A reader named Alexis wrote to me a few weeks ago:
My husband and I are expecting a baby girl in February 2009. He is Irish and I am Swedish so we are trying to find a simple girl’s name that is either Irish or Swedish. If you could help us it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks :)
About a month ago I listed a few simple Swedish names, such as Elin, Inga and Lina. Simple Irish names are a bit harder to come by (Deirbhile? Muirgheal?) but there’s always Fiona, Nola, Oona or Orla.
Personally, I like both Molly and Nora.
Molly tends to be associated with Ireland–perhaps thanks to Molly Malone–and is currently popular in Sweden. (It ranks 30th in Sweden, 18th in N. Ireland and 23rd in Ireland.)
Nora has literary connections to both countries: it was the name of James Joyce’s wife and of a character in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. (It ranks 36th in Sweden, but doesn’t rank in Ireland.)
Many other simple names, though not specifically Irish or Swedish, are popular in both areas as well:
- Anna (#10 in N. Ireland, #20 in Ireland, #56 in Sweden)
- Clara/Klara (#13 in Sweden, #84 in Ireland, #74 in N. Ireland)
- Ella (#3 in Sweden, #3 in Ireland, #22 in N. Ireland)
- Emma (#2 in Ireland, #4 in Sweden, #5 in N. Ireland)
- Hanna/Hannah (#9 in N. Ireland, #13 in Ireland, #20 in Sweden)
- Sara/Sarah (#1 in Ireland, #7 in N. Ireland, #26 in Sweden)
What other name suggestions would you offer Alexis?
Update, 4/18 – The baby is here! Check the 2nd comment to find out what her name is…