Irish Names for Twin Baby Girls

Hello, I was hoping to get some opinions on my thoughts for picking two Irish names for baby girl twins. I am 32 weeks pregnant, and am starting to feel stressed that I haven't 100% decided. First off, I love Irish names, and have already started the Irish theme with my first 2 children: 4y/o boy Aidan and a 2 y/o girl Brenna. The fact that they start with A and B were coincidence, but now we think we'd like to continue that theme and find "C" and "D" names for the twin girls (or, 2 "C's" because my husband and I start with "D" and "E". Also, I don't want to have to deal with a lot of mispelling/mispronunciation which makes this decision a little harder. For Twin A, we love the name Ciara (correct Irish pronunciation is Kee-ra, not see-ar-a or kee-ar-a), but I know everyone will misprounce it, so we were thinking of alternate spellings like Ceira (also Irish). For Twin B I really love Dara or Dierdre (husband doesn't like Dierdre). So, Ceira and Dara - do they sound to sing songy/ matchy? (Aidan, Brenna, Ceira and Dara) I also love Maeve, but would have to throw away the ABCD idea. If we were to do two C names, I was thinking: Ceira and Caileen or Ceira and Calynn Thanks in advance!

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NOTE FROM THE MODS: This old thread was recently revived by a spammer, but it is originally from 2013. It's fine to comment, but keep in mind that the twins in question would be almost ready for kindergarten.

Replies

1
By hyz
June 19, 2013 11:31 AM

I think Ciara is a lovely choice. There is a little girl by that name in my daughter's class, with that spelling--her parents are Irish--and after learning it once nobody seemed to have a problem remembering how to pronounce it. I think Ceira is actually more confusing, since C followed by E almost never takes the hard sound in English. Kiera would be easier, but obviously that loses the C thing you're going for. I would stick with Ciara, personally, and I think it's great.

I also really like Dara a lot, so that sounds like a very good choice to me. It hits the sweet spot of being fairly unusual/underused but still well-known. It sounds both strong to me (because of the "dare" sound) and pretty. However, it is a bit sing-songy with Ciara since they are both two syllables ending in -ra, so if that bothers you (and I'm not saying it should, but if it does), I'd give Maeve another look. It's a beautiful and striking name, and I personally think it's more important to pick names for each of you kids that you truly love on their own individual merits, rather than compromising to maintain a theme.

I'm not as much of a fan of either Caileen or Calynn, because they look more like modern mash-ups to me. If I were to go for another Irish C name, I think I'd pick Catriona or Claire/Clare.

2
June 19, 2013 12:07 PM

Thanks hyz!

You make a lot of good points.  I'm so glad to hear the spelling/pronunciation of Ciara is not a big issue, because I do prefer the original spelling.  We also don't want to force the alphabet theme.  I've always loved Maeve and its meaning (brings joy).  Good thing we get to pick two out of three!

Ciara and Dara

Ciara and Maeve

Dara and Maeve

Any other comments/suggestions are welcome!

 

3
June 19, 2013 2:43 PM

There aren't many Irish girls names beginning with D, and Dara has the rare advantage of being easy to spell!  I love Dara, and I'd use it and consider another C name - or another C name to use with Ciara.

My choice would be Cliona.  It's also surprisingly easy to spell, and the cl beginning helps make it distinct from Ciara. 

You might want to check out: http://www.babynamesofireland.com/c-names

It's better researched than most lists of baby names, and it has recordings of the pronunciations from Irish author Frank McCourt.

4
By hwar
June 19, 2013 2:51 PM

Your two older children have Irish names that are also familiar and easy to spell. I think I'd go that direction for the twins, too, with something like Cassidy and Delaney (both derived from Irish surnames).  Sweet nickname potential for both names, and they would be great sibling names with Aidan and Brenna.

5
June 19, 2013 3:10 PM

Congratulations!

 

I grew up with a Dara.  She rhymed the first syllable with "car" and "far," not "dare" and "lair."

 

FWIW, I dislike that I always have to spell my name. 

 

Other Irish C names: Claire, Clara, Caitlin

Other Irish D Names: Darcy, Darby.

 

 

6
June 19, 2013 3:42 PM

If it makes a difference, I think Dara is usually a male name in Ireland - it is on the site Violette mentioned.

I think the name pronounced "keera" has enough possible spellings that it would often need to be spelled out, so you might as well choose your favourite!  To throw a couple more C-names out there, I have a soft spot for Clodagh and Caragh.  Maeve is lovely too - I suppose it's a question of whether its loveliness outweighs the ABCD.

7
June 19, 2013 8:16 PM

Ciara is likely to get mispronounced a lot.  Maybe Caitlin, Caitriona or Colleen?  I also like the previous suggestion of Clare, as in County Clare.

I do like Dara.  Though it is traditionally a male name in Ireland I don't think you'd have any problems with it on a girl here in the U.S.

Since you & your husband are D & E, you could also look at F names to go with a C name.  Clare & Fiona perhaps?

 

8
June 20, 2013 9:55 AM

Thanks all, appreciate your feedback.  This is so hard!

I don’t actually mind that Dara is traditionally a boy’s name.  One of the female characters from a Maeve Bincy book was named Dara, and Dara sounds more feminine than male to me anyway.

I’m still not settled on any two, and I’m leaning more towards just finding my two favorite names regardless of the letter they start with.  Not really a big fan of Cliona or Fiona.  Caitlin is pretty, but very popular these days (found out too late how popular Aidan was, although I still love the name!)

I came across another beautiful name - Maire (pronounced My-ra) and I love it! It’s the Irish name for Mary.   I’m sure there will be issues with pronunciations & spelling with this one too, but it’s so pretty!

Now my list is (in no particular order)

Maire

Maeve

Dara

Ciara

 

Also, our last name begins with “K” so I’m starting to shy away from Ciara, too many hard sounds I think.  Unfortunately, with the exception of Dara, none of them are as intuitive to pronounce as the names of my first two children, but none of the "simpler" names appeal to me as much.   

9
June 20, 2013 10:14 AM

Out of these four choices, I definitely think Maeve should be one of the twins. Dara, Ciara, and Maire are too similar in sound to make up a pair of twins.

My top choice would be Maeve and Maira.  I'm not normally a fan of matching initials on twins, but I think this makes such a sweet set that I can completely overlook it.

 

10
June 20, 2013 5:10 PM

For C names:  Caitlin, Cassidy, Colleen

For D names:  Darcy, Delaney, Doreen

 

For me, I like the idea of naming the girls Cassidy and Delaney.

11
June 20, 2013 7:39 PM

As a twin, I think it is extremely important to give your girls non-matchy names. They especially should *not* start with the same letter, IMO.

I'm one of those who would totally mispronounce Ciara. And Maeve. And Maire. Unlike the M-names, however, you would probably only have to tell me once that Ciara is pronounced Kee-ra. (For some reason, I have a mental hangup with both Maeve and Maire; I can't remember from one minute to the next how to pronounce them.)

I'm also not much of a fan of Dara, but that's for reasons that are probably not going to bother you one whit. (In Hungarian, it's the word for "semolina/farina/grits/cornmeal" and by extension for "sleet".)

12
By mk
June 20, 2013 11:34 PM

I really like Ciara, but yes it will be mispronounced. The Ceira spelling will be more intuitive for people, and I know someoen who uses the Kira spelling. What about Colleen? Colleen and Kira would be a lovely pair.

I prefer Deirdre over Dara but if your husband doesn't like it then I guess it's out. D Irish names are hard. I'd throw that idea out and just choose names you love.

 

13
June 21, 2013 12:37 AM

Do you really feel that the Ceira spelling is more intuitive? I can't be the only one who wants to read that spelling as though it were Sarah...

14
By mk
June 21, 2013 12:25 PM

More intuitive when compared to Ciara? Yes, so if those are the only options being considered I'd go with Ceira.

If you want to avoid the possibility of the S sound for C, then Keera, Keira, Kira are better options.

15
By hyz
June 21, 2013 12:35 PM

For me, Ceira is a bit baffling, and I'd be guessing either seer-ah, sigh-ra, or sair-ah.  A "K" pronunciation would not even cross my mind as a possibility.   

I still vote Maeve and Ciara, or Maeve and Dara.  (I absolutey adore Maeve, and I think the pronunciation is very intuiyive.)  I like the Maira possibility, but I think that will cause as many pronunciations confusions as Ciara, etc.  My first guess would be Mare-ah, although I could easily be trained.  Another similar idea is Moira or Maura. 

16
June 24, 2013 3:19 AM

I agree with hyz! I think Maeve is a excellent choice, similarly well-known as Aidan and Brenna in pronuniciation.

I would pick the name that you love most, and then another name that you love most from the universe of names that do not match too much with the first name. Matching initials or matching starting sounds would definitely be out for me for twins (at least if the previous children don't also match). Likewise, I would also eliminate matching -rah endings, regardless of how they are spelled.

While the ABCD theme is cute and preserving it could perhaps be used as a tiebreaker between names you love equally that you can't decide between, I would not limit yourself to names with those starting letters, particularly if a hard-C is alliterative with your surname and you have doubts about whether it becomes too sing-songy. I just don't think "well, we had to come up with a C/D name to fit the theme and match your siblings, even though we really loved Maeve" is a really good story to tell your kids about how you ended up with their name. And two C names I think make it worse because it sort of reduces the twins to a single entity in the alphabet theme owing to their twinniness.

I think Ciara is not an impossible pronunciation to achieve, but I know an Irish Ciara, so I may be biased. If I recall correctly from about 14 years ago, I messed it up once: after having met her and later seen her name written down, and I then had to be corrected when the next time I saw her I said Kee-AH-rah. but then I got it thereafter. This was before the rise of Keira Knightley, and I think the general rise of the KEE-rah names with the multitude of spellings.  I think you might say, "No, KEE-rah, like Keira Knightley, only the actress has the anglicized variant spelling and my daughter has the original" or something, and people will get it pretty quickly.

I would almost certainly assume Dara to be be DAH-rah, not DARE-uh, and that would be a hard thing for me to remember. Maire would be a struggle to get My-rah from, especially because I can't think of a one-line explanation for it like for Ciara. However, I think after a few corrections it is the sort of thing that would stick (it helps that there's not some other established pronunciation for Maire that you're compeating with) so if it's you're favorite I think it's useable, but you'd just need to go in expecting to do a lot of correcting. Given that Maeve seems to be your favorite name, though, I might consider Maire an excellent middle name, especially because I think Maire and Maeve are much too close for siblings (they look even more similar than they sound).

17
June 21, 2013 1:12 AM

I really like Ciara and Maeve with Aidan and Brenna. I've always liked the name Maeve, and would love to meet a little girl by that name.

I like the suggestion of Catriona (partly because I'm a Catrina, and I've always loved my name).

Other thoughts: Iona, Nola, Grania/Grainne, Mara, Meara, Moira, Neala, Niamh, Teagan, Brigid/Bridget or Roisin.

I quite like Maeve and Teagan together, and Maeve and Niamh are both single syllables ending in the "v" sound which ties them together in a nice way without being too matchy.

18
June 21, 2013 3:41 PM

Niamh ends in a V sound? Really? Lordy.

In other words, if you're worried about people mispronouncing Ciara, don't even go *near* Niamh.

19
By mk
June 21, 2013 4:26 PM

Niamh is pronounced Neev. I've seen Neve and Nieve used as alternate spellings.

I've always liked Aoife (eefa) and Caoimhe (keeva) but can't really recommend them for the same spelling/pronunciation issues.

20
June 22, 2013 4:28 PM

I think we finally decided on Maeve Frances and Keira Grace.

Ultimately decided against the traditional spelling of Ciara because I think it the constant corrections on spelling/pronunciation would drive me crazy.  we're doing away with the ABCD idea but that's fine since the names themselves are more important, plus no matchy sounds but I think they still go together nicely.

i feel a lot better about it, thanks everyone!

22
By hyz
June 22, 2013 11:18 PM

Beautiful names!!  Congratulations on making the choice, and I think you made great ones.

25
June 23, 2013 9:17 PM

Beautiful choices! i especially love pairing Frances with Maeve. 

26
June 24, 2013 12:36 AM

Lovely names. Great choices.

27
June 24, 2013 2:12 AM

I love both of these names!! Maeve is so great and rarely used!  I just met a Keira at a friend's and I thought her name was so cute.  I think you are making the right choice on the spelling.  Congratulations!

28
By mk
June 24, 2013 12:46 PM

Very pretty!

30
June 24, 2013 10:25 AM

thank everyone! Now we just have to wait for their arrival and decide who's who!! :)

31
October 23, 2013 5:13 PM

I stumbled upon this because I'm looking for inspiration to find names for my own twin girls that are due in 3 weeks. You have given birth by now and I hope all went well for you. We are Irish, living in Ireland, and I can see that the names you had in mind are really nice but not accurate.

I'm not trying to offend you by any means, but thought that if you choose to go with Irish names, you might as well do it right. (friendly advise my love ;)

Dara is actually a boy's name, you wouldn't find any females in the whole of Ireland by that name. It is pronounced Dara and spelled Darragh or Daíre.

Dierdre is spelled Deirdre and is a bit old fashioned, a real mammy's name like Martha or Maíre.

Ciara is a lovely Irish name and it goes well with Carla, Caoilinn (kaylin) or Caoimhe (Keeva)

Names like Sinnead and Siobhan are coming back in fashion lately

32
October 23, 2013 5:27 PM

Interesting! On a side note, it took an episode of "Call the Midwife" to make me realize that basically everyone in America has been mispronouncing Caitlin for the last 20 years. I had no idea that it's actually pronounced Cat-leen rather than Kate-Lynn.

33
October 24, 2013 11:17 AM

Caitlin is actually where we got the name Kathleen from. We just imported the pronunciation, not the spelling. (And then later, the spelling but not the pronunciation).

34
October 8, 2017 5:40 PM

I am irish too and know three girls called Dara. One is 30 years old, the other two aged 9 and 5. There are plenty of irish names that are unisex. 

35
April 27, 2018 3:04 AM

Deleted b/c spam. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS AN OLD THREAD, recently revived by a spammer. It's fine to comment, but keep in mind that the children in question have likely long-since been named.

36
April 27, 2018 5:06 AM

I am Irish and love lots of Irish names.

 

If you are looking for more traditional Irish names you coud go for Ciohme (Pronounced Kee-va) or Caoilfhionn (pronounced Key-lin) I love Dana and Deidre.