The name Muhammad has seen the biggest rise in popularity in Ireland in 2016, but James and Emily are the most popular names chosen by new parents.

Annual figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show the name Muhammad has entered into the top 100 Irish baby names for the first time, rising 36 places to 83rd.

For the first time since 2007, Jack is no longer the most popular baby name in Ireland, pushed into second spot by James. Daniel, Conor and Seán make up the remainder of the top five. Noah is the next most popular boy’s name lying just outside the top five.

Emily continues as the most popular girl’s name, retaining the top spot since 2011.

Emily Blunt on the red carpet. Emily has been the most popular girls’ name since 2011. Picture: Ian West/PA Wire
Emily Blunt on the red carpet. Emily has been the most popular girls’ name since 2011. Picture: Ian West/PA Wire

Grace, Ava and Lucy also have huge appeal while Amelia/Sophie, in joint fifth, complete the top line-up.

Meanwhile, the only name to have remained consistently popular over a period of 50 years is James.

The most popular boys’ names in 1966 were John, Michael, Patrick, James and Paul while the most popular girls’ names then were Mary, Catherine, Margaret, Anne and Ann.

Some of the rarer names making into the top 100 include Brodie, Cruz, Anton, Feilim, Haris and Riain for boys, and Blake, Indigo, Lucia, Romy, Reidin and Peyton for girls.

Victoria Beckham gives daughter Harper a kiss. Harper made it into the top 100 list for girls’ names. Picture: Victoria Beckham/Instagram
Victoria Beckham gives daughter Harper a kiss. Harper made it into the top 100 list for girls’ names. Picture: Victoria Beckham/Instagram

First-time entries into the top 100 for girls were Aria, Matilda, Harper, Willow, Heidi and Zoey.

Matilda and Willow were the biggest risers jumping 49 places respectively.

Willow Smith, daughter of the actor Will Smith. The name Willow entered the top 100. Picture: AP
Willow Smith, daughter of the actor Will Smith. The name Willow entered the top 100. Picture: AP

Meanwhile, other CSO statistics revealed over one in three children were born outside marriage in 2016.

The average age of first-time mothers also continues to rise: up 0.2 years to 30.9 years from 2015. Of these, 60.8% were to cohabitating parents.

The average age of mothers at maternity for all births registered in 2016 was 32.7 years compared to 32.5 in 2015, and 31 years 10 years earlier in 2006.

There were 22,626 marriages registered in 2016, of which 1,056 were same-sex marriages. The marriage rate in 2016 was 4.8 per 1,000 of population, the same rate as in 2015.

Top 10 boys’ names

  • James
  • Jack
  • Daniel
  • Conor
  • Seán
  • Noah
  • Adam
  • Oisin
  • Michael
  • Luke

Top 10 girls’ names

  • Emily
  • Grace
  • Ava
  • Lucy
  • Amelia
  • Sophie
  • Emma
  • Mia
  • Hannah
  • Lily

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