Belfast Telegraph

George expected to soar up Northern Ireland's list of popular baby names

BY ANNA MAGUIRE

It was a name chosen by parents across Northern Ireland for decades.

But George has fallen out of popularity – until this week.

Although it has been the royal family's most popular name for 300 years, George has featured in Northern Ireland's top 100 names just once in the last 14 years – in 1998, when it just made it into the list at number 99.

In 2011, the last available records, George ranked as Northern Ireland's 108th most popular name, with just 28 Georges that year.

But nurseries are predicting a resurrection of the traditional name, with parents naming their sons after the royal baby.

The first baby boy to be named George Alexander Louis would make something of a record here – becoming the first boy in Northern Ireland to be christened the regal namesake this millennium.

No boys here have been called George Alexander Louis, (although six have been named George Alexander), since 2000, the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) said yesterday.

"We have only had one George in the past 10 years, and he was named after Peppa Pig's little brother," Tessa Court, co-ordinator at Wee Care on east Belfast's North Road, said.

Wee Care is one of Northern Ireland's largest nurseries, with 400 children enrolled across its four Belfast branches.

"George is not a name we have had much. But we would expect to have a lot now," Tessa said.

That trend has yet to emerge. None of Northern Ireland's health trusts knew of parents who have called their baby George since the prince took his place in history on Wednesday evening.

But childcare groups are expecting a surge in the months ahead.

"The names the royals have definitely do affect us. Harry has been a big one for the last couple of years, and so have Catherine or Kate," Tessa said.

"We have also had a few children called Louis in the past few years because of the royal connection.

"The more traditional names are making a comeback," she added.

"Alex is very common. We had one room with four Alexs last year, one girl and three boys. James is coming back and Ruairi is always popular."

George, Alexander and Louis all missed out on the top 20 names here in 2012.

In royal circles, George has always been common – making it the bookies' choice in the days before the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth.

There have been six King Georges – the third in line will become King George VII when he accedes to the throne.

"George is not a popular name here, but it will be," Cathy Martin, PR boss and mother-of-four, said.

"We had bets on and we put it out on Facebook and Twitter before the (prince's name) announcement that it would be a George or a Henry. I had thought it would be a George."

She added: "We are expecting a lot more Georges, and even Georgie and Georgia for girls. I definitely think there will be a rebirth of George, Alexander and Louis."

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