Baby name consultant: Martin Lad #6

I have been SO excited to showcase today’s mama and her beautiful family and wonderfully named children, and offer some ideas for her baby #7 – who’s also her sixth boy! Welcome Colleen of Martin Family Moments!

Colleen’s definitely a kindred spirit, her blog posts always make me feel like I’m chatting with my own best friends, especially the ones from college. In fact, she attended Franciscan University of Steubenville, which had been my #1 choice for a long time in high school until I decided I didn’t want to be that far from my family, especially my sisters, who were tiny when I started college. I was just musing today that if I’d gone to FUS, I would have known Colleen! She graduated a year behind me and I bet we would have been friends, not only for her personality that shines through in her writing, but also because she finds scapulars hanging out of boys’ shirts to be attractive (I thought I was the only one! My husband calls it “Catholic catnip” 😀 ). And she loves JP2. And she’s from the Northeast, so we totally would have bonded over being so far from home. And, the reason I scheduled her post for today, the fact that she loves Ireland and her Irishness (her name’s Colleen. I mean, come on) (I know she’ll love that all of my boys wore green to school today, with the cutest being my 4yo who’s wearing a shirt that says, “I drink me milk by the pint” and my almost-2yo who’s wearing a white t-shirt that has a green-tie-with-white-shamrocks printed on it 😀 ). Also, and I’m not even joking, one of my actual best friends from college—one of the ones that I think of every time I read Colleen’s posts because they’re just so familiar, just the way my friends and I are with each other—was honest-to-goodness hounding me to do a consultation for Colleen. So that settles it: Colleen would have been one of our best friends.

She’s got amazing taste in names too, which puts her right up there at the top of the list. 🙂 Check them out:

Andrew Pauric
Eamon Philip
Margaret Rosemary (Maggie)
Alexander Blaise (Xander)
Declan Kolbe

I mean, she totally had me at John-Paul. And one of the first boys I met when I was studying abroad in Ireland was John Paul. I also loved discovering, when reading the how&whys behind her naming, that Pauric was not actually the name of the uncle her Andrew Pauric was named after, but rather Padraig, and the Pauric spelling reveals one of the acceptable pronunciations of the name. So many Irishy things we’re learning today!

So when I was discussing with Colleen her and her hubs’ naming requirements and restrictions a few weeks ago, she said,

I want really Irish names, but my husband likes saintly traditional names. I usually win out 🙂  we should know gender in two weeks, so you can just focus on one set of names. Current favorites are Elena Mae (husband approved) and Rowan Asher (husband unapproved)

And then after they found out their new baby is a boy she gave me these additional difficulties,

1) Not using our nephews or nieces names, which include – Maura, Gavin, Liam, Maeve, Rory, (Joseph) Finn, Joanna, Thomas, Lenora, Miriam, Josephine, Nadia, John, Caitlin, Brogan, PJ, Clare, Megan, Bridget, Katherine, Ryan, Grace, Lillian, Abigail, William.

2) My husband can almost always associate a name with a student he’s taught and that totally influences his opinion.  He’s been teaching for 13 years, so he has quite a list!  But there’s no way you would know any of these, so go with the flow 🙂
Our last name is Martin, so nothing like Martin or Martina.  And the initials probably shouldn’t be DAM or HAM or anything that could be embarrassing!  I love girl nicknames that are cute, ending in -ie or -y…we love the nicknames Annie, Lainey (which would be Elena’s), Ally.
Oh!  And we can’t reuse any of the names we were going to use for our past babies, which include – Brendan, Kayleigh, Emily, and Felicity.”
And then when I looked back on the naming post I linked to above and also this one, I discovered some more names that are on the no-go list:
As well as these names that they really like but can’t use for various reasons:
And names that Colleen likes:
Kane (Colleen’s mom’s maiden name)
Non-saint names — “because how are we going to ever create new saint names unless we name our kids non-saint names?
And names that Phil likes:
Saints’ names
And also:
Re: the difficulties with others’ butchering of Eamon: “I think that might be the last time we use a mostly unrecognized Irish name again.”

And finally, the most recent update:

Since we’ve found out it’s a boy, we’ve been leaning towards names with a strong “n” sound…after realizing that we have a JohN-Paul, ANdrew, EamoN, XaNder, and DeclaN.

Top contenders are Bennet(t), Evan, Rowan/Ronan.
I would still love a cute nickname for whatever name he has (like Benny for Bennett) and I have been so good at trying to keep an open mind until I read your post 🙂 “

Okay! Whew! I think I got everything in there and I’m pretty sure none of my ideas violates any of the rules but there’s certainly a chance I missed something so if Colleen reads any of my ideas and thinks, “She’s terrible at this, I *told* her such-and-such wouldn’t work!” I probably won’t be too surprise.

I do need to point out though that Colleen related a story of having decided on Casey for one of her older boys, only to have both her and her husband meet girls named Casey, which crossed the name off the boy list (she says, “I’d rather give a unisex name to a girl than a boy“), so I know she’ll want to know that Rowan is actually included in the Androgynous list in the Baby Name Wizard, and that the one I’m most familiar with (not knowing any in real life) is Brooke Shields’ daughter Rowan. So I’m definitely in the Ronan camp for Baby Martin.

Speaking of the Baby Name Wizard, I just want to remind you all, as I’m sure you already remember, that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents used and like because the BNW lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that match in terms of style/feel/popularity. It’s such a useful tool, even for only pointing me in the right direction, you know? So when I say “such-and-such is a style match for such-and-such,” you know I’m referring to my trusty BNW.

And now, without any further ado (I’m really good at “further ado” and I often have to cut myself off!), here are my ideas/suggestions:

(1) Biblical: Benjamin

John, Paul, Andrew, Philip, and Alexander are all biblical names, so methinks they might be open to considering some others. Benjamin is a style match for both Andrew and Alexander, and it’s kind of like the Benedict they don’t feel they can use (because “we already have one son named after a Pope”) and the Bennett they’re considering AND it has the “strong ‘n'” sound all their other boys have. Also the awesome nickname possibility of Ben(ny).

(2) Irish: Cormac, Cashel, Owen, Connor, Miles

Ooh I have so many ideas for this category! Cormac is the first — saintly and Irish, and with the fabulous nickname Mac.

Cashel is offbeat and unusual but I love it so much for its meaning — “The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion” and it’s “reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century” — and for its possible nickname of Cash. Swoon!!!

Owen has the strong N and not only is it Irish but it can have the awesome patron saint of one of my very favorites, St. Nicholas Owen. (No good nickname options though.)

Connor is totally one of those “cute boy” names, in my opinion — handsome and Irish and so cool. And it’s got the N’s! Nicknames are harder for Connor — there’s the old-school Connie, like Connie Mack, but I don’t know too many parents these days who would be okay with that.

And Miles — I have to suggest Miles!!! The old Irish name Maolmhuire (“devotee of Mary”) is anglicized as Miles or Myles. A Marian boy’s name is so to die for!! Being only one syllable (or you could make it two, depending on your dialect) it doesn’t need a nickname, but Milo’s a cute option (even though it doesn’t make it any shorter).

(3) Biblical+Irish: Daniel, Gabriel

Finally, two names really stuck out at me as being particularly Irish while still being biblical. The first is Daniel. You canNOT get more Irish than Danny Boy. Oh Danny Boy! With N’s!

Can any Irish girl listen to that song and NOT decide then and there to name her boy Danny?!

The second is Gabriel, which is certainly not as Irish as Daniel, but is used enough — actor Gabriel Byrne is a great example, as is super duper famous longtime Irish TV personality Gay Byrne (whose given name is Gabriel Mary Byrne. I just die. ❤ I wrote about the Irish Gabriels here).

And Kane is my hearty suggestion for a middle name for almost all of these — it’s a family name and it sounds ah-MAZ-ing to me with all of my ideas, even the ones that start with a K sound. Love love love.

And those are my ideas for Colleen and Phil! What do you all think? What other names would you suggest for a wee lad whose big sibs are John-Paul, Andrew, Eamon, Maggie, Xander, and Declan?



85 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: Martin Lad #6

  1. I favor Bennet ( but that’s because my 2 yr old has that name!) . Other Irish names are Finian (good saint and cute nickname of Finn) or Kilian (another saint) and Colm (one of the “Twelve Apostles of Ireland”). A name with a strong “n” sound would be “Linus”. I like the use of the mom’s maiden name for the baby ( I did that with one of my sons – Sullivan) but maybe some thing like Peter or Augustine to bring in a famous saint? I hope she has fun with the name!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kate!!! First of all, you are so sweet in all the nice things you said about me – they may be blarney, but they made me smile. Secondly, girl you do some research! Wow! Impressive! Third, I can see why the name game is so hard for me…I am incredibly picky and have closed the door to so many names for a million different reasons.

    Now, Kane probably will be the middle name, you nailed that one. I really like Daniel, but don’t know if I can get past everyone singing Oh Danny Boy to him! Gabriel is a wonderful name, but the name of my friend’s baby boy who passed away, and I couldn’t use it, but I pray to St. Gabriel often 🙂 I am loving the naickname Cash, but not quite the name Cashel…will have to think more about alternatives to that one. And thank you for pointing out that Rowan is a girl/boy name. It’s off our list now. So many things to think about, love the suggestions and appreciate your reader’s comments. THANK YOU!!!

    And Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Not to be totally obvious… but what about Patrick or any of its variants? I wasn’t totally clear about whether Pauric is Patrick? Regardless, Patrick seems different enough from the already-used-middle-name Pauric (which made non-Irish me think of Paul not Patrick), it is totally Irish, saintly, pronounceable, masculin, etc. It’s also not super common right now, and since you’re Irish, the nickname Paddy (or something else Irish-y) might be more fun than Pat. It doesn’t have the N sound, though…

    Patrick Kane Martin seems like an awesome fit for your baby boy!

    Otherwise, I would suggest using a definitively first name (i.e. not Bennett) because of the likelihood of — Kane Martin sounding like a law firm.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. First of all, I had to laugh at your description of FUS being “so far” from the NE… it *is* in the NE, for those of us on the West Coast, ha!

    I just discovered Colleen’s blog recently, and loved that they had 5 boys like I do!

    Ok, name ideas: Owen was the first thing that popped into my mind as well. It should suit both Colleen and her DH, because it really checks all the boxes! Irish and saintly and “-n.”

    Other names that meet all those criteria:
    Callum/Colum (no n though)
    Conal (not sure about a saintly connection)

    Other less Irish names that are saintly and have an N:

    I also have to put in a plug for St Abel, an Irish saint who was a missionary to France in a tiny boat similar to St Brendan’s. He was a Benedictine abbot. (Probably not with middle name Kane, though.)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A few suggestions:

    Angus, nn Gus
    Cadogan, which has the “n” sound (and the name is in a great Sherlock Holmes story, “The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans”)
    Colin/Collin, if Colleen would like a little namesake 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the idea of Owen for this family: Irish and N sound! And I like Evan, too.

    I like Daniel too, but that would make two D’s in a row (Declan and Daniel), and specially now that they are considering another K middle name (it would be DK and DK).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I LOVE the suggestion of Owen 😀 Owen is so handsome and so perfectly Irish !

    It’s unfortunate that unisex names are a no go, because I feel like Morgan or Riley would be wonderful for them.

    For some reason the name Elliott came to mind for them, but that might be the influence of Elena.

    I also thought about Samuel and Matthew for them. They aren’t super duper Irish, but I feel like they go really well with their other children’s names. Especially Maggie’s. The nickname Sam would also go wonderfully with their name names.

    You also mentioned St. Nicholas Owen when talking about Owen, what about just Nicholas? It would also go wonderfully with their other children’s names. Nico would be an adorable nickname.

    What about Asher as a first name seeing as they had it as a possible middle name for Rowan? Asher Kane would be cute!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Good suggestions for sure! My favorite Irish names are Conlan and Keagan. Not saint names (yet!) They have the N and Conlan at least isn’t too popular. (Not even in the top 1000 names of Social Security. Keagan is significantly more popular.)

    Apparently Conlan was a traditional surname but I don’t think that necessarily breaks your rules. While Keagan Kane Martin is a mouthful I think Conlan Kane Martin is very handsome. But is Conlan too similar to Declan?

    I also like Owen as a suggestion but it’s too popular for my taste. Which might not be a disqualifier for you on it’s own but probably Phil will veto it because of a name association.

    Also even if it’s already off the list, I know 3 Rowans and they’re all beautiful little girls 4 and under.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “probably Phil will veto it because of a name association” — this was running through my head the whole time I was putting this together — it’s so hard to know what names are tainted for teachers!


  9. My maiden name is Nolan, so it’s pretty clear that it needs to be the frontrunner. Nolan Kane Martin!!! Come on!! I also really like Owen and Connor. Love the name Kieran, there is a sweet monk at Belmont Abbey named Father Kieran 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I was going to suggest Brendan, but noticed it was a name they previous considered and is now off the list. So perhaps, Brennan? But truth be told, I like Brendan better. Maybe Kevin? I have a friend with five boys (and Irish names too) and she has a Brendan and a Kevin. I know my friend was also considering Connell (sp?) for one of her boys, which would fit the Martin’s “n” sound. So many good options! I’m sure whatever they choose will be cute.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What about Kieran? Irish for little dark haired one, a 6th century saint known for his generosity. Multiple spellings including “Ciaran”. It’s pronounced KEER-en.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a fun post!! And interesting and informative, too. I never knew that Miles was a Marian name for males. I never liked it before, but I do now.

    You came up with some good ones here (Cormac–so cool!). But you just can’t beat Daniel. I have a son with that name and a grandson, too. My two Danny-Boys. I love that name!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Oh please use Cormac! Please please please! It is just so perfect. I know that it doesn’t have a strong N sound, but it sounds so strong and I think it fits so well with your brood already. I adore the name but my husband is not a fan, so I just ask everyone else to use it in my place =)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Just wanted to say, I know a Connor whose family nn evolved into Connie. And they smile as they say it…dad was a baseball & football player & gramps restores cars & motorcycles. They can fix anything & play any sport & qualify as super masculine and their son/grandson is Connie!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. For Irish names mentioned, I really like Owen, Evan, and Kieran – also Brendan which is on their no use list, which is a shame. That said Brennan was mentioned as one Colleen likes as well and since they liked Brendan in past, I think that is a strong advantage for Brennan. I have a friend with a son Brennan (but I will confess I frequently slip and call him Brendan…oops). Any chance of reconsidering the use of names that might have been used for past babies. Obviously those are liked names and ones that were agreed upon.

    I also really like the Colin suggestion, if that is okay with Colleen’s name?

    Cormac is nice. And a nickname could be Cory which is on their “like, but can’t use list” so would it be an okay way to use a name (as nn) that they really like but wouldn’t name as full?

    No Sean, but would they consider Shane/Shaine?

    What about Broden? Which to me has some similarities to Brendan.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. What great choices! We also love Irish and Saint names. We have a Cullen John which works for the N requirement. Our others are Quinn Margaret, Teagan Elizabeth, Nevin Katherine, Rowan Mary and Declan Peter. God Bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. As a mother of ones with Irish names, I loved reading this! As a reader of Colleen’s for a while, I have definitely been thinking about boy names for her! Kieran or Cieran was one of the first names I thought of; I live in an area where there are a lot of Irish names, like Colleen’s area as well, so I hear many. I also thought of Colm, Niall, Finnian (although I see Finn is on their ‘cannot use’ list), Conor, Ronan, Tiernan or Tierney, Cian (or Kian), Killian, and, although doesn’t go with the ‘n’ sound, Seamus. Good luck on the name, Colleen!

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Finian
    Kieran/Ciaran *my favorite boy’s name
    Jameson *my son’s name. More Irish-American
    Brendan *my brother’s name
    Malachi/Malachy nicknamed Mac
    McBride (son of follower of St. Brigid) nicknamed Mac

    To combine her husband’s love of saintly names and her name of Irish names, one of the 12 Apostles of Ireland:

    The Twelve Apostles[edit]

    Saint Finian of Cluain Iraird, now Clonard in Meath. He died in the year 549. The Twelve Apostles of Erin, as they were known by old Irish writers, studied under him. They are said to have been:
    1.Saint Ciarán of Saighir (Seir-Kieran). In the Martyrology of Oengus, saint Ciarán of Saighir is not listed as one of the twelve apostles of Ireland, and instead is replaced by Finnian of Clonard himself.[3] The numbering of Finnian as one of the Twelve, and not Ciarán of Saighir appears to be the older tradition, by which Ciarán was attached to pair with Ciarán of Clon.
    2.Saint Ciaran of Clonmacnoise, on the Shannon, in the barony of Garrycastle, County Offaly, died in the year 549.
    3.Saint Brendan of Birr, now Birr, County Offaly. He died on 29 November 571.
    4.Saint Brendan of Clonfert (Brendan the Navigator). He was the son of Finnloga, the patron saint of the see of Clonfert, in County Galway, was born in 484, and died in 577 aged 94.
    5.Saint Columba of Terryglass, abbot of Tir-da-glas, now Terryglass, in the barony of Lower Ormond, in the county of Tipperary, and died in 552, the same year as St. Finen of Clonard.
    6.Saint Columba of Iona was born in the year 521, and died in the year 597, aged 75. Columba was an outstanding figure among the Gaelic missionary monks who some of his advocates claim introduced Christianity to the Kingdom of the Picts during the early medieval period.
    7.Saint Mobhí of Glasnevin, patron of Glasnaidhen, now Glasnevin, near Dublin. He died on 12 October 545
    8.Saint Ruadhain of Lorrha, the patron of Lothra, now Lorrha, in County Tipperary. He died on 15 April 584.
    9.Saint Senan of Iniscathay (Scattery Island)
    10.Saint Ninnidh the Saintly of Lough Erne, the Pious, the patron of the parish of Inis Muighe Samh, now Inismacsaint, in the north-west of County Fermanagh. He was alive in 530 but the year of his death is uncertain.
    11.Saint Laisrén mac Nad Froích, the son of Nadfraech, he was the brother of Aengus, the first Christian king of Munster and died in 570.
    12.Saint Canice the patron of Aghaboe in County Laois, who died in 599 at the age of 84.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for this!! I’ve heard of the 12 Apostles of Ireland but never saw them listed nor looked them up. Hilarious to me that the first six comprise only three names! St. Ninnidh makes me think of “ninny” — is that how it’s said, do you think? And I know Canice is Kenneth, which is cool. (Love Jameson!)


  19. p.s. In regards to unisex name, a family experience turned me off of them. I have a cousin named Jordan who ended up marrying a Jordan, spelled the same way.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Along these lines are surnames as first names. It could probably be pulled off for boys, but I would hate to give my daughter a name that would end up being her last name too after marriage. I can’t think of an example right off hand

        Liked by 2 people

      • I know some of those too! In one case, she has a perfectly traditional feminine first name … and her husband’s last name is the surname variant of that same root name, spelled differently but said the same as her first name. Any surname runs this risk I think. Taylor comes to mind right away … that could be a whole other post — the complications sometimes faced by women wanting to take their husband’s name upon marriage. Rhyming names, alliteration, same names like you said …


  20. Looking up Irish saint names with an “n” there’s:

    Aidan (which has been popular in recent years, so I don’t know if that affects it)
    Brogan (so manly!)

    Some top 100 boy names in Ireland with an “n” include:

    Sebastian (love the nickname Bash!)

    I would also put in a plug for Fulton. Venerable Fulton Sheen!! Irish, n-sound, and such a great man!!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Nolan is a strong contender! As is Ronan and Bennet and Niall. I think Brendan might have squeezed it’s way back on the list too 🙂 I’m glad I still have 5 months to decide!

    Thank you everybody for your great suggestions, this was so fun!!

    Liked by 1 person

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