Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Sunday 29 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
# parents panel
Family traditions, old friends and Jon Bon Jovi: Mums and dads share what inspired their babies' names
It’s one of the first ‘big’ choices you’ll make as a parent – and here’s how our panel approached it.

parents-panel-banner-final1.1 - Copy / Shutterstock / Shutterstock / Shutterstock

AS PART OF’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way.

One in seven parents now regret their choice of baby name, according to a survey of UK parents this year. Picking a name that your child will grow into adulthood and old age with is a tricky ask for an expectant parent, and this week we asked our panel how they tackled the decision.

What inspired your choice of baby name?

Here’s what they had to say…

Parents Panel All 7 - Copy - Copy - Copy Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly

Jed is an acronym of three other names we liked: We had names beginning with J, E and D in mind, and couldn’t choose, so we picked Jed. One big factor for all three kids (Adam, Jed and Brynn) was that the names needed to be universally pronounceable, within reason – a must in this continually global economy our kids would be growing up in. 

- Alan Dooley 

The name needed to be easy to pronounce for our Polish and Irish families: We both really liked Darragh, but in Polish all the girls’ names end in ‘a’, so it would be a case of A Boy Named Sue! We ended up with Timothy for my eldest. We both like older, traditional names – and then you have Tim Roth, Tim Minchin, Tim Allen. We now call him Tymek anyway which is a Polish version of Timmy.

- Marta Lisiecka

I wanted to call my first baby Jon, after my idol Jon Bon Jovi: His dad stepped in when he was born, and we went with his choice, Brian (after himself). Fourteen years later when I unexpectedly found myself pregnant with my third, I decided to let the kids pick the baby’s name. Shauna kept a wee notebook with names she liked, she had pages of them. Eventually she and her brother settled on the name Ellie. 

- Denise Cumiskey

My family has a tradition of names as Gaeilge: That was a tradition I wanted to continue. After months of discussion, Clíodhna was the only name that we agreed upon. Two years on, I haven’t regretted her name for one day!

- Ríona Flood

We had three different names in mind when Charlie was born: We said the day after he was born we’d try each of them for a few hours, but I fell in love with Charlie as soon as we rolled it out. There was no particular inspiration other than loving names that end in ‘ie’ or ‘y’. My husband only told me recently that he was really hoping for Paddy (which I also loved) but after seeing me give birth he decided not to fight for it, once I had my heart set on Charlie!

- Kait Quinn

He was sick and we wanted a strong name: We worked off name lists for the first three pregnancies. As each pregnancy developed we discussed and added potential names, slowly making a shortlist, and making the final decision when the baby was born.

However with Bruno (our fourth), his name wasn’t on the list at all. He wasn’t well when he was born and we were encouraged by the hospital to name him. So we gave him a strong name! Bruno means ‘shield’ or ‘strength’.

- Ross Boxshall 

We tried to take into account any possible slagging that might ensue: Our two sons are Edward and William; and they are known as Ed and Bill. We were quite conscious of the potential for slagging with “Willy” – so we went with Bill straight away!

- Olly Keegan

Want to win a day out with lunch at Naas Racecourse Royal Ascot Trials and Ladies Day? Enter here – and don’t forget to subscribe to our Family Newsletter below!

More Parents Panel: Toys that under-threes won’t get tired of – as recommended by real mums and dads>


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel