Baby name consultant: Not-too-difficult Irish name needed!

Jenny and her husband are expecting their third little one this fall, a girl. Their other two children are:

Caitlin Josephine
Sean David Paul

Good, solid Irish names! There are family names included in both. Her husband is from Cork, Ireland, and all of his family is still there. (Jenny writes the blog Irish by Marriage!) As Jenny writes,

It is very important to us that the baby have an Irish name. I want an Irish name that Americans will be able to pronounce. I love the Irish names, but I am a teacher and I know the frustration that comes from having your name misread over and over again.”

They did an amazing job naming their first two to fit that criteria!

For baby #3, we like the name Molly. The problem comes with the middle name. It took us a while to get pregnant the first time and we said a special prayer to Mary that we believe made a difference. My husband really wants the middle name to be Mary. Two of his three sisters have Mary as their second name. His third sister is named Rosemary. I love Mary as a middle name, but I really don’t like Molly Mary together … We also liked the name Cara (possibly spelled Chara), but my husband claims that we are pronouncing it differently. I cannot hear the difference in pronunciation, so we’ve had to cross that one off the list … I would love to include Ann some how. My grandmother is Betty Ann. It isn’t a must, but it would be nice. My husband keeps suggestion Molly Mary Ann or Molly Ann Mary, but I’m still not sold … We were quick to agree on names with our first two children, but this time we are really having a hard time finding names that meet our criteria. A few people have said,” It is only a middle name” but I really need to love the whole name. We would love any suggestions!”

So, as Jenny sums up, the name:

– Must be Irish
– Must be something that Americans can pronounce
– Mary for the middle name
– Ann would be nice, but can do without

You all might have guessed a time or two that I love my Irish heritage 🙂 so I loved working on this. I had four ideas that I thought might be helpful:

(1) Molly is an old traditional nickname for Mary!! That’s its origin, that’s what it means — it’s Mary with a different dress on, it’s a totally, thoroughly, 100% Marian-as-in-Mary name. For real! Behind the Name notes that Molly “developed from Malle and Molle, other medieval diminutives” of Mary. So naming one’s daughter Molly IS honoring Mary! That, to me, solves all the problems!

(2) However, if that’s not good enough for Jenny’s husband — and I know how husbands can be about names (!) — if he really just wants a different Marian name in the middle (and I’m totally with Jenny on Molly Mary … not only is it technically “Mary Mary,” but its flow is … singsongy? Sort of rhymey?), I wonder what they would think of Rose or its many variations? Rose is also considered a Marian name, as the rose has long been associated with Our Lady (“Golden Rose, Queen of Ireland” for one), and Rose can also refer to the Rosary, which is thoroughly Marian. Molly Rose is lovely, as is Molly Róisín (would an Irishy Irish name be okay in the middle? I love Róisín!), or there was even a consultation I posted to the blog in March of a family who ended up naming their daughter Rosary — I’d never seen it used as a name before, but I like it!

(3) As for Ann, someone close to me is named Molly Anne. I’ve always thought it was such a pretty combo! Molly Ann would be so great for this new little baby I think, or, if Jenny and her hubs liked the Rose idea that I mentioned above, maybe something like Molly Roseann or Molly Rosanna would work? (I also love Molly Áine … but I suspect I’m pushing it by suggesting the Irish spellings, even for the middles!) Also, since Ann would be for Grandma Betty Ann, and since Betty is a traditional nick for Elizabeth, maybe a form of Elizabeth would work if they just couldn’t get comfortable with the various ways to include Ann in the name.

(4) Finally, if Jenny and her husband decide that Mary simply must appear somewhere as is, maybe these would be of interest:

  • Mary Ann nicknamed Molly
  • Maura Ann nicknamed Molly (Maura’s also a form of Mary, and I know a little girl whose given name is Maura but she goes by Molly)
  • Ann Mary or Anna Mary

So those were my ideas for this little Irish-American baby! What do you all think? What suggestions do you have for Jenny and her husband?

(Jenny said I could share the photo she used in her pregnancy announcement on her blog — I LOVE IT!)



27 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: Not-too-difficult Irish name needed!

  1. I love the name Molly! I would totally consider that a good “Mary” name! I think Molly Rose is just beautiful! And I must say, I appreciate your reference to my Rosary. I felt like we were going way out on a limb with it, but now it seems perfect for her. We call her Rosie, but my daughters nickname her Rose and Rosa. I’s absolutely beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One of my sister’s is named Molly (her middle is my mom’s super Irish maiden name) 🙂 I’ve always loved her name. Also, one of my best friends growing up is a Molly. Her full name is Molly Grace, which I think is lovely combo and both are Marian. Molly Grace Ann could be really adorable as well.

    My Nana (who isn’t really my Nana, she was Molly Grace’s but she lived across the street from me) was from a HUGE Irish family but sadly I can’t really give you any ideas from that family because they immigrated from Dublin and so they all have names with Irish spellings. But Nana’s name was Patricia, which is dated, but I think is really cute actually. Patricia Mary Ann maybe? Nickname Patty? It might be kinda fresh and Caitlin, Sean and Patricia would be cute.

    Bridget is also an adorable Irish name that translates well in America. Bridget Ann Mary? Bridget Mary Ann? Bridget Molly Ann?

    There’s also a Ciara (Like Keira) in the family I mentioned above, and surprisingly a lot of people know how to pronounce her name! Though, maybe they want to shy away from 2 C names in their family? Personally, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, but some people do.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rose, Maura, and Brigid were my only suggestions, so that’s covered!

    (Actually my first thought was Brenden, before I got the “girl” memo. Tuck that away for next time.)

    I heartily agree: SAY NO to Mary Mary. I personally prefer the more-formal Mary, nn Molly, rather than Molly as a given name. But either is fine. (Not both.)

    Mary Brigid, “Molly”
    Molly Ann
    Mary Rose, “Molly”
    Maura Rose

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree that Molly is a form of Mary so having Mary as a middle name could be redundant.

    Moira is another Irish form of Mary.

    Erin is a lovely Irish name! I think Molly Erin is nice. Or you could go Erin Ann.

    There’s also Kerry, but unfortunately it doesn’t go well with Molly or Mary. Kerry Ann is cute, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mary Bridget would be cute with Molly as the nickname. I think it would be a bit funny to have the baby’s name as “Molly Mary” considering Molly is a nickname for Molly.

    What about the name Mairin? Or it can be spelled Maren. It’s an Irish nickname for Mary and I’ve always thought it was such a lovely name.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I am loving Molly Rose, although I must say, using the more formal “Mary” as the first name would be a very refreshing vintage choice!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As a Maura who lives in America (and is American) I thought I ought to chime in to mention that while you would THINK that it would be a no brainer to pronounce, I have found that to not be the case. I love my name now but I really wanted to not be called Mara all the time growing up. Now I don’t care. Also love the nn Molly for Maura. My nickname growing up was (well and still is) Mo, which suits me but is a bit goofy at times. Sorry to chime in a week late!

    Liked by 2 people

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