Hard-To-Pronounce Irish Baby Names

Some Irish baby names are challenging to pronounce. But with our help, you’d be able to pronounce them properly in no time.

To hear these Irish names pronounced, just click on the megaphone icon on the upper left part of the name page and choose Pronounce in English (UK).


Names with ‘ai’

The syllable ‘ai’ in Irish names is pronounced as ‘ah’—as in ‘cat.’

Aisling 

Pronunciation: AESH-Lih-NG

Cheat tip: Ashley with an ‘ng’

To jump-start our list, we’ve got this gorgeous moniker that means ‘dream, vision’ in Irish. We also have other beautiful dream-themed girl names that you might like.

Gráinne

Pronunciation: GROWNYuw

Cheat tip: Grawn-yaa

This Irish baby girl name means ‘grain.’ You might like this name if you’re going for food-inspired baby names.

Lochlainn

Pronunciation: Lukh-lin

Cheat tip: Lock-lin

It’s hard not to get drawn to this famous Irish name for boys, Lochlainn. A great break from its English form Laurence, this moniker refers to the Roman byname Laurentius.

In turn, this byname means ‘man from Laurentum,’ a city that got its name from the Latin’ laurus’ or laurel leaves. Did you know that laurel wreaths symbols used by triumphant Roman emperors during ancient times?

Padraig

Pronunciation: Paw-rig

Cheat tip: Think of tweaking the name Patrick to Paw-drig

If you’d like the Irish form of the classic name Patrick, try Padraig. In Latin, it means ‘nobleman.’

 

Names with ‘ao’

The syllable ‘ao’ in Irish baby names has the long ‘e’ sound – as in ‘tree.’

Aodhnait

Pronunciation: EY-NehT

Cheat tip: Ey-neat

Meaning ‘little fire’ in Celtic, this is a name that speaks of passion.

Interestingly, the syllable ‘ao’ in Irish names has the long ‘e’ sound – as in ‘tree.’

Caoimhe

Pronunciation: KWIY-Vah or KIY-Vah

Cheat tips: Kwi-vah or Kee-vah

From its derivative word ‘caomh,’ this old Irish term translates to ‘fair, comely, gentle.’

Saoirse

Pronunciation: SIY-ER-SHah

Cheat tips: Seer-shaa or Sur-sha

This lovely moniker for baby girls means ‘freedom.’ It reminds us of the Irish actress Saoirse Ronan of the hit film Little Women (2019).

While the name Saoirse is also commonly pronounced as ‘Seer-shaa,’ in an episode of The Ellen Degeneres Show, the actress clarified that hers is mouthed as ‘Sur-sha.’ DeGeneres hilariously made her a sign that she could wear to let everyone know how to say her name accurately.

Names with ‘bh’ and ‘mh’

Irish baby names with ‘bh’ are either enunciated as ‘w’ or ‘v’ while monikers with ‘mh’ are pronounced as ‘v.’

Dearbhla

Pronunciation: DIH-RV-LAH

Cheat tip: Der-vlaa

This beautiful name comes from Dervla, which translates to ‘daughter of a poet’ in Gaelic.

Domhnall

Pronunciation: DAAN-aa-L

Cheat tip: Dah-nall with the silent’m’

If you’re looking for king-inspired names for your little boy, pick Domhnall. It translates to ‘world ruler, world-mighty’ in the Celtic language.

You also might associate this name to the award-winning Irish star Domhnall Gleeson, who played the wizard Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter film series.

In English and Scottish, its equivalent is Donald.

Aoibheann

Pronunciation: IY-V-uw-N

Cheat tip: Eavan

This name which has Celtic roots translates to means’ fair radiance, beautiful sheen.’ This gorgeous name for girls used to be one of the famed Irish royalty names in the early medieval period.

Fast forward to the 21st century, your little girl will have something in common with Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, one of Forbes magazine’s 40 under 40 European Young Leaders. She’s among Ireland’s most influential modern women in science and technology.

If you’d like its English form, go for Eavan.

Niamh

Pronunciation: NIY-AHV or NIY-V

Cheat tip: Neev

Coming right up is the gender-neutral baby name Niamh. In Irish mythology, Niamh is the golden-haired, mystical daughter of the god of the sea and one of the queens who reigned over the land of eternal youth called Tír na nÓg.

In Celtic, this name represents ‘radiance, shine, beauty.’

Names with ‘dh’, ‘fh’, and ‘gh’

Remember, in Irish baby names, these syllables remain silent.

Darragh

Pronunciation: DAARRaa

Cheat tip: Da-raa

Another gender-neutral name making the list is Darragh. In Hebrew, this name means ‘pearl of wisdom’. This name is equivalent to Dara in its English form.

Eoghan

Pronunciation: OwehN

Cheat tip: Ow-wen

Among our roster of hard-to-pronounce Irish baby names is Eoghan. ‘Born of the yew’ in its Celtic roots. Yew refers to species of coniferous evergreen trees and shrubs that are often poisonous.

Also, it refers to an ancient Celtic custom of worshiping trees. Celtics believed certain trees had spiritual purposes. For instance, the yew tree is related to longevity and resurrection.

 

Names with ‘io’

The syllable ‘io’ in Irish baby names is pronounced as ‘ih’—as in list.

Siobhan

Pronunciation: SHIY-V-AO-N

Cheat tip: She-vawn

Your child will have well-known Irish star Siobhan Finneran. Heplayed as the Scheming lady’s maid on the hit period drama series Downton Abbey (2010-2015). 

The classic baby girl names Jane and Joan are its variant forms in the English language.

Brion

Pronunciation: BRA-YON

Cheat tip: Brian with an O

Aside from the common but delightful boy’s name Brian, here’s another option for your taking. Derived from the element ‘brigh,’ Brion is equivalent to ‘strength, power, force.’

Names with an’s’ 

Take heed, monikers with ‘S’ before an ‘E’ or ‘I’ are pronounced as ‘sh.’

Oisín

Pronunciation: Ow-SH-IY-N

Cheat tip: Oh-sheen

This Irish baby boy name translates to ‘little deer’ in the Celtic language.  If you fancy this name, might as well explore other wild-themed names for boys.

Embracing the Unfamiliar

While these hard-to-pronounce Irish baby names may sound foreign, perhaps practicing their pronunciation and knowing their beautiful meanings can make you more open to giving them to your child.