A bonus consultation for you all today! Yesterday was St. John Paul the Great’s birthday, and also my sister Molly’s birthday (she of the miraculous life, thanks to Ven. Solanus Casey) (she turned 32!), and this family with an Irish last name is expecting twins (!), and I’m just all around feeling happy to post this today. 😀
Yes, Erin and her husband are expecting twins! They’ve given these amazing combos to their older children:
SUCH a great bunch of names!!
“We are having twins! So it makes it double difficult. And, to make things even harder, we aren’t finding out the gender! (For some reason, I have a feeling it is a boy/girl, but I’ve been wrong before!) They are due June 12, but most likely will be end of May. This will be our 6th and 7th in the family. We’d love to have some great saint or unique Catholic names, and names that go together as twins. And In the past we have done more of the Irish saints … but we are open to anything at this point.”
(“open to anything” — so exciting! 😀 Also, “green bean”=gender unknown. I know, I’m so weird, but I find it so adorable to call babies of unknown gender green beans! There’s also that adorable emoji, x2 for these babies 🌱🌱)
Names they’re currently considering for girls include:
Mary (“we would call her ‘Molly’ — the Irish version of Mary“)
Clara (“Thought it went well with Molly if twin girls“)
Nora (“Our favorite so far. For St. Honoratus, also means ‘honor’“)
Maeve (“we like the name, but our hesitation is it’s not a saints name“)
Margaret ‘Maggie’ (“St. Margaret — it’s my mom’s name also“)
Names they’re considering for boys include:
Finn (“for St. Finnian … My husband loves it, and I’m not sure if it’s a little strange?“)
Brice (“St. Brice“)
Aiden (“St. Aiden“)
Blaise (“for the great St. Blaise … Husband loves it, but I’m a little unsure if it’s too unusual“)
Brogan (“after St. Brogan … my husband isn’t overly fond of this one“)
And names that can’t be used for one reason or another:
What a task it is to name twins, right?! I’ve thought about what I would name twins if I were to have them, but thinking about them for someone else is difficult! I know some people like to be sort of matchy, whether that means same first letter, or kind of rhymey, or in this case maybe both super Irish names, but of course I don’t know if “matchy” is what Erin and her hubs want, so my goal here was just to suggest a bunch of names that I think fit their style, and suggest some pairings that I think sound good together.
First though, I wanted to comment on the names they’re considering. I love Mary nicked Molly — two of my favorite names! But I really think it’s too much having sisters Mara and Mary, even with Mary going by Molly. So I’d suggest just using Molly! My sister is Molly (the miracle girl mentioned above) and my sister-in-law is Molly — both of them “just Molly” — it’s a great Irish Marian name! It brings to mind the mom in this consultation, who wanted an “easy Irish name” and ended up naming her baby Molly Roisin, which I just die over, sooo beautiful.
I also love Clara, such a gorgeous name, and I just posted a birth announcement for a little Clara the other day! But if they say Mara and Clara to rhyme, I would recommend against Clara. If not though, I think it’s okay, even though the spelling is the same but for the first letters.
Nora would be one of my top suggestions for Erin and her hubs if they didn’t already have it on their list, except that I think it’s too close to Mara as well! Gah! It’s very clear what sounds they like for girls, since they have a Mara and have Mary, Clara, and Nora on their list! What do you all think? Do you think Mara and Mary/Clara/Nora are too close?
Maeve is such a lovely name, and I found a somewhat saintly connection recently — I posted a birth announcement a while ago for a little Cara Maeve, and when I looked it up to see what it meant, I found that it can mean “cause of great joy,” which is of course so similar to the Marian title Causa Nostrae Laetitiae, Cause of Our Joy. So it’s a bit of a stretch, but I think you could make the argument that it’s a nod to Our Lady.
Margaret/Maggie seems great for this family’s style: classic and used in Ireland. I also love the traditional nickname Maisie both as a given name, or Margaret nicknamed Maisie, so sweet!
I don’t think Finn is too strange at all! It’s racing up the popularity charts, coming in at #209 in 2015, up from #234 in 2014, up from #835 in 2000 — it’s climbed pretty quickly, and I don’t think it’s going to slow down! Especially not with the new Star Wars coming out last year (Finn is one of the main good guys). And its popularity is even more than what the charts show, because Finn is also used as a nickname for Fin(n)ian, Finnegan, Finley, Phineas, and Griffin. I’ve actually been suggesting it on the blog for a while as a nickname for Francis! I feel like that would be a good suggestion for this family: Francis nicknamed Finn.
Brice and Brogan are cool and Irishy, no complaints here. Aiden is great, but super duper popular — #13 in 2015, down from a high of #9 in 2010 and 2011; the spelling Aidan is at #185. But maybe popularity doesn’t bother Erin and her hubs! And that’s great too, it’s just good to be aware of the naming landscape.
I also think Blaise is great, and Erin described the saint as “the great St. Blaise,” which says to me that they really have a connection with the name. If I had to guess, if they have a boy twin he’ll end up as Blaise. It’s not that different from Mara in terms of popularity (Blaise was #805 in 2015, and Mara was #739), and among Catholic families I often see it considered — I know a couple little Blaises. Such a great name for a boy because of the awesome saint and because it sounds like “blaze” — so super-hero-ish!
Okay! So on to the suggestions of names that I think Erin and her hubs might like. I almost always start a consultation by looking up in the Baby Name Wizard book the names the parents have used and those they like/are considering as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity — it’s often uncannily accurate! So based on my research there and my own mental files, my ideas for this family are:
I know it’s sort of weird to start with my own name! But I feel like it’s one of the quintessential Irish names in the sense that, in movies and books, when there’s an Irish girl, it’s not unusual that she’s named Kate. If they wanted a Kate, they could do just Kate as her first name, or C/Katherine, or Kathleen, which of course is so Irish. Or Caitlin, like the big sisters of both the Molly Roisin and the Cara Maeve I mentioned above. Kate and Molly are a great pairing I think (like me and my sister), and Kate and Maggie are too (and Katherine/Margaret or Kathleen/Margaret are really well matched).
I was inspired to add Abigail to the list when I saw it listed as a style match for Mara and Molly, and Abby has Molly and Katy as style matches. My only hesitation is that Abigail used to (nineteenth century) have the connotation of a servant — particularly an Irish servant I believe, and it was meant to be derogatory — and while that wouldn’t really bother me at all, having it as a sister to Bridget — which is a name that I also think used to have that connotation — might be too much? I’m not sure, and I love Abigail enough that I’m going ahead and listing it here.
(3) Helen(a) or Eily/Eilidh/Eileen or Eilis(h)/Ailis or Elizabeth
In a weird roundabout sort of way, Nora led me to suggest this grouping of names! I was thinking about how I’d seen in an old genealogical record Irish twins named Honora and Helena (or Helen? I can’t remember now) and they were nicknamed Nora and Nellie, so cute! I’m really feeling like Nora’s too close to Mara, but Nell/Nellie made me think of Helen or Helena (Dwija from the House Unseen Life Unscripted blog recently named her little one Helen and they call her Nellie). Then I was thinking about Eilis(h), which is usually the Irish Elizabeth, but sometimes Alice, which made me think of Ailis, which is Alice (I recently saw the Irish movie Brooklyn and the main character was Eilis but said like Ailis), and the spelling of Eilis made me think of Eileen and I remembered that Eileen is sometimes used as the Irish for Helen, and then I remembered the name Eily, which, it turns out is really Scottish, and is a variant of Eilidh which is a diminutive of Eilionoir which looks like Eleanor and which they say is a Scottish form of Helen.
I’m not sure what it all means except that I think Nell and Eily would be sweet nicknames if one of the twins was a little girl, and they can both point back to Helen(a). (Or Eily/Aily to Elizabeth/Alice, if they wish, just as a matter of being a natural nickname for Eilis/Ailis. Or for Elizabeth itself. Which makes me think — Elizabeth would be a great idea for this fam! I’ve often thought of Elizabeth nicknamed Eily for my own daughter [ha! I have six boys, no girls], and I think Elizabeth and Margaret/Eily and Maggie or Maisie go wonderfully together, as do Elizabeth and Katherine or Kathleen/Eily and Kate.)
My Irish great-grandmother was Annie — I love it. It’s sweet and wholesome and I think it can also be kind of sassy! Also — our dear St. Anne!
Lucy doesn’t really have the Irish flavor (though I do believe it’s fairly well used there), but it’s so similar in style to Molly, Clara, and Nora that I thought Erin and her hubs might like it. If it was paired with an Irish name, it would fit in really well. Maybe Lucy Kathleen? Or Lucy Mairead (the Irish Margaret, rhymes with parade)?
Rosemary is so sweet and Marian and lovely, and I had an Irish friend once (grew up in the Gaeltacht — the Irish-speaking part of Ireland) named Rosemarie, so it’s totally legit! It’s a nice way to get Mary in there without it being too similar to Mara, and Rosie and Romy (both traditional nicknames for it) are nice options.
I know a big Irish family with some of the same names Erin and her hubs have used or like, and one of them is Theresa, so I thought they might like it! I particularly love the nickname Tess, and I could see it pairing really well with Clara, Kate, Lucy, Abby, Nell, Rosie, Annie, or Eily.
Thomas means twin. I mean, wow! I have nothing more to say!
(2) Colman, Cormac, Cashel
Colman and Cormac are both saints’ names with cool nickname possibilities: Cole and Mac. Cashel is one I’ve been crushing on recently — I suggested it in a consultation for Colleen of Martin Family Moments who loves Irish names: “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.”
(2) Sean, Jack, Ian, John
Any of these John variants would be a good fit for this family I think!
Tighe — often anglicized as Timothy — is on their no-go list (Erin’s husband likes it but it’s too “out there” for her), but then I wondered if they’d like Timothy itself. I totally think it fits with this family! I know a lot of Irish families who have a Timothy; I’ve also seen Ty used as a nickname for Timothy, which is a fun update and it’s said just like Tighe, so a nice way to work it in?
Two words: Danny Boy! I’m actually kind of surprised they don’t have Daniel in there somewhere already!
I love Owen for St. Nicholas Owen, who built hidey holes for priests in England, to protect them, and was tortured (and died from his wounds) for not turning in the hidden priests. I also love it for this family as a name for a boy — it’s a style match for Mara, Nora, Finn, and Aiden.
I’ll be interested to see what you think of Xavier! It’s a style match for Blaise, and it was also my Irish grandfather’s middle name (and no, he wasn’t Francis Xavier!), so I consider it to be used by the Irish. It’s also got that long A sound that Erin and her hubs seem to like (Maeve, Aiden, Blaise). I love the idea of twin boys Blaise and Xavier!
This might be a little offbeat for them, but I know two families with boys named Declan who have considered Aidric for subsequent boys. It’s not Irish, though it sounds that way, right? Like a mashup of Aiden and Patrick? St. Aidric was actually French, but that ties in with Blaise.
Those are all my ideas for first names just on their own, and then I had a few twin pairings I thought might be helpful:
Therese and Aurora: I read about twin girls with these names years ago, and they were nicknamed Reese and Rory! I’ve always loved that!
Linus and Ambrose: I did a consultation for Arwen Mosher from abc family and she has twin boys named Linus and Ambrose (brothers of Blaise and Camilla)!
Leo and Luke: One of my favorite twin boy ideas
Benedict and Scholastica: the famous boy/girl twin saints
Zelie and Louis: I posted a birth announcement recently for boy/girl twins named after our new saints!
I read an article on another blog once on naming twins, and I loved it. Some of the ideas the author offers are:
Edmund and Henry, after St. Edmund Campion and St. Henry Walpole. Erin and her hubs might especially like the idea of changing to the Irish form of Edmund, Eamon — I like the idea of Eamon and Henry!
Francis and Clare, after St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare of Assisi, who were good friends. I like Clare quite a bit better for this family because it doesn’t have the potential to rhyme with Mara, and it’s also the name of an Irish County. And I’d also suggested Francis with the nickname of Finn! I love Francis/Finn and Clare together!
Teresa and John, for St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross who “reformed the Carmelites together.” Tess and Jack? Love!
Catherine and Teresa, for St. Catherine of Siena and St. Teresa of Avila, both Doctors of the Church — I love Kate/Cate and Tess together, and also I love the idea of Avila and Siena as girls’ names. Or Cate and Avila?
And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for these wee twins on the way?