills, why not check out some of our other Irish names of the week articles and see how proficient you are. 

Here’s a couple of the harder ones to get you started: Griánne and Cillian.

Different spellings and variations on the name

The Irish name Ciara is often anglicized as Kiera

Ciara is a name that’s often anglicised as ‘Kiera.’ (Plenty of people with the non-anglicised version are probably sick of correcting people on how to spell their name!) 

Some other spellings include Keira, Keara, Kyra, and Kira. It’s rare to see anyone spell it like the last two, but if you want your daughter’s name to stand out and go against the flow, they would make excellent choices. 

Meaning and history 

The Irish name Ciara means dark-haired

The Irish name Ciara has a few different translations, but they all mean roughly the same thing: ‘dark’, ‘black’, ‘dark-haired’, or ‘black-haired.’ You get the drift. 

It is the feminine version of ‘Ciaran’. 

In Irish history, Ciara was the name of Saint Cera, a 7th-century abbess (a.k.a. the female superior of a community of nuns, often referred to as an abbey). 

It is said that Saint Cera’s prayers saved an Irish town from foul-smelling fires. When a noxious blaze broke out in Muscraig, St. Brendan told the town’s inhabitants to seek out St. Cera’s prayers, which they dutifully did. 

Eventually St. Cera returned to her province and founded a monastery, Killchree, which she governed until her death in 679. 

The feast day of this Saint is March 15, but there is also a festival on July 2 which is dedicated to her memory. Both dates are reported to have been the dates of her death, so no one really knows for sure when she passed! 

Celebrities sharing the name 

Ciara Conway is a politician
Ciara Conway (Credit: Flickr / Labor Youth)

There aren’t any hugely well-known Irish celebrities with the Irish name Ciara, which is good if it’s your name because it means you could be our first. 

However, some lesser-known Ciaras in Ireland include the likes of Irish Labour politician Ciara Conway; musician Ciara Considine, known for her Celtic and folk music; Ciara Kelly, Irish journalist and broadcaster; Ciara Lucey, Irish camogie player; and Canadian-born Irish female footballer Ciara McCormick. 

In the fictional world 

Ciara Brady from Days of Our Lives is one of the few fictional characters with the Irish name Ciara
Ciara Brady, a character in Days of Our Lives

Similarly, there are very few Ciaras in fiction, at least that we could find. 

Ciara Brady was the biggest fictional character we found—a character from the American soap opera Days of our Lives, played by actress Victoria Konefal. 

In the world of books, J.K. Rowling (under her pen name Robert Galbraith) has a character in her 2013 crime fiction novel Cuckoo’s Calling named Ciara Porter.  

Ending on a weird one

In 2015, the online news source Buzzfeed wrote an article listing perceived ‘ghetto’ names and gave their meaning and origin beside them.

Some of the, erm, ghetto names were Mercedes, Aisha, Rashida, and . . . 

Ciara. Yep. 

Understandably, people were confused. One Twitter user sent a Tweet saying: “I just saw a Buzzfeed article that said the name Ciara – one of the biggest Irish Catholic white girl names of Earth – was ghetto’.

The more you know, we guess. That being said, the Irish name Ciara is one of our favourites.

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