Irish name of the week: Liam

From pronunciation and meaning to fun facts and famous Irish celebrities who share the name, we’ll fill you in on our Irish name of the week: Liam.

If you’ve grown up with the name Liam, you’ve probably had to put up with your fair share of jokes about how your name sounds like the word ‘lame’. Don’t worry, we won’t make any jokes like that, but we will share some other funny ones further on in the article—so stayed tuned! 

Liam is one of the most popular boy names not only in Ireland but in the entire world. It’s not uncommon to see it on the most popular baby boy name lists of any given year.

So if it’s your name, congratulations! You’ve probably never had to struggle to find it on a keychain or fridge magnet, which cannot be said for many other Irish names

Pronunciations and spellings

The Irish name Liam is pronounced LEE-um.

Liam, for an Irish name, is very straightforward to both pronounce and spell. To say it, it’s simply: LEE-um. Lee-um. Liam. 

See? You’ve got it nailed down already. 

It’s very rare to see a variation on the spelling of ‘Liam’, but these a few alternatives: Lyam, Liahm, and Lliam. 

Meaning and history 

The Irish name Liam was brought to Ireland after the Norman invastion

Liam is a boy’s name of Irish origin meaning ‘resolute protection.’ The name Liam originated as a nickname for Uilliam—which is the Irish variation of William. 

William is an English name that was first brought to Ireland when the British fled England shortly after the Norman Conquest. Us Irish then began using English names but added our own twist—Uilliam as William, for example—which then ultimately became Liam. 

Until the end of the 18th century, it was a name that was virtually unknown outside of Ireland. Then, in the mid-1850s, over a million and a half people fled the great famine of Ireland and Irish names were heard everywhere. 

Fun facts

Liam Neeson is known for his thriller movies like Taken

Did you know Liam was the top U.S. boy name for 2018? It is now the fastest-rising Irish name in the U.S. after it broke into the top 10 for the first time ever in 2012. Before it reached the number one spot, it had held on to the number two spot for four years running. 

Now, this next fact may cause a few cheeky grins from those with the name—but did you know that, according to recent research, ‘Liam’ has been labelled as the name most likely to be had by an attractive man? 

Apparently famous Irish actor Liam Neeson had a large part to play in this—the actor was voted sexiest man in Ireland in a survey by Ladbrokes. We’re not entirely sure what to make of this information. 

Shout out to other Irish names that made the above list— Aiden came in at number 8, and Seán at 22.

Famous people named Liam

Liam Cunninham appeared in Game of Thrones

As we mentioned before, probably the best-known Liam from Ireland is actor Liam Neeson. Neeson has appeared in the wildly popular Taken movie trilogy, where members of his family simply cannot stop getting kidnapped. Like, seriously. There’s a lot of kidnapping. 

Another Irish actor also with the name is Liam Cunningham. Most will know Cunningham as Ser Davos Seaworth from Game of Thrones, or from the 2006 movie The Wind That Shakes the Barley, a film about Ireland’s fight for independence.

In the music world, Liam Gallagher rose to fame as the lead singer of the rock band Oasis. For famous Liams in the world of sport, there’s Liam Brady, the former Irish footballer and assistant manager of the Republic of Ireland’s national football team. 

Liam-related jokes 

Now for the part you’ve all been waiting for: the jokes. We’ve compiled a few of the funniest ones we could find below. 

 1. Liam Neeson never snowboards. He has a very specific set of skis. 

 2. Liam Gallagher, lead singer of Oasis, decides to learn about politics. So he goes up to Noel and asks – “What’s a Tory, (Morning Glory), weeeeeelllllllll?” 

 3. What did Liam Neeson say to the man who stole his copy of Microsoft Office? “I will find you. You have my Word.” 

So there you have it: our Irish name of the week, Liam. Hopefully we’ve taught you something about this interesting Irish name, or at least given you a laugh! 

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