Niamh Name Meaning & Origin
Origin of the name Niamh:
Gaelic name derived from niamh (bright).
From A World of Baby Names by Teresa Norman.
Looking for the perfect name? Try the Name MatchMaker to find the perfect baby name for you!
Sister & Brother Names
Know a Niamh? What are her siblings named?
Name Lists Featuring Niamh
- Irish Girls Names: Most Popular Names for Girls in the Republic of Ireland
- English and Welsh Girls Names: Most Popular Names for Girls in England and Wales
- Irish Girls Names: Most Popular Names for Girls in Northern Ireland
- Scottish Girls Names: Most Popular Names for Girls in Scotland
- English Girls Names: Most Popular Names for Girls in England, 2010
- Irish Girls Names: Most Popular Names for Girls in the Republic of Ireland, 2010
- Scottish Girls Names: Most Popular Names for Girls in Scotland, 2011
Contribute your knowledge to the name Niamh
- Comments and insights on the name Niamh: | Edit
I love my name but have yet to meet anyone in America who can pronounce it which is why I usually go by my English middle name!
- Personal experiences with the name Niamh: | Edit
- Share what you know!
- Nicknames for Niamh: | Edit
- Meanings and history of the name Niamh: | Edit
Niamh means "radiance, lustre, brightness." The daughter of the sea god Manannan she was known as "Niamh of the Golden Hair," a beautiful princess riding on a white horse. She fell in love with Fionn's son Oisin (read the legend of Niamh and Oisin) and lived with him in Tir-na-nOg ("Land of the Young") (read the legend) where 300 years passed in what seemed like three weeks.
In 2003 it was the eleventh most popular baby girl's name in Ireland.
In Irish mythology, Niamh (pronounced ˈniːəv or ˈniːv) is the daughter of Manannán mac Lir. She is one of the Queens of Tir na nÓg, and might also be the daughter of Fand.
Niamh crossed the Western Sea on a magical horse, Embarr, and asked Fionn mac Cumhail if his son Oisín would come with her to Tir na nÓg (the Land of Youth). Oisín agreed and went with her, promising his father he would return to visit soon.
Oisín was a member of the Fianna and, though he fell in love with Niamh during their time together in Tir na nÓg, he became homesick after what he thought was three years. Niamh let him borrow Embarr, who could run above ground, and made him promise not to get off of the horse or touch Irish soil.
The three years he spent in Tir na nÓg turned out to be 300 Irish years. When Oisín returned to Ireland, he asked where he could find Fionn mac Cumhail and the Fianna, only to find that they had been dead for hundreds of years and were now only remembered as legends. Whilst travelling through Ireland, Oisín was asked by some men to help them move a standing stone. He reached down to help them, but fell off his horse. Upon touching the ground he instantly became an old man. He is then said to have dictated his story to Saint Patrick, who cared for and nursed him until he died. Meanwhile, Niamh had given birth to his daughter, Plor na mBan. Niamh returned to Ireland to search for him, but he had died.
The LÉ Niamh (P52), a ship in the Irish Naval Service, is named after her.
- Famous real-life people named Niamh: | Edit
Niamh Parsons, Irish folk singer
Niamh Cusack, actress
Niamh Kavanagh, singer & 1993 Eurovision Song Contest Winner
Niamh Perry, singer/actress from Bangor, Northern Ireland
- Niamh in song, story & screen: | Edit
Niamh Egan, character in British TV series "Ballykissangel"
In Irish legend, Niamh was the daughter of Manannan, who fell in love with Oisin and lived with him in Tir-Nan-Og for a span of 300 years, though it felt like only 3 weeks to him.
Niamh Connelly, radical feminist who visits Father Ted and Dougal in the TV series "Father Ted". The character is a spoof of real-life singer Sinead O'Connor.