Another Irish Name Dilemma

Hi everyone,


Back after a long absence... A miscarriage at 12 weeks last year made it emotionally difficult to think about babies.


So, a year later, I am *very newly* pregnant! It's a tense time, and we don't want to make any decisions or announcements etc until well after the 12-week mark. But the waiting and the secrecy and the anxiety is driving me a little crazy, so I was hoping you all would indulge me in a bit of useful distraction.


Regulars may remember the epic debate between my husband and I over our first daughter's name. It continues now with the possibility of a second girl. To summarize: I have long loved the Irish name Aoibheann (EE-van), which has a myriad of personal meanings for me. DH vetoed it for our first daughter, who was named Sorcha (SOR-a-ka) as a compromise between our two positions. And, I am the first to admit, it is *her* name, suits her utterly, and I wouldn't change it. However, a year after her birth, DH relented on Aoibheann; quote: "If we ever have a second daughter you can use Aoibheann". And, prepare for the flip flop once again: now that we are anticipating our second child - enh. He's not keen on it. "Well, you can still you use it, or whatever. I'm just not ever going to be a big fan", he says. Great. Fantastic. Thanks for your input.


This leads to two related questions: should I use Aoibheann, with the grudging acceptance of my husband, even though it's obvious he dislikes it? Or should we aim for another compromise name like Sorcha which I will grow to love and associate with my child?


If it helps, the compromise name he suggested is Cobhlaith (as in COVE-la), which I kind of love as well. I can see a daughter of ours with this name. But I worry that, if I pass up Aoibheann a second time, I will always regret not using it.


And finally, for the curious, our boy's name is set in stone: Callum Hart (as a combo of our fathers, Calvin and William, and Hart to honour a dear friend).

Middle names under consideration for a second daughter are: Cecily (a family name), Serenity (DH loves Firefly), and Reverie (thanks to Girl's Gone Child).


Any help, feedback, suggestions, or empathy would be so appreciated!




July 4, 2012 1:34 PM

Apologies for the apparent double post!

July 4, 2012 2:52 PM

Congratulations, PunkPrincess! I will keep my fingers crossed for you.

As for the name dilemma, I think that you have time to wait before settling on a name. Just as you grew to love Sorcha, your husband may grow to love Aoibheann once he's holding her in his arms. Then again, he may suffer from namer's remorse. I think you'll have to take his Aoibheann temperature at nine months. If he exhibits signs of wincing while saying it, I'd go with Cobhlaith (or something else) instead.

Good luck!

By mk
July 4, 2012 4:41 PM

Honestly if he says he isn't a big fan then I would pass on it personally. and try to find something you both like. Maybe use it as the middle name?

What is it exactly that he doesn't like about it? Maybe there is a similar name that he may like more? For example, I always liked the name Aoife (ee-fa).

By Guest (not verified)
July 4, 2012 6:18 PM

I think Aoibheann would be turned to mush in the minds and mouths of most Americans (if you're in the U.S.?). Unfortunately. I know I butchered it beyond recognition trying to pronounce it, and I have worked in various "word-smith" / editing / "literate" professions, so I would venture to guess my vocabulary and linguistic skills are above those of some of the population. If you want to set your daughter up for a lifetime of confusion and error-correction, then go for it. Otherwise make it a middle name. 

July 4, 2012 8:18 PM

Welcome back PPP, and congratulations!! I'll keep my fingers crossed for all things going well this time. I also lost a pregnancy at 12 weeks so can relate to how devastating it is, then nerve wracking the next time you are pregnant.  

I'm so pleased to hear that Sorcha has really become her name.  Can I ask, have you had any pronunciation issues with it?

Re your dilemma, I know how attached to Aoibheann (yes, after all this time I can still spell it without looking!!) you are.  I personally think that you should keep it in contention. I know my DH vetoed a couple of names I dearly love when pregnant with my daughter. In the end the name she got was one another I dearly loved and suits her to a tee but I will still float the passed on names again if we have another daughter. I do think though that if he still isn't keen by the time the baby arrives I would probably let it go.  If it's a case of 'it's OK, I can learn to like it' then that might be OK but if he just really doesn't like it, it might be a point of resentment.  I think ideally you should both really love and agree to a name but there is usually some compromise involved.

FWIW, I love Cobhlaith. I hadn't heard it before but it's beautiful. I also think it is a tad easier to spell and pronounce than Aoibheann. Maybe that is because I'm much more familiar with names like Orlaith and Siobhan, which it seems similar too.

Can you remind me what Sorcha's middle name is?

I think Cobhlaith works well with Cecily, Reverie and Serenity.  I kind of like each of them, but they give off different vibes. I also think Aiobheann works with Cecily but I don't overly like it with the other middle names. I think it just descriptive? 

Callum Hart is very handsome for a boys name!! Callum is not uncommon where I am, but it is a lovely name and I like the personal meaning behind it for your family,.


July 5, 2012 12:54 AM

Thanks, everyone, for the replies. I do know that I'm way too ahead of myself on this, but mostly I just want to be able to focus on *something* rather than the 'what ifs'. 

Elizabeth T: Thanks for the sensible advice, as ever.

Mk: I think my main difficulty is trying to figure out what he really means - if he's just being non-committal or if he really truly dislikes the name. Because I love it so much, I worry that I'll automatically read his reactions as "growing to love it". The intentions of the observer skew the interpretation of the phenomena observed...

Guest: point taken, but as a professional of Irish political history, most of my circle of family, friends, and colleagues will be familiar with garlic rules of pronunciation. And we're in Canada, with several trips to Ireland and Northern Ireland a year. In my daughter's preschool, you'll find tatiana, Lamar, tekla, kasper, desmond, nouran and fionn. So either Aoibheann or Cobhlaith would fit right in, alongside her sister.

Chimu: thank you.

Sorcha's middle name is Verity, which was dh's choice, and got us onto the trend of Reverie, Serenity et all. Cecily is after great grandpa Cecil ( who goes by doug), so it's. Our top contender for a middle. We haven't had much hassle over pronunciation issues with sorcha - most people kind of get it after one explanation. Mostly they say "Sor ka" rather than "Sor-ah-kha" but it's subtle and we don't fuss about it. Occasionally she gets sasha. Or even saoirse (irony). Reactions to Aoibheann tend to be Aven, Eva, or Evan, or Abban if read pseudo phonetically. Cobhlaith is trickier in a way, as in some gaelic dialects it's pronounced "Cow-lee". We'd have to emphasize the cove connection ;p


Again, thanks to all for your considerate suggestions. It all helps! 

July 5, 2012 1:02 AM

Ah yes, I remember it being Verity now! I do think that makes Reverie and Serenity more usable in a way, as in they would seem to be linked rather than you going totally off track with the second name.  I very much like all your three middle name options.  I don't think you can go wrong with any of them.

I'm glad the pronunciation hasn't been much of a hassle. I think any name can have it's challenges, and I remember you were fairly confident that friends and family would have no issues.

Very ironic that Sorcha gets Saorise sometimes!! I assume that isn't back on the list this time? I recall it was the other name in your top 3 last time?

July 5, 2012 1:26 AM

Re: Saoirse

I know, it's almost laughable! Now that saoirse Ronan is high profile, more people will expect to hear Saoirse than Sorcha (which is fairly uncommon even in ireland). But alas, the politics of the name have taken it permanently off the table. Aoife was on the list but we know too many, as well as Aines and Orlaiths. Dh also likes Saorlaith but I think it's tongue twister with Sorcha.

I appreciate the thumbs up on Callum: seems to be getting more popular everywhere in the English speaking world but yes, meaning trumps ranking. 

July 5, 2012 4:51 PM

Irish names are much more usable here than other places. Callum and Declan have been popular for boys for awhile. Neither are top 20 but I think they might both be in the top 100. Liam is top 10 and a bit over-saturated.

For girls we seem to get a lot of Maeve and Niamh (usually spelt the traditional way).  I've seen a few Aislinn's turn up in birth announcements as well.  

I've always liked Aoife and Orlaith!  Shame they are off the table for you too. Soarlaith does sound very pretty but a huge tongue twister with Soracha :)

July 5, 2012 10:02 PM

I think if your husband is willing to allow it, you should go for it. You would know better than I of course, but unless he's totally spineless, he wouldn't let you use a name for his CHILD that he totally hates.  Especially since it's a name you long so much to use, I think you should do it.  He'll grow to love it when it's attached to his baby.  I wasn't that thrilled about my second kid's name, but three years later I love it, and not only that, but I'm proud of us for thinking of it and wish I could find another like it.  

By Guest (not verified)
July 8, 2012 1:30 PM

Why don't you just use Aoibheann in the middle?

By Guest (not verified)
July 9, 2012 11:26 AM

It's a good suggestion, Guest, but doesn't flow as well with our other choices:


Cobhlaith Aoibheann is, unfortunately, too much of a mind-boggler even for me.


DH's choice for a middle is Cecily, after his grandfather Cecil, and while I really like Cecily Aoibheann, we don't want repeating "S" sounds with our daughter Sorcha's name.


But it's worth thinking about in other combinations - we should have lots of time to come up with some!


Thanks again.

By Guest (not verified)
July 9, 2012 11:26 AM

It's a good suggestion, Guest, but doesn't flow as well with our other choices:


Cobhlaith Aoibheann is, unfortunately, too much of a mind-boggler even for me.


DH's choice for a middle is Cecily, after his grandfather Cecil, and while I really like Cecily Aoibheann, we don't want repeating "S" sounds with our daughter Sorcha's name.


But it's worth thinking about in other combinations - we should have lots of time to come up with some!


Thanks again.

July 9, 2012 11:28 AM

Argh! the double posts above were mine - got an error message the first time and then it re-posted. Apologies for the redundancy!

July 10, 2012 12:29 AM

Yep I think that Cobhlaith Aiobheann is a bit too much :) and while I think Cecily Aiobheann sounds nice, Sorcha and Cecily so sound a little matchy sound wise.  I think you could use a non-Irish first name and Irish middle but I kind of like the idea of both having Irish first names (and possibly virtue middle names). 


July 11, 2012 4:25 PM

Congratulations, PPP! I remember your dilemma with Sorcha's name (though I was just a lurker then - and now, I'm finding it even harder to keep up with all this activity on the forums!) and am glad to hear that compromise has worked out to fit her so perfectly. I had the same reaction as Elizabeth T. - it's too early to rule out Aoibheann, but it does make sense to keep looking in case either of you decide when you meet her that it just doesn't fit your daughter. I think both you and your husband owe it to each other to try to fall in love with each other's top picks and see them through each other's eyes (and conversely, to try to understand why some aspect of a beloved name makes it a deal-breaker for the spouse). But the fact that Aoibheann still rises to the top for you after so many years of debate surely commends it to extra consideration. :-) At least (it appears) you are both in general agreement on the type of names that appeal to you. It does seem that if he's getting his pick for the first name, you ought to get yours for the middle though, or vice versa - especially going with the other person's preference means giving up a name you really love.

I can see pluses to both Cobhlaith and Aoibheann. For some reason I can't articulate, I find Aoibheann works equally well with your three middle name options, but Cobhlaith I much prefer (in terms of flow) with Serenity over Cecily or Reverie. I also would hesitate a bit about the multiple pronunciations of Cobhlaith (especially since I find COW-lee much less appealing than COVE-luh), although I agree with Chimu that for those unused to Gaelic names it may be somewhat more accessible. (And yes, any of the names will be somewhat difficult for "the masses," myself included, but they seem right for your family. I would characterize Sorcha's name as easier than either Cobhlaith or Aoibheann for the non-initiate though, FWIW.) I also personally don't particularly like girls' names ending in diminutives (-laith qualifies as such, yes?), but that's my own bias and it's not like most people would even recognize it. On the other hand, Cobhlaith has a strong consonant sound that matches better with Sorcha. On the other other hand, I like that Aoibheann ends in a consonant for a contrasting ending with Sorcha. Either would work, as you say... So my ramblings probably don't help!

Could you remind us of the meanings and history of the names?

By hwar
July 11, 2012 7:11 PM

Congratulations on your much-desired pregnancy. 

I don't know much about Irish names and find them very difficult to remember and pronounce (pretty uncommon in our area) so I can't comment on you and your husband's short list.  I hope you get to use your name of choice! It seems plausible if your husband's attitude shifts again. It sounds like you have an agreeable plan B too, though, so that's great.  It has taken us much longer to agree on a name for a second girl (25 weeks and counting) so I sympathize with feeling in-limbo.

Re: middle virtue names I'll add my two cents, since I love a good virtue name. With Verity, I like:


I think Hart is also a viable middle name for a girl as well as a boy.

August 17, 2012 2:21 PM

Hi everyone,


Apologies for lack of replies. Turns out I was way ahead of myself on the name front: pregnancy was ectopic, my doctor discovered it early so no real complications, but we are now back to the status quo ante. Thank you all for your support - I know where to turn when we are finally ready to name baby #2.

August 17, 2012 3:22 PM

I'm sorry to hear that, PPP, but glad you're all right. Next time, then!

August 17, 2012 4:47 PM

I'm so sorry for your loss (I've had several losses myself). ((hugs)) to you, and I know it helped me to name our babies we lost as part of my grieving process.

August 17, 2012 9:23 PM

How traumatic and sad! Glad to hear you didn't have to suffer complications, but sorry about your loss. Hugs from afar and know that we are always eager to help with all things name related!

August 18, 2012 4:44 AM

So sorry to hear that PPP :(  Hopefully, it won't be long before you are expecting again. Happy to talk names though any time you are up for it.

September 24, 2012 2:00 PM

Hey everyone! Thanks for all the suggestions, comments, and support. I really ought to have titled this thread "Another Irish Name Melodrama", given all the ups and downs :)


As a happy update, we're pregnant (again)! Only 4 weeks, so we'll have to be cautiously optimistic until an ultrasound in 2 weeks. We've decided not to tell family and friends until we reach the "safety zone", due to all the heartache and disappointment in the past. So thanks for letting me share here!


As for names, I Aoibheann has been shelved, at least for this pregnancy. My husband has, unexpectedly, fallen in love with Cobhlaith, and we both feel a strong connection to its connotation of cove or harbour. So we'll see how it goes! But as always, suggestions in the obscure, bafflingly spelled Irish vein are particlularly welcome.

It turns out that my brother-in-law and his fiancee have chosen Caleb for their boy's name, so our pick of Callum might be too close for cousins. Suggestions for a strong Irish/Scottish boy's name to go with big sister Sorcha would be helpful just in case!


Again, heartfelt thanks to all of you.


September 24, 2012 5:00 PM

I can't make sense of Irish spelling well enough to make any actual suggestions, but I wanted to point out the Index of Names in Irish Annals, in case you haven't encountered it:

It's aimed at people choosing names for medieval personas and characters, not babies, but Cobhlaith and Aibinn (which I *think* is an older spelling of Aoibheann) are in it...

September 26, 2012 11:04 AM

Thanks very much for the link, HNG!

By hyz
September 26, 2012 12:45 PM

Congratulations on your news!  Best wishes for a healthy pregnancy! 

I followed HNG's link, and without doing too much background reading on any of it, I'll tell you the names that seemed doable/manageably baffling to me were those like Anlaith, Eithne, Máire, Maebh, Órlaith for girls, and Abbán, Branán, Cathal, Cathán, Conall, Diarmuid, Eamonn, Eoghan, Finnacán, Finnbar, Marcán, Niall, Niallán, Talorcán.  Other nice options I've seen are Iona, Nuala, Eibhlin, Riona, Ardan, Cabhan, Cormac, Malachy, Riordan, Ronan, Ruadhán....

Basically, anything without too many letters, and without too many departures from English phonics, work best for me.  Sorcha strikes a very nice balance in that respect, I think, whereas something like Cobhlaith or Aoibheann are definitely a step in the more baffling direction.  You are certainly much braver in that respect than I am, though, so all this may not play as much of a role in your decision-making process.  Good luck with everything!! 

October 10, 2012 6:08 PM

Hey Triple-P! 

I hope everything is well with #2... emphaty coming your way! 

With respect to Aoibheann--AKA a name your hubby obviously doesn't like, even if he's trying to be nice about it... personally, I couldn't do it; it would always be in the back of my head that he didn't truly like/love the name. 

(Tip: use Aoibheann on kiddo's teddy bear #1... it's gonna be like a family member, and you'll get to hear/enjoy the name on a daily basis). 

Caleb/Callum--I don't think they're too similar. (It's /kay-leb/ and /kal-lum/, right?).  

Cobhlaith: If you're OK with the occasional mispronunciation--/kob-let/, /kob-laid/--then I'm out of objections. You both like it, and that beats one love vs one hate, in my book. 






By Coll
October 14, 2012 4:19 PM

Hi triple P-- I'm so sorry for your recent loss, but glad you are expecting again. I'm hoping the best for you this time around. Keep us updated on your name choices. I'm always fascinated by the names you introduce us to.

January 30, 2013 7:43 PM

Hi all,


So, after a very long road of raised expectations and heartbreaking losses - the most recent on September 28, just days after my last post - I am relieved to be able to finally say: I am 14 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby!

My husband and I never expected that our family would endure multiple miscarriages, so we have been especially cautious with this pregnancy. Getting the "healthy baby" stamp at my last midwife's appointment was second only to my daughter's birth as far as happy moments go.


After all that, than you to everyone who continued to post well wishes and suggestions regardingmy last post. I'm sorry for leaving you all hanging.

Now that we have reached a tentative "safety zone", my husband is ready to talk names. After our loss in September, we both felt strongly that the first names we had chosen were *the* names, whenever and however that child should come along. So, a boy will be Callum, and a girl will be Cobhlaith (COVE-la, so you don't have to scroll back).

The problem is now with a middle name. DH is set on Reade (a family surname) for Callum, but we are both stuck for Cobhlaith. DH loves Cecily, a reference to his grandfather Cecil. I have 3 issues with it: 1. very matchy with DD Sorcha Verity 2. Grandpa is in the doghouse with the entire extended family and we might face some flack for "naming after" and 3. The disparity between the hard C of CObhlaith and the soft C of Cecily sets off my OCD alarm.

My pick would be Razzell (rhymes with Gazelle), a family surname on my mother's side. But both DH and I feel that with a very unusual name (google only lists 4 girls with the name), it's better to give her a solid, classic, or at least slightly familiar middle. He suggests Elizabeth. I agree with the sentimentbut find Elizabeth too generic. But all the names I love for middles seem to accentuate the "out-there" quality of Cobhlaith: Sinead (too much Irish), Reverie (too fairy tale), etc.

Compromise name is Alice - my grandmother and great-grandmother's middle name. But neither of us love it. It sounds nice, it fits the bill, but doesn't light a fire. I'd be tempted to go with Alys, but DH vetoed the old spelling :(


Can anyone make heads or tails of this for us? Suggestions of names with a solid lineage that aren't boring or over-familiar? Lesser-used names (victorian, literary, historical) that sound familiar? Or have we found the perfectmiddle but are arguing ourselves out of it?

Love to you all,

R aka PPP

January 30, 2013 8:12 PM

Congrats! I know how tentative things are after repeat miscarriages, so huge hugs to you!

So the first thing that popped into my head was Evangeline. It has the same flow as Elizabeth but is more "interesting", it's easy to say and spell. Not too anything, and I think it flows well with Cobhlaith.

January 30, 2013 8:41 PM

Congratulations!  What wonderful news.

I think Alice with the current spelling is a really nice choice.  I understand the feeling of just meh, but in a way isn't that kind of what you're looking for - something a bit more accessible to balance out Cobhlaith?  At least with Alice you'll always have the family connection to feel good about.

Jane? Cobhlaith Jane has a very nice flow.


January 30, 2013 10:07 PM

Wonderful news!!! I'd been wondering how you were going...... miscarriage is devastating so I am very pleased to here things are doing so well for you now!

I really like Callum Reade and I love Cobhlaith! The sounds of Cobhlaith Cecily don't bother me, I actually find it quite pleasing. I think the family drama should probably rule it out though. I don't find it too matchy with Sorcha Verity, it's only the potential family issue that would put me off. 

Razzell doesn't do much for me. I think it might be a little too unique to go with Cobhlaith and it kind of reminds me of the phrase 'razzle dazzle'. 

Alice I really like. I do like the spelling Alys too but agree that given the spelling considerations of Cobhlaith I'd probably go with Alice in this case. I don't find Alice too boring and it matches well with Verity without being too matchy.  I prefer it to Elizabeth, as much as I like the name Elizabeth I find it more generic in the middle name spot than Alice. 

Can you remind me, was the name Verity a family name too or did you just like it? I think if your boys middle name and Verity are both family names you should probably try and pick a family name for the middle this time around. If not, then I don't think it matters. Alice happily ticks the family bill and works well with Cobhlaith and to match Sorcha Verity so I think it's a winner. However, if you want other suggestions how about:

Honor (or Honoria/Honora) - thought you might like another virtue name?



Jane (like this suggestion from above)






January 30, 2013 10:10 PM

What wonderful news! Cobhlaith Juliet came to mind immediately for you; I also love Cobhlaith Elise (kind of like a combo of Alice and Elizabeth maybe?). Or Cobhlaith Eliza? Cobhlaith Susanne also has a nice rhythm, though Susanne has nothing to do with anything you mentioned (I was trying to think of mns I'd use with Cobhlaith; Susanne is my mom, and her dad was from Ireland, so sort of a connection!). I hope all continues to go well!

January 31, 2013 1:28 PM

Thank you, everyone, for the suggestions and comments! I thought I had all my future babies' names locked down years ago, so it's strange to be debating (yet again).


Sharalyns: DH *loves* Evangeline. Seriously a front-runner. I worry that it's a bit of a mouthful, especially with the "v" and "l" sounds in Cobhlaith, plus our double-barrelled surname. But it sounds so elegant.


Traleerose: Elise is lovely but DH's cousin, and not really a namesake consideration (she's 16, and nice, but not close). We've tossed around Susannah, and also Louisa, as variations of family names, so we're thinking on the same lines!


Chimu: Verity is not a family name - DH got the veto on Sorcha's middle because I (supposedly) got to choose her first name. We're both into Steampunk and semi-victoriana, so names with that feel usually work for both of us. We would have gone with another virtue name for Cobhlaith, but again worried about the the "matchiness" of say, Cobhlaith Serenity, which was DH's nod to Joss Whedon. I love Honoria, though :)

January 31, 2013 2:20 PM

Hee hee--it delights me when another person really likes Evangeline. It totally wasn't even on our radar until I made DH sit down for 4 hours and hash out our DD's name while I was 22 weeks pg.

I think the v-l enhance each other with the repetitive sounds without being over the top. It is long, but no longer than what my DH wanted for her (Evangeline Anneliese--4 syllable Anneliese), and she ended up being Ev@ngeline K@thryn. I wanted a 1 syllable middle, but we both love her name now, and it totally fits. :-)


January 31, 2013 2:32 PM

First, my fingers are crossed for a healthy pregnancy!

Second, part of my really envies you for being able to go for a name that isn't terribly transparent but that sounds so beautiful. One of my favourite names is Orlaith, but nobody in my circles would know how to pronounce it, and since my husband's family is Irish protestant, his relatives mostly had simple biblical names and he doesn't connect personally to the Gaelic spellings. I could spell it Orla, but that takes away some of its charm, I think.

Anyway, back to you. Personally, my favourite of the above-mentioned middle names is actually Serenity because I find that it flows most easily off the tongue. I like Cobhlaith best with a middle that doesn't start with a vowel nor end in an A, and since Cobhlaith and Sorcha really aren't terribly similar sounding, I don't find the mirroring of the middle names to be problematic. Evangeline is my second favourite of the suggestions and I agree that it sounds very elegant. There is something about the Y ending that I think really works with the fluidity of the Irish first name. (Other examples of virtue names that I think sound good with Cobhlaith include Felicity, Prudence, Merit, Blythe, and Clementine)

Good luck!

January 31, 2013 9:36 PM

I now remember you mentioning Serenity previously, as a possible middle option. I really like it. Great flow, mirrors Verity, cute reference to Joss Whedon, and it isn't too matchy as Cobhlaith and Sorcha are quite different in sound. I also like Evangeline, and agree the mirroring of the V and L are pleasant for me.

February 1, 2013 3:36 PM

Thanks, Chimu and Karyn, for your votes!


Karyn: we also considered Orlaith, but DH knows someone unpleasant with the name, so it was vetoed. Actually, all the "laith" names were on our list: Orlaith, Gormlaith, Tuilelaith, Dunlaith, Saorlaith, etc. Cobhlaith is the least common, I suspect. 


Chimu: It appears that Serenity and Evangeline will battle it out if DH gets full rights on the middle. I'm also still pondering Alice. At least we have 26+/- weeks to figure it out :)

March 3, 2013 2:19 PM

Wow PPP, sorry for the losses but congrats on the new pregnancy! I am back after a long absence on here and glad I read through all the posts to "see" you *waves*.

So, regarding your naming dilemmas, I think Callum is a great name. I think Douglas or Richard or anything generic would work well. If you go with Declan or something that ends in N it has a funny rythym to it though. Niall might work but I think Reed is a fine choice.

I remember the troubles you had previously with the girls name. I understand that Saiorse won't work.  Cobhlaith is very pretty. I like many of the suggestions you've gotten. I think since it has a strong vowel sound in the first syllable that another strong vowel sound to match would work nicely. Something like Eileen, Renee, or Elise might work but it seems you've vetoed them. Maybe a quick short name like Maeve, or Isolt could work as well. The virtue names aren't my forte but Amity, Joy, Clementine, Patience, or Faith were some I pulled from a list that might be pleasing to you. Best wishes to you and the family :)