Popular and Unusual Baby Names in Ireland, 2018

According to data from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO), the most popular baby names in the country in 2018 were again Emily and Jack.

Here are Ireland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2018:

Girl Names

  1. Emily
  2. Grace
  3. Emma
  4. Sophie
  5. Amelia
  6. Ella
  7. Ellie
  8. Mia
  9. Ava
  10. Fiadh (pronounced fee-ah)

Boy Names

  1. Jack
  2. James
  3. Noah
  4. Conor
  5. Daniel
  6. Harry
  7. Luke
  8. Michael
  9. Adam
  10. Charlie

In the girls’ top 10, Ella, Ellie, and Fiadh replace Hannah (now 11th), Lucy (13th), and Chloe (16th). The Irish name Fiadh* comes from the word fia, which means “wild” — in a “wild animal” or “wild deer” sense specifically. (Many sources oversimplify the definition by reducing it to “deer.”)

In the boys’ top 10, Charlie replaces Sean (now both 13th & 74th — see below for an explanation).

New entrants to the girls’ top 100 were Ada, Bella, Bonnie and Ivy. Ada and Ivy were the fastest climbers.

New entrants to the boys’ top 100 were Frankie, Freddie and Theodore. Theodore and Frankie were the fastest climbers.

Something else new to the rankings in 2018? The síneadh fada — an important Irish diacritic that indicates a long vowel. (In Irish, the word síneadh means “stretching” or “prolongation” and the word fada means “long.”) This is what pushed longtime top-five name Sean out of the top 10 entirely in 2018. “Sean” and “Seán” are now being counted as separate names. Currently, Seán ranks 13th while fada-less Sean is way down in 74th place.

Speaking of names with relatively low placement on the list, baby names bestowed just three times each in Ireland last year included…

  • Rare girl names: Aodhla, Erris, Fódla, Rahela, Seoda, Ugne, Xenia
  • Rare boy names: Connla, Iarfhlaith, Liam Óg, Lughaidh, Seánie, Sionnach, Zente

Sources: Irish Babies’ Names 2018: Introduction, Babies’ Names 2018 Tables, CSO baby names list features síneadh fada for first time
Image: © 2019 CSO

*The name Fiadh debuted in the U.S. data in 2018.


2 thoughts on “Popular and Unusual Baby Names in Ireland, 2018

  1. I think it’s silly that Sean and Seán are counted separately. Now, yes, I realize that in Irish, the fada is important. But the percentage of Irish people who actually speak Irish in their daily lives is really small. I highly doubt fada-less Sean is getting pronounced any differently than Seán. (Unless maybe in the north where I’ve heard they have Séan, pronounced Shane, and fada-less Sean could be representing that. Perhaps someone from Donegal/Cavan/Monaghan could weigh in).

  2. I don’t have a strong opinion about the fada personally, but its inclusion seems to be an important issue to at least a portion of Irish speakers (source). I do wonder how important the fada is to people in Ireland in general, though.

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