Baby name needed: Boy name for Cian’s brother

A reader named Jamie writes:

Cian Joseph is two years old, and will be welcoming a little brother in May. My husband is Irish, and so we’re sticking with names from that region. We know the middle name will be James, but we’re hitting a road block on first names. So far the only name we both like is Declan, but our super-Irish last name includes 2 K-sounds and ends in -lin. They sound a little funny together.

My first thoughts were Desmond and Diarmaid (Dermot), which are both similar to Declan. There’s also a saint named Donnan. Speaking of saints, how about:


Most of the above are spelled other ways as well, which is convenient (as some versions are easier to pronounce in English, while others are closer to the original Irish).

Historical Irish kings had names like Niall (Neil), Domnall (Donald) and Ruaidri (Rory).

Looking to surnames, there are options like Brady, Grady, Murphy and Nolan.

Do you think any of the above sound particularly good with James? What other names would you suggest?

Update, 6/07: Scroll down to the last comment to find out which name Jamie chose…

9 thoughts on “Baby name needed: Boy name for Cian’s brother

  1. Jamie, have you looked at the Website Names of Ireland ( )? It’s the best I’ve found for Irish names. The webmaster says: “I grew up in Ireland and have always had an interest in the origin of names and now you can listen to Frank McCourt, Pulitzer prize-winning author of “Angela’s Ashes”… offer you 200 Irish names meanings for your baby girl or boy.” And: “I’ve asked the 10-year-olds of Coolderry National School in County Offaly, Ireland to share their versions of the legendary sources of a lot of these names, complete with artwork. Notice how the names of the students reflect the tremendous growth of Gaelic names in Ireland from 27 different ones in 1901 to over 180 in 2005.” I found your son Cian’s name among those listed, and I think you can find another genuine Irish name on this website.

    I looked through the list and came up with a few suggestions:
    Dermot (Diarmuid), as Nancy suggested, begins with D like Declan and is described as “the name of early kings, legendary heroes and saints.” Who could ask for more!
    Owen (Eoghan)
    Liam (Irish for of William)

    James is a great middle name and goes with just about every name.

  2. You might also look at the list of 100 top baby boy names in Ireland in 2007:

    I noticed Cian was #9. Among those I suggested above, Diarmuid (“Dermot”) was #82; Liam, 26; Eoghan (“Owen”), 52. There are lots of other names in the top 100 that look distinctly Irish too. One precaution when choosing a name from another language/country: be sure the name you choose is current and not some terribly out of fashion name that would sound peculiar if your son ever visited that country.

    Good luck finding the perfect name for your second son (and I hope you’ll let us know what you choose).

  3. My son’s name is Kellan. Of course I love it! It can also be spelled Kellen. It is Irish for Mighty Warrior.

  4. Thanks, everyone, for your great ideas! We’re still pondering, but I will let you know what we decide on come May!

  5. I have an Irish girl’s name (Deirdre) and I like it! My brother’s names are Liam and Brendan, both of which I think have been suggested… my two favorite Irish boys names are Eamonn/Eamon and Finbarr/Finbar.

  6. Just heard from Jamie! She very kindly says:

    Despite some fantastic suggestions from you and your readers, we ended up going with our first instincts, and named our new baby boy Declan James. Thanks!

    Congrats to you both!

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