Baby name consultant: Green bean twins with an Irish last name

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:

Bridget Maureen
Mara Bernadette
Patrick James
Declan Brian
Michael Gregory

SUCH a great bunch of names!!

Erin writes,

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:

Felicity
Emily
Tighe
Malachi
Liam
Kieran

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:

Girls
(1) Kate
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).

(2) Abigail
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.

Whew!

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.)

(4) Anne
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!

(5) Lucy
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)?

(6) Rosemary
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.

(7) Therese/Theresa/Teresa
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.

Boys
(1) Thomas
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!

(3) Timothy
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?

(4) Daniel
Two words: Danny Boy! I’m actually kind of surprised they don’t have Daniel in there somewhere already!

(5) Owen
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.

(6) Xavier
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!

(7) Aidric
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?

74 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: Green bean twins with an Irish last name

  1. Love the suggestion of Timothy! I’m a quarter Irish and it’s all from my maternal grandfather Timothy. I also want to suggest Kevin.

    For girls I love Clare, Lucy, Molly, Kate and Maggie. And, while Mary and Mara seem like a no-go, I think Mara and Nora could work especially if there are a number of years between them. Nora and Kate would be a gorgeous set of twins! Also Molly could work beautifully as a nickname for Rosemary.

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  2. What about St. Finbar? Similar to Finnian, but just a little different. I have a Felicity whose second middle name is Finbar (born on his feast day!) and we call her Fin. Felicity and Finbar would be fantastic boy/girl twin names!

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  3. I tend to agree with you about Mary, Clara, and Nora being too similar to Mara, especially Mary and Clara, which I think are so similar they really can’t work. I really like the rest of your suggestions! Very fresh! I particularly liked the suggestion at the end for Eamon and Henry!

    Tavish is another name that means twin, so I always thought Thomas and Tavish would be cool for twin brothers. Although it may be a variation of Thomas so they’d end up with the same patron saint name (there’s more than one St. Thomas, of course, but still). However I still like the combo since they both start with t but sound different, and both mean twin.

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  4. Is it too exceptionally corny to use Theodore and Dorothea? As middle names? I don’t think I’d do it for first names, but I think it’s sweet to have connections between twins. And the meaning, “gift of God,” is great. If it’s not too corny for them I like Molly Dorothea and Finn Theodore (or actually, I like Francis Theodore better). Or Francis Theodore and Clare Dorothea, etc etc. Of course that only works if it’s boy/girl twins.

    I agree that Mary is too similar. I think of all the names that are similar, Mary is the one I’d definitely take off the table. Clara is a little much, but at least they look different and have distinct beginning sounds. I think Nora is fine with so many kids in between Mara and Nora. I like the suggestions of Claire/Clare and someone in the comments who said maybe Mary-Claire would be a good possibility.

    I love pretty much all of your suggestions (maybe not Eamon or other super Irishy names, just because… I am awful at pronouncing them). I especially like Owen, Cormac, and Lucy. (Mac seems like the perfect nickname for an Irish boy and can totally take him into manhood – Mac wears well on a little boy AND on an 18 year old linebacker.) Of their ideas, Margaret may be my favorite, though I think Maeve would be great and kind of ties in well with Declan, which seems like the most uncommon of the bunch?

    If it was *me* choosing the names, and mostly going off of all the names above, I’d go:

    Molly Dorothea and Francis Theodore nn Finn – potentially corny but not TOO corny imo, a sweet connection for twins.

    Molly Frances and Claire Eleanora – they mentioned saints names that go together as twins, so if it’s two girls they can still have the St. Francis and St. Claire connection by using feminine form of Frances as a middle for Molly, which is on their list, and then turn Clara into Claire and use Eleanora to get Nora which they seem to love. (I used Eleanora instead of Nora because I like the sound of Claire Eleanora more then Claire Nora, which seems to be missing something to me.) This way they’re using three of their favorite names (Molly, Clara, and Nora) and getting the awesome connection between Sts Francis and Claire.

    Francis Becket and Cormac Aquinas (or, if Cormac is too uncommon, _____ Aquinas lol) – since Thomas means “twin” but Tavish seems too uncommon for them (from what they’ve used so far – just *my* feeling, I don’t know if it’s the case), and assuming they don’t want to use Thomas in the middle spot for both boys, I like the idea of taking two Catholic powerhouses that went by Thomas and using their names. That way they still have a twin connection in their names and they have awesome patrons.

    Wow, sorry for the essay!!!!! 🙂

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      • I have too much fun with it!!! Although something bugged me – this is an embarrassing question, but how do you pronounce Aquinas? I pronounce it with “kin” as the middle sound. Is that right? This is why I never read aloud in school lol. Until I listened to the podcast (Fountains of Carrots), I was pronouncing the blog name wrong and like two other names wrong. I remember you all taking about Stellamaris and I was like, “whoa!!! Not how I’ve been pronouncing it!!” (I was pronouncing it like stella ma-reese……. oops. Although I do like how that sounds, haha.)

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      • I was technically raised Catholic but.. not really. I made my communion and confirmation but that was the extent of it, AND I don’t have too many Catholic friends, so it’s not as though I’ve heard “Aquinas” spoken often. So I have this dilemma often! But of my three close Catholic friends, it’s a mixed bag. I heard one of them say “a-quiw-nus” like what you just said and I was thrown for a loop lol!!! I actually really like how both pronunciations sound: a-kin-us and a-quin-us. But lately I’ve been worried that I’ve got the pronunciation all wrong!! This is why I can only use names like this in middle spots. (Although.. I guess there’s sort of a silver lining because it opens more options up. Like, a-kin-us might sound good paired with first names that a-quin-us sound awful with and vice versa. Pronouncing it wrong might make it sound better with specific names, so you get to use the saint anyway…….. or I could just learn how to properly pronounce names.)

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      • I attend a St. Thomas Aquinas parish and we all pronounce it uh-KWY-nus, the second syllable sounds like the beginning of the word “quite”.

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      • I think there’s definitely room for variety in pronunciation for some names, like Xavier, Kateri, Zelie, etc., because of different accents and taste. But I don’t think you’d get too far in Catholic circles insisting on an alternate pronunciation of a famous saint’s surname that has a widely accepted pronunciation already! Lol! It’s always good to ask if you’re not sure (I do all the time—I’m notorious for mispronouncing!)

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      • Haha yes! I agree it’s different from something like Zelie. I’ve gotta start training myself to say uh-kwy-nus. (Although… if I was using it as a second middle and really preferred the wrong pronunciation I might roll with, at least privately lol.) There’s a whole host of names I’m not sure how to pronounce. And places. And place names. Clairvaux, Lisieux, etc. Now I’m questioning how I pronounce Ignatius!!!!!! Maybe I need to stick to easy names for future kids. Mike. Jen. lol.

        btw, two more names just popped into my head for them. Eliza is kinda cool, if Elizabeth is long. I don’t know if it’s Irish or anything, but I like it with their other kids’ names. And maybe if they don’t go with Margaret – Margot. Unless they pronounce Mara mar-uh rhymes with car-uh. Then that might be too much lol.

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      • Whenever I have trouble with pronunciations I go to behindthename — they almost always have all the pronunciation variants listed for each name. Or Forvo is good for hearing. Babynamesofireland.com has Frank McCourt saying the names! (But be warned that it’s only his dialect — the way he said a name isn’t necessarily *the* way to say it.)

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      • That’s SO good to know!!

        Also – I don’t think Nicholas is Irish (?) but thinking about your suggestion of Nicholas and love of St. Nicholas Owen…… those could be good twin names. Nicholas and Owen. Nicholas Tavish and Owen Thomas. Nicholas Aquinas and Owen Becket/Nicholas More and Owen Becket, etc. I did not realize how fun twin names could beeeeeeeee. 😀

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      • True! Unless my kid knows I’m a fool. Which would be likely. I have to train myself to say all these names properly. I’ll never cave on how I pronounce Xavier, though!! Someone once got near crazy telling me I pronounced it wrong. I pronounce it with the extra “egg” sound I guess. or x-zavier. Whatever haha. Pretty sure the person was right, technically! BUT! I knew an Xavier growing up, and he pronounced it eggs, so there’s that! 😀

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      • Kate pronounces it eggs-avier! She has a post somewhere in the past about this very name! I personally only like the “zavier” pronunciation, but I know some disagree!

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      • YAyy!! I will say — there’s a little Xavier in my life whose parents intended him to be pronounced ex- and he, at the ripe age of 5, decided on his own, with no outside influence (he doesn’t know anyone with the other pronunciation), that he prefers ZAY-vyer. !!

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  5. Omg Teresa and John nicknamed Tess and Jack are SO perfect!!! Like just had to start with that because of how perfect together they are to me!

    I also have a sister named Molly (us Irish Catholics seem to always have at least one somewhere)! Molly and Grace makes a great sibset too 😉 and they’re both Marian! Our other sister is Alexandra if that interests Erin!

    Something you didn’t mention (I don’t think) was how similar Mara and Margaret look and sound (sound to me at least). I don’t know if I would use Margaret because of that. I do love maybe Magdalene for them though if they really love the nickname Maggie.

    I also adore your suggestion of Anne! Anne is so underused for girls these days. Maybe if they’re not feeling Anne, Anna would go SO well with their other girls names.

    I also love the suggestion of Elizabeth for them and all your boy suggestions.

    The only real suggestion that I have to add is Morgan, for a boy or a girl! I feel like it would go quite nicely with their other names

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    • Great points! I think Anne or Anna is so perfect for them, and you’re right about Margaret & Mara.

      I have a James and John and even regret that, actually, despite the fact hat the only similarity is the first letter (and they’re seven years apart in age!) It’s just hard to spit out what I’m trying to say with them being similar.

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      • Oh Grace, it’s good to see that feedback about having both a James and a John! I have a nearly 5 year old named James and John floats about on our list especially as we have a New Testament theme going with our boys and this baby boy could quite easily be born on June 24 (Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist). But I’ve often worried that they are too close and I’ll end up tongue-tied.

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      • My John was born on the vigil of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, and his name was given to me in prayer more than a year before that. Having almost despaired of having another baby, I was in adoration one day, meditating on the words of St. John the Baptist in John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God.” John was never a name I’d considered before—in fact, I disliked it. But in that moment, I had this overpowering sense that we would have another baby and if he was a boy, his name would be John. After that, I developed a devotion to St. John the Baptist and he’s one of my favorite saints. But I still get tongue-tied ALL the time with James and John and if it hadn’t been for this sort of mystical experience, I seriously wouldn’t have named him that.

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      • But Peter is another great late-June feast day, SUCH a handsome Saint, and in my opinion, the ideal pairing with James! I so wanted to name our second son Peter but he got it for his middle name instead! So I’m rooting for Peter for you!! So handsome, classy, but also can be fun.

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      • Yes, but having a baby on St. Peter’s feast day would involve going 2 days past my due date so I’m not on board with that! But a baby Peter is seeming more and more right; I’ve even taken to calling him Sweet Pea. So I think we’re set on Peter as the first name, but I’ve thought that before.

        So cool that you had your John on the Vigil of the birth of John the Baptist after you were already planning on naming him after St. John the Baptist! Like Thomas, there are so many great St. Johns!

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      • I know, it was like a miracle! Seemed like another very clear sign that it was meant to be! And with his other feast day (St. Peter) being only 6 days after his birthday, well… It all felt like great timing.

        Although as I type this, he’s kind of insisting that his name is Mary Poppins! 😂😂😂😂

        Anyway, good luck with your little guy! I think if you go with Peter, you’ll be glad you did! It really might be my favorite boys’ name of all! (So, I know I’m biased!)

        Oh—and when I mentioned St. Peter’s feast day I didn’t mean that I thought you should try to birth him on that day, just that it’s nearby to when the baby is likely to be born!

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      • Also, that name was given to me like 10 or 11 months before he was even conceived! And, another great reason to use it was I had a priest who was my spiritual director for a little while named John (he lives in Rome now, alas), and it was a way to honor him, too. And our pastor is named Peter! So he was indirectly named after both of them. Great saints, great priests, great names! I’m still so happy about it, and still—three years later—rather surprised by it, too, as I had never even considered the name John before all that.

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    • Molly and Grace!! I love that combo!! Hmm … Mara and Margaret don’t bother me too much … probably because Mary and Margaret often go together in the same person’s name (Mary Margaret) or sisters Mary and Margaret …

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      • I think Mara and Margaret bug me because of the similar sounds, where as Mary and Margaret just look similar not sound similar (with my accent at least).

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      • Good point — we have to figure out how this family says Mara! I’ve heard MAR-a (rhyming with car) and MARE-a (rhyming with care) … I agree the car pronunciation would be too similar to Margaret!

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  6. I’ve always loved Mary-Kate since I saw “The Quiet Man.” 😀 But I think I largely agree with you that Mary + Mara is a little too matchy. If they didn’t already have a Mara I’d suggest Moira – so lovely. But Molly is great, too.

    Is Fiona a possibility? Despite the Shrek connection, it’s such a gorgeous name.

    For a boy, I’ve always thought that Fergus nn Gus would be adorable.

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    • Oh, great suggestions! We have a Fiona and only heard the Shrek thing for a couple of years (she was born in 2009). No one has mentioned it to us at all in at least 4 years of not more. So I think the Shrek connection has faded a lot, while the name has only become more popular!

      On the other hand, there is no saint named Fiona, so if that matters to them (it didn’t to me as she was getting a saintly middle name), that could be a deal breaker.

      Fergus/Gus is great!

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  7. One of our boys is Alden it means old friend/protector. We pronounce it ALL-den. He was born in 2010, and that year in Australia Aiden was the most popular boys name. We just loved the name and never made the connection to Aiden until people started mistaking it for Aiden. It may be too different to the other names in this family, but a great alternative to Aiden.

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  8. Molly is also a nickname for Margaret.

    I would suggest Margaret, with the paternal grandmother’s name or maiden name as the middle name if they haven’t already used it. Or,nif they’re both girls, name the other one for her paternal grandmother.

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      • Okay, I had to look this up, because of how Molly arose as a Mary variant so I wondered if Molly Brown had Mary in her name somewhere, and found this (if wiki is to be trusted in this instance): “Margaret Brown (née Tobin) (July 18, 1867 – October 26, 1932) (posthumously known as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”) … During her lifetime, her friends called her “Maggie”, but after her death, a 1960 Broadway musical based on her life and its 1964 film adaptation were each entitled The Unsinkable Molly Brown”

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  9. Twins! So exciting!!!

    Aurora and Dawn – have the same meaning.
    Brendan and Sarah – prince and princess.
    Cara and Mia – I’m not sure if they sound typically Irish but cara Mia is Italian for my beloved (one).
    Columba and Jemima – both mean dove, and I’m pretty sure there is a St. Columba.
    Eve and Zoe – both mean life.
    Grace and Hannah.
    Irene and Salome – peace.
    Jonathan and Matthew – both mean gift of God but the elements are reversed.
    Leon and Noel – read Leon backwards and get Noel!
    Margaret and Pearl
    Nathaniel and Theodore – both gifts from God.

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  10. For boys I would suggest Conor, Fergus, Kevin, Brian, and James/Seamus. All saintly and Irish. For girls, if Nora is too rhymey, what about Noreen? It’s a diminutive of Nora, but takes away the rhyming aspect. I also like Ethna/Ena, which is the feminine form of Aidan, as well as the Katherine Irish variant of Catriona. Although not Irish in origin, I also like Agnes for this family.

    I particularly love the previous suggestions of Thomas, John/Sean, Margaret, Anne, and Eileen.

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  11. I love Irish names and want to suggest one or two. Mairead (various spellings, some include a g or an h) is another name for Margaret and very unique, if they are going for that. I think Maeve is a great name for a girl and you can always give her a strong saint’s middle name; as I have read, we do need new saints so maybe your Maeve will be the first Saint Maeve? And also, I think it goes nicely with Mara (one is hard ‘a’ sound name and soft ‘a’ sound name, well at least how my region pronounces it). it will be fun to see who the babies are and what they are named!! I love the name Fin from Finbar or Finnian and also the name Colm from St. Columba, all very traditional Irish names.

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  12. Well, my best idea for twins with an Irish last name would be Bridget and Patrick, but clearly they can’t go with that…
    So I’ll suggest some names that go well together, even if they’re not Irish:
    For boys: Simon and Peter.
    For girls: Joanna and Susanna.
    For boy/girl: George and Grace.
    (And I just saw on Behind the Name the suggestion: Aidan and Nadia, because Nadia is Aidan spelled backwards. How about that?)
    And other names that don’t match but have a similar feel to the other kids’s names (in my opinion, of course): Megan, Caitlin and Connor.

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    • I think you’re right about Megan, Caitlin, and Connor going together! If I were naming my own twins I’d probably want something a little matchy, so something like Caitlin and Connor would be right up my alley. Megan could also be a nickname for Margaret … I like your other ideas too!

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  13. My cousin is a just Molly, and her mum is from Dublin, so I’d say that would definitely work! So many other lovely suggestions though! 🙂

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  14. I am curious to hear an update/name announcement on this one! My twin sister and I are Sarah and Elizabeth (probably not the best fit for this family!). Tess and Jack made me swoon. My two cents growing up as a twin: finding names with similar meanings/complementary sounds is great; names that are spelled too similarly or pronounced too similarly can be hard on twins. It probably depends too on how identical they look (boy/girl combo is probably going to be different than identical twin girls who will be sharing faces, voices, everything else for life! We are identical, and were always very thankful for a little “breathing room” between our names, haha It really helped too with people keeping us straight). ..

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