Although I’m half Irish most of the year, when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, I'm 100% erin go bragh. I've been known to pour myself a beagán Jamesons, prop my feet up and watch John Wayne pretend to be an Irish boxer in The Quiet Man with my wee Scottish terrier mix by my side
And I get to thinking – why didn’t I choose an Irish name for my dog? Which then leads me to wonder about what great Irish name I might have chosen (had I turned my mind to it at the time).
Well, it turns out there are plenty of unique Irish names for dogs -- Irish names for female dogs, Irish names for male dogs, names inspired by popular places in Ireland, names inspired by the Irish rich and/or famous, and the ever popular -- alcohol inspired Irish names for dogs.
But not every name is right for every dog.
Tips for Naming Your Dog
Naming your dog can be a daunting task, so start by considering things like your pup's physical characteristics, personality, and coat. You also might want to consider how easy the name is to pronounce (important, since you want to be sure that he or she will be able to learn and respond to their name). Gaelic is a tricky tongue and some names are tough to spell -- consider how many times you want to repeat the spelling to your friends, family, and most importantly, your vet and groomer.
So without further ado, here's our list of unique and one of a kind Irish names that you won’t be hearing over and over at the dog park.
Irish names for female dogs
In Irish legend, this was the name of a female warrior. It’s pronounced AL-va, and is perfect for a feisty girl pup.
This name looks like a mouthful, but is pronounced AY-veen. It means “of pleasant, beautiful sheen” or “radiant beauty.”
Remember what I said about spelling? This one’s pronounced EE-vah and means beautiful radiant
This name means “little height,” a great name if your new pup happens to be a miniature anything
This unusual name means “fair-haired,” great for the unique blondie in your life
In Irish, “blath” means flower or blossom. That makes Blathnaid, pronounced BLAW-nid, a fit for your best “bud” (ha ha, a pet pun!)
Pronounced KY-lah, it means “beautiful, comely, and graceful.” If your new dog has an elegant air about her, this is a winner
Means "Unnamed companion" and might be perfect for that adorable rescue
Pronounced CLEE-oh-na, this name comes from the word “clodhna,” and it means “shapely.” In some Irish myths, Cliodhna is the goddess of love and beauty
This name, pronounced AY-va, is the Irish form of Eve, meaning “life.” Because hey, life isn’t complete without a dog
Pronounced EE-mer), meaning swift, a great name for any sighthound
This Irish name means “ancient,” fitting for a girl pup with an old soul
Meaning throne, this name fits any dog who like to be treated like royalty
Quirky and unique, Oona is pronounced exactly how you’d expect, and it means “one”
If your new girl pup shines bright like a diamond, this name fits the bill! It means “bright” or “shining” and it’s pronounced SOR-ca
Irish names for male dogs
Ailbe or Alby
This name means “white,” perfect for a pup with white fur
The name means “red,” and who doesn’t love a ginger?
Meaning noble or illustrious, perfect for a Great Dane
Pronounced KA-hal, Cathal means "powerful in battle" and is a superb name for a tough little warrior pup
This name, pronounced Kwee-veen, means “handsome birth” in Gaelic, and is way more interesting than its more common version, Kevin
The name Conor—sometimes spelled with two n’s—translates to “lover of hounds” in Gaelic. If your new pup is a social butterfly and loves other dogs, this name is a great pick
Translates to “Powerful Wolf.” This also makes a great name for an Irish Wolfhound
Cormac translates to “charioteer” in Gaelic, making it a great name for a pup who loves to run
A character from Irish folklore, said to have power over life, death, weather, and agriculture. He is said to resemble a large man with a black hood. Hhhhmmmm, maybe for a doberman?
Pronounced DA-rah, this is a traditional Irish name that means “oak tree” in Gaelic.
Meaning swarthy, this is a good fit for ant dark-haired pup
The Gaelic meaning of Delaney is thought to be "offspring of the challenger,” perfect for any pup with a feisty personality
Egan means “little fiery one,” which makes this a great name for a dog who acts like he’s part dragon
Meaning “powerful and manly,” this is essentially a flexed bicep kind of name, perfect for a boxer or other powerful breed
The name “Finbar” means “white hair.” It’s also super fun to say. Go ahead, try it -- Finbar, finbar, FINBAR!!!!!!!!!!
Finian is such a cute Irish name for a little boy pup
The “nickname” for Finian, it has more of that hipster vibe and means white, fair
Meaning ready or valor, doesn’t this name sound perfect for an Irish Setter?
This Irish name means “small rough one,” which would be fitting for a Chihuahua with a attitude
This name means “lake-land” in Gaelic, making it a good pick for a dog who’s as happy in water as he is on dry land
Lorcan means “little fierce one.” Yes, I’m talking to you!
This name means “strong” and “warlike.” You don’t mess with a Lunn
Meaning little dark one, this could refer to coat color or personality
This name means “little lightning.” So yeah, a pup named Mellan is basically the dog version of Thor
Pronounced Paw-rik, means nobly born
A creature of Irish folklore, believed to bring both good and bad luck. Awwwwwww. . .
Irish dog names inspired by locations
This town is home to the Blarney Castle and the famous Blarney Stone. A dog with attitude would wear this name well
A region of County Clare with a karst landscape featuring bedrock with a vast cracked pavement of glacial-era limestone, cliffs, caves, and fossils
From the Rock of Cashel, a set of rocky ruins that were once referred to as Fairy Hill by the pagans. It’s said that this was where St. Patrick was baptized as the Third King of Munster
Meaning “island,” a town in County Clare about 20 miles from Shannon Airport and located on the river Fergus. Also evokes memories of a certain brooding doctor from the Poldark series
County Kerry is a region of Ireland in the west. Kerry takes its name from a word meaning “people of Ciar.” These individuals were thought to be the original “dark Irish”
Located in the southeast corner of Ireland near Curracloe Beach, the location for the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan, this name has quite a classy ring to it
Channeling the Rich and/or Famous for Irish Names
Novelist and playwright Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin, Ireland. He was the author of the play Waiting for Godot and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969
Born in Dublin, Ireland, the frontman of U2 was awarded Time Magazine's Person of the Year in 2005 for his humanitarian efforts
As in Stoker. As in the author of Dracula. I’d think twice before choosing this one . . .
James Cagney was an American actor, singer, and dancer. If you have to ask . . .
Irish born singer, songwriter and activist, Bob Geldof was the frontman of the Boomtown Rats and an organizer of Live Aid Concerts. He also produced the single, Do They Know It's Christmas? which raised $8 million for African famine victims
Famous Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, born in Dublin, Ireland, earned the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature. Creator of Pygmalion (famously re-done as My Fair Lady starring the inimitable Audrey Hepburn)
See Bram, above
Also born in Dublin, author Jonathan Swift penned Gulliver's Travels in 1726.
Irish dog names inspired by alcohol
In 1792 Richard Beamish & Richard Crawford, two Cork merchants, established the famous Beamish & Crawford brewery, in the heart of Cork. Beamish stout is still being enjoyed today as a popular alternative to Guiness
Ireland’s most famous cider. Drop the S and I see this for any type of bulldog
A world-class whiskey from the north coast of Ireland. Personally, I’d drop the S and go with Bushmill
A quality gin from Kerry. Dingle would be a good fit for a dog who’s a bit of a goofball
The famous dark stout – one of the best-selling and most well-known alcoholic drinks in Ireland. This one sounds like it would suit a sturdy fella who’s a bit ragged around the edges
Ireland’s most famous whiskey. Drop the S and you’ve got a dignified name for a proper pup
A popular Irish drink that involves mixing beer with a sweet soda. Got a disreputable-looking dog of dubious parentage? Shandy could be just the ticket
Popular and trending Irish dog names
There’s been a significant rise in the popularity of some Irish names, so consider whether you want a name that's unique or whether you're more comfortable following the pack. Consider these to be officially trending:
- Finn (and Finnegan)
- Saoirse (pronounced SOR-cha or SEER-sha)
And there you have it -- our admittedly incomplete and completely biased list of the coolest Irish names for your one of a kind pup.
Did any of them fit your dog to a tee? Let us know in the comments below!