Charlie and Ava have replaced Jack and Emily as the most popular names for newborn boys and girls in Donegal last year

The CSO today released the list of the most popular Irish Babies’ Names for 2016, and for the first time in nine years, Jack has been knocked off the national top spot.

Jack was also the most popular name in Donegal in 2015, but more parents have chosen Charlie last year.

Ava replaced Emily as the top name for little girls in Donegal in 2016, while Emily remains the top name registered for girls across the 26 ROI counties last year.

James is now the most popular baby boy’s name in the country, closely followed by Jack, Daniel, Conor and Sean. Emily, Grace, Ava, Lucy and Amelia jointly with Sophie were ranked in the top five names of choice by parents for their newly arrived baby girls.

Murphy, Kelly, O’Brien, Ryan and Walsh were the five most popular surnames of newborns registered in 2016.

Image: CSO Ireland

Name trends changing

Back in 1966, John, Michael, Patrick, James and Paul were the names most favoured by parents of new born baby boys. While there were 3,152 baby boys named John 50 years ago, the five most popular boys’ names in 2016 together only accounted for 2,989 baby boys.

Interestingly, none of the top five girls’ names appeared in the top 100 names for girls a half century earlier when Mary, Catherine, Margaret, Ann and Anne were the most popular names for baby daughters in 1966. In 2016, there were 490 baby girls named Emily, compared with 2,857 given the name Mary in 1966.

New varieties

Commenting on the report, Carol Anne Hennessy, Statistician said: “2016 is the first year since 2007 that Jack didn’t head the list of most popular boys’ names.  James is now the most popular, closely followed by Jack, Daniel, Conor and Sean.”

The stats show that girls are given a wider variety of names than boys with 4,526 separate girls names registered, compared to 3,456 for boys.

For boys, Muhammad, Louis, Lucas Josh, Jason and Ollie had most growth in popularity.  Muhammad jumped 36 places in the rankings since 2015, up from 119 to 83 in 2016 to make it the only new entrant into the top 100 names for boys.

Willow, Matilda, Harper, Heidi and Zoey showed the most growth in popularity in girls’ names between 2015 and 2016 and these together with Aria were the only new entrants into the top 100 names for girls in 2016.

Jack was the most popular name for boys and Grace the most popular for girls where both parents were of Irish nationality while Finn and Isaac shared number one spot where both parents were U.K. nationals. Aria and Emily shared the top spot for girls that were born to U.K. nationals in 2016.

Less popular choices

Some less popular names for boys included Anton, Brodie, Cruz, Harris and Feilim. Less popular girls’ names included Blake, Indigo, Lucia, Reidin, Romy and Peyton.