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Irish (or maybe Swedish) names that work internationally

(32 Posts)
MammaCici Mon 11-Mar-13 12:01:18

I'm Irish living in Sweden and expecting DC2. I really want an Irish name. DH likes some of the names I've suggested - until he hears the spelling - he's a Swede. Aoife is a girls name I like but the spelling leaves everyone here confused so DH rules it out.

I don't know if DC is a boy or girl so I need to look at both.

Not to be a complete name nazi I'm also willing to consider Swedish/Nordic names if they'd work back in Ireland should we ever return there to live.

Any ideas? I'm going through books and online lists but nothing sings to me.

It took us weeks to decide on DS1's name after he was born. During the pregnancy we called him "beany" and after the birth we couldn't think of him as anything else at first. I'm hoping to avoid that silliness this time. I don't want to say what we did name him, but it wasn't Beany!

badtime Mon 11-Mar-13 12:30:04



MammaCici Mon 11-Mar-13 12:49:24

That's funny, you've picked several of my family members names. I like Orla. I wonder if DH would go for it.

badtime Mon 11-Mar-13 12:52:01

Actually, there are loads of boys names - Donal, Colm, Declan etc.

Girls names seem trickier - what is your view on less authentic Irish names like Alannah, Tara, Coleen?
Would you countenance a traditional Anglicisation (e.g. Maeve, Finola, Eavan)? [I would not suggest illiterate-looking modern Anglicisations (Shevaun, Keava).]

(I actually really like the sound of Alannah, but my disapproval is too strong!)

toastedteacake Mon 11-Mar-13 12:56:12



AThingInYourLife Mon 11-Mar-13 12:57:00

I love Finola. Prefer it to Fionnuala.

I also think Tara is a good name.

Úna is growing on me recently. Not sure why.

Clodagh? Is the gh a no no?

For boys - Lorcan, Declan, Iarla

sununu Mon 11-Mar-13 12:58:55

please do explain why you disapprove of Alannah?!

badtime Mon 11-Mar-13 13:05:10

I love the name Alannah, but it's an English/American (at best Anglo-Irish) name derived from 'a leanbh' which means 'child' (sort of), rather than being an Irish name.

[their are actually other origins for this name, but I'm specifically referring to the Irish origin]

badtime Mon 11-Mar-13 13:05:31


wigglesrock Mon 11-Mar-13 13:57:59


forgetmenots Mon 11-Mar-13 14:08:43

Orla is my favourite (and my first choice) but beware - in Denmark it can be a man's name (not a problem if you don't mind unisex names!)

Love Malin (Swedish, I believe) and Elin too.

Boys are so much easier. Especially if you're OK with modern anglicisations (i'm with badtime on this) what about Conal, Cormac or Niall?

forgetmenots Mon 11-Mar-13 14:11:34

Love Lorcan AThing, although I mentioned it to a relative recently and I was informed it was an 'oul fella's name'. Maybe why I like it!

MammaCici Mon 11-Mar-13 14:31:17

Thanks ladies. I lost the list I had made before DS was born and Maeve was on it. I'm sticking that back on my list now. I forgot about it and I think it's one I may be able to talk DH into. If it's a girl I may push for that. Literally and then figuratively!
I don't mind Anglicised names at all. In fact they are probably more likely to get agreement from DH. Swedes generally love the English language so Anglicised names are easier for them to pronounce.
The name Molly is popular in both countries and I kind of like it but not really enough to name my child it. But DH likes it a lot so I may have to compromise. Or maybe it's a middle name. My mum also really likes it.
Tara is also quite good.
I have an Úna and a Finola in my family already. Fadas, (accent over the U in Úna) are a no no here, as are names with "gh", "mh" or "bh".
I'm really struggling with boys names.
Thanks ToastedTeaCake but none of those Swedish names are doing it for me. I think I'm going to struggle to really relate to a Swedish name. Swedish ones I short listed (from the top 100 Swedish names list) were Pia and Greta. Tuva is also on my list but I don't know what I was thinking in retrospect. Again I struggled with boys names, but chose Aron and Teo. Not sure how authentic Swedish they are.
The thread has given me a few girls names ideas. Still stuck for boys names.

MammaCici Mon 11-Mar-13 14:47:25

One of my friends has a Cara.
The Swedish names Malin and Elin are nice but the proper Swedish pronunciation would be too tricky for English speakers so they wouldn't work in Ireland.
That must be why I ruled Orla out the last time. Don't like unisex names so much. I'll scribble that one off again so!
I like Lorcan but it reminds me too much of a character from an Irish soap opera.
I also agree with Badtime, sometimes the Anglicised forms are unsympathetic but some work well. Yes to Maeve, no to Shevaun! I like Siobhán though. But DH would never approve!
Because I already have one DS, part of me really expects another one. Maybe that's why I'm stumbling to really like any of the boys names. Before DS came I only imagined we'd have girls. Life is funny!

AlisonClare Mon 11-Mar-13 15:29:11

For a boy:


ZolaBuddleia Mon 11-Mar-13 15:32:18

How is Malin pronounced?

Rua (think there might be a fada over the U, sorry)

SwedishEdith Mon 11-Mar-13 15:41:48

Swedes I've known which would would work are:



Thinking about Abba grin - Anna and Frida would work (love this)

badtime Mon 11-Mar-13 16:16:38

What about 'Alva'? A popular Swedish name, and a recognised Anglicisation of 'Ailbhe'.

AmberSocks Mon 11-Mar-13 16:34:14


ZolaBuddleia Mon 11-Mar-13 16:52:22

Ooh, badtime, that's nice!

MammaCici Mon 11-Mar-13 16:53:01

Malin is pronounced something like Maw-lin. A lot of Swedish sounds don't actually exist in English phonetics so it's hard to write them phonetically.
Magnus is a bit old fashioned and a bit too Magnus Magnusson!
I'm familiar with Alva / Ailbhe. I actually suggested it to someone else looking for an unusual name starting with A today. My niece is called Ailbhe.
Patrick / Patrik is a bit too typical Irish for me. I like Eoin but DH can't get his head around so many vowels in a row!
Finn is nice but we are unlikely to have fair haired kids. Fionn is nicer I think but unsuitable for the same reason. It means fair or blond.
In reality DH is the one who is hardest to please. Pretty much everything I suggest he shoots down. But he doesn't come up with any alternatives. Which in one way suits me as we're more likely to finally agree on an Irish name if I do all the research.
Still a couple of months to decide. I just wish I had some strong feelings about some boys names.

ZolaBuddleia Mon 11-Mar-13 17:12:26

Fáolán? (just to really upset DH grin

honeytea Mon 11-Mar-13 19:00:26

How about Ossian?

I had the same problem, my DP is Swedish and we live in Sweden, I felt that it was better to choose a very English name that the Swedes would just have to learn how to say rather than choosing a name that was pronouced differently in Swedish and English. I loved the name Quin and if we had choosen it we would just have to explain the name and teachers/friends would just have to learn how to say it. We went for a name that is unusual in Sweden and England but pronounced the same in both languages.

Fin also sounds like the Swedish name for spot unfortunatly.

Is your ds's name Swedish or Irish?

Januarymadness Mon 11-Mar-13 20:43:21


MammaCici Mon 11-Mar-13 22:26:42

DS's name is Irish and no one gets it right over here. I hope it doesn't bother him as he gets older. No one can say my name either and I don't mind.

Another Swedish one I quite liked was Greta. Until I heard DH say it. Sounds more like Gray-ta in Swedish. He dislikes it anyway.

He thinks some of the Irish boys names sound more like surnames.

I see your point Honeytea. There are very few that are pronounced the same in both languages. But I was kind of hoping to find a name that doesn't sound too foreign in either country. Ossian is nice but DH doesn't like it. I think it's one the Vikings borrowed from the Irish Oisín, also a nice name.

It's not easy. That's for sure. But thanks everyone for the suggestions.

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