According to data from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO), the most popular baby names in the country in 2018 were againEmily and Jack.
Here are Ireland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2018:
Fiadh (pronounced fee-ah)
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…
Meghan was the fastest rising girls’ name, moving 701 spots to number 703 from number 1,404 in 2017. This jump speaks to the popularity of Meghan Markle, an American who joined the royal family when she married Prince Harry in 2018. Tune in next year to see how newborn Archie influences Moms and Dads in 2019. The name Archie actually reappears in the top 1,000 in 2018 for the first time since 1988, and he will likely continue climbing up the list after the latest royal news.
Winter is coming for “Game of Thrones” fans. The name Yara voyaged 314 spots from number 986 in 2017 to number 672 in 2018 on the girls’ side. Followers of the hit HBO show know this probably is due to Yara Greyjoy, a character on the popular series.
For the boys, Genesis is the fastest rising name for 2018, shuffling his way 608 spots to number 984 from number 1,592 in 2017. There has been a resurgence of classic names in the top 10 baby names in recent years, so perhaps Genesis is a harkening back to the classic English rock band led by Phil Collins. Speaking of Genesis, award winning Grammy singer and coach on “The Voice,” Alicia Keys named her son Genesis after his birth.
The name Fiona — coined during the 18th century by Scottish poet James Macpherson, who based it on the Irish word fionn (“white, fair”) — is relatively common in the U.S. these days. Rank-wise, it’s been hovering around 200th place for the last few years.
But — like Siobhan, Maeve, Bronwen, and many other Celtic names — it didn’t arrive with the immigrants. Instead, it was introduced to America later on, via pop culture.
Fiona first popped up in the data in 1942, and it stuck around for several years:
1944: 7 baby girls named Fiona
1943: 19 baby girls named Fiona
1942: 9 baby girls named Fiona [debut]
What boosted it onto the charts that initial time?
The movie The Gay Sisters, which came out in August of 1942. The main characters were the three Gaylord sisters/heiresses: Fiona, Evelyn, and Susanna. Fiona, the eldest sister, was played by popular actress Barbara Stanwyck (birth name Ruby Catherine Stevens). The film didn’t do well at the box office, but it clearly had an impact on expectant parents.
The movie was based on the book of the same name by Stephen Longstreet. Longstreet was also the writer behind Stallion Road, which was similarly made into a movie and introduced audiences to a woman named Rory (traditionally a male name) later in the ’40s.