was indeed first turned into a given name in the USA and Australia. It was not used as a name in Ireland
until famous American actresses named Colleen
(Dewhurst, for example) somewhat legitimized it in Ireland
, and it got a bit of use there in the 1980s (but was never popular).
I have a friend who was born in the USA around 1950 named Colleen
. Her paternal grandmother was born in Ireland
, and she has told me that the grandmother was very upset at her son for naming his daughter Colleen
. She says it was years before the grandmother stopped asking her son "When are you going to give the colleen a real name?" :)