Mary and Patrick fall from favour in Ireland as Jack and Emily reign
Sorry Patrick, goodbye Mary. Ireland has fallen out of love with your names.
Their popularity as baby names once transcended class and geography, ensuring generations of Patricks and Marys. Now however they are “endangered” because parents are switching to alternatives such as Jack and Emily, according to a study by the genealogy company Ancestry.
In the land of Mary Kenny, Mary Robinson and Mary Lavin, the name’s popularity has collapsed over the past century, according to analysis of birth records.
About 11,314 babies were named Mary in 1917 but that number plunged to 79 in 2013 and has continued to slide. Only 64 girls were given the name last year.
The number of girls named Emily rose from 148 in 1917 to 459 last year, making it the most popular girl’s name. The names Grace, Lily and Lucy have also become much more popular.
The land of St Patrick, Patrick McCabe and Patrick Kavanagh has also seen the formal version of Paddy plunge in popularity by 95% over the past century, with 5,627 babies named Patrick in 1917 but only 369 in 2013 and 300 in 2017.
In 1917 there was not a single Jack registered – parents preferred the more formal version, John – but last year 685 boys were named Jack, making it the most popular boy’s name.
Joseph suffered an even steeper fall in popularity of 97%, while the number of Adams rose from 26 in 1917 to 389 in 2017. Only 52 boys were named Luke in 1917, compared with 420 in 2017.
“It would be uncommon to meet a new-born Mary, Margaret or John today while babies with the name Emily or Jack can be found around the country,” said Russell James, an Ancestry spokesperson.
The study, based largely on analysis of official statistics, identified names deemed “extinct” because none have appeared in the past five birth records.
So farewell then Gertrude, Ethel, Eveline, Muriel, Gladys, Sheila, Marion, Doreen, Wilhelmina, Doris, Edna, Letitia, Margaretta and Fanny; and Herbert, Norman, Cecil, Bartholomew, Leslie, Cyril, Reginald, Donald, Sylvester, Wallace and Garrett.