Gaelic is an ancient language that originates in Ireland. It almost went extinct after the British government banned it during the 1700s. Fortunately, it prevailed, bringing several fantastic Gaelic boy names along with it!
Due to the language’s complex history, it can be hard to determine which names have authentic Gaelic origins. But that’s where we come in! Below, we’ve listed 99 of the best Gaelic names for boys with traditional roots and fascinating histories.
99 Strong Gaelic Names for Boys
Check out some unique and beautiful Gaelic male names below!
Ahern is a Gaelic name meaning “lord of horses.”
Ahern is a surname derived from O’ Eachthighearna, meaning “descendant of Eachthighearna.” During medieval times, the Aherns were a prominent family whose motto was “per ardua surgo” or “I rise through difficulties.”
Less commonly, Ahern is a personal name derived from the Irish word “each,” meaning “horse,” and “tighearna,” meaning “lord,” leading to its full meaning: “lord of horses.”
Ailean means “rock” in Gaelic.
It is the Scottish equivalent of the English names Alan and Allan. Alan is derived from a Celtic word meaning “rock.” A notable bearer is Ailean Maclean, one of the last Viking pirates of Scotland. He is better known as Ailean Nan Sop or “Allan o’ the Wisp.”
Alasdair is a Gaelic name for boys meaning “defender of men.”
Pronounced aliss-ster, Alasdair is the Scottish Gaelic version of Alexander. It’s often anglicized as Alistair or Alister. Alasdair was a trendy pick in Scotland during the 1970s but has since fallen by the wayside. However, its Latin cousin Alexander is a big hit among the Scots, ranked in the top 20 boy’s names in 2020. In the U.S., Alistair is an up-and-comer, ranking in the top 1000 since 2016.
Alby is a Gaelic name meaning “white.”
It is ma shortened for of the Irish Gaelic name Ailbe. A holy bearer was St. Ailbe, a prominent eighth-century saint who is a patron of Ireland. Currently, Alby is more popular than Ailbe in the Emerald Isle, ranked #496 in 2020. In the U.S., neither version has made the top 1000, making Alby an unusual pick for an Irish-American.
Aodhan is a Gaelic male name meaning “bringer of fire.”
Pronounced AY-dawn, Aodhan was the inspiration for the super trendy English name Aidan. It’s a pet form of the ancient name Aodh, often anglicized as Hugh even though they are unrelated. Aodh was the name of several Irish kings and mythological figures, including the Celtic god of the underworld. In 2020, Aodhan was ranked #637 in Ireland, compared to Aidan’s #70, making Aidan the more popular pick across the board.
Bain is a Gaelic name meaning “white” or “fair.”
Bain is derived from the Gaelic “ban,” meaning “white.” In the Scottish highlands, it’s a popular nickname for people with blonde hair. Alternatively spelled Bayne or Bane, Bain is short but still packs a punch. Nirvana fans may choose to use it as a nickname for Cobain.
Bairre is a Gaelic name for boys meaning “fair-haired.”
Perfect for a baby boy with blonde hair, Bairre is a pet form of the Gaelic name Finbar. It was the name of a legendary saint of Cork who performed extravagant miracles, such as banishing a serpent from Cork with holy water and making the sun stay in the sky for two weeks after his death. Alternative spellings include Barrie, Barry, and Berry.
Blaine is a Gaelic boy’s name meaning “yellow.”
Blaine, alternatively spelled Blain, Blane, or Blayne, is a Scottish and Irish surname derived from the Gaelic given name Blaan, meaning “yellow.” In the U.S., it’s been a boy’s name since the early 1900s. Back in Ireland, Blaine first hit the charts in the 1980s but has slowly decreased in popularity ever since. Famous name bearers include TV actor Blaine Maye and Buccaneers quarterback, Blaine Gabbert.
Blair is a Gaelic name meaning “field.”
Blair is derived from the Scottish Gaelic word “blar,” meaning “field, plain, or meadow.” While Blair is typically masculine in Scotland and Canada, it’s a popular girl’s name in the U.S., ranked #333 in 2020. Alternative spellings include Blare or Blaire.
A rowdy choice among our Gaelic names for boys, Brawley has several possible meanings.
It may be derived from the Gaelic surname O’Brolaigh, meaning “descendant of Brolach,” or it could come from the Scottish word “brawlie,” meaning “excellent” or “good.” Brawley wasn’t used as a first name until Academy Award-winning actor Nick Nolte chose it for his son in the 1980s. It’s still quite rare, making it a unique choice for your little champion!
Brendan means “prince” or “king” in Irish Gaelic.
It was derived from the Gaelic name Breandan, originally from the Old Irish Brenainn. The Welsh word “breenhin” is the root of this name, meaning “prince” or “king.” A famous bearer is St. Brendan, best known for his legendary sea voyage, where he and 16 monks searched for the Garden of Eden. Alternative spellings on offer include Brandon and Brendon.
Brogan is a Gaelic boy’s name with several possible meanings.
As a surname, Brogan comes from O’Brogain, meaning “son of Brogan.” It was first used as a given name by Saint Brogan, whom many name their sons after today. This friendly name is making waves in Ireland, ranked #280 in 2020. A potential nickname for Brogan is Bro, which is also the shortened form of “brother,” a perfect choice if your son has siblings!
Caden means “battle” in Gaelic.
Caden is most likely derived from the Old Irish word “cath,” which came from the Celtic word “katus,” meaning “battle.” This adorable “C” name’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, along with similar-sounding names such as Aidan, Hayden, Braden, and Jaden. Numerous alternatives exist, including Cade, Cadan, Caedan, Caiden, Cayden, Kadan, Kaden, Kayden, etc. However, Caden is the most prevalent, ranked #324 in Ireland and #242 in the U.S in 2020.
Cailean is a Gaelic male name meaning “whelp” or “cub.”
It’s derived from the Old Irish name Cuilen, the name of a prominent Scottish king during medieval times. Cailean is pronounced KAH-lun, often anglicized as Colin, Collin, or Cullen. If you think Collin is too typical and Cullen makes you think of Edward and the other Twilight vampires, then Cailean could be your best bet.
Cairbre is a Gaelic name for boys meaning “chariot driver.”
Cairbre was a popular name in Medieval times, derived from the word “corb,” meaning “chariot,” and “ri” meaning “king.” It belonged to several mythological figures, including legendary Ulster warrior Cairbre Cuanach and Cairbre, son of the Irish god Ogma. Today, it is often anglicized as Carbery, Carbry, or Carbary.
Callum is a Gaelic male name meaning “dove.”
This Scottish Gaelic name is derived from the Latin name Columba, meaning “dove.” It was a popular choice among early Christians due to the doves’ association with purity and peace.
This old-fashioned name is making a comeback in modern times, ranked #34 in Scotland in 2017 and #38 in Ireland in 2020. In the U.S., Callum first made the top 1000 in 2008 and has been rising ever since. We suspect this sophisticated “C” name will continue to flourish in years to come!
A strong choice among our Gaelic names for boys, Carlin means “warrior.”
It is an anglicized form of the Irish Gaelic surname O’ Caireallain meaning “descendant of Caireallan.” It is also a pet form of the personal name Caireall, meaning “warrior.” This cool name could be a fresher alternative to the outdated alternative Carl. Famous bearers are literary critic Carlin Romano and American rugby player Carlin Isles.
Carrig means “rock” in Gaelic.
Pronounced KEHR-ig, Carrig is one of many Gaelic boy names derived from a surname. It is a reduced form of De Carraig, meaning “rock,” which refers to a rocky region in Ireland. It is thought to be the origin of the more famous name Craig. Alternative spellings include Carrick and Carraig.
Casey is a Gaelic name meaning “watchful.”
It’s derived from the Irish word “cathasaigh,” meaning “vigilant” or “watchful.” It was a prevalent unisex name in the U.S. during the 80s and 90s but has since declined in recent years, ranked #521 for boys and #897 for girls in 2020. In Ireland, however, Casey is just getting started, rated #219 in 2020. It also comes with some lovely spelling variations to choose from, including Caicey, Kacey, Kacie, and Kayce.
Cathal is a Gaelic name for boys meaning “ruler of battle.”
Cathal is a very trendy choice in Ireland, ranked as the 68th most popular name for boys in 2020. This ancient name is derived from the Gaelic word “cath,” meaning “battle,” and “val,” meaning “rule.” It’s anglicized as Cahal, Cahill, Kathel, and occasionally Charles. Cathal is virtually unheard of in the U.S., so it could be an excellent choice if you like steering away from the trends.
Ciaran is an Irish and Scottish Gaelic boy’s name meaning “little dark one.”
Ciaran is derived from the Irish suffix “ciar,” meaning “black” or “dark,” and is considered the masculine version of Ciara. Namesakes are numerous, including two prominent Irish saints and the son of the mythological King of Ulster, Fergus mac Róich.
Ciaran and the more traditional Ciarán are currently in Ireland’s top 500 names for boys. At the same time, Ciaran has remained unranked in the U.S., making it a unique alternative to the more familiar Gaelic boy names, like Connor, Collin, or Caden.
Cleary is a Gaelic name meaning “descendant of the cleric.”
Derived from the Gaelic surname O’Clerigh, Cleary was a first name given to the son or descendant of a scribe, clerk, or cleric. It’s commonly anglicized as Clark, even though the names are unrelated. Cleary is a very uncommon name for boys, making it a unique pick.
A courageous pick among our Gaelic names for boys, Conall means “brave wolf.”
Alternatively spelled Conal, Conall is derived from the Irish word “con,” meaning “hound” or “wolf,” and “gal” meaning “bravery” or “valor.” In Irish mythology, Conall Cernach was a brave warrior who helped Irish hero Fraech retrieve his abducted wife and avenged the demi-god Cu Chulainn’s death. This powerful name has steadily risen in popularity in Ireland since the 60s, ranked #165 in 2020.
One of our most popular Gaelic boy names, Connor, means “lover of wolves.”
Connor is an anglicized form of the Irish name Conchobhar, the name of a semi-legendary king of Ulster during medieval times. A very trendy pick in the U.S., Connor has been in the top 100 boy names since 1992. In Ireland, Connor peaked in the late 90s but is still a favorable choice, ranked #240 in 2020. This sporty “C” name belongs to famed UFC fighter Conor McGregor and professional ice hockey player Connor McDavid.
Conroy is a Gaelic name for men meaning “hound of the plain.”
It is the anglicized form of the Gaelic name O’Conraoi, meaning “hound of the plain.” The Conroy family were esteemed members of society, working as poets and historians for the Kings of Connacht during the 12th and 17th centuries. Modern bearers include English surrealist painter Conroy Maddox and architect Francis Conroy Sullivan, student of famed designer Frank Lloyd Wright.
Cuchulain is the name of an Irish demigod.
One of the most prominent figures in Irish mythology, Cuchulain, was the Irish god Lugh. A legendary warrior, Cuchulain single-handedly defended the kingdom of Ulster at just age 17. Like the Hulk, he transformed into a monster during battle, unable to distinguish between friend and foe. This heroic name can be pronounced koo-HULL-un or koo-KULL-un, depending on your preferences. An alternative spelling is Chulainn.
Curran is a Gaelic name meaning “spear.”
The name is derived from three different Irish families, including O’Corrain, O’Cuirin, and Mac Corraidhin. As a personal name, it comes from the Gaelic word “corradh,” meaning “spear.” Curran is a perfect name for foodies since it sounds like curry and currants! Nickname options include Cur and Ran, with the latter being an excellent selection if your little guy loves to dash around.
Daithi is a Gaelic name for men meaning “swiftness” or “nimbleness.”
Pronounced dawh-hee, Daithi is sometimes anglicized as David even though the names are unrelated. It was the name of a fifth-century semi-historical pagan king of Ireland who sent Irish fleets to raid the Roman Empire. A trendy pick in Ireland, Daithi was ranked #496 in 2020. Alternative spellings are Dahey and Dahy.
Daley is an Irish boy’s name meaning “gathering” or “assembly.”
It’s derived from the surname O’Dalaigh, from the word “dalach,” meaning “assembly” or “gathering place.” Daley is often used as a surname but is sometimes a given name for boys, functioning as a cooler alternative to the old-fashioned Dale. A shortened form is Daly.
Dallas is a Gaelic and English name meaning “meadow dwelling.”
When you hear the name Dallas, you’ll likely think of horses, cowboy boots, and the state of Texas! However, Dallas is a Scottish name derived from the Gaelic words “dail” and “fas,” meaning “meadow dwelling.”
It is also of English origin, derived from the words “dael,” meaning “valley,” and “hus,” meaning “house.” This laid-back name is a trendy choice for U.S. boys, ranked #271 in 2020. It’s also a budding favorite for girls, ranked #630 in 2020.
Darragh is a Gaelic name for boys meaning “oak tree.”
Darragh, pronounced DAR-ah, is derived from the Old Irish word “daire,” meaning “oak tree.” For this reason, it is sometimes anglicized as Oakes. This traditional Irish name is trendy in its homeland, ranked #12 for boys in 2020. Spelling variations are Dara and Daragh.
Darren is a Gaelic male name with an unknown meaning.
Some think Darren is a modern variation of Darragh, while others believe it’s derived from a Gaelic surname meaning “great.” Whatever its origins, it’s a popular choice in Ireland, ranked #271 in 2020. In the U.S. and England, Darren was a groovy pick during the 60s and 70s but has since lost its mojo. Despite this, Darren is a likable name with impressive namesakes, including film director Darren Aronofsky and Glee actor Darren Criss.
Diarmuid is a Gaelic name for boys meaning “without enemy.”
Pronounced DEER-mid, Diarmuid is a bonafide Irish pick. Several ancient kings, heroes, and saints bore this name, including Diarmuid Ua Duibhne, a skilled warrior in Irish mythology who was the forbidden lover of Grainne. In English, Diarmuid is often anglicized to Jeremiah or Jeremy, even though these names are unrelated.
Donn means “brown” or “chief” in Gaelic.
Donn and its variant Don can be used as personal names or as casual nicknames for longer Gaelic boy names, like Donal, Donald, or Donncha. Donn was the god of the dead in Irish mythology. In modern times, he is a prominent folklore figure in some parts of Ireland, believed to be a phantom horseman who rides around the country on a white steed.
Donncha is a Gaelic boy’s name meaning “brown-haired warrior.”
Pronounced done-acka, Donncha is an ancient name for men, with several Irish and Scottish kings bearing this name. The most notable is Donncha mac Brian, son of legendary high king Brian Boru who ended the Viking invasion in Ireland.
This old name wasn’t used for many years and started regaining popularity in the Emerald Isle during the mid-2000s. In the U.S., Donncha has never made a blip on the radar, possibly because it resembles the feminine name, Donna.
Douglas is a Gaelic name for boys meaning “black stream.”
This old-fashioned name is derived from the Scottish Gaelic word “dubh,” meaning “black” or “dark,” and “glas,” meaning “water” or “stream.” Douglas was popular in the U.S. during the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Some of its popularity is owed to army general Douglas MacArthur, a noble leader who defended the Philippines during World War II. Today, you’ll meet more grandpas than babies named Douglas. This time-honored name could be ideal for a child with an old soul!
Doyle is a Gaelic boy’s name meaning “dark stranger.”
This mysterious name is derived from Dubhghall, with “dubh” meaning “dark” or “black” and “gall meaning “stranger.” In medieval times, Dubghall was used by inhabitants of Ireland and England to denote foreign Vikings from Denmark.
Doyle is a modern variation of Dubhghall not found in older genealogies. Despite being new on the scene, Doyle became the 9th most common surname in Ireland in 2014. In the U.S., Doyle was a prevalent name for boys until the 1980s, when it fell out of favor.
Duane is a Gaelic name for men with two possible meanings: “dark” or “swarthy.”
Duane is an anglicized form of Dubhan, derived from St.Dubhan, known for establishing an abbey in Hook Head, Ireland, during medieval times. Today, Duane is unpopular in its homeland and the U.S., not ranked in either country since the early 2000s. Despite this, Duane is an old-school name with a hint of rock n’ roll, born by rock guitarists Duane Allman and Duane Eddy and punk singer Duane Peters.
Among the many Gaelic male names describing physical characteristics, Duncan means “dark-haired man.”
Perfect for a little boy with dark features, Duncan is an anglicized version of the Scottish Gaelic name Donnchadh. An early bearer was King Duncan I, who inspired King Duncan’s character in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Duncan was a trendy choice in Ireland during the 70s and 80s after being replaced by more fashionable “D” names like Darren and Darragh. In the U.S., Duncan first emerged in the early 2000s and has since declined in popularity.
Eamon is a Gaelic male name meaning “protector of riches.”
It’s the Irish Gaelic form of Edmond, which comes from the Old English word “ead,” meaning “prosperity” or “riches,” and “mund,” meaning “protector.” Ranked #342 in Ireland, Eamon has yet to appear in the U.S. It could be a cool substitute for the old-fashioned Edmond, which has been out of style since the 80s.
Ennis is a Gaelic place name meaning “island.”
Ennis is located in County Clare, Ireland, and is a shortened form of Inis Cluana Ramhfhada, meaning “island of the long rowing meadow.” It was given this name because there is a small island in the River Fergus near Ennis where the famous Franciscan Abbey was built. Ennis could be a unique alternative to the more popular Dennis and Ellis.
Eoghan is a Latin and Gaelic boy’s name meaning “noble-born.”
Eoghan, originally Eogan, is an ancient Irish name given to many kings and saints, including Eogan mac Durthacht, the king of Farney in Irish mythology. He is the enemy of the famed King of Ulster, Conchobar mac Nessa. From the Latin name Eugenes, meaning “high or noble-born,” Eoghan is often used in its anglicized forms as Owen and Eugene.
Ernan is a Gaelic name for men meaning “iron.”
Pronounced air-nin, Ernan is viewed as the Irish version of the Germanic name Ernest, meaning “vigor.” The name of 16 Irish saints, Ernan, has a very religious past. The most notable bearer was St. Ernan of Hinba, one of twelve who went with St.Columba from Ireland to Iona.
Farker is a Gaelic name meaning “beloved man.”
This name is derived from the Scottish Gaelic surname Farquhar, with “fear” meaning “man” and “char” meaning “beloved.” Farker is one of several modern variations, including Farquher, Farkar, Forker, and Farquer. It can be pronounced as far-kwar, far-ker, or far-car, depending on the family and region.
A heroic choice among our Gaelic male names, Farrell means “man of valor.”
It is an anglicized form of O’Fearghail, with “fear” meaning “man” and “gal” meaning “valor.” In the U.S., Farrell was a common boy’s name until the 60s, whereas nowadays, it’s mostly a surname. This masculine name could be an original alternative to the similar-sounding Darrell and Darryl.
Fergus is a powerful option among our Gaelic names for boys, meaning “the strong one” or “the masculine one.”
Fergus is a macho name of Scottish Gaelic origin. In Celtic mythology, warrior Fergus mac Roich was the ultimate manly man, admired for his large size, strength, and success with the ladies. Nickname options are Ferg, Fergie, and Gus.
Finley means “fair warrior” in Gaelic.
It is derived from the Scottish Gaelic name Fionnlagh, composed of “fionn,” meaning “white” or “fair” and “laoch” meaning “warrior” or “hero.” Finley is a trendy unisex pick in the States, ranked higher for girls than boys. In Ireland, however, Finley is decidedly male, with less than three girls receiving the name in 2020. Cute nickname options include Fin and Lee.
Forbes is a Scottish Gaelic clan name meaning “fields.”
According to legend, Oconachar, the founder, went to the land of Forbes in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and killed off the bears that made the area uninhabitable. He claimed the area and used the place name for his clan.
In the U.S., the Forbes family is part of the Boston elite, well known for their wealth, political power, and popular business magazine. Naming your son Forbes could ensure he’ll have prestigious associations.
Fraser is a Gaelic name with unknown origins.
It could be an anglicization of the Gaelic name Frasach, meaning “the generous or fruitful one,” or a derivative of an unknown Gaelic name altered by an Anglo-Norman scribe. Primarily used in Scotland, the name was made famous in the U.S. by the TV show Frasier, a big hit in the 90s.
Galloway is a sophisticated choice among our Gaelic boy names, meaning “place of the foreign Gaels.”
It is a region in southwestern Scotland, given its name because mixed Norse-Gaelic inhabitants settled there during the Middle Ages. Currently used as a surname and as a title for a breed of cattle, Galloway could be a classy first name option if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary.
Gilroy means “son of the red-haired man.”
It’s an anglicized form of the Irish Gaelic surname Mac Giolla Ruaidh, derived from “mac,” meaning “son,” and “ruadh,” meaning “red.” Gilroy and similar-sounding Leroy and Elroy all have an old-fashioned feel, which could be charming or outdated, depending on your preferences. Charming nickname options include Gil and Roy.
Glenn is a Gaelic boy’s name meaning “a narrow valley.”
Glenn is a cute choice inspired by nature, derived from the surname Gleann- often given to people who lived in a valley. It was a popular boy’s name in the U.S. from the 20s through the 70s, so you’ll likely meet more dads and grandpas named Glenn than newborns.
Grady is a Gaelic name for boys meaning “noble.”
Grady is derived from the Irish word “grada,” meaning “noble” or “high-born,” and from the Gaelic O’Grada, meaning “descendant of Grada.” Grady is a friendly name with authentic Irish charm, making it a suitable alternative to the more popular Brady. Currently, Grady is ranked #396 in the U.S. and trending upward, so it’s one you may want to keep your eyes on!
Hogan is a youthful choice among our Gaelic names for boys, meaning “young.”
A perfect name for a boy who will always be young at heart, Hogan is derived from the Middle Irish word “ogan,” meaning “a youth” or “young.” Last name bearers in Ireland believe they are descendants of the legendary Irish king, Brian Boru.
Currently, Logan is ranked as the 16th most popular name for boys in the U.S., so Hogan could be a similar-sounding alternative.
Ian is the Scottish Gaelic version of John.
Alternatively spelled Iain, Ian is short and packs a serious punch! It used to be popular in Scotland but is now replaced by longer names, including Cian, Darrian, and Fabian. In the U.S., Ian is a hot pick, ranked in the top 100 since 1982. Celebrity bearers are plentiful, including British icon Sir Ian McKellen and American Vampire Diaries actor Ian Somerhalder.
Keelan is a Gaelic boy’s name meaning “slender” or “narrow.”
Keelan is an anglicized version of the traditional Irish Caolan. Alternative spellings are Kelan and Kealan. It has been trending upwards in Ireland, ranked #271 in 2020. This laid-back name is virtually unheard of in the States, so it could be the perfect time to choose it before it hits the mainstream!
Kenneth is a Scottish Gaelic name for boys meaning “handsome.”
It is derived from the Gaelic personal name Coinneach. Kenneth never seems to go out of style in the U.S., remaining in the top 300 since 1900. This name isn’t winning any popularity contests across the pond, ranked #637 in Ireland and #711 in Scotland. Namesakes include Barbie’s dream date Ken and smooth sax player Kenny G.
Kian is a Gaelic and Persian name meaning “ancient.”
Kian is a variation of the Irish Gaelic name Cian and is also a common Persian name, meaning “king.” Other common spellings are Kean, Keen, Keenan, and Keenen. The traditional Cian is most prevalent in Ireland. Still, Kian takes the win in Scotland and the U.S. We predict this sophisticated boy’s name will be a chart-topper in years to come.
Kirwan means “dark one” in Gaelic.
Kirwan, pronounced kur-waan, is an anglicization of the Old Gaelic name Ciardubhain. It is derived from “ciar” and “dubh,” both meaning “dark” or “black.” Often used as a surname, Kirwan could be an unconventional alternative for trendier “k” names like Kieran or Kaiden.
Kyle is a trendy choice among our Gaelic boy names, meaning “narrow.”
Kyle is derived from the Gaelic word “caol,” meaning “narrow” or “straight.” It was initially a place name for several areas in Scotland. Although Kyle is technically unisex, it’s more commonly used for boys, with the modern Kyla superseding for females. This charming name was a heavy hitter in the U.S. in the 80s and 90s, with bearers like Twin Peaks star Kyle MacLachlan and race car driver Kyle Busch.
Lachlan means “land of lakes” in Gaelic.
Lachlan is an anglicized form of the Old Gaelic name Lochlann. In Medieval Irish literature, Lochlann described a strange faraway place, sometimes referred to as the Otherworld, a supernatural realm where the gods lived in Celtic mythology. In other myths, Lachlan was used to describe Viking invaders from Norway. This historical name has several pet forms, including Lachie, Lachy, Locky, and Lockie.
Laisren is a Gaelic men’s name meaning “flame.”
Pronounced la-SAIR-re-un, Laisren comes from the Irish word “lasair,” meaning “fire” or “flame.” Typical variations are Lasrain, Lasrianus, Molaise, and Molassius. Laisren was a prevalent name in olden times, especially among Medieval saints. The most notable being
Saint Laisren mac Nad Froich, one of the 12 apostles of Ireland who served under St. Patrick.
Lennox is a Gaelic male name meaning “elm field.”
It’s derived from the Old Gaelic surname Leamhan, which originates from an area called “the Lennox” in Scotland. Lennox is also the name of a Scottish clan, with the motto “I’ll defend.” This trendy name appears to be rising in popularity, ranked #291 in the U.S. and #350 in Scotland in 2020. An alternative (and equally chic) spelling is Lenox.
Liam is a Gaelic masculine name meaning “strong protector.”
Liam is a shortened form of Uilliam, the Irish version of William. It has been the #1 pick for U.S. boys since 2017 and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon! Liam is also a big shot back in Ireland, ranked #7 in 2020. Its popularity has been bolstered by Irish actor Liam Neeson and One Direction star Liam Payne.
Logan is a Gaelic name for men meaning “small hollow.”
Logan is a Scottish surname derived from the place name Ayrshire. It first took off as a personal name in the 90s, ranked in the U.S. top 20 since 2006. This cute name is also super trendy in its homeland, ranked #21 in Scotland in 2020. If you’re a Marvel fan, you’ll appreciate the name’s association with James “Logan” Howlett, better known as the Wolverine. Real-life bearers are Percy Jackson actor Logan Lerman and social media personality Logan Paul.
Mac means “son of” in Gaelic.
Mac, alternatively spelled Mack, is often used as a nickname for Cormac, Macallister, or MacGyver. Both spelling variations are ranked in the U.S. However, Mack takes the cake, ranked #501 in 2020 compared to Mac’s #933. A manly association is the mack truck, while the more nerdy one is Apple.
Madden is a Gaelic name for boys meaning “dog.”
Do you want your son to be as loyal and friendly as a man’s best friend? Then, consider naming him Madden! It is an anglicized form of the Gaelic Madadhan, from the word “madadh,” meaning “dog.” If your husband’s a sport’s guy, he’ll likely love this name thanks to its association with famous NFL coach John Madden and the video game made in his honor.
Malcolm means “devotee of Saint Columba” in Gaelic.
Pronounced MAL-kem, Malcolm is a sophisticated name derived from the Scottish Gaelic Mael Coluim. It was born by four Scottish kings, including Malcolm III, who became the king after defeating the usurper Macbeth who had killed his father. Other bearers are Canadian writer Gladwell and civil rights activist Malcolm X.
Mannis is the Gaelic form of the Latin name Magnus.
It’s also a shortened form of the Irish surname McManus and a variation of the Jewish personal name Manis. Mannis is a quirky alternative to the trendier double “N” names like Dennis and Finneas. While Mannis isn’t ranked in the U.S., a variation of this name, Manus, was rated #741 for Irish boys in 2020.
Muir is a Gaelic name meaning “moorland” or “sea.”
A perfect name for nature lovers, Muir means “moorland” in Scottish and “sea” in Scottish Gaelic. Muir Woods National Monument is the name of a wildlife sanctuary in Northern California, known for its towering redwood trees. It was named after John Muir, a mountaineer who was an advocate for preserving wildlife in the U.S.
Murray is a Gaelic boy’s name meaning “from the sea.”
A name with several origins, Murray is derived from O’Muireadhaigh in Ireland. It’s also the anglicized version of Muireb, an old Scottish name. Currently, Murray is making waves among the Scots, ranked in the top 100 boys’ names in 2020. In the U.S., however, Murray hasn’t been “in” since the 1920s. Perhaps it’s time for this charming grandpa’s name to bounce back?
Nevin is a Gaelic men’s name meaning “little bone” or “little saint.”
An unusual alternative for Devin or Kevin, Nevin is derived from the Irish Cnamhin, meaning “small-boned,” often referring to a thin man. In Scottish Gaelic, Nevin originated from Naomhin, meaning “little saint,” an appropriate choice if your family is Catholic! Typical nicknames are Nev and Vin.
Niall is a Gaelic name for boys with an unknown meaning.
This name is so ancient that its meaning has been lost with time! Some suggest it comes from the Irish word “niadh,” meaning “champion.” However, this is still unproven.
Boy band fans will appreciate the association with One Direction member Niall Horan. History buffs may prefer the connection to Niall of the Nine Hostages, a legendary high king of Ireland who is said to have 3 million descendants today.
Nolan is a masculine Gaelic name with two possible meanings: “noble” or “famous.”
Nolan is strong yet sophisticated, making it a high contender on our list of Gaelic names for boys! In Scotland and the U.S., Nolan is a popular choice, ranked #305 and #61, respectively. Even though Nolan originated from the Irish O’Nuallain, it isn’t doing so hot in its homeland, with less than three boys receiving the title in 2020. Bearers include baseball player Nolan Ryan and actor Nolan Gould who plays Luke on Modern Family.
Odhran means “little green one” in Gaelic.
A popular choice in Ireland, Odhran is derived from “odhar,” meaning “pale green.” This cool name is also spelled Odran, often anglicized as Oran or Orin. It was the name of two ancient saints, including the charioteer for St. Patrick and a disciple of St. Columba, who helped spread Christianity throughout Ireland and Scotland in the six-century.
Among our many Irish boy names inspired by nature, Oisin means “little deer.”
Pronounced oh-SHEEN, Oisin is a super cute Irish boy’s name for your little fawn! It’s spelled Oisean in Scottish Gaelic. In Celtic mythology, Oisin was a warrior and poet who fell in love with the fairy Niamh and stayed with her for 300 years. He became homesick for Ireland, so Niamh allowed him to return if he didn’t touch the ground. However, he ultimately stepped on the land to help his fellow Irishmen, which broke the spell, causing him to age 300 years and pass away.
Peader is a Gaelic boy’s name meaning “stone” or “rock.”
Peader is the Irish and Scottish Gaelic version of Peter, derived from the Greek “petros,” meaning “rock.” This classic name has been in Ireland’s top 500 since the 1960s. St.Peader (or Peter) is the holiest bearer, one of Jesus’s 12 apostles. This name is reserved for the saint in Scotland, which is why there are so few Scottish bearers. Irish namesakes, however, are plentiful, including composer Peadar Kearney who wrote Ireland’s national anthem, and writer Peadar Ua Laoghaire, one of the founders of modern Irish literature.
Quade is a Gaelic men’s name meaning “son of Uad.”
A quirky alternative for Wade or Cade, Quade is an altered form of the Irish McQuaid meaning “son of Uad.” Quade’s meaning is far more sinister in German, used as a nickname for an evil man. Fortunately, this hasn’t stopped Quade from being a boy’s name, with bearers like American opera composer Quade Winter and Australian rugby player Quade Cooper.
Quinn is a Gaelic name meaning “descendent of Conn.”
Quinn is a great gender-neutral pick, currently in the top 500 boy and girl names in Ireland, Scotland, and the U.S. It is derived from the surname O’Cuinn, taken from the words “cenn,” meaning “chief,” or “conn,” meaning “‘intelligent.” This charismatic “Q” name can stand alone or be used as a nickname for Quinton and Quincy.
Rafferty is a Gaelic name for men meaning “prosperity.”
Rafferty is an anglicized form of the Irish Gaelic surname O’Rabhartaigh. It’s also a personal name derived from the Old Irish “rath,” meaning “prosperity” or “abundance.” Adorable nicknames are Rafe or Raff.
Ragnall is a masculine Gaelic name meaning “powerful gods.”
Ragnall is the Gaelic version of the Old Norse name Ragnavald, composed of “regin,” meaning “gods,” and “valr,” meaning “powerful.” It’s often anglicized as Ranald, Rannal, or Ronald. This strong name belonged to several ancient rulers, including Ragnall ua Imair, a tenth-century Viking who fought against Constantin mac Aeda, the ruler of Scotland, to earn his place as king of York.
Ray is a Gaelic name for boys meaning “son of grace.”
Is your son a “ray” of sunshine? Then this could be the perfect name for him! This happy name is derived from the Scottish Mac Raith, meaning “son of grace.” It also has origins among the English, French, and Ashkenazic Jewish. A soulful bearer is singer Ray Charles, while a hilarious one is comedian Ray Romano.
Rian is an ancient choice among our Gaelic boy names with two possible meanings: “ocean” or “king.”
Very little is known about the origins of Rian, other than it being very, very old! Some scholars think it’s derived from the old Gaelic word “rian,” meaning “oceans,” whereas others believe it comes from “ri,” meaning “king.” Whatever its past, Rian sure has a bright future. As of 2020, it was ranked #86 for Irish boys. Its English equivalent, Ryan, is also doing well, rated #57 in the U.S.
Ronan is a Gaelic name for boys meaning “little seal.”
Seals are cute, intelligent, and curious, which could make Ronan an appropriate pick for your baby boy! The name is likely derived from an Irish legend about a mother seal trapped in human form. She becomes a fisherman’s wife and has children called “ronans” or “little seals.” She eventually finds her sea skin and transforms back into a seal but stays by the shore to watch her family from afar. Famous bearers include singer Ronan Keating from the Irish boy band Boyzone and golfer Ronan Rafferty.
Rooney is a Gaelic name meaning “descendant of a champion.”
It’s an anglicized version of the Irish surname O’Ruanaidh. Traditionally used as a last name, Rooney has first name potential, along with its double “O” brothers, Clooney and Mooney. Rune and Roone are some top-notch nicknames.
Rory is a royal choice among our Gaelic boy names meaning “red-haired king.”
A great option for a redheaded baby, Rory is a charming name derived from the Scottish Gaelic Ruairidh, with “ruadh,” meaning “red-hair” and “righ,” meaning “king.” While technically unisex, Rory is most successful with boys, with bearers like Irish blues and rock performer Gallagher and Scream 4 actor Culkin. Rory is trending upward, so expect to see much more of it in years to come.
Ross is a Gaelic boy’s name meaning “highland.”
A perfect name for nature lovers, Ross means “highland,” a term for land that protrudes into the water. It also sounds similar to moss, giving it an earthy undertone. Ross could also be an excellent choice for Friends fans, thanks to its association with the cute (and slightly dorky) paleontologist, Ross Geller.
Sean is the Gaelic alternative for John, meaning “gift from God.”
There is no letter “J” in the Gaelic language, so Sean became the substitute for this popular biblical name. Many spelling variations exist, including Seon, Shane, Shayne, Shaun, and Shawn. While Sean is a typical choice in the U.S., it isn’t as prevalent as it once was, ranked 336th in 2020. In Ireland, Sean is still holding its own, rated as the 88th most popular boy’s name in 2020.
Senan is a Gaelic name for men meaning “old” or “wise.”
Senan is an Old Irish name with a modern feel. It originated in the sixth century, one of the first bearers being Senan mac Geircinn, a saint and the founder of Scattery Island. In the Emerald Isle, Senan is a trendy choice, ranked #51 for Irish boys in 2020. In the U.S., however, it has never made the top 1000. So, it could be an original alternative for the more typical Sean.
Shaw is an English and Gaelic name for boys meaning “wolf.”
It is one of several names derived from the Gaelic name Sitheach. In England, Shaw was a topographic name for someone living near a dense group of trees. Shaw is typically a surname, occasionally used as a first name for men, like British actor Shaw Taylor and former general of the Salvation Army Shaw Clifton. Shaw sounds excellent with other Gaelic boy names, making it a great middle name option.
Sheehan is an uncommon Gaelic name for boys, meaning “the peaceful one.”
Pronounced SHEE-an, Sheehan is an anglicization of the Gaelic surname O’Siochain. Sheehan and its alternative Sheahan are prevalent surnames in Ireland, ranked 77th in 2020. The name was first used in tenth-century Ireland by the ancient clans. It was likely given to a man of peace, maybe a priest or a warrior who sought reconciliation.
Sheridan is a Gaelic name meaning “to seek.”
As a surname, it’s derived from O’Sirideain, meaning “descendant of Siridean.” It’s also a personal name, most likely derived from the Gaelic word “sirim,” meaning “searcher.” It can be shortened to Sheri for a girl or Dan for a guy, making it an excellent gender-neutral pick. Bearers include leading ghost-story writer of the 19th century, Sheridan Le Fanu, and Irish composer Sheridan Tongue.
Sloane is a Gaelic name meaning “raider.”
Pronounced slown, Sloane is an anglicization of the surname O’Slaughhadain, with “sluaghadh” meaning “raid” or “expedition.” Sloane is currently trending for girls, ranked #181 in the U.S. and #471 in Scotland. But don’t let that stop you from choosing it for your little warrior! Famous male Sloane’s are keeping this name firmly planted in the unisex category, including award-winning film director Sloan Copeland and Sloane Morgan Siegel from Dwight in Shining Armor.
Sorley is a Gaelic name for men meaning “summer wanderer.”
It’s a modernized version of the Scottish Gaelic and Irish name Somhairle. It came from the Old Norse Sumarlior, meaning “summer warrior or wanderer” in reference to Vikings who would raid during the summer months. Sorley is sometimes anglicized as Samuel, even though these names are unrelated. Famous bearers are Sorley MacDonald, a 16th-century Scoto-Irish chief who fought against the English crown, and Sorley MacLean, one of Scotland’s leading 20th-century poets.
Tadhg is a Gaelic male name meaning “poet” or “philosopher.”
Tadhg, pronounced TEEG or TAYG, is an Irish and Scottish Gaelic name with ancient roots. It was the name of several Irish kings between the 10th and 16th centuries. This traditional name has seen a massive comeback in recent years, currently ranked as the 18th most popular boy’s name in Ireland. Tadhg has never caught on in the U.S., possibly because it’s challenging for non-natives to spell and pronounce. If Tadhg is too confusing, try the anglicized Teague or Tigue instead.
Trevor is a Welsh and Gaelic boy’s name meaning “prudent.”
In Welsh, Trevor is derived from “tre,” meaning “homestead” and “fawr,” meaning “large,” leading to the meaning: “of the large homestead.” It’s also an anglicization of the Gaelic O’Treabhair, meaning “prudent.” This laid-back name was popular for U.S. boys in the 90s and early 2000s, with bearers like professional skateboarder Trevor Colden and actor Trevor Jackson who played Aaron Jackson on Grown-ish.
Tully is a Gaelic male name with two possible meanings: “flood” or “peaceful one.”
It’s a variation of the Old Irish surnames O’Taithligh, O’Maoltuile, and Mac Maoltuile. It may have derived from “tuile,” meaning “flood” or “taithleach,” meaning “peaceful one.” Whether your baby is peaceful as a lake or as wild as a flood, Tully could be the perfect selection.
Tynan is a Gaelic name for boys meaning “dark.”
Another surname turned given name, Tynan is derived from the Gaelic O’Teimhneain, with “teimhean” meaning “dark.” Tynan could be an original alternative to the more prevalent “Ty” names like Tyler, Tyrone, and Tyson. Less common spellings are Tinan, Tivnan, and Tynnan.
Whelan is a Gaelic men’s name meaning “young wolf.”
It’s a modern anglicization of the Gaelic O’Faolain, pronounced fay-lan or way-lan in different parts of Ireland. This cool animal-inspired name can also be spelled Wheelan, Welan, or Whelehan. It could be a less common (but equally attractive) alternative for other Gaelic “lan” names like Callan, Declan, Lachlan, and Nolan.