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Irish Names: Origin of Irish First Names

Irish names have a number of origins which are greatly influenced by the historical events that took place. Ireland was converted to Christianity by Saint Patrick and this explains why there has been a persistent preference for Christian, Hebrew and Aramaic names. The names of the 12 Apostles of Christ have always been very popular.

The Norman invasion in the Twelfth century and the Elizabethan colonisation in the seventeenth centuries brought still further variety to the first names that were chosen by parents of Irish children. May of the Anglo names that were introduced were originally of Germanic Saxon origin. Examples: Robert, William, Richard, Gerard.

The Gaelic revival that took place in the late 1800's and early 1900's saw a return to fashion of many of the native Gaelic names that are drawn from the myths, legends and folklore of the Gaelic culture. Examples: Shane, Seamus, Ryan, ine, Brian, Niall.

In the latter half of the twentieth century and now, at the start of the twenty-first, the influence of media resources such as television and the internet has meant that names that were never used in Ireland a hundred years ago have now become very popular. Examples: Kyle, Ethan, Dillon, Cameron, Reece.

There were 27,508 births registered in Ireland in 1999 and, of these, 80% accounted for the top 100 male and female names.

If you are looking for information about Irish surnames, including their origin and their coat of arms and further information about genealogy (including the Irish Genealogy Search Engine) then click here

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