There’s something quite captivating about Irish language flower names. They’re constructed in such lyrical and delicate ways that often it’s simply beautiful to just hear them spoken out loud.
Here are 15 Irish language flower names for you to enjoy:
1. Lus an Chromchinn – Daffodil
‘Lus’ refers to a plant itself and ‘chromchinn’ is a grammatical form of ‘chromcheann’ which means a bent or a bowed head.
2. Bainne Bó Bleachtáin – Cowslip
‘Bleachtáin’ is a grammatical form for ‘Bleachtán’ which then comes from ‘Bleacht’ for juice. And thus, this is broken down as ‘the juice of the milk cow’. Interestingly enough though, this phrase has been used to describe the buttercup (Sean-Chaint na nDéise) or both the cowslip and buttercup (Dinneen’s Dictionary).
3. Caillichín na Trá – Yellow horn-poppy
‘Caillichín’ has a few different meanings. According to Teanglann, it can mean a ‘little old woman’ or a ‘precocious girl’ or even a knot in timber or a cane! This flower is also known as a ‘sea poppy’ hence the connection with the beach.
4. Plúirín Sneachta – Snowdrop
This name in Irish for ‘snowdrop’ captures the delicate nature of the flower itself.
5. Coinneal Oíche – Evening Primrose
Translated as the candle of the night (‘coinneal’ meaning candle), this stunning yellow flower can be found places like quarries and on sandy soil.
6. Cam an Ime – Buttercup
The Irish for butter is ‘im’ and ‘cam’ according to Dinneen’s famous dictionary relates to a small vessel or cresset. Another translation for buttercup is ‘crobh préacháin’ (crow’s claw).
7. Caisearbhán – Dandelion
This is one of the most common ‘weeds’ in Ireland but did you know that it is edible too? Check out my video below on how to make dandelion cordial.
8. Nóinín – Daisy
This flower’s name is also used as a girl’s name. Máire Zepf’s young adult book is a great example of this in use.
9. Feirdhris – Dog Rose
‘Dris’ means ‘bramble’ or ‘briar’ and the wild dog rose has a long history of being cultivated as a medicinal herb.
10. Goirmín – Pansy
Though pansies come in different colours, one of the most striking is the blue ones, hence ‘goirmín’, ‘little blue’.
11. Magairlín – Orchid
Did you know that Ireland has around 30 native species one of which, the Western Marsh Orchid, is unique to our country?
12. Cloigín Gorm – Bluebell
This gorgeous blue flower’s name in Irish is reemphasised by ‘cloigín’ which is a small bell. ‘Gorm’ simply means ‘blue’.
13. Méara /Meoir Mhuire – Kidney Vetch
Translating as ‘Mary’s fingers’ this is probably a religious reference to Mary the mother of Jesus. This plant is commonly found by the seaside.
14. Lus na mban sídhe – Foxglove
Be warned, this flower is incredibly poisonous. ‘Lus’ refers to a plant itself and the genitive version we see here refers to the ‘bean sí’, a particularly wicked type of spirit! Foxglove is also known as ‘lus mór’, ‘sídhean sléibhe’ and ‘síodhan sléibhe.’
15. Sabhaircín – Primrose
We’ve already seen the Irish for evening primrose but this one is quite different. As noted above, ‘Bainne Bó Bleachtáin’ has also been used for this pretty flower (as well as cowslip) which makes sense as they are in the same flowering family, the Primulaceae.
Did you enjoy this list of Irish language flower names? Have a go at hearing them by clicking the synthesiser here. For this list, I cross-referenced between 4 dictionaries as well as books such as the incredible Flóra Chorca Dhuibhne.