The surprising Irish baby names taking the US by storm

From the familiar to the surprising, these Irish baby names are taking the US by storm.

The surprising Irish baby names taking the US by storm.

The United States boasts a huge Irish diaspora, particularly in cities like Boston, Chicago, and New York. You’ll find some of the country’s best Irish bars in these towns, with many of the country’s Irish immigrants drinking in them.

Irish Americans have a reputation for being fiercely proud of their roots, so it comes as no surprise that Irish names prove popular in the US every year.

However, recent statistics from the Bump show that, along with the familiar, a few surprising Irish baby names are taking the US by storm.

Unsurprisingly, the Irish baby name Liam is one of the most popular names for newborns in the US. It ranks third on the Bump’s overall list, behind just Kai and Olivia. However, it is the most popular baby name in the US for boys.

This is the fifth year in a row that Liam has been the top-ranked boys’ name in the US since it placed second on the Bump’s list in 2017.

Liam derives from the Irish name Uilliam – essentially the Irish version of William – and means ‘strong-willed warrior’ or ‘resolute protector’.

Perhaps it owes its popularity to its meaning, or maybe its relative ease of spelling and pronunciation compared to other Irish names.

It regularly appears on lists of the most popular Irish names both in Ireland and further afield, particularly in places with a sizeable Irish diaspora.

Famous Liams include Irish actor Liam Neeson, Australian actor Liam Hemsworth, and English singer and former frontman of Oasis, Liam Gallagher.

The most popular Irish girls’ name in the US, according to the Bump, is Maeve. This very traditionally Irish name – alternatively spelt Meabh or Meadhbh – ranks 82nd for newborn girls and 259th overall in the US.

Though there are 258 names ahead of it on the Bump’s list, this marks a jump of 49 places from last year. In fact, the name’s popularity has been increasing steadily in the past decade.

The name means ‘she who intoxicates’ or ‘she who rules’ and comes from the Irish myth of Queen Maeve of Connacht – the Warrior Queen.

Perhaps the most famous Maeve in recent history is late Irish author Meave Binchy. Other famous Maeves, however, include Irish comedian Maeve Higgins and American actor Maeve Quinlan.

Other Irish names taking the US by storm – some surprising inclusions

Credit: Unsplash/ Fabian Centeno

Given Liam’s evergreen popularity and the consistent increase of Maeves in America, it comes as little surprise that these two names are among the most popular Irish names in the US. But there are a few surprising entries on the Bump’s list.

Other boys’ names include Kayden – from the Irish Gaelic surname Mac Cadáin – Declan, Conor, Finn, and Kevin. Joining Maeve on the list of girls’ names are Brianna, Ciara, Kayla, Fiona, and many others.

The Bump’s list also shows unisex names of Irish origin to be a popular choice among new parents in the US. These include, but are not limited to, Nolan, Rowan, Kennedy, Peyton, Rylee, Reagan, and Lennon.

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