How do you choose a baby’s name in this day and age?

By Grainne McCool

With technology available to tell what sex a baby is before it is born and the vast array of media bombarding us all these days, it can be very difficult to pick a baby’s name.

I have always had a love of all things Irish and I did always tend to look at Irish names as opposed to any others. When boy number one came along he was named after his Dad’s friend who died a few years previous and just happened to be a good old Irish name – Éamonn – and so the seed was firmly planted.

My babies’ names would be Irish names and so Oisín and Últan followed

So just how, with this modern technology and the ability to know the sex during pregnancy, does one decide to name their children in the contemporary world?

One Dublin based mother decided to take a completely different and quite traditional route. Emma McGuinness, originally from Galway, but now living and working in Dublin, has two beautiful daughters – Arabella and Juliet.

These names certainly didn’t come out of an Irish name book, nor did they come out from a list of modern baby names. Instead Emma chose the route of older, classical names.

“While I was pregnant with Arabella, for the majority of the time I actually felt it was going to be a boy and we pretty much settled on the name Jack,” says Emma.

“We had decided not to find out the sex. As we drew closer to the end of the pregnancy I somehow felt it was going to be a girl.

“We had agreed on the name Bella but the week before she arrived, my mum came up with Arabella and we knew there were a couple of Arabellas on my dad’s side of the family.

“We love the name Arabella and she certainly looks like and Arabella to us.”

Emma with her daughters Juliet and Arabella baby's names
Emma with her daughters Juliet and Arabella

Some believe the name Arabella to be a Norman name derived from the elements am (eagle) or arin (a hearth). Others think it is a variant of Annabel, another name of debated origin and meaning.

“Throughout my last pregnancy I had a much stronger feeling it was going to be another little girl,” Emma says of her second daughter, Juliet.

“Like the previous we were slow to settle on a name. Literally in the hospital just before I went in, Eoin (Emma’s husband) and I were still trying to decide – Danielle or Juliet?

“We had heard the name mentioned a few times and we just liked it. It always reminded me of Romeo and Juliet but there was also something pretty and old about it.

“Again we decided not to find out the sex and before I saw here I heard, ‘it’s a Juliet’. The name definitely fits the little personality so far.”

Juliet is a name with English origins and means youthful.

In a world of passing fads such as the Kardashians, perhaps the classical route is the way to go when choosing our baby’s name.


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