When our two little boys came along they needed to fit in with their father’s Irish heritage, and we gave them both my Scottish maiden name to keep my family name alive. First names were a struggle though. I wish I’d had a copy of “Cool Irish Names For Babies” by Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz ($12).
If you can wait long enough to get a look at the baby, this book has suggestions for cool names for redheads, brunettes and fair-skinned children. They suggest names from literature, stage and screen as well as celebrity baby names like Brooke Shields’ daughter Rowan and Jude Law’s son Rafferty. It has names popular in Ireland, saints’ names and names with cool meanings. Who knew Clooney meant “grassy meadow?”
If you’re looking for something off the wall, try Geimhreadh (GIV-roo), which means “winter” or Abhainn (Ah-WAN), which means “river.” Just don’t expect them to find a keychain with their names on it in any gift shop…ever.
We chose Finn, which was not common at all in 2005. The book says, “This is a name with enormous energy and charm, that of the greatest hero of Irish myth, Finn McCool.” There was also a Finn in Road to Perdition and who could forget the cute vet Finn in Grey’s Anatomy (played by Chris O’Donnell, another terrific Irish name) ?
Our second baby became Egan after I came across it while fiddling with some online baby naming sites. Egan’s only mentioned once in the book (in a chapter called “Cool Surnames”) but it says, “its likeness to the word ‘eager’ gives Egan a ready-to-please, effervescent energy.”
Only after we selected Egan’s name did we realize that together our boys spell “Finnegan.” I can only hope someday they’ll open a pub together and call it Finnegan’s. Maybe Mama will get a free beer once in a while.