Conor or Cillian

(103 Posts)
TakingTheStairs Wed 26-Jun-13 09:56:57

I am Irish and quite keen that my child will have an Irish name. My own (Irish) name does not sound like it is spelled and a lot of people in the UK struggle with it, so I want to give our DS an Irish name that most people can manage.
The middle name will be Patrick. It was both of my grandfather's first names, it is my DF's middle name and my DB's middle name, so DH and I are quite keen for that tradition to continue.

I'm not a fan of Killian with a K, and prefer Cillian (which is pronounced the exact same way).

Can I have your opinions please?

nostress Wed 26-Jun-13 10:19:34

I know a cillian and its a good name. Easy to spell & say when you know its a C. Conor is a bit common i think!

nostress Wed 26-Jun-13 10:20:28

I know a cillian and its a good name. Easy to spell & say when you know its a C. Conor is a bit common i think!

5madthings Wed 26-Jun-13 10:25:06

I know a cillian and I like it smile

loler Wed 26-Jun-13 10:26:29

What's the problem with the K spelling?
He'll have to spell and correct Sillian the whole of his life if living outside of Ireland. Could get annoying.

TakingTheStairs Wed 26-Jun-13 10:37:44

There's nothing wrong with the K spelling, I just prefer the look of how it's written with a C.
I didn't think the C spelling was so unusual that it will cause that many problems. I think he'll have some issues no matter what name we go with.
Is the name Cillian that unusual that everyone will think it's Sillian?

Interesting to hear that Conor is very popular. nostress does your friend have issues with being called Sillian?

TWinklyLittleStar Wed 26-Jun-13 10:42:34

I don't think 'sillian' would be that much of an issue. There are plenty of words starting with a hard C in English.

I like both names.

Elquota Wed 26-Jun-13 10:53:59

I'm afraid I assumed it was Sillian, sorry!

I do like Conor though.

badtime Wed 26-Jun-13 10:56:51

I will say, I have had to correct a fair few English people talking about 'Sillian' Murphy.

Conor is a nice name, although MN seems to dislike a lot of perfectly pleasant Irish boys' names.

Cillian definitely. It's a fab name. And it's really not that obscure outside of Ireland - Cillian Murphy is pretty famous.

I'm Irish too and hate Irish names being spelled with a 'K'.

Conor is lovely but half the men I know at home are called Conor grin

loler Wed 26-Jun-13 11:00:15

I've never heard of Cillian before (I have a surname very very similar starting with a K) so I would have noticed. There are lots of words starting with hard C but people generally know these words and have read them lots of times. I use the 'dr waiting room test' - nurse calls out name. What are they likely to say, having never seen the name before.

Conor is not uncommon but not the most popular. We considered it but at the time lived very close to Stoke-on-Trent where I could get past the 'I can't conor do that'

Why not Patrick for the first name?

RaRaZ Wed 26-Jun-13 11:04:24

I assumed it was Sillian as I've never heard the name before, and thought Oh god what a horrible name! Killian, however, is nice - different in a good way :-)

Conor/Connor etc is pretty popular here in Scotland and I've never come across a Cillian or Killian for that matter although I have heard of the name before.

I have a Ciar prn Keer and he occaisionally gets a bit of a pause as people wonder how to pronounce it but Ciaran is becoming used a little more often now intead of Keiran so that seems to fix it better in peoples heads.

I also like Cathal, that's Irish too right?

TakingTheStairs Wed 26-Jun-13 11:41:13

Thanks for all the input.

soontobe I think Cathal is too difficult for most of the people in the UK. The 'th' really throws people.

loler we've decided to avoid Patrick for the first name as it would inevitably be shortened to Paddy, and I have often heard "paddy" used in a sneery/patronising way to refer to Irish people while in the UK , so avoiding that one!

Interesting that a few of you thought it was Sillian. I didn't think it would be that much of an issue. hhhmmmm

RaRaZ Wed 26-Jun-13 11:45:32

How DO you pronounce Cathal??

Tbf OP , I'd never heard/seen the name Cillian/Killian before and mebbies other non-Irish people haven't either. That's our ignorance - shouldn't really be a reason to avoid using the name if you like it; people should learn! I'll certainly not forget how to say it now :-)

5madthings Wed 26-Jun-13 11:46:31

I am in the UK and I don't think it would be that much of an issue, I only know the one cillian, there are quite a lot of Connors.

You are right about 'paddy, its a word for a tantrum/strop as well or was when I was a child and yes it can be used negatively about theirish.

Funnily enough my mil, who is Scottish suggested the name Patrick, I could never use it for very personal reasons but I know a toddler Patrick and he gets called Pat.

5madthings Wed 26-Jun-13 11:47:03

I am not Irish BTW.

rockybalboa Wed 26-Jun-13 11:47:59

With a C I would pn it Sillian whereas K would def be Killian.

TakingTheStairs Wed 26-Jun-13 11:51:29

Cathal is very difficult to write phonetically, but I'd go with "Ka + hal"

And thanks RaRaZ smile

AllegraLilac Wed 26-Jun-13 11:52:07

I read Sillian.

Cathal is Cat-hal I think but stand to be corrected by an actual Irish person grin

...tho the one I know doesn't seem to mind being called Cath-al most of the time

burberryqueen Wed 26-Jun-13 11:53:51

it would depend on where you are living, i have a brother Ciaran who doubtless has had to correct people/spell it out, but then tbh that is true of any name that is not John Smith IME.

Mollydoggerson Wed 26-Jun-13 11:56:07

There is no K in the Irish language, so C is the more authentic version of the name.

I have a Cillian, English relatives find the Kill connotation weird and have commented on it, but then again no-one thinks of Diane as Die- Anne!

Cillian is very popular for small boys in southern Ireland. Oscar is more popular in Leinster.

Conor is lovely (I think), but I know it's not always popular and apparently it is very similar to a rude French word. That would put me off, I think it's supposed to sound like the French word for fanny.Be warned!

Agree with burberry - you'd also get the " is it connor with one N or two and with and O or an E?" so you cant win really.

Cathal is not Cat-hal.

It's Kaah-hul. Not a favourite of mine.

OP - if you do choose Cillian please don't spell it with a K to make life easier for ignorant folk.

It completely ruins the name.

Fwiw I also like Cormac, Caolán, Conan and Conal.

Justfornowitwilldo Wed 26-Jun-13 12:01:52

Cillian is nice. Don't worry about the hard C, people will get it with one correction at most and it's easy to spell.

There's a difference between choosing a name that's easy to pronounce/understand and pandering to ignorance. No one pronounces Caroline with a soft C. It's not complicated.

5madthings Wed 26-Jun-13 12:07:38

I agree that you shouldn't discount a name or spell it differently just because people are ignorant.

Bluecarrot Wed 26-Jun-13 12:10:00

My DP has mentioned Cillian if baby turns out to be a boy. Can't say I'm overly fussed on it, but I knew the pronounciation of it instantly when I first saw it, plus its "different" without being too out there smile

Rhubarb78 Wed 26-Jun-13 12:17:32

Cillian all the way, you will get 'sillian' in the uk from time to time but once people know its not a problem and its mainly friends and family who will be using the name anyway.

thegreylady Wed 26-Jun-13 12:21:46

I like Conor best its not common at all. Conan-no!The Barbarian!

Justfornowitwilldo Wed 26-Jun-13 12:23:27

Conor is very common.

squoosh Wed 26-Jun-13 12:25:13

Definitely Cillian.

Wouldn't worry about the Sillian thing, it'll happen but he'll only need to correct people once.

Love Cillian Murphy and love St. Killian's cheese.

Justfornowitwilldo Wed 26-Jun-13 12:34:15

Interestingly the main UK spellings in the last ONS stats were

Connor 1471 babies
Conor 165
Conner 88

Cian is actually above Conor in those stats, with 194 babies named that.

Feelslikea1sttimer Wed 26-Jun-13 12:39:13

I have a 13 year old Connor and there are not actually that many about, I don't know of any others (I am in England though)

A word of warning though, it is apparently in the top 3 naughtiest boys names and up until 2-3 years ago... I would have believed it smile

squoosh Wed 26-Jun-13 12:41:13

In the UK most people seem to spell it Connor, all the Irish ones I know are Conor, you only really see the double n in the O'Connor surname.

Funny enough greylady it existed for quite a few centuries as a Celtic name before people attributed that tiresome association hmm .

Agree about Conor rather that Connor. In Ireland it's Conor. Muvh nicer than the alternative spellings.

Love them all, although definitely not Killian. If DD2 was a boy she would have been Patrick John so probably PJ.

Lovely lovely names - preference is Cillian. And I agree with other posters - don't worry if people mispronounce it first time, they'll get it soon enough (am Irish in the uk and have given the DCs a pair of names that initially prove tricksy for folk but they quickly get it)

williaminajetfighter Wed 26-Jun-13 12:52:39

Cillian - just far far too many Conors/Connors out there!

Ooooh I love Cillian!

More people know about Cillian since Cillian Murphy, too.

TakingTheStairs Wed 26-Jun-13 13:30:47

Thanks everyone! I'm going to show this thread to DH.
And Mollydoggerson thanks for the reminder about no K in the Irish language. That has definitely ruled out Killian with a K.

I had always thought that Connor (with two Ns) was the way it was spelled for a surname too.

Leaning more towards Cillian than Conor now.

singaporeswing Wed 26-Jun-13 13:45:02

Oh I adore Cillian. I have one of those Irish names that noone knows how to spell and despite myself, want similar for my DC! Cillian is the only one DP may consider.

loler Wed 26-Jun-13 13:49:04

May be outing myself in RL given comment about surname - I have DS called Patrick. Never ever gets called paddy. most people call him Patch for short but generally school etc use Patrick. I don't really mind Paddy but can see your point with it. For us it was a family name too, really really glad we used it.

I use a shortened version of my name as I would prefer that people get my name correct than use full name and get it wrong. Mine name isn't English but looks like an English name so I get called that.

nostress Wed 26-Jun-13 13:53:57

I have no idea if he has problems! not to my knowledge. I'm not Irish but I like Eoin.. it just sounds so nice!

Badvoc Wed 26-Jun-13 13:57:47

Prefer Conor.

Ashoething Wed 26-Jun-13 14:00:05

I love cillian and wanted it for dc3 but dh vetoed it. How about Colm?wink

commsgirl Wed 26-Jun-13 14:07:07

I love Cillian and you never really hear of any in England. Well I haven't anyway. Conor has definitely made the move over!

I love the name Cillian, would love to use it myself. Go for it, its much better than conor.

I don't understand the 'he will have to spell it all the time' camp. I grew up with the the last name Jones and I was always spelling it.

Feelslikea1sttimer Wed 26-Jun-13 14:20:59

Ooops mine is a Connor, Had no idea it was the surname spelling... See this is the problem when we try and steal Irish names, we get it all wrong smile

Rhubarb78 Wed 26-Jun-13 14:35:52

feelslikea1sttimer its funny you should say that, i was thinking that connors are all naughty but didnt want to offend, ha ha

Feelslikea1sttimer Wed 26-Jun-13 14:41:10

They are!! I remember talking to a lady in a playgym about this and she had a Connor hers was a little monkey too!!!

I know 4 Connor/Conors - 3 of them are really lovely and exceptionally nicely behaved, the other is only 3 but seems a good wee one so far so it can't be all Conors, the eldest of the other 3 is 17, then 15, then 11 so we would probably know by now smile

HenriettaPye Wed 26-Jun-13 15:19:49

Love Conor!

True story- I know twins called Killian and Lillian. Both now 4/5 and known as Killy and Lilly! If they were 2 girls they were gonna b called Lillian and Gillian confused

squoosh Wed 26-Jun-13 15:24:34

Killian and Lillian?

Oh dear.

TakingTheStairs Wed 26-Jun-13 15:26:46

Killian and Lillian.

HenriettaPye Wed 26-Jun-13 15:30:53

Most people have this face blush when the mum tells people their names!!

I really dislike Cillian....the first syllable being kill confused

TakingTheStairs Wed 26-Jun-13 16:27:33

Are you being serious UpTheFrigg?

Justfornowitwilldo Wed 26-Jun-13 16:39:59


bridgetsmum Wed 26-Jun-13 16:47:17

I love Cillian, Conor is a bit meh!

My ds has a lovely boy in his class called Cillian, his nn is Killer, but only when he's playing Gaelic so quite funnygrin

I know brother and sister Dara & Cara!!!

I love Cillian and Conal. Conor will give you spelling issues (although to be fair Conal would give spelling issues too as people will think you said Conor). I would have used Conal for a DS2 if we didn't already know one (and if we'd actually had a DS2 rather than DD1 and DD2).

What about Donal?

RaisingHooligirls Wed 26-Jun-13 18:31:15

Conor. English people will struggle with the spelling and might say sillian, and if they get it right, they might find it odd that it starts with 'kill'

RaisingHooligirls Wed 26-Jun-13 18:34:32

"half the men I know are called conor". tbh this is why Conor is a safe choice, especially in the UK where understandably they know f&^% all about Irish Legends.

HenriettaPye Wed 26-Jun-13 18:34:51

I love Fintan

squoosh Wed 26-Jun-13 18:54:20

My favourite Irish boys' name is Ferdia.

Yes,I am being serious.
It's probably ignorant,but it's all I can hear when it's said.sorry.

PseudoBadger Wed 26-Jun-13 21:01:07

Oh I love Cillian, very nearly called DS it. However, in retrospect I don't think he would have suited it.

Fintan and Ferdia are lovely.

JustForNow Diana is equally awful IMO,especially when shortened to Di (as my Aunt does.)

NowPlayingZone Wed 26-Jun-13 22:59:44

I'm going with bunnys suggestion- Cormac wins for me.
To my ignorant ear, I dislike the sound of Cillian, & Conor is just o.k.

notanyanymore Wed 26-Jun-13 23:00:52

Sorry I thought it was 'sillian' too, also thought it was a girls name blush (think I was thinking 'cilla', don't know why I thought Connor was a girls name tho!)
Love the name Patrick tho! grin

Justfornowitwilldo Wed 26-Jun-13 23:40:01

Wow. Just, wow. Sometimes you get a reminder why coffee cups say CAUTION HOT on them.

TotallyBursar Fri 28-Jun-13 02:09:14


Cillian is a great name, definitely my preference over Conor which is very common here and usually spelled Connor <eyeroll>

It does sound good with Patrick too. Cillian Patrick Xxxx is a nice flow, doesn't rhyme, not twee, just a really solid honest name.

TakingTheStairs Fri 28-Jun-13 09:16:29

Thanks TotallyBursar smile

NowPlaying Cormac is a lovely name but the standard pronunciation in Ireland is Core-muck whereas in the UK it's pronounced Core-mAck. I know I know not a huge difference, but to me it sounds wrong so I'd feel like everyone was saying my child's name wrong all the time.

chickensaladagain Fri 28-Jun-13 09:36:36

I know a killian -Irish surname too so someone has anglicised his name

Never even occurred to me about 'kill' its just his name

Spelt with a c I would have read it as sillian and would only need correcting once but then you've got doctors, dentists, new teachers high school that would all get it wrong

squoosh Fri 28-Jun-13 10:23:55

TakingtheStaurs I feel the same about Cormac, love the Irish pronunciation not so fond of the Scottish cor-MACK way of saying it. Sounds too shouty or something.

bugsybill Fri 28-Jun-13 10:29:46

I would say Sillian too.

JoanHarris Fri 28-Jun-13 12:26:09

Personally not a fan of Cillian, I like Conor. Out of the names suggested Cormac would win hands down. Also love Paddy, don't know any young ones.

badtime Fri 28-Jun-13 13:07:41

OP, are you in England? (You keep saying the UK; I am from NI and I don't see how a lot of your comments would apply there smile ). If you are, would you not be bothered by the way many English people pronounce Conor as 'Conuh'? (English people - sorry, but you don't pronounce the letter 'r' at the end of syllables).

Arudonto Fri 28-Jun-13 13:21:49

Cathal is a difficult one to phoentic out... Caw-hull said quickly would be the closest I can get to the pronunciation around here(west ireland) it but Ka (like the renault car) Ka- hull is close as well.

Arudonto Fri 28-Jun-13 13:25:30

Also love Conor, thats my younger Brothers name smile but it should be with one only N in my head.Connor is a surname.

squoosh Fri 28-Jun-13 13:26:37

I wonder why we spell first name as Conor and the surname as (O')Connor.

I'm sure some wise old owl will have the answer.

Lorelei353 Fri 28-Jun-13 13:31:09

We've just named our 17 day old DS Cillian. I've been surprised at how many people have said to me that they'd never heard of it or said it was unusual. The pharmacist did call him sillian so I guess it'll happen but living in the uk, especially London, is so multicultural that I find myself frequently asking people how they pronounce their name so it's fine if DS gets it a bit growing up. Most people do seem to like it, and we love it so it's all good.

Bunbaker Fri 28-Jun-13 13:34:37

"soontobe I think Cathal is too difficult for most of the people in the UK."

I know a Cathal and it is pronounced how it is written. I assumed Cillian was pronounced Sillian.

What about Kieran/Ciaran?

squoosh Fri 28-Jun-13 13:41:00

Bunbaker the Cathal you know pronounces the 't' in Cathal? Like cattle with an h in the middle?

burberryqueen Fri 28-Jun-13 13:45:49

English people - sorry, but you don't pronounce the letter 'r' at the end of syllables I know! I was a TEFL teacher and a charming Spanish lady told me I spoke English 'wrong' because of this. Her previous teacher had been from Edinburgh!

Justfornowitwilldo Fri 28-Jun-13 13:45:56

Why would you suggest Ciaran which you know is pronounced with a 'K' sound because you thought Cillian was pronounced with an 'S' sound confused

TakingTheStairs Fri 28-Jun-13 13:54:59

badtime Hi , yes I am in England. Maybe I should be saying England rather than the UK, as I presume NI, Wales & Scotland (in my probably very ignorant head) would be a bit more familiar with some of the Celtic type names?

cjbk1 Fri 28-Jun-13 14:02:45

Co (like the beginning of cough) hul (soft u )

squoosh Fri 28-Jun-13 14:05:55

I cannot imagine Cathal on a baby, or Eamon. They are proper 'old man' names.

Bunbaker Fri 28-Jun-13 14:11:40

"Why would you suggest Ciaran which you know is pronounced with a 'K' sound because you thought Cillian was pronounced with an 'S' sound"

Illogical isn't it? Probably because I know how it is pronounced. Also Cillian is too similar to Cilla.

Squoosh Yes that is how it is pronounced round here.

apachepony Fri 28-Jun-13 14:30:42

Bunbaker, that pronunciation of Cathal would sound ridiculous to an Irish person - well it does to me anyway!

Justfornowitwilldo Fri 28-Jun-13 14:34:13

So at some point you didn't know how it was pronounced and ou learnt grin

The only Cilla I've ever heard of is Cilla Black. I doubt many under 25s have heard of her.

badtime Fri 28-Jun-13 14:34:35

I would say 'Cahul', with a slight clearing of the throat on the 'h'.

RaRaZ Fri 28-Jun-13 14:48:08

I'm under 25 and I know exactly who Cilla black is.... Somehow, Cillian does look as though it should be pronounced Sillian, but like we've said, that's just our ignorance and we can easily be corrected. It's not hard to spell or pronounce.

TotallyBursar Fri 28-Jun-13 14:55:18

I don't think worrying about English pronunciation should be an issue imo.

I have a lot of friends of different ethnicity - here people don't worry about embracing their culture, heritage or family traditions just because the English have some notorious twonks amongst them.

Anyone that isn't ignorant will take pronunciation on board if they get it wrong.
If they are a determined twat about it it does you a favour because it tells far more about them than they'd like wink.

Justfornowitwilldo Fri 28-Jun-13 15:09:03

I now have to rethink Cilla Black's fame amongst the under 25s shock

BuntyPenfold Fri 28-Jun-13 16:49:14

I read Sillian too, sorry.
I thought it was a combination of Cilla and Gillian.

Conor is a great name imo.

RaRaZ Fri 28-Jun-13 17:15:28

Lol Bunty , that made me laugh!

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 28-Jun-13 17:17:58

Cillian just because it's a bit more unusual outside of Ireland.

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