Baby names

Irish mythology is a rich source for beautiful and unusual baby names.

We trawled the cycles of ancient stories from the Tuath Dé Danann – the ancient tribe of gods and goddesses – to the Fenian Cycle – featuring stories of the Fianna warriors – to find some of our country's forgotten gems. There are many variations in the spelling of Irish names so I apologise in advance for any inaccuracies, as any Sadhbh or Sive or Saibh or Sadbh will tell you: it's not always easy to settle on the definitive spelling for our unique names!

For the girls:

1. Banba – patron goddess of Ireland.

2. Deirdre – tragic heroine of the Ulster Cycle; when she was born it was prophesied that she would be beautiful, but that kings and lords would go to war over her.

3. Aoibheall – the guardian spirit of the Ó Bríen clan.

4. Étaín – Heroine of Tochmarc Étaíne or the Wooing of Étaín.

5. Danu – the mother goddess of the Tuath Dé Danann.

6. Macha – a goddess associated with war, horses and sovereignty.

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7. Bébhinn – a goddess quite appropriately associated with birth and meaning 'melodious woman'.

8. Sadhbh – Lover of Fionn mac Cumhaill, she spent three years transformed into a doe for refusing the love of a dark druid.

9. Lí Ban – meaning beautiful woman, in one story she appears in the form of a sea bird while in another, she turns into a mermaid.

10. Ériu – another patron goddess of Ireland.

For the boys:

1. Naoise – Doomed lover of Deirdre.

2. Fraoch – Warrior of Connacht.

3. Aengus – a god associated with love and poetry.

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4. Lir – a god of the sea.

5. Dáire – owner of the Donn Cuailnge, the Brown Bull of Cooley.

6. Fionn – Fionn Mac Cumhaill was the legendary hunter-warrior and leader of the Fianna.

7. Felim – Felim mac Daill was father of Deirdre and a celebrated bard.

8. Caoilte – a member of the Fianna, who could run incredibly fast and communicate with animals.

9. Conán – another member of the Fianna, a comedic figure in many stories.

10. Cumhall – father of Fionn Mac Cumhaill and leader of the Fianna.

Where did you find inspiration for your babies' names? Let us know in the comments...

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