How popular is the baby name Mairead in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Mairead.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Mairead


Posts that Mention the Name Mairead

Popular baby names in Ireland, 2021

ireland

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

Here are Ireland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Fiadh, 424 baby girls
  2. Grace, 412
  3. Emily, 388
  4. Sophie, 336
  5. Éabha, 288
  6. Lucy, 287
  7. Mia, 279
  8. Ava, 272
  9. Lily, 271
  10. Ella, 268

Boy Names

  1. Jack, 667 baby boys
  2. Noah, 475
  3. James, 442
  4. Conor, 360
  5. Rían, 357
  6. Liam, 353
  7. Charlie, 345
  8. Daniel, 325
  9. Cillian, 322
  10. Tadhg, 318

In the girls’ top 10, Éabha and Lily replaced Amelia and Hannah. (In both 2019 and 2020, Éabha was the fastest-rising girl name in Ireland.)

In the boys’ top 10, Rían, Cillian, and Tadhg replaced Finn, Fionn, and Harry.

Newbies to the girls’ top 100 were Indie, Ayla and Lottie; newbies to the boys’ top 100 were Teddy, Daithí, Páidí, Jaxon, Brody, Ted, Hunter, Tadgh, Tiernan, and Arlo.

The fastest-rising names in the top 100 in terms of numbers of babies were:

  • Croía (+60 baby girls), Emily (+59), Fiadh (+58), Éabha (+54), Isla (+52)
  • Rían (+72 baby boys), Jack (+70), Danny (+57), Theo (+53), Ollie (+51)

The fastest-rising names in terms of rank were:

  • Croía (+43 spots), Indie (+28), Ayla (+28), Fíadh (+24), Daisy (+21)
  • Ted (+49 spots), Hunter (+38), Hugo (+35), Brody (+35), Teddy (+31)

Rían (which was already on the rise) and Croía have both given a boost recently by Irish MMA fighter Conor McGregor, who welcomed a daughter named Croía Mairéad at the start of 2019 and a son named Rían in May of 2021.

Here’s what writer and Irish language activist Darach Ó Séaghdha’s had to say about the rise of Rían (and Éabha):

Given that the first name Ryan started to decline in popularity in the 2010s around the time Rian and Rían began to ascend it is reasonable to see Rían as an update or replacement to Ryan, much as Éabha has climbed in popularity as Eve, Ava and Aoibhe have wavered.

He also noted that “Rían and Rian would be the [most popular] Gaeilge-origin boy name if counted together, edging ahead of Conor.”

Sources: Irish Babies’ Names, Irish Babies’ Names 2021, The Irish For: The rise of Rían – the latest baby names in Ireland

P.S. To follow up on Friday’s post about the free lighthouse tour…the name Patrick is currently ranked 19th in Ireland, but none of the other three names (Paddy, Pat, or Patricia) rank anywhere near the top 100. That said, one of the names new to the boys’ top 100 last year was Páidí (pronounced paw-dee) — a pet form of Pádraig, which is an Irish form of Patrick.

Inconspicuous anagram baby names: Blake/Kaleb, Hale/Leah

letters

I recently updated my old anagram baby names post to make it much more comprehensive. As I worked on it, though, I noticed that many of those sets of names had obvious similarities, such as the same first letters and/or the same rhythm.

So I thought I’d make a second, shorter list of anagram names that were less conspicuously similar. Specifically, I wanted the second list to feature sets of names with different first letters and different numbers of syllables.

And that’s what you’ll find below — pairs of anagram names that are relatively distinct from one another. So much so that, at first glance (or listen), some might not even strike you as being anagrammatic at all. :)

Click on any name to check out its popularity graph…

Most of the names above have a clear number of syllables, but a few do not. (I categorized them according to my own interpretation/accent.) So, if you’re interested in using any of these pairings, just remember to test the names out loud first!

Which of the pairs above do you like best?

What gave the baby name Eilish a boost in the 1990s?

Katie and Eilish Holton, conjoined twins born in Ireland in 1988.
Katie and Eilish Holton

Once the SSA releases the 2019 baby name data, we’ll know just how high the name Eilish — an anglicized form of Eilís, the Irish Gaelic form of Elizabeth or Alice — climbed during Billie Eilish’s breakout year.

While we wait, though, we can go back in time to learn why the Irish name Eilish saw its strongest usage in the U.S. in the mid-1990s.

The year Eilish debuted in the data, 1977, it was given to a mere five babies. The year it reappeared, 1993, it was given to nearly two dozen babies. (The same year, we see the reappearance of Ailish and the debut of one-hit wonder Ilish.) And when Eilish peaked in usage three years later, the number had climbed to nearly three dozen.

  • 1997: 27 baby girls named Eilish
  • 1996: 35 baby girls named Eilish [peak]
  • 1995: 17 baby girls named Eilish
  • 1994: 14 baby girls named Eilish
  • 1993: 23 baby girls named Eilish [return]
  • 1992: unlisted
  • 1991: unlisted

So what brought Eilish back?

Eilish Holton, a conjoined twin who (along with her sister Katie) was born in County Kildare, Ireland, in August of 1988. The pair were “joined from shoulder to hip, with four arms and two shared legs. Each had her own heart and spinal column but shared one pelvis, one large bowel, one bladder and one kidney.” Eilish was on the right-hand side, Katie on the left-hand side.

The girls came to the attention of Americans thanks to the British TV documentary Katie and Eilish (1992), which aired in the U.S. in May of 1993.

Title of the TV documentary "Katie and Eilish" (1992)
Katie and Eilish

The Peabody Award-winning documentary followed the 3-year-old twins over the twelve months leading up to their 15-hour separation surgery, which took place in London in April of 1992. The film concluded after the operation had taken place and Katie had passed away (due to heart failure, just days after the separation) leaving Eilish as the sole surviving twin.

The documentary’s follow-up, Eilish: Life Without Katie (1995), which aired in the U.S. in July of 1996, is what pushed the name to peak usage three years later.

The second film followed 6-year-old Eilish, who was now getting around with the help of a prosthetic leg (dubbed “Katie,” poignantly). Unlike the first film, though, this one wasn’t well-received by reviewers; one person described it as “maddeningly unchallenging, uninformative and undemanding.”

What are your thoughts on the baby name Eilish? Would you use it?

Sources: Katie and Eilish – ITV Studios, The Most Intimate Bond – Time, Such Sweetened Sorrow – The Independent, Life after Katie – Independent.ie, Eilish – Behind the Name

P.S. Eilish Holton’s four other sisters are named Claire, Therese, Mairead, and Maeve.

Be on the Lookout for Merida in 2012

merida

Here’s one to put on your calendars.

In June of 2012 — exactly a year from now — Pixar is planning to release its 13th feature film, Brave. The movie is a fairy tale set in Scotland. The protagonist, a red-haired girl named Merida, is both a princess and an archer.

As far as I know, Merida is not a traditional Scottish name. Mairead, Murron, Morag…these are Scottish. But not Merida. (Perhaps it’s a creative take on Mairead? If so, Mairead is a Scottish form of Margaret, meaning “pearl.”)

Anyway, the film looks cute. I have no doubt it will do well at the box office. And what happens then? First, a surge in the number of kids who want to take archery lessons. Second, and more importantly, bazillions of baby girls named Merida.

But that’s a long way off. As of right now, this name’s best year in the data was 1949 (with 13 baby girls), and its most recent appearance was 2002 (with 5 baby girls).

Do you like the name Merida? Do you think it’s the sort of name that could really take off in the U.S.?