Dear Duana,

I need some help finding names for my second born - a son due early next year. My oldest is called Keira and our surname is a short one syllable Irish name beginning with T.

Apart from liking the name, one of the main reasons we selected Keira was because I am from an Asian background and the name 'Kiren' is an an Asian name. So I thought Keira was a name that vaguely ties our two cultures together. She also has the middle name Ashana.

I am looking for a name that would go with Keira but would also flow with one of the Asian names I have in mind which is Ishaan or Devan. (Generally all the Asian names I like tend to be two syllables and end with 'an')

My husband favours traditional English names like his own name but a lot of the names I suggest to him remind him of people he grew up with and are instantly off the list and anything else I suggest like 'Tristan' he dubs too posh for us.  He also doesn't like anything that sounds 'too American.'

So there is my dilemma!  Trying to find an English or Irish name that can also sound like an Asian name!!

Can you help!?

kind regards 


Why yes I can. In fact, this is exactly specific enough to make sure you have all kinds of options.  

So let’s see. Keira sits right in the sweet spot of being recognizably Irish while fitting in to a more global file of ‘acceptable names’. The list of male names that fits the same description is slightly smaller, but expanding every day, thanks in large part to Liam which has parents banging down the doors to find names like that of their own.

As soon as I read Devan, my immediate thought was Desmond.  Desmond Ishaan, for example? Or what about Behan? Sure it's not as popular, but it’s easy to spell and pronounce and fits in the standing out/fitting-in sweet spot.

If you're squeamish about n-endings because you think they might mark a moment in time, though, another one that crosses great barriers is Colum – it’s a great name and familiar but unusual. One thing you have to be sure of, though, is that people will transpose the name from Colum to Callum and Colm (all of which derive from the same name, of course) so you have to be prepared to either go with it or correct them.  

Rory is a name that people either love or hate, since it’s playful and exciting but can also have a “Rural Juror” effect with some people's pronunciations. But it strikes me as the kind that could cross barriers because it’s easy to pronounce with all kinds of inflection, which it seems names like this always need to do.

I feel as though a lot of the ‘C’ names, Cashel and Cathaland Cormac, can sound like so many sneezes. Especially beside the elegant Kiera. Why mess with C perfection? But I pull out my old standard, Eamonn, because I can think of nothing quite as satisfying as Eamonn Devan, and just because I’ve suggested it before doesn’t mean anyone has used it.

Let me know!