What's in a name? When it's an Irish name, it could contain Celtic components, Saints, folklore characters and/or a trade. It's not uncommon for Irish people to operate with two names – their Irish name and its English translation. Nowadays, people in Ireland have first, middle and last names, but time was when only one name was used such as, Brian or Niall.
It worked then because of the small population. As time rocked on, more and more people were living on the Emerald Isle. It became necessary to adopt a two-name system in order to identify individuals when personal taxation was imposed by government.
Taking the easy route, sons added a prefix to their father's name. Let's presume Brian was Niall's dad; his new name would have been Niall O'Brian. And, that is why you'll see so many names beginning with prefixes such as O' and Mac even today!
Whether you're a serious genealogy sleuth or you just want your precious pet to express her Irish side, enjoy what we've discovered about Irish names.
Irish last names (surnames)
O'Brien hits every top 10 list of Irish surnames! There are a couple of derivatives of O'Brien: O'Bryan and O'Brian. Remember our friend Niall? The Gaelic translation is "descendant of Brian" or Niall is the son of Brian.
O'Brien is the Anglicized name for Brian Boramha Boru, the renowned High King of Ireland (941-1004). O'Brien's got Name Luck of the Irish!
You might find it interesting that the O'Brien coat of arms flaunts its royal-ness with the "king" lion in the crest. The motto is "The strong hand from above". Examine the coat of arms closely. At the top you will see a hand with a sword pointing skyward.
Are you an O'Brien? If so, you're entitled to Irish attitude!
Irish First Names (Given Names)
Siobhan (sha VAHN) is a lovely given name for girls. It is the Irish deviation of Joan. Siobhan a.k.a. Joan means "God is gracious".
Per the U.S. Census, the name is in vogue as 1,906 out of 4,276 women are named Siobhan.
It's quite the royal name to have since a number of Irish queens were named Siobhan.
If you're searching for an exotic name for your baby daughter to grow into, Siobhan is definitely worthy of consideration. Name her Siobhan! She will wear it proudly...