For such a small country, Ireland has contributed much to the world: saints and sea kings, warriors and poets, horses and dogs, plus the beauty of its land. Millions of people around the world claim Irish ancestry, including more than 40 million people in the United States and Canada – about 10 percent of the entire population.
More than a dozen breeds of dogs originated in Ireland, from the aristocratic Irish Setter to the rough and tumble Irish Terrier. If you have an Irish breed, if you’re Irish yourself, if your pet has a roguish personality, or if you’ve been swept up into the myths and charm of the ancient gods and goddesses, we have some fantastic Irish names for you!
Worried about pronunciation? Wing it! Here’s what we found on one Facebook page
Ancient Irish gods and goddesses
The ancient Irish had a rich and beguiling array of gods and goddesses dating back millennia. If your dog (or other pet) has a majestic manner, try one of these mysterious names for size.
Aine of Knockaine
Celtic (Irish) Goddess of love and fertility, later known as the fairy queen. Goddess related to the moon, crops, and farms or cattle. Aine is revered among Irish herbalists and healers and is said to be responsible for the body’s life force.
A healing Goddess of the Celtic order of Tuatha de Danaan, Goddess of medicinal plants and keeper of the spring. Regenerates, or brings the dead to life again.
Celtic (Irish) God of youth, love, and beauty. One of the Tuatha De Danaan, name means “young son.” Variants: Angus or Oengus of the Brugh, Angus Mac Oc, Oengus Mac In Og.
Celtic (Irish) Another woman of the Sidhe, she made her dwelling in Craig Liath.
Celtic (Irish) Goddess of war. Mother aspect of the triple Goddess. Symbolizes life, enlightenment, wisdom and inspiration. Sister of Macha, the Morrigan, and Anu, the name of this Goddess means “boiling,” “battle raven,” and “scald-crow,” Variants: Badhbh, Badb, Banba. “Banba” is an ancient poetic name for Ireland.
Celtic. Although he was born with two good eyes, one was ruined in an accident; the eye is so hideous that he only opens it in battle so that its venom will slay whoever is unlucky enough to catch glimpse of it; his daughter marries Cian. Also known as Balor of the Evil Eye.
Celtic (Irish) Fire and sun God, also God of purification, science, fertility, crops and success. A sun and fire God closely connected with the Druids and the festival of Beltaine (May 1).
Celtic (Irish) Goddess of the River Boyne and mother of Angus Mac Og by the Dagda. She was the wife of Nechtan, a god of the water. Likewise, Boann was herself a water-goddess. She held the powers of healing. Variants: Boannan, Boyne.
Celtic (Irish) God of health. Brother of Branwen and Angus Mac Og. Also known as Bran the Blessed.
Celtic (Irish) Goddess of love and beauty. The sister of Bran the Blessed and Manannan mac Lir, daughter of Lir, and wife of the Irish king Matholwch.
Celtic (Irish). One of the triple Goddesses of the Celtic pantheon. She is the daughter of The Dagda, the All Father of the Tuatha de Danann. She probably began as a sun Goddess. According to legend, she was born at sunrise and a tower of flame beamed from her head.
As Goddess of fire and water, she is immortalized by many wells and springs. Her feast is St.Brighid’s Day in Ireland and is the Pagan Festival of Imbolc. Also known as Brigit, Brigid, Brigindo, Bride.
The Celtic (Irish) God of fertility and agriculture. He is the son of Elatha, a prince of the Fomorians, and the Goddess Eriu.
Celtic (Irish) Goddess of sleep and dreams.
Celtic (Irish & Scottish) Goddess of disease and plague. A Destroyer, or Crone, Goddess, she was also called “Veiled One.” As the Crone, she ruled with the Maiden and the Mother. Monstrous dogs guarded the gates of her afterworld realm where she received the dead. Celtic myth has her gatekeeper dog named Dormarth “Death’s Door.” Irish bards who could curse with satire were often called cainte “dog.”
Celtic Moon, Grain and Nature Goddess. Cerridwen’s symbol is a white sow. Patron of the poets, greatest of all the bards. Cerridwen symbolizes luck, element of earth, death, fertility, regeneration, inspiration, inspiration, the arts, science, poetry, astrology/zodiac.
Celtic (Irish) The father of Lugh.
Celtic (Irish) God of the Earth and All Father. The father of Brighid. God of the arts, knowledge, magic, music, prophecy, prosperity, regeneration. Known as the “Good God” and “Lord of the Heavens,” he was one of the high kings of the Tuatha De Danaan and had four great palaces under hollow hills.
Celtic (Irish) Goddess, the mother of The Dagda the All father, Creation Goddess, and Mother of the Tuatha de Danaan. Symbolizes rivers, water, wells, prosperity, magick, and wisdom. Tuatha de Danaan literally means Children or Clan of Danu.
Celtic (Irish) God of healing and medicine. Once saved Ireland. Held sacred to the Druids due to healing powers.
Celtic (Irish) Another of the three Goddesses after which Ireland was named. Along with Banb and Fotia or Fodla.
Celtic (Irish) Goddess of the forest, woodlands, and wild things. Associated with protection of wild animals.
Celtic (Irish) Third of the trinity of goddesses of Ireland along with Babd and Eriu.
Celtic (Irish) God of the underworld.
Irish and Celtic (Welsh) God of waters and the sea. May have also ruled the underworld. The father of Manawydan, Bran the Blessed, and Branwen.
Celtic (Welsh, Irish) God, also known as Lleu, Llew and Lugh the Many Skilled. He is a druid, carpenter, poet, and mason. His animals are the raven and the lynx. He symbolizes healing, reincarnation, prophecy, and revenge.
Celtic (Irish) God of wrights; one of the triad of craft-gods of the Tuatha De Danaan.
Celtic (Irish) Goddess of war, life, and death. Goddess of cunning, death, sheer physical force; protectoress in both battle and peace. Known as the Crow or Raven as she wore a cloak of raven’s feathers, often appeared as a raven or crow.
Celtic Goddess of Earth, fertility and war. Also known as Queen Maeve and or Mebd.
Manannan Mac Lir – (May-nah-naun Mac Leer)
Celtic (Irish & Welsh) Patron of sailors and merchants.
Celtic God of the underworld.
“The Great Queen.” Celtic Goddess of war and death who could take the shape of a crow or raven. Supreme warrior Goddess. She is associated with the sometimes frightening aspects of female energy.
Celtic (Irish) God of battle.
Celtic (Irish) Name means, “Panic.” Celtic war Goddess.
Celtic (Irish) Goddess of beauty and brightness. Helps heroes at their death.
Celtic (Irish & Welsh) God of harpers, healing, historians, magic, poets, warfare, writing. King of the Tuatha de Danaan at one time, he had to step down when he lost his hand in battle; it was replaced by a silver one.
A great Celtic (Irish) Warrior God often associated with Heracles. Patron God of scholars and eloquence. He invented the runic language of the Druids, the Ogham alphabet.
Celtic (Irish & Scottish) Goddess of healing, magic, fighting arts, prophecy. Called the Shadowy One, She Who Strikes Fear, and the Dark Goddess, she was a warrior woman and prophetess who lived in Albion, possibly on the Isle of Skye, and taught fighting arts. Variants: Scota, Scatha, Scath.
“The Great Provider.” Celtic Goddess of fertility and wealth.
Celtic (Irish) Goddess of the river Shannon.
Irish heroes and heroines
Along with Ireland’s ancient gods and goddesses, the country’s mythology is full of tales of its heroes and heroines. Cuchulain stands supreme, a young man who killed a mighty hound when it attacked him. In sorrow and penance, Cuchulain took a vow that he would take up the dog’s job ever after https://www.celtic-weddingrings.com/celtic-mythology/cuchulainn. For this he became known as “The Hound of Ulster.” He was as good as his word and defended the province of Ulster with his life. Over the centuries, many Irish Wolfhounds have been named for Cuchulain in honor of the hero.
The Ulster Cycle
- Conchobar mac Nessa – king of Ulster
- Cú Chulainn – mythological hero known for his terrible battle frenzy
- 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
- Medb – queen of Connacht, best known for starting the Táin Bó Cúailnge (The Tain Bo is Ireland’s great ancient mythological saga featuring tales of the Red Branch heroes.)
- Emer wife of Cú Chulainn
- Scáthach – legendary warrior woman who trains Cú Chulainn in the arts of combat
Fenian Cycle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenian_Cycle
Historically, the Fenian Cycle falls after the Ulster Cycle of stories and deals with the exploits of Fionn mac Cunhaill and his warriors the Fianna.
- Fionn mac Cumhaill – legendary hunter-warrior and leader of the Fianna
- Caílte mac Rónáin – warrior of the Fianna who could run at remarkable speed and communicate with animals, and was a great storyteller
- Conán mac Morna – warrior of the Fianna, often portrayed as a troublemaker and a comic figure
- Cumhall – leader of the Fianna and father of Fionn mac Cumhaill
- Diarmuid Ua Duibhne – warrior of the Fianna and lover of Fionn’s betrothed, Gráinne
- Goll mac Morna – warrior of the Fianna and uneasy ally of Fionn mac Cumhaill
- Liath Luachra – Fionn’s foster mother and a great warrior
- Liath Luachra – tall, hideous warrior of the Fianna who shares his name with Fionn’s foster mother
- Oisín – son of Fionn mac Cumhaill, warrior of the Fianna and a great poet
- Oscar – warrior son of Oisín and Niamh
Saint Patrick is famous for bringing Christianity to Ireland but he was not alone. Ireland was a beacon of light for the world during the Dark Ages (—-), with multiple monasteries where monks copied the Gospels by hand, along with other ancient books saved from destruction. Many monks were educated at these monasteries and sent to other countries to teach the Gospel.
St. Brigid – not the ancient goddess, but the two are often confused and conjoined in Celtic countries. St. Brigid is considered to be the patron of healers, nuns, babies (midwives), and fugitives. And for some reason, she associated with beer.
St. Oliver Plunkett – martyred in the 17th century, St. Oliver Plunkett was hanged for treason in 1681. You can even see his head on display in St. Peter’s Church Drogheda in Ireland.
St. Columba – St. Columba was a member of the royal family in Ulster. A serious scholar, he studied for years with some of the leading religious teachers in Ireland at the time. He allegedly met with trouble over a religious book that he copied. The owner of the book appears to have objected to Columba keeping the copy and this led to a serious conflict, and even to a battle in which many men died. Columba left the monastic life in Ireland and started his own monastery on the Isle of Iona in Scotland. From there he converted Scotland to Christianity. His monastery in Scotland was a religious and political center for centuries.
St. Brendan the Navigator – famous for possibly being the first European to reach America. Tales suggest that St. Brendan arrived in America even before the Vikings.
St. Kevin of Glendalough – St. Kevin was a hermit who attracted birds and animals to him because of his quiet, solitary life. Birds even nested in his hand.
St. Patrick – of course, everyone knows St. Patrick. There are lots of stories about him. He may have been the son of a Roman in Britain, captured in Wales and sold into slavery in Ireland in the fifth century. He lived there for several years until he escaped and returned to his family. After becoming a cleric, he returned to Ireland and led the country’s conversion to Christianity.
These are only a few of the many, many saints connected to Ireland. You can find lots of saints and saints’ names if these stories interest you.
Irish poets and writers
By a strange quirk, if any country’s writers have excelled in the use of the English language even more than the English, it has to be the Irish. Down through the centuries, Ireland has produced some of the most brilliant authors, poets, and playwrights in the English language.
Bram Stoker – author of Dracula
James Joyce – author of Ulysses, Finnegan’s Wake
Jonathan Swift – author of Gulliver’s Travels, “A Modest Proposal”
John Millington Synge – Playboy of the Western World
Oscar Wilde – author of The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Importance of Being Ernest
Samuel Beckett – author of Waiting for Godot
George Bernard Shaw – author of Pygmalion, Major Barbara
Sean O’Casey – author of Juno and the Paycock
William Butler Yeats – Poet, author of A Vision
Oliver Goldsmith – A School For Scandal, She Stoops To Conquer, The Vicar of Wakefield
Brian Friel – author of Dancing At Lughnasa
Elizabeth Bowen – The Heat of the Day, Eva Trout
Augusta, Lady Gregory
Liam O’Flaherty – author of The Informer
C.S. Lewis – author of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Mere Christianity
Robert Erskine Childers – The Road to Suez
Patrick Pearse – poet, executed after the 1916 Easter Rebellion.
These are only a few of many famous Irish authors. Consider some of their works for good pet names.
Many Irish names have become very popular as baby names recently. Here are some of the most popular.
Derived from the Gaelic word “aoibh,” it means “beauty” or “radiance”.
Ava has many interpretations, but the most popular ascribed meanings are “bird,” “life,” and “living one.”
Pronounced: Keeva (in Northern Ireland) or Kweeva (in the Republic of Ireland).
The Irish girl’s name Caoimhe has been listed as one of the hottest baby names in recent years. It means “beautiful, gentle, kind.”
This name is taken from the river Clody, which runs through County Tipperary and County Wexford. But, like most Irish rivers, this body of water is named for a local female deity so your baby could have divine powers.
A unisex name, this Irish name is rooted in nature – it means, quite literally, “oak tree.”
The Irish form of Eve, this name means “life.”
An old Irish name, this name means “from the island to the west.”
Full of energy, this name again means “life.”
Easily one of the most popular names in Ireland lately, this name has been derived from the ancient root word for “wild.”
Similarly popular in Nordic countries, this name means “noble woman.”
Whether you spell it Kaitlyn, Caitlyn, Kaitlin or Catelyn, this Irish name continues to be popular – especially in Canada. It means “pure.”
Serene and gentle, this biblical name means “weary.”
This legendary name belongs to not one, but two famous queens from Irish mythology: the Queen of Connacht, and the queen of the fairies. It means “she who intoxicates.”
This vintage name means “battle-mighty” and is becoming increasingly popular in Ireland.
An ancient Irish name (belonging to a goddess) Niamh means “bright.”
The name of Irish High King Brian Boru’s sister from the 11th century, it should come as no surprise to learn that Orla means “golden princess.”
The heroic Roisin Dubh is often referred to as the personification of Ireland itself, making this a very popular name for baby girls in the Emerald Isle. It means “little rose.”
Back in the 1920s, this name was used as a revolutionary cry for freedom. It means “liberty.”
Playwright Samuel Beckett was Irish so this name is fitting. Beckett means “bee cottage.”
The Irish form of Callum, this name means “dove.”
This Irish name never strays far from the top 100 baby names list. It means “lover of hounds.”
One of the great Irish high kings of legend, Cormac means “charioteer.”
A unisex name, this Irish name is rooted in nature – it means, quite literally, “oak tree.”
This name is extremely popular in Ireland and comes from ancient Irish royalty. It means “brown-haired warrior.”
Dylan means “son of the sea” (or god of the ocean).
The Irish version of John, this name means “God is gracious.”
This name means “good forever.”
This Irish name means “small blonde soldier” – and the anglicised version, Finn, is also very popular.
The Irish short form of William, this name can be interpreted as meaning “resolute protection.”
Logan may be a Scottish name, but it’s become incredibly popular in Ireland. It means “small hollow.”
An Anglicisation of the Irish surname Ó Nualláin from “nuall,” this name means “nobleman.”
This name comes from an ancient Irish saint, but it’s now one of Ireland’s most popular boy names. It means “little pale green one.”
One of the most popular boys’ names in Ireland in recent years, this name means “little deer.”
Patrick, of course, is always popular in Ireland. It means “noble patrician.”
Said to be the most accurate spelling of “Ryan,” this name translates to “little king.”
This name means “little seal.”