Meaning of the name:
Courage… The attribute that led to the popularity of Brian. Use of the name increased in tribute to a king who stood against the Vikings.
Early Ireland consisted of many kingdoms (with many kings). It was a time filled with unrest and power struggles. Matters intensified with the surge of the Vikings, as they came and went, raiding coastal communities. Eventually, their desires increased and they established themselves along the shore. Claiming territory. Those opposing them were usually killed.
When Brian Boru became king, he seemed to be among the few willing to stand against the Vikings. And respect for him grew. In time, his reign extended beyond his given realm – and he became High King of all of Ireland.
The Vikings were livid. Fights ensued – with a battle in 1014 ending the Viking dominance. Brian was hailed a hero and use of the name spread.
Currently, the name is still actively used in places like the U.S., UK, and especially Ireland – where Brian is among the top 50 names used for boys.