Hi Duana!

We're expecting our second bundle of joy in September, gender unknown. We have our girl name set and ready to go, but struggling with the boy name. Currently the front runner is Liam (I know, I know, but stay with me) but I have a couple reservations. First off, I don't particularly care if my kid doesn't have the most unique name ever, but there's a difference between "fairly popular" and "#2 name in nameberry" popular. Secondly, our first kid's middle name is William. Is it weird to name your second kid a version of your first kid's middle name?

My husband is Irish and loves suuuuuuper Irish names (if he had his way he would have a house full of Colms, Finnigans and Callaghans). I'm okay with the more mainstream Irish names, but after 10 years of running camps for kids my big thing is I want a name that is easy to pronounce and people will know how to spell just by hearing it. Some names I like include Lucas, Jacob, Nicholas, Henry, Thomas... As you can tell, I'm pretty traditional.

And finally - here's the fun kicker that I thought you would enjoy - I'm part Japanese, and would like to include a Japanese or Japanese inspired middle name... but I am utterly stumped. With an Anglicized first name and an Irish last name, I'm scared the Japanese middle will stick out like a sore thumb. Is it even possible to get the 3 names to flow???


You know, I don’t say this much, because it would put me out of business, but you ALMOST don’t need me. You know already most of the issues with this task you are about to undertake.

So, to go in order: Yeah, no, with the Liam. I really appreciate that you are straightforward with your feelings on popularity, and I feel you that it’s not everyone’s number one concern. But not only are there many, many Liams, there is a good chance your first kid is going to wind up being called Liam by an overzealous teacher or tween girl. In fact, I would be exactly that tween girl.

But I get it, looking for an Irish name that isn’t spelled, like, Dalieughdoghrrh. And of course, I get where your husband is coming from, too. Luckily for you, I have the answer.

The answer is Ronan. It is short, it is spelled the way it sounds, and is pronounced the way it looks. It is very Irish but will be perfectly in line with William, nobody will feel too common or too unusual, and it works.  

(Lainey: Also, “Ronin”, a samurai, is Japanese. Duana’s right – Ronan or Ronin is PERFECT FOR YOU. But here’s the rest of her post if you need it, even though I don’t know why you would because… Ronan or Ronin is it!!!)

If for SOME REASON this is not the most perfect name you’ve ever heard, there are others – Darragh and Nolan and Rory and Colm and Conan and Eamonn and Cormac and Niall. Irish, short, and self-explanatory. And…AND!

They totally and completely leave room for an awesome Japanese middle. The great advantage here is of course that Japanese names have vowels throughout. I don’t have a thorough vocabulary of which are the most attractive, but when I choose one of a recently popular list, why not? Ronan Haruto Lastname.  Darragh Kaito Lastname. Liam Ryuto Lastname. Sure you can! I might vary the syllables – choose three in the middle if you go for one or two in the first name slot – but I see no reason why they can’t work together.

One other thing on Irish names and those who love them – it’s a weird and particular quirk of Ireland that while many of the crazy how-do-you-spell-them names are in total current use, super-typical English-speaking names are right alongside them. So for example, in 2014, the name Oisín was 14th in popularity…surrounded on either side by Michael and Thomas. Eoin and Cathal and Cian are right in the mix with David and Luke and Jack. So an ‘Irish’ name is one thing, but ‘name known in Ireland’ is a much wider sample, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Let me know!

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