Wednesday 21 February 2018

Emily and Jack still our top choices for baby names

Cousins Emily Kearon aged 3 years from Courtown and Jack Kearon aged 18 months from Gorey. Photo: Mary Browne
Cousins Emily Kearon aged 3 years from Courtown and Jack Kearon aged 18 months from Gorey. Photo: Mary Browne
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

THE reign of Jack and Emily continues.

With Jack topping the list of Irish boys' names for the past six years and Emily secure in the top spot of most popular girls' names for the past three years, the CSO figures for 2013 confirmed parents prefer to tread a traditional path when it comes to naming their newborns.

And while these choices may happen to be fashionable, family connections and a strong sense of identity are usually just as important for parents.

Linda Kearnon, from Courtown, Co Wexford, named her daughter Emily (3) because she wanted to honour her own mother Margaret Emily.

"We wanted a family name within the name," she said.

"This was our third child and we found it difficult to pick it because you're running out of choices."

Linda wasn't bothered about choosing a name that other children in Emily's classroom might also have – she was more concerned about giving her a name that nobody else in the family had.

Emily's little cousin, Jack (1), also from Courtown was spontaneously named on the spot in the maternity ward by parents Patrick Kearnon and Rebecca Farrell – despite having previously selected a list of 10 completely different boys' names.

"As soon as we saw him, we both thought he looked like a Jack – it came out of nowhere," revealed Patrick.

"The two of us agreed on it there and then that it fitted him and we were right – he's a real little Jack the lad going around the place."

Jack is the first male in the family to hold this name, Patrick believes. More important than family tradition, he felt, was: "A good solid name – not too long to spell and something that's easy for people to remember."

The five most popular boys' names in 2013 – Jack, James, Daniel, Conor and Sean – were also the top five each year since 2007, with only their order changing from year to year.

And of the five most popular girls' names in 2013 – Emily, Emma, Sophie, Ella and Amelia – Emily, the most popular girls' name, has been in the top five in five of the past six years.

Two first-time entries to the top 100 for boys were Kai and Kayden; while Sadie, Sienna, Fiadh and Poppy were all new first-timers to the top 100 list of names for girls. In most areas of the country, one of the top five boys' names took the number one spot.

Only six areas favoured names outside the top five; in Kilkenny, Michael was the most popular name, while Alex was the most popular in Cork city and Aaron in Waterford city.

Cavan parents favoured Ryan while Charlie, along with James and Ryan, were the most popular in Monaghan. In Leitrim, Mark shared the most popular boys' name with Conor.

For girls, there was a wider range of names outside the top five that were county and city favourites. These included Ava, Caoimhe, Kate, Grace, Hannah, Mia, Rachel and Sarah.

Irish Independent

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