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i^iaLlam cimcheaLL na 

pOt)hLa — Let us wander rotjjsD 
Ireland : So wrote the topogra- 
pher John O'Diigan, five hundred years 
ago, when beginning his poetical de- 
scription of Ireland, and so I addi^ess 
my readers, to-day. The jom^ney will 
be at least a novel one; and to those who are inte- 
rested in the topography of our country, in the origin 
of local names, or in the philosophy of language, it 
may be attended with some instruction and amuse- 

The materials for this book were collected, and 
the book itself was written, in the intervals of 
serious and absorbing duties. The work of collec- 
tion, arrangement, and composition, was to me a 
never-failing source of pleasure ; it was often inter- 
rupted, and resumed at long intervals ; and if ever 

vi Preface. 

it involved labour, it was really and truly a labour 
of love. 

I might have illustrated various portions of the 
book by reference to the local etymologies of other 
countries; and this was indeed m}^ original inten- 
tion : but I soon abandoned it, for I found that the 
materials I had in hands, relating exclusively to my 
own country, were more than enough for the space at 
my disposal. 

Quotations from other languages I have, all 
through, translated into English ; and I have given 
in brackets the pronunciation of the principal Irish 
words, as nearly as could be represented by English 

The local nomenclature of most countries of Europe 
is made up of the languages of various races ; that of 
Great Britain, for instance, is a mixture of Keltic, 
Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Danish, and Norman French 
words, indicating successive invasions, and interest- 
ing and valuable for that very reason, as a means of 
historical research ; but often perplexingly inter- 
woven and difficult to unravel. In our island, there 
was scarcely any admixture of races, till the intro- 
duction of an important English element, chiefly 
within the last three hundred years — for, as I have 
shown (p. 101), the Danish irruptions produced no 
appreciable eff'ect ; and accordingly, our place-names 
are purely Keltic, with the exception of about a 

Freface. vii 

thirteenth part, which are English, and mostly of re- 
cent introduction. This great name system, begun 
thousands of years ago by the first wave of popula- 
tion that reached our island, was continued unceas- 
ingly from age to age, till it embraced the minutest 
features of the country in its intricate net- work ; and 
such as it sprang forth from the minds of oiu' an- 
cestors, it exists almost unchanged to this day. 

This is the first book ever written on the subject. 
In this respect I am somewhat in the position of a 
settler in a new country, who has all the advantages 
of priority of claim, but who purchases them too dearly, 
perhaps, by the labour and difficulty of tracking his 
way through the wilderness, and clearing his settle- 
ment from primeval forest and tangled underwood. 

On the journey I have travelled, false lights glim- 
mered, every step of the way, some of which I have 
pointed out for the direction of future explorers. 
But I have had the advantage of two safe guides. 
Dr. John O'Donovan, and the Eev. William Eeeves, 
D. D. ; for these two great scholars have been spe- 
cially distinguished, among the honoured labourers 
in the field of Irish Kterature, by their success in 
elucidating the topography of Ireland. 

To the Eev. Dr. Eeeves I am deeply indebted for 
his advice and assistance, generously volunteered to 
me from the very beginning. He examined my 
proposed plan of the book in the first instance, and 

viii Preface. 

afterwards, during its progress through the press, 
read the proof sheets — all with an amount of atten- 
tion and care, which could only be appreciated by 
an actual inspection of the well annotated pages, 
abounding with remarks, criticisms, and corrections. 
How invaluable this was to me, the reader will 
understand when he remembers, that Dr. Reeves is 
the highest living authority on the subject of Irish 

My friend, Mr. William M. Hennessy, was ever 
ready to place at my disposal his great knowledge of 
the Irish language, and of Irish topography. And 
Mr. O'Longan, of the Royal Irish Academy, kindly 
lent me some important manuscripts, from his pri- 
vate collection, of which I have made use in several 
parts of the book. 

I have to record my thanjis to Captain Berdoe A. 
Wilkinson, E. E., of the Ordnance Survey, for his 
kindness in procuring permission for me to read the 
Manuscripts deposited in his Office, Phoenix Park. 
And I should be guilty of great injustice if I failed 
to acknowledge the uniform coiu?tesy I experienced 
from Mr. Mooney, Chief Clerk in the same office, 
and the readiness with which both he and Mr. 
O'Lawlor facilitated my researches. 

I have also to thank the Council of the Royal Irish 
Academy for granting me permission — long before 
I had the honour of being elected a member of that 

Preface. ix 

learned body — to make use of theii' library, and to 
consult their precious collection of Manuscripts. 

DuBLTX, July, 1869. 

The following is a list of the principal historical 
and topographical works on Ireland published within 
the last twenty years or so, which I have quoted 
through the book, and from which I have derived a 
large part of my materials : — 

The Annals of the Four Masters, translated and edited 
by John 0' Donovan, LL. D., M. "R. I. A.; published 
by Hodges and Smith, Dublin ; the noblest historical 
work on Ireland ever issued by any Irish publisher — a 
book which every man should possess, who wishes to 
obtain a thorough knowledge of the history, topography, 
and antiquities, of Ireland. 

The Book of Eights ; published by the Celtic Society ; 
translated and edited by John 0' Donovan. Abounding 
in information on the ancient tribes and territories of 

The Battle of Moylena : Celt. Soc. Translated and edited 
by Eugene O'Curry, M. R. I. A. 

The Battle of Moyrath; Irish Arch. Soc. Translated and 
edited by John 0' Donovan. 

The Tribes and Customs of the district of Hy-Many : 
Irish Arch. Soc. Translated and edited by John 
0' Donovan. 

X Preface. 

The Tribes and Customs of the district of Hy-Fiachrach : 
Irish Arch. Soc. Translated and edited by John 
O'Donovan (quoted as '' Hy-Fiachrach" through this 

A Description of H-Iar Connaught. By Roderick 0' Flaherty : 
Irish Arch. Soc. Edited by James Hardiman, M. R. I. A. 

The Irish Version of the Historia Britonum of Nennius: 
Irish Arch. Soc. Translated and edited by James Hen- 
thorn Todd, D. D., M. R. I. A. 

Archbishop Colton's Visitation of the Diocese of Derry, 
1397: Irish Arch. Soc. Edited by the Rev. William 
Reeves, D. D., M. R. I. A. 

Cambrensis Eversus : By Dr. John Lynch, 1662: Celt. 
Soc. Translated and edited by the Rev. Matthew 

The Life of St. Columba : By Adamnan : Irish Arch, and 
Celt. Soc. Edited by the Rev. William Reeves, D. D., 
M. B., V. P. R. I. A. This book and the next contain a 
vast amount of local and historical information, drawn 
from every conceivable source. 

Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Down, Connor, and Dromore. 
Edited by the Rev. William Reeves, D. D., M. B., 
M. R. I. A. (Quoted as the ''Taxation of 1306," and 
'' Reeves's Eccl. Ant.") 

The Topographical Poems of O'Dugan and O'Heeren: 
Irish Arch, and Celt. Soc. Translated and edited. by 
John O'Donovan. 

The Calendar of the O'Clerys, or the Martyrology of 
Donegal : Irish Arch, and Celt. Soc. Translated by John 
O'Donovan. Edited by James Henthorn Todd, D. D. 

Preface. xi 

M. E. I. A., F. S. A. ; and hj the Eev. William Reeves, 
D. D., M. R. I. A. (quoted as " O'C. Cal.") 

The Wars of the Gaedhil with the Gaill. Published 
under the du^ection of the Master of the Rolls. Trans- 
lated and edited by James Henthorn Todd, D. D., &c. 
(Quoted as " Wars of GG.") 

The Chronicon Scotorum. Published under the direction 
of the Master of the Rolls. Translated and edited by 
William M. Hennessy, M. R. I. A. 

Cormac's Glossary ; translated by John 0' Donovan : 
edited with notes by Whitley Stokes, LL. D. 

Lectures on the Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish 
History : delivered at the Catholic University, by 
Eugene O'Curry, M. R. I. A. Published by James 
Duffy, Dublin and London. 

The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Ireland; comprising an 
Essay on the Origin and Uses of the Round Towers of 
Ireland. By George Petrie, R. H. A., Y. P. R. I. A. 

Among these, I must not omit to mention that most 
invaluable work to the student of Irish Topography and 
History, '' The General Alphabetical Index to the Town - 
lands and Towns, the Parishes and Baronies, of Ireland:" 
Census, 1861 : which was ever in my hands during the 
progress of the book, and without the help of which, I 
scarcely know how I should have been able to write it. 

I have also consulted, and turned to good account, the 
various publications of the Ossianic Society, which are 
full of information on the legends, traditions, and fairy 
mythology, of Ireland. 

On the most ancient forms of the various Irish root- words. 

xii Preface. 

and on the corresponding or cognate words in other lan- 
guages, I have derived my information chiefly from 
Professor Pictet's admirable work, " Les Origines Indo- 
Europeennes, ou les Aryas Primitifs:" Zeuss' masterly 
work, Grammatica Celtica, in which the author quotes 
in every case from manuscripts of the eighth, or the be- 
ginning of the ninth century : Ebel's Celtic Studies 
translated by AYilliam K. Sullivan, Ph. D., M. R. I. A. 
Irish Glosses ; a Mediaeval Tract on Latin Declension 
By Whitley Stokes, A. B. : and an Edition, with notes, 
of Three Ancient Irish Glossaries ; By the same accom- 
plished philologist. 


S the first edition of this hook 
went off very quickly — it was 
sold in six months — I have 
thought it right to issue a se- 
cond edition with as little delay 
p as possihle. 

I have considerably enlarged 
the book, partly by the expansion of some of the 
articles, which want of space obliged me to curtail in 
the first edition, and partly by the insertion of addi- 
tional names. 

For the favourable reception of the work by tlie 
Press, in England and Scotland as well as in Ire- 
land, I here offer my thankful acknowledgments. 
It has been noticed in nearly thirty newspapers and 
magazines ; and while most of the reviews are ela- 
borate and critical, not one is unfavourable. Several 
of the -vsTiters take exception to some of my state- 

xiv Preface to the Second Edition. 

ments, but in tlie whole of their criticisms I cannot 
find one unfriendly or unkind remark. 

I have examined with great care the objections of 
those who question the correctness of some of my 
conclusions. Many of them are palpably wrong ; 
while others, carrying more weight, and requiring 
more investigation than I can now afford time for, 
are held over for further consideration. Although 
I adopted every available precaution to ensure cor- 
rectness, yet w^here such a vast number of names and 
places were concerned, complete freedom from error 
was a thing scarcely to be hoped for ; accordingly a 
few undoubted mistakes have been detected and 
pointed out, some publicly by the reviewers, and 
some privately by my literary friends. These I have 
corrected in the present edition. 

Soon after the appearance of the book, I received 
communications from correspondents in various parts 
of Ireland, containing information, more or less valu- 
able, on the topography of their respective localities. 
Among these I may mention specially Mr. John 
Fleming of Bathgormuck in the county Waterford, 
who has brought his knowledge of Irish to bear in 
elucidating the topography of the Cummeragh moun- 
tains, and who has communicated to me without 
stint, the results of his investigations. Mr. O'Looney 
of the Catholic University also furnished me with a 
large quantity of valuable topographical notes taken 

Preface to the Second Edition. xv 

from the Irish Lives of several of our early saints. 
To these, and to all others who gave me their aid, I 
return my best thanks. At the same time I take 
this opportunity of soliciting further information 
from those who are able to give it, and who are anx- 
ious to assist in the advancement of Irish literature. 

The head-pieces have been copied by permission — 
with some modifications in the arrangement — from 
the marginal illuminations in " The Cromlech of 
Howth," a work in which are faithfully reproduced 
the beautifid ornamental designs of the Book of 
Kells and other very ancient Irish manuscripts. 
I have to thank the Council of the Irish Archaeo- 
logical Society for the use of four of their ornamen- 
tal letters, which were likewise copied from the Book 
of Kells. 

Dublin, April, 1870. 





Chapter I. — How the Meanings have been ascertained, . 1 

Chapter II. — Systematic Changes, 17 

Chapter III. — Corruptions, 46 

Chapter IV — False Etymologies, 64 

Chapter V. — The Antiquity of Irish Local Names, ... 72 



Chapter I Historical Events, 81 

Chapter II. — Historical Personages, 114 

Chapter III. — Early Irish Saints, 135 

Chapter IV. — Legends, 162 

Chapter V.— Fairies, Demons, GobUns, and Ghosts, . . 172 

Chapter VI. — Customs, Amusements, and Occupations, . 192 

Chapter VII. — Agriculture and Pasturage, 217 

Chapter VIII. — Subdivisions and Measures of Land, . . . 231 

Chapter IX. — Numerical Combinations, 237 






Chapter I. — Habitations and Fortresses, 255 

Chapter II. — Ecclesiastical Edifices, 300 

Chapter III. — Monuments, Graves, and Cemeteries, , . . 317 

Chapter IV. — To-vrns and Villages, 334 

Chapter V. — Fords, "Weirs, and Bridges, 341 

Chapter VI. — Roads and Causeways, 357 

ChapterVII.— Mills and Kilns, 361 



Chapter I. — Mountains, Hills, and Rocks, 365 

Chapter II. — Plains, Valleys, Hollows, and Cave?, . . . 408 

Chapter III. — Islands, Peninsulas, and Strands, .... 426 

Chapter IV. — "Water, Lakes, and Springs, 431 

Chapter V. — Rivers, Streamlets, and "Waterfalls, . . . 438 

Chapter VI.— Marshes and Bogs, 445 

Chapter VII. — Animals, 452 

Chapter VIII. — Plants, 473 

Chapter IX. — Shape and Position, 503 

Index of Names, 513 

Index of Root-word^, 565 






HE interpretation of a name in- 
[/. volves two j)rocesses : the discovery 
" of the ancient orthography, and the 
determination of the meaning of this 
original form. So far as Irish local 
names are concerned, the first is gene- 
rally the most troublesome, while the 
second, with some exceptions, presents 
no great difficulty to an Irish scholar. 

There are cases, hoAvever, in which, although we 
have ver}^ old forms of the names, we are still unable 
to determine the meaning with any degree of cer- 
tainty. In some of these, it is certain that we are 


2 The Irish Local Name Sysfon. [part i. 

not in possession of tlie most ancient oi-thograpliy, 
and that the old forms handed doTVTi to us are nothing 
more than corruptions of others still older ; but in 
most cases of this kind our ignorance is very probably 
due to the fact that the root-words of which the 
names are composed became obsolete before our most 
ancient manuscripts were written. Names of this 
class challenge the investigation, not so much of the 
Irish scholar, as of the general philologist. 

With respect to the names occurring in this book, 
the Irish form and the signification are, generally 
speaking, sufficiently well kno^vm to warrant a certain 
conclusion ; and accordingly, as the reader may ob- 
serve, I have interpreted them in abnost all cases 
mthout any appearance of hesitation or uncertainty. 
There are indeed names in every part of the country, 
about whose meanings we are still in the dark ; but 
these I have generally avoided, for I believe it to be 
not only useless but pernicious, to indidge in conjec- 
ture where certainty, or something approaching it, 
is not attainable. I have given my authority when- 
ever I considered it necessary or important ; but as 
it would be impossible to do so in all cases without 
encumbering the book with references, and in order 
to remove any doubt as to the correctness of the in- 
tei'pretations, I shall give here a shoii; sketch of the 
various methods by which the meanings have been 

I. A vast number of our local names are perfectly 
intelligible, as they stand in their present anglicised 
orthogro.phy, to any person who has studied the pho- 
netic laws by which they have been reduced from 
ancient to modem forms. There can be no doubt 
that the Irish name of Camcknadarriff, in the parish 
of Annahilt, county of Down, is Carraig-na-dtarhhy 

CHAP. I.] Hotc the Meanings have heen ascertained. 3 

the rock of the bulls ; that Boherboy, the name of a 
village in Cork, and of several places in other eoim- 
ties, means yellow road (Botha r-buidhe) ; or that 
Knockaunbaun, in Galway and Mayo, signifies white 
little hill. 

But this process requires check and caution ; the 
modem forms, however obvious in appearance, are 
often treacherous ; and whoever relies on them witli 
un watchful confidence will sooner or later be led into 
eiTor. Carrick-on-Suii' is vrhat it appears to be, for 
the Four Masters and other authorities ^Tite it Car- 
raig-na-Siuire, the rock of the Suir, and it appeare to 
have got its name from a large rock in the bed of the 
river. But if any one should interpret Carrick-on- 
Shannon in the same way, he would find himself 
mistaken. The old English name of the toTVTi was 
'Carrickdrumrusk, as it appears on the Down Survey 
maj) ; but the first part should be Carra, not Carrick, 
to which it has been corrupted ; for the place got its 
name not from a rock, but from an ancient carra or 
weir across the Shannon, and accordingly the Four 
Masters write it Caradh-droma-ruisc^ the weir of 
Drumi'oosk. Drumroosk itself is the name of seve- 
ral toT\Tilands in the noiih-western counties, and 
signifies the ridge of the roosk or marsh. 

II. In numerous other cases, when the original 
fonns are so far disguised by their English dress, as 
to be in any degree doubtful, they may be discovered 
by causing the names to be pronounced in Irish by 
the natives of the respective localities. When pro- 
nounced in this manner, they become in general per- 
fectly intelligible to an Irish scholar — as much so as 
file names Queensto^Ti and Newcastle are to the 
reader. Lisnanees is the name of a place near Let- 
terkenny, and whoever would undei^ake to interpret 


4 The Irish Local Name System, [part. i. 

it as it stands would probably find himself puzzled ; 
but it becomes plain enough when you hear the 
natives pronounce it with a ^ in the end, which has 
been lately dropped : — Lios-na-naosg, the fort of the 

There is a small double lake, or rather two little 
lakes close together, thi^ee miles from GrlengariJff in 
Cork, on the left of the road to Castleto^vn Bere- 
haven. They are called on the maps Lough Avaul — 
a name I could never imderstand, till I heard the 
local pronunciation, which at once removed the diffi- 
culty ; the people call it Lough-aiV'WOul, which any 
one with a little knowledge of Irish will recognise as 
Loch-dha-hhaU, the lake of the two spots, a name that 
describes it with perfect correctness. 

Take as another example Ballylongford, near the 
Shannon in Kerry : as it stands it is deceptive, the 
first part of the name being apparently Bally, a town, 
which in reality it is not. I have a hundred times 
heard it pronounced by the natives, who always call 
it in Irish Beal-atha-loyigphort^ the ford-mouth of the 
foi^:ress. The name was originally applied to the 
ford over the little river, long before the erection of 
the bridge ; and it was so called, no doubt, because 
it led to the longphort or fortress of Carrigafoyle, 
two miles distant. 

Of this mode of arriving at the original forms of 
names I have made ample use ; I have had great 
numbers of places named in Irish, either in the very 
localities, or by natives whom I have met fi'om time 
to tune in Dublin ; and in this respect I have got 
much valuable information from the national school- 
masters who come twice a year from every part of 
Ireland to the Central Training Establishment in 

CHAP. I.] How the Meanings have been ascertained. 5 

Dublin. But in tliis method, also, the investigator 
must be very cautious ; names are often corrupted in 
Irish as well as in English, and the pronunciation 
of the people should be tested, whenever possible, by 
higher authority. 

The more intelligent of the Irish-speaking pea- 
santry may often assist the inquirer in determining 
the meaning also ; but here he must proceed with 
the utmost circumspection, and make careful use of 
his own experience and judgment. It is very dan- 
gerous to depend on the etymologies of the people, 
who are full of imagination, and will often quite dis- 
tort a word to meet some fancifid derivation ; or they 
will account for a name by some silly story obviously 
of recent invention, and, so far as the origin of the 
name is concerned, not worth a moment's considera- 

The well-known castle of Carrigogunnell, near the 
Shannon in Limerick, is universally understood by 
the inhabitants to mean the candle rock, as if it were 
Carmig-na-geoinneaU ; and they tell a wild legend, to 
account for the name, about a certain old witch, who 
in times long ago lived on it, and every night lighted 
an enchanted candle, which could be seen far over 
the plain of Limerick, and which immediately struck 
dead any person who caught even its faintest glim- 
mer. She was at last vanquished and destroyed by 
St. Patrick, but she and her candle are immortalised 
in many modem tourist books, and, among others, 
in Mrs. Hall's " Ireland," where the reader will find 
a well-told version of the story. But the Foui' 
Masters mention the place repeatedly, and always 
call it Carraig-0-gCoinnelI., which admits of no exer- 
cise of the imagination, and banishes the old witch 

6 The Irish Local Na)nc System. [part i. 

and lier candle more rutlilessly than even St. Patrick 
himself, for it means simply the rock of the O'Con- 
nells, who were no doubt the original owners. 

The meaning of a name, othermse doubtful, will 
often be explained by a knowledge of the locality. 
Quilcagh moimtain, in the north-west of CavaUj at 
the base of which the Shannon rises, is called in Irish 
by the inhabitants, Cailceach, which literally signi- 
fies ehalk}^ (Ir. calk, chalk ; Lat. calx) ; and the first 
view of the hill ^ill show the correctness of the 
name ; for it presents a remarkably white face, due 
to the presence of quartz pebbles, which are even 
brought do^^i in the beds of streams, and are used 
for garden walks, &c. 

Carrantuohill, in Kerry, the highest mountain in 
Ireland, is always called tln'oughout Munster, Car- 
raunthooliill, and the peasantry will tell you that it 
means an inverted reaping-hook, a name which is 
apparently so absurd for a mountain, that many re- 
ject the intei'pretation as mere silliness. Yet who- 
ever looks at the peak fi^om about the middle of the 
Hag's Yalley, will see at once that the people are 
quite right ; it descends on the Killamey side by a 
curved edge, which the spectator catches in profile, 
all jagged and serrated with great masses of rock 
projecting like teeth, without a single inten^uption, 
almost the whole way down. The word tuathail 
[thoohill] means literally left-handed ; but it is ap- 
plied to anything reversed from its proper du*ection 
or position ; and the great peak is most correctly de- 
scribed by the name Carydn-tuathail, for the edge is 
toothed like the edge of a carrdn, or reaping-hook ; 
but it is a reaping-hook reversed, for the teeth are on 
a convex instead of a concave edge. 

III. The late Dr. O'Donovan, Avhile engaged in 

CHAP. I.] Hoiv the Meanings have been ascertained. 7 

the Ordnance Survey, travelled over a great part of 
Ireland, collecting information on the traditions, 
tojDography, and antiquities of the country. The re- 
sults of these investigations he embodied in a series 
of letters, which are now deposited in the Eoyal Irish 
Academy, bound up in volumes, and they form the 
most valuable body of information on Irish topo- 
graphy in existence. 

His usual plan was to seek out the oldest and most 
intelligent of the Irish-speaking peasantry in each 
locfility, many of whom are named in his letters ; 
and besides numberless other inquiries, he caused 
them to pronounce the to^Tiland and other names, 
and used their assistance in interpreting them. His 
interpretations are contained in what are called the 
Field name Books, a series of several thousand small 
parchment- covered volumes, now lying tied up in 
bundles, in the Ordnance Office, Phoenix Park. The 
names of all the to^vTilands, towns, and paiishes, and 
of CAxry important physical feature in Ireland, are 
contained in these books, restored to theii' original 
Irish fonns, and translated into English, as far as 
O 'Donovan's o^tl knowledge, and the infoiTaation he 
received, enabled him to detennine. 

There are, however, numerous localities in every 
one of the thirty- two counties that he was unable to 
visit personally, and in these cases, instead of him- 
self hearing the names pronounced, he was obliged 
to content himself with the various modes of spelling 
them prevalent in the neighbourhood, or with the 
pronunciation taken down by others from the mouths 
of the people, as nearly as they were able to repre- 
sent it by English letters. He had a wonderful 
instinct in arri\Tng at the meanings of names, but 
the information he received from deputies often left 

8 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

hiin in great doubt, which he not unfreqnently ex- 
presses ; and his interpretations, in such cases, are to 
be received with caution, based as they often are, on 
corrupt spelling, or on this doubtful information. 

So far as time permitted, I have consulted O'Do- 
novan's letters, and the Field name Books, and I 
have made full use of the information derived from 
these sources. I have had frequently to use my own 
judgment in correcting what other and older autho- 
rities proved to be erroneous, but I do not wish, by 
this remark, to underrate the value a,nd extent of 
the information I have received from O'Donovan's 
manuscript wTitings, 

I will give a few illustrations of names recovered 
in this way. There is a townland in Cavan called 
Castleterra, which gives name to a parish ; the proper 
pronunciation, as O'Donovan found by conversation 
mth the people, is Cussatirri/, representing the Irish 
Cos-a' -tsiormigh, the foot of the colt, w^hich has been 
so strangely corrupted ; they accounted for the name 
by a legend, and they showed him a stone in the 
townland on which was the impression of a colt's foot. 

In the parish of Kilmore, in the same county, the 
townland of DeiTywinny was called, by an intelligent 
old man, Boire-bhainne, and interpreted, both by him 
and O'Donovan, the oak grove of the milk ; so called, 
very probably, from a grove where cows used to be 
milked. FamamiuTy, near Nenagh, in Tipperary, 
was pronounced Farramjmurnj, showing that the 
name is much shortened, and really signifies 'Mur- 
ray's land ; and Ballyhoos, in Clonfert, Gralway, was 
stripped of its deceptive garb by being called Bile- 
chuais, the old tree of the cave. 

lY. We have a vast quantity of topographical and 
other literature, written from a very early period 

CHAP. I.] How the Meanings have been ascertained, 9 

down to the 17th century, in the Irish language, by 
native writers. Much of this has been lately pub- 
lished and translated, but far the greater part remains 
still unpublished. 

Grenerally speaking, the writers of these manu- 
scripts were singularly careful to transmit the correct 
ancient forms of such names of places as they had 
occasion to mention ; and accordingly it may be 
stated as a rule, subject to occasional exceptions, that 
the same names are always found spelled in the same 
way by all our ancient writers, or with trifling diffe- 
rences depending on the period in which they were 
transcribed, and not affecting the etymology. 

At those early times, the names which are now 
for the most part unmeaning sounds to the people 
using them, were quite intelligible, especially to 
skilled Irish scholars, and this accounts for the almost 
universal correctness with wliich they have been 
transmitted to us. 

This is one of the most valuable of all sources of 
information to a student of Irish local names, and it 
is, of course, of higher authority than those I have 
ah-eady enumerated : with the ancient forms restored, 
it usually requires only a competent knowledge of 
the Irish language to understand and interpret them. 
I have consulted all the published volumes, and also 
several of the unpublished manuscripts in Trinity 
College and the Eoyal Irish Academy. Great num- 
bers of the names occurring in the texts have been 
translated in foot notes by the editors of the various 
published manuscripts, and I have generally availed 
myself of their authority. A list of the principal 
works abeady published will be found in the Preface. 

Many of the local names occurring in these manu- 
scripts are extinct, but the greater number exist at 

10 The Irish Local Name Sf/sfem. [part i. 

the present day, though disguised in an English 
dress, and often very much altered. In every such 
case it becomes a question to identify the ancient 
mth the modem name — to show that the latter is 
only a diiferent form of the former, and that they 
both apply to the same locality. A great deal has 
been done in this direction by Dr. O'Donovan, 
Dr. Eeeves, and other editors of the published 
manuscripts, and I have generally adopted theii' 

This method of investigation will be understood 
fi'om the follo^\ing examples : — At the year 586, it 
is stated by the Four Masters that Bran Dubh, King 
of Leinster, gained a battle over the Hy Neill " at 
the hill over Cluain-Conaire '/^ and they also record 
at the year 837, that a great royal meeting took place 
there, between Niall Caille, king of Ireland, and 
Felimy (son of Criffan), king of Mimster. In a 
gloss to the Calendar of Aengus the Culdee, at the 
16th of- September, Claain-Conaire is stated to be 
" in the north of II>/ FaeJain ;" and this clearly 
identifies it with the modem to^vTiland of Cloncurry, 
wliich gives name to a parish in Kildare, between 
Kilcock and Innfield, since we know that Hy Faelain 
was a territory occupying the north of that county. 
As a further corroboration of this, the old translator 
of the Annals of Ulster, in rendering the record of 
the meeting in 837, makes the name Cloncurry. 

Once we have arrived at the form Cluain- Conaire, 
the meaning is sufficiently obvious ; it signifies Co- 
nary's la^vn or meadow ; but who this Conary was, we 
have no means of knowing. (See O'Donovan's Four 
Masters, Yol. I., p. 457). 

Ballymagowan is the name of some townlands in 
Donegal and Tyrone, and signifies M'Gowan's town. 

CHAP. I.] Sow the Aleanings have been ascertained. 11 

But Balljanagowan, near Derry, is a very different 
name, as will appear by reference to some old autho- 
rities. In Sampson's map it is called Ballygowan, 
and in the Act 4 Anne, " Ballygan, alias Bally- 
gowan ;" while in an Inquisition, taken at Derry in 
1605, it is designated by the English name Canons' 
land. From all this it is obviously the place men- 
tioned in the following record in the Yoxvc Masters, 
at 1537 : — " The son of O'Doherty was slain in a 
nocturnal assault by Rury, son of Felim O'Doherty, 
at BaUe-na-gcananach [Ballynagananagh] , in the Ter- 
mon of Derry." This old Irish name signifies the 
to^Ti of the canons, a meaning preserved in the Inq. 
of 1605 ; while the intermediate forms between the 
ancient and the modem very corrupt name are given 
in Sampson and in the Act of Anne. 

In Adamnan's Life of St. Columba (Lib. ii. Cap. 
43) it is related, that on one occasion, while the saint 
was in Ireland, he undertook a join-ney, in which 
" he had for his charioteer Columbanus, son of 
Echuid, a holy man, and founder of a monastery, 
called in the Scotic tongue Snamh-Luthiry In the 
Life of St. Fecliin, published by Colgan (Act. SS. 
p. 136 b.), we are informed that " the place which is 
called Snamh-Lidhir is in the region of Carhve- 
Gahhraf and 'Donovan has shown that Carbery- 
Goura was a territory situated in the north-east of 
Longford; but the present identification renders it 
evident that it extended northwards into Cavan. 

In an Inquisition taken at Cavan in 1609, the fol- 
lowing places are mentioned as situated in the barony 
of Loughtee : — " Trinitie Island scituate near the 
Toagher, * * * Clanlaskin, Derry, Bleyncupp 
and Dromore, Snawlugker and Killevallie" (Ulster 
Inq. App. ^di.) ; Snawlugher being evidently the 

12 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

ancient Snamh-Lufhir. We find these names exist- 
ing at tlie present day in the parish of Kilmore, in 
this barony, near the to^Ti of Cavan, in the modem 
forms of Togher, Clonloskan, Derries, Bleancup, 
Drummore, Killyvally, Trinity Island ; and there 
is another modern townland called Slanore, which, 
though more altered than the others, is certainly 
the same as Snawlugher. If this reqnii-ed further 
proof, we have it in the fact, that in Petty's map 
Slanore is called Snalore, which gives the interme- 
diate step. 

Snamh-Luthir is very well represented in pronun- 
ciation by Snawlughir of the Inquisition. This was 
shortened by Petty to Snalore without much sacri- 
fice of sound ; and this, by a metathesis common in 
Irish names, was altered to Slanore. Luthir is a 
man's name of frequent occurrence in our old MSS., 
and Snamh-Lufhir signifies the swimming-ford of 
Luthir. This ingenious identification is due to Dr. 
Reeves. (See Reeves's Adamnan, p. 173.) 

V. Some of the early ecclesiastical and historical 
TVTiters, who used the Latin language, very often 
when they had occasion to mention places, gave, in- 
stead of the native name, the Latin equivalent, or 
they gave the Irish name accompanied by a Latin 
translation. Instances of this kind are to be found 
in the pages of Adamnan, Bede, Giraldus Cam- 
brensis, Colgan, O'Sullivan Beare, and others. Of 
all the sources of information accessible to me, this, 
so far as it extends, is the most authentic and satis- 
factory ; and accordingly I have collected and re- 
corded every example of suificient importance that I 
could find. 

These men, besides being, many of them, pro- 
foundly skilled in the Irish language, and speaking 


CHAP. I.] Hoio the Meanings have been ascertained. 13 

it as tlieir motlier tongue, lived at a time when the 
local names of the country were well understood ; their 
interpretations are in almost all cases beyond dispute, 
and serve as a guide to students of the present day, 
not only in the very names they have translated, 
but in many others of similar structure, or formed 
from the same roots. How far this is the case will 
appear from the following examples. 

St. Columba erected a monastery at Durrow, in the 
King's County, aboiit the year 550, and it continued 
afterwards during his whole life one of his favomite 
places. The old Irish form of the name is Dairniag 
or Dearniagh, as we find it in Adanman : — "A 
monastery, which in Scotic is called Dai r mag f^ and 
for its interpretation we have also his authority ; for 
when he mentions it in Lib. i. Cap. 29, he uses 
the Latin equivalent, calling it " Boboreti campus," 
the plain of the oajis. Bede also gives both the 
Irish name and the translation in the following 
passage: — "Before he (Columba) passed over into 
Britain, he had built a noble monastery in Ireland, 
which, fi'om the great nimiber of oaks, is in the 
Scotic language called Dcarmagh, the field of the 
oaks," (Lib. iii. Cap. 4). Dair, an oak; magh, a 

It is hardly necessary to remark that the name 
was in use ages before the time of St. Columba, who 
adopted it as he found it ; and it has been softened 
down to the present name by the aspiration of the 
consonants, Dearmhagh being pronounced Dancah, 
which gradually sunk to Durrow. 

Durrow, on the borders of the Queen's County and 
Kilkenny, has the same original form and meaning, 
for we find it so called in O'Clery's Calendar at the 
20th of October, where St. Maeldubh is mentioned 

14 The Irish Local Name System. [pakt i. 

as "from Dermagh in Hy Diiach, in the nortli of 
Ossoiy ;" which passage also shows that Duitow, 
though now included in the Queen's County, for- 
merly belonged to the territory of Idough, in Kil- 

There are several to^^Tilands in other parts of Ire- 
land called Durrow, Durra, and Durha ; and although 
we have no ^Titten evidence of their ancient forms, 
yet, aided by the pronunciations of the peasantry, 
and guided by the analogy of Diutow, we cannot 
hesitate to pronounce that they are all modem forms 
of Dcarmhagh. 

We find the same term forming part of the name 
of Dunderrow, a village and parish in Cork, whose 
ancient name is preserved in the following entry 
from the Book of Leinster, a MS. of the 12th century, 
recording an event that occmTed early in the ninth : — 
" By them (i. e. the Danes) werQ demolished Dun-der- 
tnaigi and Inis-Eoganain''^ (Owenan's or little Owen's 
island or river-holm, now Inishannon on the river 
Bandon : " Wars of GrGr.," p. 223) . Dunderrow signi- 
fies the fortress of the oak-plain, and the large dun from 
which it is called is still in existence in the town- 
L^md of Dunderrow, half a mile south of the village. 

I^rumhome, in Donegal, takes its name from an 
ancient chm'ch originally dedicated to St. Adamnan 
(see O'Clery's Calendar at 23rd Sept.) . O'Clery and 
the Four Masters call it Drmm-tuama^ which seems 
to imply that they took it to mean the ridge of the 
tumulus. Adamnan himself, however, mentions it in 
his Life of St. Colimiba (Lib. iii. Cap. 23) by the 
equivalent Latin name Dorsum Tommw ; and Colgan 
(A. SS. p. 9, n. 6) notices this, adding the words, 
" for the Irish druim signifies the same as the Latin 
dorsum.'*^ From which it appears evident that both 

CHAP. I.] Row the Meanings have been ascertained. 15 

Adamnan and Colgan regarded Tommse as a personal 
name, for if it meant tumulus, the former would, no 
doubt, have translated it as he did the first part, and 
the latter would be pretty sure to have a remark on 
it. The name, therefore, signifies the ridge or long 
hill of Tomma, a pagan woman's name. 

About four miles from Bantry, on the road to 
Inchigeela, are the ruins of Carriganass castle, once 
a stronghold of the O'Sullivans. O'Sullivan Beare 
mentions it in his History of the Irish Catholics, and 
calls it Tor rent iri(j)es, which is an exact translation 
of the Irish name Carraig-an-easa, the rock of the 
cataract ; and it takes its name from a beautiful 
cascade, where the Ouvane falls over a ledge of rocks, 
near the castle. 

There is another place of the same name in the 
parish of Ardagh, near Youghal, and another still in 
the parish of Lackan, Mayo ; while, in Armagh and 
in TjT?one, it takes the form of Carrickaness — all de- 
riving their name from a rock in the bed of a stream, 
forming a waterfall. 

YI. When the Irish original of a name is not 
known, it may often be discovered from an old form 
of the anglicised name. These early English forms 
are found in old documents of various kinds in the 
English or Latin language — inquisitions, maps, char- 
ters, rolls, leases, &c., as well as in the pages of the 
early Anglo-Irish historical writers. The names 
found in these documents have been embalmed on 
their pages, and preserved from that continual pro- 
cess of corruption to which modern names have been 
subjected ; such as they sprang from their Irish 
som^ce they have remained, while many of the corre- 
sponding modern names have been altered in various 

16 TJie Irish Local Nainc System. [part i. 

They were ob^dously, in many instances, taken 
do^Ti from the native pronunciation ; and very often 
they transmit the original sonnd sufficiently near to 
suggest at once to an Irish scholar, practised in these 
matters, the proper Irish foiTQ. Drs. 'Donovan and 
Beeves have made much use of this method, and I 
have succeeded, by means of it, in recovering the Irish 
forms of many names. 

Ballybough, the name of a -village near Dublin, is 
obscure as it stands ; but in an Inquisition of James 
I., it is called Ballybought, which at once suggests the 
true Irish name Baile-hocht,, j)^^^ town ; and Bally- 
bought, the correct anglicised form, is the name of 
some to^\Tilands in Antrim, I\Ildare, Cork, and Wex- 

Cappancur, near G-eashill, King's County, is men- 
tioned in an Inquisition of James I., and spelled 
KeapancuiTagh, which very fairly represents the pro- 
nunciation of the Irish Ceapach-an-churraigh, the 
tillage-plot of the curragh or marsh. 

There is a townland in the parish of Aghaboe, 
Queen's County, the name of which all modern au- 
thorities concur in calling Kilminfojde. It is cei-tain, 
however, that the n in the middle syllable has been 
substituted for /, for it is spelled in the Down Survey 
map Killmullfoyle : this makes it perfectly clear, for 
it is a very good attempt to wiite the Irish CUJ-Maol- 
phoil, MuJfoyle's Chui'ch, Mulfoyle being a man's 
name of common occuiTcnce, signifying St. Paul's 

It would be impossible to guess at the meaning of 
Ballyboughlin, the name of a place near Clara, King's 
County, as it now stands ; but here also the Down 
Survey opens the way to the original name, by spell- 
ing it Bealaboclone, from which it is obvious that the 

CHAP. II.] Systematic Changes, 17 

Irish name is Beal-atha-hochhiana, the ford of the cow- 
meadow, the last part, hochluain^ cow-meadow, being 
a very usual local designation. 



There are many interesting peculiarities in the 
process of altering Irish topographical names from 
ancient to modem English forms ; and the changes 
and corruptions they have undergone are, in nume- 
rous instances, the result of phonetic laws that have 
been in operation from the earliest times, and among 
diBPerent races of people. Irish names, moreover, 
afford the only existing record of the changes that 
Irish words undergo in the mouths of English-speak- 
ing people ; and, for these reasons, the subject ap- 
pears to me to possess some importance, both in an 
antiquarian and philological point of view. 

I. Irish Pronunciation preserved, — In anglicising 
Irish names, the leading general rule is, that the 
present forms are derived from the ancient Irish, as 
they were spoken, not as they were written. Those 
who first committed them to TVTiting aimed at pre- 
serving the original pronunciation, by representing 
it as nearly as they were able in English letters. 
Grenerally speaking, this principle explains the altera- 
tions that were made in the spelling of names in the 
process of reducing them from ancient to modem 
forms ; and, as in the Irish language there is much 
elision and softening of consonants ; as, consequently, 
the same sounds usually take a greater number of 

18 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

letters to represent them in Irish than in English ; 
and since, in addition to this, many of the delicate 
sounds of the Irish words were wholly omitted, as 
impossible to be represented in English ; for all these 
reasons the modem English forms of the names are 
almost always shoi^er than the ancient Irish. 

Allowing for the difficulty of representing Irish 
words by English letters, it will be found that, on 
the whole, the ancient pronunciation is fairly pre- 
served. For example, Drummuck, the name of 
several places in Ulster, preserves almost exactly the 
sound of the Irish Dndm-mue, the ridge of the pigs ; 
and the same raebj be said of Dungarvan, in Water- 
ford and Kilkenny, the Irish form of which is Dun- 
Garhhain (Fom- Mast.), meaning Grarvan's fortress. 
Not quite so well preserved, but still tolerably so, is 
the sound oiBaile-a^-ridire [Ballj^ariddery] , the town 
of the knight, which is nov/ called Babotherj^ near 
Dublin. In some exceptional cases the attempts to 
represent the sound were very unsuccessful, of which 
Ballyagran, the name of a village in Limerick, may 
be cited as an example ; it ought to have been an- 
glicised Bellahagran, the original form being Bel- 
atha-greariy the ford-mouth of the gravel. Cases of 
tliis kind are more common in Ulster and Leinster 
than in the other provinces. 

Wlienever it so happens that the original com- 
bination of letters is pronounced nearly the same in 
Irish and English, the names are commonly modern- 
ized without much alteration either of spelling or 
pronunciation ; as for instance, dun, a fort, is usually 
anglicised dun or doon ; ho, a cow, bo ; druim, a long 
hill, drum ; leitir, a wet hill side, letter, &c. In most 
cases, however, the same letters do not represent the 
same sounds in the two languages ; and, accordingly^ 

CHAP. II.] Systematic Changes. 19 

while the pronunciation was preserved, the original 
orthography was in almost all cases much altered, 
and, as I have said, generally shortened. The con- 
traction in the spelling is sometimes very striking, of 
which Lorum, in Carlow, affords a good illustration, 
the Irish name being Leamhdhruim, the dram or ridge 
of the elms. 

II. As})! rat ion. — The most common causes of 
change in the reduction of Irish names, are aspii^ation 
and eclipsis ; and of the effects of these two gram- 
matical accidents, it will be necessarj^ to give some 

O'Donovan defines aspiration — "The changing of 
the radical sounds of the consonants, fi^om being 
stops of the breath to a sibilance, or fi^om a stronger 
to a weaker sibilance :" so that the aspiration of a 
consonant results in a change of sound. There are 
nine of the consonants which, in certain situations, 
may be aspirated, &, c, d, /, g, m, p, s, and t. The 
aspiration is denoted either by placing a point over 
the letter (c), or an h after it {ch) ; by this con- 
trivance letters that are aspii-ated are still retained 
in writing, though their sounds are wholly altered. 
But as, in anglicising names, these aspii^ated sounds 
were expressed in English by the very letters that 
represented them, there was, of course, a change of 

B and m aspirated {hJi^ ?nh), are both sounded like 
V or u; and, consequently, where we find bh or ?nh in 
an Irish name, we generally have r or w in the Eng- 
lish form : examples, Ardvally, in Sligo and Donegal, 
from the Irish Ard-bhaile, high town ; Ballinvana, 
in Limerick, Baile-an-b/iana, the town of the green 
field ; Ballinwully,in 'Roscommon, Baik-an-?rihullaigh, 
the town of the summit. 


20 The Irish Local Name Systcrn. [part i. 

Very often they are represented by / in English, 
as we see in Cloondaff, in Mayo, from Cluain-damh^ 
ox meadow ; Boherduff, the name of several town- 
lands in various counties, Bofhar-diibh, black-road. 
And not unfrequently they are altogether suppressed, 
especially in the end of words, or between two vowels, 
as in Knockdoo, in Wicklow, the same as Knockduff, 
in other places, Cnoc-duhh, black hill ; Knocki^our or 
Knockrower, in the southern counties, which has 
been made Knockramer, in Aimagh, all from Cnoc- 
reamha}\ fat or thick hill. 

For c aspirated see next Chapter. 

D and g aspirated (r//?, gh)^ have a faint guttural 
sound not existing in English ; it is something like 
the sound of y (in yore), which occasionally represents 
it in modern names, as in Annayalla, in Monaghan, 
Eanaigh-gheala, the white marshes, so called, pro- 
bably, from whitish grass or white bog flowers. But 
these letters, which even in Irish are, in some situa- 
tions, not sounded, are generally altogether unrepre- 
sented in English names, as in Lisnalee, a common 
local name in difierent parts of the country, which 
represents the Irish Lios-na-laogh, the fort of the 
calves, a name having its origin in the custom of 
penning calves at night within the enclosure of the 
lis ; Heanabrone, near Limerick city, Reidh-na-hrov, 
the marshy flat of the mill-stone or quern ; Ballintoy, 
in Antrim, Baile-an-tuaidh, the town of the north. 

F aspirated {fh) totally loses its sound in Irish, and 
of course is omitted in English, as in Bauraneag, in 
Limerick, Barr-an-fhiaigh, the hill top of the deer; 
Knockanree, in Wicklow, Cnoc-an-fhraoigh, the hill 
of the heath. 

P aspirated (|;A) is represented by /, as in Ballin- 
foyle, the name of a place in WickloAv, and of ano- 

ciiAr. II.] Systematic Changes. 21 

ther near Galwaj, Baile-an-plioiU^ the town of the 
hole ; Shanlongford, in Derry, Sean-Iongphort^ the 
old fortification. 

8 and t aspirated {sh, t/i), both sound the same as 
English /?, as in Drunihillagh, a townland name of 
frequent occurrence in some of the Ulster counties, 
Dniim-shaileaeh, the ridge of the sallows, which also 
often takes the form Drimisillagh, where the original 
s sound is retained ; Drumhuskert, in Mayo, Druim- 
thuaisceart, northern drum or ridge. 

III. EeU2)sis. — O'Donovan defines eclipsis, " The 
suppression of the sounds of certain radical consonants 
by prefixing others of the same organ." When one 
letter is eclipsed by another, both are retained in 
TSTiting, but the sound of the latter onl}^ is heard, 
that of the former, which is the letter proper to the 
word, being suppressed. For instance, when d is 
eclipsed by n it is wiitten n-d, but the n alone is pro- 
nounced. In representing names by English letters, 
however, the sound only was transmitted, and, con- 
sequently, the eclipsed letter was wholly omitted in 
wi'iting, which, as in case of aspiration, resulted in a 
change of letter. 

" All initial consonants that admit of eclipsis are 
eclipsed in all nouns in the genitive case plural, when 
the article is expressed, and sometimes even in the 
absence of the article" (O'Donovan's Grrammar). S 
is eclipsed also, under similar circumstances, in the 
genitive singular. Although there are several other 
conditions under which consonants are eclipsed, this, 
with a very few exceptions, is the only case that 
occurs in local names. 

The consonants that are eclipsed are h, e, d,/, r/, 
p, s, t ; and each has a special eclipsing letter of its 

22 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

B is eclipsed by m. Liignamuclclagli, near Boyle, 
Roscommon, represents tlie Irish Lnq-na-mhodach^ the 
hollow of the hodaghs or churls ; Knocknamoe, near 
Abbeyleix, Queen's County, Cnoc-na-mbo, the hill 
of the cows ; Mullaghnamoyagh, in Derry, MuUach- 
iia-mhoifheach, the hill of the byres, or cow-houses. 

C is eclipsed by r/. KnocknaguUiagh, Antrim, is 
reduced from the Irish Cnoc-na-rjcoi/Ieach , the hill of 
the cocks or grouse ; Cloonagashel, near Ballinrobe, 
ought to have been anglicised Coolnagashel, for the 
Four Masters ^Tite the name Cuil-na-gcaiseal, the 
angle of the cashels, or stone forts. 

J) and g are both eclipsed by /?. KilljTiamph, in 
the parish of Aghalurcher, Fermanagh, CoiU-na- 
ndamh, the wood of the oxen ; Mullananallog in 
Monaghan, MnUach-na-ndeaJg, the summit of the 
thorns or thorn bushes. The eclipsis of^ very seldom 
causes a change, for in this case the n and g coalesce 
in sound in the Irish, and the g is commonly retained 
and the n rejected in the English forms ; as, for in- 
stance, Cnoc-na-ngahhar [Knock-mmg-our], the hill 
of the goats, is anglicised Knocknagore in Sligo and 
Down, and Knocknagower in Kerry. 

F is eclipsed by hh, which is represented by v in 
English. Carrignavar, one of the seats of the McCar- 
thys in Cork, is in Irish Carraig-^ia'hhfear, the rock 
of the men ; Altnaveagh, in Tyrone and Armagh, 
Alt-na-hhfiach, the cliff of the ravens ; Lisnaviddoge, 
near Templemore, Tipperary, Lios-na-hhfeadog^ the Us , 
or fort of the plovers. 

P is eclipsed by b. Gortnaboul, in Kerry and 
Clare, Gort-na-hpon, the field of the holes ; Coma-- 
baste, in Cavan, Cor-na-bpiast, the round hill of the 
worms or enchanted serpents. 

S is eclipsed by t^ but this occurs only in the geni- 

CHAP. II.] Systematic Changes. 23 

tive singular, with the article, and sometimes mthout 
it. Ballintaggart, the name of several places in 
various counties from Down to Kerry, represents the 
Irish Baile-an-fsagairt, the town of the priest, the 
same name as Ballysaggart, which retains the s, as 
the article is not used ; Knockatancashlane, near 
Caherconlish, Limerick, Cnoc-a^-tsean-caisledin, the 
hill of the old castle ; Kiltenanlea, in Clare, (?///- 
tSendin-kith, the church of Senan the hoary ; Kilte- 
nan, in Limerick, CiU-tSenain, Senan's church. 

T is eclipsed by d. Ballynadolly, in Antrim, 
Baile-na-dtulach, the toT\Ti of the little hills ; G-ortna- 
dullagh, near Kenmare, Gort-na-dtulaeh, the field of 
the lulls ; Lisnadurk, in Fermanagh, Lios-na-dtorc, 
the fort of the boars. 

IV. Effects of the Article. — The next series of 
changes I shall notice are those produced under the 
influence of the article. Names were occasionally 
formed by prefixing the Irish definite article an, to 
noims, as in case of Anveyerg, in the parish of Agh- 
namidlan, Monaghan, which represents the Irish 
An-hheith-dhearg, the reel birch-tree. When the arti- 
cle was in this manner placed before a word begin- 
ning with a vowel, it was frequently contracted to n 
alone, and this n was often incorporated with its 
noun, losing ultimately its force as an article, and 
forming permanently a part of the word. The at- 
traction of the article is common in other languages 
also, as for instance in French, which has the words 
Ihierre, lendemain, luette, Lisle, Lami, and many 
others, formed by the incorporation of the article /. 

A considerable number of Irish names have incor- 
porated the article in this manner ; among others, 
the foUov/ing : Naul, the name of a village near Bal- 
briggan. The Irish name is an aill, i. e. the rock or 

24 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

cliff, wliicli was originally applied to the perpendi- 
cular rock on which the castle stands— rising over 
the little river Delvin near the village. The word 
was shortened to n'aill, and it has descended to us in 
the present form Naul, which very nearly represents 
the pronunciation. 

The parish of Neddans, in Tipperary, is called in 
Irish na feaddin, the brooks or streamlets, and it 
took its name from a townland which is now often 
called Fearann'na-hhfeaddn, the land of the streamlets. 
Ninch, in Meath, the inch or island. Naan island, 
in Lough Erne, the ain or ring, so called from its 
shape ; Nart, in Monaghan, an f heart, the grave. 

Nuenna river, in parish of Freshford, Ealkenny — 
an uaithne, the green river. The river Nore is pro- 
perly written an Fheoir, i. e. the Feoir ; Boate calls 
it " The Nure or Oure," showing that in his time 
(1645) the article had not been permanently incorpo- 
rated. Nobber, in Meath ; the ohair or work, a 
name applied, according to tradition, to the English 
fortress erected there. Mageoghegan, in his trans- 
lation of the "Annals of Clonmacnoise," calls it "the 

It is curious that in several of these places, a tra- 
ditional remembrance of the use of the article still 
exists, for the people often employ the English article 
with the names. Thus Naul is still always called 
" The Naul," by the inhabitants : in this both the 
Irish and English articles are used together ; but in 
" The Oil" (the aill or rock), a townland in parish 
of Edermine, Wexford, and in " The Obber," the 
Irish article is omitted, and the English used in its 

While in so many names the article has been in- 
corporated, the reverse process sometimes took place ; 

CHAP. II.] Systematic Changes. 25 

that is, in the case of certain words which properly 
began with n, this letter was detached in consequence 
of being mistaken for the article. The name Uach- 
onghhail is an example of this. The word Conghhail 
means a habitation, but it was very often applied to 
an ecclesiastical establishment, and it has been perpe- 
tuated in the names of Conwal, a parish in Donegal ; 
Conwal, in parish of Hossinver, Leitrim ; Grreat Con- 
nell in Kildare, Cimnagavale* in the parish of Tuogh, 
Limerick ; and other places. With mia (new) pre- 
fixed, it became Nuachoughhail, which also exists in 
several parts of Ireland, in the forms of Noughaval 
and Nohoval. This word is often found without the 
initial n, it being suj^posed that the proper word was 
Uackongbhail £iTid n merely the article. In tliis muti- 
lated state it exists in the modem names of at least 
three places, viz. : Oughaval, in parish of Kilmac- 
teige, Sligo ; the parish of Oughaval, in Mayo ; and 
Oughaval, in the parish of Stradbally, Queen's 
County; which last is called by its correct name, 

* This place is called Cunnaghahhail in Irish by the peo- 
ple, and it is worthy of notice, as it points directly to what 
appears to be the true origin of Conghhail^ viz., congabhail. I 
am aware that in O'Clery's Glossary, Conghhail is derived 
from comhhaile (Co7i + baile). But in a passage in the " Book 
of Armagh," as quoted by Mr. W. Stokes in his Irish Glosses, 
I find the word congabaim used in the sense of hahito, and 
O'Donovan states that congeh = he holds (Sup. to O'R. Diet.). 
The infinitive or verbal noun formation is cougabail or con- 
gahhail^ which, according to this use, means hahitatio ; and 
as Colgan translates Conghhail by the same word hahitatio, 
there can be, 1 think, no doubt that conghhail is merely a 
contracted form of congabhail. Congabhail literally means 
conception i. e. comprehending or including, and as applied to a 
habitation, would mean the whole of the premises included in 
the establishment. 

26 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

NuachonghhaU, in O'Clery's Calendar at the 15tli 

The word Uachonghail has a respectable antiquity 
in its favour, for " The Book of Uachongbhail" is 
mentioned in several old authorities, among others 
the Book of Ball}Tnote, and the Yellow Book of Le- 
can ; the name occui's also in the Four Masters at 
1197. Yet there can be no doubt that NuacJiong- 
hhail is the original word, for we have the express 
authority of Colgan that nua not tia is the prefix, as 
he translates Nuachonghhail by nova habitatio ; in- 
deed iia as a prefix could, in this case, have scarcely 
any meaning, for it never signifies anything but " a 

The sepearation of the n may be witnessed in opera- 
tion at the present da}^ in Kerry, where the parish of 
Nohoval is locally called in Irish sometimes Uacho- 
hhail and sometimes an Uachohhail, the n being ac- 
tually detached and turned into the article. (See 
O'Donovan's Letter on this parish). That the letter 
n may have been lost in tliis manner, appears also to 
be the opinion of Dr. Graves, for in a paper read 
before the B. I. Academy in December, 1852, he 
remarks that the loss of the initial n in the words 
oidhcJie (night) and iiimhir (a number) " may perhaps 
be accounted for, by supposing that it was confounded 
with the n of the article." 

The words easeu (or easgan),so[i eel, and eas (or easog)^ 
a weasel, have, in lilvc manner, lost the initial n, for 
the old forms as given in Cormac's Glossary, are 
naiscu and ness. Dr. Whitley Stokes, also, in his 
recent edition of this Glossary, directs attention to the 
Breton Ormandl for Normandy, and to the English 
adder as compared with the Irish nathir (a snake) 

CHAP. II.] Systematic Changes. 27 

and Lat. natrix ; but in tliese two last examples, it 
is probable that the article lias nothing to do with 
the loss of the n. 

As a further confirmation of this opinion regarding 
the loss of n in UaeJionghhaiJ, I may state, that the 
letter / is sometimes lost in French and Italian words 
from the very same cause ; as in Fr. once (Eng. 
ounce, an animal) , from Lat. lynx ; it was formerly 
WTitten lonce, and in the It. lonza, the / is still re- 
tained. l^T:azur (Eng. azure), from lazukis. So also 
It. uscignuolo, the nightingale, from luscima, and It. 
orhacca, a berry, from lauri-hacca. 

Another change that has been, perhaps, chiefly 
produced by the influence of the ai^icle, is the omis- 
sion or insertion of the letter/'. The article causes 
the initial consonants of feminine nouns (and in cer- 
tain cases those of masculine nouns also) to be aspi- 
rated. Now aspu-ated / is wholly silent ; and being 
omitted in pronunciation, it was, in the same circum- 
stances, often omitted in ^Titing. The Irish name of 
the river Nore affords an instance of this. Keating 
and O'Heerin w^ite it Feoir, which is sounded Foir 
when the article is prefixed {an F/ieoir). Accordingly, 
it is written v/ithout the / quite as often as with it : 
the Four Masters mention it three times, and each 
time they called it Foir. The total silence of this 
letter in aspu-ation appears to be, to some extent at 
least, the cause of its uncertain character. In the 
case of many words, the writers of Irish seem either 
to have inserted or omitted it indifferently, or to 
have been uncertain whether it should be inserted 
or not ; and so we often find it omitted even in very 
old authorities, from words where it was really 
radical, and prefixed to other words to which it did 
not belong. The insertion of / is veiy common in 

28 TJic Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

the South of Ireland. (See 'Donovan's G-rammar, 
p. 30, and O'Brien's Irish Dictionary, p. 466.) 

The following words will exemplify these remarks : 
from r////, a rock or cliff, we have a great number of 
names — such as Aillenaveagh, in Gralway, dill-na-hh- 
fiach, the ravens' cliff, &c. But it is quite as often 
called /r////, especially in the South, and this form gives 
us many names, such as Foilduff, in Kerry and Tip- 
perary, black cliff; Foylatalure, in Kilkenny, the 
tailor's cliff. Aill I believe to be the most ancient 
foiTn of this word, for AllJ-finn (Elphin) occurs in the 
Tripartite Life of St. Patrick. So with uar and fnor^ 
cold ; and Fahan, on Lough Swilly, is sometimes 
"UTitten Fafhain, and sometimes Athain, and OtJiahiy 
by the Four Masters. 

The / has been omitted by aspiration in the names 
Lughinny, in parish of Killahy, Kilkenny, and Lugh- 
anagh, in parish of Killosolan, Galway, both of which 
represent the Irish an fhliuchainc^ the wet land ; and 
also in Ahabeg, in parish of Carrigparson, Limerick, 
an fhaithche heag^ the little green. In these names, 
the article, after having caused the aspiration of the 
/, has itself dropped out ; but it has held its place 
in Nurchossy, near Clogher in Tyrone, the Irish 
name of which is an fhuar-chosac/t, the cold foot or 
cold bottom-land, so called probably from its wet- 
ness. A place of this name (Faarchosac/i), is men- 
tioned by the Four Masters at 1584, out it lies in 
Donegal ; and there is a little island in Lough 
Corrib, two miles and a half north-east from Ought- 
erard, with the strange name of Cussafoor, which 
literally signifies " cold feet." 

The /has been affixed to the following words to 
which it does not radically belong ; fati for an, 
stay ; fo/ar for e'o/ar, an eagle ; fainne for ainne, a 

CHAP. II.] Systematic Changes. 29 

ring, &c. It has also been inserted in Cnlfeightrin, 
the name of a parish in Antrim, which is properly 
Cml-eachtrann, the corner or angle of the strangers. 
Umey, in Tyrone, is often called Firniy, as in the 
record of Primate C olt on 's Visitation (1397), and the 
/ is also prefixed in the Taxation of Down, Connor, 
and Dromore (1306), both showing that the corrup- 
tion is not of recent origin. 

I must notice yet another change produced by the 
article. When it is prefixed to a masculine noun 
commencing with a vowel, a t should be inserted be- 
tween it and the noun, as anam, soul, an tanam, the 
soul.* In the case of a few names, this t has re- 
mained, and has become incorporated Tvith the word, 
while the article has disapjDeared. For example, 
Turagh, in parish of Tuogh, Limerick, i. e. an 
t-'mhhrach, the yew land; Tummery, in parish of 
Dromore, Tjnrone, an t-iomaire, the ridge ; so also 
Tassan, in Monaghan, the assan or little cataract ; 
Tardree, in Antrim, an tard-fhraoigh., the height of 
the heather. The best known example of this is 
Tempo, in Fermanagh, which is called in Irish an 
t-iornpodh deisiol, iompodh meaning tui'ning, and 
deisiol, dextrorsum — from left to right. The place 
received its name, no doubt, from the ancient custom 
of turning sun-ways, i. e. from left to right in wor- 

Y. Provincial Differences of Tronunciafion. — There 
are certain Irish words and classes of words, which 
by the Irish-speaking people are pronounced differ- 
ently in different parts of the country ; and, in accord- 
ance with the general rule to preserve as nearly as 

* This t is really a part of the article ; but the way in which 
I have stated the case will be more familiar to readers of 
modern Irish. 

30 The Iri^h Local Name System. [part i. 

possible the original pronunciation, tliese provin- 
cial peculiarities, as might be anticipated, are re- 
flected in the modern names. This principle is very 
general, and large numbers of names are affected by 
it ; but I shall notice only a few of the most promi- 
nent cases. 

In* the southern half of Ireland, the Irish letters a 
and are sounded in certain situations like on in the 
English word ounce* Gahhar, a goat, is pronounced 
gowr in the South, and gore in the North ; and so the 
name Lios-na-ngahhar (the fo or fort of the goats) 
is anglicised Lisnagower, in Tipperarj^, and Lisna- 
gore, in Monaghan. So also Ballynahown, a common 
townland name in the South {Baik-na-habhann, the 
town of the river), contrasts mth BalljTiahone, an 
equally common name in the North. Fionn (white 
or fair), is pronounced /f^o?^« ov fiune in Munster, as 
in Bawnfoun, in Waterford, and BaT^nfmie, in Cork, 
the white or fau^- coloured field. In most other parts 
of Ireland it is pronounced fin, as Fin drum in Done- 
gal and Tyrone, which is written by the Four Masters 
Mndruim, white or fair ridge ; and this form is often 
adopted in Munster also, as in Finnahy, in the parish 
of IJpperchm'ch, Tipperary, Fionn-f/iaithche, the white 
plat or exercise field. 

The sound of h aspirated {bh=i-) is often sunk alto- 
gether in Munster, while it is very generally retamed 
in the other provinces, especially in Connaught. In 
Derrynanool, in the parish of Marshalsto^vTi, Cork 
(Boire-na-n-ab/ian, the grove of the apples), the hh is 
not heard, v/hile it is fully sounded in Avalbane, in 
the parish of Clontibret, Monaghan (Ahhall-bdn, 
white orchard), and in Killavil, in the parish of Kil- 

* For this and the succcedins: provincial peculiarities, see 
O'Donovan's Grammar, Part I., Chaps, i. and ii. 

CHAP. II.] Systematic Changes. 31 

shalvj, Sligo {Cill-ahhaill, the cliiiTcli of tlie apple 
tree) . 

In certain positions adh is sounded like Eng. eye, 
in the South ; thus clad/i, which generally means a 
raised dyke of clay, but sometimes a sunk ditch or 
fosse, is pronounced cly in the South, as in Clyduff, 
in Cork, Limerick, and King's County, black dyke. 
More northerly the same word is made cla or claic, 
as in Cladowen, near Clones, deep ditch ; Cla^dneh, 
an island in Lough Eee, the island of the dyke or 

Adh in the termination of words is generally 
sounded like oo in Connaught ; thus madadh, a dog, 
is anglicised maddoo, in Carrownamaddoo, the cjuarter- 
land of the dogs, the name of three townlands in 
Sligo — while the same name is made CaiTO^STia- 
maddy, in Eoscommon and Donegal. 

One of the most distinctly marked provincial pecu- 
liarities, so far as names are concerned, is the pro- 
nunciation that prevails in Mimster of the final ^/^, 
wliieh is sounded there like English hard g vnfig. 
G-reat numbers of local names are influenced by this 
custom. Bailincollig, near Cork, is Baile-an-cJiul- 
laigh, the town of the boar, and Ballintannig, in the 
parish of Ballinaboy, Cork, Baile-an-t-seanaigh, the 
tovvn of the fox. The present name of the river 
Maigue, in Limerick, is formed on the same princi- 
ple, its Irish name, as written in old authorities, 
being Maigh, that is the river of the plain. Nearly 
all the Mimster names ending in g hai'd are illustra- 
tions of this peculiar pronimciation. 

It is owing to a diiference in the way of pronounc- 
ing the original Irish words, that cluain (an insulated 
bog meadow) is sometimes in modem names made 
cloon, sometimes clon, and occasionally clone; that 

32 TJie Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

dun (a fortified residence) is in one place spelt doon, 
in another dun, and in a tliiiTl down ; that in the 
neighbourhood of Dublin, halhj is shortened to hal., in 
Donegal rath is often made rye or ray, and that disert 
is sometimes made ister and trlstle, &c., &c. 

VI. />7sA Names with English Plurals. — It is very 
well known that topographical names are often in the 
pliu'al number, and this is found to be the case in the 
nomenclature of all countries. Sometimes in trans- 
ferring foreign names of this kind into English, the 
original plurals are retained, but much oftener they 
are rejected, and replaced by English plm^als, as in 
the well-known examples, Thebes and Athens. 

Gfreat numbers of Irish topographical names 
are in like manner plural in the originals. Very 
frequently these plural forms have arisen from the 
incorporation of two or more denominations into one. 
For example, the townland of Rawes, in the parish 
of Tynan, Armagh, was originally two, which are 
called in the map of the escheated estates (1609), 
Banragh and Douragh {Ban-rath, and Duhh-rath, 
wliite rath and black rath) ; but they were after- 
wards formed into a single townland, which is now 
called Rawes, that is, Raths. 

There is considerable diversity in the manner of 
anglicising these plural forms. Very often the 
original terminations are retained, as in Milleeny, in 
the parish of Ballyvourney, Cork, Millinidhe, little 
hillocks, from meall, a hillock. Oftener still, the 
primary plural iufleotion is rejected, and its place 
supplied by the English tennination. Keeloges is 
the of about twenty-six townlands scattered all 
over Ireland ; it means " narrow stripes or plots," 
and the Irish name is Caeloga, the plural of caclog. 
Carrigans is a common name in the North, and 

CHAP. II.] Systematic Changes, 33 

Carrigeens in the South ; it is the anglicised form of 
Carrakjviidhe, little rocks. Daars, a townland in the 
parish of Bodenstown, Kilclare, means " oaks," from 
clairghe, plural of dair, an oak. So Mullans and 
Mullaims, from muJIoMi, little flat hills ; Derreens, 
from dolrinidhe, little derries or oak groves ; Bawnoges, 
from bmwga, little green fields, &c. 

In other names, the Irish plui-al form is wholly 
or partly retained, while the English termination is 
superadded ; and these double pteals are very com- 
mon. Killybegs, the name of a village in Donegal, 
and of several other places in difi'erent parts of Ire- 
land, is called by the Fom^ Masters, Cealla-beaga, little 
churches. The plural of clnain (an insulated mea- 
dow) is cluainte^ which is anglicised Cloonty, a com- 
mon townland name. With s added, it becomes 
Cloonties, the name of some townlands, and of a 
well-kno\^Ti district near Strokestown, Roscommon, 
which is called Cloonties, because it consists of 
twenty-foiu" tovvTilands, all whose names begin \\ itli 

YII. Transmission of Oblique Forms. — In the trans- 
mission of words from ancient into modern European 
languages, there is a curious principle very extensive 
in its operation, which it will be necessary to notice 
briefly. When the genitive case singular of the an- 
cient word differed materially from the nominative, 
when, for instance, it was formed by the addition of 
one or more consonants, the modern word was very 
frequently derived not fi'om the nominative, but from 
one of the oblique forms. 

All English words ending in ation are examples 
of this, such as nation : the original Latin is natio, 
gen. nationis, abl. natione, and the English has pre- 
served the n of the oblique cases. Lat. pars, gen. 

34 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

partis, &c. ; here again the English word j^art retains 
the t of the genitive. 

This principle has been actively at work in the 
reduction of names from Irish to modem English 
forms. There is a class of nouns, belonging to 
the fifth declension in Irish, which form their geni- 
tive by adding oi or nn to the nominative, as iirsa, a 
door jamb, genitive iirsan, dative ursain ; and this n 
is obviously cognate "^ith the n of the third declension 
in Latin. 

Irish names that are declined in this manner very 
often retain the n of the oblicjue cases in their modem 
English forms. For example, Carhoon, the name of 
a place in the parish of Kilbrogan, Cork, and of two 
others in the parishes of Beagh and TjTiagh, Gralway, 
is the genitive of Carhoo, a quarter of land : — Irish 
ceathramha, gen. ceathramhan. In this manner, we 
get the modem forms, Erin, Alban, Eathlin, from 
Eire, Alba {Sooilsiiid) , JReachra. 

Other forms of the genitive, besides those of the 
fifth declension, are also transmitted. Even within 
the domain of the Irish language, the same tendency 
may be observed, in the changes from ancient to mo- 
dem forms ; and we find this very often the case in 
nouns ending in ach, and which make the gen. in 
aigh. Tulach, a hill, for instance, is tulaigh in the 
genitive ; this is now very often used as a nomi- 
native, not only by speakers, but even by writers 
of authority, and most local names beginning with 
Tully are derived from it ; such as Tullyallen on the 
Boyne, above Drogheda, which is most truly de- 
scribed by its Irish name Tulaigh-dlainn, beautiful 

The genitive of teach, a house, is tighe, dative tigh, 
and at the present day this last is the universal name 

CHAP. II.] Systematic Changes, 35 

for a house all over the south of Ireland. Many 
modern names beginning with Ti and Tee are ex- 
amples of this ; for, although the correct form teach 
is usually given in the Annals, the modern names 
are derived, not from this, but from tigh^ as the people 
speak it. 

There is an old chm^ch in King's County, which 
has given name to a parish, and which is called in 
the Calendars, Teach-Sarain, Saran's house. St. 
Saran, the original founder of the church, was of the 
race of the Dealbhua, who were descended from Olioll 
Glum, King of Mimster (O'Clery's Cal. 20th Jan.) ; 
and his holy well, Tober Sarai)i, is still in existence 
near the church. The people call the church in Irish, 
Tigh'Sarain, and it is from this that the present name 
Tisaran is derived. 

VIII. Translated JVajues. — Whoever examines tlie 
Index list of townlands will perceive, that while a 
great preponderance of the names are obviously Irish, 
a very considerable number are plain English words. 
These English names are of tliree classes, viz., really 
modem English names, imposed by English-speaking 
people, such as Kingstown, Castleblakeney, Charle- 
ville ; those which are translations of older Irish 
names ; and a thn^d class to which I shall presently 
return. With the first kind — pure modern English 
names — I have nothing to do ; I shall only remark 
that they are much less numerous than might be at 
first supposed. 

A large proportion of those to^Tiland names that 
have an English form, are translations, and of these 
I shall give a few examples. Watergrasshill, in Cork, 
is universally called by those speaking Irish, C)iocan- 
na-hiolraighey the hill of the watercresses. The Irish 
name of Cloverhill in the parish of Kilmacowen, Sligo, 

36 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

is Cnoc-na-seamar, the hill of the shamrocks ; Skins- 
town in the parish of Eathbeagh, Kilkennj^, is a trans- 
lation of Baile-na-gcroiccann ; and Nutfield, in the 
parish of Aghavea, Fermanagh, is correctly trans- 
lated from the older name Aghnagrow. 

Among this class of names, there are not a few 
whose meanings have been incorrectly rendered ; 
and such false translations are generally the result 
of confounding Irish words, which are nearly alike 
in sound, but different in meaning. Freshford in 
Kilkenny should have been called Freshfield, the 
correct equivalent of its Irish name Achad-ur (Book 
of Leinster) ; but the present translation was adopted 
because achadh, a field, was mistaken for ath, a 
ford. The Irish name of Strokesto^n, in Eoscommon, 
is not Baile-na-mbuUIe, as the present incoiTect name 
would imply, but Bel-atha-na-mhiiiUc, the ford (not 
the to^Ti) of the strokes or blows. In Castleventry, 
the name of a parish in Cork, there is a strange 
attempt at preserving the original signification. 
Its Irish name is Caislean-na-gaoithe, the castle 
of the wind, which has been made Castleventry, 
as if rentry had some connexion in meaning with 

In the parish of Eed City, in Tipperary, there for- 
merly stood, near the old chiu'ch, an ancient caher 
or fort, built of red sandstone, and called from this 
circumstance, Caherderg, or red fort. But as the 
v/ord caher is often used to signify a city, and as its 
application to the fort was forgotten, the name came 
to be translated Eed City, which ultimately extended 
to the parish. 

In some of the eastern coimties, and especially in 
Meath, great numbers of names end in the word 
town ; and those derived from families are almost 

CHAP. II.] Systematic Changes. 37 

always translated so as to preserve this termina- 
tion, as Drakestown, Grernonstown, Criiicetown, &c. 
But several names are anglicised very strangely, 
and some barbarously, in order to force them into 
compliance mth this custom. Thus the Irish name 
of Mooretown, in parish of Ardcath, is Baile-an- 
chuDYiigh, the town of the onoor or marsh ; Cran- 
naghtown, in the parish of Balrathboyne, is in Irish 
Baile-ua-gcraiuiach, the town of the trees. There is 
a place in the parish of Martry, called Phoenixtown, 
but which in an Inquisition of James I. is written 
Phenockstown ; its Irish name is Baile-na-hhfionnog, 
the town of the scaldcrows, and by a strange caprice 
of eri'or, a scaldcrow, ov finnoge, is here converted into 
a phoenix ! 

Many names again, of the present class, are only 
half translations, one pa-rt of the word being not 
translated, but merely transferred. The reason of 
this probably was, either that the unchanged Irish 
part was in such common use as a topographical 
term, as to be in itself sufficiently understood, or 
that the translators were ignorant of its English 
equivalent. In the parish of Ballycarney, Wexford, 
there is a townland taking its name from a ford, 
called in Irish Sgairhh-an-Bhreafhnaigh, "Walsh's 
scariff^ or shallow ford, and this v/ith an obvious 
alteration, has given name to the barony of Scara- 
walsh. In Cargygray, in the parish of Annahilt, 
county of Down, gixiy is a translation of Hahhacha^ 
and cargy is the Irish for rocks ; the full name is 
Cairge-riahhacha, grey rocks. The Irish name of 
CTirraghbridge, near Adare in Limerick, is Droichet- 
na-corra, the bridge of the w^eir, or dam, and it is 
anglicised by leaving corra nearly unchanged, and 
translating droichet to bridge. I shall elsewhere 

38 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

treat of the term EochaUl (yew wood) and its modern 
forms : there is a to^Tiland near Tidlamore, King's 
County, with this Irish name, but now somewhat 
oddly called the Wood of 0. In some modern au- 
thorities, the place is called The Owe ; so that while 
chaiU was correctly translated wood, it is ohvious that 
the first syllable, f o, was a puzzle, and was prudently 
left untouched. 

IX. Irish Names simulating English Forms. — The 
non-Irish names of the third class, already alluded to, 
are in some respects more interesting than those 
belonging to either of the other two. They are 
apparently English, but in reality Irish ; and they 
have settled doTVTi into theii' present forms, under 
the action of a certain corru23ting influence, which 
often comes into operation when words are trans- 
feiTed (not translated) from one language into 
another. It is the tendency to convert the strange 
word, which is etymologically unintelligible to the 
mass of those beginning to iise it, into another that 
they can understand, formed by a combination of 
their own words, more or less like the original in sound, 
but almost always totally different in sense. This 
piinciple exists and acts extensively in the English 
language, and it has been noticed by several writers 
— among others by Latham, Dr. Trench, and Max 
Mliller, the last of whom devotes an entire lecture to 
it, under the name of " Popular Etymology." These 
writers explain by it the formation of numerous Eng- 
lish words and phrases ; and in theii' writings may 
be found many amusing examples, a few of which I 
shall quote. 

The word '' beefeater" is corrupted from huffetier., 
which was applied to a certain class of persons, so 
called, not from eating beef, but because their office 

CHAP. II.] Systematic Changes. 39 

was to wait at the buffet. Sliotover Hill, near Ox- 
ford, a name which the people sometimes explain hj 
a story of Little John shooting an arrow over it, is 
merely the French Chateau Yert. The tavern sign 
of " The goat and compasses " is a corruption of the 
older sign-hoard, " Grod encompasseth us ;" " The oat 
and the wheel " is "St. Catherine's wheel;" Braze- 
nose College, Oxford, was originally called Brazen- 
huis, i. e. brew-house, because it was a brewery be- 
fore the foimdation of the college ; "La rose des 
quatre saisons" becomes "The rose of the quarter 
sessions ;" and Bellerophon is changed to " Billy 
ruffian," &c., &c. 

This principle has been extensively at work in cor- 
rupting Irish names — much more so indeed than any 
one who has not examined the subject can imagine ; 
and it will be instructive to give some characteristic 

The best anglicised form of coiU, a wood, is kill or 
l-yle ; in many names, however, chiefly in the north 
of Ireland, it is changed to the English word field. 
Cranfield, the name of three townlands in Down, 
Antrim, and Tyrone, is in Irish Creamhchoill [crav- 
whill], i. e. wild garlick wood. Leamhchoill [lav- 
whill], a very usual name, meaning "elm- wood," is 
generally transformed into the complete English word 
Longfield, which forms the whole or part of a great 
many townland names. The conversion oichoill mio 
field seems a strange transformation, but every step 
in the process is accounted for by principles examined 
in this and next chapter ; namely, the conversion of 
ch into /, the addition of d after /, and the tendency 
at present under consideration, namely, the alteration 
of the Irish into an English word. There are many 
townland names in the South, as well as in the North, 

40 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

in whicli the same word coill is made hill. Wlio 
could doubt but that Coolhill, in the parish of The 
Rower, Kilkenny, means the cool or cold hill ; or 
that Boy-hill, in the parish of Aghavea, Fermanagh, 
is the hill of the boys? But the first is really 
culchoill [coolhill], back wood, and the aecondbuidhC' 
choill [bwee-hill], yellow wood. So also Scary hill, 
in Antrim, rocky wood ; Cullahill, in Tipperary, and 
Queen's County, hazel wood ; and many others. 

Iloinfedii [moan-thaun] , boggy land, and Mointin 
[moantheen], a little bog, are in the South very gene- 
rally anglicised mountain, as in Balljoiamountain, 
Kilmountain, Coolmountain, &c., all townland names ; 
and in both North and South uachtar, upper, is 
frequently changed to water, as in Ballywater, in 
Wexford, upper town ; Ballywatermoy in Antrim, 
the town of the upper plain ; Kilwatermoy in Water- 
ford, the church of the upper plain. Braighid, a 
gorge, is made broad, as in Knockbroad, in Wexford, 
the hill of the gorge ; and the genitive case of conadh, 
'firewood, appears as honey, as in Magherahone}^ in 
Antrim, the field of the firewood. 

Many of these transformations are very ludicrous, 
and were probably made under the influence of 
a playful humour, aided by a little imagination. 
There is a parish in Antrim called Billy ; a townland 
in the parish of Kiuawly, Fermanagh, called Molly ; 
and another, in j)arish of Ballinlough, Limerick, with 
the more ambitious name of Cromwell ; but all these 
sail under false colonic, for the first is hile [bille], 
an ancient tree; the second mdlaighe [mauly], hill- 
brows, or braes ; and Cromwell is nothing more 
than crom-choill [crumwhill], stooped or sloping 

There is a townland in Kerry and another in 

CHAP. II.] Systematic Changes. 41 

Limerick witli the formidalble name Knockdown, but 
it has a perfectly peaceful meaning, viz., brown hill. 
It required a little pressure to force Tuaim-drccon 
(Four Masters : Brecon's burial mound) into Tom- 
regan, the name of a parish on the borders of 
Fermanagh and Cavan ; Tuaim-coiU, the burial mound 
of the hazel, a name occurring in several parts of 
Wexford and Wicklow, is very fairly represented in 
pronunciation by the present name Tomcoyle ; and 
in case of Laithreach-Chormaic, in Derry (Cormac's 
larha or house-site), the temptation was iiTesistible to 
call it as it is now called, LaiTycormick. 

There are several places in Tipperary and Limerick 
called by the Scriptural name Mountsion ; but Mount 
is only a translation of cp.oc, and sion, an ingenious 
adaption of sidliedn [sheea^m], a faiiy mount; the 
full L*ish name being Cnoc-a^-tsidheain, faiiy-moimt 
hill : and Islafalcon in parish of Ardtramon, Wexford, 
is not what it appears to be, the island of the falcon, 
but OUedn-a^ -phocdin [Ilaun-a-fuckaun], the island 
or river-holm of the buck goat. 

We have a" very characteristic example of this pro- 
cess in the name of the Phoenix Park, Dublin. This 
word Phoenix (as applied to our park) is a corruption 
of fionn-uisff [feenisk], v/hich means clear or limpid 
water. It v/as originally the name of the beautiful 
and perfectly transparent spring well near the 
Phoenix pillar, situated just outside the wall of the 
Viceregal grounds, behind the gate lodge, and which 
is the head of the stream that supplies the ponds 
near the Zoological Grardens. To complete the illu- 
sion, the Earl of Chesterfield, in the year 1745, 
erected a pillar near the well, with the figure of a 
phoenix rising from its ashes on the top of it ; and 
most Dublin people now believe that the Park re- 

42 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

ceived its name from this pillar. The change from 
fionnuiscf to phoenix is not peculiar to Dublin, for the 
river Finisk, which joins the Blackwater below Cap- 
poquin, is called Phoenix by Smith in his History of 

X. Retention of Irish written Forms. — To the gene- 
ral rule of preserving the pronunciation, there is a 
remarkable exception of frequent occurrence. In 
many names the original spelling is either wholly or 
partly preserved ; — in other words, the modern forms 
are derived from the ancient, not as they were spoken, 
but as they were written. In almost all such cases, 
the names are j)ronounced in conformity ^ith the 
powers of the English letters ; and accordingly, 
whenever the old orthography is retained, the original 
pronunciation is generally lost. 

This may be illustrated by the word rath, which is 
in Irish pronounced rau\ There are over 400 toTVTi- 
land names beginning with this word in the form of 
ra, rah, raw, and ray ; these names are derived from 
the spoken, not the written originals ; g^nd, while the 
pronunciation is retained, the spelling is lost. There 
are more than 700 names commencing with the word 
in its original form, rath, in which the correct spelling 
is preserved ; but the pronunciation is commonly 
lost, for the word is pronounced rath to rhyme mth 
bath. It is worthy of remark, however, that the 
peasantry living in or near these places, to whom the 
names have been handed down orally, and not by 
writing, generally preserve the correct ^pronunciation ; 
of which Eatlmiines, Rathgar, Rathfarnham, and 
Rathcoole are good examples, being pronounced by 
the people of the localities, Ea-mines, Ea-gar, Ea-fam- 
ham, and Ea-coole. 

The principal effect of this practice of retaining the 

CHAP. II.] Systematic Changes. 43 

old spelling is, that consonants whicli are aspirated 
in the original names, are hardened or restored in the 
modern pronunciation. To illustrate these principles 
I have given the following short list of words that 
enter fi-equently into Irish names, each containing 
an aspirated letter ; and after each word, the names 
of two places of which it forms a part. In the first of 
each pair, the letter is aspirated as it ought to be, but 
the original spelling is lost ; in the second, the 
orthography is partly or wholly preserved, and the 
letter is not aspirated, but soimded as it would in- 
dicate to an English reader, and the proper pronim- 
ciation is lost : — 

1. Ath [ah], a ford: Agolagh in Antrim, Ath- 
gohhlach, forked ford ; Athenry in Galway, a corrupt 
form fi'om Ath-ua-riogh (Four Masters), the ford of 
the kings. 2. Gaoth, wind [gwee] ; Mastergeeha, 
two townlands in Kerry, Masteragwee in Derry, and 
Mostragee in Antrim, the master of the wind, so 
called from the exposed situation of the places ; Bal- 
geeth, the name of some places in Meath, windy towTi, 
the same as BalljTiageeha and Ballynagee in other 
counties. 3. Tamhnach, a green field [ta"s^TLagh] ; 
Fintona in T^i'one, T\Titten by the Four Masters 
Fionn-tamhnach, faii'-coloui^ed field ; Tamnyagan in 
the parish of Banagher, Derry, O'Hagan's field. 
4. Damli [dauv], an ox; Davillaim, near Inishbofin, 
Mayo, ox island ; Madame in the parish of Kimaloda, 
Cork, Magh-damh, the plain of the oxen. 

A remarkable instance of this hardening process 
occurs in some of the Leinster counties, where the 
Irish word hothar [boher], a road, is converted into 
hatte7\ This word "batter" is, or was, well imder- 
stood in these counties to mean an ancient road ; and 
it was used as a general term in this sense in the 

44 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

patents of James I. It signifies in Wexford, a lane 
or narrow road : — " Bater, a lane bearing to a high 
road." (" G-lossary of the dialect of Forth and 
Bargy." By Jacob Poole: Edited by William 
Barnes, B. D.) "As for the word Bater, that in 
English pnrpozeth a lane bearing to an highway, 
I take it for a meere Irish worde that crept unawares 
into the English, through the daily intercourse of 
the English and Irish inhabitants." (Stanyhurst, 
quoted in same.) 

The word occurs in early Anglo-Irish documents 
in the form of hothir, or hothyr, which being pro- 
nounced according to the powers of the English let- 
ters, was easily converted into hotter^ or hatter. It 
forms a part of the following names : — Batterstown, 
the name of four to^Tilands in Meath, which were 
always called in Irish. Baile-an-bhothair, i. e. the town 
of the road ; and anglicised by changing bothar to 
batter, and translating baile to town. Batterjohn and 
Ballybatter are also in Meath. Near Drogheda 
there is a townland called Grreenbatter, and another 
called Yellowbatter, which are called in Irish, Boher- 
glas and Boherboy, having the same meanings as the 
present names, viz., green road and yellow road. 

We have also some examples in and around Dub- 
lin, one of which is the well-known name of Stony- 
batter. Long before the city had extended so far, 
and while Stonybatter was nothing more than a 
country road, it was — as it still continues to be — the 
great thoroughfare to Dublin from the districts lying 
west and north-west of the city ; and it was knoAvn 
by the name of Bothar-na-geloch [Bohernaglogh], 
i. e. the road of the stones, which was changed to the 
modern equivalent, Stonybatter, or Stonyroad. One 
of the five great roads leading from Tara, which were 

CHAP. II.] Systematic Changes. 45 

constructed in the second centnry, vk., tliaV called 
SUghe-Cualann^ passed throngh Dublin by Eatoatb, 
and on towards Bray : under the name of Bealaeh 
D'uihJiUnue (the road or pass of the [river] BuihhUnn)* 
it is mentioned in the following quotation from the 
" Book of Eights" :— 

" It is prolilbited to liim (the king of Erin) to go with a host 
On Monday over the Bealaeh Duihhlinne. 

The old ford of hurdles, which in these early ages 
formed the only foot passage across the Liffey, and 
which gave the name oi Ath-cHath to the city, crossed 
the river where Whitworth bridge now stands, lead- 
ing from Chm^ch-street to Bridge-street ; f and the 
road from Tara to Wicklow must necessarily have 
crossed the Liffey at this point. There can be, I 
think, no doubt that the present Stonybatter formed 
a portion of this ancient road — a statement that is 
borne out by two independent circumstances. First — 
Stonybatter lies straight on the line, and would, if 
continued, meet the Liffey exactly at Whitworth 
bridge. Secondly — the name Stonybatter, or Bothar- 
va-gcloch^ affords even a stronger confii-mation. The 
most important of the ancient Irish roads were gene- 
rally po.ved with large blocks of stone, somewhat like 
the old Eoman roads ; a fact that is proved by the re- 
mains of those that can now be traced. It is exactly 
this kind of a road that would be called by the Irish 
— even at the present da}^ — Bohernagiogh ; and the 
existence of this name, on the very line leading to 
the ancient ford over the Liffey, leaves scarcely any 

* Duihhlinn was originally the name of that part of the Liffey 
on which the city now stands. 

t Gilbert's '^History of Dublin," Vol. I., Chap. ix. 

46 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

doubt Miat this was a part of the ancient Slighe Ciia- 
lann. It must be regarded as a fact of great interest, 
that the modem-looking name Stonybatter — changed 
as it has been in the com^se of ages — descends to us 
with a history seventeen hundi^ed j^ears old ^Titten on 
its front. 

Booterstown (near Dublin) is another member of 
the same family ; it is merely another form of Bat- 
terstown, i.e., Roadtown. In a roll of about the year 
1435 it is written in the Anglo-Irish foim, Bally- 
bothyr (Baile-an-hhothair — towTi of the road), of 
which the present name, Booterstown, is a kind of 
half translation. In old Anglo-Irish documents fi-e- 
quent mention is made of a road leading from Dublin 
to Bray. In a roll of the fifteenth century it is called 
Bothyr-de-Bree (road of Bray) ; and it is stated that 
it was by this road the O'Bymes and O'Tooles usually 
came to Dublin.* It is very probable that the Booters- 
town road and this Bray road were one and the same, 
and that both were a continuation of the ancient 
Slighe Cualann. 



While the majority of names have been modernized 
in accordance with the princij^les just laid down, great 
numbers, on the other hand, have been contracted 
and corrupted in a variety of ways. Some of these 
corruptions took place in the Irish language ; but 

* For this information about Booterstown and Botliyr-de- 
Bree, I am indebted to Mr. Gilbert. 

CHAP. III.] Corruptions. 47 

far the greatest niunber were introduced by the 
English-speaking people in transferring the words 
from the Irish to the English language. These cor- 
ruptions are sometimes so extremely irregular and 
unexpected, that it is impossible to reduce them to 
rule, or to assign them to any general or uniform 
influence except mere ignorance, or the universal 
tendency to contraction. In most cases, however, 
they are the result of laws or principles, by which 
certain consonants have a tendency to be substituted 
for others, or to be placed before or after them, some 
of which are merely provincial, or attributable to 
particular races of people, while the influence of 
others may be traced throughout the whole of Ire- 
land. Some of these laws of corruption have been 
noticed by Dr. 'Donovan and Dr. Reeves ; and I 
have given expression to others : I have here brought 
them all, or the most important of them, under one 
view, and illustrated each by a number of examples. 

I. Interchange of\, r, n, m. — The interchange of 
these letters is common in most languages ; it would 
be easy, if necessary, to give examples fi'om every 
language of Eiu-ope. For instance, the modern name 
Bologna is a corruption of the ancient Bononia ; 
Palermo of Panormus ; Amsterdam of Amstel-dam 
(the dam of the river Amstel) ; Eousillon of Ruscino, 
&c., &c. 

The substitution of these letters, one for another, 
is also exceedingly common in Irish names ; and since 
this kind of corruption prevails in Irish as well as in 
English, the names were altered in this particular re- 
spect, quite as much in one language as in the other. 
L appears to have been a favoimte letter, and the 
instances are particularly numerous in which it is 
substituted for the letter r. The word sruthair 

48 The Irish Local Name System, [part i. 

[sruher], a stream, forms tlie whole or part of many 
names ; and generally — but not always— the r has 
been changed to /, as in Shrule, Shruel, Struell, Sroo- 
hill, all names of places in different parts of Ireland. 
Biorar, watercresses, is now always called in Irish 
hiolar, in which form it enters into several names, as, 
for example, Aghaviller, a parish in Kilkenny ; the 
Four Masters call it Achadh-biorair, the field of the 
w^atercresses, but the present spoken Irish name is 
Achadh-bhio/air, from which the English form is 
derived; in Toberburr, near Finglas, Dublin, the 
original r is retained {Tobar-biorair, watercress well) . 
Loughbrickland in Down was anciently Loch-Bricrenn 
(Four Masters) , the lake of Bricriu, an Ulster chief 
of the first century, whose name is well knoT\Ti in 
Irish romance. 

iVis also sometimes, though not often, changed 
to I, as in case of Castleconnell, near Limerick, 
which is the castle of the O'Connings, not of the 
O'Connells, as the present form of the name would 

The change of n to r is one of frequent occur- 
rence, an example of which is the name of Limerick. 
The Irish name is Luimncach [Liminegh] (Book 
of Leinster, &c.), which was originally applied to 
a portion of the river Shannon ; as the following 
passage from an ancient poem on the death of St. 
Cuimmin of Clonfert, quoted by the Foui' Masters at 
661, will show : — 

*' The Luiraneach did not bear on its bosom, of the race of 

Munster, into Leath Chuinn, 
A corpse in a boat so precious as he, Cumniine son of Fiachna ;" 

and the modern name was derived from this, by a 
change of n to ?', and by substituting ck for the 

CHAP. III.] Corruptions. 49 

guttural in the end. Kilmaerenan, in Donegal, is 
called in Irish authorities, Cill-mac-nenain^ which 
Colgan translates, the church of the sons of 
Enan, who were contemporaries and relatives of St. 

In some of the Northern counties, the Irish speak- 
ing people cannot without difficulty articulate the 
combinations en and gn^ and in order to facilitate the 
pronunciation they change the n to r. There are 
about forty-five townlands commencing Avith the word 
Crocks all in Ulster, except only a few in Connaught 
and Leinster ; and a person unacquainted with the 
present peculiarity might be puzzled by this prefix, 
or might perhaps consider it an anglicised form of 
cniach, a rick or piled up hill. But all these CrocJiS 
are really Knocks^ disguised by the change of this one 
letter. In the Ulster counties, the termination na- 
groiv or nagreic is often found in townland names, as 
in Tullynagrow, in the parish of Muckno, Monaghan ; 
this termination has been similarly corrupted, Tully- 
nagrow being properly Tidaigh-na-gcno, the hill of 
the nuts. 

The change of the / to r is not very common, but 
it is found in some names. Dromcolliher, in Lime- 
rick, is properly Dniini-collchoille, the ridge or hill of 
the hazel wood ; and Ballysakeery, a parish in Maj^o, 
is called in Mac Firbis's " Hy Fiachraeh," Baile- 
easa-caoUe [Ballysakeely] , the town of the narrow 
cataract. Killery harbour in Connemara is called at 
the present day in Irish, Caohhaire [Keelhary], 
from which the present name is formed ; but it 
should be Caolshaile, or, as it is written more fully 
by the Four Masters, Caolshaile-ruadh, i. e. the red- 
dish narrow-sea-inlet, a most appropriate name. 
The change of m to n^ or vice versa ^ is not of 

50 The Irish Local Name System. [part t. 

frequent occurrence. In Eatliangan, in Kildare, 
the first n should be m, the connect name as written 
by the Four Masters being Eath-iomghain, Imgan's 
rath ; and the old rath is still to be seen just out- 
side the to^n, in a field near the church. The 
barony of Grienquin, in Limerick, takes its name 
from a townland (now divided into three), near New- 
castle ; the proper anglicised form would be Gllenquim, 
for the Irish name is Gkann-a'-chuwi, the glen of the 
coom or hollow. 

iV is changed to m in Kilmainham (near DubKn), 
which should have been called Kilmainen ; it is 
written Kilmanan by Boate, wliich shows that it 
has been corrupted mthin the last two or three hun- 
dred years. It took its name from St. Maighnenn, 
who was bishop and abbot there early in the seventh 
century, and who is commemorated in the Calendars 
at the 18th of December. The termination of the last 
name seems to have been formed in imitation of the 
common English topographical suffix ham, home. 
In Moyacomb, the name of a parish in Wicklow, 
there is a genuine change of n to m, the Irish name 
being MagJi-da-chon [Moyacon], (Four Masters) the 
plain of the two hoimds ; and the same in Slieve 
Eelim, the name of a mountain range east of Lime- 
rick city, which is SUabh-Eibhlinne in the Annals, 
Evlin's mountain. 

Several of the letter changes now examined have 
been evidently caused, or at least facilitated, by the 
difficulty of articulating the same letter twice in im- 
mediate succession, and this is a principle of consi- 
derable influence in corrupting language. It is easier 
to say Aghaviller than the right name Aghavirrer, 
and so on, in several other cases. 

II. Change of ch, gh, dh, and i\\, to f. — The gut- 

CHAP. III.] Corruptions. 51 

tural sound of c aspirated (ch), as heard in loch, cannot 
be pronounced at all by a speaker of mere English ; 
and as it constantly occiu'S in names, it is interesting 
to observe the different ways in which English sub- 
stitutes are provided. When it comes in the end of 
words, it is often passed over altogether, being 
neither represented in writing nor in pronunciation, 
as in Ballymena, in Antrim, which is in Irish Bailc- 
meadhonach, middle town, the same as Ballymenagh 
in other places. Sometimes, both in the middle and 
end of words, it is represented by gh^ which is often 
sounded by the English speaking natives, like the 
proper guttural ch, as in Lough, Lughany, while 
those who cannot sound the guttural, pronounce it 
as k or h (Lock, Luhany) ; but if this gh occur at 
the end of words, it is commonly not sounded at all, 
as in Fermanagh, Kilnamanagh, &c. In the middle 
of words, its place is often supplied by h alone, as in 
Crohane, the name of a parish in Tipperary, and of 
several townlands, which represents cruachdn, a little 
rick or hiU ; and in many cases it is represented by 
k or ck, as in Foorkill near Athenry, Gralway, Ftiar- 
choilL cold wood. 

Sometimes it is changed to ivh, of which a good 
example is seen in Grlenwhirry, a parish in Antrim, 
taking its name from the river which runs by Kells 
into the Main. It is called Griancurry in the Inqui- 
sitions, and its Irish name is Gleann-cC -choir e, the glen 
of the river Curry or Coire, this last name signify- 
ing a cauldron. The cauldron is a deep pool formed 
under a cataract; and a rocky hill near it is called 
Sceir-cC -choire, the rock of the cauldron, which, in the 
modernized form Skerrywhirry, is the name of a 


52 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

But there is a more remarkable change which this 
aspirate undergoes in common with thi^ee others. In 
many names, the sounds of the Irish aspu^ated letters 
ch, gh, dh, and th, are converted into the sound of/; 
and this occurs so frequently as to j)reclude all sup- 
position of mere accident. Ch is a hard guttiu*al, as 
heard in the common word lough {loch) ; gh or clh 
(both which have the same sound) is the correspond- 
ing soft guttural ; fh is sounded exactly like Eng- 
lish h. 

The sound of ch is changed to that of / in the 
following names. Knocktopher in Kilkenny, is in 
Irish Cnoc-cC -t6chai)\ the hill of the iogher or cause- 
way, and it was so called from an ancient iogher 
across a marsh ; Luifany, the name of two to^nlands 
in Kilkenny, cin fhUuchaine^ the wet land ; Clifden, 
the name of a well-kno^Ti village in Gralway, is a very 
modem corruption of Clochdn^ which is still its Irish 
name, and which means a beehive-shaped stone house. 
Lisnafiify, the name of two townlands in Down, 
.Lios-na-faithche, the Us of the exercise-green ; Fi- 
dorfe, near Ratoath in Meath, Fidh-clorcha, dark 

The change of gh or clh to / is not quite so common, 
but we find it in Muff, the name of two villages, one 
in Donegal, and the other in Derry, and of eight 
townlands, all in the northern half of Ireland ; it is 
merely a form of mctgh, a plain, and the Irish name, 
as now pronounced in the localities, comes very near 
the English form. Balief, in Kilkenny, is Bnile-Aoclh^ 
Hugh's town. In some cases, instead of the hard 
labial /, it is turned into the corresponding soft labial 
V, as in Lough Melvin, in Leitrim ; which is called 
in the Annals, Loch-Meilghe^ from Meilghe, king 

CHAP. III.] Corruptions. 53 

of Ireland in a, m. 4678. Adrivale in the parish of 
Drishane, Cork, Eadar-ghahhal, a place between (the 
prongs of) a fork, i. e. a fork formed by rivers. 

The change of th to / is often met with. The 
parish of Tiscoffin in Kilkenny took its name from 
an old church called Tigh-Scoithin [Tee-scoheen], 
i. e. Scoithin's house ; St. Scoithin was a relative of 
St. Ailbe of Emly, and erected his primitive church 
here towards the close of the sixth century (see 
O'Clery's Cal. 2nd Jan., and Colgan, A. SS., p. 9) ; 
Cloonascoffagh, in the parish of Kilmacshalgan, 
Sligo, Cluam-na-scothach, the meadow of the flowers. 
In accordance with the same law, a sridhan, or 
streamlet, is often called snifane ; and this is almost 
always the case in some of the western counties, as 
in Ballintrofaun in Sligo, Baile-mi-tsrothain, the town 
of the streamlet. 

The greater number of the alterations noticed 
vmder this heading are attributable to the English 
language ; but there are several instances of words 
and names corrupted similarly by the speakers of 
Irish. For example, the word chuaidh (past tense of 
the verb teidh^ go), is pronounced foo in the South ; 
and 'Donovan, in one of his Derry letters, informs 
us, that 7)iagh., a plain, is there pronounced in Irish 
" something between mugh and muff^'' thereby facili- 
tating or suggesting its conversion into the present 
name. Muff. 

Ajiy one who had studied the English language 
and its letter- changes, might however anticipate that 
the Irish gutturals would sometimes be converted 
into English /. Words transplanted directly from 
Irish, as might be expected, conform in many in- 
stances to the letter-changing laws of the English 
language ; of which names beginning with the word 

54 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

hnoch may be taken as an illustration. In siicli Eng- 
lish words as " knight," " knife," " knee," &c., the 
k sound is now entirely omitted in pronunciation ; 
but in the Anglo-Saxon originals cnight^ cnif, cneoic, 
both letters - the c hard and the n — were pronoun- 
ced (Max Muller, "Lectures," 2nd Series, p. 186). 
The Irish owe is subjected to the same law, for while 
both letters are heard in Irish, the anglicised form 
k)iock is always pronounced jwck. 

There is a similar compliance with English custom 
in the change of the Irish guttm^als to /. The Eng- 
lish language, though it has now no gutturals, once 
abounded in them, and in a nmnerous class of words 
the guttm^al letters are still retained in -wTiting, as in 
daughter, tauf/hter, night, straight, plough, &c. While 
in many such words the sound of the guttm-als was 
wholly suppressed, in others it was changed to the 
sound of/, as in trough, draught, cough, rough, &c. 
It is curious that the struggle betAveen these two 
sounds has not yet quite tenninated ; it is continued 
to the present day in Scotland and the North of Ire- 
land, where the peasantry still pronounce such words 
with the full strong guttural. 

It will be seen, then, that when the Irish gutturals 
are corrupted to /, the change is made, not by acci- 
dent or caprice, but in conformity vntli a custom al- 
ready existing in the English language. 

III. Interchange of d and g. — The letters d and g, 
when aspirated (dh and gh), are sounded exactly 
alike, so that it is impossible to distinguish them in 
speaking. This circimistance causes them to be, to 
some extent, confounded one with the other ; in 
modern Irish, gh is very generally substituted for the 
older dh. In topographical names, this aspirated g 
is often hardened or restored (after the manner shown 

CHAP. III.] Corriqytions. 55 

in page 43) ; and thus many names have been cor- 
rupted both in writing and pronunciation, by the 
substitution of g for clh. But as far as I have ex- 
amined, I find only one example of the reverse — d 
for gh. 

There are four to^^Tilands called Gargrim in the 
counties of Donegal, Fermanagh, Leitrim, and Ty- 
rone, which should have been called Grardrim ; for 
the Irish name is Gearrdhruim^ i. e. short ridge or 
hill, and it is correctly anglicised in Grardrum, the 
name of two to^Tilands in Fermanagh and T}Tone. 
In exactly the same way was formed Fargrim, the 
name of two townlands, one in Fermanagh, and the 
other in Leitrim ; it is in Irish, Fardhniim or 
Fordhniim (outer ridge or hill), in which form it 
appears in the Four Masters at a. d. 1153 ; in its 
correct anglicised form, Fardrmn, it occurs in Fer- 
managh and Westmeath. Drmngonnelly, in the 
parisli and county of Louth, should have been 
called Drumdonnelly, from the Irish Dniim-Dhou- 
ghaUe^ the ridge or hill of the Donnellys ; Sliguff, 
in Carlow, would be more correctly anglicised Sli- 
duff, the Irish name being Slighe-dhuhh, black road ; 
and the to^\Tiland of Rossdagamph, in the parish of 
Inishmacsaint, Fermanagh, is Roa-da-dhamh, the 
promontory of the two oxen. It was a mistake the 
reverse of this, that gave their present English 
name to the Ox mountains in Sligo. The Irish 
name, in all our Annals, is Sliahh-ghamk (which pro- 
bably means stormy mountain) ; but the natives, 
believing it to be SUahh-dhamh^ i. e. the mountain 
of the oxen, have perpetuated the present incorrect 

lY. Insertion of i between s and r. — The combina- 
tion sr is one of rare occurrence in modem Euro- 

56 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

pean languages ; there is not a single word in 
English, French, Grerman, Grreek, or Latin, begin- 
ning with it, though many of their words are un- 
doubtedly derived from roots commencing with these 
two letters. 

The Irish language has retained this combination, 
and in the Irish dictionaries, a considerable number 
of words will be found commencing with sr. Of 
these, there are only foiu^ that enter often into topo- 
graphical names. These are srdid, a street, srath, a 
holm or inch — the lowland along a river ; sron, lite- 
rally a nose, but in a secondary sense, applied to 
points of hills, promontories, &c. ; and sruth, a 
stream, with its derivatives. It was not to be ex- 
pected that the English language, which within its 
own domain does not admit of the union of s and r, 
would receive these names in all cases without altera- 
tion. Of the modem toT^oiland names containing 
the four words just named, the sr has been retained 
in less than half ; in about forty or fifty, it has been 
changed to shr, a combination admitted in EngKsh ; 
and in all the rest it has been corrupted by the inser- 
tion of a /. 

There are about 170 modem names commencing 
Avith str, and many more containing these letters in- 
termediate. In all these, with hardly an exception, 
the t is a, late insertion ; for although we have words 
in Irish beginning with str, there are no names 
derived from them, except perhaps about half a dozen. 
The insertion of a ^ is one of the expedients for 
avoiding the combination sr, which is found in several 
languages, and which has been in operation from the 
earliest times. We find it, for instance, in the 0. H. 
Grerman stroiim (Eng. stream), and in the name of 
the well-knowTi Thracian river Strymon, both of 

CHAP. III.] Cornqjtions. 57 

which are derived from a Sanscrit root sr?/, meaning 
to floic* 

A few names will illustrate these remai'ks. In 
Srugreana near Caherciveen, Kerry {Snith-greanach, 
gravelly stream), and in Srananny in parish of 
Donagh, Monaghan {Srath-an-eanaigh, the strath 
or holm of the marsh), the initial sr has been re- 
tained. It has been changed to sJir in Shrongh, 
near Tipperary, from sruth a stream ; and also in 
Shronedarragh, near Killarney, the nose or point of 
the oak. 

In the folio win ^Jiames, a t has been inserted : — 
Strancally, above xoughal, the well-known seat of 
the Desmonds ; w^hose castle, now in ruins, was built 
on a point of rock jutting into the Blackwater, called 
Sron-calUighe^ the hag's nose or promontory. Ard- 
straw, in T^Tone, which the annalists ^\T:ite Ard-sratha^ 
the height of (or near) the river bank ; Stradone in 
Cavan, and Stradowan in Tyrone, deep srath or river 

This corruption — the insertion of t — is found more 
or less all over Ireland, but it prevails more in the 
Northern counties than anj^^here else. In Ulster, 
the combination sr is scarcely admitted at all ; for 
out of about 170 townland names in all Ireland, 
beginning with these two letters, there are only 
twelve in this province, and these are wholly confined 
to Donegal, Fermanagh, and Monaghan. 

Y. Addition o/'d after n, 1, and r ; and ofh after 
m. — The most extensive agency in corrupting lan- 
guage is contraction, i. e. the omission of letters ; 
first, in pronunciation, and afterwards in writing. 
This is what Max MiiUer calls phonetic decay, and 

* See Llr. Whitley Stokes's '' Irish Glosses ;" and Dr. W. K. 
Sullivan's Translation of Ebel's " Celtic Studies." 

58 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

he shows that it results from a deficiency of muscular 
energy in pronunciation, in other words, from lazi- 
ness. There are cases, however, in which this 
principle seems to he reversed, that is, in which 
words are corrupted hy the addition of anomalous 
letters. In English, for instance, a d is often added 
after w, and in Grreek, after hoth n and / ; as in Eng. 
thunder from Ang. Sax. tJiunor; cinder from Lat. {ci- 
nis) cinerisj &c. ; and in Grr. aner, gen. andros^ &c. 
This tendency in English is also noticed by Lhuyd 
in his " Archseologia " (p. 9). Another corruption 
similar to this, which is found iii several languages, 
is the addition of h after m ; as in Eng. slumber from 
Ang. Sax. slumerian ; Er. nomhre from numerus ; Lat. 
comburo^ from com (con), and iiro ; Grr. gamhros 
for gamros, &c. Max Miiller shows, however, that 
the insertion of these letters is due to the same 
laziness in pronunciation that causes omission in 
other cases.* 

These corruptions are very frequent in Irish names, 
viz. : — the letter d is often placed after n and /, and 
sometimes after r ; and the letter h after m. In the 
following names the d is a mere excrescence, and has 
been added in recent times : — Terryland, near Gralway, 
which the Four Masters write Tir-oiUin^ the district 
of the island ; Killashandra, in Cavan, is in Irish 
Cill-cC -sean-ratha, the chm^ch of the old rath, and it 
was so called because the original chiu^ch was built 
within the inclosure of an ancient rath which still 
exists ; Eathfryland, in Down, is from Rath-Fraoi- 
Jeann^ Freelan's rath ; TuUyland, in parish of Balli- 
nadee, Cork, Tulaigh-Eileain, Helena's hill. 

D is added after / in the word " field," when this 
word is an anglicised form of coill, a wood, as in 

* See Max Miiller's " Lectures," 2nd Series, p. 178. 

CHAP. III.] Corruptions. 59 

Longfield, Cranfield, &c., whidi names have been 
examined at page 39. The same corruption is found 
in the ancient Welsh persona.1 name, (xildas, and in 
the Irish name Mac Donald, which are more correctly 
^Titten Grillas and Macdonnell. 

Lastly, d is placed after r in Lifford, which is in 
Irish Leithhhearr (Four Mast.) ; tliis is a compara- 
tively modern corruption ; for Spenser, in his " View 
of the State of Ireland," calls it Castle-liffer. It is 
to be observed that this adventitious d is placed after 
n much oftener than after the other tAvo letters, 
I and r. 

The addition of h to m occurs only seldom ; we 
find it in Cumber or Comber, which is the name of a 
to^m in county Dow^n, and of seA^eral townlands in 
different coimties, both singly and in composition. 
It is the Irish comar, the confluence of two waters, 
and it is correctly anglicised Cummer and Comer in 
many other names. 

All these changes were made ia English, but in 
the Irish language there was once a strong tendency 
in the same direction. In what is called middle Irish 
(from the 10th to the 15th century), the custom was 
very general of using nd for nn. For instance, the 
word cenn (a head), is old Irish, for it is cited in this 
form by Zeuss from MSS. of the eighth century ; but 
in middle Irish MSS. it' is usually written ccnd. In 
all such words, however, the proper termination is 
restored in modern Irish ; and so strong was this 
countercurrent, that the d was swept away not only 
from words into which it was incorrectly introduced, 
but also from those to which it properly and radi- 
cally belonged. For example, the middle Irish 
word Aiffrend (the Mass), is spelled correctly with 
a d, for it is derived from Lat. offerenda ; but in 

60 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

modern Irish it is always spelled and pronounced 

Some of the words and names cited under this sec- 
tion afford a curious example of the fickleness of pho- 
netic change, and, at the same time, of the regularity 
of its action. We find words spelled in old Irish with 
nn ; in middle Irish, a d is introduced, and the nn 
becomes nd; in modern Irish the ^ is rejected, and 
there is a return to the old Irish nn ; and in modem 
anglicised names, the d is reinstated, and nd seems to 
remain in final possession of the field. 

There is a corruption peculiar to the northern and 
north-western counties, which is very similar to the 
one now under consideration, namely, the sound of 
aspu-ated m {inh = Eng. v) is often represented in the 
present names by mph. This mode of spelling is 
probably an attempt to represent the half nasal, half 
labial- aspirate sound of mh., which an ear unaccus- 
tomed to Irish finds it very difficult to catch. Under 
the infiuence of this custom, damh, an ox, is converted 
into damjjh, as in Derrydamph, in the parish of 
Knockbride, Cavan, Doire-damh, the oak grove of the 
oxen ; creamh, wild garlic, is made craniph, as in 
Annacramph, in the parish of Grange, Armagh, 
Eanach-creamha^ wild garlic marsh ; sceamh, the 
polj^odium or wall fern, becomes scamph, as in 
Drumnascamph in the parish of Clondnff, Down, 
Dniim-na-sccamh, the ridge or hill of the wall fern. 

VI. The letter s prefixed to teach and leacht. — The 
Irish word teach or tigh, a house or church, as I shall 
show elsewhere, enters extensively into topographical 
names all over Ireland, in the anglicised fonns of ta^ 
tagh, tee., ti, ty^ &c. In some of the eastern counties 
this word is liable to a singular corruption, viz., the 
Irish ta or ti is converted into da or sf/, in a con- 

CHAP. III.] Corruptions, 61 

siderable niun'ber of names, of wMcli the following 
are examples. Stillorgan is in Irish Tigh-Lorcain, 
Lorcan's chui'ch ; and it may have received its name 
from a chnrch founded by St. Lorcan or Laurence 
0' Toole, Archbishop of Dublin at the time of the 
English invasion ; Stabannon, in Louth, ought to be 
Tabannon, Bannon's house ; Stackallan, in Meath, 
is written Teach-coJIain, by the Four Masters, i. e. 
CoUan's house. So also Stirue, in Louth, red house ; 
Stapolin near Baldoyle, Dublin, the house of Paulin, 
or httle Paul ; and Stalleen near Donore above 
Drogheda, is called in the charter of Mellifont, 
granted by John in 1185-6, Teachlemii^ i. e. Lenne's 

This corruption is almost confined to the counties 
of Dublin, Meath, and Louth ; I can find only very 
few examples outside these counties, among which 
are, the parish of Stackumny, in Kildare, Stakally 
in the parish of Powersto^ai, Kilkenny, and Tyrella, 
in Down, which is called in the well-known Taxation 
(1306) published by Dr. Peeves, Staghi^eel. But its 
Lrish name is Tech-Biaghia (O'C. Cal.), the house of 
St. Piaghal or Pegulus, who is commemorated on 
17th Sept. There are altogether in Dublin, Meath, 
and Louth, about twenty-thi-ee names which com- 
menced originally with Ta or Ti, in about two-thirds 
of which it has become 8ta or Sti. 

The Irish word leacht, a sepulchral monument, is 
also, in some of the Ulster counties, corrupted by 
prefixing an s ; for example, Slaghtneill and Slaght- 
manus, both in Londonderry, ought to be Laghtneill 
and Laghtmanus, signifying respectively Nialls and 
Manus's monument ; and we also find Slaghtfreeden, 
Slaghtybogy, and a few others. 

It Tvill be recollected that all the con^uptions hi- 

62 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

therto noticed were found capable of explanation, on 
some pre\T.ously established principle of language : 
the reason of the alteration now under consideration, 
however, is not so evident. In case of the conver- 
sion oita and ti into sta and.sf/, I would suggest the 
following as the probable explanation. The fact that 
this peculiarity is almost confined to Dublin, Meath, 
and Louth, renders it likely that it is a Danish cor- 
ruption. In all the Northern languages there are 
whole classes of words commencing with st, which 
mean habitation, place, &c. For example, Ang. 
Sax. stoic, a dwelling place, a habitation ; stede, a 
place, a station ; Danish, sted, locus, sedes ; stad, urbs, 
oppiclum ; stede, statio : Icelandic, stadr, statio, urbs, 
oppidum ; stofa, curta domus ; -sfo, statio. And I 
may add, that in Iceland, Norway, and other nor- 
thern countries, several of these words are exten- 
sively used in the formation of names of places ; of 
which any one may satisfy himself by only looking 
over a map of one of these countries. 

It appears to me, then, sufficiently natural, that 
the Northern settlers should convert the Irish ta and 
ti into their own significant sta and sti. The change 
was sufficiently marked in character to assimilate to 
some extent the names to their o'^ii familiar local 
nomenclature, while the alteration of form was so 
slight, that the words still remained quite intelligible 
to the Irish population. It would appear more na- 
tural to a Dane to say Stabannon (meaning Bannon's 
house) than Tabannon, and an Irishman would un- 
derstand quite well what he meant. 

This opinion is further supported by these two 
well-kno^\Ti facts : first, many places on the Eastern 
coast have Danish names, as Waterford, Leixlip, 
Howth, Ireland's Eye, &c. ; and secondly, the Danes 

CHAP. III.] Corrupt 10718. 63 

frequently changed the Irish inis, an island, into 
their o^ti equivalent word, ^y, as in the last men- 
tioned name. If it be objected that Tabannon could 
not be converted on this principle into Stabannon, 
because the Northern method of forming such names 
is to place the limiting term fii-st, not last, as in Irish 
(for instance the Irish order is Stn-hannon, but the 
Northern Baunon-sta) ; it may be answered that in 
anglicis'uig Irish names, it is very usual to convert 
each pai-t of a compound wholly or pai-tly into an 
English word, leading the whole at the same time in 
the original Irish order ; as, for instance, Batterjohn, 
Castledonovan, Downj)atrick, Port Stewart, &c., in 
which the proper Enghsh order would be John's 
batter, Donovan's Castle, &c. 

It is only fair to state, however, that Worsae does 
not notice this corruption, though in his " Accomit 
of the Danes and Norwegians in England, Scotland, 
and Ireland," he has collected every vestige he coidd 
find of the Danish rule in these countries. 

Notwithstanding the variety of distui'bing causes, 
and the great number of individual names affected 
by each, only a small proportion of the whole are 
corrupted, the great majority being, as already stated, 
anglicised correctly, or nearly so. Wlien it is con- 
sidered that there are more than 60,000 townlands 
in Ireland, and when to the names of these are 
added the countless names of rivers, lakes, mountains, 
&c., it will be seen that even a small fi^action of all 
Tvill form a number large enough to give sufficient 
play to all the corrupting influences enumerated in 
this chapter. 

I have now examined, in this and the precediog 
chapter, sixteen difl'erent sources of change in Irish 
names, and I have selected these, because they are 

64 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

the most striking and important, as well as the most 
extensive in theii' influence. There are other letter 
changes of a less violent character, such as those 
caused by metathesis, &c., which I have not thought 
sufficiently impoi-tant to notice. The interchange of 
hard and soft mutes (or tenues and medke) is ex- 
tremely common, but this, too, as not causing con- 
siderable obscuration of the names, I shall dismiss 
with a single remark. In the formation of an- 
glicised names from Irish, the change from hard 
to soft is comparatively rare, while the reverse 
occurs very frequently. Dulane, near Kells, is an 
example of the former, its ancient name, as spelled 
by the Four Masters, being Tidlen or TMn, i. e. 
the little tulach or hill ; as examples of the latter, it 
will be sufficient to mention the frequent change of 
diihh (black) to duff, garhh (rough) to gariff, carraig 
(a rock) to carricJiy &c., in the two former of which 
the sound of v is converted to that of /, and in 
the last the sound of g (in got) is changed to that 
of /i. There are also corruptions of an exceptional 
and unexpected character, which I have not been able 
to reduce to any principle ; but I shall not dwell on 
them, as' the object of these chapters is not so much 
the examination of individual names as the develop- 
ment of general laws. 



In no department of Irish antiquities have writers 
indulged to such an extent in vague and useless con- 
jecture as in the interpretation of local names. Our 

CHAP. IV.] False Etymologies. 65 

county histories, topographical dictionaries, tourist 
handbooks, &c., abound in local etymologies ; but if 
we leave out of the question a few topographical 
works lately published, it may be safely asserted, that 
these interpretations are generally speaking false, 
and a large proportion of them inexpressibly silly. 
Instead of seeking out the ancient forms of the 
names, in authentic Irish documents, which in many 
cases a small amount of inquiry would enable 
them to do, or ascertaining the pronunciation from 
natives, writers of this class, ignoring both au- 
thority and analogy, either take the names as they 
stand in English, or invent original forms that they 
never had, and interpret them, each according to his 
own fancy, or to lend plausibility to some favourite 

There are laws and method in etymology, as well 
as in other sciences, and I have set forth in the 
three preceding chapters, the principles by which 
an inquirer must be guided in the present branch 
of the subject. But when we see men pronouncing 
confidently on questions of Irish etymology, who 
not only have no knowledge of these principles, 
but who are totally unacquainted with the Irish 
language itself, we cannot wonder that their con- 
jectures regarding the signification of Irish names 
are usually nothing better than idle and worthless 

The first who to any extent made use of the ety- 
mology of Irish names, as an instrument of historical 
investigation, was Yallancey. He built whole theo- 
ries regarding the social condition and rehgious belief 
of the early inhabitants of Ireland, chiefly on false 
etymologies ; but his system has been long exploded, 
and no one would now think of either quoting or re- 


Q6 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

futing his fanciful conjectures. He was succeeded 
by a host of followers, who in their literary specula- 
tions seem to have lost eyery vestige of judgment and 
common sense ; and the race, though fast dj-ing out 
under the broad sunlight of modem scholarship, is 
not yet quite extinct. I shall not notice their ety- 
mological fancies through this book, for indeed they 
are generally quite beneath notice, but I shall bring 
together in the present chapter a few characteristic 

In Ferguson's " Eiver Names of Europe," there 
are near fifty Irish names, whose meanings are dis- 
cussed. Of these, a few are undoubtedly correct ; 
there are about twenty on which I am not able to 
offer an opinion, as I know nothing certain of 
their etymology, and the author's conjectures are 
far more likely to be TVTong than right, for 'they 
are founded on the modern forms of the names. A 
full half are certainly TVTong, and of these one ex- 
ample will be sufficient. The name Nenagh (river) 
is derived from Sansc. ??2, to move, Grael. nighf to 
wash ; but a little inquiry will enable any one to 
see that Nenagh is not the name of the river at all, 
but of the town ; and that even if it were, it could not 
be derived from any root beginning with 71, since the 
original name is Aenach^ the initial 9i being merely 
the Irish article. The real name of the river, which, 
is now almost forgotten, is Owen O'Coffey, the river 
of the O'Coffeys, the family who anciently inhabited 
the district. 

In Gribson's Etymological Geography, a considera- 
ble number of Irish names are explained, but the 
author was very careful to instance those only whose 
meanings are obvious, and consequently he is gene- 
rally right. Yet he calls Inishbofin off the coast of 

CHAP. IV.] Fake Etymologies, 67 

Mayo, Imskbosi)ie, and interprets it Basinets island I 
and lie confounds Inishcourey in Down with Ennis- 
cortliy in Wexford, besides giving an erroneous ety- 
mology for both. 

The Eev. Isaac Taylor, who also deals frequently 
with Irish names, in a work of great ability, *' Words 
and Places," is m^^e cautious than either. But 
even he sometimes falls into the same error ; for in- 
stance he takes Armagh as it stands, and derives it 
from the preposition ar (on), and magh (a plain), 
though among the whole range of Irish names, there 
is scarcely one whose original form {Ard-Macha) is 
better known. 

There is a parish near Downpatrick, taking its 
name from an old church, now called Inch, i. e. the 
island, because it was built on a small island or penin- 
sula, on the west side of Strangford Lough. The full 
name is Inishcourey ; and as it is a liistorical fact 
that an abbey was founded there by John de Courcy 
about the year 1180, it is not to be wondered at that 
Harris (in his History of Down), and Archdall, fell 
into the error of believing that the name was derived 
from him. But an earlier monastery existed there, 
called Inis-Cumhscraigh [Inishcooscry] , Cooscragh's 
island, long before John de Courcy was born ; and 
this name was gradually corrupted to Inishcourey, 
both on account of the cm-ious similarity of sound, 
and of that chief's connexion with the place. 

All this will be rendered evident by reference to 
the Annals. We find it recorded in the Four Masters, 
that in 1001 " Sitric son of Amlaff set out on a pre- 
datory excursion into Ulidia in his ships ; and plun- 
dered KilcHef and Ims-Cumhscraigh ;" and Tighern- 
ach, who died in 1088, records the same event. 
Moreover, Hugh Maglanha, abbot of Inishcimihs- 


68 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

craigli., was one of those who signed the Charter of 
Newry, a document of about the year 1160. 

Dr. Reeves has conjectured, what is highly proba- 
ble, that the person who gave name to this place was 
Cumhscrach, one of the sons of Conor Mac Nessa, 
who succeeded his father as king of Ulster in the 
first centuiy. • 

It has been said by a philosoj)her that words go- 
vern men, and we have an excellent example of this 
in the name of the Black Valley, near Killamey. 
Many of our guide books, and tourists without num- 
ber, describe it as something wonderful in its exces- 
sive blackness ; and among them is one well-known 
writer, who, if we are to judge by his description, 
either never saw it at all, or wrote from memory. 

It may be admitted that the direction of this valley 
with regard to the sun, at the time of day when visitors 
generally see it, has some influence in rendering the 
view of it indistinct ; but it cei-tainly is not blacker 
than many other valleys among the Killamey moun- 
tains ; and the imagination of tourists is led cap- 
tive, and they are betrayed into these descriptions of 
its gloominess, because it has been called the Black 
Valley, which is not its name at all. 

The variety of ways in which the original is 
spelled by different writers — Coomdhuv, Coomadhuv, 
Coomydhuv, Cummeendhuv, &c., might lead any one 
to suspect that there was something wrong in the 
translation ; whereas, if it were intended for black 
valley, it would be Coomdhuv and nothing else. To 
an Irish scholar, the pronunciation of the natives 
makes the matter perfectly clear ; and I almost re- 
gret being obliged to give it a much less poetical 
interpretation. They invariably call it Cooju-ee-uiv 
(this perfectly represents the pronunciation, except 

CHAP. lY.] False Etymologies. 69 

only the ti\ where there is a soft guttural that does 
not exist in English), which will be recognised as 
Cum-m-Dhuihh, O'Duff's valley. Who this O'Duff 
was, I have not been able to ascertain. 

Clonmacnoise is usually written in the later Annals, 
Cluain-niic-Nois, which has been translated, and is 
very generally believed to mean, " the retreat of the 
sons ofthenoble," aname which it was thought to have 
received, either because the place was much fre- 
quented by the nobility as a retirement in their old 
age, or because it was the burial place of so many 
kings and chiefs. But this guess could never be 
made by anyone having the least knowledge of Irish, 
for in the original name, the two last syllables are in 
the genitive singular, not in the genitive plural. 
Nos (gen. nois), indeed, means noble, but here it is 
the name of a person, who is historically known, and 
Cluain-mic-JSfois means the meadow of the son of 

Though the Irish name given above is generally 
used by the Four Masters, yet at 1461 they call the 
place Cluain-niKc-JVois-mic-FiacUiaigh, by which it ap- 
pears that this Nos's father was Fiadhach [Feeagh] , 
who was a chief belonging to the tribe of the Dealhh- 
na-Eathra (now the barony of Grarrycastle in King's 
County), in whose temtory Clonmacnoise was situ- 
ated. Cluain'muc-Nois would signify the meadow of 
Nos's pigs ; but though this form is used by Colgan 
in the Tripartite Life, the correct original appears 
to be Cluain-maccu-Nois, for it is so written in the 
older Annals, and in the Carlsruhe Manuscript of 
Zeuss, which is the most ancient, and no doubt the 
most trustworthy authority of all : this last signifies 
the meadow of the sons of Nos. 

On the road from Inchigeelagh to Gougane Barra, 

70 The Irish Local Name Syste7n. [part i, 

in Cork, you pass a lonely little hamlet at a bridge 
over the Lee, called Ballingeary ; and it is no doubt 
considered a very elegant^ and imaginative designa- 
tion, for many of our leading guide books translate 
it, *' The place of the wilderness," though there is 
not a syllable in the name that signifies either place 
or unlclerness. If the tourist ask the driver of the 
car, or any other peasant, to pronounce it in Irish, he 
will hear something like Beal-a-na-geeragh, which re- 
presents the Irish Bel-atha-na-gcaerach, the ford of 
the sheep. The place took this name from a ford, 
now spanned by the bridge, where the Lee used to 
be crossed by the mountain sheep, in their passage 
up and down the valley. 

Askeaton in Limerick is transformed to Eas-cead- 
tinne, in a well-known modern topographical work on 
Ireland : the writer explains it " The cataract of the 
hundred fires," and adds, " the fires were probably 
some way connected with the ritual of the Druids, 
the ancient Irish Gruebres." The name, however, as 
we find it in many Irish authorities, is Eas-Gephtiney 
which simply means the cataract of Grephtine, some 
old pagan chief. The cataract is where the Deel falls 
over a ledge of rocks near the town. 

I may remark here, that great numbers of these 
fanciful derivations were invented to prove that the 
ancient Irish worshipped fire. In order to show that 
the round tower at Balla, in Mayo, was a fire temple, 
Vallancey changes the name to Beilagh^ which he 
interprets " The fire of fires." But in the Life of St. 
Moehua, the founder, published by Colgan (at the 
30th of March), we are told that before the saint 
founded his monastery there, in the beginning of 
the seventh century, the place was called Rosdair- 
hhreach, i. e. oak-grove ; that he enclosed the wella 

CHAP. IV.] Fake Etymologies. 71 

of his religious establisliment with a " balla" or wall 
(a practice common among the early Irish saints) ; 
and that " hence the town received the new name 
Balla, and Mochua himself became known by the 
cognomen Ballensis." 

Aghagower, in the same county, Vallancey also 
explains " Fire of fires," and with the sam.e object, as 
a round tower exists there. He was not aware that 
the original name was Aehadh-fohhair, for so it is 
called in the Four Masters and in the most ancient 
Lives of St. Patrick : it signifies " the field of the 
spring," and the place took its name from a cele- 
brated well, which is now called St. Patrick's well. 
Its name must have been corrupted at an early date, 
for Duald M'Firbis calls it Achadh-gahhair (Hy 
Fiachrach, p. 151) ; but even this does not signify 
" fire of fires," but a very different thing — " the 
field of the goat." 

Smith, in his History of Cork, states that the 
barony of Kinalmeaky means " the head of the noble 
root," from cean., head, neal^ noble, and meacan, a 
root. The true fonn of the name, however, is Cinel' 
mBece (O'Heerin), which was originally the name, 
not of the territory, but of the tribe that inhabited it, 
and which means "the descendants {cmel) ofBece," 
who was the ancestor of the O'Mahonys. 

In Seward's Topographical Dictionary, it is stated 
that Baltinglass (in Wicklow) " is derived from Beal- 
tinne-glas, or the fire of BeaVs mysteries^ the fires being 
lighted there by the Druids in honour of the sun ;" 
and the wiiter of a Guide to Wicklow (Curry, Dui3- 
lin, 1834), says that it is " Bal-teach-na-glass, or the 
town of the grey houses ;" and he adds, " certainly 
•the appearance of them bears us out in this." This 
is all pure invention, for neither of the original forms 

72 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

here given is the correct one, and even if it were, it 
would not bear the meaning assigned, nor indeed any 
meaning at all. In ancient documents the name is 
always given Bealach-Chonglais (Dinnsenchus), the 
pass or road of Cuglas, a personage connected with 
the locality, about whom there is a curious and very 
ancient legend ; and from this the present name has 
been corrupted. There was another Bealach- Chonglais 
near Cork city, but the name is now lost, and the 
exact situation of the place is not known. 



In an essay on Irish local names, it may be expected 
that I should give some information regarding their 
antiquity. In various individual cases through this 
book, I have indicated the date, certain or probable, 
at which the name was imposed ; or the earliest period 
when it is known to have been in use ; but it may be 
of interest to state here some general conclusions, 
to which the evidence at our command enables us to 

When we wish to investigate the composition and 
meaning of a name, we are not warranted in going 
back farther than the oldest actually existing manu- 
scripts in which it is found written, and upon the form 
given in these, we must found our conclusions. But 
when our object is to determine the antiquity of the 
name, or in other words, the period when it was first 
imposed, we have usually a wider scoj)e and fuller 
evidence to guide us. 


CHAP, v.] The Antiquity of Irish Local Names, 73 

For, first, if the oldest existing manuscript in which 
the name occurs is known as a fact to have been 
copied from another still older not now in existence, 
this throws back the age of the name to at least the 
date of the transcription of the latter. But secondly, 
the period when a name happens to be first committed 
to writing, is no measure of its real antiquity ; for it 
may have been in use hundreds of years, before being 
embalmed in the pages of any written document. 
While we are able to assert with certainty that the 
name is at least as old as the time of the writer who 
fii'st mentioned it, the validity of any further deduc- 
tions regarding its absolute age depends on the 
authenticity of our history, and on the correctness 
of oui' chronology. 

I will illustrate these remarks by an example : — The 
city of Armagh is mentioned in numerous Irish docu- 
ments, many of them of great antiquity, such as the 
Book of Leinster, &c., and always in the form Ai'd- 
Macha, except when the Latin equivalent is used. 
The oldest of these is the Book of Armagh, which is 
known to have been transcribed about the year 807 ; 
in this we find the name translated by Altitudo Machce, 
which determines the meaning, namely, Macha's 

But in this same Book of Armagh, as well as in 
many other ancient authorities, the place is men- 
tioned in connexion with St. Patrick, who is recorded 
to have founded the cathedral about the year 457, 
the site having been granted to him by Daire, the 
chief of the surrounding district ; and as the history 
of St. Patrick, and of this foundation, is accepted on 
all hands as authentic, we have undoubted evidence 
that the name existed in the fifth century, though we 
possess no document of that age in which it is written. 

74 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

And even Tsithout fm-tlier testimony we are able to 
say that it is older, for it was in use before St. 
Patrick's arrival, who only accepted the name as he 
found it. 

But here again, history, though of a less reliable 
character, comes to our aid. There is an ancient 
tract called Dinnsenchus, which professes to give the 
origin of the names of the most celebrated localities 
in Ireland, and, among others, that of Armagh. It 
is a fact admitting of no doubt, that the place received 
its name from some remarkable woman named Macha, 
and the ancient writer in the Dinnsenchus mentions 
three, from one of whom the name was derived, but 
does not decide which. The first was Macha the wife 
of Nevvy, who led hither a colony about 600 years 
after the deluge ; the second, Macha of the golden 
hair, who founded the palace of Emania, 300 years 
before the Cliristian era ; and the third, Macha, wife 
of Crunn, who lived in the reign of Conor Mac Nessa 
in the first century. The second Macha is recorded 
to have been buried there, and as she was by far the 
most celebrated of the three, she it was, most proba- 
bly, after whom the place was called. We may 
conclude therefore, with every appearance of certainty, 
that the name has an antiquity of more than two 
thousand years. 

Following this method of investigation, we are able 
to determine with considerable precision, the age of 
hundreds of local names still in use ; and as a further 
illustration, I shall enter into some detail concerning 
a few of the most ancient authorities that have come 
down to us. 

The oldest writer by whom Irish places are named 
in detail, is the Grreek geographer, Ptolemy, who 
wrote his treatise in the beginning of the second cen- 

CHAP, v.] The Antiquity of Irish Local Names. 75 

tury. It is well known tliat Ptolemy's work is only 
a corrected copy of another written by Marinus of 
Tyre, who lived a short time before him, and the 
latter is believed to have drawn his materials from an 
ancient Tyrian Atlas. The names preserved by Pto- 
lemy are therefore, so far as they are authentic, as old 
at least as the first century, and with great probability 
much older. 

Unfortunately very few of his Irish names have 
reached our time.* In the portion of his work re- 
lating to Ireland, he mentions over fifty, and of these 
only about nine can be identified with names exist- 
ing within the period reached by our history. These 
are Sows, now the Shannon ; Birgos, the Barrow ; 
BoKouinda, the Boyne ; Rhikina, Rechra or Pathlin ; 
Login, the Lagan ; JYagnatai, Connaught ; Isamnion 
Akron, Rinn Seimhne (now Island Magee), i. e., the 
point of Seimhne, an ancient tenitory ; Eblami, Dub- 
lin ; and another to which I shall return presently. 

The river that he calls Ohoka appears, by its posi- 
tion on the map, to be the same as the Wicklow river 
now so well known as the Ovoca, but this last name 
has been borrowed from Ptolemy himself, and has 
been applied to the river in very recent times. Its 
proper name, as we find it in the Annals, is Avon- 
more, which is still the name of one of the two 
principal branches that form " The meeting of the 

He places a town called Doimon near the Ohoka. 
It is now impossible to determine the place that is 
meant by this ; but the reeord is valuable, as the 
name is obviously the Keltic dun, with the Grreek in- 

* The following observations refer to Mercator's Edition, 

76 The Irish Local Name System. [part i. 

flexion on postfixed, wliich shows that this word was 
in use as a local appellative at t]iat early age. 

There is one very interesting example of the com- 
plete preservation of a name unchanged, fi'om the 
time of the Phoenician na\'igators to the present day. 
Just outside Eblana^ there appears a small island, 
which is called Edri Deserta on the map, and Edrou 
Heremos in the Grreek text, i. e. the desert of Edros ; 
which last name, after removing the Grreek inflexion, 
and making allowance for the usual contraction, re- 
gains the original form Edar. TJiis is exactly the 
Irish name of Howth, used in all our ancient authori- 
ties, either as it stands, or with the addition of Ben 
{Ben-Edaii% the peak of Edar) ; still well known 
throughout the whole country by speakers of Irish ; 
and perpetuated to future time in the names of se- 
veral villa residences, built within the last few years 
on the hill. 

Some winters have erroneously identifled Edrou 
He}'em.os with Ireland's Eye, probably because the 
former is represented as an island. The perfect co- 
incidence of the name is alone siiificient to prove that 
Ben Edar is the place meant ; but I may add, that 
to the ancient navigators who collected the informa- 
tion handed down to us by Ptolemy, Ireland's Eye 
would be barely noticeable, as they sailed along our 
coast, whereas the bold headland of Ben Edar formed 
a prominent landmark, certain to be remembered 
and recorded; and connected as it was with the 
mainland by a low narrow isthmus, it is no wonder 
they mistook it for an island. Besides, as we know 
from our most ancient authorities, IIo"wth was a cele- 
brated locality from the earliest times reached by 
history or tradition ; whereas Ireland's Eye was a 
place of no note till the seventh century, when it 

CHAP, v.] The Antiquity of Irish Local Names. 77 

was selected, like many other islands ronnd the coast, 
as a place of religious retirement, by Christian mis- 

According to some Irish authorities, the place re- 
ceived the name of Ben-Edair from a Tuatha De Da- 
nann cMeftain, Edar the son of Edgaeth, who was 
buiied there ; while others say that it was from Edar 
the wife of Grann, one of the five Firbolg brothers who 
divided Ireland iDetween them. The name Howth is 
Danish. It is written in ancient letters Hofda, Hou- 
ete, and Howeth, all different forms of the northern 
word Hoved, a head (Worsae) . 

The Irish names originally collected for this ancient 
Atlas, were learned from the natives by sailors speak- 
ing a totally different language ; the latter delivered 
them in turn from memory to the compiler, who was 
of course obliged to represent them by Phoenician 
letters ; and they were ultimately transferred by Pto- 
lemy into the Grreek language. It appears perfectly 
obvious, therefore, that the names as we find them on 
Ptolemy's map, must in general be very much dis- 
torted from the proper form, as used at the time by 
the inhabitants. 

Enormous changes of form have taken place in our 
own time, in many Irish names that have been trans- 
ferred merely from Irish to English, under circum- 
stances far more favourable to correctness. If some 
old compiler, in drawing a map of Ireland, had re- 
moved the ancient Ceaun-Leime (the head of the 
leap) twenty or thii-ty miles from its proper position 
(as Ptolemy does in case of several places), and caUed 
it by its present name Slyne Head, and if all inter- 
mediate information were lost, it is highly probable 
that it would never be recognised. 

When we reflect on all this, and remember besides 

78 The Irish Local Name System. [part t. 

that several of the names are no doubt fantastic trans- 
lations, and that with great probability many of them 
never existed at all, except in the imagination of the 
voyagers, we shall cease to be surprised that, out of 
more than fifty, we are able to identify only about 
nine of Ptolemy's names. 

The next writer after Ptolemy who has mentioned 
many Irish localities, and whose works remain to us, 
is a native, namely, Adamnan, who wrote his Life of 
St. Columba in the seventh century, but the names he 
records were all in use before the time of Columba in 
the sixth century. In this work about forty Irish 
places are mentioned, and here we have Ptolemy's 
case reversed. The number of names totally lost, or 
not yet recognised, does not amount to half a dozen. 
All the rest have been identified in Reeves's edition of 
Adamnan ; of these, nine or ten, though now obso- 
lete, occur frequently in Irish MSS., and have been 
in use down to recent times ; the remainder exist at 
the present day, and are stiU applied to the localities. 

It will not be necessary to detail the numerous 
writers, whose works are still extant, that flourished 
at different periods from Adamnan down to the time 
of Colgan and the O'Clerys ; or the ancient MSS. that 
remain to us, enumerating or describing Irish loca- 
lities. It will be enough to say, that in the majority 
of cases the places they mention are still known by 
the same names, and have been identified in our own 
day by various Irish scholars. 

The conclusion naturally following from this is, 
that the names by which all places of any note were 
known in the sixth and succeeding centuries are, 
with some exceptions, the very names they bear at 
the present day. 

A vast number of names containing the words dun, 

ciLiP. v.] The Antiquity of Irish Local Names. 79 

rath^ lis, caher, cam, fert, cloon, &c., are as old at 
least as the advent of Christianity, and a large pro- 
portion much older ; for all these terms are of pagan 
origin, though many of them were adopted by Cliris- 
tian missionaries. And in various parts of the book 
will be found numbers of territorial designations, 
which were originally tribe names, derived from kings 
and chieftains who flourished at difi'erent times from 
the foundation of the palace of Emania (300 years 
B. C.) to the ninth century of the Christian Era. 

Those ecclesiastical designations that are formed 
from the names of saints after such words as kill, 
temple, donagh, aglish, ti, &c., were generally imposed 
at various times from the fifth to the eighth or ninth 
century ; and among these may be enumerated "^the 
greater number of our parish names. One example 
will be sufficient to illustrate this, but many will be 
found through the book, especially in the next three 
or four chapters. 

We have undoubted historic testimony that the 
name of Killaspugbrone, near Sligo, is as old as the 
end of the fifth century. It took its name from one 
of St. Patrick's disciples, Bron or Bronus, who was 
also a contemporary and friend of St. Brigid of Kil- 
dare, and became bishop of Cassel Irra, in the dis- 
trict of Cuil Irra, the peninsula lying south-west of 
Sligo. In the Book of Armagh, and in the Tripartite 
Life, it is stated that after St. Patrick had passed 
from the Forragh, or assembly place, of the sons of 
Awly, he crossed the Moy at Bartragh, and built 
the church of Cassel Irra for his disciple, bishop Bro- 
nus, the son of Icnus. Bronus died on the 8th June, 
612, on which day he is commemorated in O'Clery's 
Calendar. And the name Killaspugbrone is very 
little altered from the original Cill-easpuig-Broin 

80 The Irish Local Nmne Sijstem. [part i. 

(Four Mast . ) , the cliTireli of bishop Bronus. A ruined 
little church still remains on the very spot, but it 
cannot be the structure erected by St. Patrick, for 
the style of masonry proves that it belongs to a very 
much later period. 

The process of name-forming has continued from 
those early ages down to recent times. It was in ac- 
tive operation during the twelfth, thirteenth, four- 
teenth, and fifteenth centuries, for we have great 
numbers of names derived from English families who 
settled amongst us during these periods. It has never 
entirely ceased, and probably never will ; for I might 
point to some names which have been imposed within 
ouj: own memory. 

The number of names given within the last two 
centuries is so small, however, that we may regard 
the process as virtually at an end, only making allow- 
ance for those imperceptibly slow changes incidental 
to language in its cultivated stage. The great body 
of our townland and other names are at least several 
hundred years old ; for those that we fiod in the in- 
quisitions and maps of the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries, which are numerous and minute, exist, with 
few exceptions, at the present day, and generally with 
very slight alterations of form. 





HE face of the country is a book, 
which, if it be deciphered correctly 
and read attentively, will unfold 
more than ever did the cuneiform 
inscriptions of Persia, or the hierogly- 
) phics of Egypt. Not only are historical 
events, and the names of innumerable 
remarkable persons recorded, but the 
whole social life of our ancestors — their customs, their 
superstitions, their battles, their amusements, their 
religious fervour, and their crimes — are depicted in 
vivid and everlasting colom-s. The characters are 
often obscure, and the page defaced by time, but 
enough remains to repay with a rich reward the toil 
of the investigator. Let us hold up the scroll to the 
light, and decipher some of these interesting records. 
One of the most noted facts in ancient Irish and 
British history, is the migration of colonies from the 
north of Ireland to the neighbouring coasts of Scotland, 

82 Sistorical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

and the intimate intercourse that in consequence ex- 
isted in early ages between the two countries. The 
first regular settlement mentioned by our historians 
was made in the latter part of the second century, by 
Cairbre Riada, son of Conary the second, king of 
Ireland. This expedition, which is mentioned in 
most of our Annals, is confirmed by Bede, in the 
following words : — "In course of time, Britain, be- 
sides the Britons and Picts, received a third nation, 
the Scoti, who issuing from Hibernia under the 
leadership of Reuda, secured for themselves, either 
by friendship or by the sword, settlements among the 
Picts which they still possess. From the name of 
their commander, they are to this day called Dal- 
reudini ; for in their language, Dal signifies a part." 
(Hist. Eccl.,Lib. L, Cap. 1). 

There were other colonies also, the most remark- 
able of which was that led by Fergus, Angus, and 
Loarn, the tliree sons of Ere, in the year 506, which 
laid the foundation of the Scottish Monarchy. The 
country colonized by these emigrants was known by 
the name oi Airer-Gaedhil [ Arrer-gale] , (Wars of 
GGr.), i. e. the territory of the dael or Irish, and 
the name is still applied to the territory in the short- 
ened form of Ai'gyle, a living record of these early 

The tribes over whom Carbery ruled were, as Bede 
and our own Annals record, called from him Dal- 
riada, Eiada's portion or tribe ; of which there were two 
— one in Ireland, and the other and more illustrious in 
Scotland. The name has been long forgotten in the 
latter country, but still remains in Ireland, though 
in such a worn down and fragmentary state, that it 
requires the microscope of the philologist and histo- 
rian to recognise it. 

CHAP. I.] Historical Events, 83 

The Irish Dalriada included that pai-t of Antrim 
extending from the Ravel water northwards, and the 
same district is called at the present day the Route, 
or by Latin writers Rut a., which is considered by 
Ussher and 'Flaherty to be a corruption of the 
latter paii; of T)Ql-Riada. If this opinion be correct 
— and I see no reason to question it — there are few 
local names in the British islands more venerable for 
antiquity than this, preserving with little altera- 
tion, through the turmoil of seventeen centuries, the 
name of the first leader of a Scotic colony to the 
coasts of Alba. 

The name of Scotland also commemorates these 
successive emigrations of Irishmen ; it has, moreover, 
an interesting history of its own, and exhibits one of 
the most curious instances on record of the strange 
vicissitudes to which topographical names are often 
subjected, having been completely transferred from 
one country to another. 

The name Scotia originally belonged to Ireland, 
and the Irish were called Scoti or Scots ; Scotland, 
which was anciently called Alba, subsequently got 
the name of Scotia minor, as being peopled by Scots 
from Ireland, while the parent country was for dis- 
tinction often called Scotia major. This continued 
down to about the eleventh century, when Ireland 
returned to the native name Eire, and *' Scotia" 
was thenceforward exclusively applied to Scotland. 
The word " land" in both Ire-land and Scot-land 
was added by the English, the former being obviously 
a contraction of Eire-land. 

That the Scoti were the inhabitants of Ireland 
would be sufficiently proved by the single quotation 
given above from Bede ; but besides, we find it ex- 
pressly stated by several other ancient authorities ; 

84 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

and the Irish are called Scoti in Cormac's Griossarj, 
as well as in other native writings. Adamnan often 
uses Hibemia and Scotia synonymously : thus in 
his Life of Columba we j&nd the following pas- 
sage : — " On a certain day the holy man ordered 
one of his monks named Trenan of the tribe of 
Mocurimtir, to go on a commission to Scotia {ad 

Scotiani) : The saint answering him, 

* Go in peace ; you shall have a favourable and 
good wind till you arrive in Hibemia {ad Hiber- 
niam) ; you shall find a man coming to meet you 
from a distance, who will be the first to seize the prow 
of your ship in Scotia {in Scotia) ; he will accompany 
you in your journey for some days in Hibernia." — 
Lib. I., Cap._ 18. ^ 

Many testimonies of this kind might be adduced 
from other writers ; and if another clear proof were 
necessary, we find it in an ode of the poet Claudian, 
celebrating a ^dctory of Theodosius over the three 
nations of the Saxons, the Picts, and the Scots, in 
w^hich the following passage occurs : — " The Orcades 
flowed with Saxon gore ; Thule became warm with 
the blood of the Picts ; and icy lerne wept her heaps 
of (slaughtered) Scots." 

The foimdation of the celebrated palace oi Ea- 
mhuin or Emania, which took place about 300 years 
before the Incarnation, forms an important epoch ; it 
is the limit assigned to authentic Irish history by the 
annalist Tighernach, who asserts that all accounts of 
events anterior to this are uncertain. The following 
are the circumstances of its origin as given in the 
Book of Leinster. Three Kings, Aedh-ruadh [Ay- 
roo], Dihorba, and Ciombaeth [Kimbay], agreed to 
reign each for seven years in alternate succession, 
and they each enjoyed the sovereignty for three 

CHAP. I.] Historical Events. 85 

periods, or twenty-one years, when Aedh-ruaclli died. 
His daughter, the celebrated Macha of the golden 
hair, asserted her right to reign when her father's 
turn came, and being opposed by Dihorba and his 
sons, she defeated them in several battles, in one of 
which Dihorba was killed, and she then assumed the 

She afterwards married the surviving monarch, 
Kjjnbay, and took the five sons of Dihorba prisoners. 
The Ultonians proposed that they should be put to 
death : — " Not so," said she, '' because it would be 
the defilement of the righteousness of a sovereign in 
me ; but they shall be condemned to slavery, and 
shall raise a rath around me, and it shall be the chief 
city of Ulster for ever." The account then gives a 
fanciful derivation of the name ; " And she marked 
for them the dun with her brooch of gold from her 
neck," so that the palace was called Eomuin or Ea- 
'mhuin, from eo^ a brooch, and muin^ the neck. (See 
Armagh, p. 73, and O'Curry's Lectures, p. 527). 

The remains of this great palace are situated about 
a mile and a half west of Armagh, and consist of a 
circular rath or rampart of earth with a deep fosse, 
enclosing about eleven acres, within which are two 
smaller circular forts. The great rath is still known 
by the name of the Navan Fort, in which the original 
name is curiously preserved. The proper Irish form 
is Eamhuin, which is pronounced aren, Emania being 
merely a latinized form. The Irish article an, con- 
tracted as usual to n, placed before this, makes it 
nEamhuin, the pronimciation of which is exactly re- 
presented by Navan (see page 23, supra). 

This ancient palace was destroyed in the year A. D. 
332, after having flourished as the chief royal resi- 
dence of Ulster for more than 600 years ; and it 

86 Ilisforical and Legendary J^ames. [part ii, 

would perhaps be difficult to identify its site with ab- 
solute certainty, were it not for the singular tenacity 
with which it has retained its name, through all the 
social revolutions of sixteen hundred years. 

The Red Branch knights of Ulster, so celebrated 
in our early romances, and whose renown has de- 
scended to the present day, flourished in the first 
century, and attained their greatest glory in the reign 
of Conor mac Nessa. They were a kind of militia in 
the service of the monarch, and received theii' name 
from residing in one of the houses of the palace of 
Emania, called Craehh-yniadh [Creeveroe] or the Red 
Branch, where they were trained in valour and feats 
of arms. The name of this ancient military college 
is still preserved in that of the adjacent townland of 
Creeveroe, and thus has descended through another 
medium, to our own time, the echo of these old 
heroic days. 

Another military organization not less celebrated, 
of somewhat later date, was that of the Fians or 
Fenians, or, as they are often called, the Fianna Erin. 
They flourished in the reign of Cormac mac Art in 
the third century, and formed a militia for the defence 
of the throne ; their leader was the renowned Finn 
mac Cumhail [Finn macCoole], who resided at the hill 
of Allen in Kildare, and whom Macpherson attempted 
to transfer to Scotland under the name of Fingal. 
Finn and his companions are to this day vividly re- 
membered in tradition and legend, in every piart of 
Ireland ; and the hills, the glens, and the rocks still 
attest, not merely their existence, for that no one who 
has studied the question can doubt, but the important 
part they played in the government and military 
aff'airs of the kingdom. 

One of the principal amusements of these old 

CHAP. I.] Historical E cents. 87 

heroes, when not employed in war, was hunting, and 
during their long sporting exciu^sions, they had cer- 
tain favourite hills on which they were in the habit 
of resting and feasting during the intervals of the 
chase. These hills, most of which are crowned by 
earns or moats, are called Suidhe-Finn [Seefin], 
Finn's seat or resting place, and they are found in 
each of the four provinces ; the name appears to 
have belonged originally to the earns, and to have 
extended afterwards to the hills. 

There is one among the DubKn mountains, a few 
miles south of Tallaght ; another among the Gralties ; 
and the fine mountain of Seefin terminates the Bally- 
houi'a range towards the north east, three miles south 
of Kilfinnane in Limerick. Immediately under the 
brow of this mountain, reposes the beautiful vale of 
Grienosheen, whose name corumemorates the great 
poet and warrior, Oisin the son of Finn ; and in 
several of the neighbouring glens, there are rocks, 
which are associated, in the legends of the peasantry, 
with the exploits of these ancient waniors. There 
are also places called Seefin in Cavan, Armagh (neai* 
Newiy), Down, King's County, Gralway, Mayo, and 
Sligo ; while in Tyrone we find Seein, which is the 
same name, with the / aspirated and omitted. Finn's 
father, Cumhal [Coole], was slain by Graul-mac- 
Morna at the terrible battle of C nucha or Castleknock, 
near Dublin : he is believed to have had his residence 
at Rathcoole (Cumhal's rath), now a small town nine 
miles south-west of the city ; but I cannot find that 
any vestige of his rath remains. 

There are numerous places in every part of Ire- 
land, where, according to tradition, Finn's soldiers 
used to meet for various purposes ; and many of 

88 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

them still retain names that speak plainly enough of 
these assemblies. In the county Monaghan we find 
Lisnaveane, that is JJos-na-hliFiann^ the fort of the 
Fianna ; in Donegal, Meenavean, where on the meen^ 
or moimtain flat, they no doubt rested from the fa- 
tigues of the chase ; near Killorglin, in Kerry, Derry- 
nafeana (Derry, an oak wood), and in another part of 
the same county is a river called Owennafeana ; in 
Westmeath, Camfyan and Skeanaveane (Skea, a 
bush) ; and many other such names. 

The name of Leinster is connected with one of the 
most remarkable of the very early events recorded in 
the history of Ireland. In the third century before 
the Christian era, Cofi'agh Gael Bra murdered his 
brother, Leary Lore, monarch of Ireland, and the 
king's son, OlioU Aine, and immediately usurped the 
throne. Maen, afterwards called Labhradh Linshagh 
(Lavra the mariner) , son of OlioU, was banished by 
the usurper ; and having remained for some time 
in the south of Ireland, he was forced to leave the 
country, and crossed the sea to Graul. He entered 
the military service of the king of that country, and 
after having greatly distinguished himself, he returned 
to his native land with a small army of foreigners, to 
^vrest the crown from the murderer of his father and 

He landed at the mouth of the Slaney in Wexford, 
and after having been joined by a number of fol- 
lowers, he marched to the palace of Dinn Righ [Din- 
ree, the fortress of the kings], in which Cofi'agh was 
then holding an assembly with thirty native princes, 
and a guard of 700 men. The palace was surprised 
by night, and set on fire, and all its inmates — king, 
princes, and guards — burned to death. Maen then 

CHAP. I.] Historical Events. 89 

assumed the sovereignty, and reigned for nineteen 

The exact description of the annalists identifies 
very clearly the position of this ancient palace, 
the great monnd of which still exists, though its 
name has been long forgotten. It is now called 
Ballyknockan moat, and lies on the west bank of 
the Barrow, a quarter of a mile south of Leighlin- 

Lavra's foreign auxiliaries used a peculiarly shaped 
broad -pointed spear, which was called laighen [layen] ; 
and from this circumstance, the province in which 
they settled, which had previously borne the name 
of Galian^ was afterwards called Laighen^ which 
is its present Irish name. The syllable " ster " 
(for which see farther on) was added in after ages, 
and the whole word pronounced Laynster^ which is 
the very name given in a state paper of the year 
1515, and which naturally settled into the present 
form Leinster. 

La\Ta's expedition is mentioned by Tighemach, 
and by most of the other annalists who treat of that 
period ; but as his adventures have been amplified 
into a romantic tale in the Book of Leinster,* which 
is copied by Keating and others, the whole story, if 
it were not confirmed, would probably be regarded 
as a baseless legend. The word Gall has, however, 
been used in the Irish language from the remotest 
antiquity, to denote a foreigner. For some centuries 
before the Anglo-Norman invasion it was applied to 
the Danes, and since that period to the English — both 
applications being frequent in Irish manuscripts ; — 
but it is obvious that it must have been originally ap- 

* For which see O'Curry's Lectures, p. 252. 

90 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

plied to a colony of Gauls, sufficiently nmnerous and 
important to fix the word in the language. 

We find it stated in Cormac's Grlossary, that the 
word Gall was applied to pillar stones, because they 
were first erected in Ireland by the Galli, or primi- 
tive inhabitants of France ; which not only corrobo- 
rates the truth of the ancient tradition of a Graulish 
colony, but proves also that the word Gall was then 
believed to be derived from this people. Thus the 
story of Lavra's conquest is confirmed by an indepen- 
dent and unsuspicious cii'cumstance ; and as it is re- 
corded by the accurate Tighemach, and falls within 
the limits of authentic Irish history as fixed by that 
annalist (about 300 years B. C), there seems no sufii- 
cient reason to doubt its truth. 

The little island oflnchagoill in Lough Comb, mid- 
way between Oughterard and Cong, is one of the 
few examples we have remaining, in which the word 
Gall is applied in its original signification, i. e. to a 
native of (jaul ; and it corroborates moreover an in- 
teresting fragment of our ancient ecclesiastical history. 
The name in its present form is anglicised from /;»'.s-r7/i- 
Ghoill, the island of the Gall, or foreigner, but its 
full name, as given by OTlaherty and others, is In is-a?i- 
Ghoill-chraihhtMgh [crauvy], the island of the devout 
foreigner. This devout foreigner was Lugnat or Lug- 
naedon, who, according to several ancient authori- 
ties, was the lumaire or pilot of St. Patrick, and the 
son of his sister Liemania. Yielding to the desire for 
solitude so common among the ecclesiastics of that 
early period, he established himself, by permission of 
his uncle, on the shore of Lough Mask, and there 
spent his life in prayer and contemplation. 

This statement, which occurs in the Tripartite Life 
of St. Patrick, as well as others relating to the family 

CHAP. I.] Historical Events, 91 

history of the saint, was by many impugned as un- 
worthy of credit, till it received an imexpected con- 
firmation in the discovery on the island of Lngnaedon's 
headstone by Dr. Petrie. It is a small pillar stone, 
four feet high, and it bears in old Eoman characters 
this inscription: — "LieLugnaedon maccLmenueh," 
the stone of Lugnaedon the son of Limenueh, which 
is the oldest Eoman letter inscription ever disco- 
vered in Ireland.* Near it is the ruin of a small stone 
church called Templepatrick, believed — and with good 
reason according to Petrie — to have been founded by 
St. Patrick : if this be so, it is probable that it is the 
very church in which Lugnaedon worshipped. 

In several old authorities, this saint's name is 
written Lugna [Loona], in which form we find it 
preserved in another locality. Four miles north- 
north-east from Ballinrobe, in the demesne of Bally- 
walter, is an ancient church, which is believed, in the 
traditions of the inhabitants, to be the third church 
erected in Ireland. Near the burial ground, is a holy 
well now known by the name of Toberloona, but which 
is called Tohar-Lngna in Mac Pirbis's Poem, in the 
Book of Lecan, i. e. Lugna's well. It is well known 
that among St. Patrick's disciples, his own nephew 
was the only one that bore the name of Lugna, and 
as this well is in the very neighbourhood where he 
settled, it appears quite clear that it was dedicated to 
him, and commemorates his name. 

* I find that Dr. W. Stokes, in his recent edition of Cormac's 
Glossary, has given a somewhat different reading of this inscrip- 
tion, viz. : — '•• Lie Lugu^don macci Menueh," the stone of 
Lugusedon, the son of Menueh. Whether this reading is incon- 
sistent with the assumption that the stone marks the grave of 
Lugnat, St. Patrick's nephew, I will not now undertake to de- 
termine; but the matter deserves investigation. 

92 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

We have at least two interesting examples of local 
names formed by the word Grall as applied to the 
Danes — Fingall and Donegal. A colony of these 
people settled in the district lying north of Dublin, 
between it and the Delvin river, which, in conse- 
quence, is called in our authorities (O'O. Cal., Wars 
of GrGr., &c.), Fine- Gall, the territory or tribe of the 
Grails or Danes ; and the same territory is still well 
known by the name of Fingall, and the inhabitants 
are locally called Fingallians. 

Donegal is mentioned in several of our Annals, and 
always in the form of Diin-na-nGall, the fortress of 
the foreigners. These foreigners must have been 
Danes, and the name was no doubt applied to an 
earthen dun occupied by them anterior to the twelfth 
century ; for we have direct testimony that they had 
a settlement there at an early period, and the name 
is older than the Anglo-Norman invasion. Dr. Petrie 
quotes an ancient Irish poem (Irish Pen. Journal, 
p. 185), written in the tenth century, by the Tircon- 
nellian bard Flann mac Lonan, in which it is stated 
that Egnaghan, the father of Donnell, from whom the 
O'Donnells derive their name, gave his three beau- 
tiful daughters, Duvlin, Bebua, and Bebinn, in mar- 
riage to three Danish princes, Caithis, Torges, and 
Tor, with the object of obtaining their friendship, 
and to secure his territory from their depredations ; 
and the marriages were celebrated at Donegal, where 
Egnaghan then resided. 

The Annals of Ulster relate that the Danish fortress 
was burned in 1159, by Murtough M'Loughlin, king 
of the Northern Hy Neill : not a vestige of it now re- 
mains, but O'Donovan considers it likely, that it was 
situated at a ford which crossed the river Esk, im- 
mediately west of the old castle, and which the Four 

CHAP. I.] Kutorkal Events. 93 

Masters at 1419 call Ath-na-nGaU, the ford of the 

There are several other places through the country 
called Donegal or Dungall, having the same general 
meaning ; we have no evidence to show whether the 
foreigners were Danes or English ; possibly they were 

There are great numbers of names in all parts of 
Ireland, in which this w^ord Grall commemorates Eng- 
lish settlements. Galbally in Limerick is called in the 
Four Masters, GaUhhaile, English-town, and it pro- 
bably got its name from the Eitzgeralds, who settled 
there at an early period ; and there are besides, a 
dozen other places of the same name, ten of them 
being in Tyrone and Wexford. Galwally in Down, 
Gralvally in Derry, and Gallavally in Kerry are all 
the same name, but the h is aspirated as it ought to 

Ballynagall, Baltynagaul, and Ballygall, all town- 
land names of frequent occurrence, mean also the 
town of the Englishmen ; and I am of opinion that 
Gaulstown, a name common in Kilkenny and Meath, 
is a translation of Ballynagall. The terminations 
gall, nagall, gill, and guile, are exceedingly common 
all over Ireland ; the two former generally mean " of 
the Englishmen," and the two latter '' of the English- 
man ;" Clonegall in Carlow, and Clongall in Meath, 
signify the Englishmen's meadow; Moneygall in 
King's County, the shubbery of the strangers ; Clon- 
gill in Meath, the Englishman's meadow ; Ballinguile 
and Bally guile in Cork and Wicklow, the town of 
the Englishman. 

Gallhhuaile [Galvoola] is a name that often occurs 
indifferent anglicised forms, meaning English-booley, 
i. e. a booley or dairy place belonging to English 

94 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

people. In Tipperary it gives name to the parish of 
Galbooly ; in Donegal it is made Gralwolie ; while 
in other places we find it changed to Gralholey and 

The mouth of the Malahide river, near Dublin, is 
called by the strange name of Muldowney, among 
the people of the locality, a name which, when fully 
developed under the microscope of history, will re- 
mind us of a colony still more ancient than those I 
have mentioned. The Firbolgs, in their descent on 
Ireland, divided themselves into three bodies under 
separate leaders, and landed at three different places. 
The men of one of these hordes were called Firdom- 
nainn [Firdownan], or the men of the deep pits, and 
the legendary histories say that they received this 
name from the custom of digging deeply in cultivat- 
ing the soil. 

The place where this section landed was, for many 
ages afterwards, called Inrer-Domnainn (Book of 
Leinster), the river mouth of the Domnanns^ and it 
has been identified, beyond all dispute, with the little 
bay of Malahide ; the present vulgar name Muldowney, 
is merely a corruption of Maeil-Doninainn, in which 
the word fuaeil, a whirlpool, is substituted for the 
inhher of the ancient name. Thus this fugitive-looking 
name, so little remarkable that it is not knoT\Ti beyond 
the immediate district, with aj)parently none of the 
marks of age or permanency, can boast of an antiquity 
" beyond the misty space of twice a thousand years;" 
and preserves the memory of an event otherwise for- 
gotten by the people, and regarded by many as 
mythological ; while, at the same time, it affords a 
most instructive illustration of the tenacity with 
which loose fragments of language often retain the 
footmarks of former generations. 

CHAP. I.] Historical Events. 95 

According to our early histories, wliieh in this par- 
ticular are confirmed by Bede (Lib. I., Cap. 1), the 
Picts landed and remained some time in Ireland, on 
their way to theu' final settlement in Scotland. In 
the Irish Annals, they are usually called Cruithne 
[Cruhne], which is also the term used by Adamnan, 
and which is considered to be synonymous with the 
word Picti, i. e. painted, from cndt/i, colour. Aftei' 
their establishment in Scotland, they maintained in- 
timate relations with Ireland, and the ancient Dala- 
radia, which extended from Ne"s\Ty to the Pavel 
Water in Antrim, is often called in our Annals the 
country of the Crutheni. It is probable that a rem- 
nant of the original colony settled there ; but we 
know besides that its inhabitants were descended 
through the female line, from the Picts ; for Irial 
Grlunmore (son of Conall Carnagh) , the progenitor of 
these people, was married to the daughter of Eochy, 
king of the Picts of Scotland. 

Several places in the north of Ireland retain the 
name of this ancient people. Duncrun, in the parish 
of Magilligan, Derry, was in old days a place of some 
notoriety, and contained a church erected by St. 
Patrick, and a shrine of St. Columba ; it must have 
originally belonged to a tribe of Picts, for it is known 
in the Annals by the name of Dim- Cruithne (Four 
Masters), which Colgan (Tr. Th., p. 181, n. 187), 
translates Arx Cruthcenorum, the fortress of the Cruth- 
nians. In the parish ofMacosquin, in the same 
county, there is a townland called Drumcroon, and 
one in the parish of Devenish, Fermanagh, with the 
name of Drumcroohen, both of which signify the 
Picts' ridge. 

After the Milesian conquest of Ireland, the van- 
quished races, consisting chiefly of Firbolgs and 

96 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

Tuatha De Dananns, were kept in a state of subjec- 
tion by the conquerors, and oppressed with heavy 
exactions, which became at last so intolerable, that 
they rose in rebellion, early in the first century, 
succeeded in overthi'owing for a time the Milesian 
power, and placed one of their own chiefs, Carbery 
Kincat, on the throne. After the death of this king, 
the Milesian monarchy was restored through the 
magnanimity of his son Moran. These helot races, 
who figiu'e conspicuously in early Irish history, are 
known by the name oi Aitheach- Tuatha [Ahathooha], 
which signifies literally, plebeian races ; by Latin 
writers, it has been corrupted to Attacotti, a name 
now more familiar than the original. 

In the barony of Carra, county of Mayo, there 
is a parish called Touaghty, preserving the name 
of the ancient territory of Tuath-Aitheachta [Thoo- 
ahaghta], so ^Titten by MTirbis in '' Hy Fiach- 
rach," which received its name from having been 
anciently occupied by a tribe of Firbolgs : the name 
signifies the tiiath or district of the Attacotti or 

To travellers on the Grreat Southern and Western 
railway, the grassy hill of Knocklong, crowned by 
its castle ruins, forms a conspicuous object, lying 
immediately south of the Knocklong station. This 
hill was, many ages ago, the scene of a warlike 
gathering, the memory of vv^hich is still preserved in 
the name. 

In the middle of the third century, Cormac mac 
Art, monarch of Ireland, undertook an expedition 
against Fiacha Muilleathan [Mullahan] king of 
Munster, to reduce him to submission, and lay 
the province imder additional tribute ; and his army 
marched from Tara unopposed, tiU they pitched 

CHAP. T.] Ilidorical Events. 97 

their tents on this hill, which was up to that time 
called Dniim-damhyhaiye [davary], the hill of the 
oxen. The Munster king marched to oppose him, 
and encamped on the slope of the opposite hill, then 
called Slieve Claire, but now Slievereagh (grey moun- 
tain), Ijing south ofKnocklong, and north-east of 

After a protracted struggle, and many combats in 
the intervening plain, Cormac, defeated and baffled, 
was forced to retreat without effecting his object. He 
was pm'sued, with great loss, as far as Ossory, and 
obliged by Fiacha to give secm^ity that he would 
repaii' the injury done to Munster by this expedition. 
And from this event the hill of Knocklong received 
its name, which is in Irish, Cnoc-luinge, the hill of 
the encampment. 

These are the bare historical facts. In the Book 
of Lecan there is a full narrative of the invasion and 
repulse ; and it forms the subject of a historical tale 
called the Forbais or Siege of Drom-damhghaire, a 
copy of which is found in the Book of Lismore. 
Like all historical romances, it is embellished by 
exaggeration, and by the introduction of fabulous 
circumstances ; and the druids of both armies are 
made to play a conspicuous part in the whole trans- 
action, by the exercise of their magical powers. 

It is related that Cormac's druids dried up, by their 
incantations, the springs, lakes, and rivers of the dis- 
trict, so that the men and horses of the Munster army 
were dying of thirst. Fiacha, in this great distress, 
sent for Mogh-Euith [Mo-rih], the most celebrated 
druid of his time, who lived at Dairhhre [Darvery], 
now Yalentia island in Kerry ; and he came, and the 
men of Munster besought him to relieve them from 
the plague of thirst. 


98 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

Mogli-Euith called for his disciple Canvore, and 
said to him, " Bring me my magical spear ;" and 
his magical spear was brought, and he cast it high 
in the air, and told Canvore to dig up the ground 
where it fell. " What shall he my reward ?" said 
Canvore ; " Your name shall he for ever on the 
stream," said Mogh-Ruith. Then Canvore dug the 
ground, and the living water burst asunder the spells 
that bound it, and gushed forth from the earth in a 
great stream ; and the multitudes of men and horses 
and cattle threw themselves upon it, and di*ank 
till they were satisfied. Cormac was then attacked 
with renewed valoui^, and his army routed Tvith great 

I visited this well a few years ago. It lies on the 
road side, in the townland of Grlenbrohane, near 
the boundary of the parish of Emlygrennan, three 
miles to the south of Knocklong ; and it sj)rings from 
a chasm, evidently artificial, dug in the side of Slieve- 
reagh, forming at once a very fine stream. It is still 
well known in the district by the name of Tober 
Canvore, Canvore's well, as I found by a very 
careful inquiry; so that Canvore has received his 

That the Munster forces may have been oppressed 
by an unusual drought, which dried up the springs 
round their encampment, is nothing very im- 
probable ; and if we only suppose that the druid 
possessed some of the skill in discovering water with 
which many people in our own day are gifted, we 
shall not find it difficult to believe that this mar- 
vellous narrative may be in the main true ; for 
all unusual occurrences were in those days ac- 
counted supernatural. And this view receives some 
confirmation from the prevalence of the tradition 

CHAP. I.] Historical Events. 99 

at the present day, as well as from the curious 
circumstance, that the well is still called Tober 

There is a village on the east side of the river 
Moy, a kind of suburb of BaUina, called Ardnarea, 
a name which discloses a dark tale of treachery and 
murder ; it was originally applied to the hill imme- 
diately south of the village, which is now called 
Castle Hill, from a castle that has long since dis- 
appeared. The event that gave origin to this name 
is very fully related by Mac Firbis in his account 
of the Tribes and Customs of the Hy Fiachrach, 
and the same story is told in the I)innsenchus. 
The persons concerned are all well-known characters, 
^ and the event is far within the horizon of authentic 
' history. 

Gruaire Aidhne [Ainy] was king of Connaught in 
the seventh century — a king whose name has passed 
into a proverb among the Irish for his hospitality. 
Though a powerful and popular monarch, he was not 
the true heir to the throne ; the rightful heir was a 
man who in his youth had abandoned the world, and 
entered the priesthood, and who was now bishop of 
Kilmore-Moy ; this was Cellach, or Kellagh, the son 
of the last monarch, Owen Bel, and fourth in descent 
from the celebrated Dathi. Cellach was murdered 
at the instigation of Gruary, by four ecclesiastical stu- 
dents — the four Maels, as they were called, because 
the names of all began with the syllable Mael — who 
were under the bishop's tuition, and who, it appears 
by another account, were his own foster-brothers. 
The bishop's brother, however, soon after pursued 
and captured the murderers, and brought them in 
chains to the hill overlooking the Moy, which was up 
to that time called Tulach-na-faircsiona [Tidlanafark- 

100 Historical and Legendary Names, [partii. 

sliina], the hill of the prospect, where he hanged 
them all ; and from this circumstance the place took 
the name oi Ard-na-riaghadh [Arclnarea], the hill of 
the executions. 

Thej were buried at the other side of the river, a 
little south of the -present town of Ballina, and the 
place was called Ard-na-JIaei, the hill of the (four) 
Maels. The monument erected over them remains 
to this day ; it is a cromlech, well known to the 
people of Ballina, and now commonly called the 
Table of the giants. The name Ard-na-Mael is ob- 
solete, the origin of the cromlech is forgotten, and 
bishop Cellach and his mui^derers have long since 
ceased to be remembered in the traditions of the 

When we consider how prominently the Danes 
figure in our history, it appears a matter of some sur- 
prise that they have left so few traces of their pre- 
sence. We possess very few structures, that can 
be proved to be Danish ; and that siu'e mark of con- 
quest, the change of local names, has occurred in 
only a very few instances ; for there are little more 
than a dozen places in Ireland bearing Danish names 
at the present day, and these are nearly all on or 
near the east coast. 

Worsae (p. 71) gives a table of 1,373 Danish and 
Norwegian names in the middle and northern coun- 
ties of England, ending in thorpe, hy^ thwaite^ uith, 
toft, heck, nceSy ey, dale, force, fell, tarn, and haugh. We 
have only a few Danish terminations, as ford, which 
occurs foui' times ; ey, three times ; ster, thi^ee times ; 
and ore, which we find in one name, not noticed at 
all by Worsae ; and in contrast with 1,373 names in 
one part of England, we have only about fifteen in 
Ireland, almost all confined to one particular district. 

CHAP, i.j Historical Events, 101 

This appears to me to afford a complete answer to 
tJie statement which we sometimes see made, that the 
Danes conquered the country, and that theii^ chiefs 
ruled over it as sovereigns. 

The truth is, the Danes never, except in a few of 
the maritime towns, had any permanent settlements 
in Ireland, and even there their wealth v^as chiefly 
derived from trade and commerce, and they seem to 
have had only very seldom any territorial possessions. 
Their mission was rather to destroy than to build up ; 
wherever they settled on the coast, they were chiefly 
occupied either in predatory inroads, or in defending 
their fortresses against the neighboimng Irish ; they 
took no permanent hold on the country ; and theii* 
prominence in our annals is due to their fierce and 
dreadful ravages, from which scarcely any part of the 
country was free, and the constant w^arfare main- 
tained for three hundred years between them and the 

The only names I can find that are wholly or 
partly Danish are Wexford, Waterford, Carlingford, 
Strangford (Lough), Camsore Point, Ireland's Eye, 
Lambay Island, Dalkey, Howth, Leixlip, and Ox- 
mantown ; to these may be added the Laxweir on 
the Shannon, the termination ster in the names of 
three of the provinces, the second syllables of such 
names as Fin gall and Donegal ; probably Wicklow 
and Ai'klow, and the -9 prefixed to some names near 
the eastern coast (for which see p. 60). 

The termination ford in the first four names is 
the well-known northern word fiord^ an inlet of the 
sea. Waterford, Wexford, and Strangford are pro- 
bably altogether Danish; the first two are called 
respectively by early English writers Yadrefiord 
and Weisford. The Danes had a settlement some- 

102 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

where near the shore of Strangford lough, in the 
ninth and tenth centuries ; and the Galls of Longh 
Cuan (its ancient and present Irish name) are fre- 
quently referred to in our Annals. It was these 
who gave it the very appropriate name of Strangford, 
which means strong-fiord^ from the w^ell-known tidal 
currents at the entrance, which render its navigation 
so dangerous. 

The usual Irish name of Carlingford, as we find 
it in our Annals, is Cairlinn ; so that the full name, 
as it now stands, signifies the fiord of Cairlinn. 
In O'Clery's Calendar it is called Snamh-ech, the 
swimming-ford of the horses ; while in " Wars 
of GG.," and several other authorities, it is called 
Snamh -A ighnech . 

Carnsore Point, in "Wexford, is known in Irish by 
the simple name Cam, i. e. a monumental heap. 
The meaning of the termination will be rendered 
obvious by the following passage from Worsae : — 
" On the extremity of the tongue of land which 
borders on the north the entrance of the Humber, 
there formerly stood a castle called Ravnsore, raven's 
point. Ore is, as is well known, the old Scandi- 
navian name for the sandy point of a promontory " 
(p. Q6). The ore in Carnsore is evidently the same 
word, and the name written in full would be Carn^s 
ore, the "ore" or sandy point of the Cam. 

Ptolemy calls this cape, Hieron Akron, i. e. the 
Sacred promontory ; and Camden (" Britannia," Ed. 
1594, p. 659), in stating this fact, says he has no 
doubt but that the native Irish name bore the same 
meaning. This conjectui^e is probably well founded, 
though I cannot find any name now existing near 
the place, with this signification. Camden, however, 
in order to show the reasonableness of his opinion, 

CHAP. I.] Historical Events. 103 

states that Bannow, the name of a town nearly 
twenty miles from it, where the English made their 
first descent, signifies sacred in the Irish language. 
The Irish participle heannuighthe [bannihe] means 
blessed, and this is obviously the word Camden had 
in view ; but it ha^ no connexion in meaning with 
Bannow. The harbour where Eobert Fitzstephen 
landed was called in Irish Cuan-an-hhai)ihh (O'Fla- 
herty, lar Connaught), the harbour of the honnive or 
sucking pig ; and the town has preserved the latter 
part of the name changed to Bannow. 

" It is doubtful whether Wicklow derives its name 
from the Norwegians, though it is not improbable 
that it did, as in old documents it is called TVy- 
kynglo, Wj^gyngelo, and Wykinlo, which remind us 
of the Scandinavian vig, a bay, or Viking " (Worsae, 
p. 325). Its Irish name is Kilmantan, St. Mantan's 
chm^ch. This saint, according to Mac Greoghegan 
(Annals of Clonmacnoise) , and other authorities, 
w^as one of St. Patrick's companions, who had his 
front teeth knocked out by a blow of a stone, from 
one of the barbarians w^ho opposed the saint's landing 
in Wicklow : hence he was called Mantan, or the 
toothless, and the chui^ch which was afterwards 
erected there was called after him, Cill-Mantain 
(Four Mast.). It is worthy of remark that the 
word mantach [mounthagh] — derived from mant, the 
gum — is still used in the south of Ireland to denote 
a person who has lost the front teeth. 

Leixlip is wholly a Danish name, old Norse Laoc- 
hlaup^ i. e. salmon leap : this name (which is pro- 
bably a translation from the Irish), it derived from 
the well-known cataract on the Liffey, still called the 
Salmon leap, a little above the village. Griraldus 
Cambrensis (Top. Hib. II. 41), after speaking of the 

104 Historical and Legendary Namef^. [part ii. 

fish leaping up tlie cataract, says: — "Hence the 
place derives its name of Saltus sahnonis (Salmon 
leap)." From this word saltus, a leap, the l3aronies 
of Salt in the connty Kildare have taken their name. 
According to Worsae, the word lax, a salmon, is 
very common in the local names of Scotland, and 
we have another example of it in the La,r-iveir, i. e. 
Salmon weir, on the Shannon, near Limerick. 

The original name of Ireland's Eye was Lm- 
Ereann ; it is so called in Dinnsenchiis, and its mean- 
ing is, the island of Eu^e or Eria, who according to 
the same authority, was a woman. It was after- 
wards called Inis-inac-Nessan (Four Mast.) from the 
three sons of Nessan, a prince of the royal family of 
Leinster, namely Dicholla, Munissa, and Nadsluagh, 
who erected a chm-ch on it in the seventh century, 
the ruins of which remain to this day. They are 
commemorated in O'Clery's Calendar, in the fol- 
lowing words : — "The thi^ee sons of Nesan, oi Inis 
FaitJilenn, i. e. Muinissa, Nesslugh, and Duichoill 
Derg ;" from which it appears that Inis Faithlenn, or, 
as it would be now pronounced, Innisfallen, was 
another ancient name for the island ; this is also the 
name of a celebrated island in the lower lake of 
Killarney {Inis Faithlenn, Book of Leinster), and 
in both cases it signifies the island of Fathlenn, a 
man's name. 

The present name, Ireland's Eye, is an attempted 
translation of Inis-Ereann, for the translators under- 
stood Ereann to be the genitive case of Eire, Ireland, 
as it has tlie same form ; accordingly, they made it 
Ireland's Ey {IrekuuVs island, instead of Eria^s 
island), which in modern times has been corrupted 
to Ireland's Eye. Even Ussher was deceived by this, 
for he calls the island Oculus Hihernice. The name 

CHAP. I.] Historical Ecents. 105 

of this little island has met mth the fate of the 
Highlander's ancestral knife, which at one time had 
its haft renewed, and at another time its blade : one 
set of people converted the name of Eu-e, a woman, to 
Ireland, but correctly translated Inis to ey ; the 
succeeding generations accepted what the others cor- 
rupted, and corrupted the correct part ; between 
both, not a vestige of the ancient name remains in 
the modern. 

Eire or Eri was formerly very common in this 
country as a woman's name, and we occasionally 
find it forming a part of other local names ; there 
are, for instance, two places in Antrim called Cam- 
earny, in each of which a woman named Eire 
must have been buried, for the Four Masters 
write the name Ccuii-Ereanu, Eii-e's monumental 

Lambay is merely an altered form oiLamb-ei/, i. e. 
Lamb-island ; a name which no doubt originated in 
the practice of sending over sheep from the mainland 
in the spring, and allowing them to yean on the island, 
and remain there, lambs and all, during the simimer. 
Its ancient Irish name wsisBecIiru, which is the form 
used by i\.damnan, as well as in the oldest Irish docu- 
ments ; but in later authorities it is written Rechra 
and Reachm. In the genitive and oblique cases, it is 
RechnJin, Reachrainii, &c., as for example inLeabiiar 
Breac : — " Fothaighis CoJam-ciUe eclais i rrachraind 
oirthir Breghj^ " Oolumkill erects achm^ch on Rachra 
in the east of Rregia^' (O'Don. G-ram., p. 155). So 
also in the poem on the history of the Picts printed 
from the Book of Ballymote by Dr. Todd (Irish Nen- 
nius, p. 127) : — 

" From the south (i. e. from near the mouth of the Slaney) was 
Ulfa sent. 

106 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

After the decease of his friends ; 

In Rachra in Bregia {In Rachrand i mBreagaihh) 

He was utterly destroyed." 

ThoTigh the name Raclira, as applied to the island, 
is wholly lost, it is still preserved, though greatly 
smoothed down by the friction of long ages, in the 
name of Portraine, the parish adjoining it on the 
mainland. In a grant to Christ Church, made in 
the year 1308, the island is called RecJien, and the 
parish to which it belonged, Port-rahern, which is 
merely an adaptation of the old spelling Port-Rach- 
rann, and very well represents its pronunciation ; in 
the lapse of 500 years Port-rahern has been worn 
down to Portraine (Reeves). The point of land 
there, was, in old times, a place of embarkation for 
the island and elsewhere, and this is the tradition 
of the inhabitants to the present day, who still 
show some remains of the old landing place ; hence 
the name PoH-Rachrann, the 7:>or/ or landing place 
of Rachra. 

Other islands round the coast were called Rachra^ 
which are now generally called Pathlin, from the 
genitive form Rachra nn, by a change from r to /, 
(see pages 33 and 47). The use of the genitive for the 
nominative must have begun very early, for in the 
Welsh "Brut y Tywysogion" or Chronicle of the 
Chieftains, we read " Ac y distrywyd Rechrenn," 
"and (the Danes) desivoj ed Rechretin'' (Todd, Wars 
of GrGr., Introd., p. xxxii). 

The best known of these is Rathlin on the Antrim 
coast, which Ptolemy calls Rikina, and whose name 
has iDeen modified in various ways by foreign and 
English writers ; but the natives still call it Raghery, 
which correctly represents the old nominative form. 
Ussher (Br. Ecc. Ant., c. 17) says : " our Irish anti- 

ciiAP. I.] Historical E cents. 107 

qiiaries call this island Ro-c1irinne,^^ and he states 
further, that it was so called from the great quantity 
of trees with which it was formerly covered. The 
island, however, was never called Rochrinne, but 
Eachra, in which no n appears, which puts out of the 
question its derivation from eninn a tree. 

Dalkey is called in Irish, Delginis (O'Cl. Cal., Four 
Mast., &c.), thorn island. The Danes who had a for- 
tress on it in the tenth century, called it DalTx-ei^ which 
has the same meaning as the Irish name, for the 
Danish word claJk signifies a thorn : the present name 
Dalkey is not much changed from Delginis, but the /, 
which is now silent, was formerly pronounced. It is 
curious that there has been a fortress on this island 
from the remotest antiquity to the present day. Our 
early chronicles record that Seadhgha [sha], one of 
the chiefs of the Milesian colony, erected the Dun of 
Delginis; this was succeeded by the Danish fort; 
and it is now occupied by a martello tower. 

Oxmantown or Ostmantown, now a part of the city 
of Dublin, was so called because the Danes or Ost- 
men (i. e. eastmen) built there a to-s^Ti of their own, 
and fortified it with ditches and walls. 

According to Worsae (p. 230), the termination ster 
in the names of three of the provinces is the Scandi- 
navian stacb\ a place, which has been added to the old 
Irish names. Leinster is the 2)Iace (or province) of 
Laighen or Layn ; Ulster is contracted from JJIa-ster, 
the Irish name TJIadh being pronounced TJUa; and 
Munster from Moon-ster, or Moiinster (which is the 
form found in a state paper of 1515), the first 
syllable representing the pronunciation of the Irish 

Many of the acts of our early apostles are pre- 
served in imperishable remembrance in the names of 

108 Historical and Legendary Names. [part il. 

localities where certain remarkable transactions took 
place, connected with tlieii- efforts to spread the 
Grospel. Of these I v>dll give a few examples, but 
I shall defer to another chapter the consideration 
of those places which commemorate the names of 

Saul, the name of a village and parish near Down- 
patrick, preserves the memory of St. Patrick's first 
triumph in the work of conversion. Dichu, the 
prince of the district, who hospitably entertained the 
saint and his companions, was his first convert in 
Ireland; and the chief made him a present of his 
barn, to be used temporarily as a church. On the 
site of this bam a church v/as subsequently erected, and 
as its direction happened to be north and south, the 
church was also placed north and south, instead of 
the usual direction, east and west. On this transaction 
the follovving are Ussher's words : — '^ T\Tiich place, 
from the name of that chiu-ch, is called in Scotic to 
this day, Sahhall Patricl\ in Latin, Zahidura PatricH 
vel Horreum PatricH" (Patrick's barn). It is still 
called in Irish Sabhall, which is fauiy represented in 
pronunciation, by the modern form Saul. 

It is highly probable that several churches were 
erected in other districts, in imitation of St. Patrick's 
primitive and favouiite chm^ch at Saul, which were 
also placed north and south, and called by the same 
name. We know that among the churches of Armagh, 
one, founded probably by the saint himself, was in 
this direction, and called by the same name, Sahhall, 
though this name is now lost. And it is not unlikely 
that a church of this kind gave name to Saval, near 
Newry, toDrumsaul in the parish ofEmatris, county 
Monaghan, and to Sawel, a lofty mountain in the 
north of Tyrone. This supposition supersedes the 

CHAP. I.] Historical Events. 109 

far-fetched explanation of the last name, given in the 
neighboiu^hood, which, for several reasons, I have 
no hesitation in pronouncing a very modern fabrica- 

Yerj similar in the circumstances attending its 
origin is the name of Elphin, in the county Roscom- 
mon. In the Tripartite Life of St. Patrick (Lib. II. c. 
88) , we are told that a noble Druid named Ona, lord 
of the ancient district of Corcaghlan in Roscommon, 
presented his residence, called Emlagh-Ona (Ona's 
marsh) to St. Patrick, as a site for a church. The 
chui'ch was built near a spring, over which stood a 
large stone, and from this the place was called Ail- 
finu, which Colgan interprets " the rock of the clear 
spring :" the stone is now gone, but it remained stand- 
ing in its original position until forty or fifty years 
ago. The townland of Emlagh, near Elphin, still 
preserves the name of Ona's ancient residence. 

The manner m which St. Brigid's celebrated esta- 
bhshment was founded is stereotyped in the name of 
Kildare. According to a tale in the Book of Leinster, 
quoted by O'Curry (Lectures, p. 487), the place was 
called Druim-Criaidh [Drumcree] before the time of 
St. Brigid ; and it received its present name from " a 
goodly fair oke" under the shadow of Vv^hich the 
saint constructed her little cell. 

The origin and meaning of the name are very clear- 
ly set forth in the following words of Animosus, the 
writer of the fourth Life of St. Brigid, published by 
Colgan : — " That cell is called in Scotic, Cill-dara, 
which in Latin soimds CeUa-quercus (the church of the 
oak) . Eor a very high oak stood there, which Bri- 
gid loved much, and blessed it ; of which the trunk 
still remains (i. e. up to the close of the tenth century, 
when Animosus wrote) ; and no one dares cut it 

110 Historical and Legendary JVames. [part ii. 

with a weapon," Bisliop Ultan, the ^Titer of the 
third Life, gives a similar interpretation, viz. Cella 

If we may judge by the number of places whose 
names indicate battle scenes, slaughters, murders, 
&c., our ancestors must have been a quarrelsome 
race, and must have led an unquiet existence. 
Names of this kind are found in every county in Ire- 
land; and various terms are employed to comme- 
morate the events. Moreover, in most of these 
places, traditions worthy of being preserved, regard- 
ing the occurrences that gave origin to the names, 
still linger among the peasantry. 

The word cath [cah] signifies a battle, and its 
presence in manj^ names points out, with all the cer- 
tainty of history, the scenes of former strife. We 
see it in Ardcath, in Meath, and MuUycagh in 
Wicklow, both signifying battle height ; in Doon- 
caha, in Kerry and Limerick, the fort of the 
battle ; Derrycaw and Derryhaw, battle-wood, in 
Armagh ; and Drumnagah, in Clare, the ridge of the 

One party must have been utterly defeated, where 
w^e find such names as Ballynarooga (in Limerick), 
the town of the defeat or rout {ruag) ; Grreagh- 
naroog near Carrickmacross, and Maulnarouga, in 
Cork, the marshy flat and the hillock of the rout. 
And how vivid a picture of the hideousness of a 
battle field is conveyed by the following names : — 
Meenagorp, in Tyrone, in Irish Mln-na-gcorp, the 
mountain flat of the corpses ; Kilnamarve, near Car- 
rigallen, Leitrim, the wood of the dead bodies {Coill- 
na-marhh) ; Ballinamara, in Kilkenny, the town of 
the dead {Baile-na-marhli) ^ where the tradition of the 
battle is still remembered ; Lisnafulla, near New- 

CHAP. I.] Historical Events. Ill 

castle in Limerick, the fort of the blood ; Cnamh- 
cJioill [knawhill] (Book of Leinster) a celebrated 
place near the town of Tipperary, now called Clegh- 
ile, (by a change of n to / — see p. 48), whose name 
signifies the wood of bones : the same Irish name is 
more correctly anglicised Knawhill in the parish of 
Knocktemple, Cork. 

Many of these sanguinary encounters, in which 
probably whole armies were almost annihilated, 
though lost to history, are recorded with perfect 
clearness in names like the following, numbers of 
which are found all over the country : — Grlenanair, a 
fine valley near the boundary of Limerick and Cork, 
five miles south of Kilfinnane, the glen of slaughter, 
where the people still preserve a vi\id tradition of a 
dreadfid battle fought at a ford over the river ; and 
with the same root word (a/*, slaughter), Coumanare, 
in Kerry, Drumar, near Ballybay in Monaghan, 
Griashare, a parish in Kilkenny, the hollow, the ridge, 
and the streamlet, of slaughter. 

The murder of any near relative is termed in Irish 
Jionghal [finnal], which is often translated /;Y/f/i"c/(^^%- 
and the frequent occuiTcnce of names containing this 
word, while aff'ording undeniable evidence of the 
commission of the crime, demonstrates at the same 
time the horror with which it was regarded by the 
people. We have, for instance, Lisnafinelly, in 
Monaghan, and Lisfennell in Waterford, where in 
both cases the victim met his doom in one of the 
lonely forts so common through the country ; Cloona- 
finneela, near Kilflyn in Kerry {cloori, a meadow) ; 
Drumnafinnila, in Leitrim, and Tattanafinnell, near 
Clogher, in Tyrone, the ridge and the field of the 
fratricide. And occasionally the murdered man's 
name is commemorated by being interwoven with 

112 Histoyical and Legendary Karnes, [part ii. 

the name of tlie spot, as may be seen in G-ortmarraha- 
fineen, near Xenmare, in Kerry, which represents 
the Irish Gort-marbhtha-FingMn, the field of Pineen's 

In " A Tour tkrough Ireland, by two English Gen- 
tlemen" (Dublin, 1748), we read : — " The poorer sort 
of Irish Natives are mostly Roman Cat/io/icks, who 
make no scruple to assemble in the open Fields. As 
we passed Yesterday in a By-Eoad, we saw a Priest 
under a Tree, with a large Assembly about him, cele- 
brating Mass in his proper Habit ; and though at a 
great Distance from us, we heard him distinctly. 
These Sort of People, my Lord, seem to be very 
solemn and sincere in their devotion" (p. 163). 

The Irish practice of celebrating Mass in the open 
air appears to be very ancient. It was more general, 
however, during the period preceding the above tour 
than at other times, partly because there were in 
many places no chapels, and partly because, during 
the operation of the penal laws, the celebration of 
Mass was declared illegal. And the knowledge of 
this, if we be wise enough to tm^n it to right account, 
may have its use, by reminding us of the time in 
which our lot is cast, when the people have their 
chapel in every parish, and those prohibitory enact- 
ments are made mere matters of history, by wise and 
kind legislation. 

Even in our o^ti day we may witness the celebra- 
tion ofMassinthe open air; for many will remember 
the vast crowds that congregated on the summit of 
Brandon hill, in Kerry, on the 28th of June, last year, 
to honour the memory of saint Brendan. The spots 
consecrated by the celebration of the sacred mysteries 
are at this day well known, and greatly revered by the 
people ; and many of them bear names formed from 

CHAP. I.] Historical Events. 113 

the word Aiffrion (Afirin), the Mass, that will identify 
them to all future time. 

Places of this kind are found all over Ireland, and 
many of them have given names to to^vnlands ; and it 
may be further observed, that the existence of such a 
name in any particular locality, indicates that the cus- 
tom of celebrating Mass there must have continued 
for a considerable time. 

Sometimes the lonely side of a hill was chosen, 
and the people remember well, and will point out to 
the visitor, the very spot on which the priest stood, 
while the crowd of peasants worshipped below. One 
of these hills is in the parish of Kihnore, county Ros- 
common, and it has left its name on the townland of 
Ardanaffrin, the height of the Mass ; another in the 
parish of Donaghmore, county Donegal, called Corr- 
affrin {co}\ a round hill) ; a third in the parish of 
Kilcommon, Mayo, namely, Drumanaffrin ; a fourth 
in Cavan, Mullanaffrin {mullach, a summit) ; and still 
another, Knockanaffrin, in Waterford, one of the 
highest hills of the Cummeragh range, which name is 
made Knocknafreeny, near Ardmore, in the same 

Sometimes again the people selected secluded dells 
and mountain gorges ; such as Clashanaffrin, in the 
parish of Desertmore, county of Cork (clash, a trench 
or fosse) , and Lugganaffrin in the county of Galway, 
the hollow of the Mass. And occasionally they took 
advantage of the ancient forts of their pagan ancestors, 
places for ages associated Avith fairy superstitions ; 
and while they worshipped, they were screened from 
observation by the circumvallations of the old fortress. 
The old palace of Glreenan-Ely near Londonderry 
was so used ; and there is a fort in the parish of Kil- 

114 Histoncal and Legendary Nam^s. [part ii. 

cummin, in Derry, wliich still bears the name of 
Lissanaffrin, the fort of the Mass. 

Many other names of like formation are to be met 
with, such as Grlenanaffrin, Carriganaifrin, &c. Oc- 
casionally the name records the simple fact that Mass 
was celebrated, as we find in a place called Effrinagh, 
in the parish of Kiltoghert, Leitrim, a name which 
signifies simply " a place for Mass/' And sometimes 
a translated name occurs of the same class, such as 
Mass-brook in the parish of Addergoole, Mayo, which 
is a translation of the Irish 8ruthan-an-Aiffnnn. 

There are other words also, besides Ajfrin, which 
are used to commemorate these Masses ; such as 
aitoir, an altar, which gives name to a townland, now 
called Altore, in the parish of KiltuUagh, Roscom- 
mon ; and to another named Oltore, in the parish of 
Dono.ghpatrick, Gfalway. There is also a place called 
" Altore cross-roads," near Inchigeelagh, Cork, and 
we find Carrownaltore (the quarter-land of the altar) 
in the parish of Aglish, Mayo. 



Our annals generally set forth with great care the 
genealogy of the most remarkable men — kings, 
chieftains, or saints — who flourished at the diS'erent 
periods of our history ; and even their character and 
their personal peculiarities are very often given with 
much minuteness. These annals and genealogies, 
which are only now beginning to be known and 
studied as they deserve, when examined by the in- 

CHAP. II.] Historical Personages. 115 

temal evidence of mutual comparison, are found to 
exhibit a marvellous consistency ; and this testimony 
of their general truthfulness is fuUy corroborated by 
the few glimpses we obtain of detached points in the 
long record, through the writings of English and 
foreign historians, as well as by the still severer test 
of verifying our frequent records of natural occui'- 

Nor are these the only testimonies. Local names 
often afford the most unsuspicious and satisfactory 
evidences of the truth of historical records, and I ma} 
refer to the preceding Chapter for instances. It is 
with men as with events. Many of the characters who 
figure conspicuously in our annals, have left their 
names engraven in the topography of the country, 
and the illustration of this by some of the most re- 
markable examples will form the subject of the pre- 
sent Chapter. 

Before entering on this part of the subject, it will 
be necessary to make a few remarks on the origin of 
the names of our ancient tribes and territories, and to 
explain certain terms, that are often used in their 

" It is now universally admitted, that the ancient 
names of tribes in Ireland were not derived from the 
territories they inhabited, but from certain of theii- 
distinguished ancestors. In nine cases out of ten, 
names of territories and of the tribes inhabiting them 
are identical"* (the former being derived fi-om the 
latter). The names of tribes were formed from those 
of their ancestors, by prefixing certain words or post- 

* From O'Donovan's Introduction to the " Topographical 
Poems of O'Dugan and O'Heeren," where the reader will find 
a valuable essay on tribe and family names. 

116 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

fixing otliers, tlie most important of which are the 

Cme/ [kinel], kindred, race, descendants; Cifiel- 
Aedha [Kinelea] (O'Heeren), the race of Aedh [Ay] 
or Hugh, a tribe descended from Aedh (father of 
Failbhe Flann, king of Miinster in A. D. 636), who 
were settled in the county Cork, and gave name to 
the barony of Kinalea. 

CJann, children, descendants, race ; in the Zeuss 
MSS. it is given as the equivalent oi progenies. The 
barony of Clanliee in Cavan derives its name from a 
tribe who are called in Irish Clann-an-Chaoieh [Clan- 
ankee] (Four Mast.), the descendants of the one-eyed 
man ; and they derived this cognomen from Niall 
Caoch O'Eeilly {caoeh [kee], i. e. one-eyed, Lat. 
cmciis), who was slain in 1256. The baronies of 
Clanwilliam, in Limerick and Tipperary, from the 
clann or descendants of William Bmie ; Clanmaurice, 
a barony in Kerry, so called from the Fitzmaurices, 
the descendants of Maurice Fitzgerald. Besides 
several historic districts, this word gives name to 
some ordinary townlands ; such as Clananeese Glebe, 
in Tyrone, from the race of Aengus or Aeneas ; Clan- 
hugh Demesne, in Westmeath, the descendants of 
Aedh or Hugh. 

Core, Corca, race, progeny. Corcomohide, the 
name of a parish in Limerick, is written in Irish, 
Corca-Mtiichet (Book of Lismore), the race of Mui- 
chet, who in the " Forbais Dromadamhghaire" are 
stated to have been descended from Muichet, one of 
Mogh Euith's disciples (see p. 97, supra.) 

Mvinth\ family, people ; Muntermellan and Mun- 
terneese, in Donegal, the family of Miallan and Aen- 
gus ; Munterowen, in Galway, the family of Eoghan 
or Owen. 

CHAP. II.] Historical Personages. 117 

Siol [shiel] , seed, progeny. Shillelagh, now a ba- 
rony in Wicklow, was so called from the tribe of Siol- 
Elaigh (O'Heerin), the descendants of Elach : this 
district was formerly much celebrated for its oak 
woods, a fact that has given origin to the well-known 
word shillelagh., as a term for an oak stick. Shelburne, 
in Wexford, from the tribe of Siol-Brain (O'Heerin), 
the progeny of Bran ; Shelmaliere, in the same county, 
the descendants of Maliere or Maolughra. 

Tealach [tellach], family. The barony of Tully- 
haw, in Cavan, was so called from the Magaui^ans, its 
ancient proprietors, whose tribe name was Tealach- 
Echach (O'Dugan), i. e. the family of Eochy. 

JJa signifies a grandson, and by an extension of 
meaning, any descendant ; it is often written hua by 
Latin and English writers, and still oftener 0, which 
is the common prefix in Irish family names. The no- 
minative plural is ui [ee] (often T^aitten in Latin 
and English, hiii or hy), which is applied to a tribe, 
and this word still exists in several territorial desig- 
nations. Thus Offerlane, now a parish in Queen's 
County, was the name of a tribe, called in Irish Ui- 
Foircheallain (Four Mast.), the descendants of Foir- 
cheallan ; Imaile, a celebrated district in Wicklow, 
Ui-Mail (O'Heerin), the descendants of Mann Mai, 
brother of Cahirmore, king of Ireland in the second 

The ablative plural of tia is uibh [iv], and this 
form is also found occasionally in names (see p. 3o, 
VII.) Thus Iverk, now a barony in Kilkenny, 
which O'Heerin writes JJi-Eirc (abl. Uibh-Eirc), the 
descendants of Ere ; Iveleary in Cork (the descend- 
ants of Laeghau^e), taking its name from the O'Learys, 
its ancient proprietors ; Iveruss, now a parish in Lime- 
rick, from the tribe of Uihh-Rosa. 

118 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

That the foregoing is the proper signification of 
this word in its three cases, we have authorities tJiat 
preclude all dispute ; among others that of Adanman, 
who, in several passages of his Life of Columba, 
translates ua by nepos, ui by nepotes, and uibh by 

The word tuafh [tua] meant originally populus 
(people), which it glosses in the Wb MS. of Zeuss; 
but in accordance mth the custom of naming the ter- 
ritory after its inhabitants, it came ultimately to sig- 
nify district, which is now the sense in which it is 
used. Near Sheephaven, in Donegal, is a well-known 
district called the Doe : its ancient name, as given by 
O'Heerin, is Tnath Bladhach ; but by the Four Mas- 
ters and other authorities it is usually called Tuatha, 
i. e. districts. It was the inheritance of the Mao 
Sweenys, the chief of whom was called Mac Sweeny 
7ia dTuath, or, as it is pronounced and written in 
English, na Doe, i. e. of the districts ; and it is from 
this appellation that the place came to be corruptly 
called Doe. 

With the preceding may be enumerated the word 
Fir or Fear a, men, which is often prefixed to the 
names of districts to form tribe names. The old tribe 
called Fir-tire (the men of the territorj^), in Wick- 
low, is now forgotten, except so far as the name is 
preserved in that of the river Yartry. The celebrated 
territory of Fermoy, in Cork, which still retains its 
name, is called in Irish Feara-muighe-Feine, or more 
shortly, Feara-muighe (O'Heerin), the men of the 

There are also a few words which are suffixed to 
men's names, to designate the tribes descended from 
thein ; such as raidhe [ree], in the word CalraidJw. 
There were several tribes called Calraidhe or Calry 

CHAP. II.] Historical Personages. 119 

(the race of Cal), who were descended from Lewy 
Cal, the grand-Tincle of Maccon, king of Ireland in 
the third century. The names of some of these are 
still extant : one of them was settled in the an- 
cient Teffia, whose name is preserved by the moun- 
tain of SKevegolry, near Ardagh, county Longford, 
Sliabh gCalraidhe, the mountain of the (people called) 
Calry. There is a townland called Drum hairy {Driii?/i- 
Chalraidhe, the ridge of the Calry), near Carrig- 
allen in Leitrim ; and another of the same name 
in the parish of Killoe, county Longford; which 
shows that Calry of north Teffia extended northward 
as far as these two townlands. Calry in Sligo and 
Calary in Wicklow, also preserve the names of these 

The monarch Hugony the great, who reigned soon 
after the foundation of Emania, divided Ireland into 
twenty-five parts among his twenty-five children ; 
and this division continued for about three centuries 
after his time. Several of these gave names to the 
territories allotted to them, but all those designations 
are now obsolete, with a single exception. To one 
of his sons, Lathair [Laher], he gave a territory 
in Ulster, which was called from him Latharna 
[Laharna] (Book of Eights) , a name which exists to 
this day shortened to Larne. Though now ex- 
clusively applied to the towTi, it was, in the time of 
Colgan, the name of a district which extended north- 
wards along the coast towards Grlenarm : the town 
was then called Inve7'-an-Lahania, the river-mouth of 
(the territory of) Laharna, from its situation at the 
mouth of the OUarhha, or Larne Water. In the 
Down Survey map, it is called "Inver alias Leame ;" 
and the former name is still retained in the adjacent 
parish of Inver. 

120 Historical and Legendary Karnes, [part il. 

Many of the remarkable persons who flourished in 
the reign of Conor mac Nessa, king of Ulster in the 
first century, still live in local names. The descend- 
ants of Beann, one of Conor's sons, were called from 
him Beanntraighe [Bantry], (Book of Eights), i. e. 
the race of Beann ; a part of them settled in Wex- 
ford, and another part in Cork, and the barony of 
Bantry in the former county, and the town of Ban- 
try in the latter, retain their name. 

When the three sons of Usnagh were murdered at 
the command of Conor, Fergus mac Roy, ex-king of 
Ulster, who had guaranteed their safety, " indignant 
at the violation of his safe conduct, retired into exile, 
accompanied by Cormac Conlingas, son of Conor, 
and by three thousand warriors of Uladh. They 
received a hospitable welcome at Cruachan from Maev 
[queen of Connaught] and her husband Ailill, 
whence they afterwards made many hostile incur- 
sions into Ulster,"* taking part in that seven years' 
war between Ulster and Connaught, so celebrated 
by our historians and romancers as the " Tain bo 
Cuailgne," the cattle spoil of Cooley (near Carling- 

Fergus afterwards resided in Connaught, and 
Maev bore him three sons, Ciar [Keer], Conmac, 
and Modhruadh [Moroo], who became the heads of 
three distinguished tribes. Ciar settled in Munster, 
and his descendants possessed the territory west of 
Abbeyfeale, and lying between Tralee and the 
Shannon ; they were called Ciarraidhe [Keery] 
(Book of Eights), i. e. the race of Ciar, and this 

* From "The Irish before the Conquest," by M. C. Ferguson, 
where the reader will find the best published account of this 

CHAP. II.] Historical Personages. 121 

name was afterwards applied to tlie district ; it was 
often called Ciarraidhe Luachra, from the mountain 
tract of Sliahh Luachra (rushy mountain, now Slieve- 
lougher), east of Castleisland. This small territory 
ultimately gave the name of Ciarraidhe or Kerry to 
the entire county. 

The descendants of Conmac were called Conmaicn^ 
[Conmacne : ne^ a progeny] ; they were settled in 
Connaught, where they gave their name to several 
territories. One of these, viz., the district lying 
west of Lough Con and Lough Mask, from its 
situation near the sea, was called, to distinguish it 
from the others, Comnaicne'mara (O'Dugan : muir, 
the sea, gen. mara)^ or the sea-side, Comnaicne ; 
which name is still applied to the very same district, 
in the slightly contracted, and well-knoT\Ti form 

The posterity of the thii'd son, Modhraadh, were 
called Corca-Modhruadh, or Corcomruad (Book of 
Leinster) , the race of Modhruadh ; they settled in 
the north of the county of Clare, and their territory 
included the present baronies of Burren and Corcom- 
roe, the latter of which retains the old name. 

Another son of Fergus (not by Maev), was Finn 
or Cufinn (fair-haired hound), from whom were de- 
scended the tribe of "the Dal- Confirm (ddl, a tribe), 
who afterwards took the family name of O'Finn. 
They inhabited a district in Connaught which was 
called from them Cuil-O^hhFinn [Coolovin] (Four 
Mast.), the comer of the O'Finns; and the same 
name in the modernized form of Coolavin is still ap- 
plied to the territory, which now forms a barony in 

When the Connaught forces under Ma,ev marched 
to invade the territories of Conor, the task of defend- 

122 historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

ing the different fords they had to cross, was allotted 
to Cuchullin, the great IJlster champion ; and the 
various single conihats with the Conn aught warriors, 
in all of which he was victorious, are described with 
great minuteness in the heroic romance of " Tain bo 
Cuailgne." One of these encounters took place at a 
ford of the little river Nith (now called the Dee, in 
Louth), where afterwards grew up the town of 
Ardee ; and Cuchullin' s antagonist was his former 
friend, the youthful champion Ferdia, the son of 
Daman, of the Firbolgic tribe Growanree, who in- 
habited Erris. After a long and sanguinary combat, 
Ferdia was slain, and the place was ever after called 
Ath-Fhirdia [Ahirdee] (Leabhar na hUidhre), Fer- 
dia's ford. The present form Ardee is a very modem 
contraction ; by early English writers, it is generally 
called Atherdee, as by Boate (Chap. I., Sect, vi.), 
which preserves, with little change, the original Ii-ish 

In the reign of Felimy the Lawgiver (A. D. 
Ill to 119), the men of Munster seized on Ossory, 
and all the Leinster territories, as far as Mullagh- 
mast. They were ultimately expelled after a series 
of battles, by an Ulster chief, Lughaidh Laeighseaoh 
[Lewy Leeshagh], son of Laeighseach Canvore, son 
of the renowned Conall Cearnach, chief of the Red 
Branch knights of Ulster in the first century (see p. 
86). For this service, the king of Leinster granted 
Lewy a large territory in the present Queen's 
county ; and as his descendants, the O'Moores, were 
called from him by the tribe name Laeighis [Leesh], 
their territory took the same name, which in English 
is commonly written Leix — a district that figures 
conspicuously in Irish and Anglo-Irish chronicles. 

The name of this principality has altogether dis- 

CHAP. II.] Historical Personages. 123 

appeared from modern maps, except so far as it is 
preserved in that of the town of Abbeyleix, i. e. the 
abbey of the territory of Leix, which it received 
from a monastery founded there in 1183 by Conor 

The first battle between the Munstermen and the 
forces ofLewywas ioughi oi Ath-Tniisden, a ford on 
the river Grreece, near Mullaghmast, and the former 
retreated to the Barrow, where at another ford there 
was a second battle, in which a Mnnster chief, Ae, the 
foster father of Eochy Finn Fohart, (p. 125) was 
slain ; and from him the place was called Atli-I (Wars 
of GGr.), the ford of Ae, now correctly anglicised 

From Fiacha Eaidhe [Eee], grandson of king 
Felimy, descended the tribe named Corca-Raeidhe 
(O'Dugan), whose name is still borne by the barony 
of Corkaree, in Westmeath, their ancient patrimony. 
This territory is mentioned by Adamnan (Lib. I. cap. 
47), w^ho calls it Korhireti ; and in the Book of Ar- 
magh the name is translated Regiones Roide, i. e. the 
territories of Eaidhe or Eee, 

The fanciful creations of the ancient Irish story- 
tellers have thrown a halo of romance ronnd the names 
of many of the preceding personages ; nevertheless 
I have treated of them in the present chapter, because 
I believe them to be historical. As we descend from 
those dim regions of extreme antiquity, the view be- 
comes clearer, and the characters that follow may, 
with few exceptions, be considered as standing out 
in full historical distinctness. 

Cahirmore was monarch of Ireland from A. D. 120 
to 123 ; he is well known in connexion with the 
document called ," The Will of Cahirmore," which 
has been translated and published by O'Donovan in 

124 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

the Book of Rights. According to our genealogical 
writers (see O'Flaherty's Ogygia, Part III. c. 59), he 
had thiiij sons, but only ten are mentioned in the 
Will, three of whom are commemorated in well- 
known modern names. 

His eldest son was Eos-failghe [faly], i. e. Ros of 
the rings (/«?'//, a ring, pi. fdilghe) whom the monarch 
addresses as " My fierce Eos, my vehement Failghe." 
His descendants were called Hy Failghe (O'Dugan), 
i. e. the descendants of Failghe ; they possessed a 
large territory in Kildare and in King's and Queen's 
counties, to which they gave their tribe name ; and it 
still exists in the form of Offaly , which is now applied 
to two baronies in Kildare, forming a portion of their 
ancient inheritance. 

The next son mentioned in the Will is Daire Bar- 
rach, who was the ancestor of a tribe called from 
him Hy Bairche (O'Dugan), the race of (Daire) Bar- 
rach. To this tribe belonged a territory in the Queen's 
county, including the modembarony of Slievemargy, 
which has its name from the Slievemargy hills. These 
hills have evidently been so called from the ancient 
tribe who possessed them ; for although the Four 
Masters write the name Sliahh Mairgi, this is an ob- 
vious alteration from Sliahh mBairrche (the mountain 
of the \_Hy'\ Bairrche)^ which has nearly the same 

Another son, Ceatach, also named in the Will, was 
probably the progenitor of the tribe that gave name 
to the barony of Ikeathy, in Kildare — Hy Ceataigh, 
the race of Ceatach. Others of Cahirmore's sons 
were the ancestors of tribes, but their names have 
been long extinct. 

The barony of Idrone, in Carlow, perpetuates the 
memory of the tribe of Hy Drona (Book of Rights), 

CHAP. II.] Historical Personages. 125 

who formerly possessed this territory, and whose fa- 
mily name was 0'E.yan ; their ancestor, from whom 
they derived their tribe name, was Drona, fourth in 
descent from Cahirmore. 

The county Fermanagh was so called from the 
tribe of the Fir-Monach (O'Dugan), the men of Mo- 
nach, who were originally a Leinster tribe, so named 
from their ancestor Monach, fifth in descent from 
Cahirmore, by his son, Daire Barrack. They had to 
fly from Leinster in consequence of having killed 
Enna, the son of the king of that province ; one part 
of them was located in the county of Down, where the 
name is extinct ; another part settled on the shore of 
Lough Erne, where they acquired a territory extend- 
ing over the entire coimty Fermanagh. 

Enna Kinsellagh, king of Leinster in the end of the 
fourth centiuy, was foiu-th in descent from Cahirmore. 
He had a son named Felimy, from whom descended 
the sept of ^^ Felimy (Four Mast.) ; one branch of 
them settled in the county Carlow, and theii' name is 
still preserved in that of the parish of TuUow-Offelimy, 
or Tullowphelim (which was also applied to the town 
of Tullow) i. e. th Qtulach or hill of the territory of 
Hy Felimy^ which included this parish. 

Caliirmore was slain by the celebrated Conn of the 
hundred battles, who ascended the tln^one in A. D. 
123. After a reign of thirty-five years. Conn's two 
brothers, Fiacha, and Eochy Finn Fothart, betrayed 
him into the hands of Tibraide Tireach, king of Ulster, 
who murdered him as he was making preparations to 
celebrate the Feis or convention of Tara. 

Conary XL, his successor (fi'om A.D. 158 to 165), 
had three sons — the three Carberys — who are re- 
nowned in Irish history : — Carbery Muse, Carbery 
Baskin, and Carbery Eiada. From Carbery Muse 

126 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

were descended and named all the tribes called Mmc- 
raidhe [Muskeiw] (O'Heerin), i.e. the race of Miisc; 
of which, according to O'Heerin, there were six, all 
in Munster. The names of all these have recently 
disappeared except that of one, Muscraidhe Mitaine^ 
or Muscraidhe O^FIynn, which now forms the two 
baronies of Muskerry in Cork. From Carbery Baskin 
was named the ancient territory of Corcobaskin, in the 
south-west of Clare, but the name has become obsolete. 
Carbery Riada was the most celebrated of the three, 
for whom see p. 82. Carbery Muse had a son named 
Duibhne [Divne], whose descendants gave name to 
the district of Corca-Duibhne (O'Heerin), i. e. Duibh- 
ne's race ; and a portion of this territory still re- 
tains the name, though somewhat corrupted, viz., 
the barony of Corkaguiny {dh changed to g ; p. 54), 
in Kerry, which comprises the peninsula between 
Tralee and Dingle bays. 

Art, the son of Conn of the hundred battles, suc- 
ceeded Conary, and immediately on his accession he 
banished his uncle, Eochy Finn Fothart [Fohart], 
from Munster. Eochy proceeded to Leinster, and 
the king of that province bestowed on him and his 
Bons, certain districts, the inhabitants of which were 
afterwards called Fotharta [Foharta] (Book of 
Rights), from their ancestor. Of these, the two 
principal still retain the name, viz., the baronies 
of Forth, in Wexford and Carlow ; the former called 
in the Annals, for distinction, Fotharta of the Cam, 
i. e. of Camsore Point ; and the latter, Fotharta Fea^ 
from the plain anciently called Moy Fea, lying east 
of the town of Carlow. 

After Art, the son of Conn, had reigned thirty 
years, he was slain in the year 195, in the battle 
of Magh Mucruimhe [Muckrive] , near Athenry, by 

CHAP. II.] Hktorical Personages. 127 

Lewj Maccon and his followers. It is stated in the 
" History of the Cemeteries" in Leabhar na hUidhre, 
that Art believed in the Faith the day before the 
battle, and predicted the spread of Christianity. It 
would appear also that he had some presentiment of 
his death ; for he directed that he should not be 
buried at Brugh on the Boyne, the pagan cemetery 
of his forefathers, but at a place then called Dumha 
Dergluachra (the burial mound of the red rushy- 
place), " where Treoit is at this day " (Trevet in the 
county Meath). "When his body was afterwards 
carried eastwards to Dumha Dergluachra^ if all the 
men of Erin were drawing it thence, they could not, 
so that he was interred at that place, because there 
was a Catholic church to be afterwards at the place 
where he was interred, for the truth and the Faith 
had been revealed to him through his regal righteous- 
ness " (Hist, of Cemeteries ; see Petrie's E. Towei-s, 
p. 100). 

In the historical tale called " The Battle of Magh 
Mucruimhe^^ it is stated that, when Art was buried, 
three sods were dug in honour of the Trinity ; and 
that hence the place, from that time forward, got the 
name of Tre-foit (O'Clery's Cal., &c.), i. e. three /o^^ 
or sods, which is very little changed in the present 
name Trevet. 

The celebrated Mogh Nuadhat [Mo Nuat], or 
Owen More, was king of Munster during the reign of 
Conn of the hundred battles ; he contended with that 
monarch for the sovereignty of all Ireland, and after 
defeating him in ten battles, he obliged him to divide 
the country equally between them — \h.Q well-known 
ridge of sand hills called Esker Eiada, extending 
from Dublin to Gralway, being adopted as the boun- 
dary. From Owen descended a long Hne of kings, 

128 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

and lie was the ancestor of the most distinguished of 
the great Munster families. 

He spent nine years in Spain, and the king of that 
country gave him his daughter Bear a in marriage ; 
on his return to Ireland, accompanied by Sj)anish 
auxiliaries, to make war against Conn, he landed on 
the north side of Bantry bay, and he called the har- 
bour Beara in honour of his wife. It is now called 
Bearhaven ; the island that shelters it is called Great 
Bear island ; and the barony is also known by the 
name of Bear. 

Owen derived his alias name of Mogh Nuadhat 
(which signifies Nuadhat's slave) from his foster fa- 
ther Nuadhat, king of Leinster. From this king, 
according to O'Donovan (Cambr. Evers., note p. 473, 
Vol. I.), Maynooth derives its name : — Magh-Nuadh- 
af, i. e. Nuat's plain. 

OlioU Olum, the son of Owen, succeeded him as 
king of Munster, and was almost as renowned as his 
father ; he is usually taken as the starting point in 
tracing the genealogies of the Munster families. 
Three of his sons — Owen, Cormac Cas, and Cian 
[Kean] — became very much celebrated. 

In the year 226 was fought the battle of Crinna in 
Meath, between Cormac mac Art, king of Ireland, 
and the Ulstermen, under Fergus, son of Imchadh ; 
Cormac defeated the Ulster forces, by the assistance 
of Tadg [Teige], son of Cian ; and for this service 
the king bestowed on him a large territory, extend- 
ing from the Liffey northwards to Drumiskin in 
Louth. Tadg's descendants were called Cianachta 
[Keenaghta] (O'Dugan), i. e. the race of Cian, from 
his father ; and the territory was afterwards known 
by this name. It is forgotten in Leinster, but in Ulster 
it is still the name of a barony in the north-west of 

CHAP. II.] Historical Personages, 129 

Londondeny, called Keenaglit, from the O'Conors of 
Grlengiven, who formerly ruled over it, and who were 
a branch of the tribe of Keenaghta, having been de- 
scended from Connla the son of Tadg. The name is 
also preserved in Coolkeenaght, in the parish of 
Fanghanvale, Derry ; Cuaille- Cianach ta (Four Mast. ) , 
the bare tree of Keenaght. 

The barony of Ferrard, in Louth, indirectly keeps 
up the memory of this ancient tribe. The range of 
heights called Slieve Bregh, running from near Col- 
Ion, in Louth, eastwards to Clogher head, was qh- 
ciQTiilj coR^di Ard-Oianachta (Four Mast. ; At^d-Cean- 
nackte, Adamnan), the height of the territory of 
Keenaght, and the inhabitants were called Feara- 
Arda-Cianachta, or more shortly Feara-Arda (Four 
Mast.), i. e. the men of the height, from which the 
modern name Ferrard has been formed. 

Tadg, the son of Cian, had a son named Cormac 
G-aileng, who, having fallen under the displeasure of 
his father, fled from Munster to Connaught, where he 
obtained from Cormac mac Art, king of Ireland, a 
district which had previously been inhabited by the 
Firbolgs or " Attacots." The descendants of Cormac 
Gaileng and of his son Luigh, or Lewy, were 
known by the two names Gailenga (O'Dugan), or 
the race of Gaileng, and Luighne [Leyny] (O'Du- 
gan), the posterity {ne) of Luigh. These were origi- 
nally only various names for the same tribe, but they 
are at the present day applied to different districts — 
one in the modern form of Grallen, to a barony in 
Mayo, and the other to a barony in Sligo, now called 

A branch of the same tribe settled in Leinster, 
where there were two temtories, called respectively 
Mo7'-Gailenga and Gailenga-heag (O'Dugan), or the 

130 Historical and Legendary Names. [part n. 

great and little Gaileuga ; the latter is obsolete, but 
the former is still retained in the name of the modern 
barony of Morgallion in Meath. 

Eile, the seventh in descent from Cian, was the 
ancestor of the tribes called Eile or Ely, who gave 
name to several districts, all in the ancient Mmnha 
or Munster, and of which O'CarroU was king. The 
only one of these whose name has held its ground is 
Ely O'Fogarty, so called from its ancient possessors, 
the O'Eogartys ; and the name is now applied to a 
barony in Tipperary, in the shortened form of Eli- 

Eochy Liathanach [Lehanagh] was fifth in descent 
from OlioU Olum, and from him the tribe of 
O'Liathain, who now call themselves O^Lehane or 
Lyons, are derived. Castlelyons, in Cork, was situ- 
ated in their territory, and still retains its name — 
Caislen-ni-Liathain, the castle of the territory of Hj/ 

Settled in different parts of Connaught and Leinster 
were formerly seven tribes — three in the former pro- 
vince, and four in the latter — all with the same tribe 
name of Dealhhna [Dal'vana] ; they were an ofishoot 
of the Dalcassians of north Munster, and were de- 
scended from Lewy Dealbhaeth [Dalway], who was 
the son of Cas mac Tail (seventh in descent from 
Olioll Olum), the ancestor of the Dalcassians. They 
derived their tribe name from Lewy Dealbhaeth : — 
Dealhhna, i. e. the descendants of Dealbhaeth. None 
of these tribes have left their name in our present 
t-erritorial nomenclature except one, namely, Dealhhna 
mo)% or the gi-eat Dealhhna, which is now the barony 
of Delvin, in Westmeath. 

From Conall, the ninth from Olioll Olum, descend- 
ed the tribe of Hy Conaill Gahra (Book of Leinster), 

CHAP. II.] Hisforical Personages. 131 

who possessed a territory in tlie county of Limerick, 
a part of wliich still retains the name, \dz., the 
baronies of Upper and Lower Connello. 

I have already mentioned (p. 84) the destruction 
of the palace of Emania, in the year 332, by the 
three CoUas ; these were CoUa Uais, CoUa Meann, 
and Colla da Chrioch, who were the ancestors of 
many noble families in Ulster and Scotland, and the 
first of whom reigned as king of Ireland from A. D. 
323 to 326. He was the progenitor of the several 
tribes known by the name of Ui mic Uais [Ee-mic- 
oosh], one of which was seated somewhere in the 
north of Ireland, another in east Meath, near Tara, 
and a third in Westmeath. This last is the only one 
of the three whose name has survived ; whose terri- 
tory is now a barony, and known by the name of 
Moygoish, which is an attempt at pronouncing the 
original Ui mic Uais. 

Caerthann [Kieran], the great-grandson of Colla 
Uais, was the ancestor, through his son Forgo, of 
the tribe called Hy Mic Caerthainn (Four Mast.); the 
territory they inhabited, which was situated in the 
west of the present county of Derry, was called from 
them Tir-mic-Caerthainn (the land of Kieran 's son), 
or more shortly, Tir-Chaerthainn., which is still the 
name of a barony now called Tii^keeran. 

The barony of Cremorne, in Monaghan, preserves 
the name of the ancient district of Crioch'Miighdhorn 
[Cree-Mourne], i. e. the country {crioch) of the people 
called Mughdhorna, who were descended and named 
from Mughdhorn [Mourne], the son of Colla Meann. 
About the middle of the 12th century, a tribe of the 
Mac Mahons emigrated from Cremorne, and settled 
in the south of the present county of Down, to which 


132 Historical and Legendary Na772€s. [part ii. 

they gave their tribe name ofllughdhorna, and which 
is now knoT^Ti as the barony of Moxirne. 

The Monme mountains owe their name to the same 
event, having been previously called Beanna-Boirche 
[Banna-borka]. The shepherd Boirche, according to 
the Dinnsenchus, herded on these moimtains, the 
cattle of Eoss (son of Imchadh;, king of Ulster, in 
the third century, and the account states that his fa- 
vourite look-out point was the summit of Slieve 
Slanga, now Slieve Donard, the highest peak in the 
range ; hence those mountains received the very ap- 
propriate name of Beanna-Boirche, Boirche's peaks. 

Niallan, descended in the fourth degree from CoUa 
Da Chrioch [Cree] , was the progenitor of the tribe 
called Hy Niallain (i. e. Niallan's race) ; and their 
ancient patrimony forms the two baronies of Oneil- 
land, in Armagh, which retain the name. 

The descendants of Eochy Moyvane, king of Ire- 
land from A. D. 358 to 365, branched into a vast 
number of illustrious families, the earlier members of 
which have left their names impressed on many loca- 
lities. The following short genealogical table exhi- 
bits a few of his immediate descendants, viz. those 
concerned in the present inquiiy, and it will render 
what I have to say regarding them more easily under- 

Eochy Moyvane. 


I I I 

Fiackra. Olioll. Niall of the Nine Hostages. 

Dathi. Awly. Leavy. Owen. Conall. Carbery, 

I Gulban, 

Fiachra Ealgach. 

CHAP. II.] Historical Personages. 133 

Fiachra [Feecra], son of Eochy Moyvane, was the 
ancestor of the Hij Fiachrach, which branched into a 
great number of families. Amhalgaidh [Awly], his 
son, brother of the monarch Dathi [Dawhy], was 
king of Connanght, and gave name to Tir-Amhal- 
gaidhy i. e. Awly's district, now the barony of 
Tirawly, in Mayo. 

Fiachra Ealgach, son of Dathi, gave his name to 
Tir-Fhiachrach (Four Masters), Fiachra's district; 
and the sound is very well preserved in the modem 
name Tireragh, which is applied to a barony in 
Sligo. The barony of Tirerrill in the same county, 
was possessed by the descendants of Olioll, son of 
Eochy Moyvane, and from him it got the name of 
Tir-Oliolla (Hy Fiachrach), which, by a change of / 
to r, has been corrupted to the present name. 

The great monarch Niall of the Nine Hostages, 
king of Ireland from A. D. 379 to 405, had fourteen 
sons, eight of whom had issue, and became the 
ancestors of many great and illustrious families : of 
these eight, four remained in Meath, viz., Laeghaire 
[Leary] , Conall Criffan, Fiacha, and Maine ; and 
four settled in Ulster — Eoghan or Owen, Conall 
Grulban, Carbery, and Euna Finn. The posterity 
of Niall are usually called Hy NeiU, the southern 
Hy Neill being descended from the first four, and 
the northern Hy Neill from the others. 

Laeghaire was king of Ireland from A. D. 428 to 
458, and his reign was rendered illustrious by the 
arrival of St. Patrick ; he erected one of the forts at 
Tara, which still exists, and retains the name Rath- 
Laeghaire ; and the old name of Kingstown — Dun- 
leary, Laeghaire's Dun — was, in the opinion of some, 
derived from him. 

Owen and Conall Grulban are renowned in Irish 

134 Historical and Legendary Names. [part it. 

history, as the heads of two great branches of the 
northern Hy NeiU, the Kinel Owen, and Kinel Connell. 
Owen, who died in A. D. 465, was the ancestor of 
the O'Neills, and his descendants possessed the 
territory extending over the counties of Tyrone and 
Londonderry, and the two baronies of Raphoe and 
Inishowen, in Donegal ; all this district was anciently 
called Tir-Eoghain (Wars of G-Gr.), Owen's territory, 
w^hich is now written Tyrone, and restricted to one 
county. The peninsula between Lough Foyle and 
Lough Swilly received also its name from him, Inish- 
owen, i. e. Owen's island. 

Conall, who received the cognomen Gulban from 
having been fostered near the mountain Binn-Giilhain 
(Grulban's peak; now Binbulbin), in Sligo, died in 
464 ; he was the ancestor of the O'Donnells, and 
his posterity ultimately possessed the county of 
Donegal, which from him was called Tirconnell, 
ConaU's district. 

One of the sons of Conall Grulban was Enna 
Boghaine [Boana], and he became the ancestor of a 
tribe called Kinel Boghaine ; the district they inha- 
bited was called Tir-Bogkaine (Foiu- Mast.), and fre- 
quently Baghaineaeh [Bawnagh], i. e. Boghaine's 
territory ; and this latter still holds its j)lace in the 
form of Banagh, which is the name of a modern 
barony, a portion of the ancient district. 

Baeighill [Boyle], who was tenth in descent from 
Conall Oulban, was the ancestor of the O'Boyles, 
and the district they possessed was called from them 
BaeigheUach (Four Mast.), or Boylagh, which is 
still the name of a barony in the south-west of 

Flaheii^y, also descended from Conall Culban, was 
king of Ireland from A. D. 723 to 729 : lafth in 

CHAP. III.] Early Irish Saints. 135 

descent from him was Cannanan, from whom is 
derived the family of 0' Cannanan (or, as they now 
call themselves, Cannon), who were anciently chiefs 
or kings of Tirconnell, till they ultimately sank 
under the power of the O'Donnells. From this 
family, Letterkenny in Donegal received its name, 
which is a shortened form of Letter- Cannanan, the 
O'Cannanans' hill-slope. 

Carhery, another of Niall's sons, was the ancestor 
of the Kinel-Carbery ; a part of them settled in the 
north of the present county of Longford, where the 
mountain Slieve-Carbury retains their name ; and 
another portion took possession of a territory in the 
north of Sligo, which is now known as the barony of 



Our early ecclesiastical writers have left us ample 
records of the most remarkable of those illustrious 
men and women, who in the fifth and succeeding 
centuries devoted their lives to the conversion of the 
Irish nation. There are great numbers again, of 
whom we possess only meagre details, sometimes ob- 
scure and conflicting, and often very perplexing to 
the student of those early times. And many passed 
silently to their reward, leaving their names and 
nothing more, to attest their participation in the 
good work. 

Most of these saints settled in particular districts, 
and founded churches, monasteries, or schools, which 

136 Historical and Legendary JYames. [part il 

continued for ages to be centres of civilization, and 
of knowledge both secular and religions. Whoever 
■understands the deep religions feeling of our people, 
and the fidelity with which they cling to the tradi- 
tions of their ancestors, will not be surprised that 
in most cases they retain to this day in the several 
localities, a vivid recollection of the patron saints, 
and cherish their memory with feelings of affection 
and veneration. 

These churches generally retain the names of their 
founders, suffixed to such words as Kill, and Tempk, 
(a church), Tee, Ti, or Ty (a house), &c. Names 
of this kind abound in every part of the country,* 
and in all Ireland there are probably not less than 
ten thousand, that commemorate the names of the 
founders, or of the saints to whom the churches were 
dedicated, or that in some other way indicate eccle- 
siastical origin. 

To attempt an enumeration of even the principal 
saints that adorned our country from the fifth to the 
eighth or ninth century, and who are commemorated 
in local names, would far exceed the limits of a 
chapter ; but I shall here select a few for illus- 
tration, passing over, however, some of the great 
saints, such as Patrick, Brigid, and Columba, whose 
lives, and the religious establishments that retain 
their names, are generally speaking sufficiently well- 

Soon after St. Patrick's arrival in Ulster, and 
while he was in the neighbourhood of Downpatrick, 
he met and converted a young man named Mochaei 
[Mohee], whose mother was Bronach, daughter of 
the pagan chief Milcho, with whom the saint had 
spent seven years of his youth in captivity. After 
having baptized him, he tonsured and dedicated 

CHAP. III.] Early Irish Saints. 137 

him to the Church ; and according to O'Clery's 
Calendar, he was the first of the Irish saints to 
whom St. Patrick presented a crozier and a book of 
the Grospels. 

This Mochaei, who was also called Caelan (i. e. a 
slender person), became afterwards very much dis- 
tinguished, and ultimately attained the rank of 
bishop : he died in the year 497. He built a church 
and established a school at a place called JVaendruim, 
or Nendrum, in Strangford Lough, which was long a 
puzzle to topographers, and was generally con- 
founded with Antrim, till Dr. Reeves, in his " De- 
scription of Nendrum," identified the place, and 
corrected the long-established error. It forms the 
eastern portion of Ballynakill parish, and in memory 
of the saint, it was also called Inis Mochaei or Mahee 
island, which last name it retains to this day. Even 
yet this place retains the relics of its former distinc- 
tion, namely, the remains of a round tower, and of a 
triple cashel or wall surrounding the foundations of 
the old chiu'ch. 

Another of St. Patrick's disciples was St. Domhan- 
ghart [Donart], bishop, son of Eochy, king of Uli- 
dia. He founded two churches — one at a place 
called JRath-jnurhhuilfj, near the foot of Slieve Donard, 
and the other " on the very summit of the mountain 
itself, far from all human habitation" (Colgan, 
A. SS. , p. 743) . The ruins of this little church existed 
down to a recent period on Slieve Donard ; and 
the name of the mountain stands as a perpetual 
memorial of the saint, who is still held in extra- 
ordinary veneration among the Moume mountains, 
and of whom the peasantry tell many curious 

The ancient name of this mountain was Slieve 

138 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

Slainge, so called from the bardic hero Slainge, the 
son of Parthalon, who was buried on its summit ; and 
the great earn raised over him still exists, and forms 
a very conspicuous object. Grn-aldus Cambrensis, 
writing in the twelfth century, records the two names 
of the mountain, but St. Domhanghart's name he 
latinizes Dominicus : — " A very high mountain which 
hangs over the sea flowing between Britain and 
Ireland, is called Salanga, from the second [son of 
Bartholanus, namely, Salanus, i. e. Slainge] ; but be- 
cause St. Dominicus many ages afterwards built a 
noble monastery at its base, it is now more usually 
called the mountain of St. Dominicus" [i. e. SKeve 
Donard] (Top. Hib., Dist. III. Cap. ii.). 

The " noble monastery" of Cambrensis is the 
church mentioned by Colgan (A. SS., p. 743) as 
" formerly called Rafh-murbhuilg, now called Mach- 
aire-ratlia^^'' and which he states is at the foot of the 
mountain. This identifies it with Maghera, now the 
name of a village and parish, north of the mountain ; 
Machaire-ratha (the plain of the fort) being pro- 
nounced Maghera-rdha, which was shortened to 
Maghera. The old name Rath-murbhuUg (which sig- 
nifies the rath of the sea-inlet^, was of course origi- 
nally applied to a fort, but it was afterwards trans- 
ferred to the church, and thence to the parish. The 
change of name was efi'ected by first dropping mur- 
hJuiilg, and afterwards prefixing machaire ; and the 
intennediate stage appears in the Taxation of 1306, 
in which the chui'ch is called simply Rath. 

The miirhholg from which it took its original name, 
is the small inlet near it, entering from Dundrum 
Bay ; and it is a cui-ious confirmation of the authen- 
ticity of the foregoing history of the name, that on 
its shore there are still two townlands (originally 

CHAP. III.] Early Irish Saints. 139 

one) called Mmiougli, wHcli is the anglicised form 
of Murhliolg. 

There is a village in Derry called Maghera, which 
is also contracted from Machaire-ratha. It was an- 
ciently called Rath-Lumigh (Four Mast.), i. e. the 
fort of St. Lurach, or, as he is now called, Lowry, the 
patron saint, whom O'Clery's Calendar, at the 17th 
of February, designates as " Lurach of the poems, 
son of Guana, of the race of Colla Uais, monarch of 
Ireland :" he is well remembered in the place, and 
his chiu-ch, grave, and holy well are still to be seen. 
From this church, the level land where the town stands 
took the name of Machaire-Ratha-Luraigh (the plain 
of Rathlowry), contracted to Machaire-ratha, and 
modernized to Maghera. 

The patron of Kinawly in Fermanagh is St. Natalis, 
or, as he is called in Irish, Naile [Nawly], and 
from him the place is called CiU-Naile (O'Cl. 
Gal.), wliich ought to have been anglicised jff'//^««?d'/?/. 
In O'Clery's Calendar, the following notice of him 
occurs at the 27th of January : — " Naile of Inhher- 
Naile in Tir-Baghuine in Cinel-ConaiU (the barony of 
Banagh, in Donegal) ; and afterwards abbot of Cill- 
Naile, and Daimhinis in Feara-Manach''^ (Devenish, in 
Fermanagh). Inhher-NaiJe (Naile's river mouth), is 
the present village of Inver, west of Donegal, of 
which he is also the patron, and where he is still re- 
membered ; and his name is preserved in that of Leg- 
nawly Grlebe (Naile's hollow), near the village. 

Another Natalis or Naile is the patron saint of 
Kilmanagh, west of Kilkenny {CiU-Mariach, Mart. 
Taml., the church of the monks) ; and it may be as- 
sumed that the church of Killenaule, in Tipperary 
(which is not far from Kilmanagh), was dedicated to, 
and named from, him. 

140 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

Some, and among others Colgan, are of opinion 
that the two Nailes are identical, but this is disputed 
by Dr. Lanigan. The O'Clerys make them different, 
and state that Naile of Kinawly was the son of Aen- 
gus, that king of Munster, of whom is told the cele- 
brated anecdote, that when he was baptized by St. 
Patrick in Cashel, his foot was accidentally pierced 
by the crozier, and so deep was his fervour that he 
bore it without a word, thinking it was a part of the 
ceremony. Whoever tries to disentangle this ques- 
tion by refening to the Calendars, will find it involved 
in much confusion : but it seems certain that they 
were two different persons ; that Naile of Kilmanagh 
was really the son of Aengus ; and that the other 
Naile flourished somewhat later, for it is stated that 
he died in 564. 

Ardbraccan (Brecan's height), in Meath, was 
founded by St. Brecan, about whose history, al- 
though he was a very remarkable man, there hangs 
considerable obscuiity. The most probable accounts 
represent him as the son of Eochy Ballderg, prince 
of Thomond, who was baptized by St. Patrick at 
Singland, near Limerick. Brecan, after having 
erected a church at Ardbraccan, removed to the 
Grreat island of Aran, where he fixed his principal 
establishment ; and here are still to be seen the ruins 
of his church, and his tombstone, inscribed with his 
name, in very ancient Roman characters (see Petrie's 
E. Towers, p. 138). ^ 

St. Ite, or Ide, virgin, who is often called the 
Brigid of Munster, was one of the most illustrious 
saints in an age abounding in illustrious men and 
women. She was born about the year 480, of the 
noble race of the Desii in Waterford, being descended 
from Fiacha, the son of Felim the Lawgiver. She was 

CHAP. III.] Early Irish Saints. 141 

from her earliest years filled with the spirit of piety, 
and when she calne of age, obtained her parents' con- 
sent to devote herself to a religious life. After having 
received the veil, she proceeded to the territory of 
Hij ConaiU, in Limerick, where she selected a spot 
called Cluain Credhuil [Clooncrail] for her residence. 
She was soon visited by great numbers of pious 
maidens, who placed themselves under her direction; 
and in this manner sprang up her nunnery, which 
was the first in that part of the country, and which 
afterwards attained to great celebrity. The name of 
the place was changed to Cill-Ide (O'Cler. Cal.), or 
as it is now called, Killeedy, which gives name to a 
parish ; and at the present day the place contains the 
ruins of a very ancient, and exquisitely beautiful 
little church. 

This virgin saint is remembered with intense vene- 
ration all over Munster, and especially in Limerick. 
Her name is sometimes changed to Mide (by prefix- 
ing Mo*), and in this form we find it in the names of 
churches dedicated to her, of which there are several, 
and which are now called Kilmeedy; one of them 
giving name to a village in Limerick. 

St. Brendan of Clonfert, or, as he is often called 
Brendan the navigator, was the son of Finlogh of the 
race of Ciar, (see p. 120) ; and was born near Tralee 
in Kerry in the year 484. He received the rudiments 

* The syllables mo (my) and do or da (thy), were often pre- 
fixed to the names of Irish saints as terms of endearment or re- 
verence ; thus Conna became Mochonna, and Dachonna. The 
diminutives dti, in^ and 6g, were also often postfixed ; as we find 
in Ernan, Ernog, Baeithin, Baethan, &c. Sometimes the names 
were greatly changed by these additions ; thus Aedh is the same 
name as Maedhog (Mo-Aedh-6g, my little Aedh), though when 
pronounced they are quite unlike, Aedh being pronounced Ai., 
and Maedhog, Mogue : Ai = Mogue ! 

142 historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

of his education under a bishop Ere, and was an in- 
timate friend of St. Ite of Killeedy. After having 
studied with St. larlath at Tuam, and with St. Fin- 
nian at Clonard, he ^dsited Brittany, where he founded 
a monastery. It w^as previous to this last visit that 
he undertook his famous voyage, in which he is said 
to have spent seven years sailing about on the west- 
ern sea, and to have landed on various strange 

He founded the monastery of Clonfert, in Gralway, 
about the year 553, where he drew together a vast 
number of monks ; it soon became one of the most 
celebrated religious establishments in Ireland; and 
in memory of the founder the place is generally called 
in the Annals Clonfert-Brendain. He also founded 
the monastery of Ardfert, in his native county (which 
is also called Ardfert-Brendain), where a beautiful an- 
cient church still remains. There are several places 
in Ireland called Clonfert, which name is written in 
the Book of Leinster Cluain-ferta^ the meadow of the 
grave ; and Ardfert is written by the Four Masters 
Ard-ferta, the height of the grave. 

There are two remarkable mountains in Ireland 
called Brandon Hill from this saint. One is near 
Inistioge, in Kilkenny ; and the other is the well- 
kno\sm mountain — one of the highest in Ireland — west 
of Tralee, in Kerry, on the summit of which are the 
ruins of his oratory, with an ancient stone-paved 
causeway leading to it, which are probably coeval 
with St. Brendan himself. 

There were many saints named Ciaran or Kieran, 
but two of them were distinguished beyond the others ; 
St. Ciaran of Clonmacnoise, of whom I shall not speak 
here, and St. Ciaran of Ossory. Eegarding the exact 
period when the latter flourished, there is much un- 

CHAP. III.] Early Irish Saints. 143 

certainty ; but according to the most reliable accounts, 
lie became a bishop about the year 538. He was 
born in the island of Cape Clear ; but his father, 
Lugneus, was a native of Ossory, and of kingly de- 

Ciaran was one of the numerous band of saints who 
attended St. Finnian's school at Clonard ; and having 
retii^ed to a solitary place called Saighir [Sair], in 
the territory of Eile, in Munster, he after some time 
erected a monastery there, which gradually grew 
and became the nucleus of a town. He subsequently 
employed himself partly in the care of his monastery, 
and partly in preaching the Grospel to the Ossorians 
and others, of whom he converted great numbers. 

According to a gloss in the Felire of Aengus at 
the 5th of March (Ciaran's festival day), Saighir was 
the name of a fountain ; after the saint's time it was 
called Saighir-Ciarain, which is now contracted to 
Seirkieran, the name of a parish near Parsonstown. 
Ciaran is also the patron of Eathkieran, in Kilkenny, 
where he probably built his church near a pagan 
rath, which took his name. 

On the island of Cape Clear, traditions of St. Cia- 
ran still flit among the peasantry. An ancient little 
church retains the name of Kilkieran ; and a strand 
in one part of the island is called Trakieran (Ciaran's 
strand), on which stands a primitive stone cross, said 
to have been made by the saint's own hands. 

St. Ciaran established a nunnery near Seirkieran 
for his mother Liadhan [Leean], or Liedania; and 
from her the place has since borne the name of Killyon 
(Liadhan's church). It is highly probable that it is 
from her also that the parish of Killyon, in Meath, 
and the townland of Killyon in the parish of Dun- 
fierth, Kildare, received their names. 

144 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

There were several saints called Baeithin [Bwee- 
heen], of whom the most distinguished was Baeithin 
of lona, so called because he was a companion, rela- 
tive, and disciple of St. Columba, and governed the 
monastery for four years after that saint's death : he 
died the 9th of June, 600. This saint, whom Columba 
very much loved, is often mentioned by Adamnan ; 
and in O'Clery's Calendar he is spoken of in these 
words : — " Baeithin, abbot of IcolumMUe after 
Columkille himself; and Tech-Baeithin (Baeithin's 
house), in Cinel-Conaill (Donegal), was his chief 
chui^ch, for he was of the race of Conall Grulban, son 
of Niall of the Nine Hostages." His memory is 
fitill revered at this church, w^hich is now called 
Taughboyne, and gives name to a parish in Donegal. 

There is another Tech-Baeitkin in the ancient ter- 
ritory of Air teach in Roscommon., which also gives 
name to a parish, now called Tibohine, the patron 
saint of which is a diflPerent Baeithin. He is men- 
tioned in O'Clery's Calendar at the 19th of Febru- 
ary (his festival day): — "Baeithin, bishop (son of 
Cuana), of Tech-Baeithin in Airteach, or in the west 
of Midhe (Meath). He was of the race of Enda, son 
of Niall" [of the Nine Hostages]. He was one of 
the ecclesiastics to whom the apostolic letter v/as 
^vritten in the year 640, on the subject of the time for 
celebrating Easter (see Bede, Hist. EccL, Lib. II. 
Cap. XIX.) 

The church " in the west of Midhe, ^^ mentioned 
above, is Taghboj^ne, in the parish of Churchtown, 
Westmeath, where he is also patron. He built another 
church near an ancient rath, not far from Kells, in 
Meath, and the rath remains, while the church has 
disappeared ; hence it was called Rath-Baeithin, and 
in recent times Bab-athboyne, the town of Baeithin's 
rath, which is now the name of a parish. 

CHAP. III.] Early Irish Saints. 145 

Another Baeithin, son of Knnacli, of the race of 
Laeighsech Ceannmhor (see p. 122), built a church 
at Ennisboyne (Baeithin's island or river holm), in 
the parish of Dunganstown, "Wicklow, where there is 
still an interesting church ruin. He is supposed to 
have flouiished about the beginning of the seventh 
century. Crossboyne in Mayo is called in " Hy Fiach- 
rach," CroS'Baeithin^ i. e. St. Baeithin's cross ; and 
Dunboyne in Meath (Baeithin's dun or fortress) was 
so called from another of the same name ; but who 
these two Baeithins were I have not been able to 

St. Ninny, the patron of Inishmacsaint, in Ferma- 
nagh, is commemorated in O'Clery's Calendar at the 
17th of January, in the following words : — " Ninnidh, 
bishop of Inis-)m(ighe-samh, in Loch-Erne ; and he 
was Ninnidh Saebhruisc {saebhniisc, i. e. torvi oculi)^ 
who was of the race of Enda, sonofNiall" [of the 
Nine Hostages] ; and at the 16th of January he is 
mentioned in the Mart. Taml. as " Ninnid Lethderc" 
(i. e. one-eyed). He was a disciple of St. Finnian of 
Clonard, and was a contemporary of St. Columba. 

Knockninny, a hill in the south of Fermanagh, 
which gives name to a barony, is called Cnoc- Ninnidh 
(Ninny's hill) by the Four Masters ; and though we 
have no written record of St. Ninny's connexion with 
it, the uniform tradition of the place is, that the hill 
derived its name from him. 

St. Molaga, or, as he is sometimes called, Lochein, 
was born in the territory of Fermoy, in Cork, where 
he also received his education ; and after distinguish- 
ing himseK by piety and learning, he established a 
monastery at a place called Tualach-Min (smooth little 
hill), in the same district. 

He visited Connor, in Ulster, and thence proceeded 

146 Historical and Legendary Names, [part it. 

to North Britain and "Wales. On his return he settled 
for some time in Fingal, north of Dublin, where he 
kept a swarm of bees, a portion of the bees brought 
over from Wales by St. Modomnoo of Tibberaghny, 
in Kilkenny. From this cu'cumstance the place was 
called Lann-heachaire [baekera] (O'Cl. Cal.), the 
church of the bee-man.* This is the ruined church 
and cemetery in Bremore, a little north of Balbriggan, 
now nameless, but which in the Reg. Alani of the See 
of Dublin, is called Lamheecher. He returned to 
Tulach-min, and died there on the 20th of January, 
some short time after the year 664. 

He is the patron saint of Templemolaga, near 
Mitchelstown, in Cork, where, on the bank of the 
Funcheon, in a sequestered spot, is situated his 
church ; it is called in the Book of Lismore, Eidhnen 
MoJaga — Molaga's little ivy (chiu-ch), a name which 
most truly describes the present appearance of this 
venerable little ruin. It is now called Templemo- 
laga, and gives name to the parish ; and near it is 
situated the saint's well, Tober-Molaga. About four 
miles north-east of Templemolaga is the ruined church 
of Labbamolaga, Molaga's hed or grave, which gives 
name to a townland. The place called Tulach-min 
was obviously identical with, or in the immediate 
neighbourhood of Templemolaga, but the name is now 

* Giraklus among others, relates this circumstance of the im- 
portation of bees by St. Modomnoc, or Domnoc, or as he calls 
him, Dominicus : — '' St. Dominicus of Ossory, as some say, intro- 
duced bees into Ireland, long after the times of Solinus " (Top. 
Hib., Dist. I., c. v). Some records say that these were the first 
bees brought to Ireland, but Lanigan (Vol. ii., p. 321) shows that 
there were bees in the country before St. Domnoc's time. It is 
evident that he merely imported hive or domesticated bees. 

CHAP. III.] Early Irish Sands. 147 

Timoleague, in the south of Cork, is called by the 
Four Masters, Teach-Molaga, Molaga's house ; we have 
no record of St. Molaga's connexion with this place, 
but there can be little doubt that he built a church 
there, from which the name is derived ; and the 
place is still well known for its fine abbey ruins. 

St. Mocheallog [Mohallog] or Dacheallog flou- 
rished in the beginning of the seventh century. 
According to Lanigan, he spent some time under the 
instruction of St. Declan of Ai^lmore, and died be- 
tween the years 639 and 656. He founded a churcli 
at Killmallock in Limerick, which the same author 
says, is sup230sed to be a contraction of Cill-Mo- 
cheaUog; but there can be no doubt at all that it is so, 
and for two sufficient reasons : — first, because in the 
Felire of Aengus it is stated at the 26th of March, 
St. Mocheallog's festival day, that CiU-Dacheallog is 
in the territory of Hy Carbery in Munster, which 
identifies it with Kilmallock, as Hy Carbery included 
the barony of Coshma ; and, secondly, the inhabitants 
at this day, when speaking Irish, always call the town 
Cill-MocheaUog, St. Mocheallog's Chui'ch. 

Finan was the name of many saints, of whomFinan 
surnamed Lohhar, or the leper, because for thirty 
years he was afflicted with some kind of leprosy, was 
the most remarkable. He was a native of Ely O'Car- 
roU in King's County, then forming part of Munster, 
and governed for some time as abbot, the monasteries 
of Swords, near Dublin, and Clonmore-Mogue in 
Leinster. He is mentioned in O'Clery's Calendar 
at the 16th of March, in the following words : — 
'' Finan the leper of Sord, and of Cluain-mor in 
Leinster ; and of Ard-Fionain in Munster ; he was 
of the race of Cian, son of Olioll Olum." He died 
between the years 675 and 695. 


148 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

He founded a monastery in the island of Innisfallen 
(see p. 104), in the lower lake of Killarney ; and 
that of Ardfinnan, in Tipperary (mentioned ahove), 
which preserves his name. Kilfinnane, in Limerick, 
douhtless owes its foundation to this Finan also, being 
called in Irish Cill-Fhionain, i. e. Finan's church ; his 
well still exists, and his festival was formerly cele- 
brated there, but all memory of the exact day is 

Another Finan, who was surnamed Cam, i. e. 
crooked, because, as the Mart. Taml. has it, '' there 
was an obliquity in his eyes," flourished in the sixth 
century. He was a native of Corkaguiny, in KeiTy, 
and was descended from Carbery Muse. He is the 
patron of Kinnitty, in King's County — Ceann-Eitighy 
Etech's head — so called according to a gloss in the 
Felire of Aengus at the 7th of April, the saint's fes- 
tival day, because the head of Etech, an ancient Irish 
princess, was buried there. Denynane, the well- 
known seat of the O'Connell family, took its name 
from him — Doire-Fhiondin {Fh silent) — Finan's oak 
grove ; and his house, one of the beehive-shaped struc- 
tures, is still to be seen on Church Island, in Currane 
Lough, four miles north of Derrynane. His name 
is also preserved in Eahinnane, Finan's foi-t, now a 
townland near Yentry. 

One of the brightest ornaments of the Irish Church 
in the seventh and eighth centuiies was the illustrious 
Adamnan, abbot of lona, and the wiiter of the well- 
known Life of St. Columba ; whom the Yenerable 
Bede designates as " a wise and good man, and most 
eminently learned in the science of the Holy Scrip- 
tures." (Hist. EccL, Lib. V., Cap. xv.) We have 
no direct record of the exact place or time of his 
birth, but there is good reason to believe that he was 

CHAP. III.] Early Irish Saints. 149 

a native of Donegal, and that lie was born about the 
year 627. He was elected abbot of lona in the year 
679. In 685 he was sent to Alfrid, king of the 
Northnmbrian Saxons, to solicit a restoration of some 
captives that had been carried off, the previous year, 
from the territory of Meath, by Saxon pirates ; and in 
this mission he was eminently successful. About the 
year 703 he visited Ireland for the last time, and 
succeeded in inducing most of the northern Irish to 
adopt the Eoman method of computing the time for 
Easter. He returned to lona in 704, in which year 
he died, in the 77th year of his age. 

The name Adamnan is, according to Cormac's 
Grlossary, an Irish diminutive of Adam. It is gene- 
rally pronounced in three syllables, but its proper 
Irish pronunciation is Aivnaioi, the d and m being 
both aspirated (Adliamhnan). The saint's name is 
commemorated in several places in Ireland, and al- 
ways, as might be expected, in this phonetic form. 

He is the patron of Baphoe, where he is called 
Eunan, but no place there retains the name. He is 
also patron of Ballindrait in the parish of Clonleigh, 
Donegal, the Irish name of which is Droichet-Adh- 
amhnain, St. Adamnan's bridge. The modern de- 
signation has not preserved the name of the saint ; 
Ballindrait is contracted from the Irish Baile-an- 
droicMf, the town of the bridge. 

Errigal in Londonderry has Adamnan also for its 
patron, and hence it was called in Irish Airecal- 
Adhamhnain, Adamnan's habitation. The old church 
was situated in the townland of Ballintemple (the 
town of the church) ; south of which is the only local 
commemoration of the saint's name, viz., a large stone 
called " Onan's rock." 

In the Life of St. Farannan published by Colgan, 

150 Historical and Legendary Naines. [paut ii. 

we are informed that Tibraide, lord of Hy Fiachrach, 
bestowed on St. Coluniba a place called Cnoc-na- 
maoile ; but that it was subsequently called Scrin- 
Adhcunhnain from a shrine of that saint afterwards 
erected there. From this shrine the parish of Skreen 
derived its name. He is there called Awnaun, and 
his well, Toberawnaun (which gives name to a town- 
land) , lies a little south of the old church. 

There is a townland called S_yonan in the parish of 
Ardnurcher, in Westmeath, which, according to the 
Annals of Clonmacnoise, received its name from him. 
The tradition of the place is, that Adamnan in one of 
his visits to Ireland preached to the multitude on the 
hill there, which has ever since been called Suidhc- 
Adlmmlinain [Syonan], Adamnan's seat. Killonan 
in the parish of Derrjgalvin, in Limerick, may also 
have been called so from him, but of this we have no 

The Martyrology of Tallaght, at the 3rd of March, 
mentions St. Moshacra, the son of Senan of Teach- 
Sacra; and in O'Clery's Calendar we find, "Mosha- 
cra, abbot of Clonenagh, and of Teach Sacra, in the 
vicinity of Tallaght." 

This Mosacra or Sacra was one of the fathers who 
composed the synod held at Armagh about the year 
696, at which Adamnan attended from lona. He 
was the founder and abbot of the monastery at Teach- 
Sacra (Sacra's house), a name afterwards changed to 
Tassagptrd, and subsequently contracted to Saggart, 
which is now the name of a village and parish near 
Tallaght, in Dublin. 

One of the most remarkable among the early saints 

* See the Rev. William Reeves's Edition of Adamnan's Lif 
of .St. Columba, from which the above account has been taken. 

CHAP. III.] Earljj Irish Saints. lol 

of Ireland was St. Moling, bishop of Ferns. He 
was descended from Caliirniore, monarch of Ireland 
in the second century ; his mother was Nemhnat, a 
native of Kerry, and he is therefore often called Mo- 
ling Lnachra, fi'om the district of Lu a chair, on the 
borders of Cork, Kerry, and Limerick. At his inter- 
cession, and in opposition to the advice of 8t. Adam- 
nan, Finaghty, king of Ireland, remittedthe Borumha 
or cow- tribute to the Leinstermen, which had been 
exacted for centimes, and which was reimposed many 
ages afterwards, by Brian Borumha. He died on 
the 17th of May, 697. 

He is mentioned in O'Clery's Calendar as " Moling 
Luachra, bishop and confessor, of Tigh- Moling.'''' 
This place is situated on the Barrow, in the south of 
the county of Carlow, and was originally called Ros- 
broc, badger wood ; but the saint erected a church 
there about the middle of the seventh century, and 
it was afterwards called Tigh-Moling [Tee-Moling], 
i. e. St. Moling's house, which is now reduced to St. 
Mullins. The village of Timolin, in Kildare, took 
its name from a church erected there by him, and it 
preserves more correctly the original form, Tigh- 

St. Aengus the Culdee — or, as he is often called, 
Aengus the Hagiologist — embraced a religious life in 
the monastery of Clonenagh, in Queen's County ; 
and having made great progress in learning and holi- 
ness, he entered the monastery of Tallaght, near Dub- 
lin. There he spent several years under St. Mael- 
ruain, whom he assisted to compile a Calendar of 
saints, which is well known as the MartjTrology of 
Tallaght. He was the author of a still more cele- 
brated work, which is now commonly known as the 
Felire of Aengus, a metrical calendar, in which the 

152 Historical and Legendary Karnes, [pakt ii. 

saints of each day are commemorated in a stanza of 
four lines. He died, according to the most probable 
accounts, about the year 824.* 

He built a cell for himself in a lonely spot near 
Clonenagh, to which he frequently retired for medi- 
tation and prayer. It was called from him Disert- 
Aengusa, Aengus's hermitage, now modernized to 
Dysartenos ; and it is the only place I know that 
commemorates the name of this venerable man. 



Many of the legends with which the early history of 
our country abounds are no doubt purely fabulous, 
the inventions of the old shanachies or story tellers. 
Great numbers, on the other hand, are obviously 
founded on historical events ; but they have been so 
distorted and exaggerated by successive generations 
of romancers, so interwoven with strange or super- 
natural circumstances, or so far removed from their 
true date into the regions of antiquity, that they have 
in many cases quite lost the look of probability. It 
is impossible to draw an exact line of demarcation 
between what is partly real and what is wholly fic- 
titious ; but some of these shadowy relations possess 
certain marks, and are coiToborated by independent 
circumstances, which render it extremely probable 
that they have a foundation of truth. 

* See the Life of St. Aengus the Culdee, by the Rev. John 

CHAP. IV.] Legends. 153 

It must be careftilly borne in mind that the correct- 
ness of the interpretations given in this chapter, is 
not at all affected by the truth or falsehood of the 
legends connected with the names. It is related in 
the Dinnsenchus, that Conall Cearnach, one of the 
most renowned of the Eed Branch knights of Ulster 
in the first century, lived in his old age at Cniachan 
the royal palace of Maev, queen of Connaught. OlioU 
More, Maev's husband, was slain by the old warrior 
with a cast from a javelin ; and the men of Connaught 
pursued and overtook him at a ford over a river in the 
present county of Cavan, where the village of Bally- 
connell now stands. There they slew him, so that 
the place was ever after called Bel-atha-Chonaill 
[Bellaconnell] ; and this event is still remembered 
in the traditions of the neighbourhood. 

The reader may or may not believe this story : 
nevertheless the name signifies Conall's ford-mouth, 
for we find it always written in Irish authorities, and 
pronounced at this day by the natives, Bel-atha- 
ChonaiU ; audit is certain that it took its name from 
some man named Conall, whether it be Conall Cear- 
nach or not. 

The accounts handed down to us of the early 
colonies, belong to the class of historical legends. 
I have included some of them in the chapter on his- 
torical events, and others I shall bring in here ; but 
in this case too it is difiicult, and sometimes impos- 
sible, to determine the line of sejDaration. They have 
been transmitted from several ancient authorities, and 
always with remarkable consistency ; many of them 
are reflected in the traditions of the peasantry ; and 
the truth of several is confirmed by present existing 
monuments. But to most of them the old historians 

154 historical and Legendary/ Names. [part ii. 

have assigned an antiquity so incredible or absurd, 
that many reject them on this account as a mass of 

The first who led a colony to Ireland, according to 
our bardic histories, was a woman named Ceasair or 
Casar, who came jforty days before the deluge, with 
fifty young women and three men — Bith [Bili],Ladh- 
ra [Lara], and Fintan. Ceasair and the three men 
died soon after their arrival, and gave names to four 
different places ; but they are all now forgotten, with 
one exception. Bith was buried on a mountain, 
which was called from him Sliahh Beatha [Slieve- 
baha]. It is well known and retains the very same 
name in Irish ; but it is called in English Slieve 
Beagh — a range situated on the confines ofMonaghan, 
Fermanagh, and Tyrone. Bith's earn still exists, and 
is a large and consjiicuous monument on the top of a 
hill, in the townland of Garnmore (to which it gives 
name), parish of Clones, Fermanagh ; and it may be 
seen from the top of the moat of Clones, distant about 
seven miles north-west.* 

The first leader of a colony after the flood was 
Parthalon, who, with his followers, ultimately took 
up his residence on the plain anciently called Sean- 
mhagh-Ealta-Edair [Shan- va-alta-edar], the old plain 
of the flocks of Edar, which stretched along the coast 
by Dublin, from Tallaght to Edar, or Howth. The 
legend — which is given in several very ancient au- 
thorities —relates that after the people of this colony 
had lived there for 300 years, they were destroyed by 
a plague, which in one week carried off 5000 men 
and 4000 women ; and they were buried in a place 

* See O'Donovan's Four Masters, vol. i., p. 3. 

CHAP. IV.] Legends. 155 

called, from this circiimstaiice, TaimhleacJif-Mhuin- 
tire-Parthaloin (Four Mast.), the TavIogJd or plague- 
grave of Parthalon's people. This place, which lies 
ahout five miles from Dublin, still retains the name 
Taimhieachty modernized to Tallaght ; and on the hill, 
lying beyond the village, there is to be seen at this 
day a remarkable collection of ancient sepulchral 
tumuli, in which cinerary urns are found in great 

The word Taimhleacht^ a plague-monument — a 
place where people who died of an epidemic were 
buried — is pretty common as a local appellative in 
various parts of Ireland, under different forms : it is 
of pagan origin, and so far as I know is not applied 
to a Christian cemetery, except by adoption, like 
other pagan terms. In the northern counties it is 
generally made Tamlaght and Tamlat, while in other 
places it takes the forms of Tawlaght, Towlaght, and 

In combination with other words, the first t is 
often aspirated, which softens it dovTi still more. 
Thus Derryhowlaght and Derryhawlagh, in Ferma- 
nagh, is the oak grove of the plague-grave ; Dooham- 
lat, in Monaghan, and Doohallat, in Cavan, black 
grave. Magherahamlet, in Down, is called on the 
Down Survey, Ilagherehouiett, and in a patent of 
James I., Magherhamlagkt, both of which point to 
the Irish Machaire-thaimhleachta, the field of the 

The Fomorians — a race of pirates who infested 
the coasts of Ireland, and oppressed the inhabitants 
— are much celebrated in our histories. They came 
to Ireland in the time of Newy (who led another 
colony, thirty years after the destruction of Par- 
thalon's people) ; and their principal stronghold was 

156 Sistorical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

Tory island. Balor of the great blov/s was their 
chief, and two of the tower-like rocks on the east side 
of Tory, are still called Balor's castle and Balor's 

His wife, Cethlenn [Kehlen], seems to have been 
worthy of her husband. She fought at the second 
battle of Moyturey, and inflicted a wound on the 
Dagda, the king of the Tuatha De Dananns, of which 
he afterwards died. It is stated in the Annals of 
Clonniacnoise, that Enniskillen received its name 
from her : in the Irish authorities it is always called 
Inis-CefJiIenn, Cethlenn's island. 

At this time there lived on the mainland, opposite 
Tory, a chieftain named Mac Kineely, who was the 
owner of the Glasgavlen, a celebrated cow, remem- 
bered in tradition all over Ireland. Balor possessed 
himself of the Glas by a stratagem, and carried her 
off to Tory ; and then Mac Kineely, acting on the 
directions of a fairy called Biroge of the mountain, 
concerted a plan of revenge, which many years after 
led to the death of Balor. When Balor became 
aware of this, he landed with his band on the main- 
land coast, and seized on Mac Kineely ; and, placing 
his head on a large white stone, he cut it clean off 
with one blow of his sword. 

Hence the place was called Cloch-Chinnfhaelaidh, 
which is the name used by the Four Masters and 
other authorities, signifying Kinfaela's or Kineely 's 
stone ; and the pronunciation is well preserved in the 
present name of the place, Cloghineely. The stone 
is still to be seen, and is very carefully preserved ; it 
is veined with red, which is the stain of Mac Kineely's 
blood that penetrated to its centre ; and the tourist 
who is a lover of legend may indulge his taste among 

CHAP. IV.] Legends. 157 

the people, who will tell endless stories regarding 
this wonderful stone.* 

From the same people the Griant's Causeway has 
derived its name. It is called in Irish, Clochan-na- 
hJiFomharaigh, [Clohanavowry : O'Brien's Diet, voce 
Fomhar'] ; the cloghan, or stepping-stones, or cause- 
way, of the Fomorians ; and as those sea rovers 
were magnified into giants in popular legend, the 
name came to be translated " Giant's Causewaj^" 

The celebrities of the Tuatha de Danann colony 
have left their names on many localities. From the 
princess Danann some suppose they derive their 
name ; and from her also two remarkable mountains 
in Kerry were called Da-chich-Danainne, the two 
paps of Danann, now well Imo-^ivTi as the Paps. 

One of the most celebrated characters among this 
people was Manannan Mac Lir, of whom we are told 
in Cormac's Glossary, and other ancient authorities, 
that he was a famous merchant who resided in, and 
gave name to Inis Manaun, or the Isle of Man ; 
that he was the best merchant in western Europe ; 
and that he used to know, by examining the heavens, 
the length of time the fair and the foul weather 
would last. 

He was also called Orbsen ; and he was killed by 
UUin, grandson of Nuad of the silver hand, in a 
battle fought at Moycullen, near Lough Corrib, in 
which the two chiefs contended for the sovereignty 
of Connaught ; " and when his grave was dug, it was 
then Loch Orhsen burst [out of the grave] over 
the land, so that it is from him that Loch Orhsen 

* See O 'Donovan's Four Masters, vol. i., p. 18, for a very 
full version of this lesfend. 

158 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

is named." (Yellow Book of Lecan, quoted by 
O'CuiTj, Atlantis, YII., p. 228.) This lake is 
called Loch Orhsen (Orbsen's lake) in all our authori- 
ties ; and this was changed to the present name, 
Lough Corrib, by omitting the final syllable, and 
by the attraction of the c sound from Loch to Orh- 
sen ; Boate has it in the intermediate form, Lough 

Many of the legendary heroes of the Milesian 
colony are also remembered in local names. When 
the sons of Milesius came to invade Ireland, a storm 
was raised by the incantations of the Tuatha De 
Dananns, which drove them from Lnver Sceine, or 
Kenmare bay, where they had attempted to land, 
scattered their fleet along the coast, and drowned 
many of their chiefs and peoj)le. Donn, one of the 
brothers, and all the crew of his ship, were lost on a 
range of rocks off Kenmare bay, afterwards called in 
memory of the chief, Teach- Dlioinn^ i. e. Donn's house, 
which is the name used by the Irish-speaking pea- 
santry at the present day; but they are called in 
English, the Bull, Cow, and Calf. 

Colpa the swordsman, another of the brothers, was 
drowned in attempting to land at the mouth of the 
Boyne ; and that part of the river was called from 
him Lnver Colptha [Colpa] (Foiu' Mast.), Colpa's 
river mouth. This name is no longer applied to it ; 
but the parish of Colp, lying on its southern bank, 
retains the name with little change. 

Eimher [Eiver], son of Milesius, landed with his 
followers at Lnver Sceine, and after three days they 
fought a battle against a party of the Tuatha De Da- 
nanns at Slieve Mish, near Tralee, where fell Scota, 
the wife of Milesius, and Fas, wife of Un. Fas was 
interred in a glen, called from her Gleann-Faisi 

CHAP. lY.] Legends. 159 

(Four Mast.); it is now called Glenofaush, and is 
situated at the base of Caherconree mountain about 
seven miles west of Tralee. The Four Masters state 
that *' the grave of Scota is to be seen between Slieve 
Mish and the sea ;" it is still well knoT\Ti by the 
name of Scota's grave, and is situated by the Fingias 
stream ; the glen is called Grienscoheen, Scotina's or 
Scota's glen ; and the monument, which was ex- 
plored some years ago by a party of antiquaries, still 

A decisive battle was afterwards fought at Tailltenn, 
or Teltown, in Meath, in which the Tuatha De Da- 
nanns were finally routed : in following up the pur- 
suit, two distinguished Milesian chieftains were slain ; 
namely, Fuad and Cuailgne, the sons of Brogan, 
grandfather of Milesius. The former fell at Sliabh 
Fuaid (Four Masters : Fuad's moimtain), near New- 
to^^mhamilton, in Ai^magh, which still retains the 
name of Slieve Fuad ; it is the highest of the Fews 
range ; but the two words, Fuad and Feics, have 
no connexion, the former being much the more 

The place where Cuailgne [Cooley] fell was called 
Sliabh Cuailgne (Four Masters) ; it is the moun- 
tainous peninsula lying between the bays of Dundalk 
and Carlingford, and the range of heights still bears 
the name of the Cooley Mountains. From Bladh 
[Blaw], another of Brogan's sons, was named Sliabh 
Bladhma [Slieve-Blawma ; Four Masters), now called 
Slievebloom. Whether this is the same person who 
is commemorated in Lickbla, in Westmeath, I can- 
not tell ; but the name signifies " Bladh's flagstone,'' 
for the Four Masters write it Liag-Bladhma. 

Fial, the wife of Lewy (son of Ith, the uncle of 
Milesius) , gave name to the river Feale, in Kerry : 

160 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

the legend says that her husband unexpectedly came 
in sight, while she stood naked after bathing in the 
stream ; and that she, not recognising him, imme- 
diately died through fear and shame. An abbey, 
built in later ages on its banks, was called in Irish 
Maimstir-na-Feile, i. e. the abbey of the river Feale, 
which is now called Abbeyfeale, and gives name to 
the town. 

Legends about cows are very common. Our 
Annals relate that Breasal Boidhiobhadh [Bo-yeeva] 
son of Bury, ascended the throne of Ireland, A. M. 
5001. He received his cognomen, because there 
was a great mortality of cows in his reign : ho, a cow, 
diohhad/i, death. The Annals of Clonmacnoise men- 
tion this event in the following words : — " In his 
time there was such a morren of cows in this land, 
as there were no more then left alive but one Bull 
and one Heiffer in the whole kingdom, which Bull 
and Heiffer lived at a place called Gleann Sawasge.^^ 
This glen is situated in the county of Keny, in the 
parish of Templenoe, north-west of Kenmare, and 
near the valley of Glencare ; and it is still called 
Gleann-samhaisce [sowshke], the valley of the heifer. 
The tradition is well remembered in the county, and 
they tell many wonderful stories of this bull and 
heifer, from which, they maintain, the whole race of 
Irish cows is descended. 

There is a small lake in the island of Inishbofin, off 
the coast of Connemara, in which there lives an en- 
chanted white cow, or ho finn, which appears rfbove 
the waters at certain times ; hence the lake is called 
Loch-hO'finne, the lake of the white cow, and it has 
given name to the island. Bede calls the island Inis- 
ho-finde^ and interprets it "the island of the white 

CHAP. IV.] Legends, 161 

There is another Inishbofin m Lough Eee on the 
Shannon, which in Colgan's Life of St. Aidus is 
similarly translated ; and another off the coast of 
Donegal, south of Tory island. We find also several 
lakes in different parts of Lreland called Lough Bo- 
fin, the white cow's lake ; Lough Boderg (of the red 
cow) , is a lake on the Shannon south of Carrick-on- 
Shannon ; Corrabofin near Ballybay, in Monaghan 
(properly Carrowbofin, the quarter-land of the white 
cow) ; (rortbofinna (Grort, a field), near Mallow, in 
Cork ; Drombofinny (Drom, a ridge) in the parish of 
Desertserges, same county ; Lisbofin, in Fermanagh 
and Armagh ; Lisboduff (the fort of the hlacTx cow), in 
Cavan, and many others. It is very probable that 
these names also are connected with legends. 

There are several places in Ireland whose names 
end with urcJier, from the Ii^ish word urchur, a throw, 
cast, or shot. In every such place there is a legend of 
some remarkable cast of a weapon, memorable for its 
prodigious length, for killing some great hero, a mid 
animal or infernal serpent, or for some other sufficient 
reason. For example, Urcher itself is the name of 
three townlands in Armagh, Cavan, and Monaghan; 
and in the last-mentioned county, in the parish of 
Currin, there is a place called Drumurcher, the ridge 
of the cast. 

The most remarkable of these mighty easts is comme- 
morated at the place now called Ardnurcher, in West- 
meath — a cast that ultimately caused the death of 
Conor Mac Nessa, king of Ulster in the first century. 
The name Ardnurcher is a corruption, and the proper 
form would be Athnurcher ; the Four Masters, in re- 
cording the erection of the castle in 1192, whose rums 
are still there, call it Ath-an-urchair ; and the natives 


162 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

still call it in Irisli Baile-atha-an-nrchair, wliich they 
pronounce Blaanurchcr. 

Conall Ceamach, on a certain occasion, slew in 
single combat a Leinster chieftain named Mesgedhra 
[Mesgera], whose brains — according to a barbarous 
custom then prevalent— he mixed with lime, and 
made of them a hard round ball, which he kept both 
as a weapon and as a trophy. There was at this time 
a war raging between Ulster and Connaught, and 
Ceat [Keth] mac Magach, a Connaught chief, having 
by stratagem obtained possession of the ball, kept it 
always slung from his girdle ; for it had been pro- 
phesied that Mesgera would be revenged of the 
Ulstermen after his death, and Ceat hoped that this 
prophecy would be fulfilled by means of the ball. 

Ceat went one time with his band, to plunder some 
of the Ulster territories, and returning with a great 
spoil of cattle, he was pursued and overtaken by an 
army of Ulstermen under the command of Conor, 
and a battle was fought between them. The Con- 
naught chief contrived to separate the king from his 
party, and watching his opportunity, he cast the ball 
at him from his iahhall or sling ; and the ball struck 
the king on the head, and lodged in his skull. His 
physician, Fingen, was brought, and he declared that 
the king would die immediately if the ball were re- 
moved ; but that if it were left so, and provided the 
king kept himself free from all inquietude, he would 

And his head was stitched up with a golden thread, 
and he lived in this state for seven years, till the day of 
our Lord's Crucifixion ; when observing the unusual 
darkness, he sent for Bacrach, his druid, and asked 
him what it meant. Bacrach told him that the Son 


] Legends. 1^3 

of Grod was on tliat day crucified by tlie Jews. 
" That is a pity," said Conor ; " were I in his pre- 
sence, I would slay those who were around my king, 
putting him to death." And with that he rushed at 
a grove that stood near, and began hewing it with his 
sword, to show how he would deal with the Jews ; 
and from the excessive fury which seized him, the 
ball started from his head, and some of his brain 
gushed out ; and in that way he died. 

The place where Conor was wounded was called 
Ath-an-nrchair, the ford of the cast ; which Michael 
O'Clery, in a fly-leaf note inO'Clery's Calendar, iden- 
tifies with Aih-an-ur chair or Ardnurcher, in West- 
meath (see O'Cuny's Lect., p. 636). 

Many other legendary exploits of the heroic times 
are commemorated in local names, as well as casts of 
a spear. A favourite mode of exhibiting physical 
activity among the ancients, as well as the moderns, 
was by a leap ; but if we are to believe in the prodi- 
gious bounds ascribed by legend to some of our fore- 
fathers, the members of our athletic clubs may well 
despair of competing with them. The word leim^ a 
leap, will be discussed hereafter, but I may remark 
here that it is generally applied to these leaps of the 
ancient heroes. 

The legend that gave name to Loop Head in Clare 
is still well remembered by the people. Cuchullin 
[Cuhullin], the chief of the Red Branch knights of 
Ulster, endeavoiu-ing once to escape from a woman 
by whom he was pursued, made his way southwards 
to the extremity of the county of Clare, where he un- 
happily found himself in a cul-de-sac, with the furious 
teiTQagant just behind him. There is a little rock 
called BuUdn-na-leime (leap rock), rising over the 
waves, about twenty-five feet beyond the cape, on 

M 2 

164 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

wliicli the chief alighted with a great bound from the 
mainland ; and the woman, nothing daunted by the 
raging chasm, sprang after him ; when, exerting all 
his strength, he leaped back again to the mainland — 
a much more difficult feat than the first — and his 
pursuer, attempting to follow him, fell shoii into the 
boiling sea. Hence the cape was called Leim-Clion' 
chuillinn, CuchuUin's Leap, which is the name always 
used by ancient Irish writers, as for instance by the 
Four Masters; afterwards it was more commonly 
called, as it is at the present day in Irish, Cpann- 
Leime [Canleama], the head of the leap, or Leap 
Head, which seems to have been modified into the 
present name, Loo}) Head by the Danes of the lower 
Shannon : Danish hiaup, a leajD. Ceann-Leirne is 
also the Irish name of Slyne Head, in Galway ; but 
I do not know the legend, if there be one (see page 

There are several places whose names contain this 
word leim in such a way as to render it probable that 
they are connected with legends. Such for example 
is Leamirlea, in the parish of Kilmalkedar, Kerry, 
Leim-fhir-Jeith, the leap of the grey man ; Leamy- 
doody, and Leamyglissan in Kerry, and Lemybrien 
in Waterford ; which mean, respectively, O'Dowd's, 
O'Gleeson's, and O'Brien's leap ; Camglearaleary 
near Mallow, which is called in the Book of Lismore, 
Carraig-ieme-Laeguiri, the rock of Laeghaii-e's orj 
Leary's leap. Leap Castle, in King's County, near] 
Roscrea, the ruins of which are still to be seen, isj 
called by the Four Masters Leim-iii-Bhanain, O'Bani 
ans' leap. 

The name of Lough Derg, on the Shannon, reminc 
us of the almost unlimited influence of the bards inj 
old times, of the merciless way in which they often] 

CHAP. IV,] Legends. 165 

exercised it, and the mingled feelings of dread and 
reverence "^ith which they were regarded by all, 
both nobles and people. This great and long conti- 
nued power, which some of the Irish monarchs found 
it necessary to check by severe legislation, is an un- 
doubted historic fact ; and the legend transmits a very 
vivid picture of it, whether the circimistance it re- 
cords happened or not. It is one of the incidents 
in an ancient tale called Talland Efair, or the Siege 
of Ho^i:h (see O'Curry's Lect., p. 266). 

Aithirne [ Ahimy] , a celebrated Ulster poet of the 
time of Conor mac Nessa, once undertook a journey 
through Ireland, and of every king through whose 
territories he passed, he made the most unreasonable 
and outrageous request he could think of, none of 
whom dared refuse him. Eochy mac Luchta was at 
that time king of south Connaught and Thomond, and 
had but one eye. The malicious poet, when leaving 
his kingdom, asked him for his eye, which the king 
at once plucked out and gave him ; and then desiring 
his attendant to lead him down to the lake, on the 
shore of which he had his residence, he stooped down 
and washed the blood from his face. The attendant 
remarked to him that the lake was red mth his blood ; 
and the king thereupon said : — " Then Loch-Dergdherc 
[Dergerk] shall be its name for ever ;" and so the 
name remains. The lake is called by this name, which 
signifies '' the lake of the red eye," in all our old 
authorities, and the present name Lough Derg is 
merely a contraction of the original. 

In the parish of Kilgobban in Kerry, about eight 
miles west of Tralee, is situated the beautiful valley 
of G-lannagalt ; and it was believed not only in Kerry, 
but over the whole of Ireland, wherever the glen was 
known, that all lunatics, no matter in what part of 

166 Historical and Legendanj Names. [part ii. 

the country, would ultimately, if left to themselves, 
find their way to this glen to be cured. Hence the 
name, Gleann-na-ugeaU, the valley of the lunatics. 
There are two wells in the glen, called Tobemagalt, 
the lunatics' well, to which the madmen direct their 
way, crossing the little stream that flows through the 
valley, at a spot called Ahagaltaun, the madman's 
ford, and passing by Cloghnagalt, the standing stone 
of the lunatics ; and they diink of the healing waters, 
and eat some of the cresses that grow on the margin : 
— the water and the cress, and the secret virtue 
of the valley, will restore the poor wanderers to 

The belief that gave origin to these strange pil- 
grimages, whatever may have been its source, is of 
great antiquity. In the ancient Fenian tale called 
Cath Finntragha, or " The battle of Yentry," we are 
told that Daire Dommhar, "The monarch of the 
world," landed at Yentry to subjugate Erin, the only 
country yet unconquered ; and Finn-mac- Cumhail 
and his warriors marched southwards to oppose him. 
Then began a series of combats, which lasted for a 
year and a day, and Erin was successfully defended 
against the invaders. In one of these conflicts, Grall, 
the son of the king of Ulster, a youth of fifteen, who 
had come to Finn's assistance, " having entered the 
battle with extreme eagerness, his excitement soon 
increased to absolute frenzy, and after having per- 
formed astounding deeds of valour, he fled in a state 
of derangement from the scene of slaughter, and 
never stopped till he plunged into the wild seclusion 
of this valley." (O'Curry, Lect., p. 315.) O'Curry 
seems to say that Gall was the first lunatic who 
went there, and that the custom originated with 

CHAP. IV.] Legends. 167 

There is another Fenian legend, well known in 
Donegal, which accounts for the name of Lough Finn, 
and of the river Finn, which issues from it and joins 
the Mourne near Lifford. The following is the sub- 
stance, as taken down from the peasantry by O'Dono- 
van ; but there is another and somewhat different 
version in " The Donegal Highlands." Finn Mac 
Cumhail once made a great feast in the Finn Valley, 
and sent two of his heroes, G-oU and Fergoman, to 
bring him a fierce bull that grazed on the borders of 
the lake. On their way, they fell in with a litter of 
young pigs, which they killed and left there, intending 
to call for them on their way back, and bring them 
for the feast ; but Finn, who had a foreknowledge of 
some impending evil, ascended a hill, and with a 
mighty voice, called to the heroes to return by a 
different route. 

They returned each with his half of the bull ; Groli 
obeyed Finn's injunction, but Fergoman, disregarding 
it, approached the spot where he left the litter, and 
saw an enormous wild sow, the mother of the brood, 
standing over their bodies. She immediately rushed 
on him to revenge their death, and a furious fight 
began, the sow using her tusks, the warrior his 

Fergoman had a sister named Finn, w^ho was as 
w^arlike as himself ; and after long fighting, when he 
was lacerated by the sow's tusks and in danger of 
death, he raised a great shout for his sister's help. 
She happened to be standing at the same side of the 
lake, but she heard the echo of the shout from the 
cliffs on the opposite side ; she immediately plunged 
in, and swam across, but as she reached the shore, 
the voice came from the side she had left ; and when 
she returned, the echo came resounding again from 

168 Historkal and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

the opposite cliffs. And so she crossed and recrossed, 
till the dreadful dying shouts of Fergoman so over- 
whelmed her with grief and terror, that she sank in 
the middle of the lake and was drowned. Hence it 
was called Loch Fmne, the lake of Finn, and gave 
also its name to the river. 

The place where the heroes killed the young pigs, 
and where Fergoman met his fate, is still called 
Meenanall, in Irish Min-an-dil, the 7neen or mountain 
flat of the litter; and the wild sow gave name to 
Lough Muck, the lake of the pig, lying a little south 
of Lough Finn. 

Whatever may be thought of this wild legend, it is 
certain that the lake received its name from a woman 
named Finn, for it is always called in Irish, Loch 
Finne, which bears only one interpretation, Finn's or 
Finna's lake ; and this is quite consistent with the 
name given by Adamnan to the river, namely Finda, 
The suggestion sometimes put forth, that the name 
was derived from the word_^M>?, white or clear, is al- 
together out of the question ; for the waters of both, 
so far from being clear, are from their source all the 
way doTSTi to Lifford, particularly remarkable for 
their inky blackness. 

Among the many traditions handed down by the 
Irish people, none are more universal than that of 
the bursting foii;h of lakes. Almost every consider- 
able lake in Ireland has its own stoiy of an enchanted 
well, which by the fatal neglect of some fairy injunc- 
tion, or on account of an affront offered to its guardian 
spirit, suddenly overflowed the valley, and over- 
whelmed the inhabitants with their cattle and their 
houses in one common ruin. 

Nor is this tradition of recent origin, for we find 
lake eruptions recorded in our most ancient annals ; 

CHAP. IV.] Legends. 169 

and nearly all tlie principal lakes in Ireland are 
accounted for in this manner. There is one very 
remarkable example of an occnn^ence of this kind — 
an undoubted fact — in comjDaratively recent times, 
namely, in the year 1490 ; at which year the Four 
Masters record : — " There was a great earthquake 
imaklhm tahnhan, an eruption of the earth) at Sliabh 
GamJi (the Ox mountains), by which a hundred 
persons were destroyed, among whom was the son of 
Manus Crossagh O'Hara. Many horses and cows 
were also killed by it, and much putrid fish was 
thrown up ; and a lake in which fish is [now] caught, 
sprang up in the place." This lake is nowdiiedup, 
but it has left its name on the townland of Moym- 
lough, in Irish Maidhm-Ioch^ the erupted lake, 
in the parish of Killoran, county of Shgo ; and 
a vivid tradition of the event still prevails in the 
county. (See O'Donovan's Four Masters, Yol. lY., 
p. 1185.) 

I will digress here for a moment to remark that 
the word madhm [maum or moym] is used in the 
western counties fi-om Mayo to KeiTy, and especially 
m Connemara, to denote an elevated mountain pass 
or chasm ; in which application the primary sense of 
breaking or bursting asunder is maintained. This 
is the origin of the several places called Maum in 
these counties, some of which are well known to 
tourists — such as Maum Hotel ; Maumturk, the pass 
of the boars ; Maumakeogh, the pass of the mist, 
&c. In Mayo we find Maumnaman, the pass of 
the women ; and in Kerry Maumnahaltora, of the 

The origin of Lough Erne, in Fermanagh, is 
pretty fully stated in the Annals of the Four Masters ; 
and it is also given in the Book of Invasions, and in 

170 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

O'Flaherty's Ogygia. Fiacha Labhrmnne [Feeha 
Lavrinna] was king of Ireland from A. M. 3727 to 
3751 ; and it is related that he gained several battles 
during his reign, in one of which he defeated the 
Emai, a tribe of Firbolgs, who dwelt on the plain 
now covered by the lake. " After the battle was 
gained from them, the lake flowed over them, so that 
it was fi'om them the lake is named \_Loch-Eirne~\, 
that is, a lake over the Ernai." 

Onr most ancient records point to the eruption of 
Lough Neagh as having occurred in the end of the 
first century. From the universality of the tradition, 
as well as its great antiquity, it seems highly probable 
that some great inundation actually occurred about 
the time mentioned ; and the well-known shallowness 
of the lake lends some corroboration to the tmth of 
the records. Griraldus, who evidently borrowed the 
story from the native ^^^iters, relates that it was 
formed by the overflowing of a faiiy fountain, which 
had been accidentally left uncovered ; and mentions 
what the people will tell you to this day, that the 
fishermen sometimes see the lofty and slender ecck- 
siasticce turres, or round towers, beneath its waters — 
a belief which Moore has embalmed in the well- 
known lines : — 

" On Lough Neagh's banks as the fisherman strays, 
When the clear cold eve's declining, 
He sees the round tower of other days 
In the waves beneath him shining." 

The ancient name of the territory now covered by 
the lake, was Liuthmhuine [Leafony : grey shrub- 
berry], and it was taken possession of by a Munster 
chieftain named Eochy Mac Maireda, after he had 
expelled the previous inhabitants. He occupied the 

CHAP. IV.] Legends. 171 

plain at the time of tlie eruption, and he and all his 
family were drowned, except one daughter and two 
sons. Hence the lake was called Loch-nEchach 
[Lough Nehagh], i. e. Eochy's lake, which is its 
name in all our ancient ^Titings, and of which the 
present name has preserved the sound, a little short- 
ened. The N which now forms the first letter does 
not helong to the word; it is what is sometimes 
called the prosthetic n, and is a mere grammatical 
accident. The name often occurs without it ; for 
instance, in the Book of Leinster it is given both 
ways — Loch-nEthach, and Loch-Echach ; and we 
find it spelled Lough Eaugh in Camden, as well 
as in many of the maps of the 16th and 17th cen- 

This eruption is mentioned in an ancient poem, 
published by Dr. Todd (Irish Nennius, p. 267), from 
the Book of Leinster ; and from this also it appears 
that Linnmhuine [Linwinny ] , the linn or lake of the 
shrubbery, in allusion to the old name of the terri- 
tory, was another name for the lake : — 

"Eocliy Maireda, the rebellious son, 
Of wonderful adventure, 
Who was overwhelmed in lucid Lmnmhuine, 
With the clear lake over him." 

Eochy's daughter, Liban, is the subject of an exceed- 
ingly wild legend, for which see Reeves's Ecclesias- 
tical Antiquities, p. 376. 

172 Sistorical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 



It is very probable tbat the belief in the existence of 
fairies, so eliaracteristic of the Keltic race of these 
countries, came in with the earliest colonies. On 
this question, however, I do not intend to enter : it 
is sufficient to observe here, that the belief in all its 
reality is recorded in the oldest of our native writ- 
ings, and that with a distinctness and circumstantia- 
lity that prove it to have been, at the time of which 
they treat, long established and universally re- 

It was believed that these supernatural beings 
dwelt in habitations in the interior of pleasant hills, 
which were called by the name of sidh or sith [shee]. 
Colgan's explanation of this term is so exact, and he 
gives such an admirable epitome of the superstition 
respecting the sidh and its inhabitants, that I will 
here translate his words : — " Fantastical spirits are 
by the Irish called men of the sidh^ because they are 
seen as it were to come out of beautiful hills to infest 
men ; and hence the vulgar belief that they reside 
in certain subterraneous habitations within these 
hiUs ; and these habitations, and sometimes the 
hills themselves, are called by the Irish sidhe or 

In Colgan's time the faiiy superstition had de- 
scended to the common people — the vuhjus ; for the 
spread of the Faith, and the influence of education, 
had disenthralled the minds of the better classes. 
But in the fifth century, the existence of the diiinS 
sidhe [dinna-shee; people of the fairy mansions]* 

CHAP, v.] Fairies, Demons, Goblins, and Ghosts. 173 

was an article of belief with the high as well as 
with the low ; as may be infeiTecl from the following 
curious passage in the Book of Ai-magh, where we 
find the two daughters of Laeghau^e [Leary], king of 
Ireland, participating in this superstition : — " Then 
St. Patrick came to the well which is called Clehack, 
on the sides of Cruachan towards the east ; and be- 
fore sunrise they (Patrick and his companions) sat 
down near the well. And lo ! the two daughters 
of king Laeghaire, Ethne the fair and Fedelm the 
ruddy, came early to the vvell to wash, after the man- 
ner of women ; and they found near the well a synod 
of holy bishops with Patrick, And they knew not 
whence they came, or in what form, or from what 
people, or from what country ; but they supposed them 
to he I) nine sidhe, or gods of the earth, or a phantasm." 
(Todd's Life of St. Patrick, p. 452). Dr. Todd adds in 
a note: — '^ Duine sidhe, the men of the sidhe, or phan- 
toms, the name given by the Irish to the faiiies — men 
of the hills ; the word sidhe or siodha signifies the 
habitations supposed to belong to these aerial beings, 
in the hollows of the hills and mountains. It is 
doubtful whether the word is cognate with the 
Lat, sedes, or from a Celtic root side, a blast of 

The belief of king Laeghaire's daughters regarding 
these aerial beings, as related in a MS. copied in the 
year 807, is precisely the same as it was in the time of 
Colgan, and the superstition has descended to our 
own time in all its integrity. Its limits are indeed 
further circumscribed ; but at the present day the 
peasantry in remote districts believe that the faiiies 
inhabit the sidhe, or hills, and that occasionally mor- 
tals are favoured with a view of their magnificent 

174 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

To readers of modern fairy lore, the banshee is a 
well-knoTVTL spirit : — Irish bean-sidhe, woman of the 
fairy mansions. Many of the old Milesian families 
are attended by a banshee, who foretells and laments 
the approaching death of a member of the favoured 
race by keening round the house in the lonely night. 
Numberless banshee stories are related with great 
circumstantiality, by the peasantry all over Ireland, 
several of which are j)reserved in Crofton Croker's 
fairy legends. 

In our old authorities it is very often stated that 
the fairies are the Tuatha De Dananns ; and the 
chiefs of this race — such as the Dagda, Bove Dearg, 
&c. — are fi^equently referred to as the architects and 
inhabitants of the sidhe, Por example, in the copy 
of the '' History of the Cemeteries" contained in the 
MS. H. 3. 17, T. C. D., the foUowing statement 
occurs relating to the death of Cormac mac Art : — 
" Or it was the siabhras [sheevras] that kiUed him, 
i. e. the Tuatha De Dananns, for they were called 
siabhras.^ ^ In some cases, however, the sidhe were 
named after the chiefs of the Milesian colony, as in 
case of Sidh'Aedha at Bally shannon, (see page 176) ; 
and at present the Tuatha De Danann origin of 
these aerial beings, seems to be quite forgotten ; 
for almost all raths, cashels, and mounds — the 
dwellings, forts, and sepulchres of the Firbolgs and 
Milesians, as well as those of the Tuatha De 
Dananns — are considered as fairy haunts. 

Of this ancient Tuatha De Danann people our 
knowledge is very scant indeed ; but, judging from 
many very old tales and references in our MSS., and 
from the works supposed to be executed by this race, 
of which numerous remains still exist — sepulchral 
mounds, gracefully formed slender spearheads, (ic. — 

CHAP, v.] Fairies, Demons, Gohlins, and Ghosts. 175 

we may conclude that they were a people of superior 
intelligence and artistic skill, and that they were 
conquered and driven into remote districts, by the 
less intelligent but more warlike Milesian tribes 
who succeeded them. Their knowledge and skill 
procured for them the reputation of magicians ; and 
the obsciu^e manner in which they were forced to 
live after their subjugation, in retired and lonely 
places, gradually impressed the vulgar with the be- 
lief that they were supernatural beings. 

It is not probable that the subjugation of the Tua- 
tha De Dananns, with the subsequent belief regard- 
ing them, was the origin of Irish fairy mythology. 
The superstition, no doubt, existed long previously ; 
and this mysterious race, ha^dng undergone a gradual 
deification, became confounded and identified with 
the original local gods, and ultimately superseded 
them altogether. 

The most ancient and detailed account of their 
final dispersion is found in the Book of Fermoy, a 
MS. of the year 1463 ; where it is related in the tale 
of Curchog, daughter of Manannan Mac Lir, that the 
Tuatha De Dananns, after the two disastrous battles 
of Tailteann and Dniim Lighean, held a meeting at 
Br ugh, on the Boyne, under the presidency of Man- 
annan ; and by his advice they distributed and quar- 
tered themselves on the pleasant hills and plains of 
Erin. Bodlibh [Bove] Dearg, son of the Daghda, 
was chosen king ; and Manannan, their chief coun- 
sellor, arranged the different places of abode for the 
nobles among the hills. 

Several of the sidhs mentioned in this narrative 
are known, and some of them are still celebrated as 
fairy haunts. Sidh Buidhbh [Boov], mth Bove 
Dearg for its chief, was on the shore of Lough Derg, 

176 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

somewhere near Portiimna. Several hills in Ire- 
land, noted faiiy haunts, took their names from this 
chief, and others from his daughter, Bugh [Boo]. 
One of the former is Knockavoe, near Strabane, 
which the Foui' Masters write Cnoc-Buidhhh^ the hill 
of Bodhbh ; and from the daughter is named Canho, 
in the parish of Killumod, Eoscommon, which Duald 
M'Firbis writes Ceami-Bugha, i. e. Bugh's head or 


Sidh Truim, under the guardianship of Midir, was 
situated a little to the east of Slane, on the Boyne, 
but its name and legend are now forgotten. Sidh 
Neannta, under Sidhmall, is now called Mullaghshee, 
and is situated near Lanesborough, in the county 
Roscommon. Sidh Meadha [Ma], over which presided 
Finnbharr [Finvar], is the well-hno^Ti mountain 
now called Knockma, five miles south-west of Tuam ; 
the tradition respecting it is still preserved in all its 
vividness ; and the exploits of Finvara, its guardian 
fairy, are celebrated all over Ireland, 

Sidh Aodha Ruaidh^ another of these celebrated 
fairy resorts, is the hill now called Mullaghshee, on 
which the modern church is built, at Bally shannon, 
in Donegal. The Book of Leinster and other an- 
cient authorities relate that Aedh-E,uadh [Ay-roo], 
the father of Macha, founder of Emania (see p. 84 ), 
was drowned in the cataract at Ballyshannon, which 
was thence called nfterhim, JEas-Huaidh, ox Eas-Aedha- 
Baaidh [ Assroo, Assayroo] , Aedh Euadh's waterfall, 
now shortened to Assaroe. He was buried OTer 
the cataract, in the mound which was called from 
him Sidh-Aedha—^ name still partly preserved in 
Mullaghshee, the hill of the sidh or fairy palace. 

This hill has recently been found to contain sub- 
terranean chambers, which confirms our ancient 

CHAP, v.] Fairies, Demons, Gohlins, and Ghosts. 177 

legendary accounts, and shows that it is a great 
sepulchral mound like those on the Boyne. How 
few of the people of Ballyshannon know that the 
familiar name MuUaghshee is a living memorial of 
those dim ages when Aedh Euadh held sway, and 
that the great king himself has slept here in his 
dome-roofed dwelling for more than two thousand 
years ! 

These are a few illustrations of the extent to 
which the fairy mythology was accepted in Ireland 
in remote ages. But, even if history were wholly 
silent regarding the former prevalence of this belief, 
it would be sufficiently attested by the great numbers 
of places, scattered all over the country, whose 
names contain the word sidh, or, as it is usually 
modernized, skee. It must be borne in mind that 
every one of these places was once firmly believed 
to be a fairy mansion, inhabited by those myste- 
rious beings, and that in case of many of them, the 
same superstition lurks at this day in the minds of 
the peasantry. 

Sidh, as we have seen, was originally applied to a 
fairy palace, and it was afterwards gradually trans- 
ferred to the hill, and ultimately to the fairies them- 
selves ; but this last transition must have begun at a 
very early period, for we find it expressly stated in a 
passage in the Leabhar na hUidhre, that the igno- 
rant called the fairies sithi. At the present day, the 
word generally signifies a fairy, but the diminutive 
sidhedg [sheeoge] is more commonly employed. 
When sicih forms part of a name, it is often not easy 
to determine whether it means the fairies themselves 
or their habitations. 

Shee and its modifications constitute or begin the 
names of about seventy townlands, which are pretty 


178 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

equally distributed over the four provinces, very few 
being fouid, however, in the counties of Lonth, 
Dublin, and Wicklow. Besides these, there are 
many more places whose names contain this word in 
the middle or end ; and there are innumerable fairy 
hills and forts through the country, designated by 
the word shee, which have not communicated their 
names to townlands. 

Sidh-dhndm^ fairy ridge — the old name of the 
Eock of Cashel and of several other ancient fairy 
haunts — is still the name of six townlands in Ar- 
magh under the modern form Sheetrim ; the change 
from d to t (in druim) must have begun a long time 
ago, for Sidh-druim is written Sith-frimn in Toma 
Eigeas's poem (" Hy Fiachrach," p. 29) : Shee- 
revagh, in Roscommon and Sligo, grey shce ; Shee- 
gorey near Boyle, the fairy hill of G-uaire or Gorey, 
a man's name. There is a townland in the parish 
of Corbally, Tipperary, called The Sheehys, or in 
Irish, Na sithe, i. e. the fairy mounts ; and a range 
of low heights south of Trim in Meath, is well- 
known by the name of the Shee hills, i. e, the fairy 

There is a famous fairy palace on the eastern 
shoulder of Slievenamon mountain in Tipperary. 
According to a metrical romance contained in the 
Book of Lismore and other authorities, the Tuatha 
De Danann women of this sidh enchanted Finn mac 
Cumhail and his Fianna ; and from these women 
the mountain took its name. It is now called in 
Irish, Sliahk-na-mhan-fioun^ which would signify the 
mountain of the fair-haired women ; but O'Dono- 
van shows that the true name is S/ial/i-na-fnha?i- 
Fcimhinn [Slievenamon Fevin], the mountain of the 
women of Feimheann, which was an ancient territory 

CHAP, v.] Fairies, Demons, Gohlins, and Ghosts. 179 

coextensive with tlie barony of IfFa and Offa East ; 
and this was shortened to the present name, Sliahh- 
na-mban, or Slievenamon. 

The word occurs still more frequently in the end 
of names ; and in this case it may be generally taken 
to be of greater antiquity than the part of the name 
that precedes it. There is a parish in Longford 
called Killashee, which was probably so called be- 
cause the church was built near or on the site of one 
of these mounts. Killashee in Kildare has, however, 
a different origin. Cloonshee near Elphin in the 
county Eoscommon, is called by the Four Masters 
Cluain-sithe, fairy meadow ; and there are several 
other places of the same name. Rashee in Antrim, 
where St. Patrick is recorded to have founded a 
church, is in Irish Rath-sithe (Four Masters), the 
fort of the fairies ; and the good people must have 
often appeared, at some former period, to the inha- 
bitants of those places now called Ballynashee and 
Ballynasheeoge, the town of the fairies. 

The word sidh undergoes several local modifica- 
tions ; for example Knocknasheega near Cappoquin 
in Waterford, is called in Irish Cnoc-na-sige, the hill 
of the fairies ; and the name of Cheek Point on the 
Suir below Waterford, is merely an adaptation from 
Sheega point ; for the Irish name is Pointe-na-sige, 
the point of the fairies. The townland of Sheegys 
(i. e. fairy hills) in the parish of Kilbarron, Donegal, 
was once no doubt a favourite resort of fairies ; and 
on its southern boundary, near high water mark, 
there is a moimd called Mulnasheefrog, the hill of 
the fairy dwellings. In the parish of Aghanagh, 
Sligo, there are two townlands, called Cuilshee- 
ghary, which the people call in Irish, CoiU-sioth- 

180 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

chaire^ the fairies' wood, for a large wood formerly 
stood there. 

While sidkeog means a fairy, the other diminutive 
sidhedn [sheeawn] is always applied to a fairy mount. 
The word is used in this sense all over Ireland, but 
it is particularly common in Connaught, where these 
sheeauns are met with in great numbers; they are 
generally beautiful green round hillocks, with an old 
fort on the summit. Their numbers would lead one 
to believe that in old times, some parts of Connaught 
must have been more thickly peopled with fairies 
than with men. 

Grreat numbers of places have taken their names 
from these haunted hills ; and the word assumes 
various forms, such as Sheaun, Sheehaun, Sheean, 
and Shean, which give names to about thirty town- 
l^nds scattered through the four provinces. It is not 
unfrequently changed to Sion, as in the parish of 
Laraghbryan in Kildare, where the place now so 
called, evidently took its name from a shceaun, for it 
is written Shiane in on. Inquisition of James I. ; and 
there are several other instances of this odd corrup- 
tion. Near Ballybay in Monaghan, is a place 
called KShane, another form of the word ; and the 
plui-al Shanes, fairy hills, occurs in the parish of 
Loughguile, Antrim. Sheena in Leitrim, Sheeny 
in Meath and Fermanagh, and Sheeana in Wick- 
low, are different forms of the Irish plural sidhne, fairy 

The sound of the s is often eclipsed by ^(p. 22), 
and this gives rise to further modifications. There 
is a castle called Ballinteean giving name to a town- 
land in the parish of Ballysokeery, Mayo, which ia 
written by M'Firbis, Baile-an-tsiodhain, the town of 
the fairy hill ; the same name occurs near Ballinrobe 

CHAP, v.] Fairies^ Demons^ Gohlins, and Ghosts. 181 

in tlie same county, and in the parish of Kilglass, 
Sligo ; while in Down and Kildare it takes the form 
of Ballintine. Aghintain near Clogher in Tyrone, 
would be T\T?itten in the original, Ackadh-an-tsiadhainy 
the field of the fairy mount. 

Most of the different kinds of fairies, so well-known 
at the present day to those acquainted with the Irish 
peasantry, have also been commemorated in local 
names. A few of those I will here briefly mention, 
but ihQ subject deserves more space than I can 

The Pooka — Irish ^^if^ca — is an odd mixture of 
merriment and malignity ; his exploits form the sub- 
ject of innumerable legendary narratives ; and every 
literary tourist who visits our island, seems to con- 
sider it a duty to record some new story of this capri- 
cious goblin. Under the name of Puck, he will be 
recognized as the "merry wanderer of the night," 
who boasts tha-t he can " put a girdle round about 
the earth in forty minutes ;" and the genius of Shak- 
speare has conferred on him a kind of immortality 
he never expected. 

There are many places all over Ireland where the 
pooka is still well remembered, and where, though he 
has himself forsaken his haunts, he has left his name 
to attest his former reign of terror. One of the best 
known is Pollaphuca in "Wicklow, a wild chasm 
where the Liffey falls over a ledge of rocks into a 
deep pool, to which the name properly belongs, signi- 
fying the pool or hole of the Pooka. There are three 
townlands in Clare, and several other places in diff'e- 
rent parts of the country, with the same name ; they 

* See Crofton Croker's " Irish Fairy Legends," and Wilde's 
" Irish popular Superstitions." 

182 Historical and Legendary Na)nes. [part ii. 

are generally wild lonely dells, caves, chasms in 
rocks on the sea shore, or pools in deep glens like 
that in "Wicklow — all places of a lonely character, 
suitable haunts for this mysterious sprite. The ori- 
ginal name of Puckstown in the parish of Mosstown 
m Louth, and probably of Puckstown, near Arfcaine 
in Dublin, was Polla]ohuca, of w^hich the present 
name is an incorrect translation. Carrigaphooca (the 
Pooka's rock) two miles west of Macroom, where on 
the top of a rock overhanging the SuUane, stand the 
ruins of the McCarthys' castle, is well known as the 
place whence Daniel O'Pourke began his adven- 
turous voyage to the moon on the back of an eagle ; 
and here for many a generation the Pooka held his 
" ancient solitary reign," and played pranks w^hich 
the peasantry will relate with minute detail. 

About half way between Kilfinnane in Limerick, 
and Mitchelstown in Cork, the bridge of Ahaphuca 
crosses the Ounageeragh river at the junction of its 
two chief branches, and on the boundary of the two 
counties. Before the erection of the bridge, this was 
a place of evil repute, and not without good reason, 
for on stormy winter nights, many a traveller was 
swept off by the flood in attempting to cross the dan- 
gerous ford ; these fatalities were all attributed to 
the malice of the goblin that haunted the place ; and 
the name — the Pooka's ford — still reminds us of his 
deeds of darkness. 

He is often found lurking in raths and lisses ; and 
accordingly there are many old forts through the 
country called Lissaphuca and Rathpooka, which 
have, in some cases, given names to townlands. In 
the parish of Kilcolman in Kerry, are two townlands 
called Rathpoge on the Ordnance map, and Rath- 
pooke in other authorities — evidently Rathpuca^ the 

CHAP, v.] Fairies, Demons, Goblins, and Ghosts. 183 

Pooka's rath. Sometimes his name is shortened to 
pool', or 2^uck ; as for instance, in Castlepook, the 
Groblin's castle, a black, square, stern-looking old 
tower, near Doneraile in Cork, in a di^e^ry spot at 
the foot of the Ballyhoura hills, as fit a place for 
a pooka as could be conceived. This form is also 
found in the name of the great moat of Cloghpook, 
in Queen's County, the stone or stone fortress of the 
pooka; and according to O'Donovan, the name of 
Ploopluck near Naas in Kildare, is a corruption — a 
very vile one indeed — of the same name. 

The word siahhra [sheevra] is now very fre- 
quently employed to denote a fairy, and we have 
foimd it used in this sense in the quotation at page 
174 fi'om the "History of the Cemeteries." This 
term appears in the names of several places : there 
is, for example, a townland called Drumsheaver, in 
the parish of Tedavnet, Monaghan, but which is 
WTitten in several modem authorities, Drumshevery, 
the ridge of the sheevras ; and they must have also 
haunted Gflennasheevar, in the parish of Inishmac- 
saint in Fermanagh. 

Nor is the leprechaun forgotten — the merry sprite 
*' Whom maids at night. Oft meet in glen that's 
haunted," who will give you the spardn scillinge, an 
inexhaustible fairy purse, if you can only manage to 
hold him spell-bound by an uninterrupted gaze. This 
lively little fellow is known by several different 
names, such as liiprachann, luricane, lurrigadane, cluri- 
cane, Inppercadane, loughryman, &c. The correct ori- 
ginal designation from which all these have been 
corrupted, is hicliorpdn, or as we find it in the MS, 
H. 2, 16, (col. 120), Ittcharhan, which signifies "an 
extremely little body ;" fcom lu, " every thing small" 
(Cor. Grl., wee "luda"), and corpdn, a diminutive 

184 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

of cor}), a body, Lat. corjms (see Stokes's Cor. GL, 
p. 1). 

In the townland of Creevagli, near Cong in Mayo, 
there is a cave called MuUenliipraghaun, the lepre- 
chauns' mill, " where in former times the people left 
their caskeem of com at nightfall, and found them 
full of meal in the morning" (Wilde's Lough Cor- 
rib) — ground by the leprechauns. And it is certain 
that they must have long chosen, as favourite haunts, 
Knocknalooricaun (the hill of the looricauns), near 
Lismore in Waterford, and Poulaluppercadaun {]ooul, 
a hole), near Killorglin in Kerry. 

Every one knows that fairies are a merry race, and 
that they enjoy immensely their midnight gambols : 
moreover, it would seem that they indulge in many 
of the ordinary peasant pastimes. The fairy fort of 
Lisfarbegnagommaun stands in the toT\Tiland of 
Knocknagraigue East, four miles from Corrofin in 
Clare ; and whoever cautiously approaches it on a 
calm moonlight night, will probably see a spectacle 
worth remembering — the little inhabitants, in all 
their glory, playing at the game of comau, or hurley. 
Their favourite amusement is told clearly enough in 
the name Lios-fear-heg-na-gcomdn, the fort of the 
little hurlers. Sam Lover must have been well 
acquainted with their pastimes when he wrote his 
pretty song, " The fairies are dancing by brake and 
by bower ;" and indeed he probably saw them him- 
self, " lightly tripping o'er the green," in one of the 
many forts, where they indulge in theu^ nightly 
revelry, and which are still called Lissarinka, the fort 
of the dancing. 

Readers of Crofton Croker will recollect the story 
of the rath of Knockgraffon, and how the little man, 
Lusmore, sitting down to rest himself near the fort, 

CHAP, v.] Fairies, Demons, Goblins, and Ghosts. 185 

heard a strain of wild music from the inside. Ejiock- 
graffon is not the only " airy" place where the ccol- 
sidhe, or fairy music, is heard ; in fact this is a very 
common way of manifesting their presence ; and ac- 
cordingly certain raths in the south of Ireland are 
known by the name of Lissakeole, the fort of the 
music. Neilson (Irish Gram., page 55) mentions a 
hill in the county of Dowti, called Knocknafeadalea, 
whistling hill, from the music of the fairies which was 
often heard to proceed from it ; and the townland of 
Lisnafeddally (the fort of the whistling) took its name 
from a lis with the same reputation. 

The life of a fairy is not, however, all merriment. 
Sometimes the little people of two neighbouring forts 
quarrel, and fight sanguinary battles. These encoun- 
ters always take place by night ; the human inhabit- 
ants are terrified by shrill screams and other inde- 
scribable noises ; and in the morning the fields are 
streTVTi with drops of blood, little bones, and other 
relics of the fight. Certain forts in some of the 
northern counties, whose inhabitants were often en- 
gaged in warfare, have, from these confiicts, got 
the name of Lisnascragh, the fort of the screeching. 

Very often when you pass a lonely foi-t on a dark 
night, you will be astonished to see a light shining 
from it ; the faiiies are then at some work of their 
own, and you will do well to pass on and not disturb 
them. From the frequency of this apparition, it has 
come to pass that many forts are called Lisnagannell 
and Lisnagunnell, the fort of the candles ; and in 
some instances they have given names to townlands, 
as, for example, Lisnagonnell in the county Down ; 
Lisnageenly in Tipperary ; Lisgonnell in Tyrone ; 
and Liscunnell in Mayo. We must not suppose that 
these fearful lights are always the creation of the 

186 Jffistorical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

peasant's imagination ; no doubt they have been in 
many instances actually seen, and we must attribute 
them to that curious phenomenon, ignis fatiius, or 
Will-o'-the-wisp. But the j)eople will not listen to 
this, for they know well that all such apparitions are 
the work of the good people. 

Fairies are not the only supernatural beings let 
loose on the world by night ; there are ghosts, phan- 
toms, and demons of various kinds ; and the name of 
many a place still tells the cbeaded scenes nightly 
enacted there. The word dealbh [dalliv], a shape or 
image, is often applied to a ghost. The townland 
of Killeennagallive in the parish of Templebreclon, 
Tipperary, took its name from an old churchyard, 
where the dead must have rested unquietly in their 
graves ; for the name is a corruption (p. 54) of Cil/in- 
na-ndealhh, the little church of the phantoms. So 
also Drumnanaliv in Monaghan, and Clondallow 
in King's County, the ridge and the meadow of the 
spectres. And in some of the central counties, cer- 
tain clusters of thorn bushes, which have the re- 
putation of being haunted, are called by the name 
of DuUowbush {duUoic^ i. e. dealbh)^ i. e. the phantom 

There is a hideous kind of hobgobhn generally met 
with in churchyards, called a dullaghan, who can 
take off and put on his head at will — in fact you 
generally meet him with that member in his pocket, 
under his arm, or absent altogether ; or if you have 
the fortune to light on a number of them you may 
see them amusing themselves by flinging their heads 
at one another, or kicking them for footballs. Bal- 
lindollaghan in the parish of Baslick, Eoscommon, 
must be a horrible place to live in, if the dullaghan 
that gave it the name ever shows himself now to the 

CHAP, v.] Fairies, Demons, Gohlins, and Ghosts. 187 

Every one knows that a ghost without a head is 
very usual, not only in Ireland, hut all over the world ; 
and a little lake in the parish of Donaghmore in 
Donegal, four miles south of Stranorlar, is still called 
Lough Gillagancan, the headless man's lake, from 
ha^TQg been haimted hy one of these ^dsitants. But 
I suppose it is only in Ireland you could meet with 
a ghost without a shui. Several of these tasteless 
fellows must have at some former period roamed 
nightly at large in some of the northern counties, 
where there are certain small lakes, which are now 
caUed Lough Grillaganleny, the lake of the shirtless 
fellow : one, for instance, two miles east of the nor- 
thern extremity of Lough Eask, near the town of 
Donegal ; and another in the parish of Rossinver 
in Leitrim, five miles north-east from Manorha- 

Glennawoo, a townland in the parish of Kilmacteige, 
Sligo, must have been, and perhaps is still, a ghastly 
neighbourhood, for the name Gleann-na-hhfuatk sig- 
nifies the glen of the spectres ; and in the parish of 
Aghavea, Fermanagh, is a place which was doubtless 
almost as bad, viz., Drumarraght, the ridge of the 
arraght or apparition. Near the chiu'ch of Eolnamona 
in Clare, there is a well called Toberatasha ; it is in 
the form of a coffin, and its shape is not more dis- 
mally suggestive than its name, Tohar-cC-talse, the 
well of the fetch or ghost. What kind of malignant 
bemgs formerly tormented the people of Drumahaire 
in Leitrim, it is now^ impossible to tell ; and we should 
be ignorant of their very existence, if oiu* annalists 
had not preserved the true form of the name — Dniim- 
da-ethiar [Drum-a-ehir : Four Masters] , the ridge of 
the two air-demons. 

Besides the celebrated fauy haunts mentioned at 

188 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

p. 175, there are several other places in different parts 
of Ireland, presided over, each by its own guardian 
spirit, and among them several female fames, or ban- 
shees. Some of these are very famous, and though 
belonging to particular places, are celebrated by the 
bards over the whole of Ireland. 

Cliodhna [Cleena] is the potent banshee that rules 
as queen over the fairies of south Munster ; and you 
will hear innumerable stories among the peasantry, of 
the exercise of her powerful spells. Edward Walsh 
makes his lover of " O'Donovan's Daughter" thus ex- 
press liimself : — 

*■'■ God errant 'tis no fay from Knockfierna thai woos me ; 
God grant 'tis not Cleena the queen that pursues me ; 
That my soul, lost and lone, has no witchery wrought her, 
While I dream of dark groves and O'Donovan's daughter." 

In the Dinnsenchus there is an ancient poetical 
love story, of which Cleena is the heroine ; wherein 
it is related that she was a foreigner, and that she 
was drowned in the harbour of Grlandore, near Skib- 
bereen in Cork. In this harbour the sea at certain 
times, utters a very pecidiar, deep, hollow, and me- 
lancholy roar among the caverns of the cliffs, which 
was formerly believed to foretell the death of a king 
of the south of Ireland ; and this surge has been 
from time immemorial called Tonn-CIecna, Cleena's 

Cleena had her palace in the heart of a great rock, 
situated about five miles south-south-west from Mal- 
low ; it is still well known by the name of Carrig- 
Cleena, and it has given name to two townlands. 
Another of her haunts — a rock of the same name — is 
situated in the townland of Reenogrena, in the parish 
of Kilfaughnabeg, in the same county. 

CHAP, v.] FairieSy Demons, Goblins, and Ghosts. 189 

Aeibhell [Eevil], or more correctly Aebhinn [Ee- 
vin], whose name signifies "beautiful," was another 
powerful banshee, and presided over north Munster : 
she was in an especial manner the guardian spiiit of the 
Dalcassians. Before the battle of Clontarf, she threw 
a magical cloak round the Dalcassian hero, Dunlang 
O'Hartigan, which rendered him invisible. And to- 
wards evening, as the confusion of the battle in- 
creased, when Brian's attendant urged him to mount 
his horse and retire from the danger, he answered — 
" Eetreat becomes us not, and I Imow that I shall not 
leave this place alive. For Aeibhell of Craglea came 
to me last night, and told me that I should be killed 
this day" (see Wars of GGc., p. 201). 

Aeibhell had her palace near Killaloe, in a rock 
called Crageevii, but better known by the name of 
Craglea, grey rock, which is also the name of a town- 
land. The rock is situated in a silent glen, under 
the face of a mountain ; and the peasantry affirm 
that she forsook her retreat, when the woods which 
once covered the place were cut down. There is a 
spring in the face of the mountain, still called Tober- 
eevil, Aeibhell' s well. 

There is a legend common over all Ireland, con- 
nected generally with lakes, that there lives at the 
bottom, a monstrous serpent or dragon, chained there 
by a superior power. The imprisonment of these 
demoniac monsters is commonly attributed to St. 
Patrick, who, when he cleared the country of demons, 
chose this mode of disposing of some of the most 
ferocious : — and there they must remain till the day 
of judgment. In some places it is said that they are 
permitted to appear above the waters at certain 
times, generally every seven years ; and then the in- 

190 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

habitants hear the clankmg of chains, or other un- 
earthly noises. 

During the period of St. Patrick's sojourn in Con- 
naught, he re&ed on the approach of Lent to the 
mountain of Croaghpatrick, and there spent some 
time in fasting and prayer. To this historical fact 
has been added a fabulous relation, which Jocelin in 
his Life of St. Patrick, written in the twelfth century, 
appears to have been the first to promulgate, but 
which is now one of Ireland's most celebrated le- 
gends ; namely, that the saint brought together on 
the top of the mountain all the serpents and veno- 
mous creatures and demons of Ireland, and drove 
them into the sea. There is a deep hollow on the 
northern face of the mountain, called to this day 
Lugnademon, the hollow of the demons, into which 
they all retreated on their way to final banish- 

This story, however, is not found in the early au- 
thentic lives of the saint ; and that it is a compara- 
tively recent invention is evident from the fact, that 
Ireland's exemption from reptiles is mentioned by 
Solinus, who wrote in the third century ; and Bede 
m.entions the same fact, but without assigning any 
cause ; whereas, if such a remarkable occurrence had 
been on record, doubtless he would not fail to notice 

Legends of aquatic monsters are very ancient 
among the Irish people. We find one mentioned by 
Adamnan (Lib. IL, cap. 27), as infesting Loch Ness, 
in Scotland. In the Life of St. Mochua of Balla, it 
is related that a stag which was wounded in the chase 
took refuge in an island in Lough Ree ; but that no 
one dared to follow it, " on account of a horrible 

CHAP, v.] Fairies, Demons, Gohlins, and GJiosfs. 191 

monster that infested the lake, and was accustomed 
to destroy swimmers." A man was at last prevailed 
on to swim across, "but as he was retm^ning, the 
beast devoiu'ed him." OTlaherty (lar Connanght, 
c. 19) has a very circumstantial story of an " Irish 
crocodil," that lived at the bottom of Longh Mask ; 
and in O'Clery's Calendar (p. 145) we read about 
the upper lake of Griendalough : — " They say that 
the lake dizains in its middle, and that a frightful 
serpent is seen in it, and that from fear of it no one 
ever durst swim in the lake." 

This legend assimies various forms in individual 
cases, and many are the tales the people can relate 
of fearful encounters with a monster covered with 
long hair and a mane : moreover, they are occasion- 
ally met with in old castles, lisses, caves, &c., as well 
as in lakes. The word by which they are most com- 
monly designated in modern times, is j^iast ; w^e find 
it in Cormac's Glossary in the old Irish form heist, 
explained by the Lat. hestia from which it has been 
borrowed ; and it is constantly used in the Lives of 
the Irish saints to denote a dragon, serpent, or monster. 
Several lakes in different parts of the country are 
called Loughnapiast, or, more coiTectly, Loch-na- 
peide, each of which is inhabited by a demoniacal 
serpent ; and in a river in the parish of Banagher, 
Derry, there is a spot called Lig-na-peiste, which is the 
abode of another. 

When St. Patrick was journeying westward, a 
number of them attempted to oppose his progress at 
a place in the parish of Arclcarn in Eoscommon, 
which is called to this day Knocknabeast ; or, in 
Irish, Cnoc-na-hpiast, the hill of the serpents. In the 
parish of Drumhome in Donegal, stands a fort which 
gives name to a townland called Lisnapaste ; there is 

192 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

another with a similar name in the townland of Grul- 
lane, parish of Kilconly, Kerry, in which the people 
say a serpent used to be seen ; and near Freshford 
in Kilkenny, is a well called Tobernapeastia, from 
which a townland takes its name. 

Sometimes the name indicates directly their super- 
natural and infernal character ; as, for instance, in 
Pouladown, near Watergrasshill in Cork, i. e. Poll- 
a^'deamhain, the demon's hole. There is a pool in 
the townland of Killarah, parish of Kildallan, Cavan, 
three miles from Ballyconnell, called Loughandoul, 
or, in Irish, Loch-an-diahhail, the lake of the devil ; 
and Deune Castle, in the parish of Kilconly in 
Kerry, is the demon's castle, which is the signification 
of its Irish name, Caislen-a^ -deainliavn. 



The pagan Irish divided their year, in the first in- 
stance, into two equal parts, each of which was after- 
wards subdivided into two parts or quarters. The four 
quarters were called Earrach, Samhradh, Fogjimhar, 
and Geimhridh [Arragh, Sowra, Fowar, &evre] : 
Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, which are 
the names still in use ; and they began on the first 
days of February, May, August, and November, re- 
spectively. We have historical testimony that games 
were celebrated at the beginning of Summer, Au- 
tumn, and Winter ; and it may be reasonably infer- 
red that Spring was also ushered in by some sort of 

CHAP. VI.] Customs, Amusements, Occupations. 193 

The first day of May, which was the beginning of 
the smnmer half year, was GoRed Bealltaine [Beltany] ; 
it is still the name always used by those speaking 
Irish, and it is well known in Scotland, where Beltane 
has almost taken its place as an English word : — 

" Ours is no sapling, chance sown by the fountain, 
Blooming at Beltane, in winter to fade." 

Tuathal [Thoohal] the Acceptable, king of Ireland 
in the first century, instituted the feast of Bealltaine 
at Vis n each, now the hill of Usnagh in Westmeath, 
where, ever after, the pagan Irish celebrated their fes- 
tivities, and lighted their Druidic fires on the first of 
May ; and from these fires, according to Cormac's 
Glossary, the festival derived its name : — " Belltaine, 
i. e. hil-tene, i. e. tene-hil, i. e. the goodl}'- fire, i. e. two 
goodly fires which the Druids were used to make, 
with great incantations on them, and they used to 
bring the cattle between them against the diseases of 
each year." 

While Usnagh was regarded as the chief centre of 
these rites, there were similar observances on the 
same day in other parts of Ireland ; for Keating in- 
forms us that " upon this occasion they were used to 
kindle two fires in every territory in the kingdom, in 
honour of the pagan god." Down to a very recent 
period these fires were lighted, and the May-day 
games celebrated both in Ireland and Scotland ; and 
even at this day in many remote districts, some relics 
of the old druidic fire superstitions of May morning, 
Btill linger among the peasantry.* 

The May-day festivities must have been formerly 

* See Wilde's Irish Popular Superstitions ; Petrie's Round 
Towers ; and O'Donovan's Introduction to the Book of Rights. 


194 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

celebrated with unusual solemnity, and for a long 
succession of generations, at all those places now 
called Beltany, which is merely the anglicised form 
of BealUaine. There are two of them in Donegal — 
one near Eaphoe, and the other in the parish of Tul- 
loghobegly ; there is one also near Clogher in Ty- 
rone, and another in the parish of Cappagh in the 
same county. In the parish of Kilmore, Armagh, 
we find Tamnaghvelton, the field of the Beltane 
sports ; and in Lishalting, in the parish of Kilcash, 
Tipperary, the old Us where the festivities were car- 
ried on is still to he seen. 

One of the Tuatha De Danann kings, Lewy of the 
long hand, established a fair or gathering of the peo- 
ple, to be held yearly on the first day of August, at a 
place on the Blackwater in Meath, between Navan 
and Kells ; in which various games and pastimes, as 
well as marriages, were celebrated, and which were 
continued down to times comparatively recent. This 
fair v>^as instituted by Lewy in commemoration of his 
foster-mother Taillte, who was daughter of the king 
of Spain ; and in honour of her he called the place 
Tailltenn {Taillte, gen. Tailltenn), which is the pre- 
sent Irish name, but corrupted in English to Tel- 

The place stiU exhibits the remains of raths and 
artificial lakes ; and according to tradition, marriages 
were celebrated in one particular hollow, which is 
still called Lag-an-aenaigh [Laganeany, the hollow of 
the fair]. Moreover, the Irish-speaking people all 
over Ireland still call the first of August Ltigh-Nas- 
adh, i. e. Lewy's fair. 

The first of November was called Samhuin [savin 
or sowan], which is commonly explained .say?//^ -//««"/?, 
i. e. the end oisamh or summer ; and, like Belltaine, it 

CHAP. VI.] Customs, Amusements, Occupations. 195 

was a day devoted by the pagan Irisli to religious and 
festive ceremonials. Tuatlial also instituted the feast 
of Samhuin (as well as that of Belltaine — see p. 193) ; 
and it was celebrated on that day at Tlachtga, now 
the hill of Ward near Athboy in Meath, where fires 
were Kghted, and games and sports carried on. It 
was also on this day that the Feis or convention of 
Tara was held ; and the festivities were kept up three 
days before and three days after Samhuin. These pri- 
mitive celebrations have descended through eighteen 
centuries ; and even at the present time, on the eve 
of the first of November, the people of this country 
practise many observances which are undoubted re- 
lics of ancient pagan ceremonials. 

While the great festival established by Tuathal was 
celebrated at Tlachtga, minor festivities were, as in 
case of the Belltaine, observed on the same day in 
different places through the country ; and in several 
of these the name of Samhuin has remained as a per- 
petual memorial of those bygone pastimes. Such a 
place is Xnocksouna near Kilmallock in Limerick. 
The Four Masters, who mention it several times, call 
it Samhuin — Q. name exactly analogous to Beltany ; 
while in the Life of St. Fionnchu, in the Book of 
Lismore, it is called Cnoc-Samhna, the hill of Sa7nh- 
uin, which is exactly represented in pronunciation 
by Knocksouna. According to this last authority, 
the hill was more anciently called Ard-na-riogh- 
raidhe [reery], the hill of the kings; from all which 
we may infer that it was anciently a place of great 
notoriety. In the parish of Xiltoghert, county Lei- 
trim, there is a place with a name having the same 
signification, viz., Knocknasawna. 

It would appear from the preceding names, as 
weU as from those that follow, that these meetings 

196 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

wore usually held on hills ; and this was done no 
doubt in imitation of the original festival ; for Takhtga, 
or the hill of Ward, though not high, is very con- 
spicuous over the flat plains of Meath. Drumhawan, 
near Ballybay in Monaghan, represents the Irish 
Druim-Shamhuin, the ridge of Samhuin ; and in the 
parish of Donaghmoyne in the same county, is ano- 
ther place called Drumhaman, which is the same 
name, for it is written Drumhaven in an old map of 
1777 ; in the parish of Kilcronaghan, Londonderry, 
we find a place called Drumsamney, and the original 
pronimciation is very well preserved in Driunsawna, 
in the parish of Magheraculmoney , Fermanagh. Car- 
rickhawna \_Carrick, a rock], is found in the parish 
of Toomour in Sligo ; and Grurteennasowna {Gurteen 
a little field) , near Dunmanway in Cork. 

An assembly of the people, convened for any purpose 
whatever, was anciently called aenach ; and it would 
appear that these assemblies were often held at the 
great regal cemeteries. For, first, the names of many 
of the cemeteries begin with the word aenach^ eisAenach- 
Chruaehain, Aenach- TaiUtenn^ Aenach-in-Broga, &c. ; 
and it is said in the '' History of the Cemeteries," 
(Petrie, E. Towers, p. 106), that " There are fifty 
hills [burial mounds] at each Aenach of these." Se- 
condly, the double purpose is shown very clearly in 
the accounts of the origin oiCarn-Amhalgaidh [Awly] 
near Killala : — " Carn-Amhalgaidh, i. e. of Amhal- 
gaidh, son of Fiachra Ealgach, son of Dathi, son of 
Fiachra. It was by him that this earn was formed, 
for the purpose of holding a meeting {aenach) of the 
Hy Amhalgaidh around it every year, and to view 
his ships and fleets going and coming, and as a place 
of interment for himself." (Book of Lecan, cited in 
Petrie's R. Towers, p. 107. See p. 132, supra.) 

CHAP. VI.] Customs, Amusements, Occupations. 197 

In modem times, and in tlie present spoken lan- 
guage, the word aenach is always applied to a cattle 
fair. It is pretty certain that in some cases the pre- 
sent cattle fairs are the representatives of the ancient 
popular assemblies ; which have continued uninter- 
ruptedly from age to age, gradually changing their 
pm^oses to suit the requirements of each succeeding 
generation. This we find in the case of Nenagh in 
Tipperary, which is still celebrated for its great fairs. 
Its most ancient name was Aenach- Thete; and it was 
afterwards called ^6';?*ac/z- Urmhumhan [TJrwooan],the 
assembly or assembly-place of Ormond, which indi- 
cates that it was at one time the chief meeting place 
for the tribes of east Munster. The present name 
is formed by the attraction of the article ^n to Aenach, 
viz., n Aenach, i. e. the fair, which is exactly repre- 
sented in pronunciation by Nenagh (see p. 23). 

This word forms a part of a great number of 
names, and in every case it indicates that a fair was 
formerly held in the place, though in most instances 
they have been long discontinued, or transferred to 
other localities. The usual forms in modern names 
are -eeny, -eena, -enagh, and in Cork and Kerry, 
-eanig. Monasteranenagh in Lrmerick, where the 
fine ruins of the monastery founded by the king of 
Thomond in the twelfth century, still remain, is 
called by the Four Masters, Mainister-an-aenaigh, 
the monastery of the fair. But the fair was held 
there long before the foundation of the monastery, 
and down to that time the place was called Aenach- 
beag (Four Masters), i. e. little fair, probably to dis- 
tinguish it from the great fair of Nenagh. 

The simple word Enagh is the name of about 
twenty to^Tilands in dijfferent counties, extending 
from Antrim to Cork ; but in some cases, especially 

198 Historical and Legendary Names. [part it. 

in Ulster, this word may represent eanaeh a marsh. 
The Irish name for Enagh, in the parish of Clonlea, 
county Clare, is Aenach-0^ bhFlointi, the fair or fair- 
green of the O'Flynns. 

Ballinenagh is the name of a place near Newcastle 
in Limerick, and of another in Tipperary, while the 
form Ballineanig is found in Kerry, and Bally- 
nenagh in Londonderry — all meaning the town of 
the fair : Ardaneanig {ard, a height) , is a place near 
Killarney ; and in Cork and Sligo we find Lissa- 
neena and Lissaneeny, the fort of the fair. The 
plural of aenach is acntaigh ; and this is well repre- 
sented in pronunciation by Eanty (-beg and -more) , 
in the parish of Kilcorney in Clare.* 

In the Tripartite Life of St. Patrick, we have an 
interesting notice of one of the ancient tribe assem- 
blies. In the saint's progress through Connaught, 
he visited the assembly place of the tribe of Amhal- 
gaidh (Awley : brother of Dathi : see p. 132), and 
preached to a very great multitude ; and on that 
occasion he converted and baptized the seven sons 
of Amhalgaidh, and 12,000 persons. This place 
was called Forvach-mac-n Amhalgaidh [Forragh-mac- 
nawly], i. e. the assembly place of Amhalgaidh' s 
clann ; the word Forrach, which Tirechan Latinizes 
Forrgea, signifying the piece of ground on which a 
tribe were accustomed to hold their meetings. Ac- 
cording to O'Donovan, this name survives, and pre- 
serves the identity of this interesting spot. About 
a mile and a half south-west from Killala, there are 
two townlands, adjoining one another, one called 

* See Mr. W. M. Hennessy's paper " On the Curragh of 
Kildare," for much valuable information on the subject of the 
ancient aenachs. 

CHAP. VI.] Customs, Amusements, Occupations. 199 

Farragli, which is little changed from the old fomi 
For rack, as given in the Tripai-tite Life ; and the 
other — which is on a hill — called Mnllafarry, i. e. 
MiiUach-Forraigh, the hill of the meeting place. 
There is also a hill in the same neighhoiirhood, called 
Knockatinnole, Cnoc-a^-tionoil, the hill of the as- 
semhly, which commemorates gatherings of some 
kind ; but whether in connexion with the meetings 
at Farragh, or not, it is hard to say, for it lies about 
five miles distant to the south-east, on the shore of 
the Moy. 

The word Forrach or Farrach was employed to 
designate meeting places in other parts of Ireland 
also ; and we may be pretty sure that this was the 
origin of such names as Farragh in the parishes of 
Denn and Kilmore in Cavan ; Farra in the parish 
of Drumcree, Armagh ; Farrow in Westmeath and 
Leitrim ; Fary in Wexford ; Furrow near Mit- 
chelstown in Cork ; G-ortnaforra in the vale of 
Aherlow in Tipperary, the field of the assembly 
place ; Farraghroe in Longford, and Forramoyle in 
Gralway, the red, and the bald or bai-e, meeting 

Nds [nawee] is a word of similar acceptation to 
aenach ; Cormae's Grlossary explains it a fair or meet- 
ing-place. This term is not often used, but there is 
one place celebrated in former ages, to w^hich it has 
given name, viz., Naas in Kildare. It was the 
most ancient residence of the kings of Leinster; 
having been founded, according to bardic history, 
by Lewy of the long hand, who also founded Tailltenn 
in Meath (see p. 194); it continued to be used as 
a royal residence till the tenth century; and the 
great mound of the palace still remains, just outside 
the town. This word is also found in a few other 

200 Ristorical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

names, all in Leinster ; such as Nash, in the parish 
of Owendiiff, Wexford, which is still a fair green ; 
and Balljnaas, in the parish of Bathmacnee in the 
same county. 

The word sluagh [sloo], usually translated host, 
signifies any multitude, hut in the Annals, it is com- 
monly applied to an army ; it occurs in the Zeuss 
MSS., where it glosses agmen, i. e. a host on march. 

This word forms a part of the names of several 
places, where great numbers of people must have 
been formerly in the habit of congregating, for some 
purpose. One of the best known is Ballinasloe, on 
the Gralway side of the river Suck. Its Irish name as 
used by the Four Masters, is Bel-atha-na-sli(aigheadh 
[Bellanaslooa], the ford-mouth of the hosts ; and it is 
very probable that these gatherings, whatever may 
have been their original purpose, are represented by 
the present gi^eat horse fairs. 

Yery often the s is replaced by f, by eclipse (see 
p. 22). Srahatloe, in the parish of Aghagower, 
Mayo, is an instance, the Irish name being Srath-a^- 
tsluaigh, the river-holm of the host. So also Tullintloy 
in Leitrim ; Knockatloe in Clare, and Knockatlowig 
near Castleventry in Cork, all signifying the hill of 
the host. 

Meetings or meeting-places are sometimes desig- 
nated by the word pobid^ which signifies people. 
This is not, as might be supposed from its resem- 
blance to the English word, of modern introduction ; 
for it occurs in the most ancient Irish MSS., as for 
instance in those of Zeuss, where it glosses populus. 
It is often used to denote a congregation, and from 
this it is sometimes emj^loyed in the sense of "parish ;" 
but its primary sense seems to be people simply, with- 
out any reference to assemblies. 

CHAP. VI.] Customs, Amusements, Occupations. 201 

The barony of Pubblebrien in Limerick, is called in 
Irish PohuI-ui-Bhriain [Pubble-ee-vreen], O'Brien's 
people, for it was the patrimony of the O'Briens ; 
and on the confines of Limerick, Cork, and Kerry, is 
an extensive wild district, well-kno^Ti by the name 
of Pobble O'Keeffe, O'Keeffe's people. 

There is a townland near Enniskillen, containing 
the remains of an old chiu-ch, and another near Ard- 
straw in Tyrone, both called Pnbble, i. e. a congre- 
gation or parish. The word occurs in combination 
in Eeanabobul in the parish of Ballyvonmey, Cork, 
Reidh-na-hpohul, the monntain-flat of the congrega- 
tions ; in Lispopple in Dublin and Westmeath ( lis, 
a fort) ; and in Skephubble, near Finglas, Dublin, 
the sJ^eagh or bush of the congregation, where pro- 
bably the young people were formerly accustomed to 
assemble on a Sunday after Mass, to amuse them- 
selves round an ancient whitethorn tree. 

So far as conclusions may be drawn from the evi- 
dence of local names, we must believe that the pas- 
time meetings of the peasantry were much more 
common formerly than now. In every part of the 
country, names are found that tell of those long for- 
gotten joyous assemblies ; and it is interesting to 
note the various contrivances adopted in their for- 

The word houchail [boohil], a boy, is of frequent 
occmTence in such names ; for example, Knockan- 
namohilly, in the parish of Youghalarra, Tipperary, 
in Irish Cnocan-na-mhouchaiUidhe, the hill of the boys, 
indicates the spot where young men used to assemble 
for amusement ; and with the same signification is 
Knocknamohill in the parish of Castlemacadam, 
Wicklow ; Knocknabohilly, the name of a place near 
Cork city, and of another, near Kinsale ; and Knock- 

202 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

anenaboMUj, in tlie parish of Kilcrumper, Cork — 
the two last names being less correctly anglicised 
than the others. We find names of similar import 
in the north : Edenamohill is a townland in the 
parish of Donaghmore, Donegal ; and there is ano- 
ther place of the same name in the parish of Maghe- 
raculmoney in Fermanagh, both anglicised from 
Eudan-na-mhonchail, the hill-brow of the boys; and 
Ardnamoghill {ard, a height), is the name of a place 
in the parish of Killea, Donegal. 

Sometimes the same idea is expressed by the word 
6g [oge], which literally signifies yonng, but is often 
applied to a young person. TuUyhog, or Tullaghoge, 
the inauguration place of the O'Neills — now a sniall 
village three miles from Stewartstown in Tyrone — 
is very often mentioned in the Annals, always by the 
name of Tulach-6g, the hill of the youths ; and the 
name indicates that the place was used for the cele- 
bration of games, as well as for the inauguration of 
the chieftains. The fine old fort on which the cere- 
monies took place in long past ages, still remains on 
the top of the tulach or hill ; and from time immemo- 
rial up to fifty or sixty years ago, a yearly gathering 
of young people was held on it, the representative of 
the ancient assemblies. In Tipperary we find Grlen- 
nanoge and Ballaghoge, the glen and the road of the 
youths. The synonymous term oglach occurs in Cool- 
nanoglagh, in the parish of Monagay, Limerick, the 
hill-back of the young persons ; while in the parish 
of Grrange, Armagh, we find Ballygassoon, the town 
of the gossoons (young boys), or, in the Munster 
dialect, gorsoons. 

Other terms are employed to designate the places 
of these meetings, which will be understood from a 
few examples. There can be little doubt that Bally- 

CHAP. VI.] Customs f Amusements, Occupations. 203 

sugagh, near Saiil in Down, has its name from some 
such merry-makings ; for its name, Bailc-sugach, 
merrj-town, indicates as much. Knockaunavogga, in 
the parish of Boiirney, Tipperary, shows a simi- 
lar origin, as is seen by its Irish name, Cnocan-a^- 
mhagaidh^ the hill of the joking or pleasantry ; and 
this termination is found in many other names, such 
as Ardavagga [cird^ a height), in the parish of Kil- 
murry-ely. King's County ; and Cashlaunawogga, the 
castle of the merriment, a ruined fortress near Kil- 
fenora in Clare. So also Kn ockannavlyman, in the 
parish of Ballingarry, Limerick, Cnocan-a' -hhladh- 
)?iain)i, the hill of the boasting ; Ardingary near Let- 
terkenny, which the Four Masters call Ard-an-gJiaire 
the hill of the shouting or laughter ; Knocknaclogha 
near Pomeroy in Tyrone, the seat of Macdonnell, 
the commander of O'Neill's galloglasses, Cnoc-an- 
chhiiche (Four Masters), the hill of the game. 

Not unfrequently the same idea is expressed by 
the word diomhaom [deeveen], which signiiies idle 
or vain — a term imposed, we may be sure, by wise 
old people, who looked upon these pastime meetings 
as mere idleness and vanity. We see this in such 
names as Dnimdeevin, near Ealmacrenan in Donegal, 
and Dromdeeveen, west of DromcoUiher in Limerick, 
both signifying idle ridge ; Coomdeeween in Kerry, 
(coom, a hollow) ; Tievedeevan in Donegal, idle-hill- 

By an examination of local names, we are enabled 
not only to point out the spots where the peasrint as- 
semblies were held, but also often to get a glimpse of 
the nature of the amusements. Dancing has from 
time immemorial been a favourite recreation with our 
peasantry ; and numbers of places have taken their 
names from the circumstance that the young people 

204 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

of the neigliboui'liood were accustomed to meet there 
in the summer evenings, to forget in the dance the 
fatigue of the day's labour. 

The word for dance is rince or rinccadh [rinka] ; 
and it is curious that, of all the Indo-Eui^opean lan- 
guages, the Irish and Sanscrit have alone preserved 
the word, and that with little change, the Sansc. 
riiikha being almost identical with the Irish. 

Those who have visited the great cave near Mit- 
chelstown, county Cork, will remember the name of 
the townland in which it is situated — Skeheenarinky, 
or in Irish Sceithin-a^-rinceadh, the little bush of the 
dancing ; the bush no doubt markicg the trysting 
place, under which sat the musician, surrounded by 
the merry juveniles. And a large stone {clock) must 
have served a similar purpose in Clogharinka, in the 
parish of Muckalee, Kilkenny. A mill is generally 
a place of amusement; and that it was sometimes 
selected for dance meetings, we see by Mullenaranky, 
the mill of the dance, in the parish of Lisronagh in 
Tipperary. A merry place must have been Ballin- 
rink, in the parish of Killeagh, Meath, since it de- 
served the name of dancing town. 

When deer roamed wild through every forest, when 
wild boars and wolves lurked in the glens and 
mountain gorges, and various other beasts of chase 
swarmed on the hills and plains, hunting must have 
been to the people both an amusement and a neces- 
sary occupation. Our forefathers, like most ancient 
people, were passionately fond of the chase ; and our 
old tales and romances abound in descrij)tions of its 
pleasures and dangers, and of the prowess and adven- 
tures of the hunters. That they sometimes had certaia 
f avomite spots for this kind of sport, we have sufficient 
proof in such names as Drumnashaloge, in the parish 

CHAP. VI,] Customs, Amusements, Occupations. 205 

of Clonfeacle, Tyrone ; and Drumasliellig, near Bal- 
Ijroan in Queen's County, in Irish Druim-na-sealg, 
the ridge of the chase. The ^OTdi sealg [shallog], 
hunting, occurs in many other names, and as it va- 
ries little in form, it is always easy to recognise it. 
Derrynashallog {Berry, an oak wood) is in the parish 
of Donagh in Monaghan ; and Ballynashallog, the 
town of the hunting, lies near the city of London- 

The very spot where the huntsman wound his horn 
to collect his dogs and companions, is often identi- 
fied by such names as Tullynahearka, near Aughrim 
in Roscommon, Tulaigk-na-hadhairce, the hill of the 
horn ; and, with nearly the same meaning, Altawark 
in Fermanagh, and Ardinawark at the entrance to 
the Grap of Bamesmore near Donegal ; Killeenerk 
in Westmeath {Killeen, a little wood), and Drum- 
naheark in Donegal {Drum, a ridge) ; Knockerk 
near Slane in Meath, and Lisnahii^ka in Roscom- 
mon, the hill and the fort of the horn. 

Another favourite athletic exercise among the 
ancient Irish, and which we find very often mentioned 
in old tales, was hiuiing ; and those who remember 
the eagerness with which it was practised in many 
parts of Ireland twenty-five years ago, can well at- 
test that it had not declined in popularity. Down to 
a very recent period, it was carried on with great 
spirit and vigour in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, where 
the men of Meath contended every year against the 
men of Kildare ; and it still continues, though less 
generally than formerly, to be a favourite pastime 
among the people. 

The hmiey or curved stick with which the ball 
was struck, corresponding with the bat in cricket, is 
called in Irish comdn, signifying literally a little 

206 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

crooked stick, from coin or cam, curved. It is by 
this word that the game itself is commonly desig- 
nated ; and it is called fowrn? in most parts of Ire- 
land, even by the English-speaking people. It forms 
a part of several names, but the initial c is commonly 
made g by eclipse (see p. 22) ; and in every case it 
serves to identify the places where the game was 
played. Aughnagomaun, in the parish of Bally- 
sheehan, Tipperary, is T\Titten in Irish Achadh-na- 
gcoman, the hurling field ; and there is a townland 
near Belfast called Ballygammon, which, as it is 
-^vritten Bally goman in a grant of James I., ob- 
viously represents Baik-na-gcoman, ihQ town of the 

Look-out points, whether on the coast to command 
the sea, or on the borders of a hostile territory to 
guard against surprise, or in the midst of a pastoral 
country to watch the flocks, are usually designated by 
the word coimhead [covade]. This word signifies 
watching or guarding, and it is generally applied to 
hills from which there is an extensive prospect. 
Mullycovet and MuUykivet in Fermanagh, must 
have been used for this purpose, for they are both 
modern forms of Mullaigh-coimheada, the hill of the 
watching ; and Glencovet, the name of a townland 
in Donegal, and of another near Enniskillen, and 
Drumcovet in Derry, have a similar origin. Some- 
times the 711 is fully pronounced, and this is generally 
the case in the south, and occasionally in the north ; 
as in Cloontycommade, near Kanturk in Cork, Cluain- 
tighe-coimhcada, the meadow of the watching house ; 
and Slieve Comedagh, a high mountain in the 
parish of Kilcoo, Down, the mountain of the watch- 

The compound Deagh-choimhead [Deacovade] sig- 

CHAP. VI.] Customs, AmusementSy Occupations. 207 

nifies " a good reconnoitering station" {dcagh, good) ; 
and it gives name to Deehommed or Decomet in 
Down, Deechomade in Sligo, Dehomad in Clare, 
and a few other places. 

In old Irish writings these reconnoitering stations 
are often mentioned. For instance, in the ancient 
tale of the Battle of Moyrath, Congal Claen speaks to 
the druid, Dubhdiadh : — " ' Thou art to go therefore 
from me, to view and reconnoitre the men of Erin 
[i. e., the Irish army under king Domhnall] ; and it 
shall be according to thy account and description of 
the chiefs of the west, that I will array my battalions, 
and arrange my forces.' Then Dubhdaidh went to 
Arcl-na-hiomfhairccse [Ard-na-himarksha, i. e. the hill 
of the reconnoitering], and from it he took his view." 
(Battle of Moyrath; p. 179.) 

Elevated stations that command an extensive view, 
often received names formed from the word radharc 
[ryark in the south ; rayark or rawark in the north] . 
The Mullaghareirk mountains lie to the south-east of 
Abbeyfeale in Limerick, and the name MuUach-a- 
radharc signifies the summit of the prospect. The 
same word is found in Lisarearke, in the parish of 
Currin, Monaghan (Z/s, a fort) ; and in Knoekan- 
aryark, two miles east of Kenmare, prospect hill. 
There is a residence near Dalkey in Dublin, with 
the name Rarkanillan, which rej)resents the Irish 
Radharc-an-oileain., the view of the Island, i. e., 
Dalkey island. 

In an early stage of society in every country, sig- 
nal or beacon fires were in common use, either for the 
guidance of travellers or to alarm the country in any 
sudden emergency. Fires were lighted also on certain 
festival days, as I have stated (p. 193) ; and those 
lighted on the eve of St. John, the 24th of June, are 

208 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

continued to the present day through the greater part 
of Ireland. The tradition is that the May- day fes- 
tival was transferred by St. Patrick to the 24th of 
June, in honour of St. John, but for this we have no 
written authority. The spots where signal or fes- 
tival fires used to be lighted, are still, in many cases, 
indicated by the names, though in almost all these 
places the custom has, for ages, fallen into disuse. 
The words employed are usually teine and solas 
[tinne, sullas] . 

Teine is the general word for fire, and in modern 
names it is usually found forming the termination 
tinny. It is found in Kiltinny near Coleraine, the 
wood of the fire ; Duntinny in Donegal {dun^ a fort) ; 
Mullaghtinny near Clogher in Tyrone, the summit 
of the fire. Tennyphobble near Grranard in Longford, 
Teine-2^hobaiI, the fire of the parish or congregation, 
plainly indicates some festive assembly round a fire. 
Cloghaunnatinny, in the parish of Kilmurry, Clare, 
was anciently, and is still called in Irish, Clochdn-hile- 
teine, the stepping stones of the fire tree, fi^om a large 
tree which grew near the crossing, under which May 
fires used to be lighted. These fires were no doubt 
often lighted under trees, for the Four Masters men- 
tion a place called Bile-teineadh [Billa- tinne], the 
old tree of the fire ; which O'Donovan identifies with 
the place near Moynalty in Meath, now called in 
Irish, Coill-a^-hhile^ the wood of the hile^ or old tree, 
and in English, Billywood. 

The plural of teine is teinte [tinte], and this is also 
of frequent occurrence in names, as in Clontinty near 
Glanworth, Cork, the meadow of the fires ; MoUy- 
nadinta, in the parish of Eossinver, Leitrim; MiiUaigh- 
na-dteinte, the summit of the fires. This word, with 
the English plural added (p. 33), gives names to Tents 

CHAP. VI.] Customs^ Amusements, Occupations. 209 

(i. e. fires) , tliree townlands in Cavan, Fermanagli, and 
Leitiim ; and the English is substituted for the Irish 
plural in Tennies in Yalentia island. The diminutive 
is found in Clontinteen in Westmeath, and in TuUan- 
tintin in Cavan, the meadow and the hill of the little 

Solas is the word in general use for light in the 
present spoken language ; there is another form, 
soiilse, which is sometimes used in modern Irish, and 
which is also found in the Zeuss MSS., where it 
glosses lumen (Zeuss, Grram. Celt., p. 257) ; and its 
diminutive soillsean [sileshaun] is often found in local 
names. Solas gives name to Ardsollus, the hill of 
light, in Clare ; in Antrim there is a place called 
Drumnasole, the ridge of the lights ; Sollus itself is 
the name of a townland in Tyrone ; and there are 
three townlands in the same county, called Ballyna- 
sollus ; while we find Rossolus in Monaghan, and 
EostoUus in Gralway (s eclipsed by t\ see p. 22), the 
wood or the promontory of light. 

There are similar names formed from soillsean ; as 
for instance, MuUaghselsana in the parish of Errigal 
Trough, Monaghan, the hill of the illuminations ; and 
Corhelshinagh in the same county, the round hill of 
the fires. And Sileshaun, the name of a place in the 
parish of Inagh, Clare, exactly represents the pronun- 
ciation of the word. 

In former days, when roads were few, and bridges 
still fewer, along journey was an undertaking always 
arduous, and generally uncertain and dangerous. 
E-ivers were crossed by fords, and to be able to strike 
exactly on the fordable point, was to the traveller 
always important; while at night, especially on a dark, 
wet, and stormy night, it became not unfrequently a 
matter of life or death. To keep a light of some kind 


210 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

burning on the spot would suggest itself as tlie most 
natural and effectual plan for directing travellers, and 
except in a state of society downright barbarous, it is 
scarcely conceivable that some such expedient would 
not at least occasionally be adopted. 

The particular kind of light employed, it would 
now probably be vain to speculate ; a taper or splinter 
of bogwood in a window pane, if a house lay near, 
a lantern hung on the bough of a tree, a blaze of 
dried furze or ferns kept up till the expected arrival 
— some or all of these we may suppose would be 
adopted, according to cn-cumstances. That this cus- 
tom existed appears to be sufficiently proved by this 
fact, that many fords — now generally spanned by 
] .ridges — in different parts of Ireland, still go by the 
name oi Ath-soiais, the ford of the light, variously 
modernized according to locality ; and some of them 
have given names to townlands. 

A ford on tlie river Aubeg, three miles east of 
Kanturk in Cork, has given name to the townland of 
Assolas ; there is a ford of the same name, where the 
road from Bunlahy in Longford, to Scrabby, crosses 
a little creek of Lough Gowna ; another on the 
Glenanair river near Doneraile, on the confines of 
Limerick and Cork ; and AthsoUis bridge crosses the 
Buingea river, just beside the railway, four miles 
south-east from Macroom. Several small streams in 
different parts of the country have names of this 
kind, from a ford somewhere on their course — one 
for instance, called Aughsullish, in the parish of 
Doon, Tipperary. The name of Lightford bridge, 
two miles south-east from Castlebar, is a translation 
from the Irish name which is still used, Ath-a^-solais. 
There is a ford on the river Swilly, two miles west of 
Letterkenny, which, judging from its position and its 

CHAP. VI.] Customs, Amusements, Occupations. 211 

being defended by a castle, as well as from its fre- 
quent mention in tlie Annals, must liave been in 
former days one of the principal passes across the 
river ; and as such was no doubt often signalled by 
lights. The Four Masters write the name Scairhh- 
sholais, the scariff or shallow ford of the light ; it is 
now called ScarrijQPhollis, and the castle, which has 
disappeared, was called Castlehollis. 

Places of execution have been at all times, and in 
all coimtries, regarded by the people with feelings of 
awe and detestation ; and even after the discon- 
tinuance of the practice, the traditions of the place 
preserve the memory of it from one generation to 
another. A name indicative of the custom is almost 
certain to fix itself on the spot, of which we have in- 
stances in the usual English names Gallows-hill, 
Gallows-green, &c. ; and such names, from the pecu- 
harity of their history, retain their hold, when many 
others of less impressive signification, vanish from the 
face of the country. 

Several terms are used in Ireland to denote such 
places, the principal of which are the following : — 
Crock signifies literally a cross, but is almost always 
understood to mean a cross as an instrument of exe- 
cution, or a gallows. It is of long standing in the 
language, and is either cognate Tvith or borrowed from 
the Latin crux, which it glosses in the Zeuss MSS. 
We find it in Knocknacrohy, the name of three town- 
lands in Limerick, Kerry, and Waterford, in Irish 
Cnoc-na-croiche, the hill of the gallows ; and in Ard- 
nacrohy in Limerick, with the same meaning. The 
instrument of death must have been erected in an 
ancient fort, in Ranacrohy in Tipperary. The word 
often takes the forms of crehy and creha in modem 
names, as in Cappanacreha ( Cappa, a plot of ground) , 

212 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

in Galway ; and Eaheenacreliy near Trim in Meath, 
the little fort of the gallows. 

Crochaire [crohera] signifies a hangman, and it is 
in still more frequent nse in the formation of names 
than croch, usually in the forms crocjJiery and croghera. 
Knockcroghery, the hangman's hill, is a village in 
Eoseommon, where there is a station on the Midland 
railway ; and there are places of the same name in 
Cork and Mayo. Mullaghcroghery, with a similar 
meaning, occurs three times in Monaghan ; and in 
Cork, (rlenacroghery and Ardnagroghery, Ard-na- 
gcrochaire (p. 22), the hill of the hangmen. 

Sealan [shallan] signifies the rope used by an exe- 
cutioner ; and it is sometimes used to designate the 
place where people were hanged. It gives name to 
Shallon, a townland near Finglas in Dublin ; there 
is another place of the same name near Swords, and 
a third near Julianstown in Meath. Shallany in 
the parish of Derryvullen, Fermanagh, is the same 
name slightly altered ; and Drumshallon in Louth 
and Armagh, signifies the ridge of the gallows. 

There is another mode of designating places of 
execution, from which it appears that criminals were 
often put to death by decapitation ; an inference 
which is corroborated by various passages in Irish au- 
thorities. Names of this kind are formed on the Irish 
word ceann, a head, which is placed in the end of 
words in the genitive plural, generally taking the 
forms nagin, nagan, &c. 

There is a place called Knocknagin near Balro-. 
thery in Dublin, where quantities of human remains 
were found some years ago, and this is also the name 
of a toAvnland in the parish of Desertmartin, Derry : 
Irish form Cnoc-na-gceann^ the hill of the heads. 
The termination is modified in accordance with the 

CHAP. VI.] Customs^ Amusements, Occupations. 213 

Munster pronunciation in Knocknago^sTi in Cork, 
and in Knoekaunnago^Ti in Waterforcl, both having 
the same meaning. Loughnagin occm^s in Donegal, 
and Gortinagin, the little field of the heads, in the 
parish of Cappagh, Tyrone. 

In a state of society when war was regarded as the 
most noble of all professions, and before the invention 
of gunpowder, those w^ho manufactured swords and 
spears were naturally looked upon as very important 
personages. In Ireland they were held in great esti- 
mation ; and in the historical and legendary tales, we 
find the smith was often a powerful chieftain, who 
made arms for himself and his relations. We know 
that Yulcan was one of the most powerful of the Grre- 
cian gods, and the ancient Irish had their Groban, the 
Tuath De Danann smith-god, who figures in many of 
the ancient romances. 

The land possessed by smiths, or the places where 
they resided, may in many cases be determined by 
the local names. Gohlia [gow] is a smith, old Irish 
form goha ; old Welsh goh, now gof ; Cornish and Bre- 
ton ^of. The usual genitive form is gobhan [gown], 
but it is often the same as the nominative ; and both 
forms are reproduced in names, the former being 
commonly made goicaii or gown, and the latter gou\ 
Both teiminations are very common, and may be 
generally translated "of the smith," or if it be 
nagoican, " of the smiths." 

Ballygowan, Ballygow, and BaUingowan, the town 
of the smith, are the names of numerous places 
through the four provinces ; and there are several 
townlands in Ulster and Munster called Ballyna- 
gowan, the town of the smiths. Occasionally the 
Irish genitive plural is made goibhne, which in the 
west of Ireland is anglicised guivnia, givna, &c. ; as 

214 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

in Carrownaguivna and Ardgivna in Sligo, the 
quarter-land, and the height, of the smiths. 

Sometimes the genitive singular is made goe or go 
in English ; as we find in Athgoe near Newcastle 
in Dublin, the smith's ford ; Kinego in Tyrone and 
Donegal, the smith's head or hill {ceann) ; Ednego 
near Dromore in Down, the hill brow (eudan) of the 
smith. It takes a different form in Clongowes in 
Kildare, the smith's meadow, where there is now a 
Roman Catholic college — the same name as Cloon- 
gown in Cork. 

Ceard signifies an artificer of any kind ; it occurs 
in the Zeuss MSS. in the form of cerd or cert, and 
glosses aerarius. In Scotland, it has held its place 
as a living word, even among speakers of English, 
but it is applied to a tinker: — "Her charms had 
struck a sturdy caird, As weel as poor gut scraper " 

It usually enters into names with the c eclipsed 
(p. 22), forming the termination nagarde or nagard, 
" of the artificers." Thus there are several places in 
Antrim, Derry, Limerick, and Clare, called Ballyna- 
garde, in Irish Baile-na-g ceard, the town of the arti- 
ficers : the same name is corrupted to Ballynacaird 
in the parish of Racavan in Antrim, and to Ballyna- 
card in King's County. Castlegarde and Gortna- 
garde in Limerick, the castle, and the field of the 

Cearda or ceardcha denotes a workshop of any kind, 
but it is now generally applied to a forge : old Irish 
cerddchae, ofiicina (Zeuss). It enters very often into 
names as a termination, under several forms, indica- 
ting the spots where forges formerly stood. It is very 
often contracted to cart, as in Coolnacart in Monaghan, 
which would be correctly written in Irish Cul-na- 

CHAP. VI.] Customs, Amusements, Occupations. 215 

ceardcha, the liill-back of the forge. A final n is often 
added, in accordance with the fifth declension ; as in 
Coolnacartan in Queen's County, the same name as 
the last ; Ballycarton in Derry ; Mullaghcarton in 
Antrim {mullach, a summit) ; Shronacarton andE-ath- 
nacarton in Cork, the nose or point, and the fort, of 
the forge. Other forms are exhibited in Farranacardy 
in Sligo, forge land ; and Tull}aiagardy near New- 
townardes in Do'vsti, Tulaigh-na-gceardcha, the hill of 
the forges. 

Saer, a builder or carpenter, appears in modem 
names generally in the form seer ; as in Eathnaseer 
in Limerick, the fort of the carpenters ; Derrynaseer 
(Derry, an oakwood), the name of several townlands 
in Leitrim and the Ulster counties ; Farranseer in 
Cavan and Londonderry, carpenter's land. Some- 
times the s becomes t by eclipse (p. 22) ; as in Bal- 
linteer the name of a place near Dundrum in Dub- 
lin, and of another place in Londonderry, in Irish 
Baile-an-tsaeir, the toT\Ti of carpenter or builder. 

The ancient Keltic nations na^dgated their seas 
and lakes in the currach or hide-covered wicker boat ; 
and it is very probable that it was in fleets of these 
the Irish made their frequent descents on the coasts 
of Britain and Gaul. Canoes hollowed out of a 
single tree were also in extensive use in Ireland, 
especially on the rivers and lakes, and they are now 
frequently found buried in lakes and dried-up lake 

Cobhlach [cowlagh] means a fleet ; but the term 
was applied to a collection of boats, such as were 
fitted out for lake or river navigation, as well as to 
a fleet of ships. In Munster the word is pronounced 
as if written cohhaltach [coltagh], and it is preserved 
according to this pronunciation in the names of se- 

216 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

veral places, the best known of which is Carrigaholt, 
a village in Clare, at the month of the Shannon. 
The Four Masters write it Carraig-an-chohhhiigh, the 
rock of the fleet ; and the rock from which it took its 
name rises over the bay where the fleets anchored, 
and is crowned by the ruins of a castle. The present 
Irish pronunciation is Carraig-a^-chohhaJtaigh (Carrig- 
aholty), which, by the omission of the final syllable, 
settled into the modern name. Another place of the 
same name, also well known, and which preserves 
the correct Irish pronunciation, is Carrigahowly on 
Newport bay in Mayo, the castle of the celebrated 
Grace O'Malley, the Connaught chieftainess, who 
paid a visit to Queen Elizabeth. The word, with its 
Munster pronunciation, appears in Eingacoltig in 
Cork harbour, opposite Hawlbowline island, the point 
of the fleet. 

Most of the various terms employed to designate 
ships and boats, also find their way into local names. 
According to the Book of Lecan and other authori- 
ties, Ceasair and her people (see p. 154) landed at a 
place called Dun-na-mharc, the fortress of the barks 
or ships, which O'Donovan (Four Mast., vol. i., p. 3) 
believes is the place now called Dunnamark, near 
Bantry. Long signifies a ship. According to Cor- 
mac's Grlossary, it is derived from the Saxon word 
la7ig, long ; it appears more likely, however, that 
both the Saxon and Irish words are cognate with the 
Lat. longifs, for we find the Irish word in the Zeuss 
MSS. (forlongis=narigatione). It occiu'S occasionally 
in local names, as in Tralong near Eoss Carbery in 
Cork, the strand of the ships ; Dunnalong on the 
Foyle, five miles south of Derry, the name of which 
is Irish as it stands, and signifies the fortress of the 
ships ; Annalong on the coast of the county DoAvn, 

CHxVP. Yii.] Agriculture and Pasturage, 217 

Ath-na-loug, the ford of the ships, a name which 
shows that the little creek at the village was taken 
advantage of to shelter vessels, in ancient as well as 
in modern times. 

Many places take their names from had, a boat ; 
several of which spots, we may be pretty certain, 
were ferries, in which a boat was always kept, little 
or nothing different from the ferries of the present 
day. Snch a place was Einawade on the Liifey, 
near Celbridge, above Dublin — Bimi-a^-b/idid, the 
point of the boat ; and Donabate near Malahide, the 
church {domhnach) of the boat. And cot, a small 
boat, is also employed occasionally in the formation 
of names ; from it is derived the name of Annacotty, 
now a small village on the river Mulkear, east of 
Limerick, called in Irish Ath-na-coite, the ford of the 
cot or small boat ; as well as that of Ayleacotty in 
Clare, the cliff of the boat. A diminutive form ap- 
pears in the name of a well-known lake near Killar- 
ney, Lough Gruitane, which the people pronounce 
Loch-coitedin, the lake of the little cot. 



The inhabitants of this country were, from the ear- 
liest antiquity, engaged in agriculture and pasturage. 
In our oldest records we find constant mention of 
these two occupations; and the clearing of plains is 
recorded as an event worthy of si^ecial notice, in the 
reigns of many of the early kings. 

It has been remarked by several writers, and it is 

218 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

still a matter of common observation, that many 
places, especially hill sides, now waste and wild, 
show plain traces of former cultivation. Boate 
(Nat. Hist. Chap. X. Sect, iii.), writes: — "It hath 
been observed in many parts of Ireland, chieflie in 
the county of Meath, and further northward, that 
upon the top of great hills and mountains, not only 
at the side and foot of them, to this day the ground 
is uneven, as if it had been plowed in former times. 
The inhabitants do affirm, that their forefathers being 
much given to tillage, contrarie to what they are 
now, used to turn all to plowland." The archbishop 
of Dublin, in a letter inserted in the same book, 
says: — "For certain Ireland has been better in- 
habited than it is at present : mountains that now 
are covered with boggs, have formerly been plowed ; 
for when you dig five or six feet deep, you discover 
a proper soil for vegetables, and find it plowed into 
ridges and furrows." And Smith (Hist, of Cork, I., 
198), speaking of the mountains round the source of 
the river Lee, tells us: — "Many of the mountains 
have formerly been tilled, for when the heath that 
covers them is pulled up and burned, the ridges and 
furrows of the plough are visible." 

These facts tend to confirm the opening statement 
of this chapter, that the Irish have from all time, 
lived partly by tillage. Many have come to the 
same conclusion as the Archbishop of Dublin, that 
" Ireland has been better inhabited than it is at pre- 
sent" (about 1645). But I think Boate gives the 
true solution in the continuation of the passage 
quoted above: — "Others say that it was done for 
want of arable, because the champain was most every- 
where beset and overspread with woods, which by 
degrees are destroyed by the wars." 

CHAP, vii.] Agriculture and Pasturage. 219 

There are several terms entering into local names, 
which either indicate directly, or imply, agricultural 
operations, the enclosure of the land by fences, or its 
employment as pasture ; and to the illustration of 
those that occur most frequently I will devote the 
present Chapter. 

Ceapach [cappagh] signifies a plot of land laid out 
for tillage ; it is still a living word in Connaught, 
and is in common use in the formation of names, hut 
it does not occur in Ulster so frequently as in the 
other provinces. Cappagh and Cappa are the most 
usual anglicised forms ; and these, either alone or in 
combination, give names to numerous places. It has 
been often asserted, and seems generally believed, 
that Cappoquin (county Waterford) means -"The 
head of the house of Con ;" but this is a mere guess : 
the name is a plain Irish compound, Ceajmch-Chninn, 
signifying merely Con's plot of land, but no one can 
tell who this Con was. 

Cappaghwhite in Tipperary, is called after the 
family of White ; Cappaghcreen near Dunboyne 
in Meath, withered plot ; Cappanageeragh near 
Greashill in King's County, the plot of the sheep ; 
Cappateemore in Clare, near Limerick city, is in 
Irish Ceapach-cC-tighe-mhoir^ the plot of the great 
house ; Cappanalarabaun in Galway, the plot of the 
white mare ; Cappaghmore and Cappamore, great 
tillage plot. The word is sometimes made Cappy, 
which is the name of a townland in Fermanagh ; 
Cappydonnell in King's County, Donnell's plot ; 
and the diminutive Cappog or Cappoge (little plot) , 
is the name of several places in Ulster, Leinster, and 

Garrdha [gara], a garden ; usually made garry or 
garra in modern names. About half a mile from 

220 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

Banagher in King's County, are situated the ruins of 
Grarry castle, once the residence of the Mac Coghlans, 
the chiefs of the surrounding territory. This castle 
is called in the Annals, Garrdha-an-chaislein, i. e. the 
garden of the castle ; and fi^oni this the modern 
name Grarrycastle has been formed, and has been 
extended to the barony. The literal meaning of the 
old designation is exactly preserved in the name of 
the modern residence, Castle- Garden, situated near 
the ruins. 

Grarry, i. e. the garden, is the name of a place near 
Ballymoney in Antrim ; and the parish of Myross, 
west of Glandore in Cork, is called the GaiTy, from 
its fertility compared with the suiTounding district. 
The well-known Grarryowen near Limerick, signifies 
Owen's garden ; Carrysallagh in Cavan and other 
counties, dirty garden ; Garry vicleheen near Thurles 
in Tipperary, Mac Leheen's garden ; Ballingarry, 
the town of the garden, is the name of a town on the 
borders of Limerick and Tipperary, and of fourteen 
townlands. The word Garry begins the names of 
about ninety to^Tilands scattered over the four pro- 

Govt, a tilled field : in the Zeuss MSS., it occurs in 
the form gart^ and glosses hortus, and Colgan trans- 
lates it prwdium. It is obviously cognate with Fr. 
jardin, Sax. gcard, Eng. garden, Lat. hortns. It is a 
very prolific root word, for there are more than 1200 
townlands whose names are formed by, or begin with 
Gort and Gmi, its usual modern forms. Gortna- 
glogh, or, as it would be written in Irish, GorUna- 
gcloch, the field of the stones, is the name of a dozen 
townlands, some of them in each of the four pro- 
vinces ; Gortmillish in Antrim, sweet field, so called 
probably from the abundance of honeysuckle ; Gorta- 

CHAP. VII.] Agriculture and Pasturage. 221 

ganniff near Adare in Limerick, the field of the 
sand ; Grortanui^e and Grortinui^e, in several counties, 
the field of the yew. The town of Groi^t in Galway, 
is called by the Four Masters Gort-innsi-Guaire, and 
this is also its present Irish name ; it signifies the 
field of the island of Guary, and it is believed that it 
took its name from Guaire Aidhne, king of Con- 
naught in the seventh centiuy (see p. 99). 

Gorteen, Gortin, and Gurteen (little field) three 
diff'erent forms of the diminutive, are exceedingly 
common, and are themselves the names of about 100 
townlands and villages. The ancient form gart is 
preserved in the diminutive Gartan, which is the 
name of a parish in Donegal, well known as the 
birth place of Saint Columba. 

Tamhnach [tawnagh] signifies a green field which 
produces fresh sweet grass. This word enters very 
generally into names in Ulster and Connaught, 
especially in the mountainous districts ; it is found 
occasionally, though seldom, in Leinster, and still 
more seldom in Munster. In modern names it usually 
appears as Tawnagh, Tawny, and Tonagh, which are 
themselves the names of several places ; in the north 
of Ulster the aspirated m is often restored (see p. 43), 
and the word then becomes Tamnagh and Tamny. 
In composition it takes all the preceding forms, as 
well as Tawna and Tanma. 

Saintfield in Down, is a good example of the use 
of this word. Its old name, which w^as used to a 
comparatively late period, and which is still well 
known, was Tonaghneeve, the phonetic representative 
of Tcmihnach-naemh, the field of the saints. There is 
a townland near the town which still retains the 
name of Tonaghmore, great field ; originally so called 
to distinguish it from Tonaghneeve. 

222 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

The forms Tawnagh and Taicna are found in Taw- 
naglilalian near Donegal, broad field ; Tawnaglia- 
knaff in the parish of Bohola, Mayo, the fields of the 
bones {cnamh., a bone), which probably points out 
the site of a battle ; Tawnakeel near Crossmolina, 
narrow field. Tawny appears in Tawnyeely near 
Mohill in Leitrim, the field of the lime {Tamhnach- 
aeJaigh) ; and Tawnybrack in Antrim, speckled field. 
Tamnagh and its modifications give names to Tam- 
naghbane in Ai^magh, white field; Tamnaficarbet 
and Tamnafiglassan, both in Armagh — the first 
Ta77ihnach'Jidh-carhait, the field of the wood of the 
chariot, and the second the field of Griassan's wood ; 
Tanmymartin near Maghera in Derry, Martin's field. 

Rathdowney, the name of a village and parish in 
Queen's County, signifies as it stands, the fort of 
the church (dornhnach) ; but the correct name would 
be Rathto^vney, representing the Irish Rath-tamhnaigh, 
as the Four Masters '^nrite it — the fort of the green 
field. This was the old pagan name, which the 
people corrupted (by merely changing ^ to d) under 
the idea that dornhnach was the proper word, and 
that the name was derived from the church, which 
was built near the original rath. 

There is a form Tavnagh, used in some of the Ulster 
counties, especially in Antrim and Monaghan ; such 
as Ta\Tiaghdrissagh in Antrim, the field of the briers ; 
Tavanaskea in Monaghan, the field of the bushes. 
In composition the t is sometimes aspirated, as in 
Corhawnagh and Corhawny, the rough field, or the 
round hill of the field, the names of several places in 
Cavan and the Connaught counties. Of the few cases 
that occur in Leinster, the only other one I shall 
mention is Taney, which is the name of the parish 
that contains the town of Dundrum, near Dublin. 

CHAP. VII.] Agriculture and Pasturage. 223 

Achadli [aha], a l&eld : translated campulm by 
Adamnan. It is generally represented in modern 
naines by agha^ agh, oxaugh; but in individual cases 
the investigator must be careful, for these three words 
often stand for ath, a ford. 

The parish of Agha in Carlo w, takes its name from 
a very old church ruin, once an important religious 
foundation, which the Four Masters call Achadh- 
arghlais, the field of the green tillage. Aghinver 
on Lough Erne in Fermanagh, is called in the 
Annals Acliadh-inhlm\ the field of the huer^ or river 
mouth. Aghmacart in Queen's County, is in Irish 
Achadh-miC'Airt, the field of Art's son; Aghindar- 
ragh in Tyrone, the field of the oak ; Aghawoney 
near Kilmacrenan in Donegal, written by the Four 
Masters Achadh-nihona, bogfield. Aghintamy near 
the town of Monaghan, is in Irish Achadh-an-tsamh- 
aidh, sorrel field ; Achonry in Sligo, is called in 
the Annals AcJiadh- Chonaire, Conary's field. Ardagh 
is the name of numerous villages, townlands, and 
parishes, through the four provinces ; several of these 
are often mentioned in the Annals, the Irish form 
being always Ard-achadhy high field. In a few cases 
the modern form is Ardaghy. 

Cluain [cloon] is often translated p7'atum by Latin 
wi-iters, and for want of a better term it is usually 
rendered in English by " lawn" or " meadow." Its 
exact meaning, however, is a fertile piece of land, or 
a green arable spot, surrounded or nearly surrounded 
by bog or marsh, or by a bog or marsh on one side, 
and water on the other. 

The word forms a part of a vast number of names 
in all parts of Ireland ; many of the religious esta- 
blishments derived their names from it ; and this has 
led some winters into the erroneous belief that the 

224 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

word originally meant a place or religious retirement. 
But it is certain that in its primitive signification it 
had no reference to religion ; and its frequent occur- 
rence in our ecclesiastical names is sufficiently ex- 
plained by the well-known custom of the early Irish 
saints, to select lonely and retired places for their 
own habitations, as well as for their religious esta- 

The names of many of the religious cloons are in 
fact of pagan origin, and existed before the ecclesias- 
tical foundations, having been adopted without change 
by the founders : — among these may be reckoned the 
following. Clones (pronounced in two syllables), in 
Monaghan, where a round tower remains to attest its 
former religious celebrity ; its name is written in the 
Annals Chiain-Eois, [Cloonoce] Eos's meadow ; and it 
is not improbable that Eos was the pagan chief who 
raised the great fort, the existence of which proves it 
to have been a place of importance before the Chris- 
tian settlement. 

Clonard in Meath, where the celebrated St. Fin- 
ian had his great school in the sixth century, is called 
in all the Irish authorities, Cluain-Eraird, from which 
the present name has been contracted. Many have 
translated this " The retirement on the western 
height ; " but this is a mere guess, and at any rate 
could not be right, for the site of the estsblishment is 
a dead flat on the left bank of the Boyne. Accord- 
ing to Colgan, Erard was a man's name signifying 
" noble, exalted, or distinguished, and it was formerly 
not unfrequent among the Irish" (A. SS., p. 28). 
He then states that this place was so called from some 
man named Erard, so that Cluain-Eraird or Clonard 
signifies Erard's Meadow ; and since as in case of 
Clones, a moat still remains there, Erard may have 

CHAP. VII.] Agriculture and Pasturage. 225 

been the pagan chief who erected it, ages before the 
time of St. Finian. It is worthy of remark that 
Erard is occasionally met mth as a personal name 
even at the present time. There are several other 
places in Leinster and Munster, called Clonard and 
Cloonard, but in these the Irish form of the name is 
probably Cluainarcl, high meadow. 

We find the names of some of the religious esta- 
blishments formed by suffixing the name of a saint or 
some other Christian term to the word cluain ; and 
in these cases, this cluain may be a remnant of the 
previous pagan name, which was partly changed 
after the ecclesiastical foundation. Clonallan, now 
a parish near Newiy in Down, is mentioned by 
Keating, Colgan, and others, who call it Cluain- 
Dallaiu, Dalian's meadow ; the d is omitted by as- 
piration (see p. 20) in the modern name, but in the 
Taxation of 1306 it is retained, the place being 
called Clondalan, It received its name from Dalian 
Forgall, who flourished about the year 580 ; he was 
a celebrated poet, and composed a panegyric in verse 
on St. Columba, called Anihra-Choluimcille, of which 
we possess copies in a very old dialect of the Irish 
(see Eeeves, Eccl. Ant., p. 114). 

Except in a very few cases, cluain is represented 
in the present names by either clon or cloon ; and 
there are about 1800 places in Ireland whose names 
begin with one or the other of these syllables. Clon 
is found in the following names : — Clonmellon in 
Westmeath, is written by the Four Masters, Cluain- 
Mildin, Milan's meadow. Clonmel in Tipperary, 
they write Cluain-meala, which is the Irish name 
always used at the present time : this name, which 
it bore long before the foundation of the town, ori- 
ginated, no doubt, from the abundance of wild bees' 

226 Ilistorical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

nests. There is also a Clonmel near Grlasnevin, 
Dublin, and another in King's County. Clonmnlt, 
the meadow of the wethers, is the name of a village 
and parish in Cork, and of a townland in Cavan. 

With cloon are foi-med Cloontuskert in Eoscommon, 
which is written in the Annals C/aain-taaisceirty the 
noi-theni meadow ; Cloonlogher, the name of a parish 
in Leitrim, Cluain-Iuachra, the meadow of the rushes ; 
Cloonkeen, a very common to'^Tiland name, Cluain- 
vaoin, beautiful meadow, which is also very often 
anglicised Clonkeen. Sometimes the word is in com- 
position pronoimced cli/i, as we see in Bracklin, the 
same as Brackloon, both townland names of frequent 
occiurence, deriYed from. £reac-c/ilaaiji (Four Mast.), 
speckled meadow ; and of similar formation are 
Mucklin Mucklone and Muckloon, pig meadow. 

Two forms of the diminutive are in use ; one, 
Chiainin [Clooneen], occiu'S in the Four Masters, and 
in the form Clooneen (little meadow), it gives name 
to a great many townlands, chiefly in the west of 
Ireland. The other diminutive, C/aaintin, in the an- 
glicised form Cloonteen, is the name of several places 
in Connaught and Mimster. The plural of eluain is 
cluainte [cloonty], and this also enters into names. 
It is sometimes made cloonta, as in Cloontabonniv in 
Clare, the meadows of the hon)n'res or young pigs; 
Cloontakillew and Cloontakilla in Mayo, the meadows 
of the wood. But it is much oftener made Cloonty, 
or with the double plural Cloonties ; which are 
themselves the names of several places. Occasionally 
it is made c/intj/ in Ulster, as in Clinty in the parish 
of Kii'kinriola in Antrim ; Clinty cracken in TjTone, 
Cluainte-croieeann, the meadows of the skins, so 
called probably from being used as a place for 

CHAP. VII.] Agriculture and Pasturage. 227 

Tuar [toor] signifies a bleach green ; in an extended 
sense it is applied to any place where things were 
spread out to dry, and very often to fields along 
small streams, the articles being washed in the stream, 
and dried on its banks. The word is used in Munster, 
Connaught, and Leinster, but does not occur at all in 
the Ulster counties. 

Toor is the almost universal anglicised form, and 
this and Tooreen or Tourin (little bleach green) are 
the names of more than sixty townlands in the three 
provinces : as a part of compounds, it helps to give 
names to a still larger number. Toomageeha in 
Waterford and Kerry, signifies the bleach green of 
the wind ; Toorfune in Tipperary, fair or white 
coloured bleach green ; Tooreennablauha in Kerry, 
the little bleach green of the flowers ; Tooreenna- 
grena in Cork, sunny little bleach green. 

It occasionally exhibits other forms in the Leinster 
counties. The Irish name of Ballitore, a village in 
Kildare, is Bel-atha-a^-tuair, the ford-mouth of the 
bleach green, and it took this name from a ford on 
the river Grreece ; Monatore {mon, a bog) occui's in 
Wicklow and Kildare ; Tintore in Queen's County, 
is in Irish Tigh-an-tuair, the house of the bleach 
green ; and the same name without the article be- 
comes Tithewer, near Newtownmountkennedy in 
"** The peasantry in most parts of Ireland use a kind 
of double axe for grubbing or rooting up the surface 
of coarse land ; it is called a grafdn [graffaun], from 
the verb graf., to write, engrave, or scrape, cognate 
with Greek grapho. Lands that have been grubbed 
or graffed with this instrument have in many cases 
received and preserved names, formed on the verb 
graf, that indicate the operation. This ia the origin 

228 Historical and Legendartj Names, [part it. 

of those names that begin with the syllable graf ; 
such as Grraifa, Grraffan, Grraffee, Grrafibge, Grraffin, 
and Grraffy, which are found in the four provinces, 
and all of which signify grubbed land. 

Ploughing by the horsetail, and burning com in 
the ear, were practised in Ireland cIo^ti to a com- 
paratively recent period; Arthur Young witnessed 
both in operation less than a hundred years ago ; but 
at that time they had nearly disappeared, partly on 
account of acts of Parliament framed expressly to 
prevent them, and partly thi^ough the increasing 
intelligence of the people. Loisgredn [lusgraun] is 
the term applied to corn bm^nt in the ear ; and the 
particular spots where the process was carried on are 
in many cases indicated by names formed on this 

The modem forms do not in general depart much 
from what would be indicated by the original pro- 
nunciation ; it is well represented in Knockaluskraun 
and KnocHoskeraun in Clare, each the name of a 
hill (A- nock) where corn used to be buimed. The 
simple term gives name to Loskeran near Ardmore 
in Waterford. 

Sometimes the word is pronounced lustraun ; and 
this form is seen in Caherlustraun near Tuam in 
Gralway, where the corn used to be bumed in an an- 
cient caher or stone fort ; in Lugalustran in Leitrim, 
and Stralustrin in Fermanagh, the hoUovf, and the 
river holm of the burnt corn. 

Land burnt in any way, whether by accident or 
design for agricultm^al pui^poses— as, for instance, 
when heath was bm^nt to encom'age the growth of 
grass, as noticed by Boate (Nat. Hist. XIII. , 4) — 
was designated by the word loisgthe [luske], bui-nt ; 
which in modern names is usually changed to lusky^ 

CHAP. VII.] Agriculture and Pashirage. 229 

losky, or lusJc. Ballylusky and Ballylusk, i. e. Bailc- 
loisgthe, burnt town, are the names of several town- 
lands, the former being found in the Munster counties, 
and the latter in Leinster ; while it is made Bally- 
losky in Donegal : Molosky in Clare, signifies burnt 
plain : — 3Io = magh, a plain. 

Sometimes the word tcotda [totaun], a burning, is 
employed to express the same thing, as in Knockato- 
taun in Maj^o and Sligo, Cnoc-a^-teotain, the hill of 
the burning ; Parkatotaun in Limerick, the field of 
the burning. 

It was formerly customary with those who kept 
cattle, to spend a great part of the summer wandering 
about with theii' herds among the mountain pastures, 
removing from place to place, as the grass became 
exhausted. During the winter they lived in their 
lowland villages, and as soon as they had tilled a 
spot of land in spring, they removed with their herds 
to the mountains till autumn, when they returned to 
gather the crops. 

The mountain habitations where they lived, fed 
their cattle, and carried on their dairy operations 
during the summer, were called in Irish huaile 
[booly], a word evidently derived from ho, a cow. 
This custom existed down to the sixteenth century ; 
and the poet Spenser describes it very correctly, as 
he witnessed it in his day : — " There is one use 
amongst them, to keepe their cattle, and to live them- 
selves the most part of the yeare in boolies, pastur- 
ing upon the mountaine, and waste wilde places ; 
and removing still to fresh land, as they have de- 
pastured the former" (View of the State of Ireland ; 
Dublm edition, 1809, p. 82). O'Flaherty also 
notices the same custom : — "In summer time they 
drive their cattle to the mountaines, where such as 

230 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii, 

looke to the cattle live in small cabbins for that sea- 
Bon'* (lar-Connaught, c. 17). The term hooley was 
not confined to the mountainous districts ; for in 
some parts of Ireland it was applied to any place 
where cattle were fed or milked, or which was set 
apart for dairy purposes. 

Grreat numbers of places retain the names of these 
dairy places, and the word huaile is generally repre- 
sented in modern names by the forms Booley, Boley , 
Boola, and Boula, which are themselves the names of 
many places, and forai the beginning of a still larger 
number. In Boleylug near Baltinglass in Wicklow, 
they must have built their " cabbins" for shelter in 
the lug or mountain hollow ; Booladurragha in Cork, 
and Booldurragh in Carlow, dark booley {Buaile- 
dorcha)^ probably from being shaded with trees ; 
Booleyglass, a village in Kilkenny, green booley. 

The word is combined in various other ways, and 
it assumes other forms, partly by corruption and 
partly by grammatical inflexion. Farranboley near 
Dun drum in Dublin, is booley land; Aughvolyshane 
in the parish of Grienkeen, Tipperary, is in Irish -4 ^7^- 
hhuaile-Sheain^ the ford of John's booley. Ballyboley, 
the name of some toT^Tilands in Antrim and Down, 
Ballyvooly in the parish of Layd, Antrim, and 
Ballyvool near Inistioge, Kilkenny, are all different 
forms of Baile-huaile, the town of the dairy place ; 
Ballynaboley, Ballynaboola, and Ballynabooley, have 
the same meaning, the article na being inserted ; and 
Boulabally near Adare in Limerick, is the same 
name with the terms reversed. On Ballyboley hill 
near the source of the Lame water in Antrim, there 
are still numerous remains of the old " cabbins," ex- 
tending for two miles along the face of the hiU ; they 
are called Boley houses, and the people retain the 

CHAP. VIII.] Subdivisions and Measures of Land. 231 

tradition that they were formerly used by the in- 
habitants of the valley when they drove up their 
cattle in summer to pasture on the heights. (See 
Eeeves, Eccl. Ant., p. 268 j. 

The diminutive huailtin [boolteen], and the plural 
huailte \hoo\ij~\, occur occasionally; Boolteens and 
Eoolteeny (see p. 32, vi.), in Kerry and Tipperary, 
loth signify little dairy places ; Boultypatrick in 
Donegal, Patrick's booleys. 



Among a people who followed the double occupation 
of tillage and pasturage, according as the country be- 
came populated, it would be divided and subdivided, 
and parcelled out among the people ; boundaries 
would be determined, and standards of measurement 
adopted. The following was the old partition of the 
country, according to Irish authorities : — There were 
five provinces : Leinster, Ulster, Connaught, Mun- 
ster, and Meath, each of which was divided into 
tricka-ceds (thirty hundreds) or trichas, Meath con- 
taining 18, Connaught 30, Ulster 36, Leinster 31, 
and Munster 70 ; each tric/ia contained 30 haile-hia- 
taighs (victualler's town), and each Baile-Uataiyh, 
12 seisreachs. The di^dsion into provinces is still re- 
tained with some modification, but the rest of the old 
distribution is obsolete. The present subdivision is 
into provinces, counties, baronies, parishes, and town- 
lands ; in all Ireland there are 325 baronies, 2422 
parishes, and about 62,000 townlands. Various mi- 

232 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

nor subdivisions and standards of measurement were 
adopted in dijfferent parts of the country ; and so far 
as these are represented in our present nomenclature, 
I will notice them here.* 

The old term tricha or triiicha [truha], is usually 
rendered by " cantred " or " district," and we find Ji 
giving name to the barony of Trough in Monaghan ; 
to the townland of Trough near O'Brien's Bridge in 
Clare ; and to True in the parish of Killyman in 
Tyrone. Seisreach [sheshragh] is commonly trans- 
lated " plowland ; " it is said to be derived from 
seisear, six, and each, a horse, and it was used to de- 
note the extent of land a six-horse plough would turn 
up in one year. We find the term in Shesheragh- 
more and Shesheraghscanlan near Borrisokane in 
Tipperary ; in Shesheraghkeale (kea/e, narrow) near 
Nenagh, the same name as Sistrakeel (see p. 55, iv.) 
in the parish of Tamlaght Finlagan, Derry ; and 
in Drumsastry in Fermanagh, the ridge of the plow- 

The terms in most common use to denote portions 
of land or territorj^ were those expressing fractional 
parts, of which there are five that occiu* very fre- 
quently. The word leath [lah] signifies half, and we 
find it forming part of names all over Ireland. Thus 
when a seisreach was divided into two equal parts, 
each was called leath-sheisreach [lahesheragh] , half 
plowland, which gives name to Lahesheragh in 

* For further information the reader is referred to Dr. Keeves's 
paper '' On the Townland Distribution of Irehmd," (Proc. R I. 
Academy, Vol, VII. , p. 473), from which much of the informa- 
tion in this chapter has been deiived ; and to a paper " On the 
Territorial Divisions of the Country," by Sir Thomas Larcom, 
prefixed to the " Kelief Correspondence of the Commissioners 
of Public Works." 

CHAP. Yiii.] Suhdivisions and Measures of Land. 233 

Kerry, to Lahesseragli in Tipper ary, and to Bally- 
nalaliessery near Dimgarvan in Waterford, which 
signifies the town of the half-plowland. In like 
manner, half a townland was denoted by the term 
Leath-hhaile, pronounced, and generally anglicised, 
Lavally and Levally, which are the names of about 
thii'ty townlands scattered through the four pro- 
vinces. Laharan, the name of many places in Cork 
and Kerry signifies literally, half land, Irish Leath- 
fhearann, the initial/ in /tY/vT/;?^i (land) being rendered 
silent by aspiration (see p. 20). 

The territory of Lecale in Down, now forming 
two baronies, is called in the Irish authorities Leth- 
Cathail, Cathal's half or portion. Cathal [Cahal], 
who was fifth in descent from Deman, king of Ulidia 
in the middle of the sixth century, flomished about 
the year 700 ; and in a division of territory this dis- 
trict was assigned to him, and took his name. It 
had been previously called Magh-inis, which Colgan 
translates Insula canipestris, the level island, being a 
plain tract nearly surrounded by the sea. 

Trian [treen] denotes the third part of anything ; 
it was formerly a territorial designation in frequent 
use, and it has descended to the present time in the 
names of several places. A tripartite division of ter- 
ritory in Tipperary gave origin to the name of the 
barony of Middlethird, which is a translation from the 
Irish, Trian-meadhanach [managh] as used by the 
Four Masters. There was a similar division in Wa- 
terford, and two of the three parts — now two baronies 
— are still known by the names of Middlethird and 
Upperthird. The barony of Duff'erin in Down, is 
called by the Fom* Masters Dubh-fhrian, the black 
third, the sound of which is very well represented in 
the present name. 

234 Historical and Legendanj Names: [part ii. 

Trian generally takes the forms of Trean and Trien, 

which constitute or begin the names of about 70 
townlands in the four provinces. TreanamuUin 
near Stranorlar in Donegal, signifies the thh-d part 
or division of the mill, i. e. having a mill on it ; 
Treanfohanaun in Mayo, the thistle-producing third ; 
Treanlaur • in Gralway and Mayo, middle third ; 
Treanmanagh in Clare, Kerry, and Limerick, same 
meaning ; Trienaltenagh in Londonderry, the third 
of the precipices or cliffs. 

Ceathramhadh [carhoo or carrow] signifies a quar- 
ter, from ceathair [cahir] four. The old townlands 
or ballybetaghs, were very often divided into quarters, 
each of which was commonly designated by this word 
Ceathramhadh, which, in the present names, generally 
takes one of the two forms carrow and carhoo ; the 
former being the more usual, but the latter occurring 
very often in Cork and Kerry. Carrow forms or 
begins the names of more than 700 townlands, and 
Carhoo, of about 30 ; and another form Carrive, occurs 
in some of the northern counties. 

The four quarters into which the townland was di- 
vided were generally distinguished from one another 
by adjectives descriptive of size, position, shape, or 
quality of the land, or by sufiixing the names of the 
occupiers. Thus, there are more than 60 modem 
townlands called Carrowkeel, Ceathramhadh-caol, 
narrow quarter; Carrowgarriff and Carrowgarve, 
rough (garbh) quarter, is the name of sixteen ; there 
are 25 called Carrowbane and Carrowbaun, white 
quarter; 24 called Carrowbeg, little quarter; and more 
than 60 called Carrowmore, great quarter. Lecarrow, 
half-quarter, gives name to about 60 townlands, the 
greater number of them in Connaught. 

A fifth part is denoted by coigeadh [coga] : the ap- 

CHAP. VIII.] Subdivisions and Measures of Land. 235 

plication of this term to land is very ancient, for in 
the old form coiced it occurs in the Book of Armagh, 
where it is translated quinta jmrs. In later times it 
was often used in the sense of " province," which ap- 
plication seems to have originated in the division of 
Ireland into fve provinces. In its primitive signifi- 
cation of a fifth part — probably the fifth part of an 
ancient townland — it has given names to several 
places. Cooga, its most usual modern form, is the 
name of several townlands in Connaught and Mun- 
ster; there are three townlands in Mayo called 
Coogue ; and Coogaquid in Clare, signifies literally 
'* fifth part ;" — cuid, a part. 

Seiseadh [shesha] the sixth part ; to be distin- 
guished from seisreack. As a measure of land, it was 
usual in Ulster and north Connaught, where in the 
forms Sess, Sessia, Sessiagh, it gives names to about 
thirty townlands. It occurs also in Munster, though 
in forms slightly difi'erent ; as in case of Sheshia in 
Clare, and Sheshiv in Limerick ; Shesharoe in Tip- 
perary, red sixth; Sheshodonnell in Clare, O'Don- 
nell's sixth part. 

Several other Irish terms were employed ; such as 
Ballyboe or " cow-land," which prevailed in some of 
the Ulster counties, and which is still a very common 
townland name in Donegal. In some of the counties 
of Munster, they had in use a measure called gniomh 
[gneeve], which was the twelfth part of a plowland ; 
and this term ' occurs occasionally in the other pro- 
vinces. It has given name to about twenty town- 
lands, now called Grneeve and Gneeves, the greater 
number of them in Cork and Kerry. There is a 
place in the parish of Kilmacabea, Cork, called Three- 
gneeves ; and in the same county there are two town- 
lands, each called Tv/o-gneeves. 

236 Historical and Legendary Names, [pakt it. 

In many parts of Ireland the Anglo-Norman 
settlers introduced terms derived from their own lan- 
guage, and several of these are now very common as 
to^Tiland names. Cartron signifies a quarter, and is 
derived through the French quarteron from the 
medii3eval Lat. quarteronus ; it was in very common 
use in Connaught as well as in Longford, Westmeath, 
and King's County : and it was applied to a parcel 
of land varying in amount from 60 to 160 acres. 
There are about 80 townlands called Cartron, chiefly 
in Connaught, and 60 others of whose names it forms 
the beginning. The terms with which it is com- 
pounded are generally Irish, such as Cartronganny 
near MuUingar, Cartron-gainimh, sandy cartron; 
Cartronnagilta in Cavan, the cartron of the reeds ; 
Cartronrathroe in Mayo, the cartron of the red 

Tate or tath is an English word, and meant 60 
native acres. It occurs chiefly in Fermanagh, Mon- 
aghan, and Tyrone, generally in the forms tat, tatt, 
and tatty ; and, as in the case of cartron, it usually 
compounds with Irish words. Thus Tattendillur in 
Fermanagh, is Tat-an-dniUeahhair, the tate of the 
foliage. Tattynageeragh in the parish of Clones in 
Fermanagh, the tate of the sheep ; Tattintlieve in 
Monaghan, the tate of the mountain. 

In Cavan, certain measures of land were called by 
the names poll, gallon, and pottle. Thus, PoUakeel is 
the narrow poll ; Pollamore, great poll, &c. In most 
other counties, however, j^oll is an Irish word, signi- 
fying a hole. Pottlebane and Pottleboy in Cavan, 
signify white and yellow pottle, respectively ; Gallon- 
nambraher the friars' gallon, &c. 

CHAP. IX.] Numerical Combinations, 237 



While names involving niunerical combinations are 
found all over the world, a careful examination would 
be pretty sure to show, that each people had a predi- 
lection for one or more particular numbers. During 
my examination of Irish proper names, I have often 
been struck with the constant recurrence of the num- 
bers two and thi^ee ; and after ha\ specially inves- 
tigated the subject, I have found, as I hope to be able 
to show, that names involving these two numbers are 
so numerous as to constitute a distinct peculiarity, 
and that this is the case most especially with regard 
to the number two. 

I never saw it stated that the number two was in 
Ireland considered more remarkable than any other ; 
but from whatever cause it may have arisen, certain 
it is, that there existed in the minds of the Irish 
people a distinctly marked predilection to designate 
persons or places, where circumstances permitted it, 
by epithets expressive of the idea of duality, the epi- 
thet being founded on some circumstance connected 
with the object named ; and such circumstances were 
often seized upon to form a name in preference to 
others equally or more conspicuous. We have, of 
course, as they have in all countries, names with com- 
binations of other numbers, and those containing the 
number three are very numerous ; but the number 
two is met with many times more frequently than all 
the others put together. 

The Irish word for two that occurs in names is dd 

238 historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

or dhd, both forms being used; da is pronounced 
daw ; but in tbe other form, dh, which has a peculiar 
and rather faint guttural sound, is altogether sup- 
pressed in modem names ; the word dhd being gene- 
rally represented by the vowel a, while in many cases 
modem contraction has obliterated every trace of a 
representative letter. It is necessary to bear in mind 
that da or dhd generally causes aspiration, and in 
a few cases eclipses consonants, and prefixes n to 
vowels (see pp. 19 and 21, supra). 

We find names involving the number two recorded 
in Irish history, from the most ancient authorities 
down to the MSS. of the seventeenth century, and 
they occur in proportion quite as numerously as at 
the present day ; showing that this curious tendency 
is not of modern origin, but that it has descended, 
silent and unnoticed, from ages of the most remote 

There is a village and parish in the north-west of 
Tipperary, on the shore of Lough Derg, now called 
Terryglass ; its Irish name, as used in many Irish 
authorities, is Tir-da-ghlas, the territory of the two 
streams ; and the identity of this with the modern 
Terryglass is placed beyond all doubt by a passage 
in the " Life of St. Fintan of Clonenagh," which de- 
scribes Tir-da-glds as *' in the territory of Munster, 
near the river Shannon." The great antiquity of this 
name is proved by the fact that it is mentioned by 
Adamnan in his " Life of St. Columba" (Lib. ii., Cap. 
xxxvi.), written in the end of the seventh century ; 
but according to his usual custom, instead of the Irish 
name, he gives the Latin equivalent : in the heading 
of the chapter it is called Ager duorum rivorum^ and 
in the text, Rus duum rivulorum, either of which is a 

CHAP. IX.] Numerical Comhinations. 239 

correct translation of Tir-da-ghlas* There is a sub- 
division of the townland of Clogher in the parish of 
Kilnoe, Clare, called Terryglass, which has the same 
Irish form and meaning as the other. 

In the Book of Leinster there is a short poem, 
ascribed to Finn Mac Cimihail, accounting for the 
name of Magh-da-gJieisi in Leinster, the plain of the 
two swans ; and the Dinnsenchns gives a legend 
about the name of the river Owendalulagh, which 
rises on the slope of Slieve Anghty, and flows into 
Lough Cooter near Grort in Gralway. This legend 
states, that when Echtghe [Ekte], a Tuatha De Dan- 
ann lady, married Fergus Lusca, cupbearer to the 
king of Connaught, she brought with her two cows 
remarkable for their milk-bearing fruitfulness, which 
were put to graze on the banks of this stream ; and 
from this circumstance it was called Ahhainn-da- 
loilghench, the river of the two milch cows. Accord- 
ing to the same authority, Slieve Aughty took its 
name from this lady — SUahh-Echtghe, Echtghe's 
mountain. Several other instances of names of this 
class, mentioned in ancient authorities, will be cited 
as I proceed. 

Though this peculiarity is not so common in per- 
sonal as in local names, yet the number of persons 
mentioned in Irish writings whose names involve the 
number two, is sufficiently large to be very remark- 
able. The greater number of these names appear to 
be agnomina, which described certain peculiarities of 
the individuals, and which were imposed for the sake 
of distinction, after a fashion prevalent among most 
nations before the institution of surnames. 

* See Reeves's Adaranan, where ager duorum rivorum is iden- 
tified with Terryglass. 

240 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

One of the three CoUas who conquered Ulster in 
the foiu'th centiuy (see p. 131) was called Colla-da- 
chrich, Colla of the two territories. Da-chrich was a 
favomite sobriquet, and no doubt, in case of each in- 
dividual, it records the fact of his connexion, either 
by possession or residence, with two countries or dis- 
tricts ; in case of Colla, it most probably refers to 
two territories in Ireland and Scotland, in the latter 
of which he lived some years in a state of banish- 
ment before his invasion of Ulster. In the Martyro- 
logy of Donegal there are nine different persons 
mentioned, called Ferdachrich, the man of the two 

The word Dubh applied to a dark-visaged person is 
often followed by da ; thus the Four Masters mention 
two persons named Dubhdabharc, the black (man) 
of the two ships ; four named Dubhdachrich ; eight, 
Dubhdabhoireann (of the two stony districts ?) ; two, 
Dubhdainbher, of the two estuaries ; one, Dubhdaing- 
ean, of the two daughters; four, Dubhdaleithe, of 
the two sides or parties ; and two, Dubhdathuath, of 
the two districts or cantreds. In the " Genealogy of 
Corcahddhe''^ we find Dubhdamhagh, of the two 
plains ; and in the Martyrology of Donegal, Dubhda- 
locha, of the two lakes. 

Fiacha Muilleathan, king of Munster in the third 
century, was called Ferdaliach, the man of the two 
sorrows, because his mother died and his father was 
killed in the battle of Magh Mucruimhe on the day 
of his birth. The father of Maine Mor, the ancestor of 
the Hy Many^ was Eochaidh, surnamed Ferdaghiall, 
the man of the two hostages. Many more names 
might be cited, if it were necessary to extend this 
list ; and while the number two is so common, we 
meet with few names involving any other number, 
except thi'ee. 

CHAP. IX.] Numerical Combinations. 241 

It is very natural that a place should be named 
from two prominent objects forming part of it, or in 
connexion with it, and names of this kind are oc- 
casionally met with in most countries. The fact that 
they occui' in Ireland would not be considered re- 
markable were it not for these two circumstances — 
first, they are, beyond all comparison, more numerous 
than could be reasonably expected; and secondly, 
the word da is usually expressed, and forms part of 
the names. 

Grreat numbers of places are scattered here and 
there thi'ough the country whose names express posi- 
tion between two physical features, such as rivers, 
mountains, lakes, &c., those between two rivers being 
the most numerous. Killederdaowen in the parish of 
Duniry, Gralway, is called in Irish, CoiU-eder-da- 
ahhainn, the wood between two rivers ; and Killa- 
drown, in the parish of Drumcullen, King's County, 
is evidently the same word shortened by local cor- 
ruption. Drumder^own in Cork, and Dromdir^irowen 
in Kerry, are both modern forms of Druim-dir-dhd- 
ahhainn, the ridge between two rivers, where the 
Irish dhci is repesented by a in the present names. 
In Cloonederowen, Gralway— the meadow between 
two rivers — there is no representative of the dha, 
though it exists in the Irish name ; and a like remark 
applies to Ballyederown (the toTVTiland between two 
rivers), an old castle situated in the angle where the 
rivers Funcheon and Araglin in Cork, mingle their 
waters. Coracow in the parish of Killaha, Kerry, 
is a name much shortened from its original Comhrac- 
dhd-ahha, the meeting of the two streams. The Four 
Masters at A. D. 528, record a battle fought at a 
place called Liiachair-mor-etir-da-inhkir, the large 
rushy place between two river mouths, otherwise 


242 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

called Ailhhe or Cluain-Ailhhe (Ailbhe's meadow) 
now Clonal vy in the county Meath. 

With glaise (a stream) instead of ahhainn, we have 
Ederdaglass, the name of two townlands in Ferma- 
nagh, meaning (a place) between two streams ; and 
Drumederglass in Cavan, the ridge between two 
streams. Though all trace of da is lost in this name, 
it is preserved in the Down Survey, where the place 
is called Drumaderdaglass. 

Ederdacurragh in Fermanagh, means (a place) be- 
tween two marshes ; Aderavoher in Sligo, is in Irish 
Eadar-dha-hhothair (a place) between two roads, an 
idea that is othermse expressed in Grouldavoher 
near Mungret, Limerick, the fork of the two roads. 
Drumdiralough in Kerry, the ridge between two 
lakes ; and Drumederr/lena in Sligo, the ridge be- 
tween the two lenas or meadows ; Inchideraille near 
Inchigeelagh, is in Irish Tnis-idir-dha-fhdill, the 
island or river holm between two cliffs; a similar 
position has given name to Derdaoil or Dariel, a 
little tillage in the parish of Kilmastulla, Tipperary, 
which is shortened from the Irish Idir-da-fhaiU, be- 
tween two cliffs ; Cloonderavally in Sligo, the eloon 
or meadow between the two hallies or townlands. 

Crockada in the parish of Clones, Fermanagh, is 
only a part of the Irish name, Cnoc-eadar-da-ghreuch, 
the hill between the two marshy flats ; and the true 
form of the present name would be Knockadder. 
Mogh, the name of a townland in the parish of Rath- 
lynin, Tipperary, is also an abbreviation of a longer 
name ; the inhabitants call it Magh-idir-dha-ahhainn^ 
the plain between two rivers. 

The well-known old church of Aghadoe near Kil- 
larney, w^hich gives name to a parish, is called by the 
Four Masters, at 1581, Achadh-da-e6, the field of the 

CHAP. IX.] Numerical Combinations. 243 

two yew trees, which must have been growing near 
each other, and must have been sufficientlj large and 
remarkable to attract general attention. Part of the 
townland of Driunharkan Grlebe in the parish of 
Cloone, Leitrim, is called Cooldao, the back of the 
two yews. In the townland of Oornagee, parish of 
Killinagh, Cavan, there is a deep cavern, into which 
a stream sinks ; it is called PoUadaossan, the hole of 
the two bushes. 

In the parish of Killashee, Longford, there is a 
village and townland called Cloondara, containing 
the ruins of what was once an important ecclesiastical 
establishment ; it is mentioned by the Four Masters 
at 1323, and called Climin-da-raf/i, the meadow of the 
two raths ; and there is a townland of the same name 
in the parish of Tisrara, Roscommon. Near Cross- 
molina in Mayo, is a townland called Grlendavoolagh, 
the glen of the two boolies or dairy places ; and Da- 
dreen in the same county, is the two dreens or sloe 

The parish of Donagh in Monaghan, takes its 
name from an old church, the ruins of which are still 
to be seen near the village of Grlasslough ; it is men- 
tioned twice by the Four Masters, and its full name, 
as written by them, is Domhnach-maighe-da-chlaoine, 
the church of the plain of the two slopes. Dromda- 
league or Dromaleague, the name of a village and 
parish in Cork, signifies the ridge of the two stones. 
Ballydehob in the south of the same county, took 
its name from a ford, which is called in Irish Bel- 
atha-da-chah^ the ford of the two cahs or mouths ; the 
two mouths^ I suppose, describing some peculiarity of 

Several places derive their names from two plains : 
thus Damma, the name of two townlands in Kilkenny, 

244 Historical and Legendary Names. [paut ii. 

is simply Da-mhagh two plains; Eosdama in the 
parish of Grange, same county, the wood of the two 
plains. That pai-t of the King's Coimty now occu- 
pied by the baronies of Warrenstown and Coolestown, 
was anciently called Tuath-da-inhaighe, the district of 
the two plains, by which name it is fi^equently men- 
tioned in the Annals, and which is sometimes angli- 
cised Tethmoy ; the remarkable hill of Drnmcaw, 
giving name to a town land in this neighbourhood, 
was anciently called Dndm-da-mhaigJie, from the 
same district ; and we find Glendavagh, the glen of 
the two plains, in the parish of Aghaloo, Tyrone. 

The valley of Glendalough in "Wicklow, takes its 
name from the two lakes so well known to tourists ; 
it is called in Irish authorities Gleann-da-Iocha, which 
the author of the Life of St. Kevin translates " the 
valley of the two lakes." There is an island in the 
vShannon, in the parish of Killadysert, Clare, called 
Inishdadroum, which is mentioned in the " Wars of 
GGr." by the name of Inis-da-dromand^ the island of 
the two drums or backs, from its shape ; and a similar 
peculiarity of form has given name to Inishdavar in 
the parish of DerryvuUan, Fermanagh (of the two 
tops) ; to Cornadarum, Fermanagh, the round hill of 
the two drnms or ridges ; and to Corradeverrid in 
Cavan, the hill of the two caps. Tuam in Galway, 
is called in the Annals Tuaim-da-ghualann, the tumu- 
lus of the two shoulders, e^ddently from the shape of 
the ancient sejoulchral mound from which the place 
has its name. 

Desertcreat, a townland giving name to a parish 
in Tyrone, is mentioned by the Four Masters as the 
scene of a battle between the O'Neills and the 
O'Donnells, in A. D. 1281, and it is called by them 
Diseart-da-chrioch, the desert or hermitage of the 

CHAP. IX.] Numerical Comb mat ions. 245 

two territories ; they mention also a place called 
Magh-da-chai)'neach, the plain of the two earns ; 
Magh-da-cjhabhal, the plain of the two forks ; Ailiiin- 
da-hhernach^ the island of the two gaps ; Magh-da- 
Chainneach, the plain of the two Cainneachs (men) . 
The district between Lough Conn and the river Moy 
was anciently called An Da Bhac^ the two bends, 
under which name it is frequently mentioned in the 

There is a townland in the parish of Bossinver, 
Leitrim, called Lisdarush, the fort of the two promon- 
tories ; and on the side of Hungry Hill, west of 
Griengarilf in Cork, is a small lake which is called 
Coomadavallig, the hollow of the two roads ; in Eos- 
common we find Cloondacarra, the meadow of the 
two weirs ; the Four Masters mention Clar-atha-da- 
charadh, the plain (or footboard) of the ford of the 
two weu's ; and Charlemont in Tyrone was anciently 
called Achadh-an-da-ckaradh, the field of the two 
weirs. Grubbacrock in the parish of Killesher, Fer- 
managh, is written in Irish Goh-dha-chnoc, the beak 
or point of the two hills. 

L)undareirke is the name of an ancient castle in 
Cork, built by the McCarthys, signifying the fortress 
of the two prospects (Dan~da-radharc), and the name 
is very suitable ; for, according to Smith, " it is on a 
hill and commands a vast extended view west as far 
as Kerry, and east almost to Cork ;" there is a town- 
land of the same name, but written Dundaryark, in 
the parish of Danesfort, Kilkenny. 

The preceding names were derived from conspi- 
cuous physical features, and their origin is therefore 
natural enough, so far as each individual name is con- 
cerned ; their great number, as already remarked, is 
what gives them significance. But those I am now 

246 Historical and Legendary Najues. [part ii. 

about to bring forward admit in general of no such 
explanation, and appear to me to prove still more 
conclusively the existence of this remarkable disposi- 
tion in the minds of the people, to look out for groups 
of two. Here also, as in the preceding class, names 
crowd upon us w\i\i remarkable frequency, both 
in ancient authorities and in the modern list of 

Great numbers of places have been named from two 
animals of some kind. If we are to explain these 
names from natural occurrences, we must believe that 
the places were so called because they wttc the fa- 
vourite haunt of the two animals commemorated ; 
but it is very strange that so many places should be 
named from just two, while there are very few from 
one, three, or any other number — except in the ge- 
neral way of a genitive singular or a genitive plural. 
Possibly it may be explained to some extent by the 
natm-al pairing of male and female ; but this will not 
explain all, nor even a considerable part, as any one 
may see from the illustrations that follow. I believe 
that most or all of these names have their origin in 
legends or superstitions, and that the two animals 
were very often supernatural, viz., fairies, or ghosts, 
or human beings transformed by Tuatha De Danann 

We very frequently meet with two birds — dd-en. 
A portion of the Shannon near Clonmacnoise was an- 
ciently called Snamh-dd-en, the swimming ford of 
the two birds. The parish of Duneane in Antrim, 
has got its present name by a slight contraction from 
Dini-dd-en, the fortress of the two birds, which is its 
name in the Irish authorities, among others, the Felire 
of Aengus. There is a mountain stretching between 
Lough Gill and CoUooney, Sligo, which the Four 

CHAP. IX.] Numerical Combinations, 247 

Masters mention at 1196 by the name of Sliahh-cld-en, 
the mountain of the two birds, now called Slieve Da- 
eane ; it is curious that a lake on the north side of 
the same mountain is called Lough Dagea, the lake 
of the two geese, which are probably the two birds 
that gave name to the mountain. There is a town- 
land in the parish of Kinawly, Fermanagh, called 
Rossdanean, the peninsula of two birds ; and Colgan 
(A. SS., p. 42, note 9) mentions a place near Lough 
Neagh, called Ciuaiii-dd-en, the meadow of the two 

Two birds of a particular kind have also given 
their names to several places, and among these, two 
ravens seem to be favourites. In the last-mentioned 
parish is a townland called Aghindaiagh, in Irish 
Achadh-au-da-fhiach, the field of the two ravens ; in 
the townland of Kilcolman, parish of same name, 
Kerry, is a pit or cavern called PoU-da-fhiach^ the 
hole of the two ravens ; we find in Cavan, Ned- 
daiagh, the nest of the two ravens ; in Gralway, Cuil- 
leendaeagh, and in Kerry Grlandaeagh, the little 
wood, and the glen, of the two ravens. With ^r^^^o^, 
another name for the same bird, we have Brannock 
Island, near Grreat Aran Island, Gralway bay, which 
is called in Irish 0ilean-da-hhrau6g (O'Flahei-ty, 
lar Connaught), the island of the two ravens. 
Aghadachor in Donegal, means the field of the two 
herons or cranes. There is a townland in the parish 
of Killinvoy, Roscommon, whose name is improperly 
anglicised Lisdaulan; the Four Masters, at 1380, 
call it Lios-da-hn, the fort of the two blackbirds. 

Several places are called from two hounds ; such 
as Moyacomb in Wicklow (see p. 50) ; Cahiracon, 
two townlands in Clare, which are in Irish Caihair- 
dhd-chon^ the caher or stone fortress of the two hounds ; 

248 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

and Lisdachon in Westmeatli. In the parish of Deve- 
nish, Fermanagh, there are two conterminous town- 
lands called Big Dog and Little Dog ; these singular 
appellations derive their origin from the modern 
division into two unequal parts, of an ancient tract 
which is called in the Annals, Sliahh-dd-chon, the 
mountain of the two hounds. We find also 
Cloondacon in Mayo, the meadow of the two 

In several other places we have two oxen comme- 
morated, as in Cloondadauv in Gralway, which the 
annalists write Cluain-dd-damh,ih.e meadow of the two 
oxen ; Rossdagamph in Fermanagh, and Aughada- 
nove, Armagh, the promontory and the field of the 
two oxen ; in the first, d is changed to g (see p. 54), 
and in the second, da prefixes n to the vowel. At 
the year 606, the Four Masters mention a lake in 
which a crannoge was built, situated in Oriel, but not 
now known, called Loch-da-damh^ the lake of the two 

Two bucks are commemorated in such names as 
Bally davock, Cappadavock, Grlendavock, Lisdavock, 
(town, plot, glen, fort), and Attidavock, the site of 
the house of the two bucks. The parish of Clony- 
hurk in King's County, takes its name from a town- 
land which the Four Masters call Cluain-da-thorc, the 
meadow of the two boars ; Glendahui^k in Mayo is 
the Grlen of the two boars ; and Lisdavuck in King's 
County, the fort of the two pigs. 

Cloondanagh in Clare is in Irish Cluain-da-neach, 
the meadow of the two horses ; we find the same 
two animals in Tullyloughdaugh in Fermanagh, and 
Aghadaugh in Westmeath ; the second meaning the 
field, and the first the hill of the lake, of the two 
horses ; and Cloondelara near Clonmacnoise, is the 

CHAP. IX.] Numerical Coinbinatlons. 249 

meadow of the two mares. Clondalee in the parish 
of Killjon, Me#h, is called in Irish Cluain-da-laegh^ 
the meadow of the two calves. Aghadavoyle in 
Ai-magh is the field of the two maels^ or hornless 
cows ; two animals of the same kind have given name 
to a little island in Mayo, viz., Inishdaweel ; while 
we have two yellow cows in Inishdauwee, the name 
of two townlands in Gralway. 

There is a legend concerning the origin of Clon- 
dagad in Clare, the cloon of the two gads or withes, 
and another accounting for the name Dun-da-Jeath- 
glas, anciently applied to the great rath at Down- 
patrick, the fortress of the two broken locks or fetters. 
The two remarkable mountains in Kerry now called 
the Paps, were anciently called, and are still, in Irish, 
Da-chich-DanaimiP, the two paps of Danann (see 
p. 157) ; and the plain on which they stand is called 
Bun-a^ -da-chich, the bottom or foundation of the two 
Paps : Drumahaire, the name of a village in Leitrim, 
signifies the ridge of the two air-spiiits or demons 
(see p. 187). 

In this great diversity it must be supposed that two 
persons would find a place ; and accordingly we find 
Kildaree, the church of the two kings, the name of 
two townlands in Galway (for which see Sir William 
Wilde's " Lough Corrib"), and of another near Cross- 
molina, Mayo. There is a fort one mile south of the 
village of Killoscully, Tipperary , called Lisdavraher, 
the fort of the two friars ; and there is another of the 
same name in the south of Ballymoylan townland, 
parish of Youghalarra, in the same county. In both 
these cases the friars were probably ghosts. 

There is a j)arish called Toomore in the county of 
Mayo, taking its name fi'om an old church standing 
near the river Moy ; it is also the name of a townland 

250 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

in the parish of Aughrim, Eoscommon, and of a 
townland and parish in Sligo. This% a very ciuious 
and a very ancient name. Toomore in Mayo is 
written Tuaim-da-Wwdliar by Duald Mac Firbis and 
the Four Masters ; and Tuaim-da-hhodar in a poem 
in the "Book of Lecan." The pronunciation of 
the original is Tooma-oiir, which easily sank into 
Toomore ; and the name signifies the tomb of the 
two deaf persons ; but who they were, neither history 
nor tradition records. 

The memory of the two venerable people who gave 
name to Cordalea in the parish of Kilmore, Cavan, 
has quite perished from the face of the earth, except 
only so far as it is preserved in the name Cor-da-liath, 
the hill of the two grey persons. Two people of a 
different complexion are commemorated in &lenda- 
duff in Mayo, the glen of the two black visaged 
persons. Meendacalliagh in the parish of Lower 
Fahan, Donegal, means the Mee)i or mountain flat of 
the two calUaghs or hags, probably a pair of those 
old witches who used to turn themselves, on Good 
Friday, into hares, and suck the cows. 

It must occur to any one who glances through 
these names to ask himself the question — what was 
the origin of this curious custom ? I cannot believe 
that it is a mere accident of language, or that it 
sprang up spontaneously, without any particular 
cause. I confess myself wholly in the dark, unable 
to offer any explanation : I have never met anything 
that I can call to mind in the whole range of Irish 
literature tending in the least degree to elucidate it. 
Is it the remnant of some ancient religious belief, or 
some dark superstition, dispelled by the light of 
Cliristianity ? or does it commemorate some wide- 
spread social custom, prevailing in times beyond the 

CHAP. IX.] Numerical Comhinations. 251 

reach of history or tradition, leaving its track on the 
language as the only manifestation of its existence ? 
We know that among some nations certain numbers 
were accounted sacred, like the number seven among 
the Hebrews. Was tw^o a sacred number with the 
primitive people of this country ? I refrain from all 
conjectm'e, though the subject is sufficiently tempt- 
ing ; I give the facts, and leave to others the task of 
accounting for them. 

The number three occurs also with remarkable fre- 
quency in Irish proper names, so much so that it 
would incline one to believe that the Irish had a 
predilection for grouping things in triads like the 
Welsh. Dr. Reeves has observed that the old chro- 
niclers often enumerate rivers in tlirees ; such as the 
three Uinseanns ; the three Sucks ; the three Finns ; 
the three Coimdes ; the three rivers, Siiiir, Feil, and 
Ercre ; the three, Fleasc^ Maud, and Labhrann ; the 
three black rivers, Fuhhna, Torann, and Callann ; 
the nine Brosnachs (3x3); the nine Eighes, &c. — all 
these taken from the Four Masters. 

Mr Hennessy has directed my attention to a great 
number of triple combinations ; such as the three 
Tuathas or districts in Connaught ; the places called 
thi^ee castles in Kilkenny and Wicklow; Bearna-tri- 
carhad the gap of the three chariots, a place in the 
county Clare ; the cam of the three crosses at Clon- 
macnoise ; several places called three plains ; the three 
Connaughts ; and many others. He has also giA' en 
me a long list, taken from the Annals, of names of 
persons distinguished by three qualities (such as Fear- 
7ia-dt?i-mbi{ad/i, the man of the three virtues, a cog- 
nomen of Conary More), which would enable me to 
extend this enumeration of triplets much farther; but 
as I am at present concerned only about local names, 

252 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

I shall content myself with simply noting the fact, 
that names of this kind occur in great numbers in 
our old wi'itings. 

Many of these combinations were no doubt adopted 
in Christian times in honour of the Trinity, of which 
the name of Trevet (see p. 127) is an example ; and 
it is probable that the knowledge of this mystery dis- 
posed men's minds to notice more readily combina- 
tions of three, and to give names accordingly, even 
in cases where no direct reference to the Trinity was 

We learn the origin of Duntry league near Galbally 
in Limerick, from a passage in the Book of Lismore, 
which states that " Cormac Cas (king ofMunster), 
son of OilioU Olum (see p. 128, supra) fought the 
battle of Knocksouna(nearKilmallock) against Eochy 
Abhradhruadh [Avraroo], king of Ulster, in which 
Eochy was slaiu ; and Cormac was wounded (in the 
head), so that he was three years under cure, with his 
brain continually flomng from his head." Then a 
goodly dan was constructed for him, " having in the 
middle a beautiful clear spring, and a great royal house 
was built over the well, and three iiagdns (pillar stones) 
were placed round it, on which was laid the bed of 
the king, so that his head was in the middle between 
the three pillars. And one of his attendants stood 
constantly by him with a cup, pouring the water of 
the well on his head. He died there after that, and 
was buried in a cave within the dun ; and from this is 
(derived) the name of the place, Dun-tri-liag, the 
fortress of the three pillar stones." 

The erection of three stones like those at Duntry- 
league must have been very usual, for we find several 
names containing the compound tri-liag, three pillar 
stones. It occurs simply in the form of Trillick, as 

CHAP. IX.] Nii7nerical Combinations. 253 

the name of a village in Tyrone, and of two townlands, 
one in Donegal, and the other in Fermanagh. In the 
parish of Ballymacormick, Longford, there are two 
townlands called respectively, Trillickacurry and Tril- 
lickatemple, the trillick or Three Stones of the marsh, 
and of the church. Near Dromore in Down, we find 
Edentrillick, and in the parish of Tynan, Armagh, 
Rathtrillick, the first the hill hrow, and the second 
the fort, of the three pillar stones. 

Several places take their names from three persons, 
who were prohahly joint occupiers. In the parish 
of Kilbride, Meath, there is a townland called Bal- 
lintry, Baile-an-fri, the town of the thi'ee (per- 
sons). The more usual word employed in this case, 
however, is triur [troor], w^hich means, not three in 
the abstract, but three persons ; and it is not im- 
probable that in the last mentioned name, a final r 
has been lost. Ballintruer in the parish of Donagh- 
more, Wicklow, has the same meaning as Ballintry. 
In the parish of Eamoan, Antrim, is a hill called 
Camtroor, where three persons must liave been buried 
under a cam ; and in the parish of Templecorran, 
same county, is another hill called Slieveatrue, which 
name appears to be a corruption from Slieveatroor, 
the mountain of the three persons. 

Cavantreeduff in the parish of Cleenish, Ferma- 
nagh, has probably some legendary story connected 
w^ith it, the Irish name being Cab/ian-tri-dan?/i, the 
round hill of the three oxen. The celebrated castle 
of Portnatrynod at Lifi'ord, of which the name is 
now forgotten, and even its very site unknow^n, is 
repeatedly mentioned in the Annals, and alwaj^s 
called Port-na-dtri-namhad, the port or bank of the 
three enemies ; who these three hostile persons were, 

254 Historical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

history does not tell, though the old people of Lifford 
have a legend about them. 

There is a place in the parish of Grartan, Donegal, 
called Bunnatreesruhan, the mouth of the three 
streamlets. A fort with three circumvallations is 
often called Lisnatreeclee, or more correctly Lisna- 
dreeglee, i. e. in Irish, Lios-na-dtri-gcladh, the lis of 
the three mounds. Ballytober, in the Grlens of 
Antrim is a shortened form of the correct Irish 
name, Baile-na-dtri-dtobar, the town of the three 

We find occasionally other numbers also in names. 
At the year 872, the Four Masters mention a place 
called Rath-aen-ho, the fort of the one cow. There 
is a place of this name, now called Eaheanbo, in the 
parish of Churchtown, Westmeath, but whether it is 
the Rath-aen-ho of the Annals is uncertain. In the 
parish of Magheross, Monaghan, is a townland called 
Corrinenty, in Irish Cor-an-aen-tighe^ the round hill 
of the one house ; and Boleyneendorrish is the name 
of a place near Ardrahan, Gralway, signifying the 
hooly or dairy place of the one door. In the parish 
of E-athronan, Limerick, is a townland called Kerry- 
kyle, Ceithre-choill, four woods. A townland in the 
parish of Tulla, Clare, is called Derrykeadgran, the 
oak wood of the hundred trees ; and there is a parish 
in Kilkenny, called TuUahaught, or in Irish Talach- 
ocht, the hill of the eight (persons). 





EFORE the introduction of Christia- 
nity, buildings of all the various kinds 
erected in Ireland, whether do- 
mestic, military, or sepulchral, 
were round or nearly round 
I in shape. This is suffi- 
ciently proved by the nu- 
merous forts and mounds that 
still remain all over the country, 
and which are almost universally 
circular. We find moreover in 
our old Manuscripts, many pas- 
sages in which the strongholds of the chiefs are 
described as of this shape ; and in the ancient 
Life of St. Patrick ascribed to St. Evin, there is 
an Irish stanza quoted as the composition of a 
druid named Con, in which it is predicted, that the 
custom of building houses narrow and quadrangular 

256 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

would be introduced among other innovations by 
St. Patrick. 

The domestic and military structures in use among 
the ancient Irish were denoted by the words, lios, rcdh., 
dun, cathair, hrugh, &c. ; and these terms are still in 
use and applied to the very same objects. A notion 
very generally prevails, though much less so now 
than formerly, that the cu'cular forts which still exist 
in great numbers in every county in Ireland, were 
erected by the Danes ; and they are hence very often 
called "Danish raths." It is difficult to trace the 
origin of this opinion, unless we ascribe it to the well- 
known tendency of the peasantry to attribute almost 
every remarkable ancient work to the Danes. These 
people had, of course, fortresses of some kind in the 
maritime to^Tis where they were settled, such as 
Dublin, Limerick, Waterford, Donegal, &c. In the 
" Wars of GGf." (p. 41), we are told that they " spread 
themselves over Munster, and they built duns and 
daingeans (strongholds) and caladh-phorts'^ (landing 
ports) ; the Chronicon Scotorum at the year 845, 
records the erection of a dun at Lough Ree, by the 
Danish king Turgesius, from which he plundered 
Connaught and Meath ; and it is not unlikely that 
the Danes may have taken, and for a long time 
occupied, some of the strongholds they found in the 
country. But that the raths and lisses are not of 
Danish origin would be proved by this fact alone, 
that they are found in every paii^ of Ireland, 
and more plentifully in districts where the Danes 
never gained any footing, than where they had settle- 

There is abundance of evidence to show that these 
structures were the dwellings of the people of this 
country before the adoption of houses of a rectan- 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 257 

gular form ; the larger raths belonging to the better 
classes, and the gueat fortified duns to the princes 
and chieftains. The remains still to be seen at the 
historic sites — Tara, The Navan, Eathcroghan, 
Bruree, &c. — places celebrated for ages as royal re- 
sidences — afi'ord striking testimony to the truth of 
this ; for here we find the finest and most characte- 
ristic specimens of the Irish circular forts in all their 
sizes and varieties. 

But besides, in our ancient writings, they are con- 
stantly mentioned as residences under their various 
names of dioi, rath, tios, &c. — as constantly as houses 
and castles are in books of the last two or three cen- 
turies. To illustrate this, I will give a few passages, 
which I might extend almost indefinitely, if it were 
necessary. In the " Feast of JDun-na-ngedh" (" Battle 
of Moyrath"), Congal Claen thus addresses his foster 
father, king Domhnall : — " Thou didst place a 
w^oman of thine own tribe to nurse me in the garden 
of the lios in which thou dwelledst." On which 
O'Donovan remarks : — " Thelrishkings and chieftains 
lived at this period (A. D. 637) in the great earthen 
raths or lisses, the ruins of which are still so numerous 
in Ireland." In the same tale we read of two visi- 
tors that "they were conducted into the dun, and 
a dinner sufiicient for a himdred was given to them" 
(p. 22) ; and in another place, king Domhnall says 
to Congal : — " Gro to view the great feast which is in 
the dwi"' (p. 24). 

In the " Forbais Dromadamhghaire " (see p. 97, 
supra), we read that when Cormac sent to demand 
tribute from the men of Munster, they refused ; but 
as there was a great scarcity in Cormac's dominions, 
they offered to relieve him by a gift of " a cow out 
of each lios in Munster ;" and in the poem of Dubh- 

258 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

thach ua Lugair in the Book of Leinster, celebrating 
the triumphs of Enna Kinsellagh, king of Leinster, 
it is stated that the tribute which was paid to Enna 
out of Munster, was '' an uinge of gold from every 

In many cases, too, we find the building of raths or 
lisses recorded. Thus in the passage quoted from the 
Book of Leinster (p. 85, supra), queen Maev sentences 
the five sons of Dihorba to " raise a rath''' around her, 
which should be "the chief city of Ulster for ever." 
In the " Battle of Moylena" (p. 2), it is stated that 
Nuadhat, the foster father of Owen More (see p. 128, 
supra) *' raised a kingly rath on Magh Feimhin." In 
the Book of Armagh, and in several of the ancient 
Lives of St. Patrick, it is stated that on a certain oc- 
casion, the saint heard the voices of workmen who 
were building a rath ; and Jocelin, in relating the 
same circumstance, says that the work in which they 
were engaged was " Rayth, i. e. murus.''' 

The houses in which the families lived, were built 
within the enclosed area, timber being, no doubt, the 
material employed, in accordance with the well- 
known custom of the ancient Irish ; and the circum- 
vallations of the rath served both for a shelter and 
a defence. I might adduce many passages to prove 
this, but I will content myself with two — one from 
the MS. Harl. 5280, Brit. Mus., quoted by O'Curry 
(Lect., p. 618):— ''They then went forward until 
they entered a beautiful plain. And they saw a 
kingly 7'ath, and a golden tree at its door ; and they 
saw a splendid house in it, under a roof- tree oifind- 
ruine; thirty feet was its length." And the other from 
the tale of "The fate of the Children of Usnagh" 
(Atlantis, No. YI.)> in which we find it stated that 
as Deirdre's mother " was passing over the floor of 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 259 

the house, the infant shrieked in her womb, so that 
it was heard all over the /^s." 

The circular form was not discontinued at the in- 
troduction of Ohristianitj. The churches indeed 
were universally quadrangular, but this form was 
adopted only very slowly in the strongholds and 
dwellings of the chiefs and people. Even in ecclesi- 
astical architecture the native form to some extent 
prevailed, for it seems evident that the shape of the 
round towers was suggested byihat of the old fortresses 
of the country. Circular duns and raths, after the 
ancient pagan fashion, continued to be erected down 
to the twelfth or thirteenth century. It is recorded 
in the " "Wars of GrGr.," that Brian Borumha fortified 
or erected certain duns, fastnesses, and islands (i. e. 
crannoges) , which are enumerated ; and the remains 
of several of these are still to be seen, differing in no 
respect from the more ancient forts. iJonagh 
Cairbreach O'Brien, the sixth in descent from Brian 
Borumha, erected, according to the *' Cathreim 
Thoirdhealbhaigh " (compiled in 1459, by John 
M'Grrath), "a princely palace of a circular form, at 
Clonroad" (nearEnnis); and the same authority states 
that Conchobhaii' na Siudaine, the son of Donagh, 
built at the same place a longphort of earth, as a resi- 
dence for himself. 

It is highly probable that originally the words lios^ 
rath, dun,&e.,weTe applied to different kinds of struc- 
tures : but however that may be, they are at present, 
and have been for a long time, especially the two 
first, confounded one mth another, so that it seems 
impossible to make a distinction. The duns indeed, 
as I shall explain further on, are usually pretty well 
distinguished from the lisses and raths ; but we often 
find, even in old authorities, two of these terms, and 

260 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

sometimes the whole three, applied to the very same 

In the following passage for instance, from the 
annotations of Tirechan, in the Book of Armagh, 
the terms lios and dun appear to be applied synony- 
mously : — "Cummen and Breathan pui'chased Ochter- 
nAchid (upper field, supposed to be Ought eragh, a 
parish in the county Leitrim) , with its appurtenances, 
both wood, and plain, and meadow, together with its 
Uus and its garden. Half of this wood, and house and 
dun^ was mortmain to Cummen." (Petrie, R. Towers, 
p. 218). And some other terms also are used in the 
same manner ; as for example, in case of the great en- 
closure at Tara, which is known by the two names, 
i?fff/^-na-riogh, and Cathair-Q-ao^Tm. 

In another passage* from the Book of Ballymote, 
the word rath is used to denote the circular entrench- 
ment, and les the spacfe enclosed by the raths, while 
the whole quotation aff'ords another proof that houses 
were built on the interior : — (a person who is making 
his way towards the palace) "leaped with that shaft 
over the thi^ee rafhs, until he was on the floor of the 
les ; and from that until he was on the floor of the 

Lios. The words lios [lis] and rath were applied 
to the circular mound or entrenchment, generally of 
earth, thrown up both as a fortification and a shelter 
round the level sjoace on which the houses were 
erected ; and accordingly they are often translated 
atriurn by Latin writers. But though this is the 
usual application of these terms, both — and especially 

* Quoted by Mr. J. O'Beirne Crowe, in an article in the 
Journal of the Hist, and Arch. Assoc, of Ireland : January, 1869, 
p. 223. 

CHAP. I.] Habitatmis and Fortresses. 261 

rath — were, and are, not unfrequently applied to tlie 
great high entrenched mounds which are commonly 
designated by the word dun. These forts are still 
very numerous through the country, and they are 
called lisses and rat/is to the present day. Their 
great numbers, and the very general application of 
the terms, may be judged of from the fact, that there 
are about 1400 towmlands and villages dispersed 
through all parts of Ireland, whose names begin with 
the word Lis alone ; and of course this is only a very 
small fraction of all the lisses in Ireland. 

The name of Lismore in Waterford, affords a good 
illustration of the application of this word ; and its 
history shows that the early saints sometimes sur- 
rounded theu' habitations with circular lisses, after 
the fashion of their pagan ancestors. In the Life of 
St. Carthach, the founder, published by the Bolland- 
ists at the 14th of May, we are told that when the 
saint and his followers, after his expulsion from Ra- 
han, arrived at this place, which had previously been 
called Maghsciath [Ma-skee], the plain of the shield, 
they began to erect a circular entrenchment. Then 
a certain virgin, who had a little cell in the same field, 
came up and inquired what they were doing ; and St. 
Carthach answered her that they were preparing to 
construct a little enclosure or Us around their goods, 
for the service of God. And the holy vii^gin said, 
'-' It will not be little, but great." " The holy father, 
Mochuda (i. e. Carthach) answered — ' Truly it will 
be as thou sayest, thou handmaid of Christ ; for from 
this name the place will be always called in Scotio, 
Liassmor, or in Latin, Atrium -magnum,'' " i. e. great 
lis or enclosure. There are altogether eleven places 
in Ireland called by this name Lismore ; all with the 
same meaning. 

262 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

Many local names are formed by the union of the 
term lios with a personal name ; the individual com- 
memorated heing either the builder of the lis^ or one 
of its subsequent possessors. Listowel in Kerry, is 
called by .the Four Masters, Lios-Tuatkai/, Tuathal's 
or Thoohal's fort ; Liscarroll in Cork, Carroll's or 
Cearbhall's ; Liscahane in the parish of Ai'dfert, 
Kerry, called in the Annals, Lios-Cathain, Cathan's 
or Kane's lis. The parish of Lissonuffy in Roscom- 
mon, took its name from an old chm^ch built by the 
O'Dujffys within the enclosure of a fort ; it is called 
by the Four Masters Lios-O-uDuhJifhaigh, the fort of 
the 'Duffy s, the pronunciation of which is exactly 
preserved in the present name. 

Or if not by name, we have a person commemo- 
rated in some other way : as, for instance, in Lisal- 
banagh in Londonderry, the Scotchman's Us ; Lisa- 
taggart in Cavan, of the priest ; Lisnabantry in 
the same county, the lis of the widow [Lios-na-bain- 
treahhaighe) ; Lissadill in the parish of Drumcliff, 
Sligo, which the Fom- Masters write Lios-aii-doill, 
the fort of the blind man, the same name as Lissa- 
doill in Galway ; Lissanearla near Tralee, the earl's 

The old foiTa of this word is fes, genitive lis ; but 
in the modern language, a corrujDt genitive leasa 
[lassa] is often found. All these are preserved in 
modern names ; and the word is not much subject to 
change in the process of anglicisation. Different 
forms of the genitive are seen in the following :— 
Drumlish, the ridge of the fort, the name of a village 
in Longford, and of some townlands in the northern 
counties : Moyliss, Moylish and Moylisha (Moy, a 
plain) ; Gortalassa, the field of the lis ; Knockalassa 
(hill) ; BalKnlass, Ballinliss, Ballinlassa, and Ballin- 

CHAP. I.] Hahitations and Fortresses. 263 

lassy, the town of the fort ; all widely-spread town- 
land names. 

The two diminutives liosdn and Hsin [lissaun, lish- 
een], little fort, are very common. The latter is 
usually made Lisheen, which is the name of twenty 
townlands, and helps to form many others. It as- 
sumes a different form in Lissen, or Lissen Hall, 
the name of a place near Swords in Dublin, and of 
another in the parish of Kilmore, Tipperary . Liosdn 
appears in Lissan and Lissane, which are the names 
of several townlands and parishes. The Irish plural 
appears in Lessanny (little forts) in Mayo ; and the 
English in Lessans near Saintfield in Down. It 
occurs in combination in Mellison in Tipperary, 
which is called in Irish, Magh-Iiosain, the plain of the 
little lis^ and in Ballylesson in Do^n and Antrim, 
the town of the little fort. 

With the adjective diir prefixed, signifying 
" strong," the compound durlas is formed, which 
means, according to 'Donovan, strong fort (Sup. to 
O'Eeilly's Diet, in voce). Several great forts in dif- 
ferent parts of the country are called by this name, 
one of the finest of which is situated in the parish of 
Kih-uan, Tipperary ; it is surrounded by tln-ee great 
entrenchments, and contains within it the ruins of a 
small ancient church. It is now called Rath-durlais 
in Irish, and gives name to the townland of Eathur- 
les. Several places derive their names from this 
word durlas, the best known of which is the town of 
Thurles in Tipperary, which was often called Dur- 
las- 0^ Fog arty, from its situation in O'Fogarty's 
country ; but whether the fort remains or not, I can- 
not tell. Dmiess, another form, is the name of a 
tx)wnland in Mayo, and of two others in Tyrone. 

Rath, This term has been explained in conjunction 

264 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

with lios, atpage 260 : in the Book of Armagh, rath 
is translated ,/b6-677. In a great number of cases this 
word is preserved in the anglicised names exactly as 
it is spelled in Irish ; namely, in the form of rath, 
which forms or begins the names of about 700 town- 
lands. The townland of Rathurd near Limerick, is 
now called in Irish Rath-tSuird^ but by the annalists 
Bath-arda-Suird, the fort of Sord's height, Sord being 
a man's name. The Four Masters record the erec- 
tion of this rath, by one of Heber's chieftains, in 
A. M. 3501 ; and its remains are still to be seen on 
the top of Rathurd hill, near the old castle. Rath- 
new inWicklow, is called in Irish authorities, Hath- 
Naol, the latter part of which is a man's name, 
possibly the original possessor. Rathdrum, also in 
Wicklow, means the rath of the drum or long hill, 
and there are several other places of the same name 
in different parts of Ireland ; for raths were often 
built on the tops of low hills 

Rathmore, great fort, is the name of forty town- 
lands in different counties. The great fortification 
that gave name to Rathmore near the town of An- 
trim, still exists, and is famous for its historical asso- 
ciations. It is the Rath-mor-Muighe-Line (great 
rath of Moylinny) of om- historians ; Tighernach no- 
tices it as existing in the second century ; and in the 
seventh it was the residence of the princes of Dala- 
radia. It was burned in the year 1315 by Edward 
Bruce, which shows that even then it was an impor- 
tant residence (Reeves, Eccl. Ant., p. 280). The 
rath also remains at Rathmore, four miles east of 
Naas in Kildare. 

Rath is in Irish pronounced raw, and in modern 
names it takes various phonetic forms, to correspond 
with this pronunciation, such as ra, rah, ray, &c., 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 265 

which syllables, as representatives of rath^ begin the 
names of about 400 toTVTilands. Raheny near Dub- 
lin is called by the annalists Rath-Enna, the fort of 
Enna, a man's name formerly common in Ireland ; 
the cn-cumvalloiions of the old fort are still distinctly 
traceable roimd the Protestant church, which was 
built on its site. The village of Ardara in Donegal, 
takes its name from a conspicuous rath on a hill near 
it, to which the name properly belongs, in Irish Ard- 
a'-raith, the height of the rath. Drimiragh, a parish 
in Tyrone, containing the town of Omagh, is called 
in Irish Druini-ratha, the ridge or hill of the rath. 
The word occurs singly as Kaigh in Gralway and 
Mayo ; Raw, with the plural Raws, in several of the 
Ulster counties ; and Ray in Donegal and Cavan. 

Other modern modifications and compounds are 
exhibited in the following names : — Beba in Sligo, 
Belragh near Carnteel in Tyrone, and Belraugh in 
Londonderry, all meaning the mouth or entrance of 
the fort ; Corray in the parish of Ivilmacteige, Sligo, 
Cor-rait/i, the round hill of the rath. Roemore in 
the parish of Breaghwy, Mayo, is called liaheniore in 
an Inquisition of James I., which shows it to be 
a corruption of Rath more, great fort ; and there is 
another Roemore in the parish of Kilmeena, same 
county. Raharney in Westmeath preserves an Irish 
personal name of great antiquity, the full name being 
Rath-Athairne, Aharny's fort. 

The diminutive Raheen (little fort), and its plural 
Raheens, are the names of about eighty townlands, 
and form part of many others. There are six town- 
lands called Raheenroe, little red rath : the little fort 
which gave name to Raheenroe near Ballyorgan in 
the south of Limerick, has been levelled within my 
own memory. 

266 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

JDun. The primary meaning of the word dun is 
" strong" or " firm," and it is so interpreted in Zeuss, 
page 30 : — " Dun, firmus, fortis." In tliis sense it 
forms a part of the old name of Dnnluce castle, near 
the Griant's Causeway — Dunlios, as it is called in all 
Irish authorities. Dunlios signifies strong lis or fort, 
and this name shows that the rock on which the castle 
niins stand was in old times occupied by a fortified 
lis. It has the same signification in Dunchladh [Dun- 
claw], i. e. fortified mound or dyke, the name of the 
ancient boundary rampart between Brefny and An- 
naly, extending from Lough GrOTSTia to Lough Kin- 
clare in Longford ; a considerable part of this ancient 
entrenchment is still to be seen near Grranard, and 
it is now well kno^Ti by the anglicised name of 

As a verb, the word dun is used in the sense of 
*' to close," which is obviously derived from its adjec- 
tival signification ; and this usage is exemplified in 
Corragunt, the name of a place in Fermanagh, near 
Clones, which is a corruption from the Irish name, 
Corra-dhunta (change oidh to g, page 54), i. e. closed 
or shut up weir. 

Dun, as a noun, signifies a citadel or fortified resi- 
dence ; in the Zeuss MSS. it glosses arjc and castrum, 
and Adamnan translates it nuDiitio. It is found in the 
Teutonic as well as in the Keltic languages — Welsh, 
din ; Anglo-Saxon, tun ; old high Grerman, zun. It 
is represented in English by the word town ; and it 
is the same as the termination dunum, so common in 
the old Latinized names of many of the citiea of 
Grreat Britain and the Continent. 

This word was anciently, and is still, frequently ap- 
plied to the great forts, with a high central mound, 
flat at top, and surrounded by several — very usually 

CHAP. I.] Hahitations and Fortresses, 267 

three — earthen circumvallations. These fortified dum^ 
so many of which remain all over the country, were 
the residences of the kings and chiefs ; and they are 
constantly mentioned as such in the Irish authorities. 
Thus v/e read in the Feast oi Dun-na-ugedh (Battle of 
Maghrath^ p. 7), that Domhnall, son of Aedh, king of 
Ireland from A. D. 624 to 639, "first selected Bun- 
na-ngedh, on the bank of the Boyne, to be his habi- 
tation, .... and he formed seven very great ram- 
parts around this dun, after the model of the houses 
of Tara." And other passages to the same efi'ect are 
cited at page 257 et seq. 

In modern names, dun generally assumes the forms 
dun, doon, or don ; and these syllables form the be- 
ginning of the names of more than 600 townlands, 
towns, and parishes. 

There are twenty-seven different places called 
Doon ; one of them is the village and parish of Doon 
in Limerick, where was situated the church of St. 
Fintan ; the fort fi'om which the place received the 
name still remains, and was anciently called Bun- 
blesque. Dunamon, now a parish in Gralway, was so 
called from a castle of the same name on the Suck ; 
but the name, which the annalists write Dun-Iomgain, 
Imgan's fort, was anciently applied to a dun, which 
is still in part preserved. Dimdonnell, i. e. Donall's 
or Domhnall's fortress, is the name of a townland in 
Boscommon, and of another in Westmeath ; in Dot\ti 
it is modified, under Scottish infiuence,to Dundonald, 
which is the name of a parish, so called from a fort 
that stands not far from the church. 

The name of Dundalk was originally applied, not to 
the town, but to the great fortress now called the moat 
of Castletown, a mile inland ; there can be no doubt 
that this is the Bun-Bealgan of the ancient histories 

268 Artificial Structures. [pakt nr. 

and romances, tlie residence of Cucliiillm, chief of the 
Red Branch Knights in the first century. In some 
of the tales of the Leabhar na hnidhre, it is called 
Bun-Deica, but in later authorities, Dun-Dcalgan, 
i. e. Delga's fort ; and according to 0' Curry, it re- 
ceived its name from Delga, a Firbolg chief who 
built it. The same personal name appears in Kil- 
dalkey in Meath, which in one of the Irish charters 
in the Book of Kells, is WTitten Cill-Deiga, Delga's 

There is a townland near Lisburn, now called 
Dun eight, but written Downeagh in an Inquisition of 
James L, which has been identified by Dr. Reeves 
with the place called in the " Circuit of Ireland" 
Dun-EacJidhach, Eochy's fortress ; where the great 
king Muircheartach of the leather cloaks, slept a 
night with his men, when performing his circuit of 
the country in the year 941. There is a parish in 
Antrim, and also a townland, called Dunaghy, which 
is the same name more correctly anglicised. 

The celebrated Rock of Dunamase in Queen's 
County is now covered by the ruins of the O'Mores' 
castle, but it must have been previously occupied by 
a dun or cahcr. In an Inquisition of Richard IL, it 
is called Donemaske, which is h near approach to its 
Irish name as we find it in the Annals, viz.. Dun- 
Masg, the fortress of Masg, who was grandson of 
Sedna Sithbhaic, one of the ancestors of the Leinster 

A great number of these duns^ as will be seen from 
the preceding, have taken their names from persons, 
either the original founders or subsequent posses- 
sors. But various other circumstances, in connexion 
with these structures, were seized upon to form names. 
Doneraile in Cork, is called in the Book of Lismore, 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 269 

Dun-air-aill, the fortress on the cliff, but whether the 
dun is still there I cannot tell. There is a parish in 
Waterford, whose name has nearly the same signi- 
fication, viz., Dnnhill, which is in Irish Dun-aille, 
the fortress of the cliff ; it is understood to have taken 
its name from a rock on which a castle now stands ; 
but a dun evidently preceded the castle, and was 
really the origin of the name. Doonally in the 
parish of Calry, Sligo (an ancient residence of the 
O'Donnells), which the Four Masters ^^tUq Dun-aille, 
and which is also the name of several townlands in 
Sligo and Gralway, is the same name, but more cor- 
rectly rendered. 

Of similar origin to these is Dundrum in Down, 
which the Four Masters mention by the name of Dun- 
drorna, the fort on the ridge or long hill ; the original 
fort has however disappeared, and its site is occupied 
by the well-known castle ruins. There are several 
other places called Dundrum, all of which take 
their name from a fort built on a ridge ; the ancient 
fort of Dundi'um near Dublin, was most probably 
situated on the height where the church of Taney 
now stands. 

Although the word dim is not much liable to be 
disguised by modern corruption, yet in some cases it 
assumes forms different from those I have mentioned. 
The town of Do^Tipatriek takes its name from the 
larged entrenched dun which lies near the Cathedral. 
In the first century this fortress was the residence of a 
warrior of the Eed Branch Knights, called Celtchair, 
or Keltar of the battles ; and from him it is variously 
called in Irish authorities Dunkeltar, Rathlxeltar, and 
Araskeltar (aras, a habitation). By ecclesiastical 
writers it is commonly called Dun-Iet/i-glas, or Du7i- 
da-lefh-glas ; this last name is translated, the dun of the 

270 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

two broken locks or fetters, whicli Jocelin accounts 
for by a legend — that tlie two sons of Dicliu (see 
p. 108), having been confined as hostages by king 
Laeghaii'e, were removed from the place of their 
confinement, and the two fetters by which they were 
bound were broken, by miraculous agency. " After- 
wards, for brevity's sake, the latter part of this long 
name was dropped, and the simple word Dun retained, 
which has passed into the Latin Duniim, and into 
the English Down''' (Eeeves, Eccl. Ant., p. 143). 
The name of St. Patrick Avas added, as a kind of 
distinctive term, and as commemorative of his con- 
nexion with the place. 

Down is the name of several places in King's 
County" and Westmeath ; and the plural Downs (i. e. 
forts) is still more common. The name of the Glen 
of the Downs in Wicklow, is probably a translation 
of the Irish Gleann-na-ndun ^ the Grien of the dann or 
forts. Downamona in the parish of Kilmore, Tip- 
perary, signifies the fort of the bog. 

Dooneen, little fort, and the plural Dooneens, are 
the names of nearly thirty townlands in the south 
and west ; they are often made Downing and 
Downings in Cork, Carlow, "Wicklow, and Kildare ; 
and Downeen occurs once near Eoss Carbery in 

The diminutive in an is not so common, but 
it gives name to some places, such as Doonan, 
three towTilands in Antrim, Donegal, and Ferma- 
nagh ; Doonane in Queen's County o.nd Tipperary ; 
and Doonans (little forts) in the parish of Armoy, 

There are innumerable names all over the country, 
containing this word as a termination. There is a 
small island, and also a townland, near Dungarvan, 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 271 

called Shandon, in Irish Seandim, old fort ; and 
there is little doubt that this fortress was situated on 
the island. This name is better known, however, as 
that of a church in Cork, celebrated in Father Front's 
melodious chanson : — 

That sound so grand on 
The pleasant waters of the river Lee." 

The name reminds us of the time when the hill, now 
teeming with city life under the shadow of the 
church, was crowned by the ancient fortress, which 
looked down on St. Finbar's infant colony, in the 
valley beneath. Shannon in Donegal, near Lifford, 
is from the same original, having the d aspirated, for 
it is written Shandon in some old English documents ; 
and Shannon in the parish of Calry, Sligo, is no doubt 
similarly derived. 

We sometimes find two of the terms, lios, rath, and 
dun, combined in one name ; and in this case, either 
the first is used adjectively, like dun in Dunluce (p. 
266), or it is a mere explanatory term, used synony- 
mously with the second. Or such a name might 
originate in successive structiu'es, like the old name 
of Caher in Tipperary, for which see p. 274, infra. Of 
the union of two terms, we have a good illustration 
in Lisdoonvarna in the north-west of Clare, well 
known for its spa ; which takes its name from a large 
fort on the right of the road as you go from Bally- 
vaughan to Ennistymon. The proper name of this is 
Doonvarna {Diin-hhearnach), gapj)ed fort, from its 
shape ; and the word Lis was added as a generic 
term, somevv'hat in the same manner as " river," in 
the expression " the river Liifey ; " Lisdoonvarna, 
i. e. the lis (of) Doonvarna. In this way came also 

272 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

the name of Lisdown in Armagli, and Lisdoonan in 
Down and Monaghan. The word hearnach, gapped, 
is not unfreqiiently applied to a fort, referring, not 
to its original form, but to its dilapidated appearance, 
when the clay had been removed by the peasantry, 
so as to leave breaches or gaps in the circumvallations. 
Hence the origin of such names as Rathbarna in 
Roscommon, and Caherbarnagh in Clare, Cork, and 

One of the most obvious means of fortifying a fort 
was to flood the external ditch, when the construc- 
tion admitted it and the water was at hand ; and 
whoever is accustomed to examine these ancient struc- 
tures, must be convinced that this p>lan was often 
adopted. In many cases the old channel may be 
traced, leading from an adjacent stream or sj)ring ; 
and not unfrequently the water still remains in its 
place in the fosse. 

The names themselves often prove the adoption of 
this mode of defence, or rather the existence of the 
water in its original position, long after the fort had 
been abandoned. There are twenty-eight townlands 
called Lissaniska and Lissanisky, chiefly in the south- 
em half of Ireland — Lios-an-ni^ge, the fort of the 
water. None of these are in Ulster, but the same 
name occurs as Lisanisk in Monaghan, Lisanisky in 
Cavan, and Lisnisk and Lisnisky in Antrim, Down, 
and Armagh. With the same signification we find 
Rathaniska, the name of a place in Westmeath ; Ra- 
heenaniska and Raheenanisky in Queen's County ; 
Rahaniska and Rahanisky in Clare, Tipperary, and 
Cork ; and in the last-mentioned county there is a 
parish called Dunisky or Doonisky. 

Long after the Hsses and rafhs had been abandoned 
as dwellings, many of them were tui-ned to different 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses, 273 

uses ; and we see some of the high duns and mounds, 
crowned with modern buildings, such as those at 
Drogheda, Naas, and Castletown near Dundalk. 
The peasantry have always felt the greatest reluctance 
to putting them under tillage ; and in every part of 
Ireland, you mil hear stories of the calamities that 
befel the families or the cattle of the foolhardy farm- 
ers, who outraged the fairies' dwellings, by removing 
the earth or tilling the enclosm'e. 

They were, however, often used as pens for cattle, 
for which some of them are admirably adaj^ted ; and 
we have, consequently, many such names as Lisna- 
geeragh, Eathnageeragh, and Eakeeragh, the fort of 
the sheep; Lisnagree andLisnagry {Lios-na-ngroidJi) y 
of the cattle ; Lisnagowan, the Us of the calves, &c. 

Cathair. This word, which is pronounced caher, 
appears to have been originally applied to a citj^, for 
the old form catJiir glosses ciritas in the Wb. MS. of 
Zeuss. It has been, however, from a very early 
period — perhaps from the beginning — used to desig- 
nate a circular stone fort ; it is applied to both in the 
present spoken language. 

These ancient buildings are still very common 
throughout the country, especially in the south and 
west, where the term was in most general use ; and 
thej^ have given names to great numbers of places. 
In modern nomenclature the word usually takes one 
of the two forms, caher and cahir ; and there are more 
than 300 townlands and towns whose names begin 
with one or the other of these two words, all in 
Munster and Connaught, except three or four in 
Leinster — none in Ulster. 

Caher itself is the name of more than thirty town- 
lands, in several of which the original structures are 
still standing. The stone fort that gave name to 

274 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

Caher in Tipperary, was situated on the rocky island 
now occupied by the castle, which has of course obli- 
terated every vestige of the previous edifice. Its 
full name, as used by the Four Masters and other 
authorities, was Cathair-duna-iascaigh [eesky], the cir- 
cular stone fortress of the fish-abounding dun ; from 
which it is obvious, " that an earthen dun had origi- 
nally occupied the site on which a caher or stone fort 
was erected subsequently." (Petrie, " Irish Penny 
Journal," p. 257). I think it is equally evident that 
before the erection of the caher its name was Dun- 
iascaigh [Duneesky], the fish- abounding dun^ and 
indeed the Four Masters once (at 1581) give it this 
appellation. Dr. Petrie goes on to say : — " The 
Book of Lecan records the destruction of the caher 
by Cuirreach, the brother-in-law of Felimy the Law- 
giver, as early as the third century, at which time it 
is stated to have been the residence of a female named 

Cahersiveen in Kerry retains the correct pronun- 
ciation of the Irish name, Cathair-Saidhhhm, the stone 
fort of Saidhhhm or Sabina. Saidhhhin is the dimi- 
nutive of Sadhbh [Sauv], a woman's name formerly 
in very general use, which in latter times has been 
commonly changed to Sarah. Caherconlish in Lime- 
rick must have received its name, like Caher in 
Tipperary, from the erection of a stone fort near an 
older earthen one ; its Irish name being Cathair- 
chinn-lis (Annals of Innisfallen), the caher at the 
head of the lis. The ruins of the original stone fort 
that gave name to Cahermurphy in the parish of 
Kilmihil, Clare, still remain : the Four Masters call it 
Cathair-Murchadha, Murrough's caher. The whitish 
colour of the stones has given the name of Cahergal 
{Cat hair- gealy white caher) to many of these forts, 

CHAP. 1.] Habitations and Fortresses. 275 

from wliicli again eleven townlands in Cork, Water- 
ford, Gralway, and Mayo have derived their names. 

Cahereen, little caher, is the name of a place near 
Castleisland in Kerry. The genitive of cathair is 
catharach [caheragh], and this forms the latter part 
of a number of names ; for example, there is a 
place near Dunmanway, and another near Kenmare, 
called Derrynacaheragh, the oak wood of the stone 

Caiseal. Cormac Mac Cullenan, in his Griossary, 
conjectures that the name of Cashel in Tipperary, is 
derived from Cis-ail, i. e. tribute-rent ; the same de- 
rivation is given in the Book of Rights; while O'Clery 
and other Irish authorities propose Cios-ai/, rent-rock 
— the rock on which the kings of Munster received 
their rents ; for Cashel was once the capital city of 
Munster, and the chief residence of its kings. There 
can be no doubt that all this is mere fancy, for the 
word caiseal is very common in Irish, and is always 
used to signify a circular stone fort ; it is a simple 
word, and either cognate with, or, as Ebel asserts, de- 
rived from, the Latin castellum ; and it is found in 
the most ancient Irish MSS., such as those of Zeuss, 
Cormac's Griossary, &c. 

Moreover, in the modern form, Cashel, it is the 
name of about fifty townlands, and begins the name 
of about fifty others, every one of which was so 
called from one of these ancient stone forts ; and 
there is no reason why Cashel in Tipperary should 
be different from the others. As a further proof 
that this is its real signication, it is translated ma- 
ceria in a charter of A. D. 1004, which is entered in 
the Book of Armagh (Reeves's Adanman, p. 75). 
About the beginning of the fifth century. Core, king 
of Munster, took possession of Cashel, and there can 

276 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

be little doubt that lie erected a stone fort on the 
rock now so well known for its ecclesiastical ruins, 
for we are told that he changed its name from sidJi- 
dhruhn (fauy ridge) to CaiseaL The cashels belong 
to the same class as cahers, raths, &c., and like them 
are of pagan origin ; but the name was very often 
adopted in Christian times to denote the wall with 
which the early saints surrounded their establish- 

Cashels, and places named from them, are scat- 
tered over the foui^ provinces, but they preponderate 
in the western and north-western counties. Cashel- 
fean in Cork and Donegal, and Cashelnavean near 
Stranorlar in the latter coimty, both signify the stone 
fort of the Fianna or ancient Irish militia (see p. 86) ; 
Cashelfinoge near Boyle in Roscommon, the fort of 
the scald crows. Sometimes this word is con^upted 
to castle^ as we find in Bally castle in Mayo, the 
correct name of which would be BaUycashel, for it is 
called in Irish BaUe-cm-chaisU, the town of the cashel ; 
but the name of Ballycastle in Antrim is correct, 
for it was so called, not from a casJieJ, but from a 
castle. Castledargan in the parish of Kilross, Sligo, 
is similarly conaipted, for the Four Masters call it 
Caiseal-Lochci' Dear g €1X71^ the stone fort of Lough 

Bnigh and Bruighean, Bnigh [bru] signifies a 
palace or distinguished residence. Its primary mean- 
ing seems to be a hill ; afterwards it was applied to 
a fortified residence on a hill, and next to any great 
mansion. The word descends from the most ancient 
times, and " it appears in the German, Keltic, and 
Slavonic languages with the general acceptation of 
mountain, height, little hill, SKniniit, but under forms 
slightly altered by a forgetfulness of its original. 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 277 

Ang.-Sax., heorg; Seand., berg ; O. H. Grermaiij^j^r^; 
Irish, brigh, a mountain ; Cymr., brig, the same. 
Whence the word brigand, (literally) a mountaineer, 
and the name of the ancient brigantes " (Pictet, Ori- 
gines. Vol. I., p. 128). Pictet believes that brigh 
(which in Irish is now applied only to a hill) is the 
original word, and that brugh was derived from it, by 
the change of / to u, through the retroactive influence 
of the termination in the ancient form brigliu. 

This term was applied to many of the royal resi- 
dences of Ireland ; and several of the places that 
have preserved the word in their names, have also 
preserved the old brughs or raths themselves. Bruree 
on the river Maigue in Limerick, is a most charac- 
teristic example. Its proper name, as it is found in 
many Irish authorities, is Brugh-righ, the fort or 
palace of the king ; for it was the principal seat of 
Oilioll Olum, king of Munster in the second century 
(see p. 128), and afterwards of the O'Donovans, 
chiefs of Hy Carbery, i. e. of the level country round 
Bruree and Kilmallock. In the Book of Eights, it is 
mentioned first in the list of the king of Cashel's seats, 
and there are still remaining extensive earthen forts, 
the ruins of the ancient brugh or palace of Oilioll 
Olum and his successors. According to an an- 
cient MS. quoted by 0' Curry (Battle of Moylena, 
p. 72), the most ancient name of this place was 
Dun-CobhthaigJi or Duncoffy, Coffagh's dun; which 
proves that it was a fortified residence before its oc- 
cupation by Oilioll Olum. 

The present name of Bruff in Limerick, is a cor- 
ruption oi Brugh (see p. 50). It is now called in 
Irish Brubh-na-Ieise, in which both terms are cor- 
rupted, the correct name being Brugh-na-Deise, i. e. 
the brugh or mansion of the ancient territory of Deis- 

278 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

beg; and from the first part, Bnihh [briiv], the 
modern form Bruff is derived. The brugh that gave 
name to this place still exists ; it is an earthen fort 
near the town, called at the present day by the 
people, Lkin-cC -Bhrogha^ as in the old song '' Binn 
Hsin aerach (C Bhroglia^^ " The melodious airy little 
Ik of Bruff." There is a place called Bruff in the 
parish of Aghamore, Sligo, which is also from the 
same word brugh. 

In some parts of the country they use the form 
brughas [bruas], which has originated the names of 
Bruis, now a parish in Tipperary ; Bruce, two town- 
lands in Wexford ; and Bruse, two others in Cavan. 
There is also a derivative brughachas [brughas], 
which, as well as brugh itself, is used in several 
places to denote a farmhouse, and the former is 
pretty common in this sense, in some of the Ulster 
counties. We derive from it Brughas, the name of 
a townland in Armagh, and of another in Ferma- 
nagh ; and Drumbrughas, the ridge of the farm- 
house, a name of frequent occurrence in Cavan and 

The diminutive hriiighean [breean] signifying also 
a royal mansion, or great house, is even more com- 
mon than its original. Both bnigh and bruighean 
were often used to signify a house of public hospi- 
tality, whence the term brughaidh [broo-ey], the 
keeper of such a house— a farmer. There was a cele- 
brated house of this kind on the river Dodder, two 
miles south of Tallaght in Dublin, called Brmghean- 
Da-Derga, from Da-Derga, its owner. This mansion 
was destroyed by a band of pirates, about the time 
of the Christian era, and they also slew the monarch, 
Conary-more, who was enjoying the hosi3itality of 
Da-Derga. Its destruction, and the death of the 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 279 

monarch, are mentioned in oiir oldest authorities, 
such as the Leabhar-na-hUidhre, &c. ; no remains of 
the old fort can now be discovered, but it has left its 
name on the townland of Bohernabreena, which is 
the phonetic representative of B61iar-na-BruighnS^ 
the road of the hndghean or mansion. 

Another mansion of the same kind, equally re- 
nowned, was Bndghean-Da-CJioga, which was situated 
in the present county Westmeath. This was stormed 
and destroyed in the first century, and Cormac Con- 
loingeas, son of Conor mac Nessa (see p. 120), who 
had stopped there to rest on his journey from Con- 
naught to Ulster, was slain. The ancient Bally- 
betagh attached to this house is now subdivided into 
four townlands, situated in the parish of Drumrany, 
two of them called Bryanmore, and two, Bryanbeg ; 
in which Bryan represents the present pronunciation 
of Bruighean. The old mansion itself still remains, 
and is situated in Bryanmore Upper ; it is a fort 
about 200 feet in diameter, containing within its circle 
the ruins of an Anglo-Norman castle ; and it was for- 
merly surrounded by a circle of upright stones. 

In more recent times, the word hndghean has been 
always used by the people to denote a fairy palace — 
for the old forts were believed to be inhabited by the 
fairies ; and in this sense it is generally understood 
in its application to local names. The form hryan is 
found in some other names besides these in West- 
meath ; such as Bryan (-beg and -more) , near Augh- 
rim in Roscommon. Breen, which well represents 
the original sound, is the name of three townlands in 
Antrim, Donegal, and Tyrone ; and there is a place 
in Limerick, north of Kilfinnane, and another near 
Emly in Tipperary, called Ballin^Tcena, the town of 
the fairy mansion. The double diminutive Breenaun 

280 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

ocem^s in the parish of Eoss, Galway ; and we find 
Breenagh — a place abounding in fairy mansions — in 
the parish oConwal, Donegal. The diminutive in 
6g occurs once in Sligo, giving name to Breeoge, in 
the parish of Kilmacowen — Bruigheog^ little hrugh or 

3Iota. — The large high mounds are often called 
mota in Irish, the same as the English word moat. 
It is the opinion of the best Irish scholars, and among 
others, 'Donovan, that it is not an original Irish 
word at all, for it is not found in any ancient autho- 
rity ; it is very probably nothing more than the Eng- 
lish word 7noat, or perhaps the Anglo-Saxon 7note, 
borrowed, like many others, into the Irish. 

"We find a few names in the Annals, formed from 
this word. The Four Masters mention Mountgarret, 
now a ruined castle on the Barrow, near New Eoss, 
once a residence of the Butlers ; and they call it 
Mota-Gaired, Garret's moat, which shows that the 
place should have been called J/or/fgarret. Bally- 
mote in Sligo, also occurs in the Four Masters, 
in the Irish form Baile-an-rnhota, the town of the 

There are many townlands called Moat and Mota, 
which derive their names from this word, and in 
numerous cases the mounds are still preserved. The 
great mound of Moate in Westmeath, forms a very 
eonsj)icuous feature ; it is called Moategranoge ; 
and this name it derived, according to tradition, 
from Grraine-og, young Grraine or Grrace, a Mimster 
lady who man-ied one of the O'Melaghlins. She is 
probably the person commemorated in the legend 
referred to by Caesar Otway ; — " a legend concern- 
ing a Milesian princess taking on herself the ofiice of 
brehon, and from this moat adjudicating causes, and 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 281 

delivering her oral laws to the people" (Tour in 
Connanght, p. 55). 

Grianan. — The word grianan [greenan] is ex- 
plained by O'Donovan (App. to O'Eeilly's Diet., in 
voce), 1. a beautiful sunny spot; 2. a bower or 
summer house ; 3. a balcony or gallery (on a house) ; 
4. a royal palace. Its literal meaning is a sunny 
spot, for it is derived from grian, the sun ; and the 
Irish-Latin writers often translate it solarium, and 
terra Solaris. It is of frequent occurrence in the 
most ancient Irish MSS., principally in the third and 
fourth senses ; as for instance in Cormac's Glossary, 
where it is used as another name for "a palace on a 
hill." O'Brien explains it a royal seat, in which 
sense it is used by the best Irish TVT?iters ; and this is 
unquestionably its general meaning, when it occurs 
in topographical names. The most common English 
forms of the word are Crreenan, Grreenane, Greenaun, 
and Grennan, which are the names of about forty-five 
townlands distributed all over the four provinces. 

The grianans are generally the same kind of struc- 
tures as the ca/iers, hrag/is, &e., abeady explained ; 
and many of them still remain in the places whose 
names contain the w^ord. The most celebrated palace 
of the name in Ireland was Green an-Ely, of w^hich I 
will speak under Aileach. Grenanstow^n in Tipperary, 
five miles from Nenagh, has got its present name by 
translation from. Baile-an-g/irianain, the town of the 
palace ; the grianan is evidently the great fort now 
called Lisrathdine, w^hich appears to have been an 
important place, as it is very large, and has three 
circumvallations. The name of the fort has been 
formed like that of Lisdoonvarna (p. 271) ; Lisrath- 
dine, i. e. the fort of Eathdine, this last signifying 
deep rath {Rath-doimhin), in allusion to the depth of 
the fosses. Clogrennan castle, the ruins of which are 

282 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

situated on the Barrow, three miles below Carlow, 
must have been built on the site of a more ancient 
residence, as the name sufficiently attests — Clock- 
grianain, the stone castle of the grianan. 

It will be perceived that grianan is a diminutive 
from grian ; the other diminutive in 6g sometimes 
occurs also, and is understood to mean a sunny little 
hill. We find Grreenoge, a village and parish in 
Meath ; and this is also the name of a townland near 
Eathcoole, Dublin, and of another near Dromore in 

Aileach. — The circular stone fortresses already de- 
scribed under the words cathair and caiseal, were often 
called by the name aileach [ellagh], a word which 
signifies literally a stone house or stone fort, being 
derived from ail, a stone. Michael O'Clery, in his 
Griossary of ancient Irish words, gives this meaning 
and derivation : — " Aileach or ailtheachy i. e. a name 
for a habitation, which (name) was given from 

Aileach is well known to readers of Irish history 
as the name of the palace of the northern Hy Neill 
kings, which is celebrated in the most ancient Irish 
writings under various names, such as Aileach Neid, 
Aileach FrigUrinn, &c. The ruins of this great for- 
tress, which are situated on a hill, four miles north- 
west from Derry, have been elaborately described in 
the Ordnance memoir of the parish of Templemore ; 
they consist of a circular w.s7/^/of cyclopean masonry, 
crowning the summit of the hill, surrounded by tliree 
concentric ramparts. It still retains its old name, 
being called Grreenan-Ely, i. e. the palace of Aileach, 
for Ehj represents the pronunciation of Ailigh, the 
genitive oi Aileach ; and it gives name to the two ad- 
jacent townlands of Elaghmore and Elaghbeg. 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 283 

Elagh is also the name of two townlands in Tyrone, 
and there are several places in Gralway and Mayo 
called EUagh, all derived from a stone fort. In 
Caherelly, the name of a parish in Limerick, there is 
a imion of two synonymous terms, the Irish name 
being Cathaiy-ailigh, the caher of the stone fort. A 
stone fort must have existed on a ridge in Druman- 
allig, a townland near Inchigeelagh in Cork; and 
another on the promontory called Ai^lelly in Erris, 
which Mac Firbis, in " Hy Fiachrach," caUs Ard- 

Teamlmir. The name of Tara, like that of Cashel, 
has been the subject of much conjecture, and our old 
etymologists have also in this instance committed the 
mistake of seeking to decompose what is in reality a 
simple term. The ancient name of Tara is Teamlmir^ 
and several of our old ^Titers state that it was so 
called from Tea, the wife of Heremon, who was 
bmied there : — TeamJiair, i. e. the mur or wall of Tea. 
But this derivation is legendary, for Teamhair was, 
and is still, a common local name. 

Teamhair [Tawer] is a simple word, and has pretty- 
much the same meaning as grlanan (see p. 281) ; it 
signifies an elevated spot commanding an extensive 
prospect, and in this sense it is frec[uently used as a 
generic term in Irish MSS. In Cormac's Glossary it 
is stated that the teamhair of a house is a grianan 
(i. e. balcony), and that the teamhair of a country is a 
hill commandicg a wide view. This meaning applies 
to every teamhair in Ireland, for they are all con- 
spicuously situated ; and the great Tara in Meath, is 
a most characteristic example. Moreover, it must be 
remembered that a teamhair was a residence, and that 
aU the teamhairs had originally one or more forts, 
which in case of many of them remain to this day. 

284 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

The genitive of toamhair is tpamhrach [taragh or 
towragli] , and it is this form which has given its pre- 
sent name to Tara in Meath, and to every other 
place whose name is similarly spelled (see p. 33). 
By the old inhabitants, however, all these places are 
called in Irish Teamhair, Our histories tell us that 
when the Firbolgs came to Tara, they called the hill 
Drui/u-caeiit [Drumkeen] , beautiful ridge ; and it was 
also cajlledLiathdhru i/ji [Leitrim], grey ridge. There 
is a place called Tara in the parish of Witter, Down, 
which has a fine fort commanding an extensive view ; 
another in the parish of Dun^ow, King's County ; 
and Tara is the name of a conspicuous hill near 
Gorey in Wexford, on the top of which there is a 

There was a celebrated royal residence in Munster, 
called Teamhfdr-Luachra^ from the district of Sliabh 
Luachra or Slievelougher. Its exact situation is now 
unknown, though it is probable that the fort is stiU 
in existence ; but it must have been somewhere near 
Ballaghantoui'agh, a ford giving name to a townland 
near Castleisland in Kerry, which is called in Irish 
JBel-at/ia-(ni- Tea }u/i rack, the ford-mouth of the Teamh- 
air. A similar form of the name is found in Knock- 
auntouragh, a little hill near Kildorrery in Cork, on 
the top of which is a fort — the old Teamhair — cele- 
brated in the local legends. 

There are many other places deriving their names 
from these teajnJiairs, and to understand the following 
selection, it must be remembered that the word is 
pronounced tavver^ taicer, and toicer, in different parts 
of the country. One form is found in Towerbeg and 
Towermore, two townlands in the parish of Devenish, 
Fermanagh ; and there is a Towermore near Castle- 
lyons in Cork. Taur, another modification, gives 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 285 

name to two townlands (-more and -beg), in the pa- 
rish of Clonfert, same county. Tawran, little Teamh- 
air {Teamhrdn), occiu's in the parish of Killaraght, 
Sligo ; we find the same name in the slightly dif- 
ferent form Ta'VTaim, in the parish of Kilmovee, 
Mayo ; while the diminutive in in gives name to 
Teviin in the parish of Rathconnell, Westmeath. 

Faithche, In front of the ancient Irish residences, 
there was usually a level green plot, used for various 
purposes — for games and exercises of different kinds, 
for the reception of visitors, &c. Faithche [faha] was 
the name applied to this green ; the word is trans- 
lated jt^/^fe^ in Cormac's Grlossary ; and it is constantly 
used by ancient Irish writers, who very frequently 
mention ihefaithcl/e in connexion with the king's or 
chieftain's fort. For instance, in the feast of Dun-na- 
ngedh it is related that a visitor reached '' Aileach 
Neid (see p. 282, supra), where the king held his resi- 
dence at that time. The king came out upon the 
faithche^ surrounded by a great concoui^se of the men 
of Erin ; and he was playing chess amidst the host" 
(Battle of Mop-ath, p. 36). 

Th,e word is, and has been, used to denote a hurl- 
ing field, or fair green, or any level green field in 
which meetings were held or games celebrated, 
whether in connexion with a fort or not ; in the Irish 
version of Nennius, for instance, it is applied to a 
hurling green. In Connaught at the present time, 
it is universally understood to mean simply a level 
green field. 

The word enters pretty extensively into names, and 
it is generally made Fahy and Faha, the former being 
more usual in Connaught, and the latter in Munster ; 
both together constitute the names of about thii'ty 

286 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

townlands. It enters into several compounds, such as 
Fahanasoodry near Balljlanders in Limerick, Faith- 
che-na-sudaire, the green of the tanners, where tan- 
ning must have been carried on ; Fahykeen in Done- 
gal, beautiful green. 

The word takes various other forms, of which the 
following names will be a sufficient illustration. Fa- 
heeran in the parish of Kilcomreragh, King's County, 
is a contraction oi Faithche-Chicwain (Four Masters), 
Ciaran's green plot ; Faiafannan near Killybegs, 
Donegal, Fannan's green. It is made Foy in several 
places, as, for instance, near Rathangan in Kildare ; 
in Armagh we find Foyduff, Foybeg, and Foymore 
(black, little, great), and in Donegal, Foyfin, fair or 
whitish faifhche. Foygh occurs in Longford and 
Tyrone ; in Donegal we have Foyagh, and in Ferma- 
nagh, Fyagh, both meaning a place abounding in 
green plots. 

The townland of Dunseverick in Antrim, which 
takes its name from the well-known castle, is also 
called Feigh, a name derived, no doubt, from the 
faithcke of the ancient dun, which existed ages before 
the erection of the castle ; and we may conclude 
that the name of Hathfeigh in Meath (the fort of the 
faithche or green), was similarly derived. The name 
Feigh occurs also in the south, but it is not derived 
from faithche. Ballynafoy in Down, is the town of 
the green ; the same name is found in Antrim, in the 
forms Ballynafeigh, Ballynafey, and Bally nafie ; and 
in Kildare we find it as Ballynafagh. 

The word occurs with three diminutives. Fahan in 
Kerry, and Fahane in Cork, both signify little faith- 
che. Faheens (little green plots), is found in Mayo ; 
and there is a lake not far from the town of Donegal, 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 287 

called Lough Foyhin, the lake of the little green. 
In Sligo we have Foyoges, and in Longford, Fihoges, 
both having the same meaning as Faheens. 

Mothar. The ruin of a caher or rath is often desig- 
nated in Munster by the term mothar [moher] ; and 
sometimes the word is applied to the ruin of any 
building. On a cliff near Hag's Head, on the west- 
ern coast of Clare, there formerly stood, and per- 
haps still stands, an old caher or stone fort called 
Moher O'Euan, O'Ruan's ruined fort ; and this is 
the feature that gave name to the well-known Cliffs 
of Moher. 

The word is used in the formation of local names 
pretty extensively in Munster and Connaught, and in 
two of the Ulster counties, Cavan and Fermanagh ; 
while in Leinster I find only one instance in the 
parish of Offerlane, Queen's County. Scattered over 
this area, Moher is the name of about twenty-five 
townlands, and it is found in combination in those of 
many others. 

The plural Mohera (ruined forts), is the name of a 
townland near Castlelyons in Cork ; and we find the 
word in Moheracreevy in Leitrim, the ruins of or 
near the creeve or large tree. In Cork also, near 
Bathcormick, is a place called Mohereen, little mo- 
her ; and Moheragh, signifying a place abounding 
in mohers, occurs in the parish of Donohill, Tipper- 
ary. Moheranea in Fermanagh, signifies the moher 
of the horse ; and Drum moher in Clare, and Drom- 
moher in Limerick, the ridge of the ruined fort. 

Cramwg. The word crannog, a formation from 
crann, a tree, means literally a wooden house ; but 
the houses so called were generally placed on arti- 
ficial islands in lakes. These islands were formed 
in a shallow part, by driving stakes into the bottom. 

288 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

which were made to support cross beams ; and on 
these were heaped small trees, brambles, clay, &c., 
till the structure was raised over the surface of the 
water. On this the family, and in many cases seve- 
ral families, lived in wooden houses, sufficiently pro- 
tected from enemies by the surrounding lake, while 
communication with the land was carried on by means 
of a small boat. The word crannog was very often, 
and is now generally, understood, to mean the whole 
structure, both island and houses. 

These lake dwellings were used from the most re- 
mote ages down to the sixteenth or seventeenth cen- 
tury, and they are frequently mentioned in the Annals. 
The remains of many of them have been recently dis- 
covered, and have been examined and described by 
several archseologists. There are various places 
through the country whose names contain the word 
crannog^ in most of which there was a lake, with an 
artificial island, though in some cases the lakes have 

Crannoge is the name of a townland near Pomeroy 
in Tyrone ; Cronoge, of another in Kilkenny ; and in 
the parish of Cloonclare, Leitrim, is a place called 
Crannoge Island. Crannogeboy (yellow) in the 
parish of Inishkeel, Donegal, was once the residence 
of one of the O'Boyles. Coolcronoge, the corner or 
angle of the wooden house, is the name of a place 
in the parish of Ardagh, Limerick. There is a small 
lake near Ballingarry in the north of Tipperary, 
called Loughnahinch (the lake of the island), in which 
there is a crannoge fifty feet in diameter, which gave 
name both to the lake and to the townland of Bally- 
nahinch. The Four Masters mention eight crannoges 
in as many different parts of Ireland. 

Longphort. This term is in frequent use, and gene- 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 289 

rally signifies a fortress, but sometimes an encamp- 
ment. Tlie word was applied both to the old cii'cular 
entrenched forts and to the more modern stone castles ; 
and the fortresses bearing this designation have given 
name to all those places called Longford, of which 
there are about twenty. The town of Longford is 
called in the Annals, Longford-OTarrell, from the 
castle of the O'Farrells, the ancient proprietors, 
which, according to tradition, was situated where the 
military barrack now stands. The barony of Long- 
ford in Roscommon, takes its nnme from Longford 
castle in the parish of Tiaranascragh. Longford 
demesne in the parish of Dromard, county Sligo, 
west of Ballysodare, now the property of the Crofton 
family, was formerly a seat of the O'Dowds, from 
whom it took the name oi Lonqpliort-ui-Bhuhhda^ 
(" Hy Fiachrach"), O'Dowd's fortress. 

In a few cases, the word is somewhat disguised in 
modern names, as in Lonart near Killorglin in Kerry, 
which is a mere softening of the sound of Longphort. 
Athlunkard is the name of atownland near Limerick, 
from which Athlunkard-street in the city derives its 
name ; the correct anglicised form would be Atlilong- 
ford, the ford of the fortress or encampment. 

Teach. This word [pron. tagh'] means a house of 
any kind, and is cognate with Lat. tectum ; it was used 
both in pagan and Christian times, and has found its 
way extensively into local names. The best angli- 
cised form is tagh, which is of frequent occurrence ; 
as in Tagheen, a parish in Mayo, which is called in 
" Hy Fiachrach," Teach-chaein, beautiful house ; and 
Taghboy, a parish in Meath, yellow house. Some- 
times the final guttural was omitted, as in Taduff in 
Roscommon, black house. 

The form tigh [tee] is however in more general use 

290 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

in the formation of names than the nominative (see 
p. 33) ; and it usually appears as tee, ti, and ti/. 
Teebane and Teemore (white and great house), are 
the names of several townlands in the northern coun- 
ties ; Tibradden near Dublin, and Tyone near Ne- 
nagh, Braddan's and John's house. 

When tigh is joined with the genitive of the article, 
it almost always takes the form of tin or timia, which 
we find in the beginning of a great number of names. 
There is a small town in Carlow, and several town- 
lands in Wicklow and Queen's County, called Tinna- 
hinch, which represents the Irish Tiyh-na-hinnse, the 
house of the island or river holm ; Tincurragh and 
Tincurry in Wexford and Tipperary, the house of 
the curragh or marsh ; Tinnascart in Cork and Water- 
ford, and Tinnascarty in Kilkenny, the house of the 
scart or cluster of bushes. 

The site on which a house stood is often denoted 
by the combination ait-tighe [aut-tee], literally "the 
place of a house ;" in modern names it is almost al- 
ways made atti or atty, which form the beginning of 
about sixty townland names, the latter part being 
very often the name of the former owner of the house. 
It occurs once in the Four Masters at 1256, where 
they mention a place called Ait-tig he- Mic-Ctiirrin, the 
site of Mac Currin's house. • 

Attidermot near Aughrim in Gal way, signifies the 
site of Dermot's house ; Attykit near Cashel in Tip- 
perary, of Ceat's or Ket's house. In a few cases, the 
compound is followed by some term characterising 
the house, as in Attiduff in Monaghan and Sligo, the 
site of the black house ; Attatantee in Donegal, in 
Irish Ait-a^ -tsean-tighe, the site of the old house. The 
word ait is sometimes used alone, to denote the site 
of anything, as in Atshanboe in Tipperary, the site of 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 291 

the old tent {Ait-sean-hotha) ; Attavally, the name of 
three townlands in Mayo, the site of the hally or vil- 

From the general meaning of house, teach or tigh 
came to be used frequently in Christian times, to de- 
note a church ; and hence the word is often joined to 
the names of saints, to designate ecclesiastical foun- 
dations, which afterwards gave names to parishes and 
townlands. Examples of this occur in Chap. iii. Part 
II., and I will add a few more here. 

Taghadoe, a parish in Kildare, takes its name from 
an old church, which, however, has wholly disappeared, 
though a portion of the round tower still stands in the 
churchyard ; the name is written by Irish authorities, 
Teach'Tuae, St. Tua's chui'ch. Tiaquin was originally 
the name of a primitive church in Glalway, and it is 
written in Irish Tigh-Dachonna, St. Dachonna's house, 
from which the present name was formed by contrac- 
tion, and by the aspiration of the B (see p. 20). A 
castle was erected there long afterwards, from which 
the barony of Tiaquin has been so called. Timahoe 
in Queen's County, well known for its beautiful round 
tower, took its name {Tech-Mochua, O'Clery's Cal.) 
from St. Mochua, the original founder and patron, 
who flourished in the sixth century. St. Munna or 
Fintan, who died in A. D. 634, founded a monastery 
in Wexford, which was called from him Teach- 
Munna (Book of Leinster), St. Munna's house, now 
modernized to Taghmon ; and the parish of Tagh- 
mon in Westmeath derived its name from the same 
saint. Tymon, the name of a place near Dublin, 
containing an interesting castle ruin, has the same 
signification as Taghmon, but whether the Munna 
whom it commemorates, is the same as St. Munna 
of Taghmon, I cannot tell. 


292 Artificial Structures. [part lit. 

This word enters into various other combinations 
in local names. There is a townland in the parish of 
Lower Bodoney, Tyrone, called Crockatanty, whose 
Irish name is Cnoc-cC -tscan-tighe (see pp. 49 and 22, 
supra), the hill of the old house ; and we see the 
same form in TuUantanty (Tidach, a hill) in Cavan, 
which has also the same meaning. Edentiroory near 
Dromore in Down, means the edan or hill brow of 
E-ory's house. 

I have abeady mentioned (p. 60) that in some of 
the eastern counties, s is sometimes prefixed to this 
word ; and in addition to the examples given there, 
I may mention Staholmock in Meath, St. Colmoc's 
or Mocholmoc's house ; and Stamullen in the same 
county, Maelan's house. 

Both [boh]. This word signifies a tent, booth, or 
hut, and it was applied not only to the huts erected 
for human habitation, but also sometimes to cattle 
houses. It is an old word in the language, and ex- 
ists also in the kindred Keltic dialects : — Welsh bod, 
Cornish bod and bos. It occurs very often in our 
ancient authorities ; and the Annals make mention 
of several places whose names were derived from 
these huts. 

Templeshanbo at the foot of Mount Leinster in 
Wexford, was anciently called Seanboth [Shanboh], 
old tent or hut, the prefix Temple having been added 
in recent times. It was also called Seanboth- SinS, 
and Seanboth- Cohnain, from St. Colman OTiachra, 
who was venerated there. Seanboth-SinS signifies 
the old tent of Sin [Sheen] a woman's name belong- 
ing to the pagan ages ; and it is very probable that 
this was its original name, and that St. Colman, like 
many other Irish saints, adopted it without change. 
There is a Shanbo in Meath, a Shanboe in Queen's 

CHAP. 1.] Habitations and Fortresses. 293 

County ; and Shanbogh is the name of a parish in 
Kilkenny — all different forms of the same word. It 
also appears in Drumshanbo (the clnim or ridge of 
the old tent), the name of a village in the parish of 
Kiltoghert, Leitrim, of a townland in the parish of 
Cloone, same county, and of another in the parish of 
Kildress, Tyrone. This name is pojDularly believed 
— in my opinion erroneously — to signify " the ridge 
of the old cow" {ho, a cow), from the resemblance 
of the outline of the hill at each place, to a cow's 

Bough, which is merely an adaptation of Both, is 
the name of a townland in Carlow, and of another in 
Monaghan. Eaphoe in Donegal, is called in the 
annals Ratk-hoth, the fort of the huts ; and in 
O'Clery's Calendar, Bodoney in Tyrone is called 
Both-domhiaigh, the tent of the church. There is 
an old church near Dungiven in Londonderry, which 
in various Irish authorities is called Both-Mheidhbhe 
[Yeva] , Maev's hut, an old pagan name which is now 
modernised to Bovevagh. Bohola, a parish in Mayo, 
takes its name from a church now in ruins, which 
is called in '' Hy Fiachrach," Both-Thola, St. Tola's 
tent ; and in the parish of Templeniry, Tipperary, 
there is a townland called Montanavoe, in Irish 
Mointedn-a^-hhoith, the boggy land of the tent. 

We have the plui^al (hotha) represented by Boho, 
a parish in Fermanagh, which is only a part of its 
name as given by the Four Masters, viz., the Botha 
or tents of 3Iiiuitir Fialain, this last being the name 
of the ancient tribe who inhabited the district : Boha- 
boy in Gralway, yellow tents. 

Almost all local names in Ireland beginning with 
Boh (except the Bohers), and those also that end 
with -boha and -hohy, are derived from this word. 

294 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

Thus Bohullion in Donegal, represents the Irish 
Both-ChuiUinn, the hut of the holty, i. e. surrounded 
with holly trees. Ivnockboha, a famous hill in the 
parish of Lackan, Mayo, is called in " Hy Fiach- 
rach," Cnoc-hotJia^ the hill of the hut ; and Knoek- 
naboha in Limerick and Tipperary, has the same 

There are two diminutives of this word, viz., 
Bothc'in and Bothog [holiaun, bohoge], both of which 
are in very common use in the south and west of Ire- 
land, even among speakers of English, to denote a 
cabin or hut of any kind. Bohaun is the name of 
four to"v\Tilands in Galway and Mayo ; and we find 
Bohanboy (yellow little hut) in Donegal. The other, 
Bohoge is the name of a townland in the parish of 
Manulla, Mayo. 

Caislen. The word caislen or caislean [cashlaim] is 
applied to a castle ; and like caiscal, it is evidently 
a loan word — a diminutive formation from the Latin 
castelhmi. Like the older dims, cahers, &c., these 
more modern structm-es gave names to numerous 
places, and the word is almost alwaj^s represented by 
the English word castle. 

Of the names containing this word, far the greater 
number are purely Irish, notwithstanding the Eng- 
lish look of the word castle. Castlereagh is a small 
town in Hoscommon, wdiich gives name to a barony. 
The castle, of which there are now no remains, stood 
on the west side of the town, and it is called by the 
Eour Masters, CaisJen-riahJtach, E^^^J castle. There 
is a barony in Down of the same name, which was 
BO called from an old castle, a residence of a branch 
of the O'Neills, which stood on a height in the town- 
land of Castlereagh near Belfast ; and some half 
dozen townlands in difiPerent counties are called by 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 295 

this name, so descriptive of the venerable appearance 
of an ancient castle. Castlebar in Mayo belonged, 
after the English invasion, to the Barrys, one of 
whom no doubt built a castle there, though the name 
is the only record we have of the event. It is called 
in Irish authorities, Caiden-an-BJiarraigh (Barry's 
castle) ; and Downing who wrote a short description 
of Mayo in 1680, calls it Castle-Barry, which has been 
shortened to the present name. 

In a few cases, the Irish form is preserved, as for 
example in Cashlan, the name of two townlands in 
Monaghan, and of one in Antrim ; Cashlaundarragh 
in Galway, the castle of the oak tree ; Cashlancran 
in Mayo, the castle of the trees ; Ballycushlane in 
Wexford, the town of the castle. 

Daingean. The word daingean [dangan] as an ad- 
jective, means strong ; as a noun it means a strong- 
hold of any kind, whether an ancient circular fort, or 
a more modern fortress or castle ; and it is obviously 
connected with the English words dungeon and donjon. 
Dangan, which is the correct English form, is the 
name of a village in Kilkenny, and of a number of 
townlands, including Dangan in Meath, once the 
residence of the Duke of Wellington. This was also 
the old name of Philipstown ; the erection of "the 
castle of Daingean^^ is recorded by the Four Masters 
at 1546; but it is probable that the name is older than 
the castle, and that it had been previously borne by 
a circular fort. 

Occasionally this word is anglicised Dingin, which 
is the name of a townland in Cavan ; Dinginavanty 
in the parish of Kildrumsherdan in this county, 
means Mantagh's fortress. It is this form which has 
given origin to the modern name of Dingle in Kerry, 
by the usual change of final I to n (Dingin, Dingil, 

296 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

Dingle : see p. 47). It is called in the Annals, Bain- 
gean-ui-Chuis, now usually written Dingle-I-Coush, 
i. e. the fortress of O'Cush, the ancient proprietor 
before the English invasion. These people sometimes 
call themselves Hussey in English, and this is the 
origin of the mistaken assertion made by some waiters, 
that the place received its name from the English 
family of Hussey. 

In the north of Ireland, the ng in the middle of the 
word daingean, is pronounced as a soft guttural, 
which as it is very faint, and quite incapable of being 
represented by English letters, is suppressed in modern 
spelling, thereby changing daingean to dian or some 
such form. There are some to^vnlands called Dian 
andDyan in Tyrone and Monaghan; two in Armagh 
and one in Down, called Lisadian, the lis of the 
stronghold. Even in Mayo, a pronunciation much 
the same is sometimes heard ; and hence we have the 
name of Ballindine, a village in that county, the 
same as Ballindagny in Longford, Ballindaggan in 
Wexford, and Ballindangan near Mitchelstown in 
Cork, the town of the stronghold. Elsewhere in 
Mayo, however, the word retains its proper form as 
in Killadangan, the wood of the fortress. 

Badhun, or Badhhhdhim [bawn]. Beside many of 
the old castles, there was a bmtii or large enclosure 
surrounded by a strong fence or wall, which was 
often protected by towers ; and into this enclosure 
the cattle were driven by night to protect them from 
wolves or robbers. It corresponds to i}xQ faithche of 
the old pagan fortresses (see p. 285], and served 
much the same purposes ; for as Smith remarks, 
speaking of the castle of Kilcrea, west of Cork, *' the 
bawn was the only appendage formerly to great men's 
c astles, which places were used for dancing, goaling, 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 297 

and such diversions * * * and for keeping cattle 
at night." 

O'Donovan, writing in the " Ulster Journal of Ar- 
chaeology," says : — "The term 5«?r/?, which frequently 
appears in documents relating to Irish history since 
the plantation of Ulster, is the anglicised form of the 
Irish bad/uoi, an enclosure or fortress for cows. It 
occurs seldom in Irish documents, the earliest men- 
tion of a castle so called being found in the " Four 
Masters" at 1547, viz. Badhun-Riaganach* From 
this forward it is met with in different parts of Ireland. 
In the most ancient Irish documents, a cow fortress 
is more usually called ho-dhaingecni, but bo-dhim or ba- 
dhun is equally correct. Sometimes written Badhbh- 
dhun, the fortress oi Badhbh [Bauv], the Bellona of 
the ancient Irish, but this is probably a fanciful writ- 
ing of it." This latter form, however, and its pre- 
sumed derivation from the name of the old war goddess, 
receive some support from the fact, that in Ulster it is 
pronounced bauvan, in which the v plainly points to a 
bh in the Irish original ; and this pronunciation is 
perpetuated in Bavan, the name of three townlands in 
Dowm, Cavan, and Louth. f 

The ba^NTis may still be seen near the ruins of many 
of the old castles through the country ; and in some 
cases the surrounding wall, with its towers, remains in 

* The word occurs however, in the form of ho-dhun in the 
Annals of Loch Ce at the years 1199 and 1200. 

f Duald Mac Firbis writes the word hadhhh-dhun in " Hy- 
Fiachrach." Boa Island, in Lough Erne, is called by the Four 
Masters, Badhhha, while the natives call it Inis-Badhhhan^ i. e. 
the island of Badhhh. ]\Ir. W. M. Hennessy's paper— read a 
short time since — "On the War-Goddess of the Ancient Irish," 
is not yet published, and I regret not being able to avail myself 
of it to illustrate more fully this interesting subject. 

298 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

tolerable preservation. The syllable bawn is of very 
usual occurrence in local names, but as tliis is also 
the anglicised form of hd)?^ a green field, it is often 
difiicult to tell from which of the two Irish words it 
is derived, for hadhun and ban are pronounced nearly 
alike. The townland of Bawn in the parish of Moy- 
dow, Longford, derives its name from the bawn of 
Moydow castle, whose ruins remean yet in the toT^Ti- 

Lathrach. The site of anything is denoted by the 
word lathrach [lauragh], but this word is usually 
applied to the site of some sort of building. Lathrach 
senmuilind (H. 3. 18, T. C. D.), the site of an old 
mill. There are many places scattered through the 
four provinces called Laragh and Lauragh, to which 
this word gives name ; Laragh in the parish of Skreen 
in Sligo is called Lathrach in the Book of Lecan, 
and the village of Laragh at the entrance to Glenda- 
lough is another well-known example. Laraghleas 
in Londonderry means the site of the Us or fort ; 
Laraghshankill in Armagh, the site of the old church ; 
Laraghbryan near Leixlip in Kildare, Bryan's 
house site. Caherlarhig, the stone fort of the site, 
near Clonakilty in Cork, very probably derived its 
name from a caher, built on the site of a more ancient 

Lathair [lauher], from which lathrach is derived, 
and which literally means " presence," is itself some- 
times used in Cork and Kerry to signify a site, and 
is found also forming a part of names in these coun- 
ties. Laheratanvally near Skibbereen in Cork, the 
site of the old towTi {Lathair-a^ -tseanbhaiJe) ; Laher- 
tidaly in the same neighbourhood, the site of Daly's 
house. We find the diminutive Lareen in Leitrim, 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 299 

and LerMn in Galway ; Lislarheen (-more and -beg) 
in Clare, signifies the fort of tlie little site. 

Laragh in the parish of Kilcumreragh, Westmeath, 
takes its name from a castle of the Mageoghegans, 
whose ruins are jet there, and which the Fonr Mas- 
ters call Leath-rafh [Lara], i. e. half-rath ; and some 
of the other Laraghs are probably derived from this 
Irish compound, and not from lath rack, Leath-rath 
is also the Irish name of Lara or Abbeylara in Long- 
ford, for so it is written in the Annals. 

Suidhe [see]. This word means a seat or sitting- 
place, cognate with Lat. sedes ; it is found in our 
oldest authorities ; and among others, the MSS. of 
Zeuss (Gram. Celt. p. 60). It is frequently used in 
the formation of names, usually under the forms see, 
sy, se, and sea ; and these four syllables, in the sense 
of " seat," begin the names of over thirty townlands. 
It is very commonly followed by a personal name, 
which is generally understood to mean that the place 
so designated was frequented by the person, either 
as a residence, or as a favourite resort. The names 
of men, both pagan and Christian, are found com- 
bined with it. 

See, which exactly represents suidhe in pronun- 
ciation, is the name of a townland in Cavan. On the 
sl^ith shore of Lough Derg in Donegal, is the town- 
land of Seadavog, the seat of St. Davog, the patron of 
Termondavog, or, as it is now called, Termonmagrath. 
In this name the word sea is understood in its literal 
sense, for the people still show the stone chair in 
which the saint was wont to sit. 

The parish of Seagoe in Armagh, is called in Irish 
Suidhe-Gohha [See-gow], the seat of St. Gobha 
[Gow] or Gobanus ; Colgan calls him " Gobanus 

300 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

of Teg-da- Goha, at the bank of tlie river Bann;" 
from wliicli expression it appears that the place was 
anciently called Tech-Dagohha^ the house of St. 
Dagobha, this last name being the same as Gro- 
banus (p. 141 supra ^ note ; see Reeves's Eccl. Ant., 
p. 107). 

Shim-one in the King's County is mentioned by 
the Four Masters, who call it Suidhe-an-roiii [seen- 
rone] the seat of the ron, i. e. literally a seal, but 
figuratively a hirsute or hairy man. In the same 
authority we find Seeoran in Cavan written Suidhe- 
Odhrain, Odhran's or Oran's seat. Seeconglass in 
Limerick, Cuglas's seat; Syunhin near Clogher 
in Tyrone, the seat of the ash, i. e. abounding in ash 

Suidheachdn [seehaun] is a kind of diminutive for- 
mation on suid/ie, which we also find occasionally in 
names. For instance, there is a hill called Seeghane 
near Tallaght in Dublin ; Seehanes (seats) is the 
name of a place near Dromdaleague in Cork ; and 
Seeaghandoo and Seeaghanbane (black and white), 
are two townlands in Mayo. 



It is well known that most of the terms employed in 
Irish to designate Christian structures, ceremonies, 
and offices, are derived directly from Latin. The 
early missionaries, finding no suitable words in the 
native language, introduced the necessary Latin 

CHAP. II.] Ecclesiastical Edifices. 301 

terms, wMcli, in course of time, were more or less 
considerably modified according to the laws of Irish 
pronunciation. Those applied to buildings are no- 
ticed in this Chaj)ter; but we have besides, such 
words as easjoog, old Irish epscoj), a bishop, from ejns- 
copus ; sagart or sacart, a priest, from sacerdos ; bean- 
nacht, old Irish hendacht, a blessing, from henedictio ; 
Aiffrionn or Aiffrend, the Mass, from offerenda ; and 
many others. 

We know from many ancient authorities that the 
early Irish churches were usually built of timber 
planks, or of wattles or hurdles, j)lastered over with 
clay ; and that this custom was so general as to be 
considered a national characteristic. Bede, for in- 
stance, mentions that when Fin an, an Irish monk, 
became bishop of Lindisfarne, " he built a church fit 
for his episcopal see ; he made it not, however, of 
stone, but altogether of sawn oak, and covered it 
with reeds, after the manner of the Scots" (Hist. 
EccL, III. 25) : and many other authorities to the 
same eff'ect might be cited. In some of the lives of 
the early saints, we have interesting accounts of the 
erection of structures of this kind, very often by the 
hands of the ecclesiastics themselves — accounts that 
present beautiful pictures of religious devotion and 
humility ; for the heads of the communities often 
worked with their own hands, in building up their 
simple churches — men who were, for long ages 
afterwards, and are still, venerated for their learn- 
ing and holiness. 

These structures, often put up hastily to meet the 
wants of a newly formed religious community, or 
the recently conveii;ed natives of a district, we know 
were generally very small and simple ; and in some 
cases the names preserve the memory of the primi- 

302 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

tive materials. Kilclief in the county of Down, 
took its name from one of those rude edifices ; for its 
Irish name, as used by several authorities, is Cill- 
cleithe [cleha], the hmdle church {cUatk, a hurdle), 
from which the present form has been derived by the 
change of th to/ (p. 50). The same name is found 
as Kilclay near Ologher in Tyrone ; and a parish in 
Westmeath, called Kilcleagh, exhibits another, and 
still more correct form. 

But timber was not the only material employed ; 
for stone churches began to be erected from the ear- 
liest Christian period. It was believed indeed, until 
very recently, that buildings of stone and mortar 
were unknown in Ireland previous to the Anglo- 
Norman invasion ; but Petrie has shown that churches 
of stone were erected in the fifth, sixth, and succeed- 
ing centuries ; and the ruins of many of these vene- 
rable structures are still to be seen, and have been 
identified as the very buildings erected by the early 

Cill. The Irish words, cill, eaglais, teampull, domhn- 
ach, &c. — all originally Latin — signify a church. 
cm [kill], also written cell and ceall, is the Latin 
cella, and next to haile, it is the most prolific root in 
Irish names. Its most usual anglicised form is kill 
or Jul, but it is also made Jiyle, keel, and cal ; there 
are about 3400 names beginning with these syllables, 
and if we estimate that a fifth of them represent coil I, 
a wood, there remain about 2700 whose first syllable 
is derived from cill. Of these, the greater number . 
are formed by placing the name of the founder or 
patron after this word, of which I give a few illus- 
trative examples here, but many more will be foimd 
scattered through the book. 

Colman was a favourite name among the Irish 

CHAP. II.] Ecclesiastical Edifices. 303 

saints; O'Clery's Calendar alone commemorates about 
sixty of the name. It is radically the same as Colum 
or Columba, and its frequency is probably to be at- 
tributed to veneration for the great St. Columba. 
There are in Ireland seven parishes, and more than 
twenty townlands (including Spenser's residence in 
Cork) called Kilcolman (Uolman's church) ; but 
in many of these it is now difficult or impossible to 
determine the individual saints after whom they were 
called. St. Cainnech or Canice, who gave name to 
Kilkenny, and also to Kilkenny West in Westmeath, 
was abbot of Aghabo in Queen's Coimty, where he 
had his principal church ; he is mentioned by Adam- 
nan in his Life of St. Columba, and he died in the 
year 598. There are thirty-five townlands and 
parishes scattered through the four provinces, called 
Kilbride, in Irish CiU-Bhrighde, Brigid's or Bride's 
chm'ch, most of which were dedicated to St. Brigid 
of Kildare ; and Kilbreedy, the name of two parishes 
in Limerick, has the same origin. KilmiuTy is the 
name of nearly fifty townlands, in which there 
must have been churches dedicated to the Blessed 
Virgin, for the Irish name is Cill-Mhuire, Mary's 

Besides the names of saints, this term is combined 
with various other words, to form local names. Shan- 
kill, in Irish Seiiw/ieall, old church, is the name of 
seventeen townlands and four parishes, among others 
the parish which includes Belfast. There is a village 
in Kildare, called Kilcullen, which was much cele- 
brated for its monastery ; it is called by Irish writers 
Cill-cidliinn, the church of the holly ; and there are 
several townlands in other counties of the same name. 
At Killeigh near Tullamore, there was once a great 
ecclesiastical establishment, under the patronage of 

304 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

St. Smcheall. Its original name, as used in Irish 
authorities, is Cill-achaidh [Killahy], the church of 
the field, which has heen softened down to the present 
form. There was, according to Colgan, another place 
of the same name in East Breifny ; and to distinguish 
them, Killeigh in King's County is usually called by 
the annalists Cill-achaidh-droma-fada, i. e. Killeigh of 
Drumfada, from a long ridge or hill which rises im- 
mediately over the village. 

Kyle, a form much used in the south, is itself the 
name of more than twenty townlands, and constitutes 
the first syllable of about eighty others ; a large pro- 
portion of these, however, probably half, are not 
churches but woods (coill). In some parts of the 
south, Kyle is used to denote a burial place for chil- 
dren, and sometimes for unbaj^tized infants, but this 
is a modern application. 

The diminutive Killeen is the name of more than 
seventy toTsoilands, and its combinations are very nu- 
merous — all derived from a " little church," except 
about a fifth from " woods." Killeentierna in Kerry 
must have' been founded by, or dedicated to, some 
saint named Tierna or Tighernach. Killeens and 
Killeeny, little churches, are also often met with. 
Monagilleeny near Ardmore in Waterford, is in Irish 
Moin-na-gcilHnidhe, the bog of the little churches. 

Calluragh, or as it is written in Irish, Cealhirach^ 
which is a derivative from cill, is applied in the 
southern counties, and especially in Clare, to an old 
burying ground ; sometimes it means a burial place 
disused except only for the interment of children ; 
and occasionally it denotes a burial place for unbap- 
tized infants even where there never was a church ; 
as, for example, in the parish ofKilcrohane in Kerry, 
where the old forts or lisses are sometimes set apart 

CHAP, n.] Ecclesiastical Edifices. 305 

for this purpose, and called Callooraghs. In the an- 
glicised form, Calluragh, this word has given name 
to several townlands. 

Cealtmch [caltragh], which is also a derivative 
from cill, is used — chiefly in the western half of Ire- 
land — to denote an old burying ground. It is com- 
monly anglicised Caltragh, which is the name of a 
great many places ; and there is a village in Gralway 
called Caltra, another modification of the same word. 
We find Cloonacaltry in Sligo and Roscommon, the 
cloon or meadow of the burying ground. Cealdmeh, 
another Irish form, gives name to eight townlands, 
now called Caldragh, which are confined to six coun- 
ties, with Leitrim as centre ; in one case it is made 
Keeldra in this last county. 

Eaglals, Another term for a church is eaglais 
[aglish], derived, in common with the Welsh eccliiisy 
the Cornish eglos, and the Armoric ylis, from the 
Latin ecclesia. This term was applied to a great 
many churches in Ireland ; for we have a considerable 
number of parishes and townlands called Aglish and 
Eglish, the former being more common in the south, 
and the latter in the north. There is a parish in 
Tipperary called Aglishcloghane, the church of the 
cloghaim or row of stepping-stones ; another in 
Limerick called Aglishcormick, St. Cormie's church ; 
and a third in Cork, called Aglishdrinagh, the church 
of the slow bushes. Ballynahaglish, the town of the 
church, is the name of a parish in Mayo, and of ano- 
ther in Kerry ; and near Ballylanders in Limerick, is 
a place called Griennahaglish, the glen of the church. 
In the corrupt form Heagles, it is the name of two 
townlands near Ballymoney in Antrim ; and in the 
same neighbourhood we find Drumaheglis, the ridge 
or long hill of the church. 

306 Artificial Structures. [part hi, 

TeatnpuU, From the Latin templum is derived the 
Irish teampuU. Like cill, eaglais, and domhnach, it 
was adopted at a very early date, being found in the 
oldest Irish MSS., among others those cited by Zeuss. 
In anglicised names it is usually changed to temjyle, 
which forms the beginning of about ninety townland 
names ; and it is to be borne in mind that these, 
though to all appearance at least partly English, are 
in reality wholly Irish. A remarkably large propor- 
tion of parishes have taken their names from these 
teampulls^ there being no less than fifty parish names 
beginning with the word temple. 

There are four parishes in Cork, Longford, Tip- 
perary, and Waterford, where the original chui'ches 
must have been dedicated to the Archangel Michael, 
as they still bear the name of Templemichael ; Tem- 
piebredon in Tipperary, is called in Irish Tcampull- 
iii-Bhridedin^ O'Bredon's church ; and Temple-et- 
ney in the same county, was so called from 8t. 
Eithne, whose memory is fast dying out there. 
The original church of Templecarn, not far from 
Pettigo in Donegal, must have been built near a 
pagan sepulchre, for the name signifies the church 
of the cam or mxonument. Templetuohy in Tip- 
perary, signifies the chuax-h of the tnatJi or territory, 
and it received this name as having been the princi- 
pal church of the tuath or district in which it was 
situated. A cathedral, or any large or important 
chui'ch, was sometimes called, by way of distinction, 
Templemore, great church ; and this is the name of 
three parishes in Londonderry, Mayo, and Tipperary, 
the first including the city of Derry, and the last, the 
town of Templemore. 

Domhnach. The Irish word domhnach [dowTiagh], 
)vhich signifies a church, and also Sunday, is from 

CHAP. II.] Ecclesiastical Edifices. 307 

the Latin Dominica^ the Lord's day. According to 
the Tripartite Life, Jocelin, Ussher, &c., all the 
churches that bear the name of Domhnach., or in 
the anglicised fonn, Donagh, were originally founded 
by St. Patrick ; and thej^ were so called because he 
marked out their foundations on Sunday. For ex- 
ample, in the Tripartite Life we are told that the 
saint " having remained for seven Sundays in Cian- 
achta^ laid the foundations of seven sacred houses 
to the Lord ; [each of] which he therefore called 
Dominica^^ i. e. in Lish Domhnach. 

In the year 439, while St. Patrick was in Con- 
naught, his nephew, bishop Sechnall or Secundinus, 
arrived in Ireland in company with some others. 
He was the son of Eestitutus the Lombard by St. 
Patrick's sister Liemania or Darerca (see p. 90, si(pra), 
and very soon after, he was left by his uncle in 
Meath. The church founded for him, where he re- 
sided till his death in 448, was called from him 
Domhnach- Seachnaill [Donna-shaughnill : Four Mas- 
ters], the chmx'h of St. Sechnall, now shortened to 
Dunshaughlin, which is the name of a village and 
parish in the county Meath. 

There are nearly forty townlands whose names are 
formed by, or begin with, Donagh, of which more 
than twenty are also parish names. In all those 
places, there must have been one of the primitive 
Dominicas, and most of them have biuial places and 
ruins to this day; foui^teen of the parishes are 
called Donaghmore, great church. Donaghanie near 
Cloghemy in Tyrone, is called by the Four Masters, 
Domhnach-an-eich, the church of the steed ; accord- 
ing to the same authority, the proper name of 
Donaghmoyne in Monaghan, is Domhnach-maighin, 
the church of the little plain ; and there is a 

308 Artificial Structures, [part hi. 

place of the same name near Clogher in Tyrone. 
The genitive form of the word (see p. 33) gives 
name to Donnycarney, Ceamach's or Carney's 
church, a village near Dublin, and another near 

Aireagal This word (pronounced arrigle)^ means 
primarily a habitation, but in a secondary sense, it 
was often applied to an oratory, hermitage, or small 
church. The word is obviously derived from the 
Latin oraculum ; for besides the similarity of form, 
we know that in the Latin Lives of the Irish saints 
who flourished on the continent, the oratories they 
founded are often designated by the term oraculum 
(Petrie, R. Towers, p. 349). It has been used in 
Irish from the earliest times, for it occurs in our 
oldest MSS., as for instance in the Leabhar na 
hUidhre, where we find it in the form airicul. 

Errigal, the usual English form, is the name of a 

:)arish in Londonderry, and of a townland in Cavan. 

The well-known mountain called Errigal in Donegal, 
in all probability took its name from an oratory 
somewhere near it. The church of Errigal Keer- 
ogue, which gives name to a parish in Tyrone, was 
once a very important establishment; it is often 
mentioned by the Annalists, and called by them 
Aireagal- Dachiarog, the church of St. Dachiarog. 
Errigal Trough in Monaghan, is called in Irish 
Aireagal- Triiwha, the church of (the barony of) 
Trough. Duarrigle is the name of a place on the 
Blackwater, near Millstreet in Cork, containing the 
ruins of a castle built by the O'Keefies ; its Irish 
nafne is Diibh-aireagal, black habitation or oratory ; 
and there is another place of the same name near 

Urnaidhe. This word, which is variously written 

CHAP. II.] Ecclesiastical Edifices. 309 

urnaidhe^ ornaidhe, or ernaidhe [urny, erny] signifies 
primarily a prayer, but in a secondary sense, it is 
applied to a prayer-house : Latin oratoriimi. It 
takes most commonly the form Urney, which is the 
name of some parishes and townlands in Cavan, 
Tyrone, and King's County; Urney in Tyrone is 
often mentioned by the Four Masters, and called 
Ernaidhe or Urnaidhe, The word often incorporates 
the article in English (see p. 23), and becomes Nur- 
ney (an Urnaidhe, the oratory) , which is the name of 
several parishes, villages, and townlands, in Carlow 
and Kildare. It occurs in combination in Tem- 
plenahurney in Tipperary, the church of the oratory. 

Serin. Serin [skreen], which comes directly from 
the Latin serinium, signifies a shrine, i. e. an orna- 
mented casket or box, containing the relics of a saint. 
These shrines were very usual in Ireland ; they were 
held in extraordinary veneration, and kept with the 
greatest care ; and several churches where they were 
preserved were known on this account by the Irish 
name Serin, or in English, Skreen or Skrine. The 
most remarkable of these was Skreen in Meath, 
which is called in the Annals, Serin- Cholmmcille, St. 
Columkille's shrine, and it was so called because a 
shrine containing some of that saint's relics was pre- 
served there. 

Lann. Lann, in old Irish land, means a house or 
church. The word is Irish, but in its ecclesiastical 
application, it was borrowed from the Welsh, and was 
introduced pinto Ireland at a very early age ; when 
it means simply " house," it is no doubt purely 
Irish, and not a loan-word. It forms part of the 
terms ith-Iann and lann-iotha [ihlan, lan-iha], both 
of which are used to signify a granary or barn, lite- 
rally house of corn (ith, corn) ; the latter is often 

310 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

used by the English speaking people of some of the 
Miinster counties, who call a barn a linney. It is 
found in our earliest MSS., among others in those of 
Zeuss; it occurs also in an ancient charter in the 
Book of Kells in the sense of house ^ and it is so trans- 
lated by O'Donovan. It is a word common to se- 
veral languages, and its primary signification seems 
to be an enclosed piece of ground ; " Old Ai^m. lann ; 
Ital., Fr., Provencal, landa, lande, Gothic (and Eng- 
lish) /«>?//" (EbeL). 

It is not found extensively in local nomenclature, 
and I cannot find it at all in the south ; but it has 
given origin to the names of a few remarkable places ; 
and it is often anglicised lyn, lynn, or tin, from the 
oblique form lainn [lin : see p. 33, sujrm'], as in the 
word linney quoted above. The celebrated St. Col- 
man-Elo, patron of L}Tially near Tullamore, was, 
according to O'Clery's Calendar, the son of St. Co- 
lumba's sister. At an assembly of saints held in this 
neighbourhood about the year 590, Columba, who 
had come from the convention at Druim-ceat, to visit 
his monastery at Durrow, proposed that a spot of 
ground should be given to Colman, where he might 
establish a monastery ; and Aedh Slaine, prince of 
Meath, afterwards king of Ireland, answered, that 
there was a large forest in his principality, called 
Fidh-Elo [Fee-Elo] i. e. the wood of Ela, where he 
might settle if he wished. Colman accepted it, and 
said : — " My resurrection shall be there, and hence- 
forth I shall be named [Colman-Elo] from that 
place." He soon after erected a monastery there, 
which became very famous, and which was called 
Lann-Elo or Lcmd-Ealla (O'Clery's Cal.), i. e. the 
church of Ela, now anglicised Lynally (see Lanigan, 
Eccl. Hist. II., 304). 

CH AP, II . ] Ecclesiastical Edifices. 311 

Another place equally celebrated, was La nn- lei re 
OT Land-Ieri (Book of Leinster) , i. e. the church of 
austerity, which until recently was supposed to be 
the old chiu'ch of Lynn, on the east side of Lough 
Ennel in Westmeath. But Dr. Eeeves has clearly 
identified it with Dunleer in Louth, the word dun 
being substituted for lann, while the latter part of the 
name has been preserved with little change. (See 
Dr. Todd in ''Wars of GO.," Introd., p. xL). ^ The 
old church of Lynn, which gives name to a parish in 
Westmeath, though it is not the Lann-ieire of history, 
derives its name from this word kotiL 

The word appears in other, and more correct forms, 
in Landmore, i. e. great church, in Londonderry ; 
Landahussy or Lannyhussy, O'Hussy's house or 
church, in Tyrone ; Lanaglug in the same county, 
Lann-na-r/clof/, the chui-ch of the bells. In Landbrock 
in Fermanagh, Land appears to mean simply habita- 
tion, the name being applied to a badger warren — 
Lann-broc, house of badgers. Belan in Kildare, is 
called by the Annahsts Liothlann, which name it 
may have derived from a house of hospitality ; bioth, 
life or existence ; BiofJtIann, refection house ; similar 
in formation to ithlann, corn-house (see p. 309). 

Grlenavy in Antrim, is another example of the use 
of this word. The ^ is a modern addition ; and Dr. 
Reeves has remarked, that the earliest authority he 
finds for its insertion is a Yisitation Book of 1661, 
In the Taxation of 1306, it is called Lenneivij, and 
in other early English documents, Lenavy, Lynavy, 
&c. (Reeves, Eccl. Ant., p. 47), Avhich very well re- 
present the pronunciation of the original Irish name, 
Lann-abhaich [Lanavy], as given in the Calendar, 
signifying the church of the dwarf. Colgan states 
that when St. Patrick had built the church there, he 

312 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

left it in charge of Hs disciple Daniel, who, from his 
low stature, was called ahhac [avak or ouk], i.e. 
dwarf, and that from this circumstance the church 
got its name. It is worthy of remark here, that 
other places have got names from a like circumstance ; 
for example, Cappanouk in the parish of Ahington, 
Limerick, represents the Irish Ceapach-an-ahhaich, 
the garden plot of the dwarf. 

Baisleac. This is a loan word, little changed, 
from the Latin basilica, and hears the same meaning, 
viz., a church ; it is of long standing in Irish, being 
found in very ancient MSS., and was no doubt 
brought in, like the preceding terms, by the first 
Christian teachers. I am aware of only two places 
in Ireland deriving their names from this word. One 
is Baslick, an old church giving name to a parish in 
Eoscommon, which is often mentioned by the Four 
Masters, and which, in the Tripartite Life of St. 
Patrick, is called Baisleac-m6)\ great church. The 
other place has for its name the diminutive Bas- 
lickane, and is a townland in the parish of Kilcrohane, 

Disert. The word disert is borrowed from the Latin 
desertum, and retains its original meaning in Irish, 
viz., a desert, wilderness, or sequestered place. It is 
used very often in Irish writings ; as for example, in 
the Battle of Moyrath, p. 10 : — " Ocus disert mhec 
aigi ann sin,^' " and he (the saint) had a little desert 
(hermitage) there." It is generally used in an ec- 
clesiastical sense to denote a hermitage, such secluded 
spots as the early Irish saints loved to select for their 
little dwellings ; and it was afterwards applied to 
churches erected in those places. 

Its most usual modern forms are Desert, Disert, 
Dysart, and Dysert, which axe the names of a con- 

CHAP. II.] Ecclesiastical Edifices, 313 

siderable number of parishes and townlands tkrough- 
ont Ireland, except only in the Connanght counties 
(where, however, the word is found in other forms). 
Desertmartin is the name of a village in Londonderry, 
and Desertserges that of a parish in Cork, the former 
signifying Martin's, and the latter, Saerghus's hermi- 
tage ; Killadysert in Clare means the church of the 
desert or hermitage. 

The word disert takes various corrupt forms in the 
mouths of the peasantry, both in Irish and English ; 
such as ister, ester, tirs, tristle, &c. A good example 
of one of these corruptions is found in Estersnow, the 
name of a townland and parish in Roscommon. The 
Four Masters call it Disert-Nuadhan [Nooan], St. 
Nuadha's hermitage; but the people now call it 
in Irish, Tirs-Niiadhan ; while in an Inquisition of 
Elizabeth, it is called in one place, Issetnowne, and 
in another place, Issertnoivne, which stand as inter- 
mediate forms between the ancient and present names. 
Though written Estersnow on the Ordnance maps, it 
is really called by the people, when speaking English, 
Eastersnotv, which form was evidently evolved under 
the corrupting influence noticed at page 38, supra, 
(ix). The patron saint is probably the Nuadha 
fNooa] commemorated in O'Clery's Calendar at the 
3rd of October ; but he is now forgotten there, though 
his holy well, Tobernooan, is still to be seen, and re- 
tains his name (see O'Donovan's Eour Masters, 
Yol. III., p. 546, note |j). 

This root word assumes another form in Isertkelly, 
an ancient church giving name to a parish in Gal- 
way, mentioned by the Four Masters, who call it 
Disert' Cheallaigk, Ceallach's or Kelly's hermitage; 
and in Isertkieran, a parish in Tipperary, which no 
doubt received its name from St. Ciaran of Ossory 

314 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

(see p. 142, supra). It is still further altered in 
Isliartmon, a parish in Wexford, St. Munna's desert, 
i. e. St. Munna of Taghmon (p. 291). 

In some of the Leinster counties, there are several 
places whose names haA^e been changed by the sub- 
sitution of the modern word castte for the ancient 
disert ; this may be accounted for naturally enough 
in individual cases, by the fact that a castle was 
erected on or near the site of the older hermitage. 
Castledermot in Kildare, whose ancient importance 
is still attested by its round tower and crosses, is well 
known by the name of JD/sert-JDiarmada ; where 
Diarmad, son of Aedh Hoin, king of Ulidia, founded 
a monastery about a. d. 800. The present form of 
the name was, no doubt, derived from the castle built 
there by Walter de Riddlesford in the time of Strong- 

The Irish name of Castledillon in Kildare, is 
Disert- loUadhan [Disertillan] , i. e. loUadhan's her- 
mitage. Castlekeeran near Oldcastle in Meath, is 
another example. The ancient name of this place, as 
appears by the Four Masters, A. D. 868, was Bealach- 
duin [Ballaghdoon], the road of the fort; but after 
the time of St. Ciaran tlie Pious, who founded a 
monastery there in the eighth century, and died in 
year 770, it was generally called in the annals, Disert- 
Chiarain, St. Kieran's hermitage. The castle that 
originated the present form of the name belonged, as 
some think, to the Staifords, but according to others, 
to the Plunkets. 

Cros. Cros signifies a cross, and is borrowed from 
the Latin crux ; it occurs in our earliest writings, and 
is found in some very old inscriptions on crosses. It 
is scarcely necessary to state that, from the time of the 
introduction of Christianity into this country, crosses 

CHAP. II.] Ecclesiastical Edifices. 315 

were erected in connexion with cliurches and other 
religious foundations ; they were at first simple and un- 
adorned, but became gradually more elegant in design, 
and more elaborate in ornamentation ; and we have 
yet remaining, in many parts of the country, crosses 
of the most beautiful workmanship, lasting memorials 
of the piety and artistic skill of our forefathers. 

These monmnents were not confined to religious 
buildings. In Adamnan's Life of St. Columba, it is 
related that on a certain occasion, a man whom the 
saint was coming to meet, suddenly fell down and 
expired. " Hence, on that spot, before the entrance 
to the kiln, a cross was erected, and another where 
the saint stopped, which is seen to this day." (Lib. I., 
Cap. 45); on which Dr. Reeves remarks: — "It 
was usual among the Irish to mark with a cross the 
spot where any providential visitation took place." 
This very general custom is attested not only by his- 
tory, but also by the great number of places that 
have taken their names from crosses. 

The word Cross itself is the name of about thirty 
townlands, and it forms the first syllable of about 
150 others ; there are besides numerous names in 
which it assumes other forms, or in which it occurs 
in the termination. Some of these places probably 
took their names from cross roads, and in others the 
word is used adjectively, to signify a transverse posi- 
tion ; but these are exceptions, and the greater num- 
ber commemorate the erection of crosses. 

A cross must have formerly stood near the old 
parish church of Crosserlough in Cavan, the Irish 
name being Cros-air-locli^ the cross on or by the 
lake. Crossmolina in Mayo, is called by the Four 
Masters, CroS'Ui-Mhaeilfhina^ O'Mulleeny's cross ; 
the family of O'Maelfhina, whose descendants of the 

316 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

present day generally call themselves Mullany, had 
their seat here, and were chiefs of the surrounding 
district. There are some townlands and a village in 
Down, called Crossgar, short cross ; Crossfamoge, 
the name of a prominent cape near Camsore point, 
signifies the cross of the alder tree ; and Gortnagross, 
the name of several places in the northern and 
southern counties, is the field of the crosses — Gort- 
na-gcros. The parish of Aghacross (the ford of the 
cross), near Kildorrery in Cork, took its name, no 
doubt, from a cross in connexion with St. Molaga's 
establishment (see p. 145), erected to mark a ford 
on the Funcheon. There are several places called 
Crossan, Crossane, and Crossoge, all which signify 
little cross. 

The oblique form crois (see p. 33, stipra) is pro- 
nounced crush, and has given the name Crosh to two 
townlands in Tyrone ; to Crushybracken in Antrim, 
O'Bracken's cross, and to several other places. We 
find the genitive in Ardnacrusha, the name of a vil- 
lage near Limerick city, and of a townland in Cork, 
Ard-)ia-croise, the height of the cross ; the diminu- 
tive, Crusheen, little cross, is the name of a small 
town in Clare ; and there are townlands in Galway 
called Crosheen and Crusheeny, — the last meaning 
little crosses. Crossaire [crussera], which is a deri- 
vative from C7'os, is applied in the south of Ireland 
to cross-roads, and hence we have Crossery and 
Crussera, two townlands in Waterford, the latter near 
Dimgarvan. For the form crock, see page 211. 

CHAP. III.] Monuments, Graves, and Cemeteries. 317 



Before tlie introduction of Ckristianity, different 
modes of sepulture were practised in Ireland. In 
very early ages it was usual to burn the body, and 
place the ashes in an urn, which was deposited in 
the grave. It seems very extraordinary that all 
memory of this custom should be lost to both his- 
tory and tradition ; for I am not aware that there 
is any mention of the burning of bodies in any — 
even the oldest — of our native writings. But that 
the custom was very general we have the best possible 
proof ; for in every part of Ireland, cinerary urns, 
containing ashes and burned bones, have been found, 
in the various kinds of pagan sepulchres. *' Crema- 
tion does not appear to have been the rule as to the 
mode of interment in ancient Erinn, as many re- 
mains of skeletons have been found When 

the dead were interred without cremation, the body 
was placed either in a horizontal, sitting, or re- 
cumbent posture. When the remains were burned, 
a fictile vessel was used to contain the ashes. These 
urns are of various forms and sizes. The style 
of decoration also differs widely — some being but 
rudely ornamented, while others bear indications of 
artistic skill which could not have been exercised by 
a rude or uncultivated people."* 

Occasionally the bodies of kings and chieftains 
were burned in a standing posture, arrayed in full 

* From the " Illustrated History of Ireland," by F. M. C. 
(p. 117), the most attractive history of our country that has yet 

318 Artificial Structwes. [part hi. 

battle costume, with tlie face turned towards the 
territories of their enemies. Of this custom we have 
several very curious historical records. In the Lea- 
bhar na hUidhre it is related that king Leaghaire 
[Leary] (see pp. 132, 133, supra) was killed " by the 
sun and wind" in a war against the Lagenians ; " and 
his body was afterwards brought from the south, and 
interred with his arms of valour, in the south-east of 
the external rampart of the royal Rath Laeghaire 
at Temur (Tara), with the face turned southwards 
upon the Lagenians [as it were] fighting with them, 
for he was the enemy of the Lagenians in his life- 
time" (Petrie's '' Antiquities of Tara HiU," p. 145). 
The same circumstance is related in a still older 
authority, with some additional interesting details — 
the "Annotations of Tirechan," in the Book of 
Armagh. King Laeghaire says: — "For Neel, my 
father (i. e. Niall of the Nine Hostages), did not 
permit me to believe [in the preaching of St. Patrick], 
but that I should be interred in the top of Temur ^ 
like men standing up in war. For the pagans are 
accustomed to be buried armed, with theii* weapons 
ready, face to face [in which manner they remain], 
to the day of Erclathe^ among the Magi, i. e. the day 
of judgment of the Lord" (Ibid., p. 146). 

The pagan Irish believed, that while the body of 
their king remained in this position, it exercised a 
malign influence on their enemies, who were thereby 
always defeated in battle. Thus, in the Life of St. 
Ceallach, it is stated, that his father, Owen Bel, great 
grandson of Dathi, and king of Connaught (see pp. 
99 and 132, supra), was killed in the battle of Sligo, 
fought against the Ulstermen. And before his death 
he told his people " to bury him with his red javelin 
in his hand in the grave. ' Place my face towards 

CHAP. III.] Monuments, Graves, and Cemeteries. 319 

the nortli, on the side of the hill by which the 
northerns pass when flying before the army of Con- 
nanght ; let my grave face them, and place myself 
in it after this manner.' And this order was strictly 
complied with ; and in every place where the Clanna 
Neill and the Connacians met in conflict, the Clanna 
Neill and the northerns were routed, being panic- 
stricken by the coimtenances of their foes ; so that 
the Clanna Neill and the people of the north of Ire- 
land, therefore resolved to come with a numerous host 
to Eath-O^hJiFiachrach and raise [the body of] Owen 
from the grave, and carry his remains northwards 
across to Sligo. This was done, and the body was 
buried at the other side [of the river], at Aenach 
Locha Gile, with the mouth down, that it might not 
be the means of causing them to fly before the Con- 
nacians." (Translated by O'Donovan in '' Hy Fiach- 
rach," p. 472.) 

It is very ciuious that, in some 23arts of the country, 
the people still retain a dim traditional memory of 
this mode of sepultm-e, and of the superstition con- 
nected with it. There is a place in the parish of 
Errigal in Londonderry, called Slaghtaverty, but it 
ought to have been called LagJttacerty, the laght 
or sepulcln^al monument of the ahhar tacit [avartagh] 
or dwarf (see p. 61, supra). This dwarf was a ma- 
gician, and a dreadful tyrant, and after having 
perpetrated great cruelties on the people he Vv^as at 
last vanquished and slain by a neighbouring chief- 
tain; some say by Finn Mac Cumhail. He was 
buried in a standing posture, but the very next day 
he appeared in his old haunts, more cruel and vigo- 
rous than ever. And the chief slew him a second 
time, and bmied him as before, but again he escaped 
from the grave, and spread terror through the whole 

320 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

country. The chief then consulted a druid, and ac- 
cording to his directions, he slew the dwarf a third 
time, and buried him in the same place, icith his head 
downwards ; which subdued his magical power, so 
that he never again appeared on the earth. The laght 
raised over the dwarf is still there, and you may hear 
the legend with much detail, from the natives of the 
place, one of whom told it to me. 

The modes of forming receptacles for the remains, 
and the monuments erected over them, were exceed- 
ingly various. It was usual in this country, as in 
many others, to pile a great heap of stones, usually 
called a cam, over the grave of any person of note ; 
and where stones were not abundant, clay was used 
for the same purpose. This custom is mentioned 
in many of our ancient writings, and I might quote 
several passages in illustration, but I shall content 
myself with one from Adamnan (7th cent.) : — " The 
old man [Artbrananus] believed, and was baptized, 
and when the Sacrament was administered he died 
in the same spot [on the shore of the isle of Skye], 
according to the prediction of the saint [i. e. of St. 
Columba] ; and his companions buried him there ; 
raising a heap of stones over his grave." (Vit. 
Col. I., 33). 

The same custom exists to some extent at the pre- 
sent day, for in many parts of Ireland, they pile up a 
laght or cam over the spot where any person has come 
to an untimely death ; and every passer by is expected 
to add a stone to the heap. The tourist who ascends 
Mangerton mountain near Killarney, may see a earn 
of this kind near the Devil's Punch Bowl, where a 
shepherd was found dead some years ago. 

Our pagan ancestors had a particular fancy for 
elevated situations as their final resting place ; and 

CHAP. III.] Monuments, Graves^ and Cemeteries. 321 

accordingly we find that great numbers of mountains 
through the country have one or more of these earns 
on theu' summit, under each of which sleeps some 
person important in his day. They are sometimes 
very large, and form conspicuous objects when viewed 
from the neighboui'ing plains. 

Many mountains through every part of the country 
take their names from these earns, the name of the 
monument gradually extending to the hill. Carnlea, 
a high hill north of Cushendall in Antrim, is an ex- 
ample, its Irish name being Ccuii-Uath, grey cam ; 
Carntogher, the name of a range of hills in London- 
derry, signifies the earn of the causeway ; the great 
pile on the top of Carn Clanhugh in Longford (the 
cam of Hugh's sons) , is visible for many miles over 
the level country round the mountain ; and Carron 
hill near Charleville, county Cork, takes its name 
from a vast pile of stones on its summit. 

The word cam forms the whole or the beginning 
of the names of about 300 townlands, in every one 
of which a remarkable carn must have existed, 
besides many others of whose names it forms the 
middle or end ; and there are innumerable monu- 
ments of this ki-nd all tlirough the country, which 
have not given names to townlands. It is very pro- 
bable that the persons who are commemorated in such 
names as the following, are those over whom the 
earns were originally erected. 

Carnteel, now a village and parish in Tjo-one, is 
called by the Four Masters Carn-tSiadhail, SiadhaPs 
or Shiel's monument. There is a remarkable moun- 
tain, with a carn on its summit, called Carn Tiema, 
near Rathcormack in the county Cork. According 
to O'CmTy (Lectures, p. 267), Tighernach [Tierna] 
Tetbannach king of Munster in the time of Conor 

322 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

mao Nessa, in the first century, was buried in this, 
whence it was called Cam Tighernaigk^ Tighemach's 
cam ; and the sound of the old name is preserved in 
the modern Cam Tierna. Carmavy (Grange) in 
the parish of Killead, Antrim, Maev's earn ; Cam- 
kenny near Ardstraw in Tyrone, the earn of Cain- 
nech or Kenny ; Carnew in Wicklow probably con- 
tains the same personal name as Rathnew — Cam- 
Naoi, Naoi's earn ; Carnacally, the name of several 
places, the monument of the calUach or hag. 

It is certain that the following places have lost 
their original names : — Carndonagh in Innishowen, 
which got the latter part of its name merely because 
the old monument was situated in the parish of 
Donagh ; there are some places in Antrim and Tyrone 
called Carnagat, the earn of the cats, from having 
been resorts of wild cats ; and a similar remark ap- 
plies to Carnalughoge near Louth, the earn of the 
mice ; Carney in Sligo is not formed from cam ; it 
is really a family name, the full designation being 
Farran-O'Camey, O'Carney's land. 

Other modifications of this word are seen in Car- 
ron, the name of several townlands in Waterford, 
Tipperary, and Limerick ; in Carronadavderg near 
Ardmore in "Waterford, the monument of the red ox, 
a singular name, no doubt connected with some le- 
gend ; Carnane and Carnaun, little earn, are very 
often met with ; and the form Kern an is the name 
of a townland near Armagh, and of another in the 
county Down. 

The moimds or tumuli of earth or stones, raised 
over a grave, were sometimes designated by the word 
tuaim [toom] . Like the cognate Latin word tumulKs, 
it was primarily applied to a hillock or dyke, and in 
a secondary sense to a monumental mound or tomb. 

CHAP. III.] Monuments, Graves, and Cemeteries. 323 

These moTinds, which were either of earth or stones, 
are still found in all kinds of situations, and some- 
times they are exceedingly large. It is often not 
easy to distinguish them from the duns or residences ; 
but it is probable that those mounds that have no ap- 
pearance of circumvallations are generally sepulchral. 
They have given names to a great many places in 
every part of Ireland, in numbers of which the old 
tumuli still remain. There are about a dozen places, 
chiefly in the north, called Toome, the most remark- 
able of which is that on the Bann, between Lough 
Neagh and Lough Beg, which gives name to the two 
adjacent baronies. There must have been formerly 
at this place both a sandbank ford across the river, 
and a sepulchral mound near it, for in the Tripartite 
Life it is called Fearsat Tuama, the far-set or ford of the 
tumulus ; but in the Annals it is generally called Tuaim. 
Tomgraney in Clare is often mentioned by the 
annalists, who call it Tuaim- Greine, the tomb of 
Grrian, a woman's name. The traditions of the place 
still preserve the memory of the lady Grian, but the 
people now call her Grillagraney — GiU-greinc, the 
brightness of the sun. They say that she was 
drowned in Lough Graney ; that her body was found 
in the river Graney at a place called Derry graney ; 
and that she was buried at Tomgraney. All these 
places retain her name, and her monument is still in 
existence near the village. Grian, which is the Irish 
word for the sun, and is of the feminine gender, was 
formerly very usual in Ireland as a woman's name. 
There is a place called Carngranny near the town of 
Antrim, where another lady named Grian must have 
been buried. Her monument also remains : — " it 
consists of ten large slabs raised on side supporters, 
like a series of cromlechs, forming steps commencing 

324 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

mth the lowest at the north-east, and ascending gra- 
dually for the length of forty feet towards the south- 
west" (Eeeves's Ecel. Ant., p. QQ). The pile is called 
Grranny's Grave, which is a translation of Carn-Greinc. 

The parish of Tomfinlough in Clare, took its name 
from an old church by a lake near Sixmile-bridge, 
which is several times mentioned by the Four Mas- 
ters under the name of Tuaim Fion)iIocha, the tumulus 
of the bright lake. Toomona in the parish of Ogulla, 
same county, v/here are still to be seen the ruins of a 
remarkable old monastery, is called in the Annals 
Tiiaim-mona, the tomb of the bog. Toomyvara in 
Tipperary, exactly represents the sound of the Irish 
Tuaim-ui-Mlieadhra., O'Mara's tomb ; and Tomdeely, 
a townland giving name to a parish in Limerick, is 
probably the tumulus of the (river) Deel. 

On the summit of Tomies mountain, which rises 
over the low^er lake of Killarney, there are two sepul- 
chral heaps of stones, not far from one another ; 
hence the Irish name Tumaidhe [Toomy],i. e. monu- 
mental mounds ; and the present name, which has 
extended to three townlands, has been formed by 
the addition of the English after the Irish plural 
(see page 32). The Irish name of the parish of 
Tumna in Eoscommon is Tuaim-nina (Four Mast.), 
the tumulus of the woman (bean, a woman, Gren. 
mna). Tooman and Toomog, little tombs, are the 
names of several townlands in different counties. 

Dumha [dooa] is another word for a sepulchral 
mound or tumulus ; it is very often used in Irish writ- 
ings, and we frequently find it recorded, that the 
bodies of the slain were buried in a dumha. These 
mounds have given names to numerous places, but 
being commonly made of earth, they have themselves 
in many cases disappeared. Moydow, a parish in 

CHAP. III.] Monuments, Graves, and Cemeteries. 325 

Longford wliicli gives name to a barony, is called by 

the Four Masters, Magh-dnmha [Moy-dooa], the plain 
of the burial mound ; and there is a townland of the 
same name in Eoscommon. 

In modern names it is not easy to separate this 
word from duhli, black, and dumhach, a sand bank; 
but the following names may be referred to it. 
Dooey, which is the name of several townlands in 
Ulster, is no doubt generally one of its modern forms, 
though when that name occurs on the coast, it is 
more likely to be from dmnhach. Knockadoo, the 
hill of the mound, is the name of some townlands in 
Roscommon, Sligo, and Londonderry ; and there are 
several places called Corradoo, Corradoba, and Corra- 
dooey, the round hill of the tumulus. 

A leacht Qaght] is a sepulchre or monument, cog- 
nate with Lat. led us and Grreek lechos ; for in many 
languages a grave is called a bed (see lecdxi, further 
on) ; Goth. Uga ; Eng. lie, lay ; Manx, Ihiaght. It is 
often applied, like earn, to a monumental heap of 
stones ; in Cormac's Grlossary it is explained lighedh 
mairhh, the grave of a dead (person). 

There are several places in different parts of the 
country, called Laght, which is its most correct an- 
glicised form ; Laghta, monuments, is the name of 
some townlands in Mayo and Leitrim, and we find 
Laght agalla, white sepulchres, near Thurles. Laght- 
ane, little laght, is a place in the parish of Killeena- 
garriff. Limerick. 

In the north of Ireland, the guttural is universally 
suppressed, and the word is pronounced lat or let ; as 
we find in Latt, the name of a townland in Armagh, 
and of another in Cavan ; Derlett in Armagh, the 
oak wood of the grave {Doire-leachta) ; Letfern in 
Tyrone, the laght of the f earns or alder trees ; and 

326 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

Corlat, the name of several places in the Ulster coun- 
ties, the round hill of the sepulchres. 

The word tdadh [ulla] originally meant a tomb 
or earn, as the following passages will show : — " oe 
denam uluidh ciimdachta imat flaitli^'' making a pro- 
tecting tomb over thy chief (O'Donovan, App. 
to O'Reilly's Diet, voce uladh). In the Leabhar na 
hUidhre, it is related that Caeilte [Keeltha], Finn 
mac Cumhal's foster son, slew Fothadh Airgtheach, 
monarch of Ireland, in the battle of Ollarha (Lame 
Water), in A. D. 285. Caeilte speaks :— " The uluidh 
of Fothadh Airgtheach will be found a short distance 
to the east of it. There is a chest of stone about him 
in the earth ; there are his two rings of silver, and 
his two hunne doat [bracelets?] and his torque of sil- 
ver on his chest; and there is a pillar stone at 
his earn; and an ogum is [inscribed] on the end 
of the pillar stone which is in the earth; and what 
is on it is 'Eochaidh Airgtheach here'" (Petrie, 
E. Towers, p. 108). 

The word is now, however, and has been for a long 
time, used to denote a penitential station, or a stone 
altar erected as a place of devotion ; a very natural 
extension of meaning, as the tombs of saints were so 
very generally used as places of devotion by the 
faithful. It was used in this sense at an early period, 
for in the "Battle ofMoyrath," it is said that "Domh- 
nall never went away from a cross without bow- 
ing, nor from an ulaidh, without turning round, nor 
from an altar without praying" (p. 298). On which 
O'Donovan remarks : — " TJluidh^ a word which often 
occurs in ancient MSS., is still understood in the west 
of Ireland to denote a penitential station at which 
pilgrims pray, and perform rounds on their knees." 
These little altar tombs have given names to places 

CHAP. III.] Monuments, Graves, and Cemeteries. 327 

all over Ireland, in many of wMcIi, especially in tlie 
west and south, they may still be seen. 

Among several places in Cork, we have Grlenna- 
huUa near Kildorrery, and KilnahuUa in the parish 
of Kilmeen, the glen and the church of the altar tomb ; 
the latter name being the same as Killulla in Clare. 
In Ulusker near Castleto^Ti Bearhaven, the word 
seems to be used in its primary sense, as the name is 
understood to mean Oscar's earn (Uladh-Oscuir); and 
in this sense we must no doubt understand it in 
Tullyullagh near Enniskillen, the hill of the tombs. 
Knockanully iux^ntrim signifies the hill of the tomb ; 
andTomnahuUa inCalway, would be written in Irish, 
Tuaim-na-hulaidh^ the moimd of the altar-tomb. "We 
have the diminutive Ullauns near Killamey, and 
Ullanes near Macroom in Cork, both signifying little 
stone altars. 

" A cromlech, when perfect, consists of three or 
more stones unhewTi, and generally so placed as to 
form a small enclosure. Over these a large [flat] 
stone is laid, the whole forming a kind of rude 
chamber. The position of the table, or covering 
stone, is generally sloping ; but it^ degree of inclina- 
tion does not appear to have been regulated by any 
design" (Wakeman's Handbook of Irish Antiquities, 
p. 7). They are very numerous in all parts of Ire- 
land, and various theories have been advanced to 
account for their origin ; of which the most common 
is that they were " Druids' altars," and used for offer- 
ing sacrifices. It is now, however, well known that 
they are tombs, which is proved by the fact that 
under many of them have been found cinerary urns, 
calcined bones, and sometimes entire skeletons. The 
popular name of " Griants' graves," which is applied 
to them in many parts of the country, preserves, with 

328 Artificial Structures. [part iir. 

sufficient correctness, the memory of their original 
purpose. They have other forms besides that described; 
sometimes they are very large, consisting of a chamber 
thirty or forty feet long, covered by a series of flags 
laid horizontally, like Carngranny (p. 323) ; and not 
unfrequently the chamber is in the form of a cross. 

The word cromlech — crom-Ieac^ sloping stone — is 
believed not to be originally Irish ; but to have been 
in late years introduced from Wales, where it is used 
merely as an antiquarian term. That it is not an old 
Irish word is proved by the fact, that it is not used 
in the formation of any of our local names. It has 
none of the marks of a native term, for it is not found 
in our old writings, and — like the expression " Druids' 
altars" — it is quite unknown to the Irish-speaking 

These sepulclires are sometimes called Icaha or 
leahaidh, old Irish lehaid [labba,labby],Manx Ihiabhee; 
the word literally signifies a bed, but is applied in 
a secondary sense to a grave, both in the present 
spoken language and in old writings. For ex- 
ample, in the ancient authority cited by Petrie (R. 
Towers, p. 350), it is stated that the great poet 
Rumann, who died in the year 747 at Rahan in 
King's County, '' was buried in the same Jeahcndh with 
Ua Suanaigh, for his great honour with God and man." 
There is a fine sepulchral monument of this kind, 
hitherto unnoticed, in a mountain glen over Mount 
Russell near Charleville, on the borders of the 
counties of Limerick and Cork, which the peasantry 
call Lahl>a- Incur ^ Oscur's grave. O'Brien (Diet, voce 
Leaba) says, " Leaba is the name of several places 
in Ireland, which are by the common peoj)le called 
Leahthacha - na - hhfeinne [Labbaha-na-veana], the 
monuments of the Fenii or old Irish champions;" and 

CHAP. III.] Monuments, Graves, and Cemeteries. 329 

it may be remarked that Oscur was one of the most 
renowned of these, being the son of Oisin, the son of 
Finn mac Cumhal (see p. 86, supra). 

Labby, which is one of the modern forms of this 
term, is the name of a townland in Londonderry. 
Sometimes the word is followed by a personal name, 
which is probably that of the individual buried in the 
monument ; as in Labbyeslin near Mohill in Leitrim, 
the tomb of Eslin ; Labasheeda in Clare, Sioda or 
Sheedy's grave. Sioda is the common Irish word for 
silk ; and accordingly many families, whose real an- 
cestral name is Sheedy, now call themselves Silk. 
In case of Labasheeda, the inhabitants believe that 
it was so called from the beautiful smooth sand in 
the little bay — Leaha-sioda, silken bed, like the 
*' Velvet strand" near Malahide. Perhaps they are 

Cromlechs are called in many parts of the country 
Leaha-DJuarmada-agus-Grai)ine, the bed of Dairmaid 
and Grainne ; and this name is connected with the 
well-known legend, that Dairmad O'Duibhne eloped 
with Grainne, the daughter of king Cormac mac Art, 
and Finn mac Cumhal's betrothed spouse. The pair 
eluded Finn's piu^suit for a j^ear and a day, sleeping 
at a different place each night, under a leaha erected 
by Diarmaid after his day's journey ; and according 
to the legend there were just 366 of them in Ireland. 
But this legend is a late invention, and evidently 
took its rise from the word leabaidh, which was un- 
derstood in its literal sense of a bed. The fable has, 
however, given origin to the name of Labbadermody, 
Diarmaid's bed, a townland in the parish of Clondro- 
hid in Cork; and to the term Labbacallee— Zert'^^- 
caillighe, hag's bed — sometimes applied to these mo- 

330 Artificial Structures. [part iit. 

In some parts of Ulster a cromlecli is called cloch- 
toghhaJa [clogli-togvla], i. e. raised or lifted stone, in 
reference to the covering flag ; from wliicli Clogh- 
togle near Enniskillen, and Cloghogle {t aspirated 
and omitted — p. 21), two townlands in Tyrone, have 
their name. There is a hill near Downpatrick called 
Slieve-na-griddle, the mountain of the griddle ; the 
griddle is a cromlech on the top of the hill ; but the 
name is half English, and very modern. 

" In many parts of Ireland, and particularly in dis- 
tricts where the stone circles occui', may be seen huge 
blocks of stone, which evidently owe their upright 
position, not to accident, but to the design and la- 
bour of an ancient people. They are called by the 
native Irish gallauns or leaganns, and in character 
they are precisely similar to the hoar-stones of Eng- 
land, the hare-stane of Scotland, and the maen-gwyr 
of Wales. Many theories have been promulgated 
relative to their origin. They are supposed to have 
been idol-stones — to have been stones of memorial — 
to have been erected as landmarks, boundaries, &c. 
— and, lastly, to be monumental stones" (Wakeman's 
" Handbook of Irish Antiquities," p. 17). "We know 
that the erection of j)illar stones as sepulchral monu- 
ments is often recorded in ancient Irish authorities, 
one example of which will be found in the passage 
quoted from Leabhar na hUidhi-e at page 326 ; but it 
is probable that some were erected for other purposes. 

There are several words in Irish to signify a pillar 
stone ; one of which is coirfhe or cairthe [corha, 
carha]. It is used in every part of Ireland, and has 
given names under various forms, to many different 
places, in several of which the old pillar stones are 
yet standing. The beautiful valley and lake of Grlen- 
car, on the borders of Leitrim and Sligo, is called in 

CHAP. III.] Monuments, Graves, and Cemeteries. 331 

Irisli Gleann-a^-chairthe, the glen of the pillar stone ; 
but its ancient name, as used by the Four Masters, 
was Cairtlie-Muilcheann, Carha and Carra, the 
names of several townlands in Ulster and Connaught, 
exhibit the word in its simple anglicised forms. 
There is a place in the parish of Clonfert, Cork, called 
Knockahorrea, which represents the Irish Cnoc-a'- 
chairthe, the hill of the pillar stone ; and in Louth 
we find Drumnacarra, which has nearly the same 

These stones are also, as Mr. Wakeman remarks, 
called galknins, and leaganns. The Irish form of the 
first is galldn, which is sometimes corrupted in the 
modern language to d all an ; it has given name to 
Gallan near Ardstraw in Tyrone ; and to Grallane 
and Grallanes in Cork. There are several low hills 
in Ulster, which, from a pillar stone standing on the 
top, were, called Drimigallan, and some of them have 
given names to to^mlands. Aghagallon, the field of 
the gallan, is the name of a townland in Tyrone, and 
of a parish in Antrim ; Knockagallane (hill) is the 
name of two townlands in Cork, and there is a parish 
near Mitchelstown in the same county, called Kil- 
guUane, the church of the pillar stone. 

The word gaU, of which galldn is a diminutive, was 
applied to standing stones, according to Cormac mac 
CuUenan (see p. 90, snpra), because they were first 
erected in Ireland by the Gauls. This word is also 
used in the formation of names ; as in CanguUia, a 
place near Castleisland in Kerry, the Irish name of 
which is Ceann-gaUle, the head or hill of the standing 
stone. The adjective gallach, meaning a place abound- 
ing in standing stones, or large stones or rocks, has 
given name to several places now called Gallagh, 
scattered through all the provinces except Munster ; 

332 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

and G-allow, the name of a parish in Meath, is another 
form of the same word. 

The other term liagdn [leegaun] is a diminutive of 
liag, which will be noticed farther on ; and in its 
application to a standing stone, it is still more com- 
mon than galldn. Legan, Legane, Legaun, and 
Leegane, all different anglicised forms, are the names 
of several places in different parts of the country ; 
and the English plui^al Liggins (pillar stones) is 
found in Tyrone. Ballylegan, the town of the stand- 
ing stone, is the name of a place near Caher in Tip- 
perary, and of another near Grlan worth in Cork ; there 
is a place called Tooraleagan {Toor, a bleach green), 
near Ballylanders in Limerick ; and Knockalegan, 
the hill of the pillar stone, is the name of half a 
dozen townlands in Ulster and Munster. 

Fert, plural ferta, signifies a grave or trench. The 
old name of Slane on the Boyne, was Ferta-fer-Feic, 
and the account given by Colgan (Trias Thaum., 
p. 20) of the origin of this name, brings out very 
clearly the meaning of ferta : — " There is a j)lace on 
the north margin of the river Bojme, now called 
Siaine ; [but anciently] it was called Ferta-fer-Feic^ 
i. e. the trenches or sepulchres of the men of Fiac, 
because the servants of a certain chieftain named 
Fiac, dug deep trenches there, to inter the bodies of 
the slain." 

In the Book of Armagh there is an interesting 
account by Tii^echan, of the biuial in the ferta, of 
Laeghaire's tliree daughters (see p. 173, SKpra), who 
had been converted by St. Patrick : — '' And the days 
of mourning for the king's daughters were accom- 
plished, and they buried them near the well Clebach ; 
and they made a circular ditch like to d^. ferta ; because 
so the Scotic people and gentiles were used to do, 

CHAP. HI.] Monuments^ Graves, and Cemeteries. 333 

but with lis it is called Beliquice (Irish Beleg), i. e. 
the remains of the virgins" (Todd's Life of St. 
Patrick, p. 455), Ferta was originally a pagan term, 
as the above passage very clearly shows, but like 
cluaiii and other words, it was often adopted by the 
early Irish saints (see Reeves's " Ancient Churches 
of Ai-magh," p. 47). 

The names Farta, Ferta, and Fartha (i. e. graves), 
each of which is applied to a townland, exhibit the 
plural in its simple form ; with the addition of ach 
to the singular, we have Fertagh and Fartagh, i. e. a 
place of graves, which are names of frequent occur- 
rence. Fertagh near Johnstown in Kilkenny, is 
called by the Four Masters Fcrta-na-gcaerack, the 
graves of the sheep ; and O'Donovan states that ac- 
cording to tradition, it was so called because the car- 
cases of a great number of sheep which died of a 
distemper, were buried there. (Foui^ Masters, Yol. I. , 
p. 498.) In the parish of Magheross, Monaghan, 
there is a townland called Nafarty, i. e. the graves, 
the Irish article na, forming part of the name. The 
parish of Moyarta in Clare which gives name to a 
barony, is called in Irish Magh-fherta, (fh silent, see 
p. 20), the plain of the grave. 

jReilig, old Irish relec, means a cemetery or grave- 
yard ; it is the Latin reUquice, and was borrowed very 
early, for it occurs in the Zeuss MSS. The most ce- 
lebrated place in Ireland with this name was Reilig- 
na-riogh, or *' the burial place of the kings," at the 
royal palace of Cruachan in Connaught, one of the 
ancient regal cemeteries. There are only a few 
places in Ireland taking their names from this term. 
Belick is the name of two townlands in Westmeath, 
and there is a graveyard in the parish of Carragh 
near Naas, county Kildare, called The Relick, i. e. 

334 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

the cemetery. The parish of RelickmuiTy [and 
Athassel] in Tipperary, took its name from an old 
burial ground, whose church must have been dedi- 
cated to the Blessed Yii^gin, for the name signifies 
Mary's cemetery. One mile S. E. of Portstewart in 
Londonderry, there are two townlands called Rose- 
lick More and Eoselick Beg. Eoselick is a modern 
contraction for Rosrelick as we find it wiitten in the 
Taxation of 1306 ; and the name signifies the ros or 
point of the cemetery. There is a spot in Eoselick 
Beg where large quantities of human remains have 
been found, and the people have a tradition that a 
church once existed there; showing that the name 
preserves a fragment of true history (Eccl. Ant. p. 75) . 



" The most interesting word connected -with topical 
nomenclature is halli/. As an existing element, it is 
the most prevalent of all local terms in Ireland, there 
being 6400 townlands, or above a tenth of the sum 
total, into [the beginning of] whose names this word 
enters as an element. And this is a much smaller 
proportion than existed at the beginning of the seven- 
teenth century, when there was a tendency, at least 
in some of the northern counties, to prefix haUy to 
almost every name whose meaning would admit of 
it." (" The townland Distribution of Ireland," by 
the Eev. Wm. Eeeves, D. D. : Proc. E. I. A., Vol. 
YIL, p. 473, where this word bai/e is fully discussed.) 
The Irish word baii^ is now understood to mean a 

CHAP. IV.] Towns and Villages. 335 

town or townland, but in its original acceptation 
it denoted simply locus — place or situation; it is so 
explained in various ancient glosses, such as those 
in the Book of Armagh, Cormac's Gllossary, the 
Book of Lecan, &c. ; and it is used in this sense in 
the Leabhar na hUidhre, and in many other old 

In writings of more modern date, it is often used 
to signify a residence or military station — a natural 
extension of meaning from the original. For instance, 
the Four Masters, at 1560, state that Owen O'Roui^ke, 
having been kept in prison by his brother, slew his 
keeper, " and ascending to the top of the haile, 
cried out that the castle was in his power;" in which 
baiie evidently means the fortress in which he was 
confined. In the Yellow Book of Lecan, an ancient 
gloss explains a rath (i.e. a fort or residence) by baik; 
and in the story of '' The fate of the children of Lir" 
we read : — " She [Aeife] went on to [the fairy resi- 
dence called] Siclh Buidhhh Deirg ; and the nobles 
of the haile bade her welcome" (Atlantis, YII., 

This application of the term is obviously pre- 
served in the name of the tongue of land on 
which the Howth lighthouse is built, which is 
called the Green Bailey. Our Annals relate that 
Criffan, monarch of Ireland in the first century, had 
his residence. Dun- Criffan^ at Ben Edar or Howth, 
where he died in A. D. 9, " after returning from 
the famous expedition upon which he had gone. It 
was from this expedition he brought with him the 
wonderful jewels, among which were a golden chariot, 
and a golden chess-board [inlaid] with a hundred 
transparent gems, and a beautiful cloak embroidered 
with gold. He brought a conquering sword, with 

336 Artificial Structures. [part in. 

many serpents of refined massy gold inlaid in it ; a 
shield with bosses of bright silver ; a spear from the 
wound of which no one recovered; a sling from which 
no erring shot was discharged ; and two grej^hounds, 
with a silver chain between them, which chain was 
worth three hundred cunihah; with many other pre- 
;cious articles." (Four Masters, A. D. 9.) 

Petrie and O'Donovan both believe that the light- 
house occupies the site of this ancient fortress ; and 
portions of the fosses by w^hich it was defended are 
still clearly traceable across the neck of the little 
peninsula. The Eev. J. F. Shearman is of opinion that 
it was situated higher up, where the old Bailey light- 
house stood ; but this does not invalidate the deriva- 
tion of the name. And so the memory of Criffan's 
old hally, which has long been lost in popular tradi- 
tion, still lives in the name of the Bailey lighthouse. 
In the colloquial language of the present day the 
word haile is used to signify home, which is obviously a 
relic of its more ancient application to a residence. 

In modem times this word is usually translated 
" town ;" but in this sense it is applied to the smallest 
village, even to a collection of only a couple of 
houses. It is also used to designate mere townlands, 
vv'ithout any reference at all to habitations. This ap- 
plication is as old as the twelfth century ; for we are 
informed by Dr. Eeeves that the word was often so 
used in the charters of that period, such as those of 
Kells, Newry, Ferns, &c., in which numbers of deno- 
minations are mentioned, whose names contain it in 
the forms, bali, balei/, balli, hale, &c. It is probable 
that in many old names which have descended to our 
own time the word hally is used in the sense of '' re- 
sidence," but it is difficult or impossible to distin- 
guish them ; and I have, for the sake of uniformity. 

CHAP. IV.] Towns and Villages. 387 

througliout this book translated the word by " town" 
or " townland." 

The most common anglicised form of haile is hally^ 
which is found in a vast number of names ; such as 
Ballyorgan near Kilfinnane in Limerick, which the 
people call in Irish Baik-Aragdin, the town of Ara- 
gan, an ancient Irish personal name, the same as the 
modern Horgan or Organ. In Ballybofey (Donegal), 
the ballg is a modern addition ; and the place, if it 
had retained an anglicised form of the old name, 
Srath-ho-Fiaich (Four Masters), should have been 
called Srafhhofcy. Some old chief or occupier named 
Fiach must have in past times kept his cows on the 
beautiful holm along the' river Finn near the tovv^n ; 
for the name signifies the srafh or river holm of 
Fiach's cows. Ballyheige in Kerry has its name 
from the family of O'Teige, its full Irish name being 
Baile-ui-Thadg ; and Ballylanders is in like manner 
called from the English family of Landers. Indeed, 
a considerable proportion of these Balhjs take their 
names from families, of which many are so j^lain as 
to tell their own story. 

When holly is joined to the article followed by a 
noun in the genitive singular, if the noun be mascu- 
line, the Irish Baile-an- is generally contracted to 
Ballin-; as we find in Ballinrobe in Mayo, which the 
Four Masters v/rite Baile-an-Rodhha [Eoba], the 
town of the (river) Eobe ; and in Ballincurry, Bal- 
lincurra, and BailinciuTig, all which are in Irish 
Baile-an-churmigh, the town of the moor or marsh. 
But it is occasionally made Bally n-, as in Ballyneety, 
the name of a dozen places, chiefly in Waterford, 
Tipperary, and Limerick, which represents the sound 
of the likh. Baile-an-F/iaeite, the town of White, a 
family name of English origin. If the following 


338 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

noun be feminine, or in the genitive plural, the Irish 
Bcnle-na- is made either Ballina- or Ballyna- ; as in 
the common townland names, Ballynahinch and Bal- 
linahinch, the town of the island ; Ballynaglogh, the 
town of the stones. 

In the counties on the eastern coast, halhj is very 
often shortened to hal^ of which there are numerous 
examples, such as Baldoyle near Dublin, w^hich is 
called in Irishl»r///<^-I}?'/^/^^/^027/, the town of the black 
GalloT Dane ; Balbriggan, the town of Brecan, a very 
usual personal name ; Bah-ath, the town of the fort ; 
Baltrasna, cross-town, i. e. placed in a transverse 
dii'ection, the same name as Ballytrasna, Ballytarsna, 
and Ballytarsney. 

The plural of haile is hailte, which aj)pears in names 
as it is pronounced, halfTj. There is a townland in 
Wicklow near Hollywood, called Baltyboys, i. e. 
Boice's townlands ; and a further step in the process of 
anglicisation appears in its alias name of Boystown, 
which form has given name to the parish. Baity lum 
in Armagh, bare townlands, i. e. bare of trees ; 
Baltydaniel in Cork, Donall's or Domhnall's town- 
lands. The diminutives Balleen and Balteen (little 
town) are the names of several places in Kilkenny 
and the Munster counties ; Balteenbrack in Cork, 
speckled little town. 

Baile is not much liable to changes of foiTQ further 
than I have noticed ; yet in a few names we find it 
much disguised. For instance, Coolballow in the 
parish of Kerloge, Wexford, represents Cul-hhaile, 
back tOTNTL, the same as we find in Coolbally and 
Coolballyogan (Hogan's) in Queen's County, and 
Coolballyshane (John's) in Limerick. The proper 
original of Baur«7/e in Innishowen, Donegal, is Bo- 
bhaile, cowtown ; Lough^o//ard near Clane, Kildare, 

CHAP. IV.] Toions and Villages. 339 

the lake of tlie high-town ; DeYryicillow in Leitrim 
represents Doire-bhaile, which, with the root words 
reversed, is the same name as Ballinderrj, the town 
of the oak wood. 

Srdid [sraud] signifies a street, and appears to be 
borrowed from the Latin strata. The Four Masters 
use it once when they mention Sraid-an-fJuona 
[Sraud-an-eena], the street of the wine, now Wine- 
tavern-street in Dublin. There are several town- 
lands in Antrim, Donegal, and Londonderry, called 
Straid, which is one of its English forms, and which 
enters into several other names in the same counties ; 
we find Strade in Mayo, and Stradeen, little street, 
in Monaghan. It is also sometunes made stmd, as 
in Stradreagh in Londonderry, grey-street ; Strad- 
avoher near Thm4es, the street of the road : Strad- 
brook near Monkstown, Dublin, is very probably a 
translation of Sruthan-na-sraidS, the brook of the 

A village consisting of one street, undefended by 
either walls or castle — a small unfortified hamlet — 
was often called Sradbhaile, i. e. the street-town ; which, 
in its English form, Stradbally, is the name of several 
villages, parishes, and townlands, in the southern half 
of Ireland. Stradbally in Queen's County, is men- 
tioned by the Four Masters, who call it " Sradbhaile 

Buirghes [burris] signifies a burgage or borough. 
This word was introduced by the Anglo-Normans, 
who applied it to the small borough towns which 
they established, several of which have retained the 
original designations. After the twelfth century, it 
is often found in Irish ^Titings, but always as a part 
of local names. 


340 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

It is usually spelled in the present anglicised names, 
Boiris, Burris, and Bui'ges, which are met with 
forming the whole or part of names in several of the 
Munster, Connaught, and Leinster counties : it does 
not occur in Ulster. Burriscarra, Borris-in-Ossory, 
Borrisoleagh, and Burrishoole, w^ere so called to dis- 
tinguish them from each other, and from other 
Borrises ; being situated in the ancient territories of 
Carra, Ossory, Ileaghor Ui-Luighdheach, and TJmhall, 
or " The Owles." Borrisnafarney, the name of a 
parish in Tipperary, signifies the borough of the 
alder-plain (see Farney) ; Borrisokane, O'Keane's 
borough town. 

Graig, a village. It is supposed by many to have 
been introduced by the Anglo-Normans, but its ori- 
gin is very doubtful. It is used extensively in the 
formation of names, there being upwards of sixty 
places called draigue, and a great many others of 
whose names it forms a part. It does not occur at 
all in Ulster. 

The name of Grraiguenamanagh in Kilkenny, bears 
testimony to its former ecclesiastical eminence, for it 
signifies the village of the monks ; Grraiguealug and 
G-raiguenaspiddogue, both in Carlow, the village of 
the hollow, and of the robin-redbreasts ; Grraiguefra- 
hane in Tipperary, the graig of the freaghans or 
whortleberries. Gragane and Grraigeen in Limerick, 
Gragan in Clare, and Grageen in Wexford, all signify 
little village, being different forms of the diminutive ; 
Ardgraigue in Galway, and Ardgregane in, Tip- 
perary, the height of the village. 

CHAP, v.] Fords J Weirs, and Bridges. 341 



The early inhabitants of a country, often, for obvious 
reasons, selected the banks of rivers for their settle- 
ments ; and the position most generally chosen was 
opposite a part of the stream sufficiently shallow to 
be fordable by foot passengers. Many of our impor- 
tant towns, as their names clearly indicate, derive 
their origin from these primitive and solitary settle- 
ments ; but most of the original fords have been long 
since spanned by bridges. 

But whether there was question of settlements or 
not, the fordable points of rivers must have been 
known to the very earliest colonists, and distinguished 
by names ; for upon this knowledge depended, in a 
great measure, the facility and safety of intercommu- 
nication, before the erection of bridges. Fords were, 
generally speaking, natural features, but in almost all 
cases they were improved by artificial means, as we 
find mentioned by Boate : — "Concerning the fords : 
it is to be observed that not every where, where the 
high-ways meet with great brooks or small rivers, 
bridges are found for to pass them, but in very many 
places one is constrained to ride through the water 
itself, the which could not be done if the rivers kept 
themselves everywhere inclosed between their banks ; 
wherefore they are not only suffered in such places to 
spread themselves abroad, but men help thereto as 
much as they can, to make the water so much the 
shallower, and consequently the easier to be passed'* 
(Nat. Hist., C. YII., Sect. YII.). Yery often also, 

342 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

when circmnstances made it necessary, a river was 
rendered passable at some particular point, even where 
there was no good natural ford, by laying down 
stones, trees, or wicker work. For these reasons I 
have included *' Fords" in this third Part among 
artificial structiu-es. 

There are several Irish words for the different kinds 
of fords, of which the most common is afJt, cognate 
with Latin vadum. In the various forms ath, ah, 
aiigh, agh, a, &c., it forms apart of hundreds of names 
all over Ireland (see p. 43, supra). The Shannon 
must have been anciently fordable at Athlone ; and 
there was a time when the site of the present 
busy town was a wild waste, relieved by a few soli- 
tary huts, and when the traveller — directed perhaps 
by a professional guide — struggled across the dange- 
rous passage where the bridge now spans the stream. 
It appears from the " Battle of Moylena" (p. 60) that 
this place was first called Athmore, great ford, which 
was afterwards changed to Ath-Luain, the ford of 
Luan, a man's name, formerly very common. I know 
nothing fiuiher of this Luan, except that we learn 
his father's name from a passage in the tale called 
" The fate of the children of Tuireann," in which the 
place is called Afh-Luain-mic-Luighdheach, the ford of 
Luan the son of Lewy. 

Athleague on the Suck in the county Roscommon, 
is called by the Four Masters Ath-Uag, the ford of 
the stones, or more fully, Afh-Uag-3Iaenagain, from 
St. Maenagan, who was formerly venerated there, 
though no longer remembered. The people say that 
there is one particular stone which the river never 
covers in its frequent inundations, and that if it were 
covered, the town would be drowned. There was 
another Ath-liag on the Shannon, which is also very 

CHAP, v.] Fords, Weirs, and Bridges. 343 

often mentioned in the Annals ; it crossed the river 
at the present village of Lanesborough, and it is now 
called in Irish Baile-atha-liag, or in English Bally- 
league (the town of the ford of the stones) , which is 
the name of that part of Lanesborongh lying on the 
west bank of the Shannon. Another name nearly the 
same as this, is that of Athlacca in Limerick, which 
was so called from a ford on the Morning Star river, 
called in Irish Ath-Ieacach, stony ot flaggy iovdi. And 
it will appear as I go on, that a great many other 
places derive their names from these stony fords. 
There was another ford higher up on the same river, 
which the Foiu' Masters call Bel-atha-na-nDeise [Bel- 
lananeas}^], the ford-mouth of the Desii, from the 
old territory of Deisheag, which lay round the hill of 
Knockany ; and in the shortened form of Ath-nDeise 
it gives name to the siuTOunding parish, now called 

Atli is represented by aa in Drumaa, the name of 
two townlands in Fermanagh, in Irish Dndm-atha, 
the ridge of the ford. A ford on the river Inny, for- 
merly siuTOunded with trees, gave name to the little 
village of Finnea in Westmeath, which the Four 
Masters call Fidh-an-atha [Fee-an-aha] , the wood of 
the ford. Aifane, a well-known j^lace on the Black- 
water, took its name from a ford across the river 
about two miles below Cappoquin ; it is mentioned 
by the Four Masters, when recording the battle fought 
there in the year 1565, between the rival houses of 
Desmond and Ormond, and they call it Ath-mheadh- 
on \_Ah-vane'] , middle ford. At the year 524, we read in 
the Four Masters, "the battle oiAth-Sidhe [Ah-shee] 
( was gained) by Muircheartach (king of Ireland) against 
the Leinstermen, where Sidhe, the son of Dian, was 
slain, hovsi^}ioxn.Ath- Sidhe [on the Boyne] is called;" 

344 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

and the place has preserved this name, now changed 
to Assey, which, from the original ford, has been ex- 
tended to a parish. The same authority states 
(A. D. 526), that Sin [Sheen], the daughter of Sidhe, 
afterwards killed Muircheartach, by biu-ning the 
house of Cletty over his head, in revenge of her 
father's death. 

Ath is very often combined with haile, forming the 
compound BaUe-Atha, the town of the ford; of which 
Ballyboy in the King's County, a village giving 
name to a parish and barony, is an example, being 
called in various authorities, Baile-atha-huidhe [Bally- 
aboy], the town of the yellow ford. There are many 
townlands in difierent counties, of the same name, 
but it probably means yellow toAvn [Baile-buidhe'] 
in some of these cases. Ballylahan in the parish of 
Templemore, Mayo, is called in the Annals Baile- 
atha-Jeathain, the town of the broad ford. The parish 
of Bailee in Down, is written in the Taxation of 1306, 
Baliath, which shows clearly that the original name 
is Baile-atJia (Eeeves, Eccl. Ant., p. 41), 

The diminutive athcui is of frequent occurrence ; in 
the form of Ahane (little ford) , it gives name to seve- 
ral townlands in the southern counties ; and there is 
a parish in Deny called Aghanloo, or in Irish Athan- 
Lugha, Lewy's little ford. 

The word hel or beat [bale] primarily signifies a 
mouth, but in a secondary sense it was used, like the 
Latin o-s, to signify an entrance to any place. In 
this sense it appears in Bellaugh, the name of a vil- 
lage lying west of Athlone. Between this village 
and the town there was formerly a slough or miry 
place, called in Irish a lafhnch [lahagh], which the 
Four Masters mention by the name of Lathach-Caich- 
tutJihil, Catubel's miry place ; and the spot where the 

CHAP, v.] Fords, Weirs, and Bridges. 345 

village stands, was called Bel'lathaigh, the entrance 
to the lathach, which is now correctly enough angli- 
cised Bellangh. Bellaghy, another and more correct 
form, is the name of a village in Londonderry, of 
another in Sligo, and of a townland in Antrim. 

This word hel is very often united with ath, form- 
ing the compound hel-atha, which signifies ford- 
entrance — an entrance by a ford — literally mouth of 
a ford ; it is applied to a ford, and has in fact much 
the same signification as ath itself. It is so often 
used in this manner that the word hel alone some- 
times denotes a ford. Belclare, now the name of a 
parish in Gralway, was more anciently applied to a 
castle erected to defend a ford on the road leading to 
Tuam, which was called Bel-an-chlair, the ford or 
entrance to the plain. There is also a townland in 
Mayo, called Belclare, and another in Sligo, which 
the Four Masters call Bel-an-chlair. Phale near 
Enniskeen in Cork, is called in the Annals of Innis- 
fallen, Inis-an-hheiJ [Innishanm/e], the island or 
river holm of the mouth, the last syllable of which is 
preserved in the present name. 

The proper anglicised form of hel-atJia, is hella^ 
which is the beginning of a great many names. Bel- 
lanagare in Roscommon, formerly the residence of 
Charles 0' Conor the historian, is called in Irish Bel- 
atha-na-gcarr, the ford-mouth of the cars ; Lisbellaw 
in Fermanagh, Lios-hel-atha, the Us of the ford- 
mouth. Sometimes the article intervenes, making 
hel-an-afha in the original, the correct modern re- 
presentative of which isbenaiid, as wefindinBellana- 
cargy in Cavan, the ford-mouth of the rock. 

Bel-atha is often changed in modern names to halH 
or hally, as if the original root were haile, a town ; 
and hel-cm-atha is made hallina. Both of these 

346 Artificial Structures.. [part iit. 

modern forms are very general, but tliey are so in- 
correct as to deserve the name of corruptions. 
Ballina is the name of about twenty-five townlands 
and villages in different j)arts of Ireland, several of 
which are written Bel-au-afha in the Annals. Ballina 
in Tipperary, opposite Killaloe, was so called from 
the ford — now spanned by a bridge — called Ath-na- 
horuiuha, the ford of the cow tribute ; and here no 
doubt the great monarch Brian was accustomed to 
cross the Shannon when returning to his palace of 
Kincora, with the herds of cattle exacted from the 
Leinstermen (see next page). Ballina in Mayo on 
the Moy, is somewhat different, and represents a 
longer name, for it is called in an ancient poem in 
the Book of Lecan, Bel-atha-an-fheadha [Bellahana], 
the ford-mouth of the wood. We find this compound 
also in Ballinafad in Sligo, which the Four Masters 
call Bel-an-atha-fada^ the mouth of the long ford ; 
and there is a village in Leitrim and several town- 
lands in other counties, called Ballinamore, the 
mouth of the great ford. 

Bel-atha is reduced to bally and halli in the fol- 
lowing names. The ford on the river Erne round 
which the town of Ballyshannon rose, is called by 
the annalists, Afh-Seanaigh and Bel-atha- Seanaigh 
[Bellashanny] ; from the latter, the modern name is 
derived, and it means the mouth of Seanach's or 
Shannagh's ford, a man's name in common use. 
The on in Ballyshanno;^ is a modern corruption ; the 
people call the town Bally Hhanny., which is nearer the 
original ; and in an Inquisition of James I., it is 
given mth perfect correctness, Bealashanny. Bally- 
shannon in Kildare, west of KilcuUen Bridge, is also 
called in Irish Ath-Seanaigh (Four Masters), Sean- 
ach's ford ; and the present name was formed, as in 

CHAP, v.] Fords, Weirs, and Bridges. 347 

ease of the northern town, by prefixing Bel. It 
appears from a record in the Annals of Ulster, that 
this place in Kildare was also called JJchha. 

There is a ford on the river Boro in Wexford, 
called Bel-atha-Borumha, which preserves the me- 
mory of the well-known Borumlta or cow tribute, 
long exacted from the kings of Leinster by the mo- 
narchs of Ireland (see p. 151). From the latter part 
of the name, Borumha [Born], this river — so lovingly 
commemorated in Mr. Kennedy's interesting book, 
" The Banks of the Boro" — derives its name. The 
ford is called Bealahorou'C, in an Inquisition of 
Charles I., and in the modern form Bally boro, it 
gives name to a townland. Ballylicky. on the road 
from Grlengarriff to Bantry in Cork, where the river 
Ouvane enters Bantry Bay, is called in Irish Bel- 
afha-Uce, the ford-mouth of the flag stone, and who- 
ever has seen it will acknowledge the appropriateness 
of the name. All the places called Bellanalack, 
derive their names from similar fords. 

"When a river spread widely over a craggy or rug- 
ged spot, the rough shallow ford thus formed, was 
often called scairhh [scarriv], or as O'Eeilly spells it, 
scirbh. A ford of this kind on a small river in Clare, 
gave name to the little town of Scarriff ; and there 
are several townlands of the same name in Cork, 
Kerry, and Gralway. Near Newtownhamilton in 
Armagh, there are two adjoining towTilands called 
Skerriff ; and the same term is found shortened in 
Scarnageeragh in Monaghan, the shallow ford of the 

The syllable ach is sometimes added to this word 
in the colloquial language, making scairhheach [scar- 
vagh], which has the same meaning as the original ; 
this derivative is represented by Scarva, the name of 

348 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

a village in Down ; Scarvy in Monaglian ; and Scar- 
ragli in Tij)perary and Cork. 

In the end of names, when the word occurs in the 
genitive, it is usually though not always, anglicised 
scarry, as in Ballj^nascarry in Westmeath and Kil- 
kenny, the town of the ford ; and Lackanascarry in 
Limerick, the flagstones of the shallow ford. A ford 
of this kind where the old road crosses the Cookstown 
river, gave name to Enniskerry in Wicklow. This 
spot is truly described by the term scairbh, being 
rugged and stony even now ; the natives call it An- 
na skerr?/, and its Irish name is obviously Ath-na- 
scairbhe [Anascarvy] , the ford of the scarriff or rough 

The word fearsad [farsad] is applied to a sandbank 
formed near the mouth of a river, by the opposing 
ciurents of tide and stream, which at low water often 
formed a firm, and comparatively safe passage across. 
The term is pretty common, especially in the west, 
where these farsets are of considerable importance, as 
in many places they serve the inhabitants instead of 
bridges. Colgan translates the word, " vadum vel 

A sandbank of this kind across the mouth of the 
Lagan gave name to Belfast, which is called in Irish 
authorities Bel-feirsde, the ford of the far set ; and the 
same name, in the uncontracted foiTa Belfarsad, oc- 
curs in Mayo. There is now a bridge over the old 
sandbank that gave name to the village of Farsid 
near Aghada on Cork harbour : the origin of tliis 
name is quite forgotten, and the people call it Farsidc, 
and interpret it as an English word ; but the name 
of the adjacent to^Tiland of Ballynafarsid proves, if 
proof were necessary, that it took its name from a 

CHAP, v.] FordSf TTeu'S, and Bridges. 349 

farset. On the river Swilly where it narrows near 
Letterkennj, there was o, farset vfhich in old times 
was evidently an important pass, for the Foiu" Mas- 
ters record several battles fought near it : it is now 
called Farsetmore, and it can still be crossed at low 

A kish or kesh^ in Irish eels [kesh] , is a kind of cause- 
way made of wickerwork, and sometimes of boughs 
of trees and brambles, across a small river, a marsh, 
or a deep bog. The word means primarily wicker or 
basket work ; and to this day, in some parts of Ire- 
land, they measure and sell turf by the kish, which 
originally meant a large wicker basket. These 
wickerwork bridges or kishes, were formerly very 
common in every part of Ireland, and are so still in 
some districts. The Four Masters record at 1483, 
that O'Donnell on a certain occasion constructed a 
ceasaighdroichet or mcker bridge across the Black- 
water in Tyrone for his army ; and when they had 
crossed, he let the bridge float down the stream. 
The memory of this primitive kind of bridge is pre- 
served in many places by the names. 

This word appears in its simple form in Kesh, a 
small town in Fermanagh ; and in Kish, a townland 
near Arklow ; and I suppose the Kish light, outside 
Dublin bay, must have been originally floated on a 
wicker framework. A causeway of brambles and 
clay made across a marsh, not far from a high lime- 
stone rock, gave name to the village of Keshcarrigan 
in Leitrim, the kesh of the carrigan or little rock. 
There is a place not far from Mallow, called Anna- 
kisha (Ath-na-cise), the ford of the wickerwork cause- 
way — a name that- points clearly to the manner in 
which the ford on the river was formerly rendered 

350 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

Sometimes ceiseach^ or in English kishagh, is the 
form used, and this in fact is rather more common 
than Txish : we find it as Kisha near Wexford ; and 
the same form is preserved in Kishaboy {hoy, yellow) 
in Armagh. Other modifications are seen in Casey 
Grlehe in Donegal ; Cassagh in Kilkenny ; and in 
Cornakessagh in Fermanagh, the round hill of the 
wicker causeway. Kishoge, little kish, is the name 
of a place near Lucan in Dublin. 

Those wickerwork causeways were also often de- 
signated by the word cliath [clee], which primarily 
means a hurdle ; the diminutive clethnat glosses tigil- 
lum in the Sg. MS. of Zeuss (Gram. Celt., p. 282) ; 
and it is cognate with Lat. cliteUce and Fr. claie. An 
artificial ford of this kind was constructed across the 
Liffey (see p. 45) in very early ages ; and the city 
that subsequently sprung \x^ around it, was from this 
circumstance called Ath-cUafh [Ah-clee], the ford of 
hurdles, which was the ancient name of Dublin. This 
is the name still used by speakers of Irish in every 
part of Ireland ; but they join it to Bally — Baile- 
atha-cliath (which they pronounce Blaa-clee), the 
town of the hurdle ford. 

The present name, Dublin, is written in the Annals 
Duibh-linn, which in some of the Latin Lives of the 
Saints, is translated nigra fherma, i. e. black pool ; it 
was originally the name of that part of the Lifi'ey on 
which the city is built, and is sufficiently descriptive 
at the present day. DHihh-Unn is sounded Duvlin or 
Divlin, and it was undoubtedly so pronounced down 
to a comparatively recent period, by speakers of both 
English and Irish ; for in old English writings, as 
well as on Danish coins, we find the name writ- 
ten Bivlin, Dyjiin, &c., and even yet the Welsh 
call it Din as Dulin. The present name has been 

CHAP, v.] Fords ^ Weirs, and Bridges. 351 

formed by the restoration of the aspirated h (see p. 43, 

There are several other places through Ireland 
called DuibhUu)), but the aspiration of the h is ob- 
served in all, and consequently not one of them has 
taken the anglicised form Dublin. Devlin is the 
name of eight townlands in Donegal, Mayo, and 
Monaghan ; Dowling occui's near Fiddown in Kil- 
kenny, Doolin in Clare, and Ballincloolin, the town 
of the black pool, in Kildare. 

In several of these cases, the proper name was 
AtJi-cHath, hmxlle ford, which was formerly common 
as a local name ; and they received their present 
names merely in imitation of Dublin ; for, as the 
people when speaking Irish, always called the metro- 
polis, Baile-atha-cUafh, and in English, Dublin, they 
imagined that the latter was a translation of the 
former, and translated the names of their own places 

A row of stepping stones across a ford on a river, 
is called in every part of Ireland by the name of 
clochan, pronounced clac'kan in the north of Ireland 
and in Scotland. This mode of rendering a river 
fordable was as common in ancient as it is in modern 
times ; for in the tract of Brehon Laws in the Book 
of Ballymote, regulating the stipend of various kinds 
of artificers, it is stated that the builder of a clochan 
is to be paid two cows for his labour. 

These stepping stones have given names to places 
in all parts of Ireland, now called Cloghan, Cloghane, 
and Cloghaun, the first being more common in the 
north, and the two last in the south. Cloghanaskaw 
in Westmeath, was probably so called from a ford 
shaded with trees, for the i>ame signifies the stepping 
stones of the shade or shadoAv ; Cloghanleagh, grey 

852 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

stepping stones, was the old name of Dunglow in 
Donegal ; Ologhanenagleragli in Kerry, tlie stepping 
stones of the clergy ; Ballj^cloghan and Ballincloghan, 
the town of the cloghan, are the names of several 

Clochan is sometimes applied to a stone castle, and 
in some of the names containing this root, it is to be 
understood in this sense. And in Cork and Kerry it 
is also used to denote an ancient stone house of a 
beehive shape. 

When there were no means of making a river ford- 
able, there remained the never-failing resource of 
swimming. When rivers had to be crossed in this 
manner, certain points seem to have been selected, 
which, either because the stream was narrower there 
than elsewhere, or that it was less dangerous on ac- 
count of the stillness of the water, or that the shape " 
of the banks afforded peculiar facilities, were con- 
sidered more suitable than others for swimming across. 
Such spots were often designated by the word snamh 
[snauv], which literally means smmming ; a word 
often met with in our old historical writings in the 
sense of a swimming ford, and which forms part of 
several of our present names. 

Lixnaw on the river Brick in Kerry, is called in 
the Four Masters Lic-mamha [Licksnawa], the flag- 
stone of the swimming ; the name probably indicat- 
ing that there was a large stone on the bank, from 
w^hich the swimmers were accustomed to fling them- 
selves off; and VoTin^siiow near Enniskillen (;;or/, 
a bank), is a name of similar origin. About midway 
between Grlengariff and Bantry, the traveller crosses 
Snave bridge, where, before the erection of the bridge, 
the deep creek at the mouth of the Coomhola river 
must have been generally crossed by swimming. 

CHAP, v.] Fords, Weirs, and Bridges. 353 

So with the Shannon at Drumsna in Leitrim ; the 
Erne at Drumsna, one mile south-east of Enniskillen ; 
and the narrow part of the western arm of Lough 
Corrib at Drumsnauv ; all of which names are from 
the Irish Druim-snamha [Drum-snauva], the hill of 
the swimming- ford. 

When the article is used with this word suamh, the .s- 
is eclipsed by t, as we see in Carrigatna in Kilkenny, 
which is in Irish Carraig-a'-tsnamha, the rock of the 
swimming ; and Glanatnaw in the parish of Caheragh, 
Cork, where the people used to swim across the stream 
that runs through the glan or glen. In the north of 
Ireland, the 7i of this construction is replaced by /• 
(see p. 48, supra), as in Ardatrave on the shore of 
Lough Erne in Fermanagh, Ard-a'' -tsruimha , the 
height of the swimming. Immediat-ely after the 
Shannon issues from Lough Allen, it flows under a 
bridge now called Ballintra ; but Weld, in his " Sur- 
vey of Roscommon," calls it BalUntrave, which points 
to the Irish Bel-an-tsnamha, the ford of the swim- 
ming, and very clearly indicates the usual mode of 
crossing the river there in former ages. 

The lower animals, like the human inhabitants, 
had often their favouiite spots on rivers or lakes, where 
they swam across in their wanderings from place to 
place. On the shore of the little lake of Muckno in 
Monaghan, where it narrows in the middle, there 
was once a well-known religious establishment, called 
\n\hQ K-nxidl^Miicsknamh [Mucknauv] , the swimming 
place of the pigs, which has been softened to the 
present name Muckno. Some of our ecclesiastical 
writers derive this name from a legend ; but the 
natural explanation seems to be, that wild pigs were 
formerly in the habit of crossing the lake at this nar- 
row part. Exactly the same remark applies to the 
2 A 

354 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

Kenmare river, where it is now spanned by the sus- 
pension bridge at the town. It was narrowed at this 
point by a spit of land projecting from the northern 
shore ; and here in past ages, wild pigs iised to swim 
across so frequently and in such numbers, that the 
place was called Mucsnamh or Mucksna, which is now 
well known as the name of a little hamlet near the 
bridge, and of the hill that rises oyer it, at the south 
side of the river. 

A weir across a river, either for fishing or to divert 
a mill stream, is called in Irish cora or coradh [curra]. 
Brian Borumha's palace of Kincora was built on a 
hill in the present town of Killaloe, and it is re- 
peatedly mentioned in the Annals, by the name of 
Ceann-coradh, the head or hill of the weir; from 
which we may infer, that there was a fishing weir 
across the Shannon at this point, from very early 
times. There is another Kincora in King's County, 
in which was a castle mentioned by the Four Mas- 
ters, and called by the same Irish name. And we 
find Hikincor in Waterford, the house at the head of 
the weir. 

Ballinacor in Grlenmalure in Wicklow, which gives 
name to two baronies, is called in the Leabhar 
Branach, Baile-na-corra, the town of the weir. There 
are several other places of the same name in Wick- 
low and Westmeath ; and it is modified to Ballinacur 
in Wexford, and to BallinacmTa or Ballynacorra in 
several counties, the best known place of the name 
being Ballynacorra on Cork harbour. Corrofin in 
Clare is called by the Four Masters Coradh-Finne, 
the weir of Finna, a woman's name (see p. 167, 
supra) ; and in the same authority we find Drumcar 
in Louth, written Druim-caradh, the ridge of the 
weir. Smith (Ilist. of Cork, II., 254) states that 

CHAP, v.] Fords, Weirs, and Bridges. 355 

there was formerly an eel- weir of considerable profit 
at the castle of Carrignacurra on the river Lee near 
Inchigeelagh ; and the name bears out his assertion, 
for it signifies the rock of the weir. 

" The origin of stone bridges in Ireland is not 
very acciu'ately ascertained ; but this much at least 
appears certain, that none of any importance were 
erected previous to the twelfth century." (Petrie, 
"Dub. Pen. Journal," I., 150). Droichet, as it 
is given in Cormac's Griossary, or in modern Irish, 
droichead [drohed], is the word universally employed 
to denote a bridge, and under this name, bridges are 
mentioned in our oldest authorities. The fourteenth 
abbot of lona, from A. D. 726 to 752, was Cilline, 
who was mxm^m.QdLDroichfeach, i. e. the bridge maker ; 
and Fiachna, the son of Aedh Poin, king of Ulidia 
in the eighth century, was called Fiachna Dubh 
Droichtech, black Fiachna of the bridges, because " it 
was he that made Droichet-na-Feirsi (the bridge of 
farsef, see p. 348), and Droichet-Mona-daimh (the 
bridge of the bog of the ox), and others." It is al- 
most certain however, that these structui'es were of 
wood, and that bridges with stone arches were not 
built till after the arrival of the Anglo-Normans. 

Many places in Ireland have taken theu^ names 
from bridges, and the word droichead is often greatly 
modified by modern corruption. It is to be observed 
that the place chosen for the erection of a bridge, 
was very usually where the river had already been 
crossed by a ford ; for besides the convenience of re- 
taining the previously existing roads, the point most 
easily fordable was in general most suitable for a 
bridge. There are many places whose names pre- 
serve the memory of this, of which Drogheda is a 
good example. This place is repeatedly mentioned 

356 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

in old authorities, and always called Droichead-atha 
[Drohed-aha], the bridge of the ford, from which 
the present name was easily formed ; pointing clearly 
to the fact, that the first bridge was built over the 
ford where the northern road along the coast 
crossed the Boyne. 

There is a townland in Kildare called Drehid, and 
another in Londonderry, called Droghed ; Drehid- 
tarsna (cross-bridge) is a parish in Limerick ; Bally- 
drehid and Ballmdrehid, the to^m of the bridge, 
are the names of some townlands, the same as 
Ballindrait in Donegal. Five miles east of Macroom, 
near a bridge over the Lee, there is a rock in the 
river on which stands a castle, called Carrigadrohid, 
the rock of the bridge : according to a legend told 
in the neighbourhood, the castle was built by one of 
the Mac Carthys with the money extorted from a 
leprechaun (see p. 183, supra). 

The word is obscured in Knockac/r^e^, the hill of 
the bridge, in Wicklow, which same name is correctly 
anglicised Knockadrehid, in Eoscommon. A like 
difference is observable between Drumadrehid and 
Drum-didried, the ridge of the bridge, the former in 
Clare, and the latter in Antrim. The parish of 
Kildrought in Kildare took its name from a bridge 
over the Liffey, the Irish form being Cill-droichid, the 
church of the bridge. Though the parish retains the 
old name, that of the original spot is changed by an 
incorrect translation ; the first paii: was altered to 
Cel, and the last part translated, forming Celbridge, 
the name of a well-known town. What renders this 
more certain is, that the place is called Kyldroghct, 
in an Inquisition of William and Mary. 

CHAP. VI.] Roads and Causeways. 35* 



" According to the Irish Annals, and other fragments 
of our native history, the ancient Irish had many 
roads which were cleaned and kept in repair accord- 
ing to law. The different terms used to denote road, 
among the ancient Irish, are thus defined in Cormac's 
Griossary, from which a pretty accurate idea may be 
formed of their nature" (O'Donovan, Book of Rights, 
Introd., p. Ivi.) O'Donovan then quotes Cormac's 
enumeration of the different terms, several of which 
are still used. According to the Dinnsenchus, there 
were anciently five great roads leading to Tara, from 
five different directions ; and it would appear from 
several authorities, that they were constructed in the 
reign of Felimy the lawgiver, in the second century 
(seep. 122, siq:)m). Besides these great highways, 
numerous other roads are mentioned in our Annals 
and tales, many of which are enumerated in O'Dono- 
van's valuable introduction to the Book of Rights. 

Among the diff'erent Irish words to denote a road, 
the most common and best known is hoihar [boher] ; 
and its diminutive holier ecu is almost on the eve of 
acknowledgment as an English word. It originally 
meant a road for cattle, being derived from ho, a 
cow ; and Coniiac defines its breadth to be such that 
"two cows fit upon it, one lengthwise, the other 
athwart, and their calves and yearlings fit on it along 
with them." 

The word is scarcely used at all in Ulster ; but in 
the other provinces, the anglicised forms Boher, and 
Bohereen or Borheen, constitute part of a great 

358 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

number of names, and they are themselves the names 
of several places. There is a townland in Gralway 
called Bohercnill, the road of the hazel (coll) ; and 
this same name becomes Boherkyle in Kilkenny, 
Boherkill in Kildare, and Boherquill in Westmeath ; 
while with the diminutive, it is found as Bohereen- 
kyle in Limerick. 

Sometimes the word is contracted to one syllable ; 
as we find, for instance, in Borleagh and Borna- 
courtia in Wexford, grey road, and the road of the 
court or mansion ; and Borderreen in King's County, 
the road of the little wood. When the word occurs 
as a termination, the b is often aspirated (p. 19), as in 
the common townland name, Ballinvoher, the town 
of the road ; and in this case, we also sometimes find 
it contracted, as in Cartronbore near Grranard, the 
quarter-land of the road. For the change of bothar 
to batter, see p. 43, supra. 

SligJie or Sligheadh [slee] was anciently applied by 
the Irish to the largest roads ; the five great roads 
leading to Tara, for instance, were called by this 
name. The word is still in common use in the verna- 
cular, but it has not entered very extensively into 

Slee near Enniskillen, preserves the exact pro- 
nunciation of the original word ; Clonaslee, a village 
in Queen's County, is the meadow of the road ; Bru- 
slee in Antrim, indicates that a briigh or mansion 
stood near the old road ; and Sleemanagh near Castle- 
townroche in Cork, is middle road. Sleehaun, little 
road, is the name of some places in Longford and 
Donegal ; and in Eoscommon we find Cornasleehan, 
the round hill of the little road. 

Bealach [ballagh], signifies a road or pass. It 
forms part of the well-known battle cry of the 88th 

CHAP. VI.] Roads and Causeways. 359 

Connaught Rangers, Fdg-a''-healack, clear the road. 
Ballagh, the usual modern form, constitutes or begins 
the names of a number of places ; near several of 
these the ancient roadways may be traced ; and in 
some cases they are still used. Ballaghboy, yellow 
road, was formerly the name of several old highways, 
and is still retained by a number of townlands. Bal- 
laghmoon, two miles north of Carlow, where the 
battle in which Cormae Mac Cullenan was killed, was 
fought in the year 903, is called in the Book of 
Leinster, Bealach-31ughna, Mughan's or Mooan's 
pass, but we know not who this Mughan was. 

The great road from Tara to the south-west, called 
SUghe Dala, is still remembered in the name of a 
townland in Uueen's County, which enables us to 
identify at least one point in its course. This road 
was also called Ballaghmore Moydala (the great 
road of the plain of the conference), and the first 
part of this old name is retained by the townland of 
Ballaghmore near Stradbally. There are several 
other places in Leinster and Munster called Ballagh- 
more, but none with such interesting associations as 

Several other well-known places retain the memory 
of those old healachs. Ballaghaderreen in Mayo, is 
called in Irish Bealach-a^ -doinn, the road of the 
little oak wood ; the village of Ballaghkeen in 
Wexford, was originally called Bealach-caein, beau- 
tiful road ; and Ballaghkeeran near Athlone, must 
have been formerly shaded with keerans or quicken 

When this word occurs as a termination, it is very 
often changed to vallg by the aspiration of the b, and 
the disappearance of the final guttural. There are 
townlands scattered through the four provinces called 

'360 Artificial Sfrucfures. [part iit. 

Ballinvally and Balljyally, the town of the road, 
which in Limerick is made Ballinvallig, by the resto- 
ration of the final g (p. 31). So also Moyvally, the 
name of a place in Carlo w, and of another in Kildare 
— the latter a station on the Midland railway — the 
plain or field of the road. The word has another 
form still in Revallagh near Coleraine, clear or open 
(reid/i) road — so called, no doubt, to distinguish it 
from some other road difficult of passage. 

Casdn signifies a path. It is a term that does not 
often occur, but we find a few places to which it gives 
names ; such as Cassan in Fermanagh ; Cussan in 
Kilkenny ; and Cossaun near Athenry in Gralway — 
all of which mean simply " path :" the same name is 
corrupted to Carsan in Monaghan ; and the plural, 
Cussana (paths), is the name of two to^Tilands in 
Kilkenny. Ardnagassan near Donegal, and Ardna- 
gassane in Tipperary, are both called in the original 
Ard-na-gcasau, the height of the paths. 

It is curious that the river Cashen in Kerry, de- 
rives its name from this word. It is called Cashen 
as far as it is navigable for curraghs, i. e. up to the 
junction of the Feale and the Brick ; and its usual 
name in the Annals is Casdn-Ken^y, i. e. the path to 
Kerry — being as it were the high road to that an- 
cient territory. But the term was also applied to 
other streams. The mouth of the Ardee river in 
Louth, was anciently called Casdn-Linne (" Circuit 
of Ireland") ; and the village of Annagassan partly 
preserves this old name — Ath-na-gcasan, the ford of 
the jj<7i/?.s — probably in reference to the two rivers, 
G-lyde and Dee, which join near the village'' (see 
Dr. Todd in " Wars of Ca.," Introd., p. Ixii. note /). 

In early ages, before the extension of cultivation 
and drainage, the roads through the country must 

CHAP. VII.] Mills and Kilns. 361 

have often been interriipted by bogs and morasses, 
wliicli, when practicable, were made passable by 
causeways. They were variously constructed ; but 
the materials were generally branches of trees, bushes, 
earth, and stones, placed in alternate layers, and 
trampled down till they were sufficiently firm ; and 
they were called by the Irish name of iochar. 

These tochars were very common all over the 
country ; our Annals record the construction of many 
in early ages ; and some of these are still traceable. 
They have given names to a number of townlands and 
villages, several of them called Togher, and many 
others containing the word in combination. Ballin- 
togher, the town of the causeway, is a very usual 
name ; and Templetogher (the church of the togher) 
in Gralway, was so called from a celebrated causeway 
across a bog, whose situation is still well kno^Ti to 
the inhabitants. 



Many authorities concur in showing that water mills 
were known in this country in very remote ages, and 
that they were even more common in ancient than in 
modern times. We know from the lives of the Irish 
saints, that several of them erected mills where they 
settled, shortly after the introduction of Christianity, 
as St. Senanus, St. Ciaran, St. Mochua, St. Fechin, 
&c. ; and in some cases mills still exist on the very 
sites selected by the original founders — as for in- 
stance, at Fore in "Westmeath, where " St. Fechin's 

362 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

mill" works as busily to-day as it did twelve hundred 
years ago. We may infer, moreover, from several 
grants and charters of tlie eleventh and twelfth cen- 
tui'ies, that, where circumstances permitted, a mill 
was a usual aj)pendage to a ballybetagh, or ancient 

It appears certain that water mills were used in 
Ireland before the introduction of Christianity. For 
we have reliable historical testimony, that Cormac 
mac Art, monarch of Ireland in the third century, sent 
across the sea for a millwright, who constructed a 
mill on the stream of Nith, which flowed from the well 
of Neamhnach [Navnagh] at Tara. " The ancient 
Irish authorities all agree in stating that this was the 
first mill ever erected in Ireland ; and it is remarkable 
that this cuTiimstance is still most vividly preserved 
by tradition, not only in the neighbom'hood, where a 
mill still occupies its site, but also in most parts of 
Ireland. Tradition adds that it was from the king of 
Scotland the Irish monarch obtained the millwright, 
and it can be shown that the probability of its truth 
is strongly corroborated by that circumstance."* 

The Irish word for a mill is muilenn [muUen], and 
this term exists in sei^eral of the Indo-European lan- 
guages : — Sansc. malana, the action of grinding ; Lat. 
molo, to grind; Groth. malan ; Eng. mill. A very 
considerable number of places in Ireland have taken 
their names from mills, and the most usual anglicised 
form of muilenn is Mullen or Mullin. 

Muilenn akill in Kilkenny, is in Irish, Miiilenn-na- 
cille, the mill of the church ; and MuUinavat, in the 

* From the Ordnance memoir of the parish of Templemore. 
See also O'Donovan's article on the antiquity of corn in Ire- 
land in the Dublin Penny Journal ; and Petrie's Essay on Tara. 

CHAP. VII.] Mills and Kilns. 363 

same county is Muilenn-a^ -hhata, the mill of the stick. 
When this word occurs as a termination the m is 
often changed to w by aspiration (p. 19), as in Ma- 
willian in Londonderry, Magli-mhuilinn., the plain of 
the mill. Ballywillin is the name of a parish on 
the borders of Antrim and Londonderry, and of 
several townlands in these and other counties, while 
the form Ballinwillin is very frequent in some of the 
southern counties ; this name signifies the town of 
the mill, and it is often so translated, from which has 
originated the very common name of Milltown. 
Cloonawillen is the name of five townlands, the same as 
Clonmullin and Cloonmullin, all signifying the cloo)i 
or meadow of the mill ; there is a parish in Monaghan 
called Aghnamullen, and two townlands in Leitrim 
called Aghawillin, the former the field of the mills, 
and the latter, of the mill ; Killawillin on the Black- 
water, near Castletownroche in Cork, is called in 
Irish by the people Cill-a^-mhuilinn, the church of 
the mill. 

A quern or hand mill is designated by the word 
hvo, which is also applied to the mill stones used with 
water mills; genitive ^rd/i or broin [brone], plural 
hrointe [broanty]. We find this word in the names 
of several places, where it is likely there were for- 
merly water mills or hand mills, the owners of which 
made their living by grinding their neighbours' corn. 
Coolnabrone, the hill-back of the quern or mill-stone, 
is the name of two townlands in Kilkenny ; and in 
the same county near Fiddown, is Tobernabrone, the 
well of the quern ; Clonbrone and Cloonbrone, the 
meadow of the mill-stone, are the names of some 
townlands in King's County, Gralway, and Mayo. 

Before the potato came into general use, it was 
customary for families — those especially who were 

364 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

not within easy reach of a mill — to grind their own 
corn for home consumption ; and the quern was con- 
sequently an instrument of very general use. We 
may presume that there were professional quern 
makers ; and we know for a certainty, that some places 
received names from producing stones well suited for 
querns. Such a place is Carrigeenamronety, a hill 
near Bally organ in Limerick, on whose side there is 
a ridge of rocks, formerly much resorted to by the 
peasantry for quern stones ; its Irish name is Car- 
raigin-na-mhrolnte, the little rock of the mill-stones ; 
and there are other rocks of the same name in 
Limerick. So also Bronagh in Leitrim, i. e. a place 
abounding in mill stones. 

Aith [ah] denotes a kiln of any kind, whether a 
lime-kiln or a kiln for drying corn. It is generally 
found in the end of names, joined with na, the gen. 
fern, of the article, followed by /?, by which it is dis- 
tinguished from ath, a ford, which takes an in the 
genitive. There are several places in Monaghan and 
Armagh, called Annahaia andAnnahagh, all of which 
are from the Irish, Ath-ua-haithc, the ford of the 
kiln ; we find Ballynahaha in Limerick, and Bally- 
nahaia in Cavan {Bally, a town) ; in Antrim, Lisna- 
hay (fort) ; Grortnahey in Londonderry, Grortnahaha 
in Clare and Tipperary, and Aughnahoy in Antrim, 
all of which signify the field of the kiln. 





IKE most other countries, Ireland lias 
a large proportion of its territorial 
names derived from those of hills. 
For hills, being the most conspicuous 
physical featui-es, are naturally often 
fixed upon, in preference to others, 
to designate the districts in which 
they stand. There are at least twenty- 
five words in the Irish language for a 
hill, besides many others to denote 
rocks,points, slopes, and clifPs ; and all 
without exception have impressed 
themselves on the nomenclature of the country. 
Many of these are well distinguished one from 
another, each being applied to a hill of some particu- 
lar shape or formation ; but several, though they 
may have been formerly different in meaning, are 
now used synonymously, so that it is impossible to 
make any distinction between them. I will here 

366 Physical Features. [part iv. 

enumerate them, and illustrate the manner in which 
names are formed from each. 

Sliahh [sleeve] signifies a mountain ; and accord- 
ing to O'Brien, it was sometimes applied to any heath- 
land, whether mountain or plain. It occurs in the 
Zeuss MSS. in the old Irish form sUah^ which glosses 
mons. The word in the anglicised form of slieve is 
applied to great numbers of the principal mountains 
in Ireland ; and it is almost always followed by a 
limiting term, such as an adjective or a noun in the 
genitive case. For example, Slievesnaght, the name 
of a mountain in Innishowen, and of several others 
in different parts of the country, represents the Irish 
SUahh-sneachta, the mountain of the snow; Slieve 
Anierin in Leitrim, Sliabh-an-iarainn, the mountain 
of the ii'on, in allusion to its well-known richness 
in iron ore ; Slieve Bernagh in the east of Clare, 
gapped mountain. 

This word is occasionally so very much disguised 
in modern names, that it is difficult to recognise it, 
and of such names I will give a few examples. There 
is a mountain west of Lough Arrow in Sligo, called 
Bricklieve, the proper Irish name of which is Breic- 
shliabh (Fom- Mast.), speckled mountain, and the s 
has disappeared by aspiration. The same thing oc- 
curs in Finliff in Down, white mountain ; in Grortin- 
lieve in Donegal, the little field of the mountain ; 
and in Beglieve in Cavan, small mountain. The pa- 
rish of Ivillevy in Armagh, took its name from an 
old church situated at the foot of Slieve Grullion, 
which the Annalists usually call CiU-shkihhe, i. e. 
the chm-ch of the mountain, the pronunciation of 
which is well preserved in the modern spelling. 

Sometimes the v soimd is omitted altogether, and 
this often happens when the word comes in as a ter- 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, Hills, and Rocks. 367 

mination. Sleamaine in Wicklow is anglicised from 
SUahh-tneadJioin, middle mountain ; Illannslea in 
Kerry, the island of the mountain. Slemish in An- 
trim is well known as the mountain where St. Patrick 
passed his early days as a slave, herding swine ; the 
full Irish name is 8liab/i-Mis, the mountain of Mis, a 
woman's name ; and there is another almost equally 
celebrated mountain in Kerry, of the same name, 
now called Slieve Mish. 

In other cases both the s and v are lost, as for ex- 
ample in Crotlie or Cratlie, the name of several hills, 
Croit-shliabk, hump-backed mountain. In a great 
many cases the sound of s is changed to that of t by 
eclipse (p. 22), as in Ballintlea, the name of about 
fifteen townlands in the Munster and Leinster coun- 
ties, Baile-an-tslcihhe, the town of the mountain ; the 
same name as Ballintleva in Galway and Mayo, Bal- 
lintlevy in Westmeath, and Ballintlieve in Meath 
and Down ; Baunatlea in the parish of BaUingaddy, 
Limerick, the haiin or green field of the mountain. 

The plural sleihhte [sleaty] appears in Sleaty, a 
celebrated chui'ch giving name to a village and 
parish in Queen's County. There can be no doubt 
as to the original form and meaning of this name, as 
it is written Sleihhte by all Irish authorities, and 
Colgan translates it Monies, i. e. mountains. The 
name must have been originally given to the chui'ch 
from its contiguity to the hills of Slieve Margy, as 
Killevy was called so from its proximity to Slieve 

SleihMn [slayveen], a diminutive of sliahk, is ap- 
plied to a little hill ; in modern nomenclature it is 
usually made Sleveen, which is the name of a hill 
rising over Macroom in Cork, of a village in Water- 
ford, and of nine townlands chiefly in the southern 

368 Physical Features. [part iv. 

counties. Slevin in Roscommon, is the same word ; 
and Slevinagee in the same county, signifies the little 
mountain of the wind {gaetJi) . 

Cnoc signifies a hill ; its most common anglicised 
form is Iniock, in which the k is usually silent, but in 
the original, the first c, which the k represents, was 
sounded \_c)wc, pron. kunnuck, the first u very short]. 
There is a conspicuous isolated hill near Ballingarry 
in Limerick, called Knockfierna, a noted fairy haunt. 
It serves as a weather glass to the people of the circum- 
jacent plains, who can predict with certainty, whether 
the day will be wet or dry by the appearance of the 
summit in the morning ; and hence the mountain is 
called Cnoc-firinue, the hill of truth, i. e. of truthful 
prediction. Knockea is the name of a hill near Grleno- 
sheen, three miles south from Kilfinnane in Limerick, 
and of several townlands, all of which are called in 
Irish Cnoc-Aedha, Aedh's or Hugh's hill, probably 
from some former proprietors. The well-known hill 
ofKnocklayd in Antrim was so called from its shape, 
Cnoc- kith id [Knocklehid] , literally the hill of breadth, 
i. e. broad hill. 

The diminutives Knockane, Knockaun, Knockeen, 
and Knickeen, with their plurals, form the names of 
more than seventy townlands, all so called from a 
"little hill." Ballyknockan and Ballyknockane, 
the town of the little hill, are the names of about 
twenty-five townlands ; and Knockauneevin in Gral- 
way and Cork are truly described by the name, 
Cnocdn-aebhinn, beautiful little hill. 

Cnuic, the genitive of cnoc^ is often made knick and 
nick in the present names, as the diminutive cnuic- 
in is sometimes represented by knickeen ; and these 
modem forms give correctly the pronunciation of the 
originals — except of course the silent k. Thus Bally- 
knick in the parish of Grange, Armagh, which is the 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, Sills, and Rocks, 369 

same as the very common name, Balljknock, the 
toT\Ti of the hill ; Tinnick in Wexford, and Ticknick 
on the side of the Three Eock mountain in Dublin, 
Tigh-cmiic,t'he house of the hill, which under the forms 
Ticknock and Tiknoek, is the name of several town- 
lands in the eastern counties. 

The word is still further modified by the change of 
n to r, already noticed (p. 49), which prevails chiefly 
in the northern half of Ireland, and which converts 
knock into crock or cruck. Crockacapple in the parish 
of Kilbarron, l)onegal, means the hill of the horse 
{capcill), and Crocknagapple near Killybegs, same 
county, the hill of the horses (Cnoc-na-gcapall) ; and 
these two names are the same respectively as Knock- 
acappul and Knocknagappul, which are found in 
other counties. Crockshane near Eathcoole in Dub- 
lin, John's hill ; Crockanui^e near Kildare, the hill of 
the yew tree. The diminutives suifer this corruption 
also, and we find many places called Crockaun, 
Crickaun, Crockeen, Cruckeen and Crickeen, all 
meaning little hill. The syllable Knock begins the 
names of about 1800 townlands, and Crock of more 
than fifty. 

Beann [ban], genitive and plural heanna [banna], 
signifies a horn, a gable, a peak, or pointed hill, but 
it is often applied to any steep hill : cognate with 
Latin 2^ifina' In anglicised names, it is generally 
spelled ben or bin, each of which begins about thirty 
townland names; but it undergoes various other 

Beann is not applied to great mountains so much 
in Ireland as in Scotland, where they have Ben Lo- 
mond, Ben Nevis, Benledi, &c. ; but as aj)plied to 
middle and smaller eminences, it is used very exten- 
sively. There is a steep hill in "Westmeath, called 

370 Physical Features. [part iv. 

the Ben (i. e. the peak) of Fore, from the village 
near its base ; the Irish name of Bengore Head in 
Antrim is Beann-gabhar, the peak of the goats. 
Benbnrb, now the name of a village in Tyrone, the 
scene of the battle in 1646, was originally applied to 
the remarkable cliff overhanging the Blackwater, on 
which the castle ruins now stand ; the Irish name as 
given in the Annals is Beann-borb, which O'Sullivan 
Bear correctly translates Pinna superba, the proud 

The Twelve Pins, a remarkable group of mountains 
in Connemara, derive their name from the same 
word ; Pins being a modification of Bens. They are 
commonly called " The Twelve Pins of Bunnabeola," 
in which the word beann occurs twice ; for Bunna- 
beola is Beanna-Beola, the peaks of Beola. This 
Beola, who was probably an old Firbolg chieftain, is 
still vividly remembered in tradition ; and a remark- 
able person he must have been, for the place of his 
interment is also commemorated, namely, Toombeola, 
Beola' s tumulus, w^hich is a townland south of the 
Twelve Pins, at the head of Eoundstone bay, con- 
taining the ruins of an abbey. 

The adjective form beannach is applied to a hilly 
place — a place full of bens or peaks ; and it has given 
name to Bannagh in Cork, and to Benagh in Down 
and Louth. This word appears in Bannaghbane and 
Bannaghroe (white, red) in Monaghan ; and Agha- 
vannagh, Irish Achadh-bJieannack, hilly field, is the 
name of three townlands in Wicklow. The plural, 
beanna, is found in Bannamore and Benamore in 
Tipperary, great peaks ; and in the form Banna, it 
occurs several times in Kerry. Benbo, a conspicuous 
mountain near Manorhamilton, is written by the 
Four Masters, Beanna-bo, the peaks or horns of the 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, Hills, and Hocks. 371 

cow ; it is still so called in Irish, and it appears to 
have got the name from its curious double peak, 
bearing a rude resemblance to a cow's horns. 

The word assumes various other forms, and enters 
into many combinations, of which the following 
names will be a sufficient illustration. The old name 
of Dunmanwaj in Cork, was Dun-na-mheann [Dun- 
naman : Four Mast.], the fortress of the gables or 
pinnacles ; and the name was probably derived from 
the ridge of rocks north of the town, or perhaps from 
the shape of the old dun. In a grant made in the 
time of Elizabeth, the place is called Dotvnemanvoy^ 
from which, as well indeed as from the tradition of 
the inhabitants, it appears that the last syllable, 
ivaij — which must be a modem addition, as it does 
not appear in the older documents — is a corruption 
of the Irish huidhe, yellow {h changed ioichj aspira- 
tion ; p. 19) : — Dunmanway, the fortress of the 
yellow pinnacles. Dunnaman, which is a correct 
anglicised form of Dun-na-mbeann, is still the name 
of a townland in Down, and of another near Croom 
in Limerick. Ballyrr('y?gour in Carlow, is in Irish, 
Baile-bheanna-gabha)% the town of the pinnacle of the 
goats, the latter part (-vangour) being the same as 
Bengore in Antrim (see last page) ; Knockbine in 
Wexford, the hill of the peak ; Dunnavenny in Lon- 
donderry, the fortress of the peak. 

The word has several diminutive forms, the most 
common of which is beinnin [benneen], which gives 
name to several mountains now called Binnion or 
Bignion, i. e. small peak. Another diminutive, bean- 
nachdn, appears in Meenavanaghan in Donegal, the 
meen or mountain flat of the small peak. 

Beannchar or beannchor [banagher] is a modifica- 
tion of beann^ and signifies horns, or pointed hills or 

372 PMjsical Features. [part iv. 

rocks, and sometimes simply a peaked hill ; it is a 
word of frequent topographical use in different parts 
of Ireland, and it is generally anglicised hanagher 
or hangor. Banagher in King's County (Beannc/wr, 
Four Mast.) is said to have taken its name from 
the sharp rocks in the Shannon ; and there are 
seven townlands in different counties bearing the 
same name. 

Bangor in Down is written Beannchar by various 
authorities, and Keating and others account for the 
name by a legend ; but the circumstance that there 
are so many Beannchars in Ireland renders this of no 
authority ; and there is a hill near the town, from 
which it is more likely that the place received its 
name. Coolbanagher or Whitechui^h, a church giv- 
ing name to a parish in Queen's County, where Aengus 
the Culdee began his celebrated Felire (see p. 151), 
is written in Irish authorities, CuUheannchaii\ the 
angle or corner of the pinnacles. " There is a Lough 
Banagher (the lake of the pinnacles) in Donegal ; 
Drumbaiip.gher in Armagh; Movanagher on the 
Bann, parish ofKilrea, Derry {Magh-hhc(mnchah\i]i^. 
plain of the pinnacles) ; and the ancient church of 
Boss-hennchuir {Boss, a wood), placed by Archdall in 
the county of Clare" (Eeeves, Ecclesiastical Antiqui- 
ties, p. 199, where the word Sef/i2??c7?rtr is exhaustively 

Ard is sometimes a noun meaning a height or hill, 
and sometimes an adjective, signifying high : cog- 
nate with Lat. arduns. In both senses it enters 
extensively into Irish nomenclatm^e ; it forms the 
beginning of about 650 townland names, and there 
are at least as many more that contain it otherwise 

There is a little town in Waterford, and about 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, Hills, and Bocks, 373 

twenty- six townlands in different counties, called 
Ardmore, great height ; but only two bear the cor- 
relative name, Ardbeg, little height. Ardglass in 
Down, is called Ard-glas by the Four Masters, i. e. 
green height ; which is also a usual townland name ; 
and there are many places scattered over the country, 
called Ardkeen, that is, Ard-caein, beautiful height. 
Arderin in the Queen's County is the highest of the 
Slieve Bloom range ; and the inhabitants of the 
great central plain who gave it the name, signifying 
the height of Ireland, unaccustomed as they were to 
the view of high mountains, evidently believed it to 
be one of the principal elevations in the country. 

When ard is followed by fighe [tee], a house, the 
final d is usually omitted ; as in Artiferrall in An- 
trim, Ard-tighe-Fearghaill, the height of FarrelFs 
house; Artimacormick near Ballintoy, same county, 
the height of Mac Cormack's house, &c. 

This word has two diminutives, airdin and arddn 
[ardeen, ardaun] ; the former is not much in use, 
but it gives name to some places in Cork and Kerry, 
called Ardeen, and it forms a part of a few other 
names. The latter, under the different forms Ardan, 
Ardane, and Ardaun, all meaning little height or 
hillock, is by itself the name of several places in the 
midland counties ; and it helps to form many others, 
such as Ardanreagh in Limerick, grey hillock ; and 
Killinardan near Tallaght in Dublin, the church or 
wood of the little height, 

Leath-ard [lahard], which means literally half 
height, is used topographically to denote a gently 
sloj^ing eminence ; and the anglicised form Lahard, 
and the diminutives Lahardan, Lahardane, and La- 
hardaun, are the names of many places, chiefly in 
Connaught and Mimster. Derrylahard, the oak wood 

374 Physical Features. [part iv. 

of the gentle hill, occiu's near Skull in Cork, and the 
same name, in the shortened form, Derrylard, is 
found in the parish of Tartaraghan, Armagh. 

The word alt primarily denotes a height, cognate 
with Lat. alt us ; it occurs in Cormac's Grlossary, 
where it is derived " ah aUitucUne ; " in its present 
topographical application, it is generally understood 
to mean a cliff, or the side of a glen. It is pretty 
generally spread throughout the country, forming 
the first syllable of about 100 townland names, which 
are distributed over the four provinces. Alt stands 
alone as the name of some places in Mayo and Done- 
gal; and Alts (heights or glen sides) occurs in 
Monaghan. Altachullion in Cavan, is the cliff of 
the holly; in Limerick and Queen's County we 
have Altavilla, Alt-a^-hhile, the glen-side of the old 
tree ; Altinure in Derry and Cavan, the cliff of the 

There is a place in the parish of Tulloghobegly, 
Donegal, called Altan, little cliff; and the plural 
Altans occurs in Sligo. Altanagh in Tyrone, signi- 
fies a place abounding in cliffs or glens. In the end 
of names, this word is sometimes made alta, and 
sometimes ilt, representing two forms of the genitive, 
alta and ailt^ as we see in Lissanalta in Limerick, 
the fort of the height ; and Tonanilt in Cavan, the 
backside of the cliff. 

The primary meaning of cniach is a rick or stack, 
such as a stack of corn or hay ; but in an extended 
sense, it is applied to hills, especially to those pre- 
senting a round, stacked, or piled up appearance ; 
Welsh cnig^ a heap ; Cornish erne. It is used pretty 
extensively as a local term, generally in the forms 
Croagh or Crogh ; and the diminutive Cruaehdn is 
still more common, giving names to numerous moun- 

CHAP. 1.] Mountains, Hills, and Bocks. 375 

aun, Croghan, and Crohane, all originally applied to 
a round-shaped hill. 

Croghan hill in King's County, was anciently 
called Bri-Eile^ the hill of Eile, daughter of Eochy 
Feileach, and sister of Maev queen of Connaught in 
the first century (see p. 120, supra) ; it afterwards 
received the name of Cniachan, and in the Annals it 
is sometimes called Cruachan-Bri-Eile, which looks 
tautological, as Cniachan and Bri both signify a hill. 
Croaghan near Killashandi'a in Cavan, the inaugu- 
ration place of the O'Eourkes, is often mentioned in 
the Irish authorities by two names — Cruachan 0' Citp- 
roin, O'Cupron's round hill, and Cruachan-Mic- 
Tighearnain, from the Mac Tighearnans or Mac 
Kiernans, the ancient possessors of the barony of 
Tullyhunco, the chief of whom had his residence 

The parish of Cruagh, six miles south of Dublin, 
takes its name from Cruagh hill, which is within its 
boundary. The word is somewhat disguised in Bal- 
ly crogue, the name of a parish in Carlow, the same as 
Ballycroghan near Bangor in Down, only that in the 
latter the diminutive is used. Kilcruaig, a townland 
near Bally organ in the south-east of Limerick, obvi- 
ously got its name, which means the church of the 
round hill, from the detached mountain now called 
Carrigeenamronety, on whose side the place in ques- 
tion lies. 

Tulach, a little hill — a hillock : it occurs in Cormac's 
Grlossary, where it is given as the equivalent of hri. 
It is anglicised TuUa, Tullow, and Tullagh, but 
most commonly TuUy (see p. 33). Tullanavert 
near Clogher in Tyrone, represents Tulach-na-hhfeart, 
the hill of the graves ; Tullaghacullion near Killybegs, 

376 Physical Features. [part iv. 

Tullagliciillioii near Donegal, and TuUjcuUion in 
Tyrone, the hill of the holly. The parish of Tully 
near Kingsto^^ai in Dublin was anciently called 
Tidacli-na-nespm^ which signifies the hill of the 
bishops ; and according to the Life of St. Brigid, it 
received this name from seven bishops who lived 
there, and on one occasion visited the saint at Kildare 
(O'CuiTy, Lect., p. 382). Tullymongan, the name 
of two townlands near Cavan, was originally applied 
to the hill over the town now called G-allows Hill ; 
the Four Masters call it Tiilach-Mongain, the hill of 
Mongan, a man's name. 

The parish of Kiltnllagh in Eoscommon was so 
called from an old chm^ch, the name of which per- 
fectly describes its situation — CiU-tuIaigh, the church 
of the hill ; and this is also the name of a parish in 
Gralway, and of some townlands. In the Munster 
counties, the g in hdaigh is pronounced hard, giving 
rise to a new form Tullig, which is found in the 
names of many places, the greater number being in 
Cork and Kerry. 

There are two diminutive forms in use, tuldn and 
talachdn. From the former comes Tullen in Ros- 
common, Tullin near Athlone, and TuUans near 
Coleraine ; but the other is more common, and gives 
origin to Tullaghan, Tullaghaun, and Tullaghans 
(little hills) , found in several counties as the names 
of townlands and villages. The word is sometimes 
spelled in Irish, tcalach [tallagh], which orthography 
is often adopted by the Four Masters ; this form 
appears in the name of Tallow, a town in Waterford, 
which is called in Irish Tealach-an-iarainn [Tallow- 
anierin], the hill of the iron, from the iron mines 
worked there by the great Earl of Cork. 

Bri [bree] signifies a hill or rising ground, the 

CHAP. I.] Mountains^ HiUs, and Eoclcs. 377 

same as the Scotch word brae : in Cormac's Glossary 
it is explained by tulach ; Cornish and Breton hre ; 
Graulish hrega, briga. The word occurs frequently 
as a topographical term in our ancient writings, of 
which Bri-Eile (p. 375), is an example. Brigown, 
a village near Mitchelstown in Cork, once a cele- 
brated ecclesiastical establishment, where are still to 
be seen the remains of a very ancient church and round 
tower, is called in Irish, Bri-gobkunn (Book of Lis- 
more), the hill of the smith. In om^ present names 
this word does not occui' very often : it is found 
simply in the form of Bree, in Donegal, Monaghan, 
and Wexford ; while in Tyrone it takes the form of 

Bray, which is the name of several places in Ire- 
land, is another form of the same word. Bray in 
Wicklow is called Bree in old church records and other 
documents ; and it evidently received its name from 
Bray head, which rises 793 feet over the sea. In the 
Dinnsenchus there is a legendary account of the 
origin of the name of this place, viz., that it was so 
called from Brea, son of Seanboth, one of Parthalon's 
followers, who first introduced single combat into 
Ireland (see p. 154). The steep promontory on the 
south-western extremity of Yalentia island, is also 
called Bray head. At the head of Grlencree in Wick- 
low, is a small mountain lake, well kno^vTi to Dublin 
excursionists, called Lough Bray, whose name was, 
no doubt, derived from the rocky point — a spur of 
Kippure mountain — which rises perpendicularly over 
its gloomy waters. 

Lagh [law] a hill, cognate with Ang.-Sax. lau\ 
same meaning. It is not given in the dictionaries, 
but it undoubtedly exists in the Irish language, and 

378 Physical Features. [part iv, 

has given names to a considerable number of places 
through the country, of which the following may be 
taken as examples : — 

Portlaw on the Suir in Waterford took its name 
from the steep hill at the head of the village — Port- 
lagha, the bank or landing place of the hill ; there are 
some townlands in Kilkenny and the Munster coun- 
ties called Ballinla and Ballinlaw, the town of the 
hill ; Luggelaw in Wicklow, the lug or hollow of the 
hill, the name of the valley in which is situated the 
beautiful Lough Tay ; Clonderalaw in Cork and 
Clare, the meadow between the two hills. 

O'Brien explains ceide [keady] " a hillock, a com- 
pact kind of hill, smooth and plain at the top ;" and 
this is the sense in which it is understood at the pre- 
sent day, wherever it is understood at all. The Four 
Masters write it ceideach, when mentioning Keady- 
drinagh in Sligo, which they call Ceideach-droighn- 
each, the flat-topped hill of the black-thoms. The 
word is not in very general use, and is almost con- 
fined to the northern and north-western counties ; 
but in these it gives name to a considerable number 
of places now called Keadew and Keady. It takes 
the forms of Keadagh, Cady, and Caddagh, in several 
counties ; the diminutive Keadeen is the name of a 
high hill east of Baltinglass in Wicklow, and ano- 
ther modification, Cadian, occurs in Tyrone. 

Mullach, in its primary meaning, signifies the top 
or summit of anything — snch as the top of a house. 
Topographically it is generally used to denote smaller 
eminences, though we find it occasionally applied to 
hills of considerable elevation ; and as a root word, it 
enters very extensively into the formation of names, 
generally in the forms Mulla, Mullagh, Mully, and 

CHAP. 1.] Mountains, Hills, and Rocks. 379 

Mul, which constitute of themselves, or form the be- 
ginning of, -upwards of 400 names. 

Mnlla is well known as the name given by the 
poet Spenser to the httle river Awbeg, which flows 
by Kilcolman castle where he resided, near But- 
tevant in Cork : — 

" Strong Alio torabling from Slewlogher steep, 
And Mulla mine whose waves I whilom taught to weep." 
" Faerie Queene," Book IV., Canto xi. 

In another place he says that Kilnamnlla (now 
Buttevant) , took its name from the Mulla : — 

" It giveth name unto that ancient cittie, 
W^hich Kilnemulla clepped is of old." 

But this is all the creation of the poet's fertile 
imagination ; for the Awbeg was never called Mulla 
except by Spenser himself, and Kilnamullagh, the 
native name of Buttevant, has a very difi'erent ori- 

The peasantry of the locality understand Kilna- 
mullagh to mean the chui-ch of the curse {mallacht), 
in connexion with which they relate a strange legend ; 
but the explanation is erroneous, and the legend an 
invention of later times. At the year 1251, the 
Foui' Masters, in recording the foundation of the 
monastery, call it Cill-na-muUach, which O'Sullivan, 
in his History of the Irish Catholics, translates ecclesia 
tumulorum, the church of the hillocks or summits, 
and the name admits of no other interpretation. The 
present name Buttevant, is said to have been derived 
from Boutez-en-avant, a French phrase meaning 
" Push forward !" the motto of the Barry more 

The village of Mullagh in Cavan, got its name 

380 Physical Features. [part iv. 

from tlie hill near it, wliicli the Four Masters call 
MulIach-LaeigJiiU^ the hill of Laeighell or Lyle, a 
man's name formerly common in Ireland. The Hill 
of Lloyd near Kells, is called in the Annals Mullach- 
Aidi, Aide's hill ; and it still retains this same name 
with those who speak Irish ; Mnllaghattin near Car- 
lingford, the hill of the fiu^ze ; MuUaghsillogagh near 
Enniskillen, the hill of the sallows ; Mullaghmeen, 
smooth summit. Mul, the shortened form, appears 
in Mulboj in Tyrone, yellow summit ; and in Mul- 
keeragh in Derry, the summit of the sheep. 

J/^^//r/y?, little summit, is a diminutive oi mullach, 
and it is generally applied to the top of a low, gently 
sloping hill. In the forms Mullan, MuUaun, and in 
the pliu'al MuUans and Mullauns, it is the nanjte of 
nearly forty townlands, and of course helps to form 
many others. Grlassavullami near Tallaght in Dub- 
lin, represents Glaise-a^-mhullam, the streamlet of 
the little summit ; and Mullanagore in Monaghan, 
and MuUanagower in "Wexford, signify the little 
eminence of the goats. In Carlow, Wicklow, and 
Wexford, this word is understood to mean simply a 
green field ; but it has evidently undergone a cliange 
of meaning, the transition being sufficiently easy 
from a gentle green hill to a green field. Mulkaun 
in Leitrim, exhibits another diminutive, namely mul- 
cdn or mallachdn which also appears in Meenawul- 
laghan in the parish of Inver, Donegal, the meen or 
mountain flat of the little summit ; and in Meena- 
mullaghan, parish of Lower Fahan, same cotmty, 
Mm-na-mullachan^ the mountain flat of the little 

lomalre [ummera] signifies a ridge or hill-back ; as 
a local term it is found in each of the four provinces, 
being, however, more common in Ulster and Con- 
naught than in the other provinces ; but in any part 

CHAP. I.] Mountains^ Hills^ and Rocks. 381 

of Ireland it does not enter extensively into names. 
Its most common modern forms are IJmmera, Um- 
mery, and Umry, which form or begin the names of 
more than twenty townlands. 

Ummeracam in Ai'magh, and Umrycam in Done- 
gal and Derry, are called in Irish lomaire-cam^ crooked 
ridge ; Ummeraboy in Cork, yellow ridge ; Um- 
merafree in Monaghan, the ridge of the heath. Kil- 
lanummery, a townland giving name to a parish in 
Leitrim, is called by the Four Masters CiU-an-iomaire, 
the church of the ridge ; and the word is somewhat 
altered in Clonamery in Kilkenny, the meadow of 
the ridge. 

The primary meaning of meall [mal] is a lump, 
mass, or heap of anything ; and it is aj^plied locally 
to a small round hillock. It does not occur very 
often except in Munster, where it is met with pretty 
extensively ; its most usual anglicised form is maul, 
which begins the names of near sixty townlands, all 
in Cork and Kerry. Take as examples Maulanim- 
irish and Maulashangarry, both near Dunmanway, 
the first meaning the hillock of the contention {im- 
reas) , and the second, of the old garden. Maulagh 
near Killarney, signifies a place abounding in hil- 

MiJJbi [milleen] is a diminutive of this word, 
usually represented in the present names by Milleen, 
which forms the whole or the beginning of fifteen 
townland names, all except one in Cork ; Milleena- 
horna has the same meaning as Maulnahorna, the 
hillock of the barley {eonia). Near Eathcormaek, 
there is a place called Maulane, the only example I 
find of the diminutive in an. In anglicised names it 
is often difficult to distinguish this word from mael 
and its modifications, as both often assume the same 

382 Physical Features. [part iv. 

Mael [mwail or mojde] as an adjective signifies 
bald, bare, or hornless ; and it is often employed as 
a noun to denote anything having these shapes or 
qualities. It is, for instance, applied to a cow with- 
out horns, which in almost every part of Ireland is 
called a mael., or mweeUeen. It is also used synony- 
mously with gioUa, to denote, in a religious sense, a 
person having the head shorn or tonsured ; it was 
often prefixed to the name of a saint, and the whole 
compound used to denote a person devoted to such a 
saint ; and as a mark of reverence this kind of name 
was often given to men at their baptism, which origi- 
nated such surnames as MulhoUand, Mulrony, Mo- 
loney, Mulrenin, Malone, &c. 

It is applied to a church or building of any kind 
that is either unfinished or dilapidated — most com- 
monly the latter ; thus Templemoyle, the bald or 
dilapidated church, is the name of some places in 
Derry, Gralway, and Donegal ; there are five town- 
lands in Antrim and one in Longford called Kilmoyle 
which has the same meaning : — Kilmoyle near 
Ballymoney is in Latin records translated Ecclesia 
calra, which gives the exact sense. And Castlemoyle, 
bald castle, occurs in G-alway, Wexford, and Tip- 
perary. The word is used to designate a moat or 
mound flat on top, or dilapidated by having the ma- 
terials carted away ; and hence we have such names 
as Rathmoyle, Lismoyle, and Dunmoyle. 

Mael is applied to hills and promontories, and in 
this sense it is very often employed to form local 
names. Moyle, one of its usual forms, and the plural 
Moyles, give names to several places in the middle 
and northern counties ; Knockmoyle, a usual town- 
land name, bald hill. In the south and west it often 
assumes the form mweel, which preserves the pro- 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, Hills, and Hocks. 383 

nunciation more nearly than moi/le : thus Mweela- 
horna near Ardmore in Waterford, the bald hill of 
the barley; and in Fermanagh also, this form is 
found in Mweelbane, white hill. It sometimes 
takes the form of meel, as in Meelshane in Cork, 
John's bald hill ; Meelgarrow in Wexford, rough 
hill ; Meeldrum near Kilbeggan in Westmeath, bare 

There are two diminutives in pretty common use, 
maeldn and maeilin [mweelaun, mweeleen] ; the 
former is often applied to round-backed islands in the 
sea, or to round bare rocks ; and we find accordingly 
several little islands off the south and west coast, 
called Moylaun, Moylan, and Mweelaun. The same 
word is seen in Meelon and Milane, two towTilands 
in Cork. The second diminutive is more frequent, 
and it is spelled in various ways ; it is found as 
Moyleen and Mweeleen in Galway, Kerry, and 
Mayo ; Mweeling near Ardmore in Waterford ; and 
Meeleen in the parish of Kilquane, Cork. 

Meelaghans near Geashill in King's Coimty (little 
bare hills), exhibits another diminutive, Maelachdn ; 
and we have still another in Milligan in Monaghan, 
and Milligans in Fermanagh, little hills. Mealough 
is the name of a townland in the parish of Drumbo, 
Down, meaning either a round hill or a place abound- 
ing in hillocks. In Scotland, the word mael is often 
used, as for instance, in the Mull of Gralloway and 
the Mull of Cantire; in both instances the word 
Mull signifying a bare headland. From the Mull of 
Cantire, the sea between Ireland and Scotland was 
anciently called the "Sea-stream of Moyle;" and 
Moore has adopted the last name in his charming 
song " Silent, Moyle, be the roar of thy water." 

Mael combines with the Irish preposition for, form- 

384 Physical Features. [part iy. 

ing the compound formaeil, which is used to signify 
a round hill ; and which, in the forms Formoyle, Fer- 
moyle, and Formil, constitutes the names of twenty- 
nine townlands, scattered through the four provinces ; 
in Meath it is made Formal, and in Gralway it retains 
the more Irish form, Formweel. This name occurs 
twice in the Four Masters ; first. at A. D. 965, where 
a battle is recorded to have been fought at Formaeil 
of Eathbeg, which O'Donovan identifies with For- 
mil in the parish of Lower Bodoney, Tyrone ; and 
secondly, at 1051, where mention is made of Slieve- 
Formoyle, which was the ancient name of Slieve 
O'Flynn, west of Castlerea in Eoscommon, 

The word co7\ as a topographical term, has several 
meanings, the most common being a round hill ; but 
it is also applied to a round pit or cup-like hollow, to 
a turn or bend, such as the bend of a road, &c. ; and 
as an adjective, it means odd, and also round. In 
consequence of this diversity, it is often difficult to 
determine its exact sense ; and to add to the com- 
plexity, the word corr, a crane, is liable to be con- 
founded with it. 

This word is used very extensively in local nomen- 
clature ; and in its various senses, it forms the first 
syllable of more than 1000 townland names, in the 
greater number of which it means a roimd hill. Cor- 
beagh in Longford and Cavan, is in Irish, Cor-heith- 
each, the round hill of the birch; Corkeeran in 
Monaghan, of the rowan-trees ; Cornagee and Corna- 
geeha, the hill of the wind; Cornaveagh, of the 
ravens. The diminutives Corrog and Corroge, give 
names to some places in Down and Tipperary ; and 
we find Correen in several of the north-western coun- 
ties ; Correenfeeradda near Knockainy in Limerick, 
is called in Irish, Coirin-feir-fhada, the round hill of 
the long grass. 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, Hills, and Rocks. 385 

Cruit means a hump on the back ; from this it is 
applied to round humpj/-loo'king hills ; and it is com- 
monly rej^resented by Crott, Crutt, or Crit, which are 
the names of places in Fermanagh, Longford, Mayo, 
and Kilkenny. There is an island called Cruit off 
the coast of Donegal, i. e. humpy-backed island ; and 
two townlands in King's County and Eoscommon are 
called by the same name. The plural Crotta or 
Crutta, humps, and the English plural Crottees, give 
names to some places in Kerry, Tipperary, and Cork ; 
and Crottan, little hmnp, occui's in Fermanagh. 

The word is variously combined to form other 
names ; such as Kilcruit in Carlow, the wood of the 
hump-backed hill; Loughcrot near Dromdaleague 
in Cork, the lake of the hillocks ; Drumacruttan in 
Monaghan ; and Drumacrittin in Fermanagh, the 
ridge of the little hump ; Barnagrotty in King's 
County, Barr-na-gcvotta, the hill-top of the hum- 

Cnap [knap, c pronounced as in cnoc, p. 368] is a 
button, a knob, a limip of anything, a knot in timber, 
&c. ; and it is cognate with Ang.-Sax. cnaep, Grer. 
hiopf, Eng. Ixnoh. In a secondary sense it is applied 
to small round hillocks, and gives name to a conside- 
rable number of places. In anglicised names it takes 
various forms, such as knap, nap, &c. ; and in the 
northern counties, it becomes crap and crnp, just as 
knock becomes crock (see p. 49). The diminutives in 
6g and an occur oftener than the original ; Knoppoge, 
little knob or hill, is the name of thirteen townlands 
in Cork, Kerry, and Clare ; and in the slightly diffe- 
rent form Knappoge, it occurs twice in Longford, 
and once in Clare. 

There are many places in the north and north- 
western counties, called Knappagh, which renresents 


386 Physical Features. [part iv. 

the Irish cnapach, ^"^J ^'^^^^ — a place full of knobs or 
hillocks ; Nappagh near Ai'dagh in Longford is the 
same name, hut it has lost the/^; and the same thing 
has happened in Nappan in Antrim, which is the 
diminutive Cnapan, a little hillock ; in this last place 
is an old burial ground called Killycrappin {cill-a^- 
cnapain : see Reeves, EccL, Ant., p. 87), which pre- 
serves the name in another form. In the following 
names, the n is changed to r : — Crappaghin Monaghan 
and Gfalway, which is the same name as Knappagh ; 
Crippaun in Kildare, the same as Nappan in Antrim ; 
Carrickcroppan in Armagh, Carraig - cnapain, the 
rock of the little hillock ; and Lisnacroppan in Down, 
the fort of the hillock. 

Tor signifies a tower, and corresponds to Lat. 
turris. Although the word properly means an arti- 
ficial tower, yet in many parts of Ireland, as for 
instance in Donegal, it is applied to a tall rock re- 
sembling a tower, without any reference to an arti- 
ficial structure. It is pretty common as forming part 
of names, and its derivatives occur oftener than the ori- 
ginal. Toralt in Fermanagh, signifies the tower of the 
alt or cliff; Tormore, great tower, is the name of seve- 
ral islands, of one for instance, off" the coast of Done- 
gal ; Tornaroy in Antrim is the king's tower ; and 
in the parish of Culfeightrin, same county, there are 
five tow^nlands whose names begin with Tor. In 
some few cases, especially in the central counties, 
the syllable tor may have been corrupted from tuar, 
a bleach green ; but the physical aspect of the place 
will generally determine which is the correct root. 

Tory Island ofi" the coast of Donegal, is known in 
ancient writings by two distinct names, Toirinis and 
Torach, quite different in meaning, but both derived 
from tor. This island is mentioned in our bardic his- 

CHAP. I.] Mountains^ Hills, and Rocks. 387 

tories as the stronghold of the Fomorian pirates (see 
p. 155), and called in these documents, Toir-i}iis,i]iQ 
island of the tower ; and according to all our tradi- 
tional accounts, it received this name from Tor- 
Conaing or Conaing's tower, a fortress famous in 
Irish legend, and called after Conaing, a Fomorian 

In many other ancient authorities, such as the Life 
of St. Columbkille, " The Wars of GG-.," &c., it is 
called Torach ; and the present name Tory, is derived 
from an oblique case of this form {Toraigh, pron. 
Tornj : see p. 33, supra). The island abounds in 
lofty isolated rocks, which are called tors or towers ; 
and the name Torach m.Qim^ simply towery — abound- 
ing in tors or tower-like rocks. The intelligent 
Irish-speaking natives of the Donegal coast give it 
this interpretation ; and no one can look at the island 
from the mainland, without admitting that the name 
is admirably descriptive of its appeai-ance. 

Tortdn, a diminutive of tor, forms a part of several 
modern names, and it is applied to a small knoll or 
tummock, or a high turf bank. It gives name to 
Turtane in Carlow, to Toortane in Uueen's County, 
Waterford, and Kilkenny, and to Tartan in Ros- 

Fornocht is a bare, naked, or exposed hill. It 
gives name to a parish in Kildare, now called Fore- 
naghts, in which the plural form has prevailed, very 
probably in consequence of the subdivision of the 
original townland into two parts. There are also 
several townlands called Fornaght in Cork and Wa- 
terford ; and Farnaght, another modern form, is 
the name of some places in Fermanagh and the Con- 
naught counties. 

Cahhdn [cavan] means a hollow or cavity, a hollow 
2 c2 

388 Phijsical Features. [part iv. 

place, a hollow field ; and this is undoubtedly its jori- 
mary meaning, for it is evidently cognate with Lat. 
cavea, Fr. cahan, Welsh, cahane, and Eng. caUn. 
Yet in some parts of Ulster it is understood to mean 
the very reverse, viz., a round dr}^ hill. This cuiious 
discrepancy is probably owing to a gradual change of 
meaning, similar to the change in the words liig^ mul- 
/an, &c. : which of the two meanings it bears in 
each particular case, depends of course on the phy- 
sical conformation of the place. In its topographical 
application this word is confined to the northern half 
of Ireland, and is more frequent in the Ulster coun- 
ties than elsewhere ; its universal anglicised form is 
car an. 

The town of Cavan is well described by its name, 
for it stands in a remarkable hollow. There are more 
than twenty townlands called Cavan, and the word 
begins the names of about seventy others. In the 
counties of Tyrone, Donegal, and Armagh, there are 
several places called Cavanacaw, which represents 
the Irish Cabhan-a'-cdtlw, the roimd hill of the chafi*, 
from the custom of winnowing corn on the top ; 
Cavanaleok near Enniskillen, the hill of the flagstone 
or stony surface. The word cahJianach is an adjective 
formation from cahhan, and means a place abounding 
in round hills ; in the modern form Cavanagh it is 
found in Cavan and Fermanagh ; and in Monaghan, 
the same v/ord occurs under the form Cavany. 

Eiscir [esker] means a ridge of high land, but it is 
generally applied to a sandy ridge, or a line of low 
sand hills. It enters pretty extensively into local 
names, but it is more frequently met with across the 
middle of Ireland than in either the north or south. 
It usually takes the form of Esker, which by itself is 
the name of more than thirty townlands, and com- 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, Hills, and Rocks. 389 

bines to form the names of many others ; the word 
is somewhat altered in Garrisker, the name of a place 
in Kildare, signifying short sand-ridge. 

The most celebrated eslier in Ireland is Esher-Riada^ 
a line of gravel hills extending with little interrup- 
tion across Ireland, from Dublin to Clarin-Bridge in 
Galway, which was fixed upon as the boundary be- 
tween the north and south halves of Ireland, when 
the country was divided, in the second century, be- 
tween Owen More and Con of the Ilimdi-ed Battles 
(see p. 127). 

As a termination, this word assumes other forms, 
all derived from the genitive escreach [eskera]. 
Clashaniskera in Tipperary is called in Irish Clak- 
an-eiscreach, the trench or pit of the sand-hill ; Ahas- 
cragh in Gralway signifies the ford of the esker ; but 
its full name as given by the Four Masters is Ath- 
eascrach-Cuain, the ford of St. Cuan's sand hill ; and 
they still retain the memory of St. Cuan, the patron, 
who is commemorated in O'Clery's Calendar at the 
15th of October ; Tiranascragh, the name of a town- 
land and parish in Gralway, the land of the esker. 
Eskeragh and Eskragh are the names of several 
townlands in the Ulster and Connaught counties, 
the Irish Eiscreach signifying a place full of eskers 
or sand hills. 

Tiompan is generally understood, when used topo- 
graphically, to mean a small abrupt hill, and some- 
times a standing stone ; it occurs as a portion of a 
few townland names, and it does not appear to be 
confined to any particular part of the country. It 
is pronounced Timpan in the north, and Timpaun 
in the south and west, and modernized accordingly, 
the former being the name of a place in the parish of 
Layd, Antrim, and the latter of another in Eos- 

390 PJnjsical Features. [part iv. 

common. In the townland of Eeanadimpan, parish 
of Seskinan, Waterford, there is an ancient monu- 
ment consisting of a number of pillar stones, which 
has given name to the townland — Reidh-na-dtiompan^ 
the mountain-flat of the standing stones. The word 
is slightly varied in Tempanroe (ro^, red) in Tyrone ; 
and Timpany in the same county is from Tiompcmaehy 
a place full of timpam or hillocks. Craigatempin near 
Ballymoney, Antrim, is the rock of the hillock ; and 
Ciuraghnadimpaun in Kilkenny, the marsh of the 
little hills. 

The word learg [larg] signifies the side or slope of 
a hill ; it is used in local names, but not so often as 
Jeargaidh [largy], a derivative from it, with the same 
meaning. Largy, the most usual modernized form, 
is found only in the northern half of Ireland, and is 
almost confined to Ulster ; it gives names to many 
townlands, both by itself and in combination. Lar- 
gysillagh and Largynagreana are the names of two 
places near KiUybegs in Donegal, the former signi- 
fying the hill-side of the sallows, and the latter, 
sunny hill-slope, from its southern aspect. The 
diminutive Largan, meaning still the same thing, is 
also of very common occurrence as a townland name, 
both singly and compounded with other words ; Lar- 
ganreagh in Donegal, grey hill-side. 

Leitir [letter]. According to Peter O'Connell, 
this word means the side of a hill, a steep ascent or 
descent, a 0116"; and O'Donovan translates it "hill- 
side," " wet or spewy hill-side," " hill-side with the 
tricklings of water," &c. It is still understood in 
this sense in the west of Conn aught ; and that this is 
its real meaning is further shown by the Welsh 
IJethr, which signifies a slope. In Cormac's Glossary 
it is thus explained: — ^^ Leitir, i.e. leth tirim agus 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, Hills, and Bocks. 391 

leth flinch;^'' '' leitir, i. e. half dry and half wet;" 
from which it appears that Cormac considered it 
derived from lefh-tirhn, half-dry. This corresponds, 
so far as it goes, with present use. 

This word is often fomid in ancient authorities, as 
forming the names of places. At 1584, the Four 
Masters mention an island called Lcitlr-Meallain , 
Meallan's letter or hill side, which lies off the Con- 
nemara coast, and is still called Lettermullan. 
Latteragh in Tipperary is very often mentioned in 
the Annals and Calendars, and always called Letrecha- 
Odhrain (O'Cler. Cal.), Odhran's wet hill-slopes. 
St. Odhran [Oran], the patron, who is commemo- 
rated in the Calendar at the 26th of November, died 
according to the Four Masters, in the year 548. 
Other modifications of the plural {leatracha, pron. 
latraha) are seen in Lettera and Letteragh, the names 
of places in various counties ; Lattery in Armagh ; 
and Lettery in Galway and Tyrone : all meaning 
"wet hill-slopes." Lettreen, little letter, occurs in 
Roscommon ; and another diminutive, Letteran, in 

A considerable number of places derive their names 
from this word, especially in the western half of Ire- 
land, where it prevails much more than elsewhere ; 
I have not found it at all towards the eastern coast. 
Its most usual form is Letter, which is by itself the 
name of about twenty-six townlands, and forms 
the beginning of about 120 others. Letterbrick in 
Donegal and Mayo, is Leitir-hruic, the hill-side of 
the badger ; Letterbrock, of the badgers ; Letter- 
shendony in Derry, the old man's hill-side ; Letter- 
keen in Fermanagh and Mayo, beautiful letter; 
LetterHcky in Cork, the hill side of the flag-stone or 
flag-surfaced land ; Lettergeeragh in Longford, of 

392 Physical Features. [part iv. 

the sheep ; and Lettermacaward in Donegal, the 
hill-slope of Mac Ward or the son of the bard. 

Rum means the point of anything, such as the 
point of a spear, &c. ; in its local application, it denotes 
a point of land, a promontory, or small peninsula. 
O'Brien says in his Dictionary : — " It would take up 
more than a whole sheet to mention all the neck- 
lands of Ireland, whose names begin with this word 
Emn.'^ It- is found pretty extensively in names 
in the forms Rin, Rinn, Keen, Rine, and Ring ; 
and these constitute or begin about 170 townland 

Names containing this word are often found in 
Irish authorities. In the county Roscommon, on the 
western shore of Lough Ree, is a small peninsula 
about a mile in length, now called St. John's or 
Randown, containing the ruins of a celebrated castle ; 
there must have been originally a choi on the point, 
for the ancient name as given in the Annals is Hinn- 
duin, the peninsula of the d^in or fortress. The an- 
cient name of Island-Magee, a peninsula near Lame, 
was Rinn-Seimhne [Sevne], from the territory in 
which it was situated, which was called Seimhne ; in 
the Taxation of 1306 it is called by its old name, in 
the anglicised form Ransevyn. It received its pre- 
sent name from its ancient proprietors, the Mac 
Aedhas or Magees, not one of whose descendants is 
now living there. (See Reeves, Eccl. Ant., pp. 58, 
270.) • 

In the parish of Kilconry, Clare, is a point of land 
jutting into the Shannon, called Rineanna, which 
the Four Masters call Rinn-eanaujli^ the point of the 
marsh ; there is an island in Lough Ree called 
Rinanny, and a townland in Mayo, called Rinanagh, 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, Hills, and Rocks. 393 

both of wLicli are different foiTQS of the same name. 
Ringcurran is a peninsula forming a modern parish 
near Kinsale ; it is a place very often mentioned in 
the Annals, and its Irish name is Rinn-chorrain., 
which Philip 'Sullivan Beare correctly translates, 
cuspis falcis, the point of the reaping hook, so called 
from its shape. It is curious that the same sickle 
shape has given the name of Curran to a little penin- 
sula near Larne. On a point of land near Kinsale, 
are the ruins of Ringrone castle, the old seat of the 
De Coiu-cys ; the name, which properly belongs to 
the little peninsula on which the castle stands, is 
written in the Annals of Innisfallen, Rinn-roin, the 
point of the seal. The little promontory between 
the mouths of the rivers Ouvane and Coomhola near 
Bantry, is called Eeenadisert, the point of the wil- 
derness or hermitage, a name which is now applied 
to a ruined castle, a stronghold of the O'SuUivans. 
The next peninsula, lying a mile southwards, is 
called Reenydonagan, O'Donagan's point. 

Ring stands alone as the name of many places in 
different counties, in all cases meaning a point of 
land ; Ringaskiddy near Spike Island in Cork, is 
Skiddy's point. I think it very probable that the 
point of land between the mouth of the river Dodder 
and the sea, gave name to Ringsend near Dublin, 
the second syllable being English : — Ringsend, i. e. 
the end of the Rinn or point. There is a parish 
forming a peninsula near Dungarvan in "Waterford, 
called Ringagonagh, in Irish Rinn-0-gCuana, the 
point of the O'Cooneys. 

Ringville in Waterford, though it looks English, 
is an Irish name, Rinn-hhile, the point of the bile or 
ancient tree ; this is also the name of two to^mlands 
in Cork and Kilkenny ; and Ringvilla in Fermanagh, 

394 Physical Features. [part iv. 

is still the same. There is a little peninsula in Gal- 
way, opposite Inishbofin island, called Einville, and 
another of the same name, with a \illage on it, pro- 
jecting into Gralway bay, east of Galway ; both are 
written in our authorities Rinn-Mhil^ the point of 
Mil ; and according to Mac Firbis, they were so 
called from Mil, an old Fii^bolg chief. " Einghaddy 
is a part of Killinchy parish in Do^ti, lying in 
Strangford Lough. It was originally an island ; but 
having been from time immemorial imited to the 
mainland by a causeway, it presents on the map the 
appearance of an elongated neck of land, running 
northwards into the Lough. Hence, probably, the 
name Einn-fhada^ the long point" (Eeeves, Eccl. 
Ant. p. 9). In the same county there is a townland 
called Eingfad, which is another modification of the 
same name. 

Eeen is another form of this word, which is con- 
fined to Cork, Kerry, and Limerick, but in these 
counties it occurs very often, especially on the coasts. 
Einn and Ein are more common in the western and 
north-western counties than elsewhere ; as in Ein- 
rainy island near Dunglow in Donegal, the point of 
the ferns. In Clare the word is pronounced Eine, 
and anglicised accordingly ; Einecaha in the parish 
of Kilkeedy, signifies the point of the chaff" or wiu- 
nowing. The diminutive Einneen, little point, is 
the name of several townland s in Galway, Clare, and 

Stuaic [stook] is applied to a pointed pinnacle, or 
a projecting point of rock. Although the word is 
often used to designate projecting rocky points, es- 
pecially on parts of the coast of Donegal, it has not 
given names to many townlands. Its usual English 
form is sfooh, which, in Ireland at least, has taken 

CHAP. I.] Motmfaws, Hills^ and EocAs. 395 

its place as an English word, for the expression, " a 
stook of corn" is used all over the country, meaning 
the same as the English word sJiock. Stook is the 
name of a place in Tipperary ; but the two diminu- 
tives, Stookan and Stookeen, occur more frequently 
than the original. 

Visitors to the Giant's Causeway will remember 
the two remarkable lofty rocks called the Stookans — 
little stooks or rock pinnacles — standing in the path 
leading to the Causeway, which afford a very charac- 
teristic example of the application of this term. We 
find Stookeens, the same word, in Limerick, and the 
singular Stookeen occurs in Cork. Near Louglu-ea 
in Galway, is a to^Tiland called Cloghastookeen, the 
stone fortress of the little pinnacle, which received 
its name from a castle of the Biu^kes, the ruins of 
which still remain ; Baurstookeen in Tipperary, the 
summit of the pinnacle. 

The words aill and fail/ [oil, foil], mean a rock, a 
cliff, or a precipice ; both words are radically the 
same, the latter being derived from the former by 
prefixing / (see p. 27) . I have abeacly observed 
that this practice of prefixing / is chiefly found in the 
south, and accordingly it is only in this part of Ire- 
land that names occur derived iromfcn/I. 

Fa ill is generally made/o?7 smdfoi/k in the pre- 
sent names, and there are great numbers of cliffs 
round the Munster coasts, especially on those of Cork 
and Kerry, whose names begin with these syllables ; 
they also begin the names of about twenty-five to^^■n- 
lancls, inland as well as on the coast. Foilycleara in 
Limerick and Tipperary, signifies O'Cleary's cliff; 
Foilnaman in the latter county, the cliff of the wo- 
men. The diminutive is seen in Falleenadatha in 
the parish of Doon, Limerick, Faiiliu-a'-dcata, the 

396 Physical Features. [part iv. 

little cliff of tlie smoke. When foyle comes in as a 
termination, it is commonly derived, however, not 
hovafaiU, but from poll, a hole ; for instance Bally- 
foyle and Ballyfoile, the names of several town- 
lands, represent the Irish Baile-plioiU, the town of the 

While faill is confined to the south, the other form 
aill, is found all over Ireland, under a variety of 
modern forms. Ayle and Aille are the names of a 
number of places in Munster and Connaught; Al- 
lagower near Tallaght, Dublin, is the clifi' of the 
goat. Lisnahall in Tyrone, signifies the fort of the 
cliff; and Aghnahily in Queen's County, the field 
of the cliff. The diminutive AUeen is found in Tip- 
perary and Gal way ; in the former county there are 
four townlands, two of them called Alleen Hogan, 
and two, Alleen Eyan, Hogan's and Eyan's little 

Carraig or carraic [carrig, carrick], signifies a rock ; 
it is usually applied to a large natural rock, not 
lying flat on the surface of the ground like leae, but 
more or less elevated. There are two other forms of 
this word, cmig and creag, which, though not so 
common as carraig, are yet found in considerable 
numbers of names, and are used in Irish documents 
of authority. Carraig corresponds with Sansc. kar- 
kara, a stone ; Armoric, karrek, and Welsh, careg or 
craig, a rock. 

Carrick and Carrig are the names of nearly seventy 
townlands, villages, and towns, and form the begin- 
ning of about 550 others ; craig and creag are repre- 
sented by the various fonns. Crag, Craig, Creg, &c., 
and these constitute or begin about 250 names ; they 
mean primarily a rock, but they are sometimes ap- 
plied to rocky land. 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, Hills, and Bocks. 397 

Carrigafoyle, an island in the Shannon, near Bally- 
longford, Kerry, with the remains of Carrigafoyle 
castle near the shore, the chief seat of the 0' Conors 
Kerry, is called in the Annals, Carraig-an-jjhoill, the 
rock of the hole ; and it took its name from a deep 
hole in the river immediately imder the castle. Bally- 
nagarrick in Down, represents the Irish BaiJe-na- 
gcarraig, the town of the rocks ; Carrigallen in Lei- 
trim was so called from the rock on which the 
original church was built, the Irish name of which 
was Carraig-dluinn, beautiful rock. In Inishargy in 
Down, the initial c has dropped out by aspii^ation ; in 
the Taxation of 1306 it is called luyscargi, which well 
represents Inis-carraige, the island of the rock ; and 
the rising ground on which the old church stands 
was formerly, as the name indicates, an island sur- 
rounded by marshes, which have been conyerted into 
cultivated fields. (See Eeeves, Eccl. Ant., p. 19.) 

The form craig occurs more than once in the Four 
Masters ; for instance they mention a place called 
Craig-Corcrain, Corcran's rock ; and this name in the 
corrupted form of Cahercorcaun, is still applied to a 
townland in the parish of Eath, Clare ; they also 
mention Craig-ui-Chiarduhhain, O'Kirwan's rock, now 
Craggykeriivan in the parish of Clondagad, same 
county. Craigavad on Belfast Lough, was so called, 
probably, from a rock on the shore to which a boat 
used to be moored ; for its Irish name is Craig-a'- 
hhaid, the rock of the boat. 

The form Carrick is pretty equally distributed over 
Ireland ; Carrig is much more common in the south 
than elsewhere ; Cregg and Creg are found oftener 
in the north and west than in the south and east ; 
and with three or four exceptions, Craig is confined to 
Ulster. The diminutives Carrigeen, Carrigane, and 

398 Physical Features. [part iv. 

Carrigaiin, prevail in the southern half of Ireland ; 
and in the northern, Carrigan, Cargan, and Cargin, 
all signifying little rock, or land with a rocky surface ; 
and with their plurals, they give names to numerous 
townlands and villages. There are also a great many 
places in the north and north-west, called Creggan, 
and in the south and west, Creggane and Creggaun, 
which are diminutives of creag^ and are generally 
applied to rocky land ; Cargagh and Carrigagh, 
meaning a place full of rocks, are the names of several 

Clock signifies a stone — any stone either large or 
small, as for instance, cloch'Shneachta, a hail-stone, 
literally snow-stone ; doch-teine, fire-stone, i. e. a flint. 
So far as it is perpetuated in local names, it was 
applied in each particular case to a stone sufficiently 
large and conspicuously placed, to attract general 
notice, or rendered remarkable by some custom or 
historical occurrence. The word is also, in an ex- 
tended sense, often applied to a stone building, such 
as a castle ; for example, the castle of Grlin on the 
Shannon in Limerick, the seat of the Knight of Grlin, 
is called in Irish documents, Cloch-gleamia^ the stone 
castle of the glen or valley. It is often difficult to 
determine with certainty which of these two mean- 
ings it bears in local names. 

Cloch is one of our commonest topographical roots ; 
in the English forms Clogh and Clough, it constitutes 
or begins more than 400 townland names ; and it helps 
to form innumerable others in various combinations. 
Cloghbally and Clogh vally, which are common town- 
land names, represent the Irish Cloch-hhaile^ stony- 
town; scattered overMunster, Connaught, and Ulster, 
are many places called Cloghboley and Cloghboola, 
stony hooky or dairy place ; and Cloghvoley, Clogh- 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, Hills, and Rocks. 399 

voola, and Cloghvoula, are varied forms of the same 
name ; Shanaclogh and Shanclogh in Munster and 
ConnaiTght, old stone or stone castle. 

Sometimes the final guttTiral drops out and the 
word is reduced to do ; as in Clomantagh in Kilkenny, 
in which no guttural appears, though there is one in 
the original CIoch-Manfaicjh, the stone-castle of Man- 
tach, a man's name signifying toothless (see p. 103) ; 
Clomoney and Clorusk in Carlow, the former sig- 
nifying the stone of the shruhbery, and the latter, of 
the marsh. And very often the first c becomes g by 
eclipse (see p. 22), as in Carrownaglogh, which con- 
veys the sound of the Irish Ceathnimhadh-na-gclogh, 
the quarter-land of the stones. 

Names formed from this word, variously combined, 
are found in every part of Ireland : when it comes in 
as a termination, it is usually in the genitive {cloiche, 
pron. clohy), and in this case it takes several modern 
forms, which will be illustrated in the following 
names. Ballyclogh, Ballyclohy, BaUinaclogh, Bally- 
naclogh, and Ballynacloghy, all names of frequent 
occurrence, mean stone toTVTi, or the town of the 
stones. Aughnacloy is a little town in Tyrone ; and 
there are several townlands in other counties of the 
same name, all called in Irish Achadh-na-cloiche, the 
field of the stone. 

There are three diminutives of this word in com- 
mon use — cloich'm, clocJwg, and cloghdn — of which the 
third has been already dealt with (p. 351). The first 
is generally anglicised Cloheen or Clogheen, which is 
the name of a town in Tipper ary, and of several 
townlands in Cork, Waterford, and Kildare. Clogh- 
oge or Clohoge, though literally meaning a small 
stone like Clogheen, is generally applied to stony 
land, or to a place full of round stones ; it is the 

400 Physical Features. [part iv. 

name of about twenty townlands, chiefly in Ulster — a 
few, however, being found in Sligo and in the Lein- 
ster counties. 

There are several derivative forms from this word 
clock. The most common is clochar, which is gene- 
rally applied to stony land — a place abounding in 
stones, or having a stony surface ; but it occa- 
sionally means a rock. Its most usual anglicised 
form is Clogher, which is the name of a well-known 
town in T}T:one, of a village and a remarkable head- 
land in Louth, and of nearly sixty townlands scat- 
tered over Ireland ; and, compounded ^dth various 
words, it helps to form the names of numerous other 

For Clogher in Tyrone, however, a different origin 
has been assigned. It is stated that there existed 
anciently at this place a stone covered with gold, 
which was worshipped as Kermann Kelstach, the prin- 
cipal idol of the northern Irish ; and this stone, it 
is said, was preserved in the church of Clogher down 
to a late period : hence the place was called Cloch-oir, 
golden stone. 0' Flaherty makes this statement in 
his Ogygia, on the authority of Cathal Maguire, arch- 
deacon of Clogher, the compiler of the Annals of 
Ulster, who died in 1495 ; and Harris, in his edition 
of Ware's Bishops, notices the idol in the following 
words : — " Clogher, situated on the river Lanny, 
takes its name from a Golden Stone, from which, in 
the Times of Paganism, the Devil used to pronounce 
juggling Answers, like the Oracles oiApofio Pi/thlus, 
as is said in the Eegister of Clogher." 

With this story of the idol I have nothing to do ; 
only I shall observe that it ought to be received with 
caution, as it is not found in any ancient authority ; 
it is likely that Maguire's statement is a mere record 

CHAP. 1.] Mountains^ Hills, and Rocks. 401 

of the oral tradition, preserved in his time. But that 
the name of Clogher is derived from it — i. e. from 
Cloch-oir — I do not believe, and for these reasons. 
The prevalence of the name Clogher in different parts 
of Ireland, with the same general meaning, " is rather 
damaging to such an etymon," as Dr. Eeeves re- 
marks, and affords strong presumption that this 
Clogher is the same as all the rest. The most ancient 
form of the name, as found in Adamnan, is Cloclmr 
FiUonim Daimeni (this being Adamnan's translation 
of the proper Irish name, Clochur-mac-Daim/iin, 
Clochur of the sons of Daimhin) ; in which the final 
syllable ^ir shows no trace of the genitive of or, gold 
(or, gen. oir) ; and, besides, the manner in which 
Clochur is connected with mac-Daimlun goes far to 
show that it is a generic term, the construction being 
exactly analogous to Inis-mac-Nessan (p. 104). 

But farther, there is a direct statement of the 
origin of the name in a passage of the Tain-bo- 
Chuailgne in Leabhar na hUidhre, quoted by Mr. J. 
O'Beirne Crowe in an article in the Kilkenny Archaeo- 
logical Journal (April, 1869, p. 311). In this pas- 
sage we are told that a certain j)lace on which was 
a great quantity of stones, was called for that reason 
Mag Clochair, the plain of the stones ; and Mr. Crowe 
remarks : — " Clochar, as any Irish scholar might 
know, does not mean a stone of gold ; the form clochar 
from clocli, a stone, is like that of sruthar from sruth, 
a stream, and other nouns of this class with a cumu- 
lative signification." 

This place retains its ancient name in the latest 
Irish authorities. Daimhin, whose sons are comme- 
morated in the name, was eighth in descent from 
CoUa-da-Chrich (p. 131), and consequently must 
have lived about the end of the sixth centm-v. His 

402 Physical Features. [part iv. 

descendants were in later times called Claim- Dai mh- 
in ; and they were represented so late as the four- 
teenth century, by the family of Dwyer. 

Cloghereen, little stony place, a diminutive of 
clogher^ is well known to tourists as the name of 
a village near Killarney. Cloichredn, or cloithredn 
[cloherawn], another diminutive, signifies also a 
stony place, and is found in every part of Ireland in 
different modern forms. It is Clogherane in Kerry 
and Waterford ; and in the county of Dublin it gives 
name to two parishes called Cloghran. In many 
cases the guttural has dropped out, reducing it to 
Cloran in Westmeath, Tipperary, and Gralway ; Clo- 
rane and Clorhane in Limerick, King's, and Queen's 
County. It undergoes various other alterations — as 
for instance, CJerran in Monaghan : Cleighran in 
Leitrim ; Cleraun in Longford ; and Clerhaun in 
Mayo and Gralway. 

Clochar has other developments, one of which, 
clocharach or cloithreacJi, meaning much the same as 
clochar itself — a stony place — is found pretty widely 
spread in various modern forms ; such as Cloghera 
in Clare and Kerry ; and Clerragh in Roscommon. 
Another offshoot is cloichearnach, with still the same 
meaning ; this is anglicised Cloghernagh in Donegal 
and Monaghan ; Clahernagh in Fermanagh ; Cloher- 
nagh in Wicklow and Tipperary ; while in Tyrone it 
gives the name of Clogherny to a j)arish and four 

The word leac, lie, or Hag [lack, lick, leeg] — for it is 
written all three ways — means primarily a great stone, 
but it is commonly applied to a flag or large flat 
stone ; thus the Irish for ice is leac-oidhre [lack-ira], 
literally snow-flag. The most ancient form is liac or 
liaoc, which is used to translate lapis in the Wb. and 

CHAP, r.] Mountains, Hills, and Rocks. 403 

Sg. MSS. of Zeuss ; and it is cognate with tlie 
Welsh llech ; Latin lapis ; and Greek lithos. 

This word occurs very often in Irish names, and 
in its local application it is very generally used to 
denote a flat-surfaced rock, or a place having a level 
rocky surface. Its most common forms are Lack, 
Leek and Lick, which are the names of many town- 
lands and villages through Ireland, as well as the 
diminutives Lackeen and Lickeen, little rock. The 
form Hag is represented by Leeg and Leek in 
Monaghan, and by Leeke in Antrim and London- 

Lickmolassy, a parish in Galway — St. Molaise's 
flag-stone —was so called, because the hill on which 
the church was built that gave name to the parish, 
is covered on the surface with level flag-like rocks. 
Legvoy, a place in Roscommon, west of Carrick-on- 
Shannon, is called by the Four Masters, Leagmhagh 
[Legvah], the flag-surfaced plain. The celebrated 
mountain Slieve League in Donegal, is correctly 
described by its name: — "A quarry lately opened 
here, shows this part of the mountain to be formed 
of piles of thin small flags of a beautiful whita 
colour .... And here observe how much there is 
in a name ; for Slieve League means the mountain 
of flags."* 

I have already observed (p. 343) that stonj^ fords 
are very often designated by names indicating their 
character; and I will give a few additional illustrations 
here. BelLeek in Fermanagh, on the Erne, east of 
Ballyshannon, is called in Irish authorities, Bel-leice, 
"translated os rupis by Philip O'Sullivan Beare in his 
History of the Irish Catholics. The name signifies 

* From " The Donegal Higlilands," Murray and Co., Dublin. 

404 Physical Features. [part iv. 

ford-mouth of the flag-stone, and the place was so 
called from the flat-snifaced rock in the ford, which, 
when the water decreases in summer, appears as level as 
a marble floor (O'Donovan, Four Mast. Y., p. 1354). 
Belleek is also the name of a place near Ballina in 
Mayo, which was so called from a rocky ford on the 
Moy ; there is a village of the same name near New- 
town Hamilton, Armagh, and also two townlands in 
G-alway and Meath. Ballinalack is the name of a vil- 
lage in Westmeath, a name originally applied to a 
ford on the river Inny, over which there is now a 
bridge ; the correct name is Bel-atha-na-Ieac [Bella- 
nalack], the mouth of the ford of the flag-stones, 
a name that most truly describes the place, which is 
covered with limestone flags. In some other cases, 
however, Ballinalack is derived from Baile-na-leac^ 
the town of the flag-stones. 

Several derivative forms from leac are perpetuated 
in local names; one of these, Icacach^ signifying stony, 
is applied topographically to a place lull of stones or 
flags, and has given the name of Lackagh to many 
townlands in diff'erent parts of Ireland. Several places 
of this name are mentioned in the Annals ; for instance, 
Lackagh in the parish of Inishkeel, Donegal, and the 
river Lackagh, falling into Sheephaven, same county, 
both of which are noticed in the Four Masters. 

Leaccin is one of the most widefy-extended of all 
derivatives from Jeac^ and in every part of the country 
it is applied to a hill side. In the modern forms of 
Lackan, Lacken, Lackaun, Leckan, Leckaun, and 
Lickane, it gives name to more than forty townlands, 
and its compounds are still more numerous. Lackan- 
darra, Lackandarragh, and LackendaiTagh, all sig- 
nify the hill-side of the oak ; Ballynalackan and 
Ballynalaeken, the town of the hill-side. Lackan in 

CHAP. T.] Ifoimtains, Hills, and Rocks. 405 

tlie parisli of Kilglass in Sligo, was formerly the 
residence of the Mac Firbises, where their castle, now 
called Castle Forbes (i. e. Firbis), still remains ; and 
here they compiled many Irish works, among others, 
the well-known Book of Lecan. The form Lacka is 
also very common in local names, with the same 
meaning as leacdn, viz., the side of a hill ; Lackabane 
and Lackabaun, white hill-side. 

^^ Boireann [burren], a large rock; a stony, rocky 
district. It is the name of several rocky districts in 
the north and south of Ireland" (O'Donovan, App. to 
O'Eeilly's Diet, in voce). Accordingto an ancient MS. 
quoted by O'Donovan, it is fancifully derived from 
hor)\ great, and onn^ a stone. 

A considerable number of local names are derived 
from this word ; one of the best known is Burren in 
Clare, an ancient territory, very often mentioned in the 
Annals, which is as remarkable for its stony character, 
as it is celebrated for its oyster bank. Burren is the 
name of eleven townlands, some of which are found 
in each of the provinces; there is a river joining the 
Barrow at the town of Carlow, called Burren, i. e. 
rocky river ; and in Dublin, the word appears in the 
name of the Burren rocks near the western shore of 
Lambay island. 

There are many places whose names are partly 
formed from this word : — Burrenrea in Cavan, and 
Burrenreagh in Down, both mean grey burren. 
Cloonburren on the west bank of the Shannon, nearly 
opposite Clonmacnoise, is frequently mentioned in the 
Annals, its Irish name being Cluain-boireann, rocky 
meadow. Rathborney, a parish in Clare, received 
its name — Rafh-Boirne^ the fort of Burren — from 
the district in which it is situated. The plural, hoirt}e 
[boumy], is modernized into Burnew, i. e. rocky 

408 Physical Features. [part iv, 

lands, in tlie parish of Killinkere, Cavan; in tlie form 
Bourne}^, it is the name of a parish in Tipperarj ; 
and near Aghada in Cork, is a place called Knock- 
anemorney, in Irish Cnocan~na-7]iboirne,i}iQ\iii\Q hill 
of the rocks. 

The word carr, though not found in the diction- 
aries, is understood in several parts of Ireland to 
mean a rock, and sometimes rocky land. It is pro- 
bable that carraig^ a rock, carn^ a monumental heap 
of stones, and cairfhe, a pillar-stone, are all etymolo- 
gically connected with this word. 

Carr is the name of three townlands in Down, 
Fermanagh, and Tyrone ; and it forms part of several 
names ; such as Carcullion in the parish of Clonduff, 
L)o^Ti, the rock or rocky land of the holly ; Gortahar 
in Antrim, Gort-a^-chairi\ the field of the rock. In 
the parish of Clonallan, Down, is a place called Car- 
rogs, little rocks. There is another diminutive com- 
mon in the west of Ireland, namely, cairiJi'in, which is 
anglicised as it is pronounced, Carheen ; it generally 
means rocky land, but in some places it is understood 
to mean a cahereen, that is, a little caJier or stone 
fort, and occasionally a little cairthe, or pillar-stone ; 
the English plural Carheens, and the Irish Carheeny, 
both meaning little rocks or little stone forts, are the 
names of several places in Galway, Mayo, and Lime- 

The third diminutive, carran,is more generally used 
than either of the two former, and it has several an- 
glicised forms, such as Caran, Caraun, Carran, and 
Carraun. It is often difficult to fix the meaning of 
these words ; they general^ signify rocky land, but 
they are occasionally understood to mean a reaping 
hook, applied in this sense, from some peculiarity 
of shape ; and Caran and Carran are sometimes varied 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, Hills, and Rocks. 407 

forms of cam. Craan, Craane, and Crane, wliicli are 
the names of a number of places, are modifications 
which are less doubtful in meaning ; they are almost 
confined to Carlow and Wexford, and are always 
applied to rocky land — land showing a rocky sur- 

Sceir [sker] means, according to the dictionaries, a 
sharp sea rock ; sceire [skerry], sea rocks ; Scandina- 
vian sker, a reef, skcre, reefs. It is applied to rocks 
inland, however, as well as to those in the sea, as is 
proved by the fact, that there are several places far 
removed from the coast whose names contain the 
word. It enters pretty extensively into local nomen- 
clature, and its most usual forms are either the 
singular Skerry, or the plural Skerries, which are 
the names of several well-known places. 

SceiUg [skellig], according to O'Reilly, means a 
rock ; the form scillec occurs in Cormac's Glossary in 
the sense of a splinter of stone ; and 'Donovan, in 
the Four Masters, translates Sceillic, sea rock. There 
are, however, as in the case of sceir, some places in- 
land whose names are derived from it. 

The most remarkable places bearing the name of 
Sceilig are the great and little Skelligs, two lofty 
rocks off the coast of Kerry. Great Skellig was se- 
lected, in the early ages of Christianity, as a religious 
retreat, and the ruins of some of the primitive cells 
and oratories remain there to this day ; the place 
was dedicated to the Archangel Michael, and hence 
it is called in Irish authorities, Sceilig Mhichil, 
Michael's skellig or sea rock. From these rocks the 
bay of Ballinskelligs, on the coast of Iveragh, took 
its name. 

One of the little ruined churches in Glendalough, 
which is situated under the crags of Lugduff moim- 

408 Physical Features. [part iv. 

tain, is called Templenaskellig, the church of the 
rock, and this skelUg or rock is often mentioned in the 
old Lives of St. Kevin. Bunskellig, the foot of the 
rock, is a place near Eyeries on Kenmare bay ; and 
in Tyrone there are two townlands called Skelgagh, 
an adjective formation from sceilig, signifying rocky 

Speilic is used in Louth in the sense of a splintery 
rock, but it is very probably a corruption of sceilig ; 
it has given name to Spellickanee in the parish of 
Ballymascanlan, which is in Irish, Spell ic-an-fhiaichy 
the rock of the raven. Among the Moume moun- 
tains it is pronounced spellig ; and the adjective form 
speilgeach [spelligagh] , is understood there to de- 
note a place full of pointed rocks. 

Sjnnc [spink] is used in several parts of Ireland to 
denote a point of rock, or a sharp overhanging cliff, 
but it is employed more generally on the coast of 
Donegal than elsewhere. It has not given names to 
many places, however, even in Donegal, where it is 
most used. There is a townland in King's County, 
called Spink ; and near Tallaght in Dublin, rises a 
small hill called Spinkan, little spink or pinnacle. 

There are other terms for hills, such as dncim, eudan, 
reann, &c., but these will be treated of in another 



Magh [maw or moy] is the most common Irish word 
for a plain or level tract ; Welsh ma. It is generally 
translated campus by Latin writers, and it is rendered 

CHAP. II.] Plains J Valleys, Hollows, and Caves. 409 

planiUes in the Annals of Tighemach. It is a word 
of great antiquity, and in the Latinized form magus 
— which corresponds with the old Irish orthography 
mag — it is frequently used in ancient Graulish names, 
such as Csesaromagus, Drusomagus, Noviomagus, 
Bigomagus, &c. (Grram. Celt., p. 9). It occurs also 
in the Zeuss MSS., where it is given as the equiva- 
lent of campus. The word appears under various 
forms in anglicised names, such as magh, moy, ma, 
mo, &c. 

Several of the great plains celehrated in former 
ages, and constantly mentioned in Irish authorities, 
have lost their names, though the positions of most of 
them are known. Magh-breagh [Moy-hra], the great 
plain extending from the Liffey northwards towards 
the borders of the present county of Louth, may be 
mentioned as an example. The word hreagh signifies 
fine or beautiful, and it is still preserved both in 
sound and sense in the Scotch word braic ; Magh- 
hreagh is accordingly translated, in the Annals of 
Tighernach, Planities amoena, the delightful plain, 
and our " rude forefathers" never left us a name 
more truly characteristic. In its application to the 
plain, however, it has been forgotten for generations, 
though it is still preserved in the name of Slieve 
Bregh, a hiU between Slane and Collon, signifying 
the hill of Magh-hreagh. 

Many of the celebrated old plains stiU either partly 
or wholly retain their original names, and of these I 
will mention a few. Macosquin, now a parish in 
Londonderry, is called in the Annals, Jf(7^/^- Co.^^ram, 
the plain of Cosgran, a man's name, very common 
both in ancient and modern times. There is a village 
called Movilla near Newtownards in Down, where a 
great monastery was founded by St. Finnian in the 

410 Physical Features. [part iv. 

sixth century ; its Irish name is Magh-hiJe (O'Cler. 
CaL), the plain of the ancient tree ; and there is ano- 
ther place with the same Irish name in the east of 
Inishowen in Donegal, now called Mo^dlle, which 
was also a religious establishment, though not equally 
ancient or important. 

Mallow in Cork, is called in Irish Magh-Ealla 
[Moj^alla : Four Mast.], the plain of the river Ealla 
or Alio. The stream now called the Alio is a small 
river flowing into the Blackwater through Kanturk, 
ten or eleven miles from M allow ; but the Blackwater 
itself, for at least a part of its coui^se, was anciently 
called Alio ;* from this the district between Mallow 
andKantui^k was cnlledMag/i-Ealla, which ultimately 
settled down as the name of the town of Mallow. The 
river also gave name to the territory lying on its 
north bank, w^est of Kanturk, which is called in 
Irish authorities, Diithaigh-Ealla [Doohy-alla], i. e. 
the district of the Alio, now shortened to Dulial- 

Magunihy, now a barony in Kerry, is called by the 
Four Masters, in some places, J/r////?-^/ Co /^^c/y?;^^, [Ma- 
gunkinny], and in others, Magh-O-g Coinchinn, i. e. 
the plain of the O'Coincinns ; from the former of 
which the present name is derived. The territory, 
however, belonged 250 j^ears ago to the O'Donohoes, 
and, according to O'Heeren, at an earlier period to 
the O'Connells : of the family of O'Conkin, who 
gave name to the territory, I have found no further 

The form Moy is the most common of any. It is 
itself, as • well as the plural Moys (i. e. plains) , the 

* See a Paper bv the author, " On Spenser's Irish Rivers," 
Proc. R.I. A., Vol. X. p. 1. 

CHAP. II.] Plains, Valleys, HoUows, and Caves. 411 

name of several places, and forms part of a large num- 
ber. Mojnalty in Meath rej^resents the Irish Magh- 
nealta, the plain of the flocks ; this was also the ancient 
name of the level country lying between Dublin and 
Howth (see p. 154) ; and the bardic Annals state that 
it was the only plain in Ireland not covered with wood, 
on the arrival of the first colonies. The district be- 
tween the rivers Erne and Drowes is now always 
called The Moy, which partly preserves a name of 
great antiquity. It is the celebrated plain oi Magh- 
gCedne [genne], so frequently mentioned in the ac- 
counts of the earliest colonists ; and it was here the 
Fomorian pirates of Tory (p. 155), exacted their op- 
pressive yearly tribute from the Nemeclians. 

This word assumes other forms in several counties, 
such as Maw, Maws, Moigh, and Muff. In accordance 
with the Munster custom ofrestoring the final^ (p. 31), 
it is modified to Moig in the name of some places near 
Askeaton, and elsewhere in Limerick ; and this form, 
a little shortened, appears in Mogeely, a well-known 
place in Cork, which the Four Masters call Magh- 
Ile, the plain of He or File, a man's name. There 
is a parish in Cork, east of Macroom, called Canna- 
way, or in Irish Ceann-a^-nihaighe [Cannawee], the 
head of the plain ; the same name is anglicised Can- 
nawee in the parish of Kilmoe, near Mizen head in 
the same county ; while we find Kilcanavee in the 
parish of Mothell, Waterford, and Kilcanway near 
Mallow in Cork, both signifying the chiuch at the 
head of the jilain. 

There is one diminutive, wahjhln [moyne], which 
is very common, both in ancient and modern names ; 
it occurs in Zeuss in the form magcn; and we find it 
in the Four Masters, when they recoid the erection, 
in 1460, by Mac "William Burke, of *the celebrated 

412 Physical Features. [part iv. 

abbey of Maighui or Moyne in Mayo. The ruins of 
this abbey still remain near the river Moy, in the 
parish of Killala, Comity Mayo. This, as well as the 
village of Mojnie in Tipperary, and about a dozen 
places of the same name in the three southern pro- 
vinces, were all so called from a maigldn or little 
plain. Maine and Mayne, which are the names of se- 
veral places from Derry to Cork, are referrible to the 
same root, though a few of them may be from meadh- 
on, middle. 

Mac ha ire [maghera], a derivative from magh, and 
meaning the same thing, is very extensively used in 
local nomenclature. It generally appears in the an- 
glicised forms of Maghera and Maghery, which are 
the names of several villages and townlands ; Magh- 
era is the more usual form, and it begins the names 
of nearly 200 places, which are found in each of the 
four provinces, but are more common in Ulster than 
elsewhere. The parish of Magheradrool in Down, is 
called in the Beg. Prene, Machary-edargawaJ, which 
represents the Irish, Machaire-eaclarghahhal [Magh- 
era-addrool] , the plain between the (river) forks. 
(Eeeves, Eccl. Ant., pp. 106, 316.) 

Reidh [ray] signifies a plain, a level field ; it is 
more commonly employed in the south of Ireland 
than elsew^here, and it is usually applied to a moun- 
tain flat, or a coarse, moory, level piece of land 
among hills. Its most general anglicised forms are 
r<?«, re^ and reij. 

In the parish of Eingagonagh, Waterford, there is 
a townland called Readoty, which is modernized from 
Reidh-doightc^ burnt mountain-plain : Reanagishagh 
in Clare, the mountain flat of the Imhes or wicker 
causeways ; Eemeen in Kilkenny, smooth plain ; 
Ballynarea near Newtown Hamilton, Armagh, the 

CHAP. II.] Plains, Valleys, Hollows, and Caves. 413 

town of the mountain-flat. The plural Rehy, i. e. 
mountain-flats, is the name of a place in Clare. 
Reidhleach [Relagh], a derivative from reidh, and 
meaning the same thing, gives names to some places 
in Tyrone, Fermanagh, and Cavan, in the modern- 
ized form, Relagh. 

Reidh is also used as an adjective, signifying ready 
or prepared; and from this, by an easy transitiou, 
it has come to signify clear, plain, or smooth ; it is 
probable indeed that the word was primarily an ad- 
jective, and that its use as a noun to designate a j^lain 
is merely a secondary application. There is a well- 
known mountain over the Killeries in Connemara, 
called Muilrea ; and this name characterizes its out- 
line, compared with that of the surrounding hills, 
when seen from a moderate distance : — Mael-reidh, 
smooth flat mountain (see Mael, j). 382). Rehill is 
the name of some places in Kerry and Tipperary, 
which are called in Irish, Reidh-cJwill, smooth or 
clear wood, probably indicating that the woods to 
which the name was originally applied were less 
dense or tangled, or more easy to j^ass through, than 
others in the same neighbomiood. 

Clar is literally a board, and occurs in this sense in 
the Zeuss MSS. in the old form claar, w^hich glosses 
tabula. It is applied locally to a flat piece of land ; 
and in this sense it gives name to a considerable num- 
ber of places. Ballyclare is the name of a town in 
Antrim, and of half a dozen townlands in Eoscommon 
and the Leinster counties ; and Ballinclare is also often 
met with in Leinster and Munster ; both names sig- 
nify the town of the plain. Tliere is a place in Gralway 
which was formerly called by this name, where a great 
abbey was founded in the thiiieenth century, and a 
castle in the sixteenth, both of which are still to be 

414 Physical Features. [part iy. 

seen in ruins ; the. place is mentioned by the Four 
Masters, who call it Baile-an-chlair, but it retains only 
a part of this old name, being now called Clare-Gral- 
way, to distinguish it from other Clares. 

Clare is by itself the name of many places, some of 
which are found in each of the four provinces. The 
county of Clare was so called from the village of the 
same name ; and the tradition of the joeople is, that it 
was called Clare from a board formerly placed across 
tlie river Fergus to serve as a bridge. Yery often 
the Irish form clay is preserved unchanged : as in 
Clarcarricknagun near Donegal, the plain of the 
rock of the hounds ; Clarbane in Armagh, white 
plain ; Clarderry in Monaghan, level oak wood. 
Clarkill in Armagh, Do^tl, and Tipperary, and Clare- 
hill in Derry, are not much changed from the origi- 
nal, Clar-choill^ level wood. In the three last names 
clar is used as an adjective. 

The form Claragh, signifying the same as clar itself 
— a level place — is much used as a toTVTiland name ; 
Claraghatlea in the parish of Brisbane in Cork, the 
plain of (i. e. near) the mountain. Sometimes this is 
smoothed down to Clara, which is the name of a vil- 
lage in King's County, and of several other places ; 
Clarashinnagh near Mohill in Leitrim, the plain of 
the foxes. And lastly, there are several places called 
Clareen, little plain. 

The word gleann [pron.^/o?/w in the south, glan else- 
where] , has exactly the same signification as the Eng- 
lish word glen. Though they are nearly identical in 
form, it does not appear that one has been derived 
from the other, for the English word exists in the 
Ang. -Saxon, and on the other hand, gleann is used 
in Irish MSS. much older than the Anglo-Norman 

CHAP. II.] Plains, Valleys^ Hollows, and Caves. 415 

The word Glen forms or begins the names of more 
than 600 places, all of them, with an occasional ex- 
ception, purely Irish ; and they are sprinkled through 
every county in Ireland. The most important of these 
are explained in other parts of this hook, and a very 
fewillustraj^ionswillhe sufficient here. Grlennamaddy, 
the name of a village in Gralway, is called in Irish, 
Gleann-na-niadaighe, the valley of the dogs ; Grlenna- 
gross near Limerick, of the crosses ; &lenmullion 
near the town of Antrim, the glen of the mill ; Grlen- 
dine and Grlandine, the name of several places in the 
Munster andLeinster counties, Gleann-doimhin, deep 
glen ; and the same name, in the form of Grlendowan, 
is now applied to a fine range of mountains in Done- 
gal, which must have been so called from one of the 
" deep valleys" they enclose. 

In the south the word is often made glan, and this 
syllable begins about 120 names, all, with very few 
exceptions, in Munster. Grlanmire, the name of a 
beautiful valley near Cork, represents exactly the 
sound of the Irish Gleann-niaghair (Four Masters). 
The word maghar is interpreted by Teige O'Rody to 
mean a little fish, and John O'Mulconry uses it in 
this sense (O'Donovau, App. to O'Eeilly's Diet, voce 
magar) ; Glanmire, therefore, signifies the valley of 
the little fishes. 

Sometimes it is made Glin, of which one of the best 
known examples is Glin on the Shannon, in Limerick, 
from which a branch of the Fitzgeralds derives the 
title of the Knight of Glin. The full name of the 
place, as given by the Four Masters, is Glcann-Cor- 
braighe [Corbry], Corbrach's or Corbry's VaUey. 
And occasionally we find it Glyn or Glynn, of which 
we have a characteristic example in the village and 
parish of Glj^nn in Antrim. The genitive of glean n 

416 Physical Features. [part iv. 

is gleanna [glanna], and sometimes glinn^ the former 
of whicli is represented by glanna in the end of 
names ; as in Ballinglanna in Cork, Kerry, and Tip- 
per ary, the town of the glen ; the same as Ballinglen 
in other counties. 

There are two diminutives in common use ; the 
one, gleanndn, is found in the northern counties in the 
form of Grlennan, while inGralwayit is madeGrlennaun. 
The other, gleanntdn, is very much used in the south 
and west, and gives names to several places now called 
Grlantane, Glantaun, Grlentane, and Glentaun — all 
from a " little glen." 

The plural of gleann is gleannta or gleanntaidhe 
[glanta, glenty], the latter of which, with the Eng- 
lish plural superadded to the Irish (p. 32), gives 
name to the village of Grlenties in Donegal ; and it is 
so called from two fine glens at the head of which it 
stands, viz. the glen of Stracashel (the river holm of 
the cashel or stone fort), and Glenfada-na-sealga, or 
the long valley of the hunting. 

When this word occurs in the end of names, the g 
is sometimes aspirated, in which case it disappears 
altogether both in writing and pronunciation. Old- 
Leighlin in Carlow, a place once very much cele- 
brated as an ecclesiastical establishment, is called in 
the Annals, Leith-ghlioun [Lehlin], half glen, a name 
derived from some peculiarity of configuration in the 
little river bed. Crumlin is the name of a village near 
Dublin, and of another in Antrim ; there are also 
eighteen townlands of this name in difi'erent counties 
through the four provinces, besides Crimlin in Fer- 
managh, and Cromlin in Leitrim. In every one of 
these places there is a winding glen, and in the An- 
trim Crumlin, the glen is traversed by a riv^r, whose 
name corresponds with that of the glen, viz. Camline, 

CHAP. II.] Plains, Valleys, Hollows, and Caves, 417 

wliicli literally signifies crooked line. The Four 
Masters, in mentioning Crumlin near Dublin, give the 
true Irish form of the names of all those places, Cniuti- 
ghlinn, curved glen, the sound of which is exactly 
conveyed by Cramlin. Sometimes in pronouncing 
this compound, a short vowel sound is inserted be- 
tween the two root words, which preserves the g from 
aspiration ; and in this manner was formed Croma- 
glan, the name of the semicircularly curved glen tra- 
versed by the Crinnagh river, which falls into the 
upper lake of Killarney. From this, the fine hill 
rising immediately over the stream, and overlooking 
the upper lake, borrowed the name of Cromaglan ; and 
it is now hardly necessary to add that this name does 
not mean " di'ooping mountain,^^ as the guide books 
absurdly translate it. There is a townland of the 
same name in the parish of TuUylease in Cork, now 
called Cromagloun. 

Lug or lag signifies a hollow ; when used topo- 
graphically, it is almost always applied to a hollow in 
a hill ; and lag, lig, and lag are its most common forms, 
the first two being more usual in Ulster, and the last 
in Leinster and Connaught. The word is not so 
much used in Munster as in the other provinces. 

There is a place near Strabane, called Lagnagiillog- 
lagh, the hollow of the galloglasses or heavy armed 
soldiers ; Lagnaviddoge in Mayo, signifies the hoUow 
of the plovers. Leg begins the names of about lOO 
townlands, almost all of them in the northern half of 
Ireland. The places called Legacurry, Legachory, 
and Lagacurry, of which there are about a dozen, are 
all so called from a caldron-like pit or hollow, the 
name being in Irish, Lag -a^ -choir e, the hollow of the 
caldron. When the word terminates names it takes 
several forms, none differing much from lug ; sui^h as 
2 E 

418 PJtT/sical Features. [part iv. 

Ballinlig, Ballinlug, Ballinluig, Ballylig, and Bal- 
jylug, all common townland names, signifying the 
town of the lug or hollow. 

As this word was ap23lied to a hollow in a mountain, 
it occasionally happened that the name of the hollow 
was extended to the mountain itself, as in case of Lug- 
duff over Grlendalough in Wicklow, black hollow ; and 
Lugnaquillia, the highest of the Wicklow mountains, 
which the few old people who still speak Irish in that 
district, call Lucj-na-gcoiUeack, the hollow of the cocks, 
i. e. grouse. 

The diminutives Lagan and Legan occur very often 
as townland names, hut it is sometimes difficult to 
separate the latter from h'agan, a pillar stone. The 
river Lagan, or Logan, as it is called in the map of 
escheated estates, 1609, may have taken its name 
from a " little hollow" on some part of its course ; 
there is a lake in Roscommon called Lough Lagan, 
the lake of the little hollow ; and the townland of 
Leggandorragh near Raphoe in Donegal, is called 
in Irish Lagan-dorcha, dark hollow. 

Cum [coom] a hollow ; a nook, glen, or dell in a 
mountain ; a valley enclosed, except on one side, by 
mountains ; corresponding accurately with the Welsh 
cum, and English comb. The Coombe in Dublin is 
a good illustration, being, as the name implies, a 
hollow place. 

This word is used very often in the neighbourhood 
of Killarney to designate the deep glens of the sur- 
rounding mountains ; as in case of Coomnagoppul 
under Mangerton, whose name originated in the 
practice of sending horses to graze in it at certain 
seasons — Cum-na-gcapall, the glen of the horses; 
and there is another place of the same name in 
Water ford. 

CHAP. II.] Plains, Valleys, Holloios, and Caves. 419 

The most usual forms are coom and coum, which 
form part of many names in the Munster counties, 
especially in Cork and Kerry : thus Coomacheo in 
Cork, the valley of the fog ; Coomnahorna in Kerry, 
the valley of the barley ; Coomnagun near Killaloe, 
of the hounds. Lackenacoombe in Tipperary — the 
hill side of the hollow — exhibits the word as a ter- 
mination. Commaun, Commeen, and Cummeen, 
little hollow, are also often met with ; but as the two 
latter are sometimes used to express a " common," 
the investigator must be careful not to pronounce 
too decidedly on their meaning, without obtaining 
some knowledge of the particular case. 

Beam or hearna [barn, barna], a gap ; it is usually 
applied to a gap in a mountain or through high land ; 
and in this sense it is very generally applied in local 
nomenclature, commonly in the form of Barna, which 
is the name of about a dozen townlands, and enters 
into the formation of a very large number. Barna- 
geehy and Barnanageehy, the gap of the wind, is a 
name very often given to high and bleak passes be- 
tween hills ; and the mountain rising over Ballyor- 
gan in Limerick, is called Barnageeha, from a pass 
of this kind on its western side. Yery often it is 
translated Windy-gap : there is, for instance, a re- 
markable gap with this name in the parish of Adder- 
goole. Mayo, which the Four Masters call by its 
proper Irish name, Bearna-na-gaeithe. Ballinabarny, 
Ballybarney, BaUynabarna, Ballynabarny, Ballyna- 
bearna, and Ballynaberny, all signify the town of 
the gap. 

There are several places in different counties, 
called by the Irish name, Bearna-dhearg [Barna-yar- 
rig], red gap, and anglicised Barnadarrig and Bar- 

420 Physical Features. [part iv. 

naderg. The most remarkable of these for its his- 
toric associations is Beania-dheary between the two 
hills of Knockea and Carrigeenamronetj, on the 
road from Kilmallock in Limerick to Kildorrerj in 
Cork. It is now called in English, Eedchair or 
Richchair, whicli is an old translation of the Irish 
name, Shedrd being a West-English term for a gap. 
This is evident from the fact that the inhabitants of 
the baronies of Forth and Bargy in Wexford, accord- 
ing to the Glossary quoted at page 44, sujyra, call 
a gap in the mountain of Forth by the name of 
Reed-shearde, i. e. red gap. 

This word takes other forms, especially in the 
northern counties, where it is pretty common ; it is 
made harnet in several cases, as in Drumbarnet, the 
ridge of the gap, the name of some places in Donegal 
and Monaghan ; Lisbarnet in Down, the fort of the 
gap. There is another Irish form used in the north — 
namely, bearnas ; it has the authority of the Annals, 
in which this term is always used to designate the 
great gap of Barnismore near Donegal ; and in the 
forms Barnes and Barnish, it gives names to several 
places in Antrim, Donegal, and Tyrone. All the 
preceding modifications are liable to have the b 
changed to v by aspiration (p. 19), as in Ardvarness 
in Derry, Ardvarney and Ardvarna in several other 
counties, high gap ; Ballyvarnet near Bangor in 
Down, the town of the gap. 

The diminutive Bearncui is the real name of the 
remarkable gap in the mountain now called tlie De- 
vil's bit in Tipper ary, whose contour is so familiar 
to travellers on the Great Southern and Western 
Railway ; and it gives name to the parish of Bar- 
nane-Ely, i. e. the little gap of Eiky the ancient ter- 
ritory in which it was situated. 

CHAP. II.] Plains, Valleys, Holloivs, and Caves. 421 

A scealp [scalp] is a cleft or cliasm ; the word is 
much in use among the English-speaking peasantry 
of the south, who call a piece of anything cut off by 
a knife or hatchet, a six el p. The well-known moun- 
tain chasm called the Scalp south of Dublin near 
Enniskerry, affords the best known and the most 
characteristic application of the term ; and there are 
other i^laces of the same name in the counties of 
Clare, Gralway, DubliD, and Wicklow. Scalpnagown 
in Clare is the cleft of the calves ; Moneyscalp in 
Down, the shrubbery of the chasm. 

Poll, a hole, of any kind ; Welsh jnrll ; Msmxpoivll; 
'BretoTLpoull ; Coigiish 790/ ; Old High Germaii pful ; 
English pool. Topographically it is applied to holes, 
pits, or caverns in the earth, deep small pools of 
water, very deep spots in rivers or lakes, &c. ; in the 
beginning of anglicised names it is always made^o//, 
potd, or pull; and as a termination it is commonly 
changed to /c?//^, phuill, or p/iu II, by the aspiration 
of the p (p. 20), and by the genitive inflexion ; all 
which forms are exhibited in Ballinfoyle, Ballin- 
phuill, and Ballinphull, the town of the hole, w^iich 
are the names of many places all over the country. 
Often the p is eclipsed by b (p. 22) as inBallynabolI 
and Ballynaboul, Baile-na-hp)oll, the town of the 

The origin of the name Poolbeg, now applied to 
the lighthouse at the extremity of the South Wall in 
Dublin bay, may be gathered from a passage in 
Boate's Natural History of Ireland, written, it must 
be remembered, long before the two great walls, 
now called the Bull Wall and the South Wall, were 
built. He states : — " This haven almost all over 
falleth dry with the ebbe, as well below Eings-end 
as above it, so as you may go dry foot round about 

422 Physical Features. [part iv. 

the ships which lye at an anchor there, except in 
two places, one at the north side, and the other at 
the south side, not far from it. In these two little 
creeks (whereof the one is called the pool of Clon- 
tarf, and the other Poolbeg) it never falleth dry, 
but the ships which ride at an anchor remain ever 
afloat." (Chap. III., Sect. ii). The " Pool of Clon- 
tarf" is still called " The Pool ;" and the other (near 
which the lighthouse was built) as being the smaller 
of the two, was called PoU-heag, little pool. 

There is a place near Arklow called Pollahoney, 
or in Irish, PoU-a^-chonaidh, the hole of the fire- 
wood ; PoUnaranny in Donegal, Pollrane in Wex- 
ford, and Pollranny in Eoscommon and Mayo, all 
signify the hole of the ferns ; Polldorragha near 
Tuam, dark hole; Pollaginnive in Fermanagh, sand- 
pit ; Polfore near Dromore, Tyrone, cold hole. So 
also Pooldine in Tipperary, deep hole ; Poulacul- 
leare near Whitechurch, same county, and Pollacul- 
laire in Gahvay, the quarry hole. 

The diminutive in various forms is also pretty ge- 
neral. The Pullens (little caverns) near Donegal, 
" is a deep ravine through which a mountain torrent 
leaps joyously, then suddenly plunges through a cleft 
in the rock of from thirty to forty feet in depth," and 
after about half a mile " it loses itself again in a dark 
chasm some sixty feet deep, from which it emerges 
under a natural bridge." (The Donegal Highlands, 
p. 68). There are some very fine sea caves a little 
west of Castletown Bearhaven in Cork, which, as 
w^ell as the little harbour, are well known by the 
name of Pulleen, little hole or cavern ; and this is the 
name of some other places in Cork and Kerry. We 
have Pullans near Coleraine in Derry, and in the 
parish of Clontibret, Monaghan ; Pollans in Donegal ; 

CHAP. II.] Plains, Valleys, Hollows, and Caves. 423 

and PoUeens and PoUeeny in Galway, all signifying 
little holes or caverns. The adjective form pollack is 
applied to land full of pits or holes, and it has given 
name to about thirty-five townlands in the three 
southern provinces, in the forms Pollagh and Pul- 

We have several words in Irish for a cave. Some- 
times, as we have seen, the term poll wt.s used, and 
the combination poll-ialmlian (hole of the earth) was 
occasionally employed in a distinctive term for a ca- 
vern, gi\ing name, in this sense, to PoUtalloon in 
Galw^ay, and to Poultalloon near Fedamore in Lime- 

Dearc or derc [derk] signifies a cave or grotto, and 
also the eye. The latter is the primary meaning, 
corresponding withGr. derlo, I see ; and its application 
to a cave is figm-ative and secondary. The word is 
often found in the old MSS. ; as, for instance, in case 
of Be re- fe ma (cave of alders), which was the ancient 
name of the cave of Dunmore near Kilkenny ; and 
which is still applied to it by those speaking Irish. 
In the parish of Eathkenny in Meath, is a place 
called Dimderk, the fortress of the cave ; so named, 
probably, from an artificial cave in connexion with 
the dun ; there are several places called Derk and 
Dirk, both meaning sim23ly a cave ; and Aghadark 
in Leitrim, is the field of the cavern. 

Cuas is another term for a cave, which has also 
given names to a considerable number of places : 
Coos and Coose are the names of some townlands in 
Down, Monaghan, and Galw^ay ; there is a remark- 
able cavern near Cong called Cooslughoga, the cave 
of mice ; and it is very likely that Cozies in the 
parish of Billy, Antrim, is merely the English plural 
of cuas, meaning " caves." Clooncoose, Clooncose, 

424 Physical Features. [part iy. 

Clooncous, Cloncose, and Cloncouse, are the names 
of fourteen townlands spread over the four provinces ; 
the Irish form is Cluain-cuas (Four Masters), the 
meadow of the caves. Sometimes the c is changed 
to h bj aspiration, as in Corrahoash in Cavan, the 
round hill of the cave ; and often we find it eclipsed 
by g (p. 22), as in Drumgoose and Drumgose, the 
names of some places in Armagh, Tyrone, and 
Monaghan, which represent the Irish JDruim-gcuas, 
cave ridge. There are several places called Coosan, 
Coosane, Coosaun, and Coosheen, all signifying little 
cave, Hound the coasts of Cork and Kerry, and 
perhaps in other counties, cuas or coos is applied to a 
small sea inlet or cove, and in these places the word 
must be interpreted accordingly. 

There is yet another word for a cave in very gene- 
ral use, which I find spelled in good authorities in 
three diff'erent ways, nagh, naimh^ and uath [ooa] ; 
for all these are very probably nothing more than 
modifications of the same original. There is a class 
of romantic tales in Irish " respecting various occur- 
rences in caves ; sometimes the taking of a cave, 
Avhen the place has been used as a place of refuge or 
habitation ; sometimes the narrative of some adven- 
ture in a cave ; sometimes of a plunder of a cave ; 
and so on" (O'CmTy, Lect., p. 283). A tale of 
this kind was called tiatJt, i. e. cave. 

The second form nahnh is the one in most general 
use, and its genitive is either uamha or uamham 
[ooa, ooan] , both of which we find in the Annals. 
Cloyne in Cork, has retained only a part of its ancient 
name, Cluain-uamha, as it is written in the Book of 
Leinster and many other authorities, i. e. the meadow 
of the cave ; this was the old pagan name, which 
8t. Colman Mac Lenin, adopted when he founded his 

CHAP. II.] Plains, Valleys, Hollows, and Caves. 425 

monastery there in the beginning of the seventh cen- 
tury ; and the cave from which the place was named 
so many hundred years ago, is still to be seen there. 
At A. M. 3501, the Four Masters record the erec- 
tion by Emhear, oiRath-uamhain, i. e. the fort of the 
cave (O'Donovan^s Four Masters, I., 27), which ex- 
hibits the second form. 

Both of these genitives are represented in oui' 
present names. The first very often forms the ter- 
mination oe or 00, or with the article, nahoe or nahoo; 
as Drumnahoe in Antrim and Tyrone, and Drum- 
ahoe in Derry, i. e. Druim-na-huamha, the ridge of 
the cave ; Farnahoe near Inishannon in Cork {Far ran, 
land) ; Grlennoo near Clogher in T}- rone, and Grlen- 
nahoo in Kerry, the glen of the cave. And occa- 
sionally the T sound of the aspirated m comes clearly 
out, as in Cornahoova in Meath, and Cornahove in 
Armagh, the round hill of the cave ; the same as 
Cornahoe in Monaghan and Longford. 

The other genitive, nanihain [ooan], is also very 
often used, and generally appears in the end of names 
in the form of one or oon, or with the article, nahone 
or nahoon ; in this manner we have Midlenahone in 
Kilkenny, and Mullinahone in Tipperary, Muilenn- 
na-huanihain, the mill of the cave, the latter so called 
from a cave near the village through which the little 
river runs ; Knockeennahone in Kerry (little hill) ; 
and Lisnahoon in Eoscommon, so called, no doubt, 
from the artificial cave in the Us or fort. Both forms 
are represented in Grortnahoo in Tipperary, and Gror- 
nahoon in G-alway, the field of the cave ; and in 
Knocknahoe in Kerry and SKgo, and Knocknahooan 
in Clare, cave hill. 

Occasionally we find this last genitive form used 
as a nominative (p. 33), for, according to O'Donovan 

426 Physical Features, [part iv. 

(App. to O'Eeilly's Diet.), " TJamhainn is used in 
Thomond to express a natural or artificial cave." 
Nooaff and Nooan are the names of some places in 
Clare ; tliey are formed by the attraction of the article 
(p. 23), the former representing n''uaim/i, and the 
latter n''uamhainn, and both signifying " the cave." 
The Irish name of Owenbristy near Ardrahan in 
Gralway, is Uamhainn-hinsde, broken cave. 

TJamhainn with the mh sounded, would be pro- 
nounced oomn ; and this by a slight change, effected 
under the coiTupting influence noticed at j)age 38, 
has given name to " The Ovens," a small village on 
the river Bride, two miles west of BallincoUig in 
Cork. For in this place " is a most remarkable cave, 
large and long, with many branches crossing each 
other" (Smith's Cork, I., 212), which the people 
say runs as far as Gill Abbey near Cork ; and by 
an ingenious alteration, they have converted their 
fine caves or oovans into ovens ! The ford at the 
village was anciently called Ath- n-uamhain [Ath- 
nooan], the ford of the cave, and this with the v 
sound suppressed has given the name of Athnowen 
to the parish. 



The most common word for an island is inis^ cognate 
with Welsh ynya^ Arm. enes^ and Lat. insula. It is 
also applied in all parts of Ireland to the holm, or low 
flat meadow along a river ; and a meadow of this kind 
is generally called an inch among the English-speak- 

CHAP. III.] Islands, Peninsulas, and Strands. 427 

ing people, especially in tlie south. This, however, 
is obviously a secondary application, and the word 
must have been originally applied to islands formed 
by the branching of rivers ; but while many of these, 
by gradual changes in the river course, lost the cha- 
racter of islands, they retained the name. It is not 
difficult to understand how, in course of ages, the 
word iiiis would in this manner gradually come to be 
applied to river meadows in general, without any 
reference to actual insulation. 

The principal modern forms of this word are Inis, 
Inish, Ennis, and Inch, which give names to a vast 
number of places in every part of Ireland ; but whe- 
ther, in any individual case, the word means an island 
or a river-holm, must be determined by the physical 
configuration of the place. In many instances places 
that were insulated when the names were imposed 
are now no longer so, in consequence of the drainage 
of the surrounding marshes or lakes ; as in case of 
Inishargy (p. 397). 

Inis and Inish are the forms most generally used, 
and they are the common appellations of the islands 
round the coast, and in the lakes and rivers ; they 
are also applied, like inc/t, to river meadows. There 
is an island in Lough Erne, containing the ruins of 
an ancient church, which the annalists often mention 
by the name of Inis-niuighe-samh [moy-sauv], the 
island of the plain of the sorrel ; this island is now, 
by a very gross mispronunciation, called Inish- 
macsaint, and has given name to the parish on the 

Near the town of Ennis in Clare, is a townland 
called Clonroad, which preserves pretty well the 
sound of the name as we find it in the Annals, Clnain- 
ranifhoda, the meadow of the long rowing : the 

428 Physical Features. [part iv. 

spot where Ennis now stands must have been origi- 
nally connected in some way with this townland, for 
the Annals nsnally mention it by the name of IniS' 
Cluana-ramfhoda^ i. e. the river meadow of Clon- 
road. Inishnagor in Donegal and Sligo, is a very 
descriptive name, signifying the river meadow of 
the corrs or cranes ; there are several places in both 
north and south, called Enniskeen and Inishkeen, in 
\-n.^ Inis-caein (FonrMast.), beautiful island or river 
holm. Inistioge in Kilkenny is written Inis-Teoc in 
the Book of Leinster, Teoc's island ; and Ennistimon 
in Clare is called by the Four Masters Inis-Diomain, 
Diaman's river meadow. 

This word very often occiu^s in the end of names, 
usually forming with the article the termination na- 
Jiinch, as in Coolnahinch, the corner or angle of the 
island or river meadow. Sometimes it is contracted, 
as we see in Cleenish, an island near Enniskillen, 
giving name to a j^arish, which ought to have been 
called Cleeuiuish ; for the Irish name, according to 
the Four Masters, is Claen-inis, i. e. sloping island. 

Oilcan or oilcn is another word for an island which 
is still used in the spoken language, and enters pretty 
extensively into names. It is commonly anglicised 
Ulan and Illaun, and these words give names to 
places all over the country, but far more numerously 
in Connaught than elsewhere. Thus Illananummera 
in Tipperary, the island of the ridge, so called no 
doubt from its shape ; Illanfad in Donegal, long 
island, the same as Illaunfadda in Galway ; Illaun- 
inagh near Inchigeelagh in Cork, ivy island ; and 
there are several little islets off the coast of Galway 
and Mayo, called Hoeillaun, red island. 

A peninsula is designated by the compound IcitJi- 
insi [lehinshi] , literally half island ; and this word 

CHAP. 111.] Islands, Peninsulas^ and Strands. 429 

gives name to all places now called LeMucli or La- 
hincli, of which, besides a village in Clare (which is 
mentioned by the Fom- Masters) , there are several in 
other parts of Ireland. The word is shortened in 
Loughl}Tich in the parish of Billy, Antrim, which 
ought to have been called Lough/ehinc/i, as it is writ- 
ten in the Four Masters Loch-Ieithinnsi, the lake of 
the peninsula ; for a lake existed there down to a re- 
cent period. 

The word ros signifies, first, a promontory or pen- 
insula ; secondly, a wood ; and it has other signifi- 
cations which need not be noticed here. Colgan 
translates it nemiis in Act. SS., p. 791^, n. 15 ; and 
in Tr. Th. p. 383 a, n. 17, it is rendered peninsula. 
By some accident of custom, the two meanings are 
now restricted in point of locality ; for in the south- 
ern half of Ireland, ros is generally understood 
only in the sense ©f wood, while in the north, this 
application is lost, and it means only a peninsula. 

Yet there are many instances of the application of 
this term to a peninsula in the south, showing that 
it was formerly so understood there. A well-known 
example is Boss castle on the lower lake of Killarney, 
so called from the little ros or point on which it was 
built. Between the' middle and lower lakes is the 
peninsula of Muckross, so celebrated for the beauty 
of its scenery, and for its abbey ; its Irish name is 
Muc-ros, the peninsula of the pigs ; which is also the 
name of a precipitous head-land near Killybegs in 
Donegal, and of several other places. And west of 
Killarnej^, near the head of Dingle bay, is a remark- 
able peninsula called Rossbehy or Rossbegh, the lat- 
ter part of which indicates that it was formerly 
covered with birch trees : — birchy point. 

There is a parish in Leitrim called Rossinver, which 

430 Physical Features. [part iv. 

takes its name from a point of land running into the 
south part of Lough Mel vin — jRosinbkir, the penin- 
sula of the iiiver or river mouth ; and Bossory near 
Enniskillen is called in the Four Masters, Ros-airthh\ 
eastern peninsula, of which the modem name is a 
corruption. Portrush in Antrim affords an excellent 
illustration of the use of this word ; it takes its name 
from the well-knoT\Ti point of basaltic rock which juts 
into the sea : — Port-ruis, the landing place of the 
peninsula. The district between the Bays of Gwee- 
barra and Grweedore in Donegal, is called by the 
truly descriptive name. The Eosses, i. e. the penin- 

While it is often difficult to know which of the 
two meanings we should assign to ros, the natiu-e of 
the place not unfrequently determines the matter. 
Rush north of Dublin, is called in Irish authorities 
Ros-eo [Rush-6], from which the present name has 
been shortened ; and as the village is situated on a 
projection of land three-fourths surrounded by the 
sea, we can have no hesitation about the meaning of 
the first syllable ; the whole name therefore signifies 
the peninsula of the yew trees. 

Traigh or iracht [tra, traght] signifies a strand; it 
is found in the Zeuss MSS., and corresponds with 
Lat. ^/Y*'C'?'«s, Welsh tradh^ and Cornish trait. The first 
form is that always adopted in modern names, audit 
is generally represented by tra, traiv, or tray. One 
of the best known examples of its use is Tralee in 
Kerry ; the Four Masters call it Traigh- Li, and the 
name is translated in the Life of St. Brendan, Littus 
Ly, the shore or strand of the Lee, a little river which 
runs into the sea there, but which is now covered over. 
Tralee in the parish of Ardtrea, Deny, has a different 
origin, the Irish name being Traigh-liath , grey strand. 

CHAP. IV.] Water, Lakes, and Springs. 431 

Tramore near Waterford, great strand ; Trawna- 
maddree in Cork, the strand of the dogs. 

Ballintra, when it occiu's on the coast, means the 
town of the strand ; as, for instance, near Diinkice in 
Antrim, w^here the name is slightly changed to Bal- 
lintrae ; but inland, it is from Baile-an-tsratha, the 
town of the srath or river holm. Baltray, strand- 
town, is the name of a village near the mouth of the 
Boyne ; and there is a place called Ballynatray, a 
name having the same meaning, on the Blackwater, 
a little above Youghal. There is a beautiful white 
strand at Yentry in Kerry, from which the place got 
the name of Fionn-traigh [Fintra : Fiona, white] ; 
Hanmer calls it rentra, which is an intermediate step 
between the ancient and modern forms. 



The common Irish word for water is nisce [iska] ; it 
occm^s in the Zeuss MSS., where it glosses aqua, with 
which it is also cognate. It is pretty extensively used 
in local names, and it has some derivatives, which 
give it a wider circulation. It occiu-s occasionally in 
the beginning of names, but generally in the end, and 
its usual forms are isha, isky, and isl\ Whiskey is called 
in Irish xmce-heatha [iska-baha], or as it is often an- 
glicised, usquehaugh, which has exactly the same 
meaning as the Latin aqua ritce, and the French eau- 
de-vie, water of life ; and the first part of the com- 
pound, slightly altered, now passes current as an 
English word — whiskey. 

At A. D. 465, the Four Masters record that Owen, 

432 Physical Features. [part iv. 

son of Niall of the Nine Hostages (see p. 133, supra) ^ 
died of grief for his brother Conall Grulban, and that 
he was buried at Uisce-chaein, whose name signifies 
beautiful water. This place is now called Eskaheen, 
preserving very nearly the old sound ; it is situated 
near Muff in Inishowen, and it received its name from 
a fine spring, where, according to Colgan, there an- 
ciently existed a monastery. No tradition of Owen 
is preserved there now. (See O'Don. Four Mast. 
I., 146.) 

Knockaniska, the name of some places in Water- 
ford, is the hill of the water ; there is a parish in 
Wicklow, called Killiskey, the church of the water, 
and the little stream that gave it the name still 
runs by the old church ruin ; the same name exists 
in Wexford, shortened to Xillisk, and in King's 
County it is made Killiskea. Balliniska and Bally- 
nisky, are the names of two townlands in Limerick, 
both signifying the town of the water ; and the vil- 
lage of Ballisk near Donabate in Dublin, has the 
same name, only without the article. Ballj^hisky in 
Tipperary is a different name, viz., Bealach-uisce^ 
the road of the water, the Ji in the present name 
representing the ch of healach. 

According to Cormac's Grlossary, esc is another an- 
cient Irish word for water — '^esc, i. e. uisce:'' its origi- 
nal application is lost, but in some parts of Ireland, 
especially in the south, it is applied to the track of 
a stream or a channel cut by water, either inland or 
on the strand. It has given name to some town- 
lands called Esk in Kerry ; and to Eskenacartan in 
Cork, the stream-track of the forge. The glen under 
the south slope of Cromaglan mountain at Killarney 
is called Esknamucky, the stream-track of the pig ; 
and this is also the name of a townland in Cork. 

CHAP. IV.] Water, Lalies, and Springs. 433 

Loch signifies a lake, cognate with Lat. lacus, Eng- 
lish lake, &G. The word is applied both in Ireland 
and Scotland, not only to lakes, but to arms of the 
sea, of which there are hundreds of examples round 
the coasts of both countries. The almost universal 
anglicised form in this country is lough, but in Scot- 
land they have preserved the original loch unchanged. 
As the 7\^ord is well known, and seldom disguised in 
obscure forms, a few examples of its use will be suffi- 
cient here. 

The lake names of Ireland are generally made up 
of this word followed by some limiting term, such as 
a man's name, an adjective, &c. Thus the lakes of 
Killarney were anciently, and are often still, called 
collectively, Lough Leane ; and according to the 
Dinnsenchus, they received that name from Lean of 
the white teeth, a celebrated artificer, who had his 
forge on the shore. Lough Conn in Mayo is called 
in the Book of Ballymote and other authorities, Loch- 
Con, literally the lake of the hound ; but it is pro- 
bable that Con, or as it would stand in the nomi- 
native, Cu, is here also a man's name. Loughrea in 
Q-alway is called in the Annals Loch-riahhach, grey 

Grreat numbers of townlands, villages, and parishes, 
take their names from small lakes, as in the widely 
extended name, Ballinlough or Ballylough, the 
town of the lake. In numerous cases the lakes have 
been dried up, either by natural or artificial drain- 
age, leaving no trace of their existence except the 

The town of Carlow is called in Irish authorities, 

Cethcrloch, quadruple lake ; and the tradition is that 

the Barrow anciently formed four lakes there, of 

which, however, there is now no trace. The Irish 


434 Physical Features. [part iv. 

name is pronounced Caherlough, which was easily 
softened down to the present name. By early Eng- 
lish writers, it is generally called Catherlogh or 
Katherlagh, which is almost identical with the 
Irish ; Boate calls it *' Catherlogh or Carlow," show- 
ing that in his time the present form was beginning 
to be developed. 

The diminutive lochan is of very general occurrence 
in the anglicised forms Loughan, Loughane, and 
Loughaun, all names of places, which were so called 
from " small lakes." There is a place in Westmeath, 
near Athlone, called Loughanaskin, whose Irish name 
is Lochdn-easgann^ the little lake of the eels ; in the 
county Clare is a townland called Loughaunaweel- 
aun, Lochdn-na-hhfaeiledny the little lake of the sea- 
gulls; Loughanreagh near Coleraine in London- 
derry, grey lakelet ; and Loughanstown, the name of 
several places in Limerick, Meath, and Westmeath, 
is a translation from Baile-an-Iochdin, the town of the 
little lake ; which is retained in the untranslated 
forms Ballinloughan, .'Ballyloughan, and Bally- 
loughaun, in other counties. 

Turlough is a term very much used in the west of 
Ireland ; and it is applied to a lake which dries up in 
summer, exhibiting generally, at that season, a coarse 
scrubby, marshy, sui-face, which is often used for 
pasture. It gives name to several places in the coun- 
ties west of the Shannon (including Clare), a few of 
which are mentioned by the Four Masters, who write 
the word turlach. 

"Wells have been at all times hel(? in veneration in 
Ireland. It appears from the most ancient Lives of 
St. Patrick, and from other authorities, that before 
the introduction of Christianity, they were not only 
venerated, but actually worshipped, both in Ireland 

CHAP. IV.] Wafer, Lakes, and Springs. 435 

and Scotland. Thus in Adamnan's Life of St. Co- 
lumba we read : — "Another time, remaining for some 
days in the country of the Picts, the holy man (Co- 
lumba) heard of a fountain famous amongst this hea- 
then peojole, which foolish men, blinded by the devil, 
worshipped as a divinity The pagans, se- 
duced by these things, paid divine honour to the 
fountain " (Lib. 11. Cap. xi). Some of the well cus- 
toms that have descended even to our own day, 
seem to be undoubted vestiges of this pagan adora- 

After the general spread of the Faith, the people's 
affection for wells was not only retained but intensi- 
fied ; for most of the early preachers of the Grospel 
established their humble foundations — many of them 
destined to grow in after years into great religious 
and educational institutions — beside those fountains, 
whose waters at the same time supplied the daily 
wants of the little communities, and served for the 
baptism of converts. In this manner most of oui- 
early saints became associated with wells, hundreds 
of which still retain the names of these holy men, 
who converted and baptized the pagan multitudes 
on their margins. 

The most common Lish word for a well is tohar ; 
it enters into names all over Ireland, and it is sub- 
ject to very little alteration from its original form. 
Tober is the name of about a dozen townlands, and 
begins those of more than 130 others, all of them 
called from wells, and many from wells associated 
with the memory of patron saints. The following 
are a few characteristic examples. At Ballintober in 
Mayo, there was a holy well called Tober Stingle, 
which was blessed by St. Patrick ; and the place was 
therefore called Ballintober Patrick, the town of St. 

436 Physical Features, [part it. 

Patrick's well, which is its general name in the 
Annals. It was also called Baile-na-craihhi [Bally- 
nacreeva: Book of Lecan], the town of the branchy 
tree, which is stiU partly retained in the name of the 
adjacent townland of Creevagh. This well has quite 
lost its venerable associations ; for it is called merely 
Tobermore (great well), and is not esteemed holy. 
The place is now chiefly remarkable for the fine 
ruins of the abbey erected by Cathal of the red hand, 
king of Connaught, in the year 1216. (See O'Don. 
in " Hy Fiachrach," p. 191.) Ballintober and 
Ballytober (the town of the well), are the names of 
about twenty-four townlands distributed through the 
four provinces (see p. 254, supra). 

Tobercurry in Sligo is called in Irish, and written 
by Mac Firbis, Tohar-an-cJwire, the well of the cal- 
dron, from its shape. Carrowntober, the name of 
many to^Tilands, signifies the quarter-land of the 
well. Toberbunny near Cloughran in Dublin signi- 
fies the well of the milk (Tobar-bainne), and Tober- 
lownagh in Wicklow has nearly the same meaning 
[Tober-Ieamhnachfa) ; both being so called probably 
from the softness of their waters. Some wells take 
their names from the picturesque old trees that over- 
shadow them, and which are preserved by the people 
with great veneration ; such as Toberbilly in Antrim, 
Tobar-bile^ the well of the ancient tree ; the same 
name as Toberavilla north-east of Moate in West- 

In case of some holy wells, it was the custom to 
visit them and perform devotions, on particular days 
of the week; and this has been commemorated by 
such names as Toberaheena, which is that of a well 
and village in Tipperary, signifying the well of Friday. 
A great many wells in different parts of the country 

CHAP. lY.] Wafer, Lakes, and Sjnings. 437 

are called Tohar-rkjh-an-domhnaigh [Toberreendow- 
ney], literally tlie well of the King of Sunday (i. e. of 
Grod) ; one of which gave name to the village of 
Toberreendoney in Gralway. It is probable that these 
were visited on Sundays, and they are generally 
called in English, Sunday's Well, as in case of the 
place of that name near Cork. 

Sometimes tohar takes the form of Tipper, which is 
the name of a parish in Kildare, and of two townlands 
in Longford ; Tipperstown in Dublin and Kildare, is 
only a half translation from. Baile-an-tohair, the town 
of the well ; Tipperkevin, St. Kevin's well. Of simi- 
lar formation is Tibberaghny, the name of a townland 
and parish in Kilkenny, which the annalists write 
Tiohraid-Fachfmi [Tibbradaghna], St. Faghna's well. 

In Cormae's Grlossary we find another form of this 
word, namely, tipra, whose genitive is tiprat, and 
dative tiprait. In accordance with the principle 
noticed at p. 33, supra, the dative tiprait, or as it is 
written in the later Irish writings, tiobraid [tubbrid], 
gives name to sixteen to^iVTilands scattered through 
the four provinces, now called Tubbrid. G-eoifrey 
Keating the historian was parish priest of Tubbrid 
near Cahir in Tipperary, where he died about the 
year 1650, and was buried in the churchyard. The 
word takes other modem forms, as we find in Clon- 
tibret in Monaghan, which the annalists ^Tite Cluaiu- 
tiohrat, the meadow of the spring. The well that 
gave name to the town of Tipperary, and thence to 
the county, was situated near the Main-street, but it 
is now closed up ; it is called in all the Irish authori- 
ties, Tiohraid-Arann,^^^^)! of Ara {Ara, gen. Arann), 
the ancient territory in which it was situated. Other 
forms are exhibited in Aghatubrid in Donegal, Cork, 
and Kerry, the field of the well ; in Ballintubbert 

438 Physical Features. [part iv. 

and Ballintubbrid, tlie same as BallintolDer ; and in 
Kiltubbrid, the same name as Kiltober, the cburch 
of the well. 

Varan ovfuaran is explained by Colgan, " a living 
fountain, or fresh or cold water springing from the 
earth." It is not easy to say whether the initial /is 
radical or not ; if it be, the word is obviously de- 
rived from/?f«r, cold ; if not, it comes from ur, fresh ; 
and Colgan's explanation leaves the question unde- 

This word gives name to Oranmore in Gralway, 
which the Four Masters call Uaran-mor, great spring. 
Oran in Eoscommon was once a place of great con- 
sequence, and is frequently mentioned in the Annals ; 
it contains the ruins of a church and round tower ; 
and the original iiaran or spring is a holy well, which 
to this day is much frequented by pilgrims. 

Oran occurs pretty often in names, such as Knock- 
anoran (JinoeJ:, a hill), in Queen's County and Cork ; 
Ballinoran andBallynoran {Bally ^ a town), the names 
of many townlands through the four provinces ; Tin- 
oran in Wicklow, Tigh-an-uarain, the house of the 
spring ; Carrickanoran in Kilkenny and Monaghan 
(Carrick, a rock) ; and Lickoran, the name of a parish 
in Waterford, the flag-stone of the cold spring. 



The Irish language has two principal words for a 
river — ahh or abha [aw or ow], and ahhainn, which 
are identified in meaning in Cormac's Glossary, in 

CHAP, v.] Rivers^ Streamlets, and Waterfalls. 439 

the following short passage : — " Ahh, i. e. ahhainnr 
There are many streamlets in Ireland designated by 
abh ; and it also enters into the names of numerous 
townlands and villages, which have a stream flow- 
ing through or by them. So far as I have yet 
observed, I find that ahli is used only in the southern 
half of Ireland. 

The word is used simply as the name of a small 
river in Wicklow, the Ow, i. e. the river, rising on the 
south-eastern slope of Lugnaquillia ; AwbegorOwbeg, 
little river, is the name of many streams, so called to 
distinguish them from larger rivers near them, or to 
which they are tributary. The Ounageeragh, the 
river of the sheep, is a tributary of the Funcheon in 
Cork ; Finnow is the name of several small streams, 
signifying white or transparent river ; there is a place 
a few miles east of Tipperary, called Cahervillahowe, 
the stone fort of the old tree {l)Ue) of the river ; and 
Ballynahow, the town of the river, is a townland 
name of frequent occurrence in Munster, but not 
found elsewhere. 

Ahhainn [owen] , which corresponds with the Sanscr. 
avani, is in much more general use than ahh ; and it 
is the common appellative in the spoken language for 
a river. It is generally anglicised avon or oiven, and 
there are great numbers of river names through the 
country formed from these words. Ahhainn-mdr, 
great river, is the name of many rivers in Ireland, 
now generally called Avonmore or Owenmore ; this 
was, and is still, the Irish name of the Blackwater in 
Cork (often called Broadwater by early Anglo-Irish 
writers), and also of the Blackwater in Ulster, flow- 
ing into Lough Neagh by Charlemont. 

The word ahhainn has three different forms in the 
genitive, viz. ahliann, ahhanna^ and aibhne [oun, ouna. 

440 Physical Features. [part iv. 

iyne], which are illustrated in the very coramon 
names Ballynahown, Ballynahone, Ballynahowna, 
and Ballynahivnia, all signifying the to^Ti of the 

Ahhnach [ounagh] is an adjective formation from 
ahhainn, signifying literally '' abounding in rivers," 
but applied to a marshy or watery place ; and it gives 
name to Ounagh in Sligo ; and to Onagh in Wick- 
low. The name of Grlanworth in Cork has been 
only recently changed from the ancient form Gleann- 
amhnach [Glanounagh : Book of Rights], i. e. the 
watery or marshy glen. The parish of Boy ounagh 
in Gralway takes its name from the original church, 
which is situated in a bog, and which the Four 
Masters call Buidheamhnach [Bweeounagh], i. e. 
yellow marsh ; and the same name exists in Meath, 
shortened to Boynagh. 

Glaise or glais or gla^ [glasha, glash, glas,] signi- 
fies a small stream, a rivulet ; it is very often used to 
give names to streams, and thence to townlands, all 
over Ireland, and its usual anglicised forms are glanha, 
glash, and glush. Griashawee and Glashaboy, yellow 
streamlet, are the names of several little rivers and 
to^mlands in Cork ; and there is a place near Ard- 
straw in Tyrone, called Grienglush, the glen of the 
streamlet. The little stream flowing into the sea at 
Grlasthule near Kingstown in Dublin, has given the 
village the name : — Glas-Tuathail, Thoohal's or 
Toole's streamlet. Douglas is very common both as 
a river and townland designation all over the coun- 
try, and it is also well known in Scotland ; its Irish 
form is Duhhghlaise, black stream. 

There is a little streamlet at Griasnevin near Dub- 
lin, which winds in a pretty glen through the classic 
grounds of Delville, and joins the Tolka at the bridge. 

CHAP, v.] Rivers, Streamlets, and Waterfalls. 441 

In far remote ages, beyond the view of history, long 
before St. Mobhi established his monastery there in 
the sixth centurj^, some old pagan chief named 
Naeidhe [Nee] must have resided on its banks ; from 
him it was called Glas-Naeidhen [Griasneean : Four 
Mast.], i. e. Naeidhe's streamlet ; and the name gra- 
dually extended to the village, while its original ap- 
plication is quite forgotten. This ancient name is 
modernized to Griasnevin by the change of dh to v 
(see p. 50, supra). 

The diminutive G-lasheen is also in frequent use as 
a territorial designation ; Grlasheenaulin near Castle- 
haven in Cork, signifies literally beautiful little 
streamlet; G-lasheena or G-lashina is "a place abound- 
ing in little streams ;" and Ardglushin in Cavan, 
signifies the height of the little ri^oilet. 

Sruth [sruh] means a stream, and is in very com- 
mon use both in the spoken and written language. It 
is an ancient and primitive word in Irish, being found 
in the Wb. MS. of Zeuss, where it glosses ftmnen, 
rk-us ; it is almost identical with Sansc. srota, a river ; 
and its cognates exist in several other languages, 
such as Welsh />-2^f, Cornish /ro?f, Slavonic striija, 0\di 
High German stroum, Eng. stream (Ebel). 

Sridh occurs pretty often in names, and its various 
derivatives, especially the diminutives, have also im- 
pressed themselves extensively on the nomenclatui-e 
of the country. In its simple form it gives names to 
Srue in G-alway ; to Sruh in Waterford ; and to 
Shrough in Tipperary : Ballystrew near Downpatrick 
is the town of the stream. 

Sruthair [sruhar], a derivative from sruth, is in 
still more general use, and signifies also a stream ; it 
undergoes various modern modifications, of which the 
commonest is the change of the final r to / (see p. 

442 Physical Features. [part iv. 

47) . Abbeyskrule in Longford was anciently called 
Srufhair, i.e. the stream, and it took its present name 
from a monastery founded there by one of the O'Far- 
rells. Abbeystrowry in Cork is the same name, and 
it was so called from the stream that also gives name 
to Bealnashi^ura (ford-mouth of the stream), a village 
situated at an ancient ford. Struell near Down- 
patrick is written StrohiU in the Taxation of 1306, 
showing that the change from r to / took place before 
that early period ; but the r is retained in a grant of 
about the year 1178, in which the place is called 
Tircstruther, the land of the streamlet. The cele- 
brated wells of St. Patrick are situated here, which in 
former times were frequented by persons from all 
quarters ; and the stream flowing from them must 
have given the place its name (see Eeeves's Eccl. 
Ant., pp. 42, 43). The change of r to I aj)pearsalso 
in Sroolane and Srooleen, which are often applied to 
little streams in the south, and which are the names 
of some townlands. 

Snithan [sruhaun], the diminutive ofsnifh, enters 
very often into local names in every part of Ireland ; 
and it is peculiarly liable to alteration, both by cor- 
ruption and by grammatical inflexion, so that it is 
often completely disguised in modem names. In its 
simple form it gives name to Sroughan in Wicklow ; 
and with a t inserted (p. 55) , and the aspirate omitted, 
to Stroan in Antrim, Kilkenny, and Cavan. The 
sound of t/i in this word is often changed to that of/ 
(p. 50), converting it to srujfan or sruffaiin, a term in 
common use in some parts of Ireland, especially in 
Galway, for a small stream. This change and the 
insertion of t are both seen in Straffan, a village in 
Kildare and a station on the Great Southern and West- 
ern Railway. And lastly, the substitution of t for s 

CHAP, v.] Rivers, Streamlets, and Waterfalls 443 

by eclipse (p. 22) leads to still furtlier alteration, 
which is exemplified in Killeenatrnan in Longford, 
Cillin-cC-fsndhain, the little church of the stream ; 
Carntrone in Fermanagh, the monumental heap of 
the streamlet. 

Feadan [faddaun] is a common word for a brook, 
and it enters largely into local names ; it is a dimi- 
nutive of fcad [fad], and the literal meaning of 
both is a pipe, tube, or whistle ; whence in a se- 
condary sense, they came to be applied to those little 
brooks whose channels are narrow and deep, like a 

From this word we get such names as Faddan, 
Feddan, Fiddan, Fiddane, &c. ; Fiddaunnageeroge 
near Crossmolina in Mayo, is the little brook of the 
keeroges or chafers. With the / sound suppressed 
under the influence of the article (p. 27), we have 
Ballyneddan in Down and Ballineddan in Wicklow, 
Baile-an-fheadain, the town of the streamlet. Fedany 
in Down, is from the Irish Feadanach, which signifies 
a streamy place. 

Inhhear [inver], old Irish inhir (Cor. GL), means 
the mouth of a river ; " a bay into which a river runs, 
or a long narrow neck of the sea, resembling a river" 
(Dr. Todd). The word is pretty common in Ireland, 
and equally so in Scotland, generally in the form of 
inTer, but it is occasionally obscured by modern con- 
traction. At A. D. 639, the Four Masters record the 
death of St. Dagan oi luhhear-DaeUe [Invereela], i. e. 
the mouth of the river Deel ; this place, which lies in 
Wicklow, four miles north from Arklow, retains the 
old name, modernized to Ennereilly, though the river 
is no longer called the Deel, but the Penny comequick. 
The townland of Dromineer in Tipperary, which 
gives name to a parish, is situated where the Ne- 

4-±4 PJii/sical Features. [part iv. 

nagh river enters Loiigli Derg ; and hence it is 
called in Irish Drmm-inbhir, the ridge of the river 

It would appear that waterfalls were objects of 
special notice among the early inhabitants of this 
country, for almost every fall of any consequence in 
our rivers has a legend of its own, and has impressed 
its name on the place in which it is situated. The 
most common Irish word for a waterfall is ea^ 
[ass] or ess, gen. easa [assa] ; and the usual mod- 
ern forms are, for the nominative, ass and ess, and 
often for the genitive, assa and assj/, but sometimes 
ass or ess. 

Doonass near Castleconnell was so called from the 
great rapid on the Shannon, the Irish name being 
Diin-easa, the fortress of the cataract ; but its ancient 
nEiiRewsiS Fas-I)a}H(in)ie [Ass-Danniny : Four Mast.], 
the cataract of Danann (for whom see p. 157, supra). 
The old name of the fall at Caherass near Groom in 
Limerick, was ^.s.s-il/r//r//^^ [Ass-Ma: BookofLeinster], 
i. e. the waterfall of the river Maigue ; and the name 
Caherass was derived, like Doonass, from a fort built 
on its margin. There is a fall on the river that 
flows through Mountmellick in Queen's County, 
which has given to the stream the name of Owenass ; 
in Griendalough is a well-kno^m place where a rivulet 
falls from a rock into a deep pool, hence called Pollan- 
ass, the pool of the waterfall ; and the same name in 
another form, Poulanassy, occurs in the parish of 
Kilmacow, Kilkenny. 

The Avonbeg forms the Ess fall, at the head of 
Grlenmalure in Wicklow ; and the Yartry as it enters 
the Devil's Grien, is precipitated over a series of rocky 
ledges, from which the place is called Bonanass, a 
local corruption of Ballynanass, the townland of the 

CHAP. VI.] Marshes and Bogs. 445 

cataracts. Ballyness, the town of the waterfall, is the 
name of seven townlands in the northern counties ; 
and the diminutives Assan, Assaun, Essan, and Es- 
saun, are also very common. 

The beautiful rapid on the Owenmore river at 
Ballysadare in Sligo, has given name to the village. 
It was originally called Easdara [Assdarra], the 
cataract of the oak ; or according to an ancient 
legend, the cataract of Eed Dara, a Fomorian druid 
who was slain there by Lewy of the long hand (see 
pp. 155, 194). It afterwards took the name oiBaile- 
easa-Dara [Bally assadarra : Foiu' Mast.], the town of 
Dara's cataract, which has been shortened to the 
present name. 



There are several words in Irish to denote a marsh, 
all used in the formation of names ; but in thousands 
of cases the marshes have been drained, and the land 
placed under cultivation, the names alone remaining 
to attest the existence of swamps in days long past. 
One of these words, eanach [annagh], signifies lite- 
rally a watery place, and is derived from ean, water. 
In some parts of the country it is applied to a cut- 
out bog, an application easily reconcilable with the 
original signification. It appears generally in the 
forms Annagh, Anna, and Anny, and these, either 
simply or in combination, give names to great num- 
bers of places in every part of the country. 

Annaduff in Leitrim is called by the Four Masters, 

446 Physical Features. [part iv. 

Eanach-duhk, black marsh. ; Annabella near Mallow- 
has an English look ; but it is the Irish Eanach-hUe^ 
the marsh of the bile or old tree ; Annaghaskin in 
Dublin, near Bray, the morass of the eels. As a 
termination this word usually becomes -anny or -enny^ 
in accordance with the sound of the genitive mw«'/^A; 
as in Gortananny in Gralw^ay, the field of the marsh ; 
Inchenny in Tyrone, which the Four Masters call 
Inis-eanaigJi, the island or river holm of the marsh. 
There are several places in Munster called Rathanny, 
the fort of the marsh ; and Legananny, the lug or 
hollow of the marsh, is the name of two townlands 
in DowTQ. In some of the northern counties, this 
form is adopted in the beginning of names (p. 33) , 
as in Annyalty in Monaghan, the marsh of the flocks 

Corcach, a marsh — low swampy ground : it is used 
in every paH of Ireland, and assumes various forms, 
which will be best understood from the following 

After St. Finbar, in the sixth century, had spent 
some years in the wild solitude oiLoch Ire, now Groug- 
ane Barra at the source of the Lee, he changed his 
residence, and founded a monastery on the edge of a 
marsh near the mouth of the same river, round which 
a great city subsequently grew up. This swampy 
place was known for many hundred years afterwards 
by the name of Corcach-nior or Corcach-mor-Mumhan 
[Mooan], the great marsh of Munster ; of which only 
the first part has been retained, and even that short- 
ened to one syllable in the j)resent name Cork. The 
city is still, however, universally called Corcach by 
those who speak Irish. 

Corkagh is the name of several places in other 
counties ; while in the form of Corkey it is found in 

CHAP. Yi.] Marshes and Bogs. 447 

Antrim and Donegal. And we often meet with the 
diminutives, Curkeen, Curkin, and Corcaghan, little 
marsh. Corcas, another form of the word, is also very 
common, and early English topographical writers on 
Ireland, often speak of the corcasses or marshes as 
very numerous. It has given names to many places 
in the northern counties, now called Corkish, Curkish, 
Corcashy, Corkashy, &c. 

Cmrreach, or as it is written in modern Irish, cin^- 
rach, has two meanings, a race course, and a morass. 
In its first sense it gives name to the Curragh of Kil- 
dare, which has bean used as a race course from the 
most remote ages.* In the second sense, which is the 
more general, it enters into names in the forms Curra, 
Curragh, and Curry, which are very common through 
the four provinces. Curraghmore, great morass, is 
the name of nearly thirty townlands scattered OA^er 
the country ; CuiTahaha and Cun^aheha, the marsh of 
the bii'ch trees. There are more than thirty places, 
all in Munster, called Curraheen, little marsh, and 
this name is sometimes met with in the forms Currin 
and Curreen. 

Sescenn, a quagmire, a marshy, boggy, or sedgy 
place ; it occurs in Cormac's Griossary, where it is 
given as the equivalent of cmrreach. It is used in 
giving names to places throughout the four provinces ; 
and its usual modern forms are Sheskin and Seskin. 
Seskinrea in Carlow, grey marsh ; Sheskinatawy in 
the parish of Inver, Donegal, Sescenn-a^-tsamhaidh, 
the marsh of the sorrel. When it comes in as a termi- 
nation, the initial s is often eclipsed by ^ (p. 22) ; as 
we see in Ballinteskin, the name of several places in 

* See Mr. Hennessy's interesting paper " On the Curragh of 
Kildare," Proc. R. I. A. 

448 Physical Features. [part iv. 

Leinster, in Irish Baile-an-tsescinn, the town of the 

Biasg or riasc [reesk] signifies a moor, marsh, or 
fen. There are twenty-two townlands scattered 
through the four provinces, called Eiesk, Beisk, 
Risk, and Reask ; and near Finglas in Dublin, is a 
place called Kilreisk, the church of the morass. Utisg 
is another form of the same word, which is much used 
in local nomenclature, though it is not given in the 
dictionaries ; occurring commonly as Eoosk and Rusk. 
The old church that gave name to the parish of Tul- 
lyrusk in Antrim, stood in the present graveyard, 
which occupies the summit of a gentle hill, rising from 
marshy ground : hence the name, which Colgan writes 
Tulach-niisc, the hill of the morass (Reeves, Eccl. 
Ant., p. 6). The adjective forms rusgach and rus- 
gaidh [roosky], are in still more general use; they 
give names to all those places called Roosky, Roosk- 
agh, Roosca, Rousky, and Rusky,. of which there are 
about fifty in the four provinces, all of which were 
originally fenny or marshy places ; Ballyroosky in 
Donegal, the town of the marsh. 

Cala or caladh [calla] has two distinct meanings, 
reconcilable, however, with each other : 1. In some 
parts of Ireland it means a ferry, or a landing place for 
boats ; 2. In Longford, Westmeath, Roscommon, Gal- 
way, &c., and especially along the course of the Shan- 
non, it is used to signify a low marshy meadow along 
a river or lake, which is often fiooded in winter, but 
always grassy in summer. Callow, the modernized 
form, is quite current as an English word in those 
parts of the country, a *' callow meadow" being a 
very usual exj)ression ; and it forms part of the names 
of a great many places. 

There is a parish in Tipperary called Templea- 

CHAP. VI.] Marshes and Bogs. 449 

ctially, the eliurch of the callow. Ballinchalla is now 
the name of a parish verging on Lough Mask in 
Mayo. The Four Masters call it the Port of Lough 
Mask, and it is also called in Lish the Cala of Lough 
Mask, both meaning the landing place of Lough 
Mask : the present name is anglicised from the Irish 
Baile-an-chala^ the town of the callow or landing- 

Maethail [mwajhill] signifies soft or spongy land, 
from the root maeth [mway] soft. The best known 
example of its use is Mohill in the county Leitrim, 
which is called inLish anthoYities, Maethail-Manchcihi, 
from St. Manchan or Monaghan, who founded a 
monastery there in the seventh century, and who is 
still remembered. The parish of Mothel in Water- 
ford is called Maethail-Bhrogain in O'Clery's Calen- 
dar, from St. Brogan, the patron, who founded a 
monastery there ; and there is another parish in Kil- 
kenny called Mothell ; in both of which the aspirated 
t is restored (see p. 42). We find the word also in 
other names, such as Cahermohill or Cahermoyle in 
Limerick, the stone fort of the soft land ; Knockme- 
hill in Tipperary, the soft surfaced hill ; and Cor- 
raweehill in Leitrim, the round hill of the wet land* 
(See Dr. Eeeves' learned essay " On the Culdees,'* 
Trans. E. I. A., XXIY., 175.) 

Imleacli [imlagh] denotes land bordering on a lake, 
and hence a marshy or swampy place ; the root ap- 
pears to be imcal, a border or edge. It is a term in 
pretty common use in names, principally in the forms 
Emlagh and Emly. The most remarkable place 
whose name is derived from this word, is the village 
of Emly in Tipperary, well known as the ancient see 
of St. Ailbhe, one of the primitive Irish saints. 
In the Book of Lismore, and indeed in all the Irish 

450 Physical Features, [part iv. 

authorities, it is called Lnleach-iohhair, the lake-marsh 
of the yew tree. The lake, on the margin of which 
St. Ailbhe selected the site for his establishment, 
does not now exist, bnt it is only a few years since 
the last vestige of it was drained. 

Milhic is applied to low marshy ground, or to land 
bordering on a lake or river, and seems synonymous 
with imleach. It occurs in Leinster, Munster, and 
Ulster, but is much more general in Oonnaught than 
in the other provinces ; and in the form Meelick, it 
is the name of about 30 townlands. The old angli- 
cised name of Mountmellick in Queen's County, 
which is even still occasionally heard among the 
people, is Montiaghmeeliclx, i. e. the bogs or boggy 
land of the meelick or marsh ; and the latter part of 
the name is still retained by the neighbouring town- 
land of Meelick. 

Murhhach [Murvagh], a flat piece of land extend- 
ing along the sea ; a salt marsh. The word occurs 
as a general term in Cormac's Griossary {voce " tond"), 
where the sea waves are said to " shave the grass from 
off the murhhach. "^^ In the Book of Eights it is 
spelled murmhagh^ which points to the etymology : 
' — midr^ the sea, and magh^ a plain — miirmhagh, sea- 

The name occurs once in the Four Masters, when 
they mention Murhhach in Donegal, which is situated 
near Bally shannon, and is now called Murvagh. In 
that county the word is still well understood, and 
pretty often used to give names to places. In other 
counties it is changed to Murvey, MmTagh, and 
MmTcagh ; and it is still fm^ther softened in the 
'' Murrow of Wicklow," which is now a beautiful 
grassy sward, and affords a good illustration of the 
use of the word. There is a small plain called Mur- 

CHAP. VI.] Marshes and Bogs. 451 

hhach, in the north-west end of the great island of 
Aran, from which the island itself is called in " Hy 
Fiachrach," Am of the plain of Miirhhach ; and the 
name still lives as part of the compound CiU-Miiy- 
bhaigh, the church of the sea-plain, now anglicised 

Miiirisc [murrisk] is a sea-shore marsh, and is 
nearly synonymous with murhhach. Two places in 
Connaught of this name, are mentioned in the 
Annals:— one is a district in the north of Sligo, 
lying to the east of the river Easky ; and the 
other a narrow plain between Croagh Patrick and 
the sea, where an abbey was erected on the mar- 
gin of the bay, which was called the abbey of 
Murrisk, and which in its turn gave name to the 

jloin [mone], a bog, corresponds with Lat. mom, 
a mountain, and the Irish word is sometimes under- 
stood in this sense. As may be expected from the 
former and present abundance of bogs in Ireland, we 
have a vast number of places named from them in 
every part of the country ; but in numerous cases the 
bogs are cut away, and the land cultivated. The 
syllable rnon, which begins a great number of names, 
is generally to be referred to this word ; but there 
are many exceptions, which, however, are in general 
easy to be distinguished. 

Monabraher near Limerick, is called by the Four 
•Masters, Moin-na-mbrathar, the bog of the friars ; and 
there are two townlands in Cork, one in Gralway, and 
another in Waterford, of the same name, but spelled 
a little differently ; the two latter, Monambraher and 
Monamraher, respectively. Monalour near Lismore, 
signifies the bog of the lepers ; Monamintra, a pariah 
in Waterford, is angliGisGd from. Mom-na~?nbaintreabh~ 

452 Physical Features. [part iv. 

nigh [Monamointree] , the bog of the widows; 
Monanearla near Thurles, the earl's bog ; Moanmore, 
Monmore, and Monvore, great bog. 

As a termination, this word often takes the form 
of mona, as is seen in Ballynamona and Ballina- 
mona, the town of the bog, the names of a great 
many places in Leinster, Connaught, and Munster : 
Knocknamona, the hill of the bog. Sometimes the 
m of this termination is asj^irated (p. 19), as in Ard- 
Yone near Ardagh in Limerick, which is in Irish 
Ard-iiihoin, high bog. 

The diminutive Moneen is also very much used, 
being the name of more than twenty townlands in 
all the four provinces. Moneenagunnell in King's 
County, is the little bog of the candles ; Moneena- 
brone in Cavan, the little bog of the quern ; Bally- 
moneen, the town of the little bog. The adjective 
mointeach signifies a boggy place, and it gives name 
to several places now called Montiagh and Mon- 



All our native animals, without a single exception, 
have been commemorated in names of places. In the 
course of long ages, human agency effects vast changes 
in the distribution of animals, as well as in the other 
physical conditions of the country ; some are encou- 
raged and increased ; some are banished to remote 
and hilly districts ; and others become altogether ex- 

CHAP. VII.] Animals. 453 

tinct. But by a study of local names we can tell 
what animals formerly abounded, and we are able to 
identify the very spots resorted to by each particular 

Some writers have attempted to show that certain 
animals were formerly worshipped in Ireland, so that 
the literary public have lately become quite familia- 
rized with such terms as "bovine cultus," "porcine 
cultus," &c. ; and the main argument advanced is, 
that the names of those animals are interwoven with 
our local nomenclature. But if this argument be 
allowed, it will prove that our forefathers had the most 
extensive pantheon of any people on the face of the 
earth : — they must have adored all kinds of animals 
indiscriminately — not only cows and pigs, but also 
geese, sea-gulls, and robin-redbreasts, and even pis- 
mires, midges, and fleas.* I instance this, not so 
much to illustrate the subject I have in hands, as to 
show to v/hat uses the study of local names may be 
turned, when not ballasted by sufficient knowledge, 
and du^ected by sound philosophy. 

The cow. From the most remote ages, cows formed 
one of the principal articles of wealth of the inha- 
bitants of this country ; they were in fact the standard 
of value, as money is at the present day ; and prices, 
wages, and marriage portions, were estimated in cows 
by our ancestors. Of all the animals known in Ire- 
land, the cow is, accordingly, the most extensively 
commemorated in local names. 

* We have many names from all these : — Coumshingaun, a 
well-known valley and lake i i the Cummeragh mountains, south- 
east of Clonmel, the glen of the pismires ; Cloonnameeltoge in 
the parish of Kilraainemore ISIayo, the meadow of the midges ; 
and in the parish of Rath, < ounty Clare, is a hill called Knock - 
aunnadrankady, the little hill of the fleas. 

454 Physical Features, [part iv. 

The most general Irish word for a cow is ho, not 
only at the present day, but in the oldest MSS. : in 
the Sg. MS. of Zeuss it glosses hos, with which it is 
also cognate. It is most commonly found in our 
present names in the simple form ho, which, when it 
is a termination, is usually translated '' of the cow,'* 
though it might he a,lso " of the cows." 

Aghahoe in Queen's County, where St. Canice of 
Kilkenny had his principal church, is mentioned by 
many Irish authorities, the most ancient of whom is 
Adamnan, who has the following passage in Yit. Col., 
II. 13, which settles the meaning : — " St. Canice being 
in the monastery which is called in Latin Campulus 
hovis (i. e. the field of the cow), but in Irish Ached- 
hou.^'' This was the name of the place before the 
time of St. Canice, who adopted it unchanged. The 
parish of Drumbo in Down, is called Dndmho by the 
Four Masters, that is, the cow's ridge ; Dunboe in 
Londonderry, and Arboe in Tyrone, the fortress 
and the height of the cow. 

When the word occurs in the end of names in the 
genitive plural, the h is often eclipsed by m (p. 22), 
forming the termination -namoc, of the cows ; as in 
Annamoe in Wicklow, which would be written * i 
Irish, Af/i-na-mho, the ford of the cows, indicating 
that the old ford, now spanned by a bridge at the 
village, was the usual crossing place for the cows of 
the neighbourhood. At Carrigeennamoe near Mid- 
dleton in Cork, the people were probably in the habit 
of collecting their cows to be milked, for the name 
signifies the little rock of the cows. 

Laegh [lea] means a calf ; it enters into names ge- 
nerally in the form of lee ; and this, and the articled 
terminations, -nalee and -nalea, are of fi^equent occur- 
rence, signifying "of the calves." Ballinalee in 

CHAP. VII.] Animals. 455 

Longford and Wicklow, is properly written in Irish, 
Bel-atha-na-Iaefjh^ihQ ford-mouth of the calves, a name 
derived like Annamoe ; Clonleigh near Lifford, is 
called by the Four Masters, Cluainlaecjh^ the calves' 
meadow ; in Wexford there is a parish of the same 
name, and in Clare another, which is called Clonlea. 

Another Irish word for a calf is gamhan [go wan], 
or in old Irish ganmm (Cor. GrL), which is also much 
used in the formation of names, as in Clonygowan in 
King's County, which the annalists ^^ite Cluain'na- 
ngamhan, the meadow of the calves. This word must 
not be confounded with its derivative, gamhnach 
[gownah], which, according to Cormac's Glossary, 
means " a milking cow with a calf a year old ;" but 
which in modern Irish is used to signify simply a 
milk-giving cow or dripper. Moygawnagh is the 
name of a parish in Mayo ; we find it written in an 
old poem in the Book ojp Lecan, Ma gh- gamhnach, 
which Colgan translates " Campus fcetarum sire 
lactescentium vaccarum^'' the plain of the milch cows. 
In anglicised names it is hard to distinguish between 
gamhan and gamhnach, when no authoritative or- 
thography of the name is accessible. 

A bull is called in Irish tarhh, a word which exists 
in cognate fonns in many languages ; in the three 
Celtic families — Old Irish, Welsh, and Cornish — it is 
found in the respective forms of iarh, tarn, and tarow, 
while the old Graulish is tarvos ; and all these are 
little different from the Grr. tauros and Lat. taiirus. A 
great number of places in every part of Ireland have 
taken their names from bulls, and the word tarhh is 
in general easily recognized in all its modem forms. 

There are several mountains in different counties 
called Knockaterriff, Knockatarriv, and Knockatarry, 
all signifying the hill of the bull. Monatarriv near 

456 Fhifsical Features. [part iv. 

Lismore in Waterford, the bulFs bog. Sometimes 
the t is aspirated to /^ (p. 21), as in Drumherriif and 
Druniharriff, a townland name common in the Ulster 
counties and in Leitrim, the ridge of the bull. Clon- 
tarf near Dublin, is called in all the Irish authorities 
Cluaintarhh, the meadow of the bulls, and there are 
several similar names through the country, such as 
Cloontariff in Mayo, and Cloontamv in Kerry. 

JDamli [dauv], an ox; evidently cognate withLat. 
dama, a deer. How it came to pass that the same 
word signifies in Irish an ox, and in Latin a deer, I 
am unable to explain.* Devenish island near Ennis- 
killen, celebrated in ancient times for St. Molaise's 
great establishment, and at present for its round 
tower and other ecclesiastical ruins, is called in all 
the Irish authorities Daimh-inis [Da-sdnish], which, in 
the Life of St. Aldus, is translated the island of the 
oxen ; and there are three other islands of the same 
name in Mayo, Eoscommon, and Galway. There is 
a peninsula west of Ardara in Donegal, called Dawros 
head, the Irish name of which is Damh-ros, the head- 
land of the oxen ; and there are several other places 
of the same name in Gralway, Sligo, and Kerry. We 
find the w^ord also in such names as Dooghcloon, 
Doughcloyne, and Doughloon, which are modern 
forms of Damli-chluain (Hy Fiachrach), ox-meadow. 

In the end of names this word undergoes a variety 
of transformations. It is often changed to -duff^ or 

* The transfer of a name from one species of animals or 
plants to another, is a curious phenomenon, and not unfrequently 
met with. The Greek phegos signifies an oak, while the corre- 
sponding Latin, Gothic, and English terms— /o^?/5, huka, and 
beech — are applied to the beech-tree ; and I might cite several 
other instances. See this question curiously discussed in Max 
Miiller's Lectures, 2nd Series, p. 222. 

CHAP, vii.] Animals. 457 

some siicli form, as in Clonduff in Down, which is 
called in O'Cleiy's Calendar Cluain-dcfijnh, the mea- 
dow of the ox (see Reeves, Eccles. Ant., p. 115) ; 
Legadnff in Fermanagh, and Derrindiff in Longford, 
the hollow, and the oak-wood of the ox. In other 
cases the d disappears under the influence of aspira- 
tion (p. 20) as in Cloonaff, Clonuif, Cloniff, and 
Clooniff, all the same names as Clonduff. And often 
the d is eclipsed by n (p. 22), as in Coolnanav near 
Dungarvan in Waterford, Cuil-na-ndamh, the corner 
of the oxen ; Derrynanaff in Mayo, and DeiTynan- 
amph in Monaghan, the oak grove of the oxen. 

The sheep. A sheep is called in Irish caera [kaira], 
gen. caeraeh, which are the forms given in the Zeuss 
MSS. The word seems to have originally denoted 
cattle in general, for we find that Irish caerachd 
denotes cattle, and in Sanscrit, caratha signifies^^^c^^s. 

It is found most commonly in the end of names, 
forming the termination -nageeragh, or without the 
article, -Jiserngh, '' of the sheep," as in Ballyna- 
geeragh, the town of the sheep ; Meenkeeragh, the 
ineen or mountain pasture of the sheep. The village 
of Grlenagarey near Kingstown in Dublin, took its 
name from a Little dell, which was called in Irish, 
Gleann-na-gcaerach^ the glen of the sheep, and Grlenna- 
geeragh near Clogher in Tyrone, is the same name 
in a more correct form. There are several islands 
round the coast called Inishkeeragh, the island of 
sheep, or mutton island, as it is sometimes translated, 
which must have been so called from the custom of 
sending over sheep to graze on them in spring and 

The horse. We have several Irish words for a 
horse, the most common of which are each and cajKiU. 
Each [agh], is found in several families of languages ; 

458 Physical Features. [part iv. 

the old Irish form is ech ; and it is the same word as 
the Sansc. agva, Grr. hippos (Eol. iJi/ws), Lat. equus, 
and Old Sax. ehii. Each is very often found in the 
beginning of names, contrary to the usual Irish order, 
and in this case it generally takes the modern form 
of a ugh. At A. D, 598, the Four Masters mention 
Aughris head in the north of Sligo, west of Sligo bay, 
as the scene of a battle, and they call it Each-ros, the 
ros or peninsula of the horses ; there is another place 
of the same name, west of Ballymote, same county ; 
and a little promontory north-west fi'om Clifden in 
Galway, is called Aughrus, which is the same name. 
Aughinish and Aughnish are the names of several 
places in different parts of the country, and are an- 
glicised from Each-inis (Four Mast.), horse island. 
They must have been so called because they were 
favourite horse pastures, like " The Squince," and 
Horse Island, near Grlandore, " which produce a 
wonderful sort of herbage that recovers and fattens 
diseased horses to admiration." (Smith, Hist, of 
Cork, I. 271.) 

In the end of names it commonly forms the postfix 
-ach ; as in Eussagh in Westmeath, which the Four 
Masters write Eos-each^ the wood of horses ; Bellan- 
anagh in Cavan, Bel-atha-na-neach^ the ford-mouth 
of the horses ; Cloonagh and Clonagh, horse meadow. 
Sometimes it is in the genitive singular, as in Kin- 
neigh near Iniskeen in Cork, ceann-ech (Four Mast.), 
the head or hill of the horse ; the same name as 
Kineigh in Kerry, Kineagh near Kilcullen in Kil- 
dare, and Kinnea in Cavan and Donegal. 

Cajxill, the other word for a horse, is the same as 
Grr. kahalleSy Lat. cahaUiis, and Rus. kohyla. It is 
pretty common in the end of names in the form of 
capple^ or with the article, -nagappul or -nagapple^ as 

CHAP. VII. J Animals. 459 

in Gortnagappul in Cork and Kerry, the field of the 
horses ; Pollacappiil and Poulacappul, the hole of 
the horse. 

Ldrach [lawragh] signifies a mare, and it is found 
pretty often forming a part of names. Cloonlara, the 
mare's meadow, is the name of a village in Clare, 
and of half a dozen townlands in Connanght and 
Munster ; Grprtnalaragh, the field of the mares. 

The goaf. The word gahhar [gower], a goat, is 
common to the Celtic, Latin, and Teutonic lan- 
guages ; the old Irish form is gahar, which corre- 
sponds with Welsh gafa}\ Corn, gavar, Lat. caper, 
Ang.-Sax. haefer. This word very often takes the 
form of goiver, gotir, or gore in anglicised names, as in 
Grlenagower in Limerick, Gleann-na-ngabhar, the glen 
of the goats ; Ballynagore, goats' town. 

The word gahar, according to the best authorities, 
was anciently applied to a horse as well as to a goat. 
In Cormac's Grlossary it is stated that gahiir is a goat, 
and gohio', a horse ; but the distinction was not kept 
up, for we find gabiir applied to a horse in several 
very ancient authorities, such as the Leabhar na 
hUidhre, the Book of Rights, &c. Colgan remarks 
that gahhur is an ancient Irish and British word for 
a horse; and accordingly the name Loch-gahhra, 
which occurs in the Life of St. Aldus, published by 
him, is translated Stagnu?)i-equi, the lake of the horse. 
This place is situated near Dunshaughlin in Meath, 
and it is now called Lagore ; the lake has been long 
dried up, and many curious antiquities have been 
found in its bed. 

The deer. Ireland formerly abounded in deer ; 
they were chased with greyhounds, and down 
by spears and arrows ; and in our ancient writings — 
in poems, tales, and romances — deer, stags, does, and 

460 Physical Features. [part iv. 

fawns, figure conspicuously. They are, as might be 
expected, commemorated in great numbers of local 
names, and in every part of the country. The word 
fiadh [fee] originally meant any wild animal, and 
hence we have the adjective fiadhan [feean], wild ; 
but its meaning has been gradually narrowed, and in 
Irish writings it is almost universally aj^plied to a 
deer. It is generally much disguised ia local names, 
so that it is often not easy to distinguish its modern 
forms from those oi fiach, a raven, and each, a horse. 
The / often disappears under the influence of the 
article (p. 27), as will be seen in the following ex- 
amples : — 

The well-known pass of Keimaneigh, on the road 
from Inchigeelagh to G-lengarriff in Cork, is called 
in Irish, Ceim-an-fhiaidh, the pass of the deer; Drum- 
anee in Derry, and Knockanee in Limerick and 
Westmeath, both signify the deer's hill. In some 
parts of the south the final g is sounded, as in Knock- 
aneag in Cork, the same as the last name. When 
the /is eclipsed in the genitive plural, (see p. 22), it 
usually forms some such termination as uarcigh : 
Grortnaveigh in Tipperary, and Gortnavea in Gal- 
way, are both written in Irish, Gort-na-hhfiadh, the 
field of the deer ; Annaveagh in Monaghan, Ath-na- 
hhfiadh, deer ford. 

Os signifies a fawn. The celebrated Irish bard and 
warrior, who lived in the thii^d century of the Christian 
era, and whose name has been changed to Ossian by 
Macpherson, is called in Irish MSS., Oisin [Osheen], 
which signifies a lit';le fawn ; and the name is ex- 
plained by a Fenian legend. 

In the end of nam es, when the word occurs in the 
genitive plural, it is usually made -nanuss, while in 
the singular, it is anglicised kh, or with the article. 

CHAP. A^i.] Animals. 461 

-anish. Glenish in the parish of Currin, Monaghan, 
is written in Irish G/eiwis, the fawn's glen ; and there 
is a conspicuous mountain north of Macroom in Cork, 
called Mullaghanish, the summit of the fawn. Not 
far from Buttevant, in the county of Cork, is a hill 
called Knocknanuss — Cnoc-ua-nos, the hill of the 
fawns — where a bloody battle was fought in No- 
vember, 1647 : in this battle was slain the celebrated 
Mac-Colkitto, Alasdrum More, or Alexander Mac- 
donnell, the ancestor of the Macdonnells of the Grlens 
of Antrim, whose present chief is the Right Ho- 
nourable Alexander Macdonnell, of the Board of Edu- 

Eilit, gen. eilte [ellit, elte] is a doe ; Grr. ellos, a 
fawn ; 0. H. Grer. elah ; Ang. Sax. eJch. The word 
occurs in Irish names generally in the forms eify, ilty, 
elt, or ilt ; Clonelty in Limerick and Fermanagh, 
and Cloonelt in Roscommon, the meadow of the doe ; 
Rahelty in Kilkenny and Tipperary {mth, a fort) ; 
Annahilt in Down, Eanach-eilte^ the doe's marsh. 

The pig. If Ireland has obtained some celebrity 
in modern times for its abundance of pigs, the great 
numbers of local names in which the animal is com- 
memorated show that they aboimded no less in the 
days of our ancestors. The Irish language has se- 
veral words for a pig, but the most usual is rmic., 
which corresponds with the Welsh moch^ and Cornish 
mok. The general anglicised form of the word is 
muck; and -namuck is a termination of frequent oc- 
currence, signifying "of the pigs." There is a well- 
known hill near the Galties in Tipperary, called 
Slievenamuck, the mountain of the pigs. Ballyna- 
muck, a usual townland name, signifies pig-town ; 
Tinamuck in King's County, a house {tigh) for pigs. 
In Lough Derg on the Shannon, is a small island, 

462 Physical Features. [part iv. 

much celebrated for an ecclesiastical establishment ; 
it is called in the Annals, Muic-inis, hog island, or 
Muic-inis-Riagail, from St. Eiagal or Eegulus, a 
contemporary of St. Columkille. This name would 
be anglicised Muckinish, and there are several other 
islands of the name in different parts of Ireland. 

In early times, when woods of oak and beech 
abounded in this country, it was customary for kings 
and chieftains to keep great herds of swine, which 
fed in the woods on masts, and were tended by swine- 
herds. St. Patrick, it is well known, was a swine- 
herd in his youth to Milcho, king of Dalaradia ; and 
numerous examples might be quoted from our ancient 
histories, romances, and poems, to show the pre- 
valence of this custom. 

There are several words in Irish to denote a place 
where swine were fed, or where they resorted or slept ; 
the most common of which is imiclach, which is much 
used in the formation of names. Mucklagh, its most 
usual form, is the name of many places in Leinster, 
Ulster, and Connaught ; and scattered over the same 
provinces, there are about twenty-eight townlands 
called Cornamucklagh, the round hill of the pig- 
geries. Muiceannach also signifies a swine haunt, 
and it gives names to about nineteen townlands in 
the four provinces, now called Muckanagh, Muck- 
enagh, and Mucknagh. Muckelty, Mucker, Muckera, 
and Muckery, all townland names, signify still the 
same thing — a place frequented by swine for feeding 
or sleeping. 

Tore [turk] signifies a boar ; it is found in the Sg. 
MS. of Zeuss, as a gloss on a2:)er. Wild boars for- 
merly abounded in Ireland ; they are often mentioned 
in old poems and tales ; and hunting the boar was 
one of the favourite amusements of the people. Turk, 

CHAP. Yii.] Animals. 463 

the usual modern form of tore, is found in great num- 
bers of names. Kantui'k in Cork is written by the 
Four Masters, Ceann-tidrc, the head or hill of the 
boar ; the name shov/s that the little hill near the town 
must have been formerly a resort of one or more of 
these animals ; and we may draw the same conclusion 
regarding the well-known Tore mountain at Killar- 
ney ; and Inishturk, an island outside Clew bay in 
Mayo, which is called in " Hy Fiachraeh " Inis-tuirc, 
the boar's island, a name which also belongs to several 
other islands. 

By the aspiration of the t, the genitive form, tuirc 
becomes hirk ; as in Drumhirk, a name of frequent 
occurrence in Ulster, which represents the Irish, 
Dvuimthuirc, the boar's ridge. And when the t is 
changed to d by eclipse (p. 23), the termination 
durk or nadurk is formed ; as in Edendurk in Tyrone, 
the hill brow of the boars. 

The dog. There are two words in common use for 
a dog, eu and madadh or madradh [madda, maddra], 
which enter extensively into local names. Of the two 
forms of the latter, madradh is more usual in the 
south, and madadh in the rest of Ireland ; they often 
form the terminations -namaddy, -namaddoo, and -na- 
maddra, of the dogs ; as in Ballynamaddoo in Cavan, 
Ballynamaddree in Cork, and Ballynamaddy in An- 
trim, the town of the dogs : or if in the genitive sin- 
gular, -avaddy, -avaddoo, and -avaddra, of the dog ; 
as in Knockavaddra, Knockavaddy, Knockawaddra, 
and Knockawaddy, the dog's hill. 

The other word, cu, is in the modern language 
always applied to a greyhound, but according to 
O'Brien, it anciently signified any fierce dog. It is 
found in many other languages as well as Irish, as 
for example, in Greek, kuOn ; Latin, cank ; Welsh, ci; 

464 Physical Features. [part iv. 

Grothic, hunds ; English, hound ; all different forms of 
the same primitive word. This term is often found 
in the beginning of names. The parish of Connor in 
Antrim appears in Irish records in the various forms, 
Condeire, Condaire, Condere, &c. ; and the usual substi- 
tution of modem nn for the ancient nd (seep. 59), 
changed the name to Conneire and Connor. In a 
marginal gloss in the Martyrology of Aengus, at the 
3rd Sept. the name is explained as '•'' Doire-na-con, the 
oak-wood in which were wild dogs formerly, and she 
wolves used to dw^ell therein" (^See Eeeves's Eccl. 
Ant., p. 85). 

Conlig in Down signifies the stone of the hounds ; 
Convoy in Donegal, and Conva in Cork, both from 
Con-mhagh, hound-plain. And as a termination it 
usually assumes the same form, as in Clooncon and 
Cloncon, the hound's meadow ; except when the c is 
eclipsed (p. 22), as we find in Coolnagun in Tippe- 
rary and Westmeath, the corner of the hounds. 

The rabbit. It is curious that the Irish appear to 
have grouped the rabbit and the hare with two very 
different kinds of animals — the former with the dog, 
and the latter with the deer. Coimn [cunneen], the 
Irish word for a rabbit, is a diminutive of cu, and 
means literally a little hound ; the corresponding 
Latin word, cunicuhis, is also a diminutive ; and 
the Scandinavian kanina, Danish hcnin, and English 
coney, all belong to the same family. 

The word coinin is in general easily recognized in 
names ; for it commonly forms one of the termina- 
tions, -coneen, -nagoneen, or -nagoneeny, as in Kyle- 
nagoneeny in Limerick, Coill-na-gcoininidhe, the wood 
of the rabbits ; Camckconeen in Tipperary, rabbit 
rock. The termination is varied in Lisnagunnion in 
Monaghan, the fort of the rabbits. 

CHAP, vii.] Animals. 465 

A rabbit warren is denotedhj coin ice r [cunnickere], 
which occults in all the provinces under several forms 
— generally, however, easily recognized. In Carlow 
it is made Coneykeare ; in Gralway, Conicar ; in 
Limerick, Conigar ; and in King's County, Conicker. 
It is Connigar and Connigare in Kerry ; Cunnaker in 
Mayo ; Cunnicar in Louth ; Cunnigar in Waterford ; 
and Kinnegar in Donegal. In the pronunciation of 
the original the c and n coalesce very closely (like c 
and n in cnoc, p. 368), and the former is often only 
faintly heard. In consequence of this, the c some- 
times disappears altogether from anglicised names, 
of which Nicker in Limerick, and Nickeres (rabbit 
warrens) in Tipperary, afford characteristic ex- 

T/ic icolf. This island, like Grreat Britain, was for- 
merly much infested with wolves ; they were chased 
like the wild boar, partly for sport, and partly with 
the object of exterminating them ; and large dogs of 
a particular race, called wolfdogs, which have only 
very recently become extinct, were kept and trained 
for the purpose. After the great war in the seven- 
teenth centiuy, wolves increased to such an extent, 
and their ravages became so great, as to call for state 
interference, and wolf-hunters were appointed in va- 
rious parts of Ireland. The last wolf was killed 
only about 160 years ago. 

In Irish there are two distinct original words for a 
wolf, /r^^/ and breach. Fael, though often found in 
old writings, is not used by itself in the modern lan- 
guage, the general word for a wolf now hQmgfaelcJm, 
formed by adding cu, a hound, to the original. There 
is a little rocky hill near Swords in Dublin, called 
Feltrim, the name of which indicates that it must 
have been formerly a retreat of wolves ; in a gloss in 
2 H 

460 Physical Features. [part iv. 

the Felire of Aengus, it is written Faeldruim, [Fail- 
drum], i. e. wolf-hill. 

The other term hreach is more frequently found in 
local names, especially in one particular compound, 
written by the Four Masters Breach-mhagh [breagh- 
vah], wolf-field, which, in various modern forms gives 
names to about twenty townlands. In Clare, it oc- 
curs eight times, and it is ang-licised Breaghva, ex- 
cept in one instance where it is made Breaffy ; in 
Donegal, Longford, and Armagh, it is Breaghy ; in 
Sligo and Mayo, Breaghwy ; while in Fermanagh 
(near Enniskillen) it becomes Breagho, and in Kerry, 
Breahig. In Cork, it is still further corrupted to 
Britway, the name of a parish, which in Pope Ni- 
cholas's Taxation, is written Breghmagk. 

There is still another term — though not an original 
one — for a wolf — namely, mac- tire [macteera], which 
is given as the equivalent of hrech in a gloss on an 
ancient p»oem in the Book of Leinster ; it literally 
signifies "son of the country," in allusion to the lonely 
haunts of the animal. By this name he is comme- 
morated in Knockaunvicteera, the little hill of the 
wolf, a townland in the parish of Kilmoon, Clare, 
where, no doubt, some old wolf long baffled the 
huntsman's spear and the wolfdog's fang. 

The fox. Sionnach [shinnagh] is the Irish word 
for a fox — genitive sionnaigh [shinny] ; it often occurs 
in the end of names, in the forms -sJiimiy and -shin- 
nagh ; as in Monashinnagh in Limerick, the bog of 
the foxes ; Coolnashinnagh in Tipperary and Cool- 
nashinny in Cavan, the foxes' comer. 

The badger. These animals, like many others, must 
have been much more common formerly than now, as 
there are numbers of places all over Ireland deriving 
their names from them. The Irish word for a badger 

CHAP. VII.] Animals. 467 

is hroc [briick] ; it is usually anglicised brock, and it 
is verj often found as a termination in the forms 
-hrock, -nahrock, and -nmnrock, all signifying " of the 
badgers." Clonbrock in Gralway, the seat of Lord 
Clonbrock, is called in Irish, Cluam-broc, the meadow 
of the badgers ; and the same name occurs in King's 
and Queen's Counties, while it takes the form of 
Cloonbrock in Longford; Meenabrock in Donegal, 
the mee)t or mountain-meadow of the badgers. 

Brocaeh signifies a haunt of badgers — a badger 
warren, and gives names to a great many townlands 
in the four provinces, now called Brockagh, Brocka, 
and Brockey. In Cormac's Gflossary the form used 
is hroiceannach, which is represented by Bruckana in 
Kilkenny, and by Brockna in Wicklow. There are 
several Irish modifications of this word in different 
parts of the country, which have given rise to cor- 
responding varieties in anglicised names ; such as 
Brockernagh in King's County, Brocklagh in Long- 
ford ; Brockley in Cavan ; Brockraau J Brockry in 
Queen's County ; all meaning a badger warren. 

Birds. Among the animals whose names are found 
impressed on oiu^ local nomenclature, birds hold a 
prominent place, almost all our native species being 
commemorated. En [ain] is the Irish for a bird at 
the present day as well as from the most remote anti- 
quity, the word being found in the Sg. MS. of Zeuss, 
as a gloss on avis. It appears under various modifi- 
cations in considerable numbers of names, often form- 
ing the termination 'Uaneane, of the birds ; as in 
Eathnaneane and Ardnaneane in Limerick, the fort, 
and the height, of the birds. 

The eagle. In several wild mountainous districts ^ 
formerly the haunts of eagles, these birds are remem- 
bered in local names, lolar [iller] is the common 

468 Physical Features. [part iv. 

Irish word for an eagle, and in anglicised names it 
usually forms the terminations, -iller, -ilra^ and -idra; 
as in Slieveaniba, the eagle's mountain, in Clare ; 
and Coumaniller, the eagle's hollow, on the side of 
Keeper Hill in Tipperary, under a rocky precipice. 
The word assumes other forms — as for example, in 
Drumillard, the name of four townlands in Mon- 
aghan, which is the same as Drumiller in Cavan, the 
ri Ige of the eagle. 

Seahliac [shouk or shoke], old Irish seboc, means a 
hawk, and is cognate with the Welsh hehawg, Ang.- 
Sax. hafok, and Eng. Junck. It forms part of the 
name of Carrickshock, a well-known place near 
Knocktopher in Kilkenny, which is called in Irish, 
Carraig-seahhai(\ the hawk's rock, nearly the sam^e 
name as Carricknashoke in Cavan. The initial s is 
often eclipsed hy t, as in Craigatuke in Tyrone, 
Craig-a^ -tseahhaic, the same name as Carrickshock. 

Croivs. The different species of the crow kind are 
very well distinguished in Irish, and the correspond- 
ing terms are often found in local names. Preachdn 
[prehaun] is a generic term, standing for any 
ravenous kind of bird, the various species being de- 
signated by qualifying terms : standing by itself, 
however, it usually signifies a crow, and as such oc- 
curs in Ardnapreaghaun in Limerick, ^rr/-??r/-^79rmr7H 
an, the hill of the crows ; Knockaphreaghaun in 
Cork, Clare, and Gralway, the crow's hill. 

Feannog [fannoge] signifies a royston or scald 
crow : we find it in Tirfinnog near Monaghan, the 
district of the scald crows ; in Carnfunnock in An- 
trim, where there must have been an old monumental 
heap, frequented by these birds ; and Toberfinnick 
in Wexford, the scald crows' well. Buffanoky in 
Limerick represents the Irish Both-fionnoice, the hut 

CHAP. VII.] Animals. 469 

or tent of the royston crow. Yery often the / is 
eclipsed (p. 22), as in MuUanavannog in Monaghan, 
MuUach-na-hh/eannog, the scald crows' hill. 

A raven is designated by the word fiach [feeagh] , 
which, in anglicised names, it is often difficult to dis- 
tinguish from fiadh, a deer. There is a remarkable 
rock over the Barrow, near Grraigiienamanagh, called 
Benaneha, or in Irish Beann-cui-fheiche, the cliff of 
the raven ; Lissaneigh in Sligo is the raven's fort ; 
Carrickaneagh in Tipperary, and Carrickanee in 
Donegal, the raven's rock. The genitive plural with 
an eclipse (p. 22) is seen in Mulnaveagh near Lif- 
ford, and MuUynaveagh in Tyrone, the hill of the 

Bran is another word for a raven : it is given in 
Zeuss (Grram. Celt., p. 46) as the equivalent oicon-uti, 
and it is explained fiach in Cormac's Griossary. 
Brankill, the name of some places in Oavan, signifies 
raven wood ; Brannish in Fermanagh, a contraction 
for Bmti'inis, raven island ; and Eathbranagh near 
Croom in Limerick, the fort of the ravens. 

The seagull. This bird is denoted by the two 
diminutives, faeiledn and faeileog [feelaim, feeloge] ; 
and both are reproduced in modernized names, often 
forming the terminations -naweelaiin, -naweeloge, and 
-eelati. Carrownaweelaun in Clare, represents the 
sound of the Irish Ceathramhadh-na-hhfaeilcdn^ the 
quarter-land of the sea-gulls ; Loughnaweeloge and 
Loughaunnaweelaun, the names of some lakes and 
townlands in different counties, signify the sea-gulls' 
lake ; and the same name is reduced to Lough 
Wheelion in King's County ; Ardeelan in Donegal, 
the height of the sea-gulls. 

The 2)lover. Feadog [faddoge], a plover ; derived I 
suppose from fead, a whistle, from, the peculiar note 

470 Physical Features. [part iv. 

uttered by the bii'd, Feadog generally occurs in the end 
of names in the foims -viddoge, -vaddoge, -faddock^ &c. ; 
as in Ballynavaddog in Meath, and Balfeddock in 
Louth, the townland of the plovers ; Barranafaddock 
near Lismore, the plovers' hill-top ; Moanaviddoge 
near Oola in Limerick, the bog of the plovers. 

The crane. Corr means any bird of the crane 
kind, the different species being distinguished by 
qualifying terms. Standing alone, however, it is al- 
ways understood to mean a heron — generally called 
a crane in Ireland ; and it is used very extensively 
in forming names, especially in marshy or lake dis- 
tricts, commonly in the forms cor, gov, and go7r. 
Loughanagore near Kilbeggan in Westmeath, in 
Irish Lochan-na-gcor}\ signifies the little lake of the 
cranes ; the same as Corlough, the name of several 
lakes and townlands in different counties. Edenagor 
in Donegal, Annagor in Meath, and Monagor in 
Monaghan, signify respectively the hill-brow, the 
ford, and the bog of the cranes. 

The corncrake. Tradhnach or fraenach means a corn- 
crake ; it is pronounced tryna in the south and west, 
but traina elsewhere, and anglicised accordingly. 
Cloonatreane in Fermanagh signifies the meadow of 
the corncrakes ; Lugatryna in Wicklow, the corn- 
crake's hollow. 

The goose. The Irish word gedh [gay], a goose, 
has its cognates in many languages : — Sanscr. hansa ; 
Grr. chen ; Lat. anser ; 0. H. Ger. hans ; Ang-Sax. 
gos and gandra ; Eng. goose and gander. It occui^s in 
names almost always in the form gay ; as in Monagay, 
a parish in Limerick, which is called in Irish, Moin- 
a^-ghcdh,, the bog of the goose, probably from being 
frequented by flocks of wild geese : it is not easy to 
conjecture what gave origin to the singular name, 

CHAP. VII.] Animals. 471 

Ballingayrour, i. e. Baile-an-ghedh-reamhair, the town 
of the fat goose, which we meet with in the same 
county, but it might have been from the fact, that the 
place was considered a good pasture for fattening 
geese. Gray island in Fermanagh is not an English 
name, as it looks ; it is a half translation from Inis- 
na-ngedk^ i. e. goose island. 

The duck. The word lacha^ gen. Jachan, a duck, is 
occasionally, though not often, found in names ; the 
townland of Loughloughan in the parish of Skeny, 
Antrim, took its name from a little lake called Loch- 
lachan, the lake of the ducks ; and this and Loughna- 
loughan are the names of several other lakelets and 
pools in different parts of the country. 

In the west of Ireland, the word cadhan [coin] is 
in common use to denote a barnacle duck ; we find it 
in Gortnagoyne, i. e. GoH-na-gcadhan, the name of a 
townland in Gralway, and of another in Roscommon ; 
and there is a lake in the parish of Burriscarra, Mayo, 
called Loughnagoyne — these two names meaning, 
respectively, the field and the lake of the barnacle 

The ciicTxOO — Irish cuach [coogh]. From the great 
number of places all over the country containing this 
word, it is evident that the bird must have been a 
general favourite. The following names include all 
the principal changes in the word : — Derrycoogh in 
Tipperary is in Irish Boire-cuach, the oak-grove of 
the cuckoos ; Cloncough in Queen's county, the 
cuckoos' meadow. The word occui's in the gen. sin- 
gular in Cloncoohy in Fermanagh, the meadow of 
the cuckoo ; and in Drumnacooha in Longford, the 
cuckoo's ridge. It appears in the gen. plural with an 
eclipse (p. 22) in Knocknagoogh in Tipperary, and 
Boleynagoaghin Galway, the hill, and the dairy place 

472 Physical Features. [part iv. 

of the cuckoos. And it is still farther softened down 
in Clontycoe in Queen's county, and Clontycoo in 
Cavan, the cuckoos' meadows ; and in Ballynacoy in 
Antrim, the town of the cuckoo. 

The woodcock. Creabhar [crour] means a wood- 
cock, and is in general easy to be distinguished in 
names, as it is usually made either -crour or -grour, 
the g taking the place of c in the latter, by eclipse 
(p. 22). Lackanagrour near Bruree in Limerick, is 
written in Irish Leaca-na-gcrec(hhcn\ the hill-side of 
the woodcocks ; Grortnagrour in Limerick ( Gort^ a 
field) ; Coolnagrower in King's County and Tip- 
perary, the woodcocks' corner. 

The hlackhird. The Irish word for a blackbird is 
Ion or loncluhh, and the former is found, though not 
often, in names. The Four Masters mention a place 
in Tyrone, called Coill-na-lon, the wood of the black- 
birds ; and this same name occurs in Meath in the 
modernized form, Kilnalun. 

The thrush. Smol or Smolach [smole, smolagh] is 
a thrush. The best known name containing the word 
is Gleann-na-smdl, the valley of the thrushes, the scene 
of a celebrated Irish poem, which is believed to be 
the same place as Grlenasmole, a fine valley near Tal- 
laght, Dublin, where the river Dodder rises. Near 
Liffbrd in Donegal, is a to^Tiland called Griensmoil, 
which represents the Irish (T/eff^m-«'-.s?wo//, the thrush's 

The shj lurli. Fuiseog [fwishoge] is a lark. It 
occurs in Eathnafushoge in Carlow, the fort of the 
larks ; in Knocknawhishoge in Sligo, lark-hill ; and 
in Kilnahushoge near Clogher in Tyrone, the wood 
of the larks. 

Birds^ nests. The word ncad [nad] signifies a 
nest ; in Cormac's Glossary it is given in the old Irish 

CHAP. VIII.] Plants. 473 

form net ; Welsh, nyth ; Cornish, neid ; Breton, neiz ; 
Manx, edd. It is of very frequent occurrence in 
names, generally in the forms nad, ned, and nid. 
There are three townlancls in Cavan, Fermanagh, 
and Deny, called Ned ; Nedeen, little nest, is the 
name of the spot on which Kenmare stands, and the 
town itself is often called by that name. There are 
many high cliffs in mountainous districts, the resorts 
9f eagles in times gone by, which still retain the name 
of NadanuUer, the eagle's nest, and they have in 
some cases given names to townlands. NadDaveagh 
in Roscommon, and Nadneagh in King's County, 
signify — the first, the nest of the ravens, the second, 
of the raven. Athnid, the ford of the nest, is a parish 
in Tipperary ; Drumnid is a townland near Mohill 
inLeitrim, and there is another in the parish of Magh- 
eravally, Down, called Drumneth, both meaning the 
ridge of the nests ; Derrynaned in Mayo, the oak- 
wood of the birds' nests. 



As with the animal world, so it is with the vegetable : — 
all the principal native species of plants are comme- 
morated in local names, from forest trees down to the 
smallest shrubs and grasses ; and where cultivation 
has not interfered with the course of nature, there are 
still to be found many places, that to this day pro- 
duce in great abundance, the very species that gave 
them names many hundreds of years ago. 

Woods, All our histories, both native and Eng- 

474 Physical Features. [part iv. 

lish, concur in stating that Ireland formerly abounded 
in woods, which covered the country down to a com- 
paratively recent period ; and this statement is fully 
borne out by the vast numbers of names that are 
formed from words signifying woods and trees of 
various kinds. Accordiag to our historians one of 
the bardic names of Ireland was Inis-na-hhfiodh- 
Mff/fZ/i [Inish-na-veevy], woody island. If a wood 
were now to spring up in every place bearing a name 
of this kind, the country would become once more 
clothed with an almost uninterrupted succession of 

There are several words in Irish for a wood, the 
principal of which are coill, ajidfdh. Coill is repre- 
sented by various modern forms, the most common 
being kil and hyle ; and as these also are the usual 
anglicised representatives of c///, a church, it is often 
difficult, and not unfrequently impossible, to distin- 
guish them. Whether the syllables Ml and Ixyle, mean 
church or wood, we can ascertain only by hearing the 
names pronounced in Irish — for the sounds of cill and. 
coill are quite distinct — or by finding them written in 
some Irish document of authority. 

I have abeady conjectured (p. 302) that about a 
fifth of the kils and kills that begin names are woods : 
the following are a few examples : — Kilnamanagh, a 
barony in Tipperary, the ancient patrimony of the 
O'Dwyers, is called by the Four Masters, Coill- 
na-manach, the wood of the monks. The barony of 
Kilmore near Charleville in Cork, whose great forest 
was celebrated in the wars of Elizabeth, is called 
Coill-mhor, great wood, in the Annals ; but the vast 
majority of the Kilmores, of which there are about 
eighty — are from CiU-mor, great church. O'Meyey, 
who killed Hugh de Lacy at Duitow, fled, according 

CHAP. VIII.] Plants. 475 

to the Four Masters, ''to the wood of Coill-an-chlair^' 
(the wood of the plain) ; this wood is gone, but it 
was situated near Tullamore, and the place is still 
knoY\Ti by the name of Kilclare. The word Kjde, 
which very often stands for cill, in many cases also 
means a wood ; as in Kylemore (lake) , great wood, 
near the Twelve Pins in Connemara. 

Coin assumes other forms, however, in which it is 
quite distinguishable from cill ; as in Bamacullia, a 
hamlet on the eastern face of the Three Eock moun- 
tain near Dublin, Barr-na-coiUe^ the top of the wood ; 
and this wood is still in existence ; Lisnacullia in 
Limerick, wood-fort ; Ballynakillew, the town of the 
wood. The diminutive coiUin gives names to several 
places, now often called either in whole or part, Cul- 
leen ; Ardakillen in the parish of Killukin, Eoscom- 
mon, is called by the Four Masters, Ard-a)i-choillin, 
the height of the little wood; and coilltean [kyle- 
tawn], which is sometimes applied to a growth of 
underwood, sometimes to a "little wood," is re- 
presented by Kyletaun near Eathkeale in Limerick. 

The plural of coillis coillte [coiltha], which is often 
found in some of the Connaught counties in the forms 
of cuilti/, cuiltia, and cultia; as in Cuiltybo in Mayo 
and Eoscommon, the woods of the cows. In Clare 
there are some places called Quilty, which is the same 
word ; and we also find Keelty and Keelties, as the 
names of several townlands. But its most common 
form is I'ilty, except in Munster, where it is not much 
used; this begins the names of about forty townlands, 
chiefly in the western and north-western counties, 
several, however, occuiTing in Longford; Kilty clogher 
and Kiltyclogh in Leitrim, Longford, and Tyrone, 
signify stony woods; Kiltybegs in Longford and 
Monaghan, Httle woods ; Kiltynashinnagh in Leitrim, 

476 Physical Features. [part iv. 

the woods of the shinnaghs or foxes. CoiUldh [quilly] 
is a derivative of coillm common use to signify wood- 
land ; it is found frequently in the form of Cully — as, 
for example, Cullycapple in Londonderry, the wood- 
land of the horses ; and it is very often made Quilly, 
which is the name of some places in Derry, Water- 
ford, and Down. 

Fidh or ^fiodh [fih], the other term for wood, is 
found in both the Celtic and Teutonic languages. The 
old Irish form is /c/, which glosses arbor in Sg. (Zeuss, 
p. 60) ; and it corresponds with the Graulish vidu^ 
Welsh guid, 0. H. Grerman witu, Ang.-Saxon vudii, 
English wood. Its most usual modern forms are fee, 
fi,SLnd.feigh; thus Feebane, white wood, near Mo- 
naghan ; Feebeg and Feemore (little and great) near 
Borrisokane ; and it is occasionally made/o^, but this 
may be also a modern form oi/aithche, a play-green 
(see p. 286) . At the mouth of the river Fergusin Clare, 
there is an island called Feenish, a name shortened 
from Fidh-inis, woody island ; we find the same name 
in the form of Finish in (jalway ; while it is made 
Finnis in Cork and Down. The parish of Feighcul- 
len in Kildare is mentioned by the Four Masters, 
who call it Fiodh-Chuilbm^ Cullen's wood ; and Fid- 
down in Kilkenny, they write Fidh-duin, the wood 
of the fortress. 

Sometimes the aspirated d in the end is restored 
(p. 42), as we find in Fethard, a small town in Tip- 
perary, which the annalists write Ftodh-ard, high 
wood ; there is also a village in Wexford of the same 
name ; and Feeard in the parish of Kilballyowen in 
Clare, exhibits the same compound, with the d aspi- 
rated. So also in Kilfithmone in Tipperary, the 
church of the wood of the bog. 

There are two baronies in Armagh called Fews, 

CHAP, Yiii.] Plants. 477 

which are mentioned in the Four Masters at A.D. 
1452, by the name ofFeacUm [Fa], i. e. woods ; which 
is modernized by the adoption of the English plural 
form (p. 32) ; and Fews, the name of a parish in 
Waterford, has the same origin. There was a dis- 
trict in Eoscommon, west of Athlone, which in the 
Annals is also called Feadha ; but it is now commonly 
called The Faes (i. e. the woods) of Athlone. 

This word has some derivatives, which also con- 
tribute to the formation of names. Fiodhach [feeagh] 
signifies a woody place, and all those townlands now 
called Feagh and Feeagh, which are found distributed 
over the four provinces, derive their names from it. 
Fiodhnach [Feenagh], which has exactly the same 
meaning, was the old name of Fenagh in Leitrim 
(Four Masters) ; and though now bare of trees, it w^as 
wooded so late as the seventeenth century. There 
are several other places called Fenagh and Feenagh, 
which have the same original name. Feevagh in 
Roscommon is called in Irish, Fiodhbhach, which also 
signifies a place covered with wood. 

Ros, as I have already stated, has several mean- 
ings, one of which is a wood ; and in this sense we 
often find it in names, especially in the south. There 
is a place called Rosserk near Killala at the mouth 
of the Moy in Mayo. It is called in Irish Ros- 
Serce (Scare's wood), and we learn from Mac Firbis 
(Hy Fiachrach, p. 51) that "it is so called from Scare, 
the daughter of Carbery, son of Awley (see p. 132, 
supjYi) , who blessed the village and the wood which 
is at the mouth of the river Moy." The original 
chiu-ch founded by the virgin saint Searc in the sixth 
century, has long since disappeared ; but the place 
contains the ruins of a beautiful little abbey. Ros- 
crea in Tipperary is written in the Book of Leinster 

478 Physical Features. [part iv. 

HoS'Cre, Ore's wood. Eoskeen, the name of several 
places, represents the Irish Ros-caein, beautiful wood ; 
Eossnamanniff near Templemore in Tipperarj, the 
wood of the honnives or young pigs {h eclipsed, see 
p. 22). 

New Boss in Wexford, notwithstanding its name, 
is an old place ; for Dermot Mao Murrough built a 
city there in the twelfth century, the ruins of which 
yet remain. It is called in the Annals, Hos-mic- 
Treoin [Rosmictrone] , the wood of the son of Treun, 
a man's name ; the people still use this name cor- 
rupted to Rosemacrone ; and they think the town 
was so called from a woman named Rose Macrone, 
about whom they tell a nonsensical story. St. Co- 
man, from whom was named Eoscommon (Coman's 
wood), founded a monastery there, and died, accord- 
ing to the Four Masters, in 746 or 747, but other 
authorities place him much earlier. Eoss Carbery in 
Cork, was formerly a place of great ecclesiastical 
eminence ; and it was " so famous for the crowds of 
students and monks flocking to it, that it was dis- 
tinguished by the name of Ros-ailithir^^ [allihir : 
Four Masters] , the wood of the pilgrims. Eusheen, 
a diminutive, and the plural Eusheens, are the names 
of a great many townlands in Munster and Con- 
naught ; the v/ord is often applied to a growth of 
small bushy trees or underwood, as well as to a wood 
small in extent. 

Fdsach [faussagh], a very expressive word, derived 
from/«s, growth, signifies a wilderness or an un- 
cultivated place. It gives names to some townlands 
now called Fasagh and Fassagh ; the territory along 
the river Dinin in Kilkenny, which now forms a ba- 
rony, is called Fassadinin, the wilderness of the 
Dinin : Fassaroe in Wicklow, red wilderness. 

CHAP. VIII.] Plants. 479 

Scairt [scart], denotes a cluster of bushes, a thicket, 
a bushy place. In the form Soart, with the diminu- 
tive Scarteen, it gives names to numerous places, but 
only in the Munster counties and Kilkenny. Scart- 
lea, grey thicket, is the name of a village in Cork, 
and of some townlands in Waterford and Kerry ; 
Scartaglin near Castleisland, the thicket of the glen ; 
Ballinascarty in the parish of Kilmaloda, Cork, the 
town of the thicket. 

Muine [munny], a brake or shrubbery. It occurs 
frequently in names, generally in the form of money, 
which constitutes or begins about 170 townland 
names through the four provinces. The word is also 
sometimes applied to a hill, so that its signification 
is occasionally doubtful ; this last appears to be its 
proper sense in the name of Monaghan, which is 
called in Irish Miiineac/idii, (Four Mast.), a place full 
of little hills. There are three townlands in Down 
called Moneydorragh, i. e. Muhie-dorcha, dark shrub- 
bery ; Ballymoney, the town of the shrubbery, is the 
name of many places through the country ; Maghe- 
raculmoney in Fermanagh, the plain of the back of 
the shrubbery ; Monivea in (ralway is called in 
Irish authorities Muine-an-mheadha., [Money-an-va : 
Four Mast.], the shrubbery of the mead, very pro- 
bably because the drink was brewed there. 

The compound Liathmkuine [Leewinny], grey 
shrubbery, is often used to form names, and is va- 
riously modified ; such as we see in Leafi'ony in 
Sligo, Leafin in Meath, Liafin and Lefinn in 
Donegal, and Leighmoney in Cork ; Cloghleafin 
near Mitchelstown in Cork, the castle of the grey 

Gaertha [gairha], is used in the south to denote a 
woodland along a river, overgrown with. small trees, 

480 Physical Features. [part iv. 

bushes, or underwood ; it is almost confined to Cork 
and Kerry, and generally appears in the forms of 
Grearha and G-earagh ; and occasionally Geeragh 
and G-airha. There is a well-known place of this 
kind near Macroom, where a dense growth of under- 
wood extends for thi^ee or four miles along the Lee, 
and it is universally known by the name of Grearha, 
Tourists who have seen Coomiduff near Killamey, 
will remember the Grearhameen river, which flows 
through it into the upper lake of Killarney ; the 
postfix meen^ Irish m'ln, signifies literally, smooth, 
fine, or small, indicating that this gearha was com- 
posed of a growth of small delicate bushes. There 
is aiso a (xearhameen west of Bantry in Cork. 

Garrdn is a shrubbery. There are a great many 
places in Munster and Connaught called Grarran, 
Grarrane, and Gra^rraun, all derived from this word. 
It is also found in Leinster, but not often, except in 
Kilkenny ; and it occm\s half-a-dozen times in Mon- 
aghan, but I have not found it elsewhere in Ulster. 
G-arranamanagh, the name of a parish in Kilkenny, 
signifies the shrubbery of the monks ; and there is 
another parish in Cork called G-arranekinnefeake, the 
shrubbery of Kinnefeake, a family name. Ballin- 
garrane, Ballygarran, Ballygarrane, and Ballygar- 
raun, all townland names, signify the town of the 

A tree. The common word for a tree is crann^ and 
it has retained this form unchanged from the earliest 
ages, for crann occurs in the Zeuss MSS. as a gloss 
on arbor : Welsh j^ren ; Armoric prenn. This word 
forms part of the names of many j^laces, in every one 
of which there must have once stood a remarkable 
tree, and for a time sufficiently long to impress the 

CHAP. Yiii.] Plants. 481 

In the nominative, it generally takes the forms 
Crann and Cran, which are the names of townlands 
in Armagh, Cavan, and Fermanagh ; and constitute 
the beginning of many names, such as Crandaniel 
in Waterford, Daniel's tree ; Crancam in Roscom- 
mon and Longford, crooked tree ; Cranlome in Tyrone, 
bare tree ; Cranacrower in Wexford, the woodcocks' 

The genitive case, crainn, is usually pronounced 
crin or creen, and the form is modified accordingly 
when it occui's as a termination : Crossmacrin in 
Gralway is written in Irish, Cross-maighe-crainn, the 
cross of the plain of the tree ; Drominacreen in Lime- 
rick, the little hill of the tree ; Corcrain in Armagh 
iCo}\ a round hill) ; and Carrowcrin, the name of 
several places, the quarter-land of the tree. "With 
the c eclipsed, the termination is usually -nagran^ as 
in Ballynagran, a common to^mland name, Baile^ 
jm-gcrann, the town of the trees. The adjective cran- 
nach signifies arboreous — a place full of trees ; and 
from this a great many townlands and rivers, now 
called Crannagh, have received their names. 

Bile [billa] signifies a large tree ; it seems connect- 
ed with Sanscr. hala^ a leaf, the more so as hileog, the 
diminutive of the Irish word, also denotes a leaf. Bile 
was generally applied to a large tree, which, for any 
reason, was held in veneration by the people ; for in- 
stance one under which their chiefs used to be inau- 
gurated, or periodical games celebrated. 

Trees of this kind were regarded with intense 
reverence and affection ; one of the greatest triumphs 
that a tribe could achieve over their enemies, was to 
cut down their inaugui-ation tree, and no outrage was 
more keenly resented, or when possible, visited with 

482 Phydcal Features. [part iv. 

sharper retribution. Our Annals often record their 
destruction as events of importance ; at 981 for ex- 
ample, we read in the Four Masters, that the bile of 
Magh-adhar [Mah-ire] in Clare— the great tree under 
which the O'Briens were inaugurated — was rooted 
out of the earth and cut up, by Malachy, king of Ire- 
land; and at 1111, that the IJlidians led an army to 
TuUaghoge, the inauguration place of the O'Neills, 
and cut down the old trees ; for which Niall O'Lough- 
lin afterwards exacted a retribution of 3000 cows. 

These trees were pretty common in past times ; 
some of them remain to this day, and are often called 
Bell trees, or Bellow trees, an echo of the old word 
hile. In most cases, however, they have long since 
disappeared, but their names remain on many places 
to attest their former existence. The word hile 
would be correctly anglicised hilla, as we find it in 
Lisnabilla in Antrim, the fort of the ancient tree. 

As a termination it assumes several forms ; and it 
is in some places used in the masculine, and in others 
in the feminine (see p. 501). It is very often made 
-villa, in which case it is likely to be mistaken for the 
English word inlla. The well-known song " Lovely 
Kate of Grarnavilla," will be in the recollection of 
many people ; the home of the celebrated beauty 
lies near the town of Caher in Tipperary, and its 
Irish name is Garran-ci'-hhile, the shrubbery of the 
ancient tree. Grortavella and Grortavilly are the 
names of two townlands in Cork and Tyrone ( Gort, 
a field) ; Knockavilla in several counties (hioeh, 
a hill) ; and there are many places called Agha- 
villa, Aghaville, and Aghavilly, the field (aehaclh) 
of the old tree. At Rathvilly in Carlow, one of 
these trees must have, at some former time, fiourished 

CHAP. VIII.] Plants. 483 

on or near an ancient fort, for it is written by the 
annalists Rath-hile ; and in the King's County, there 
is a place of the same name, but spelled Bath villa. 

In some parts of Ireland, especially in the south, 
the word is pronounced hella^ as if spelled heile^ and 
this form is perpetuated in the names of many places ; 
for instance Bellia, a village in Clare, and Belle w in 
Meath ; Ballinvella in Waterford, the town of the 
old tree, the same as Ballinvilla, the name of places 
in various counties. Near the entrance to Cork har- 
bour there is a small peninsula called Eingabella, the 
rinn or point of the ancient tree, which has given 
name to the little bay near it. The word is cor- 
rupted in the name of the parish of Emlygrennan, 
east of Kilmallock in Limerick, which ought to have 
been called Billagrennan ; for the Irish name is Bile- 
Ghroidhnin, Grrynan's or Grrennan's ancient tree. 

Craebh [crave] signifies either a branch or a large 
wide-spreading tree. This name, like hile^ was given 
to large trees, under whose shadow games or religious 
rites were celebrated, or chiefs inaugurated ; and we 
may conclude that one of these trees formerly grew 
wherever we find the word perpetuated in a name. 
Creeve, the most usual modern form, is the name of 
a»great many places. There is a ^^arish in Limerick 
called Crecora, an uncommonly pretty name when 
restored to its original form : — O'Heeren calls it 
Craehh-cumhraidhe [crave-coory], which signifies the 
sweet-scented branchy tree. 

In several cases, the hh is represented by ?r, chang- 
ing the word to Crew, which is the name of ten or 
twelve places in the northern counties. Crewhill in 
Kildare, is merely the phonetic representation of 
Craehh-choiU, branchy wood, or a wood of branchy 
trees; Loughcrew, a small lake in Meath, giving 

484 Physical Features. [part iv. 

name to a parish, is called in Irish, Loch-craeihhe, the 
lake of the branchy tree ; and the village of Mnlla- 
crew in Louth is MuIIach-craeihhe, the hill of the tree. 
There are more than thu^ty townlands called Creev- 
agh, i. e. "branchy or bushy land ; and Creevy, 
which is a modification of the same word, is the 
name of about twenty others : in Monaghan and 
Tyrone we find some places called Derrycreevy, 
which signifies branchy dcrry or oak wood. Near 
the town of Antrim, is a townland called Creevery, 
and another in Donegal called Creevary; both of 
which are from the Irish Craehhaire, a branchy 

The oak. We know as a historical fact, that this 
country formerly abounded in forests of oak, and 
that for many ages the timber continued to be ex- 
ported to England ; it appears to have been the 
most plentiful of all Irish trees, and we find it com- 
memorated in local names to a greater extent than 
any other vegetable production. 

Dair [dar], the common Irish word for oak, is 
found in many of the Indo-E-uropean languages ; the 
Sansc. dru is a tree in general, which is probably the 
primary meaning, whence it came to signify " oak," 
which is the meaning of the Ghreek drus ; Welsh da§ ; 
and Armoric dero. 

The old Irish form of the word, as found in the 
Zeuss MSS., is daur, and this is preserved nearly in 
its pmity in the name of the Daar, a little river flow- 
ing by Newcastle in Limerick, which the people call 
Abhainn-na-ddrach, the river of the oak. There is a 
place near Foynes in the Shannon, called Dui-nish ; 
Dernish is the name of three islands in Clare, Fer- 
managh, and Sligo ; and we have also Derinch and 
Derinish ; all of which are from Dair-inis, as we 

CHAP. Yiii.] Plants. 485 

find it wiitten in "Wars of GrGr.," signifying oak 

The genitive of dair is da rack or dara, which is 
very common in the end of names, in the forms of 
-darragh, -darra, and -dare. Adare in Limerick is 
always called in Irish documents, Ath-dam, the ford 
of the oak tree, a name which shows that a great oak 
must have for many generations shaded the ford 
which in ancient times crossed the Maigue. There 
is a place of the same Irish name near Dromore in 
Tyrone, but now called Aghadarragh ; and we have 
Clondarragh in Wexford, the meadow of the oak : 
Lisnadarragh, the fort of the oak. Barach, an ad- 
jective formation, signifies a place full of oaks ; the 
ancient form is dau ranch, which in the Zeuss MSS., 
glosses quercefam, i. e. an oak grove. It gives name 
to Darragh, a parish in the south-east of Limerick, 
where oaks still grow ; and there are places of the 
same name in Down and Clare. 

Boire or daire [derry] is an oak wood, and is 
almost always represented in anglicised names by 
derry or derri. Derrylahan, a very usual name, sig- 
nifies broad oak-wood ; the wood still remains on the 
side of a hill at Grlendalough in Wicklow, that gave 
it the name of Derrybawn (ban, whitish), and this is 
also the name of other places ; Derrykeighan, a 
parish in Antrim, is called in Irish, Doire-Chaeckain 
(Four Mast.) , Caechan's or Keeghan's grove. When 
doire is joined with the gen. masc. of the article, it 
becomes in English derrin, which begins many names. 
Thus Derrinlaur, a townland in which are the ruins 
of a castle, in Waterford, not far from Clonmel, is 
mentioned by the Four Masters, who write the name 
Doire-an-lair, middle derry. And sometimes it is 
contracted to der, as in Dernagree in Cork, the same 

486 Physiccd Features. [part iv. 

as Derrynagree in other places, the wood of the cat- 
tle ; Deri\acld in Westmeath, and Derrada in the 
Connaught counties, which are the same as DeiTjadd 
in the middle and north of Ireland, Derrjadda in 
Mayo, and Derrj^fadda in the south and west — all 
from Doire-fhada, long oak-wood, the/being aspirated 
and omitted in some (see p. 20). 

The most ancient name of Londonderry, according 
to all our authorities, was Daire-Calgaich [Derry- 
Calgagh] ; Adamnan, in one place, uses this name, 
and elsewhere he translates it Rohoretum-Calgachi, 
the oak w^ood of Calgach. Calgach was a man's name 
common among the ancient Irish, signifying " fierce 
warrior;" and in the Latinized form of Gfalgacus, 
readers of Tacitus will recognise it, as the name of 
the hero who led the Caledonians at the battle of the 

Daire Calgaich was the old pagan name used for 
ages before St. Columba erected his monastery there 
in 546 ; it was retained till the tenth or eleventh cen- 
tury, when the name Derry-Columkille began to pre- 
vail, in memory of its great patron, and continued 
doTvn till the time of James L, whose charter, granted 
to a company of London merchants, imposed the 
name ^^ Londonderry.'^ 

We have several interesting notices of the deny, 
or oak wood, that gave name to this place ; we find 
it in existence more than 600 years after the time of 
St. Columba; for the Four Masters, at 1178, record: — 
"A violent Avind- storm occuiTed this year ; it caused 
a great destruction of trees. It j)rostrated oaks. It 
prostrated one hundred and twenty trees in Derry- 

The word doire is one of the most prolific roots in 
Irish names ; and if we recollect that wherever it oc- 

CHAP. VIII.] Plants. 487 

curs an oak wood once flourished, we shall have a 
good idea of the great abundance of this tree in past 
ages. Over 1300 names begin with the word in its 
various forms, and there are innumerable places 
whose names contain it as a termination. Derreen, 
little oak wood, is also of very frequent occurrence, 
chiefly in Munster and Connaught, and occasionally 
in Leinster and Ulster ; Derreenataggart in Cork, the 
little oak grove of the sagart or priest. We have at 
least one example of the diminutive in «;?, in Derrane 
in Roscommon, which is mentioned by the Four 
Masters under the name of Doiredn. 

There is yet another derivative of dair in pretty 
common use, namely dairbhre, which is now univer- 
sally pronounced darrery^ the aspu"ated h being wholly 
sunk. According to O'Reilly, it sometimes means 
an oak ; but it is generally used to signify an oak forest 
or a place abounding in oaks. Yalentia island is well 
known in our ancient literature by the name of Bair- 
hhre, as the principality of the great di^uid, Mogh- 
Ruith, who played so important a part at the siege 
of Knocklong (see p. 97). The island is now always 
called Darrery in Irish, by the people of Munster — 
a conclusive proof that the word darrery in the mo- 
dem language, is identical with the ancient dair- 

There are two townlands in Galway, one in Cork, 
and one in Limerick called Darrery ; we find Darra- 
ragh in Mayo, and Darrary in Cork and Oalway ; 
Dorrery occm-s near Carrick- on- Shannon ; and this 
same form is preserved in Kildorrery, the church of 
the oaks, a village in the north of the county Cork, 
where the ruins of an old church are still to be seen. 
We have one notable example of the preservation of 
the full ancient pronunciation in Lough Derravara in 

488 Physical Features. [part iv. 

"Westmeath, whose Irish name, as used in the Annals 
is Loch Dairhhreach, the lake of the oaks. 

Rail or rdl [rawl] is another term for an oak, which 
we find used in the best authorities ; and it often oc- 
curs in names, but nearly always in the genitive form, 
rdlach [rawlagh]. Drumralla near Newtown Butler 
in Fermanagh is written by the Four Masters, Draim- 
rdlach, the ridge of the oak. There is a place in 
Queen's County called Ballinrally, the town of the 
oak; another near Athlone, called Cloonrollagh 
(meadow) ; and a third in Cork, called Ardraly 
(height). Ealaghan, the name of some townlands in 
Cavan and Monaghan ; and Eallagh near Banagher 
in Derry, both signify a place of oaks. 

There is yet another word for an oak, namely omna; 
it occurs in Cormac's Glossary and in the Book of 
Armagh, but it is less used in names than the others ; 
and as it is not liable to corruption, it is plainly dis- 
cernible when it occurs. It forms part of the name 
of Portumna, a little town on the (jralwaj^ side of the 
Shannon, which the Four Masters write Port-omna, 
the port or landing place of the oak ; and it is also 
seen in (jortnahomna nea.r Castlemartyr in Cork, the 
field of the oak. 

The ash. In the south and west of Ireland there 
are three names for the common ash — all modifica- 
tions of the same original, viz. '.—fuinnse^fuinnseann, 
and fuiitiiseog [funsha, funshan, funshoge] ; the last, 
which is the most modern, is almost universally used, 
and the others are nearly forgotten. In the north 
the /is omitted (see p. 27), and the word always em- 
ployed is uinnseann [unshan]. 

The name of the river Funcheon in Cork, the ash- 
producing river — preserves one of the old forms ; and 
we find it also in Funshin and Funshinagh, the names 

CHAP. VIII.] Plants. 489 

of several places in Connauglit ; while the northern 
form appears in Unshinagh and Inshinagh, which 
are common townland names : — all these mean land 
abounding in ash trees. Funchoge, which has the 
same signification, occurs in Wexford, and we find 
this form as far north as Louth ; while without the f\ 
it becomes Unshog in the parish of Tynan, Armagh, 
and Hinchoge near Eaheny in Dublin. 

The birch. Beifh [beh], the birch tree ; cognate with 
the first syllable of the Latin hefula^ which is a diminu- 
tive. Grreat numbers of places have received their 
names from this tree ; and some of the most common 
derivatives are Beagh, Behagh, Bahah, Behy, and 
Beaghy ; which are all modifications oi Beifhcach and 
Beithigh, birch land, and are found in every part of 
Ireland. We find several other place* called Behanagh, 
Beheenagh, and Behernagh — all meaning a place 
abounding in birch. The village of Kilbeheny in 
Tipperary, near Mitchelstown, is called in the Four 
Masters, Coill-heithne, birch-wood ; and this inter- 
pretation is corroborated by the fact, that the place 
is situated at the point where the little river Beh- 
anagh (birch-producing river) joins the Funcheon. 

In the end of names, the word takes various forms, 
the most common of which is behy ; as we fimd in 
Ballaghbehy in Limerick, and Ballaghnabehy in Lei- 
trim, the birchy road. Other forms are seen in the 
following : — the Irish name of Ballybay in Mona- 
ghan, is BeUatha-beiihe [Bellabehy], the ford-mouth 
of the birch ; and they still show the ford, on which a 
few birches grow, or grew until recently, that gave 
name to the town. Aghavea in Fermanagh is always 
called in the Annals, Achadh-beifhe (Four Masters), 
birch-field, the same name as Aghaveagh in Donegal 
and Tyrone. Coolavehy near Bally organ in Limerick, 

'iOO Physical Features. [part iv. 

the corner of the birch ; Kilbaha in Kerry and Clare, 
birch wood. 

The elm. This tree is denoted by leamh [lav], 
which has relatives in several other languages, such 
as Latin ulmtis, Ang.-Sax. elhn,, Eng. elm, &c. The 
simple Irish form is hardly ever heard in the present 
spoken language, the diminutive Icamhan [lavaun] 
being used in the south, and sleamhan [slavan] in the 
north. These words enter largely into names, and 
are subject to some curious transformations ; but the 
most general recognisable forms are levan, lee van, and 
levaun, which are generally termiaations, and signify 
abounding in elms. 

In the parish of Inishmacsaint in Fermanagh, there 
is a place called Grlenlevan, elm glen ; Ballylevin, the 
town of elms, in JCing's County and Donegal ; Lis- 
levane, elm fort, in the parish of Abbey mahon, Cork ; 
Drumleevan in Leitrim, and Drumalivaun near 
Tarbert in Kerry, elm ridge. The form with an 
initial s is often found in the northern counties ; as 
in Carrickslavan in Leitrim, the rock of the elms ; 
MuUantlavan in the parish of Magheracloone, Mona- 
ghan, elm hill, the 6- being eclipsed — MuT -an-tsleamh- 
aiii (see j). 22). 

The river Laune, flowing from the lower lake of 
Killarney, is called Leamhain in the Irish annals, i. e. 
the elm river ; and this is its Irish name at the pre- 
sent day, for the nasal sound of the aspirated m 
is distinctly heard in the pronunciation. Leamhain 
[Lavin] is also the original name of the river Leven 
in Scotland, for so we find it wiitten in Irish docu- 
ments, such as the Irish version of Nennius, &c. ; and 
the river has given name to the territory of Lennox, 
which is merely a modern corruption of its old name 
Leamhna (Eeeves' Adamnan, p. 379). 

CHAP. VIII.] Plants. 491 

As a termination, the simple form leamh is seen in 
Drumlamph, elm ridge, near Maghera in DeiTy. 
There is a derivative term, leamhraidhe [lavree], 
signifying elm land, which is anglicised Lowery in 
Fermanagh, and which also gives name to Mnllana- 
lamphry, a townland near Donegal town, the little 
hill of the elms. Lavagh, the English form oi Leamh' 
ach, a place of elms, is the name of some townlands 
in the midland and western counties. The oblique 
form Leamliaidh (see p. 33), is very correctly angli- 
cised Lavey, the name of a parish in Cavan ; and with 
the aspirated m restored (see p. 42), we see the same 
word in Lammy, the name of some townlands in 
Tyrone and Fermanagh. 

An elm wood was called LeamhcJwill [lavrs^hill], 
and this compound, subject to various alterations, 
exists at the present day, showing where these woods 
formerly flourished. The usual anglicised forms are 
Laughil, Laghil, Laghile, Loghill, and Loughill — 
the names of many places in the middle, south, and 
west of Ireland ; Cloonlaughil in Leitrim and Sligo, 
the meadow of the elm wood. But the most curious 
transformation is Longfield (for which see p. 39) ; in 
Tyrone, near Lough Neagh, occm-s a kind of meta- 
morphic form in Magheralamfield, the plain of the 
elm wood. 

The yew. Of all European trees, the yew is be- 
lieved to attain the greatest age ; there are several 
individual yews in England which are imdoubtedly 
as old as the Christian era, and some are believed to 
be much older. We have some very old yews in 
Ireland also ; one, for instance, at Clontarf, has pro- 
bably reached the age of six or seven hundred years ; 
and at the ruined castle of Aughnanin-e (field of the 
yews) near Oughterard in G-alway, there is yet to be 

492 Physical Features. [part iv. 

seen one venerable solitary yew, the sole survivor of 
those that gave name to the place, which cannot be 
less than 1000 years old. 

We have two words for the yew tree, e\ddently of 
the same origin, and both very common in names, 
viz. eo [6 or yo] and iuhhar [oor or yure]. E6 is 
common to the Celtic, Teutonic, and Classical lan- 
guages : — Low Lat. iV^^s, Fr. ?/, Welsh ?/^r, Arm. itin ; 
Ang-Sax. ii\ Eng. yew. " As the yew is distin- 
guished by its remarkable longe^dty, one may con- 
jecture a connexion of the 0. H. Grerman iwa with 
eiva eternity, Grr. aion, Lat. (eviim, Groth. aM^ [Eng. 
age and everl (Pictet, "Origines"). Cormac mac 
Cullenan made the same observation a thousand years 
ago in his Glossary, when he derived iuhhar from eo, 
ever, and han% top, '' because it never loses its top ; 
i. e. it is ever-green." 

In the seventh century, St. Colman, an Irish monk, 
having retired from the see of Lindisfarne, returned 
to his native country, and erected a monastery at a 
place called Magh-eo or Mageo (Bede), the plain of 
the yews, in which he settled a number of English 
monks whom he had brought over with him. For 
many ages afterwards, this monastery was constantly 
resorted to by monks from Britain, and hence it is 
generally called in the Annals Magheo-na-SaxaUy 
i. e. Mayo of the Saxons. The ruins of the old abbey 
still remain at the village ; and from this place the 
county Mayo derives its name. Mayo is also the 
name of several other places, and in all cases, it has 
the same signification. There is a parish in Clare, 
taking its name from an old chui^ch, called in the 
Annals Magh-neo, now Moyno, which is the same 
name as Mayo, only with the addition of the n of the 
old genitive plural. The word eo is very often re- 

CHAP. VIII.] Plants. 493 

presented by o or oe as a termination, as in Killoe in 
Longford, Cill-ed (O'CL Cal.), the church of the 
yews : Grleno and Glanoe, yew glen. 

The compound ^0(?Aff?7/[oliill] , signifying yew wood, 
in various modern forms gives name to a great many 
places. The best known is Youghal at the mouth 
of the Blackwater (JEochaiU ; Four Mast.), which was 
so called from an ancient yew wood that grew on the 
hill slope where the town now stands ; and even yet 
some of the old yews remain there. The term is 
more common, however, in the form Oghill, which is 
the name of about twenty townlands in various coun- 
ties. It occurs in Tipperary as Aughall, and in 
Deny as Aughil ; the plural forms Oghilly, Oghly, 
and Aghilly (yew woods), are found in Galway and 
Donegal ; and the English plural Aughils and Agh- 
ills in Kerry and Cork. Donohill in Tipperary, the 
fortress of the yew wood ; the parish of Cloonoghill in 
Sligo is called in "Hy Fiachrach" CJuain-eochaille, 
the meadow of the yew wood ; and there is another 
place of the same name in Roscommon, while the 
form Clonoghill is found in King's and Queen's 

The other term, iubhar, is the word now used in 
the spoken language, and it is still more common in 
local nomenclature than eo. As a termination it 
occurs in the form of -itre, or with the article, -nure, 
in great numbers of names all over the country. 
Terenure is a place near Dublin, whose name signi- 
fies the land of the yew ; Ballynure and Ballinure, 
the name of a great many places, yew-town ; Aha- 
nure, the ford of the yew. In the parish of Killelagh, 
Londonderry, there is a townland called Gfortinure, 
which the Four Masters call Gort-an-iubhair, the 
field of the yew ; and this is als^o the name of several 

494 Physical Features. [part iv. 

other townlands. There are raany old churches 
giving names to townlands and parishes, called 
Killure and Killannre, the church of the yew, no 
doubt from the common practice of planting yew 
trees near churches. The townland and parish of 
Uregare in Limerick, must have received the name 
from some remarkable yew tree, for the name is 
Tuhhar-ghearr, short yew. 

Newry in Down, was anciently called luhhar-cinn- 
tragha [Yure-kintraw], the yew tree at the head of 
the strand, of which the oldest form is found in the 
Leabhar na hUidhre, viz., Ihur-cind-trachfa. It ap- 
pears by a curious entry in the Four Masters to have 
derived its name from a tree planted by St. Patrick, 
and which continued to flourish for 700 years after 
him : — "A. D. 1162. The monastery of the monks at 
lubhar-cinn-tragha was burned, with all its furniture 
and books, and also the yew which St. Patrick him- 
self had planted." The tree must have been situated 
near the highest point to which the tide rises, for this 
is what the word ceann tragha, strand-head, denotes. 
In after ages, the full name was shortened to Iuhha)% 
which, by prefixing the article (p. 23), and making 
some other alterations, was reduced to the present 

We have also other places called Newry ; and the 
shortened form, Nure, is the name of several town- 
lands. Uragh, a place abounding in yews, is some- 
times met with, and the same name, by the attraction 
of the article (p. 23), becomes Newragh, which, in 
many cases, especially in the Leinster counties, is 
corrupted to Newrath. 

The quicken tree. Caerthainn [cairhan or caurhan] 
is the Irish word for the quicken tree, mountain ash, 
or rowan tree. It enters into names very often, in 

CHAP. VIII.] Plants. 495 

tlie form Keeran, which, is the name of several town- 
lands ; but it undergoes many other modifications, 
such as Keerhan in Louth ; Keeraun and Keerhaun 
in Gralwaj ; Carhan in Kerry ; Kerane and Keraun 
in Tipperary and King's County : — all these places 
must have produced this tree in abundance, for the 
names mean simply mountain ash. Drumkeeran, the 
ridge of the quicken tree, is the name of a village in 
Leitrim, of a parish in Fermanagh, and of several 
townlands in the northern counties. 

The holly. This tree is denoted by Cuillionn [cul- 
lion], which, as a root word, is very widely diffused 
over the country, and is in general very easily recog- 
nised. There are fifteen townlands, all in the Ul- 
ster counties, called Cullion, signifying holly or holly 
land ; another form, Cullen, is the name of a parish 
in Cork, and of some townlands in other counties. 
Cullen in Tipperary is called by the Four Masters, 
Cuilleann-0-gCuanach [0-goonagh], from the old 
territory of Coonagh, to which it must have formerly 
belonged. This word enters into numerous com- 
pounds, but generally in the form cullen, as in Drum- 
cullen in King's County, Druim-ctdllinn (Four Mast.), 
holly ridge ; Moycullen in Gralway, the plain of 
holly ; KnockacuUen, holly hill. There are two 
derivatives, Cullenagh and Cullentragh or Cullentra, 
which give names to about sixty townlands and vil- 
lages ; the former is more usual in the south, and the 
latter in the north ; and both were originally applied 
to a place abounding in holly. 

The hazel. This tree was formerly held in great 
estimation in Ireland : we are told that Mac Cuill 
(literally " son of the hazel,") one of the three last 
kings of the Tuatha De Dananns, was so called be- 
cause he worshipped the hazel. When the old writers 

496 Physical Features. [part iv. 

record, as they frequently do, that the country pros- 
pered under the benign rule of a good king, they 
usually state, as one of the indications of plenty, that 
the hazels bended with abundance of nuts ; and 
the salmon that ate the nuts which fell from the 
nine hazel trees growing round certain great river 
fountains, became a "salmon of knowledge ; " for 
whoever took and ate one of these fish, became im- 
mediately inspired with the spirit of poetry. 

Coll is the Irish word for a hazel, corresponding 
with Lat. corylus. It is often difficult to distinguish 
the modern forms of this word from those of several 
others ; in the beginning of names it is usually re- 
presented by coll^ col, cole, cull, and cul, but some of 
these syllables are often of doubtful signification. 
Cullane and CuUaun are the names of some townlands 
in Kilkenny and the Munster counties ; CuUan 
occurs in Mayo ; and CoUon is a village and parish 
in Louth : — all these signify a place where hazels 
grow. Collchoill [culhill], hazel wood, like leatnh- 
choill (p. 491) is subject to considerable varia- 
tions of form : as Cullahill, we find it in Tipperary 
and Queen's County ; Colehill in Donegal, King's 
County, Longford, and Meath ; and Callowhill in 
Fermanagh, Leitrim, Monaghan, and Wicklow. 

As a termination, the word coll takes the different 
forms, -hjle, -quill, and -coyle, all representing the 
genitive, cuill ; Barnakyle near Mungret in Lime- 
rick, and Barnacoyle in Wicklow, hazel gap ; Mona- 
quill in Tipperary, Carnquill in Monaghan, and 
Lisaquill in Longford and Monaghan, the bog, the 
cam, and the fort of the hazel. 

The alder. This tree is called fearn [farn] in 
Irish ; but in the present spoken language the dimi 
nuiiy Q fear nog (farnoge) is always used. The syl-. 


CHAP, viii.] Plants. 497 

lables fani and fern^ which are found in names in 
every part of Ireland, indicate the prevalence of this 
tree : thus we have several places called Farnagh, 
Femagh, and Ferney, denoting a place producing 
alders ; and Farnane and Famoge are used in the 
same sense. Ferns in Wexford is well known in 
ecclesiastical and other records, by the name of 
Fearna — i. e. alders, or a place abounding in alders. 
Grlenfarne, a beautiful valley near Manor-hamilton, 
is called by the Four Masters Gleann-feania, the 
alder glen. "WTien the /is eclipsed (p. 22), the ter- 
minations, -nararn, -navern, -navarna, &c., are formed : 
Grortnavern in Donegal, and Grortnavarnoge in Tip- 
perary, alder field ; Lecknavarna in Galway, the 
flagstone of the alders. 

The celebrated territory of Farney in Monaghan 
is called Fearnmhagh [Famvah] in the Book of 
Eights and other Irish documents, which was softened 
down to the present form by the aspiration of the m 
and g. This name signifies alder plain ; and even 
so late as the seventeenth centmy, the alder woods 
remained in considerable abundance (see Mr. E. P. 
Shuiey's work on the barony of Farney). 

The apple tree. Ahhall or uhhall signifies both an 
apple and an apple tree : — pronounced owl or ool, and 
sometimes arel. The ancient Irish form, as found in 
the Zeuss MSS., is abally which corresponds with the 
Ang.-Sax. appel, Eng. apple. 

This word enters largely into local names, and 
very often assumes the forms, oicl, ool, o?cle, &g. 
Agliowle in Wicklow is called in Irish documents, 
Achadh-abhla, the field of the aj^ple trees ; the same 
name is found in Fermanagh, in the slightly diff'erent 
form Aghyowle ; and in Leitrim Aghyowla. Bally- 
hooly on the Blackwater, below Mallow, is called in 
2 k 

498 Physical Features. [part iv. 

the Book of Lismore, Ath-uhhla [Ahoola], the ford 
of the apples ; and the present name was formed by 
prefixing Bally: — Baila-atha-uhhla (now pronounced 
Blaa-hoola), the town of the apple ford. 

In many places, and especially in some parts of the 
north, the word ahhall is used in the sense of '' or- 
chard;" as for instance, in Avalreagh in Monaghan, 
grey orchard; Annahavil in Londonderry and Ty- 
rone, the marsh of the orchard. Very much the same 
meaning has Oola on the Limerick and Waterford 
railway, which preserves exactly the sound of the 
Irish name, Uhhla, i. e. apple trees, or a place of 

The proper and usual word for an orchard, how- 
ever, is ahhalghort [oulart], literally apple-garden, 
which is of pretty frequent occurrence, subject to 
some variations of spelling. The most common form 
is Oulart, the name of several places in Wexford ; 
Ballinoulart in Wexford and King's County, and Bal- 
lywhollart in Down, both signify the town of the 
orchard. Another form appears in Knockullard in 
Carlow, orchard hill ; but IJllard in Kilkenny has a 
different origin. 

The elder tree. The elder or boortree is called tromm 
or trom, gen. truim [trim]. The best known place 
named from this tree is Trim in Meath, which was 
so called from the elder trees that grew near the 
old ford across the Boyne : it is called in the Book of 
Armagh, Vadum- Truimm,., a half translation of its 
Irish name, Ath-truim, the ford of the boortrees, of 
which only the latter part has been retained. We 
have numerous names terminating in -trim and trime^ 
which always represent the genitive of trom ; Gral- 
trim in Meath, once a place of some importance, is 
called in the Annals, Cala-truim, the calloiv or holm 


CHAP. VIII.] Plants. 499 

of the elder ; Grortvunatrime near Emly in Tipperary, 
the field of the bottom land of the elder. 

A place where elders grow is often called tromaire 
[trummera] , from which Trummery in Antrim de- 
rives its name ; it is shortened to Trummer, as the 
name of a little island in the Clare part of the Shan- 
non ; and in Wexford it takes the form of Trimmer. 
Tromdn, a diminutive of tromm, meaning either the 
elder tree or a place producing elder, has given name 
to Tromaun in E-oscommon, to Tromman in Meath, 
and to Trumman in Donegal. 

The hlackthorn. Dmcigheaii [dreean] is the black- 
thorn or sloe-bush ; the old Irish form as given in 
Cormac's Grlossary, is droigen ; Welsh dmen ; Cornish 
drain. The simple word gives names to several 
places in Antrim, Derry, and Tyrone, now called 
Dreen, Drain, and Drains, i. e. black-thorn. Drinan 
near Kinsaley in Dublin, is called Draighnen by the 
Four Masters, i. e. a place producing black- thorns. 
This diminutive form is much more common than the 
primitive, and in most parts of Ireland, the sloe-bush 
is called drinan, or drinan-donn (brown). It gives 
names to various places now called Dreenan, Drin- 
ane, and Drinaun. The adjective form, draeighn- 
each, and its diminutive, draeighneachdn, are also very 
common as townland names, in the modern forms, 
Dreenagh, Drinagh, Driny, and Drinaghan — signi- 
fying a place abounding in sloe-bushes ; Aghadreen- 
agh, Aghadreenan, Aghadrinagh, and Aghadreen, 
are the names of townlands in various counties, all 
meaning the field of the sloe bushes. 

The sloe is designated by the Irish word airne 

[arny], which is found pretty often in the end of 

names, in the form of -arney. For the original name 

of Killarney in Kerry, we have not, as far as I am 


500 Physical Features. [part iv. 

aware, any written authority ; but I see no reason 
to question the opinion already adyancecl by others, 
that the Irish name is CiU-airneadh, the church of the 
sloes. This opinion is corroborated by the frequency 
of the same termination : thus we have a Killamey in 
Kilkenny, another in Eoscommon, and a third near 
Bray in Wicklow. Near Clones, there is a townland 
called Magherarny, the plain of the sloes ; Clonamey 
in Westmeath and Cavan, sloe-meadow ; MuUarney 
in Kildare, the summit of the sloes, &c. 

The white thorn or haw tree — Irish, sceach [skagh]. 
From these thorn bushes, so plentifully diffused over 
the whole country, a vast number of places have re- 
ceived their names. There are numerous townlands 
called Skagh, Skea, and Skeagh, i. e. simply a thorn 
bush ; and these, along with the shorter form, Ske, 
begin the names of many others, such as Skeagh- 
anore in Cork, the bush of the gold, and Skenarget 
in Tyrone, of the silver — both probably so called 
because the bushes marked the spots where the pea- 
santry dreamed of, and dug for money. 

As a termination, the word takes these same forms, 
in addition to several others, such as -she, -sheha, 
-skehy, &c. ; as in Grortnaskeagh, Gortnaskehy, and 
Gortnaskey, all which are the names of townlands, 
and signify the field of the white-thorns ; Tullyna- 
skeagh, and Knocknaskeagh, both signifying white- 
thorn hill ; Baunskeha in Kilkenny, the green field 
of the bush ; Aghnaskea, Aghnaskeagh, and Aghna- 
skew, bushy field (achadh) ; Clonskeagh in Dublin, 
and Cloonskeagh in Mayo, the cloon or meadow of the 
white-thorn bushes. Lisnaskea in Fermanagh (the 
fort of the bush), took its name from the celebrated 
tree called Sceath-ghahhra, under which the Maguire 
used to be inaugurated. There are some places in 

CHAP. VIII.] Plants. 501 

Donegal, Fermanagli, and Tyrone, called Skeoge, 
and we have several townlands with the name of 
Skeheen, both these signifying a little bush, or a 
little bushy brake. Skehanagh and Skahanagh, a 
bushy place, are the names of townlands in every 
part of Ireland, except Ulster. 

The furze. Aiteami [attan] is our word for the 
furze ; old Irish aittemi (Cor. GrL), Welsh eithin ; and 
it is found chiefly as a termination in two different 
forms, -attin^ and -attuia. The first is seen in Cool- 
attin, the name of. some places in Limerick, Wick- 
low, and Wexford, signifying the corner of the 
furze ; and the second in Ballynahattina in G-alway, 
the same as Ballynahatten in Down and Louth, and 
Ballinattin in Waterford and Tipperary, the town 
of the furze. The Irish scholar will remark that in 
these names the word is used in the masculine in the 
south, and in the feminine in the north and west ; 
and I may remark here, once for all, that I have also 
observed this difference of gender inflexion according 
to locality, in case of the names of some other natural 

The heath. The common heath — erica vulgaris — 
is denoted by the word fraech ; as may be expected, 
it enters extensively into names, and oftener as a ter- 
mination than otherwise. In the beginning of names, 
and when it stands alone, it is usually represented by 
Freagh and Freugh ; thus Freaghillaun is the name 
of several little islands round various parts of the 
coast, signifying heathy island ; Freaghmore in West- 
meath, and Freughmore in Tyrone, great heath. We 
find, however, Freeduff — black heath — in Armagh 
and Cavan, the same as Freaghduff in Tipperary. 

As a termination it takes the form -free, which 
exactly represents the pronunciation of the genitive, 

502 Physical Features. [part iv. 

fmeigh. Inishfree, a little islafid in Lough Gill, is 
called by the Four Masters, Inisfraeich^ heathy is- 
land ; and there are islands of the same name off the 
coast of Donegal, and elsewhere. Coolfree, heathy 
corner, is a townland near Bally organ in Limerick. 
When the article is used, the / disappears by aspira- 
tion (p. 20), and the word becomes -ree ; but then 
this syllable is often also the modern form of righ, a 
king : — thus Ballinree, which is the name of about a 
dozen townlands, might represent either Baile-an- 
rigk, the town of the king, or Baile-an-fhraeigh, of 
the heather. 

The diminutives fraechdn and fracchog — but prin- 
cipalty the former — are used to denote the bilberry, 
or whortleberry, or "hurt," as it is called over a 
great part of Munster, a contraction of " hurtle " or 
" whortle," In other parts of Ireland, these berries 
get their proper Irish name, and the citizens of Dub- 
lin are well accustomed to see "fraughans" exposed 
for sale in baskets, by women who pick them on 
the neighbouring hills. Freahanes and Frehans, i. e. 
whortleberries, are the names of two townlands, one 
near Eoss Carberry, the other in Tipperary ; and by 
a change of ch to/ (p. 50), it becomes Freffans in 
Meath. On the northern side of Seefin mountain 
over Grienosheen in Limerick, there is a deep glen 
called Lyrenafreaghaun, which represents the Irish 
Ladhar-na-hhfraeehcin,ihQ river-branch of the whortle- 
berries ; and it produces them as plentifully to-day as 
when it got the name. Kilnafrehan in Waterford, 
and Kylefreaghane in Tipperary, bilberry wood ; 
Binnafreaghan in Tyrone, the peak of the whortle- 

The inj. The different kinds of ivy are denoted by 
the term eidhnedn [ine-aun], which is a diminutive of 

CHAP. IX.] Shape and Position. 503 

the older form eden, as given in Cormac's Grlossary ; 
Welsh eiddew. In its simple form it gives name 
to Inan in Meath, and to Inane in Cork and Tip- 
perary, both meaning an ivy-covered place. The 
adjective form eidhneach [inagh], abounding in ivy, 
is, however, much more common, and it occurs in 
MSS. of authority. There is a river in Clare called 
Inagh, fi^om which a parish takes name, and also a 
river in Donegal, flowing into Inver Bay, called 
Eany (which gives name to Grleneany, through 
which it flows), both of which the Four Masters 
mention by the name of Eidhneach, i. e. the ivy- 
producing river. 

The celebrated monastery of Clonenagh in Queen's 
County was founded by St. Fintan in the middle of 
the sixth century. It is called in O'Clery's Calendar 
and other Irish documents, Cluain-eidhnech, which, in 
the Latin Life of the founder, is translated Latihulum 
hederosum, the retreat (i. e. the cloon) of the ivy. It 
is interesting to observe that this epithet is as appli- 
cable to-day as it was in the time of St. Fintan ; for 
the place produces a luxuriant growth of ivy, which 
clothes the gable of the old church, and all the trees 
in the neighbourhood. 



A REAL or fancied resemblance to diJfferent parts of 
the human body, has originated a great variety of 
topographical names all over the country. Most of 
the bodily members have been turned to account in 

50-i Physical Features, [part iv. 

tliis manner ; and the natural features compared with, 
and named from them, are generally, but not always, 

The head. The word ceann [can], a head, is used 
much in the same way as the English word, to denote 
the head, front, or highest part of anything ; and it 
commonly appears in anglicised names, in the forms 
can, ken, kin. There is a place near Callan in Kil- 
kenny called Cannafahy, whose Irish name is Ceann- 
na-faithche, the head of the exercise-green ; Kincon 
in Mayo and Armagh, the hound's head, so called 
from some peculiarity of shape ; Kinard, high head 
or hill ; Kinturk, the head or hill of the boar. 

The highest point reached by the tide in a river, 
was sometimes designated by the term eeann-mara, 
i. e. the head of the sea ; froni a spot of this kind on 
the river Eoughty, the town of Kenmare in Kerry 
received its name ; and Kinvarra in Gralway origi- 
nated in the same way, for the Four Masters call it 
Ceannmhara. Another compound, ceannsaile [can- 
sauly], also used to express the same idea, means 
literally the head of the brine, and from this 
we have the name of Kinsale in Cork, of Kinsale- 
beg in Waterford {peg, little, to distinguish it from 
the preceding) , and of Kinsaley, a parish north of 

The forehead is denoted in Irish by the word eudan 
[edan], which is used topographically to signify a 
hill brow. There is a small town in King's County, 
another in Antrim, and half a dozen townlands in 
several counties, caUed Edenderry ; all of which are 
from the Irish, Eudan-daire, the hill brow of the oak 
wood. This word, Eden — always with the same 
meaning — is much used in the northern and north- 
western counties in local nomenclature ; it is itself 

CHAP. IX.] Sha2)e and Position. 505 

tlie name of about a dozen places ; and it forms the 
beginning of more than 100 other names. It is occa- 
sionally contracted ; as in Ednashanlaght in Tyrone, 
the hill brow of the old sepulchre. 

The nose. Sron [srone], the nose, is often applied 
to prominent points of hills, or abrupt promontories ; 
and in this sense we sometimes find it in townland 
names ; as in Sroankeeragh in Roscommon, the sheep's 
nose ; Shronebeha in Cork, the nose or point of the 

The throat. The word hraghad [brand], which 
literally signifies the gullet or windpipe, is locally 
applied to a gorge or deeply-cut glen ; and of this 
application, the river and valley of the Braid near 
Ballymena in Antrim, form a very characteristic 
example. The diminutive Bradoge, little gorge, is 
the name of the small stream flowing by Grrange- 
gorman into the Liff'ey on the north side of Dublin ; 
and the same word gives name to a townland in 
Monaghan, now called Braddocks. Scornach is ano- 
ther term for the windpipe, and in one instance it is 
applied to a remarkable glen cut through the hills 
near Tallaght in Dublin, now called the gap of 
Ballinascorney, i. e. the town of the gorge. 

The shoulder. Guala or guaJann [goola, goolan] 
signifies the shoulder, and was often applied to a hill. 
The village of Shanagolden in Limerick is called in 
Irish authorities, Seangualann^ old shoulder or hill, 
and this is also the Irish name still in use. 

The hack. The literal meaning of the word druim 
[drum] is a back, exactly the same as the Latin dor- 
sum, with which it is also cognate. In its local ap- 
plication, it signifies a long low hill or ridge ; and in 
this sense also, it is often translated by dor stun. It is 
one of the most common of all root words in Irish 

506 Physical Features. [part iv. 

names; its most usual anglicised forms are dnim^drow^ 
and clrim ; and these syllables begin about 2400 
names of townlands, towns, and villages, besides the 
countless names that contain this very prolific root 
otherwise combined. In Munster it is very generally 
pronounced dromn, and in many names it is modern- 
ized accordingly. 

There are several places in the southern and west- 
ern counties, called Dromada and Dromadda, the 
Irish name of which is Dririm-fhada, long ridge, the 
sound of/ being wholly sunk by asj^iration (p. 20) ; 
in some of the northern counties the /is retained, and 
the name becomes Drumfad. Drumagh in Queen's 
County, Drimagh in Wexford, and Dromagh in 
Cork, signify ridged land, a place full of drums or 

In many combinations of this word, the d sound is 
lost by aspiration. Aughrim near Ballinasloe in 
Gralway, the scene of the battle of 1691, has its name 
formed in this way ; it is called in Irish authorities, 
Each-dhruim, which Colgan translates eqid-tnons, i. e. 
horse-hill, and the pronunciation of the ancient name 
is well preserved in the modern. There are, besides 
this, about twenty Aughrims in Ireland. Sometimes 
the d sound is changed to that of t, as in Leitrim, the 
name of one of the counties, and of more than forty 
townlands scattered over Ireland : — Liafh-dhrnim 
(Four Mast.), grey ridge (see Sheetrim, p. 178). 

The diminutive Druunin [Drimmeen], has given 
names to various places now called Drimeen, Dro- 
meen, and Drummeen. Dromainn [di'umin], which 
is perhaps a diminutive, also means a ridge, much 
the same as druim itself, and this word is the original 
of all those places called Dromin, Drummin, and 
Drummans ; in the northern counties it is often cor- 

CHAP. Tx.] SJiajie and Position. 507 

riipted to Driimmond (p. 57), which is the name of 
about twenty townlands. Another development of 
druifu is druimneach or druimne, meaning ridges or 
ridged land, originating a new growth of names. 
For example, Drimnagh castle and parish, three 
miles south- west from Dublin, took the name from 
the little sand-ridges now called the Grreen Hills. 
Drimna, Dromnagh, and Drumina, the names of 
places in various parts of Ireland, are all different 
forms of this word. 

The Irish word ton [thone] signifies the hacJisidey 
exactly the same as the Latin podex. It was very 
often used to designate hills, and also low-lying or 
bottom lands ; and it usually retains the original form, 
ton ; as we see in Tonduif, Tonbaun, and Tonroe, 
black, white, and red, backside, respectively ; Toneel, 
in Fermanagh, the bottom land of the lime. 

One particular compound, Ton-Ie-gaeith, which lite- 
rally signifies " backside to the wind," seems to have 
been a favourite term ; for there are a great many 
hills all through the country with this name, which 
are now called Tonlegee. Sometimes the preposition 
re is used instead of le — both having the same mean- 
ing — and the name in this case becomes Tonregee. 
In this last, o, dis, often inserted after the n (p. 57), 
and this, with one or two other trifling changes, has 
developed the form Tanderagee, the name of a little 
town in Armagh, and of ten townlands, all in the 
Ulster counties, except one in Meath, and one in 

The side /—Irish taehh [teev]. This, like the cor- 
responding English word, is applied to the side of a 
hill ; and its usual anglicised forms are tieve and teer. 
Tievenavarnoge in Fermanagh rej)resents the Irish, 

508 Physical Features. [part iv. 

Taebh-na-hhfearnog, the hill side of the alders ; Teev- 
nabinnia in Mayo, the side of the pinnacle. 

The thigh. The word mas [mance] the thigh, is 
locally applied to a long low lull. It gives name to 
several places in the western counties, now called 
Mace ; Masreagh in Sligo, Massreagh in Donegal, 
and Mausrevagh in Galway, grey hill : Mansrower 
in Kerry, fat or thick hill. There is a castle near 
Antrim town called Massereene, giving name to two 
baronies ; this name, which originally belonged to a 
small friary of Franciscans, founded about the year 
1500 by one of the O'Neills, is written in O'Mellan's 
Journal of Phelim O'Neill, Masareghna, which is 
little different from the correct Irish form, Mds- 
a^~rioghna, the queen's hill (Eeeves, Eccl. Ant. 
p. 389). 

The shin : — Irish, lurga or lurgan. This word, 
like the last, was often applied to a long low ridge. 
From the first form, some townlands chiefly in the 
south, are called Lurraga. The second form was 
much used in the northern and western counties, in 
which there are about thirty places called Lurgan, 
and more than sixty others of whose names it forms 
a part. 

The foot. The word cos [cuss], a foot, is used 
locally to express the foot, or bottom, or lower end 
of any thing ; the form found in anglicised names is 
generally cmh, which represents, not the nominative 
but the dative {cois^ pron. c?f.s//),of the original word, 
(p. 33). Gush and Cuss, i. e. foot, are the names of 
some places in the middle and southern counties. 
Cushendun in Antrim, is called by the Four Masters, 
Bun-ahhann-Duine, the foot, i. e. the mouth of the 
river Dun; this was afterwards changed to Cois- 

CHAP. IX.] Sliaj^e and Position. 509 

ahhann-Diiine [Cush-oim-duiiny], whicli has the same 
meaning, and which has been gradually compressed 
into the present name. Cushendall was in like 
manner contracted from Cois-ahhann-Dkalla, the/oo^ 
or termination of the river Dall (Eeeves, Eccl. Ant., 
pp. 83, 283). In the Ordnance Memoir of the 
parish of Templemore (p. 213), it is conjectured that 
the stream which flows by Coshquin near London- 
derry, was anciently called Caein [keen], i.e. beau- 
tiful ; whence the place got the name of Cois-Caeine, 
the end of the river Caein, now shortened to Cosh- 

The barony of Coshlea in Limerick, was so called 
from its position with respect to the Galty mountains, 
its Irish name being Cois-sJeihhe [Cushleva], i. e. (at) 
the foot of the mountain ; and this signification is 
still preserved in the name of a place, now called 
Mountain-foot, situated at the base of this fine range. 
Sometimes the word cois (which is in this case a rem- 
nant of the compound preposition, a-gcois or a-cois) , 
is used to express contiguity or nearness; in this 
sense it appears in the name of the barony of Coshma 
in Limerick, Cois-Maighe (the district) near or along 
the river Maigue ; and in that of Coshbride in Water- 
ford, the territory by the river Bride. 

Besides the names enumerated in the preceding 
part of this chapter, many others are derived from 
their resemblance to various objects, natural or arti- 
ficial ; and many from their position, or from their 
direction with respect to other places. Of these the 
following mil be a sufficient specimen. 

Bun means the bottom or end of anything ; Bun- 
talloon near Tralee, represents perfectly the pronun- 
ciation of the iTi^h., Bun -tahnhan^ih.^ end of the earth 
or land : Bunlahy in Longford, the end of the Jahagh 

510 Physical Features. [part iv. 

or sloTigh. It is very often applied to the end, that is, 
the mouth of a river, and many places situated at 
river mouths have in this manner received their 
names ; as Buncrana in Donegal, the mouth of the 
river Crana ; Bunratty in Clare, the mouth of the 
river, formerly called the Eatty, but now the Owen 
Ogarney, because it flows through the ancient terri- 
tory of the O'Carneys. 

Bdrr [baui'] is the top of anything. Barmona in 
Wexford, the top of the bog ; Barravore in Wick- 
low, great top ; Barmeen in Antrim, smooth top : 
Barreragh in Cork, western top. In some of the 
northern counties, the harr of a townland means the 
high or hilly part ; and from this we derive such 
names as the Barr of Slawin in Fermanagh, i. e. the 
top or highest part of the townland of Slawin. 

Gahhal [goul, gowal, and gole], a fork ; old Irish 
fjahul, from the verb gah to take. It is a word in very 
extensive local use in every part of Ireland, being 
generally, though not always, applied to river forks ; 
and it assumes a variety of forms, in accordance with 
different modes of pronunciation. The simple word 
is seen in such names as Grole, Growel, and Groul ; and 
the plural Grola (forks) is pretty common in the 
northern counties. 

The land enclosed by two branches of a river was 
often designated by the GOTOH^ownd Fadar-dha-ghabhal 
[Adragoul], or Eadar-ghabhal [Addergoul], i. e. (a 
place) between two (river) prongs ; and this has 
given names to many places, in the various forms, 
Addergoole, Adderagool, Addrigoole, Adrigole, Ad- 
rigool, Edergole, and Edergoole. 

The diminutives are still more widely spread than 
the original ; and they give names to those places 
calledGrolan,G-oleen,Groulaun,Growlan, Growlane, and 

CHAP. IX.] Shape and Position. 511 

Growlaun, all signifying a little fork, commonly a fork 
formed by rivers. At the village of Grolden in Tip- 
perary, the river Suir divides for a short distance, 
and encloses a small island ; this little bifurcation 
was, and is still, called in Irish, Gahhailin [gouleen], 
which has been corrupted to the present name of the 
village, Grolden. 

In some parts of the south, this word is pronounced 
gyle, and hence we have Gryleen, the name of a village 
near Trabolgan, just outside Cork harbour. There 
are two conical mountains a little west of Gflengariff 
in Cork, between which ran the old road to Castle- 
town Bearhaven ; they stand up somewhat like the 
prongs of a fork, and hence they are called Goul- 
more and Goulbeg, great and little fork ; but the 
former is now better known by the name of Sugar- 
loaf. This very remarkable mountain is also often 
called 8liahh-na-gaihhle, the mountain of the fork, 
which is pronounced Slieve-na-goila ; and many 
people now believe that this signifies the mountain of 
the wild men ! 

Another word for a fork is ladhar [pron. lyre in 
the south, lear in the north] , which is also much used 
in forming names, and like gahhal, is applied to a 
fork formed by streams or glens. There are many 
places in the south called Lyre, and others in the 
north called Lear, both of which are anglicised forms 
of this word ; and the diminutives Lyreen, Lyrane, 
and Lyranes (little river forks), are the names of 
some places in Cork, Kerry, and Waterford. Near 
Inchigeela in Cork, there is a townland called, from 
its exposed situation, Lyrenageeha, the fork of the 
wind ; Lyranearla in Waterford, near Clonmel, the 
earl's river-fork. On the southern side of Seefin 
mountain, three miles south of IQlfinnane in Lime- 

512 Physical Features. [part iv. 

rick, is a briglit little valley traversed by a sparkling 
streamlet ; which, from its warm, sunny aspect, is 
called Lyrenagreana, in Irish Ladhar-na-greine, the 
river-branch of the sun. 

Cuil [cooil] is a corner or angle ; it is very exten- 
sively used in forming local names, generally in the 
forms of cool and cole^ but it is often difficult to 
tell whether these syllables, especially the first, 
represent cidl, a corner, or ciil [cool], a back. There 
is a place in King's County called Coleraine ; Cool- 
rain is the name of a village and of some town- 
lands in Queen's County ; and w^e find Coobainey 
in Wexford, Coolrahnee near Askeaton, and Cool- 
raine near Limerick city. All these names are ori- 
ginally the same as that of Coleraine in Londonderry, 
which is explained in an interesting passage in the 
Tripartite Life of St. Patrick. When the saint, 
in his journey through the north, arrived in this 
neighbourhood, he was received with great honour, 
and hospitably entertained, by a chieftain named 
Nadslua, who also ofi'ered him a piece of ground 
on which to build a church. And when the saint 
inquired where the place was, it was pointed out to 
him on the bank of the river Bann : it was a spot 
overgrown with ferns ; and some boys were at the 
moment, amusing themselves by setting them on 
fire. From this circumstance the place received the 
name of Cuil-rathain [Coolrahen], translated by Col- 
gan, Secessus filicis, the corner of the ferns, which it 
retains to this day, with very little alteration. 


N. B.— Many names that do not occur in the hody of the work are explained in 
this Index. 

Abbeyfeale, . . . . 
Abbeygormacan, the abbey 

of the O'Cormacans. 
Abbeylara, . . 
Abbey shriile. . . 
Abbeystrowry, . 
Achonry, . . 
Aclare, Ath-an-chlair the 

ford of the plain. 


Addergoole, Addragool, 


Aderrig, red ford. 
Adrigole, Adrigoole, . . 




Aghabeg; little field. 


Aghaboy ; yellow field, 
Aghabrack ; speckled field. 
Aghabulloge ; the field of 

the bullocks. 
Aghacrew; Ath-a'-cru, the 

ford of the blood. 


160 Aghada near Cork ; Ath- 
fhada, long ford. 

Aghadachor, 247 

299 Aghadark, 423 

123 Aghadarragh, .... 485 

442 Aghadaugh, 248 

442 AghadaToyle, .... 249 
223 Aghaderg; red ford. 

Aghaderry ; the field of the 
oak wood. 

485 Aghadoe, 242 

510 Aghadowey in Durry ; 
242 Achadh-Buhhthaigh{Q'Q. 

(kl.), Dufi"y's field. 
510 Aghadown ; the field of the 
53 dan or fort. 

343 Aghadreen, 493 

223 Aghadreenagh 499 

Aghadreenan, .... 499 
454 Aghadrinagh, . ... 49 ^ 

Aghagallon, 331 

Aghagower, 71 

Aghalurcher ; Achadh-ur- 
chair (Four Masters), 
the field of the cast (see 
page 161.) 
316 ' Aghamacart, 223 


Index of Names. 


Aghamore; great field. 

Aghanloo, 344 

Aghatubrid ; spring-field. 

Aghavannagh, , . . . 370 

Aghavea, 489 

Aghaveagh, 489 

Aghavilla, Aghaville, . . 482 

Aghavilly, 482 

Aghaviller, .... 48, 50 

Agliawillin, 363 

Aghawoney, 223 

Aghilly, 493 

Aghinagh ; field of the ivy. 

Aghindaiagh, .... 247 

Aghindarragh, .... 223 

Aghintain, 181 

Aghintamy, 223 

Aghinver, 223 

Aghmacart, 223 

Aghnahily, 396 

Aghnamullen, . . . . 363 

Aghnaskea, Aghnaskeagh, 600 

Aghnaskew, 500 

Aghowle, 497 

Aghyowla, 497 

Aghyowle, 497 

Aglish, 305 

Aglishclogliane, .... 305 

Aglishcormick, . . . . 305 

Aglishdiinagh, .... 305 

Agolagh, 43 

Ahabeg, 28 

Ahagaltaun, 166 

Ahane, 344 

Ahanure, 493 

Ahaphiica, 182 

Ahascragh, 389 

Ahaun ; see Ahane. 

Aille, 396 

Aillenaveagb, 28 

AUagower, 396 

Alleen, Alleen Hogan, Al- 

leen Ryan, 396 

Allen, Hill of, ... . 86 

Allow river, 410 

Alt, 374 


AltachiiUion, . . . . . 374 

Altan, 374 

Altanagh, 374 

Allans, 374 

Altaturk ; glen side of the boar. 

Alta villa, 374 

Altawark, 205 

Altinure, 374 

Altmore ; great glen-side. 

Altnaveagh, 22 

Altore, . 114 

Alts, 374 

Anna, 445 

Annabella, . . -. . . 446 
Annaelone ; Eanach-chiana^ 

the marsh of the meadow. 

Annacotty, . . . . 217 

Annacramph, 60 

Annaduff, 445 

Annagassan, 360 

Annagh, 445 

Aunaghaskin, .... 446 
Annaghbeg ; little marsh. 
Annaghmore ; great marsh. 

Annagor, 470 

Annahagh, 364 

Annahaia, 364 

Annahavil, 498 

Annahilt, 461 

Annakisha, 349 

Annalong in Down, . . 216 

Annamoe, 454 

Annaveagh, 460 

Annayalla, 20 

Anny, 445 

Annyalty, 446 

Anveyerg, 23 

Arboe, 454 

Ardagh, 223 

Ardaghy, .223 

Ardakillen, 475 

Ardan, 373 

Ardanaffi-in, 113 

Ardane, 373 

Ardaneaning, 198 

Ardanreagh, 373 

Index of Names. 


Ardara, 265 

Ardataggle, Arclateggle ; the 

heigM of the rye. 

Ardatrave, 353 

Ardaim, 373 

Ardavagga, 203 

Ardbane, Ardhaun ; white 


Ai'dbeg, 373 

Ardbraccan, 140 

ArdcaiTi ; the height of the 


Ardcath, 110 

Ardee, 122 

Ardee river, 360 

Ardeelan, 469 

Ardeen, 373 

Ardeevin ; A rd - aeibhinyi, 

beautiful height. 

ArdeUy, 283 

Arderin, 373 

Ardfert, .142 

Ardfinnan, 148 

Ardgeeha ; windy height. 

Ardgivna, 214 

Ardglass, 373 

Ardglushin, 441 

Ardgoul ; high fork. 

Ardgraigue, 340 

Ardgregane, 340 

Ardinawark, 205 

Ardingary, 203 

Ardkeen, 373 

Ardkeenagh ; mossy hill. 
Ardkill ; high church or wood. 
Ardlougher ; rushy height. 
Ardmayle in Tipperary ; 

Ard-Mcdlle (Four Mast.), 

Malley's height. 
Ardmeen ; smooth height. 

Ardmore, 373 

Ardmulchan ; Ard-Maelehon 

(Four Mast.), Maelchon's 


Ardnacrohy, 211 

Ardnacrusha, Ardnacrushy, 816 




Ardnagassan, Ardnagassane, 
Ardnageeha, Ardnageehy ; 

the height of the wind. 
Ardnagroghery, . . 
Ardnaneane, . . . 
Ardnarea, .... 
Ardnurcher, . . . 
Ai'dpatrick ; St. Patrick's 

Ardrahan ; ferny height. 

Ardraly, 488 

Ardskeagh; bushy height. 

ArdsoUus, 209 

Ardstraw, 57 

Ardvally, 19 

Ardvarna, Ardvarness, . . 420 

Ardvarney, 420 

Ardvone, 452 

Argyle, 82 

Arklow, 101 

Arless in Queen's County ; 

Ard-Iios, high fort. 


Ai-moy in Antrim; Airthir- 

Maighe\[ioj; Four 

Mast.], eastern plain. 


Artimacormick, .... 
Artrea in Derry ; Ard-Trea 

(Mart. Taml.), Trea's 

height. The virgin St. 

Trea, 5th cent. 


Assan, 445 

Assaroe, 176 

Assaun, 445 

Assey, 344 

Assolus, 210 

Athenry, 43 






Athlacca, 343 

Athleague, 342 

Athlone, 342 

Athlunkard, 289 



Index of N(i?ncs. 


Athneasy in Limerick, . . 343 

Atbnid, 473 

Athnowen, 426 

AthsoUis, 210 

Athy, 123 

Attacotti, 96 

Attanagh ; a fiirzy place. 

Atshanbo, 290 

Attatantee, 290 

Attavally, 291 

Attidavock, 248 

Attidermot, 2?0 

Attiduff, 290 

Attykit, 290 

Augliadanove, .... 248 

AiighaU, 493 

Aughil, 493 

AughHs, 493 

Aughinisli, 458 

Aughnacloy, 399 

Aughnagomaun. .... 206 

Aughnahoy, 364 

Aughnanure, 491 

Aughnish, 458 

Aughrim, 506 

Aughris, 458 

Aughnis, 458 

Aughsullish stream, . . 210 

Aughvolyshane, .... 280 

Avalbane, 30 

Avalreagh, 498 

Avonmore river, . . . . 439 

Awbeg river, . . . 379, 439 

Ayle, 396 

Ayleacotty, 217 

Babagh, 489 

Bahana ; see Behanagh. 

Bailey ligMhouse, . . . 335 

Balbriggan, . . . . . 338 

Baldoyle, 338 

Balfeddock, 470 

Balgeeth, 43 

BaKef, 52 

Balla, 70 

Ballagh, 359 



Ballagbbeby, . 
Ballaghboy, . 
Ballagbkeen, . 
Ballaghmore, . 
Ballard ; high to\m. 

BaUee, 344 

BaUeen, 338 

Ballina, 99, 346 

Ballinabarny, 419 

BalKnaboy ; Bel- an-atha- 
biiidhe, mouth of the yel- 
low ford. 

Ballinaclogh, 399 

Ballinacor, 354 

Balluiacur, 354 

Ballinacurra, 354 


Ballinagar ; Bel - atha- na 

gcan\ the ford-mouth of 

the cars. 


Ballinakill ; the town of 

the church or wood. 




Ballina mara, 
Ballinamought near Cork 

town of the poor people. 
Ballinard ; the town of the 

Ballinascarty, .... 479 
Ballinascorney, . . .' . 505 

BaUinasloe, 200 

Ballinaspick, Ballinaspig ; 

the town of the bishop. 
Ballinastraw ; the town of 

the river-holm. 
Ballinattin, ..... 501 

Index of Names. 


town of 

149, 356 


Ballinclialla, 449 

Ballinclare, 413 

Ballmcloghan, .... 352 

Ballincollig, 31 

Ballincurra, 327 

Ballincurrig, 327 

Ballincurry, 327 

Ballindaggan, .... 296 

Ballindagny, 296 

Ballindangan, .... 296 

Ballinderry, 339 

Ballindine, 296 

Ballindinis ; the 

the black island 
Ballindoolin, . 
Ballindrehid, . 
Ballineddan, . 
Ballinenagh, . 
Ballingaddy in Limerick ; 

the town of the thief, 

i. e. the Black thief, 


BaUinglanna, BalHnglen, 
Ballingowan, . . 
Ballinguile, . . 
Balliniska, . . 
Ballinla, Ballinlaw 
Ballinlass, Ballinlassa, Bal 

Ballinlig, . . 
Ballinliss, . . 
Ballinlough, . 
Ballinlug, . 
Ballinlyna; the town of 

the Leinsterman. 
Ballinoran, 438 

20, 421 




262, 263 











Ballinoulart, , 
Ballinphmll, Ballinphull 
Ballinree, .... 
Ballinrink, . . . 
Ballini'obe, . . . 
Ballinrostig ; Roche's 
Ballinskelligs bay, . 
BaUinspittle ; the tow 

the spited or hospital 
Ballintaggart, . . 
Ballintannig, . . . 
Ballintarsna ; cross io^m. 
Ballinteean, . 
Ballinteer, .... 
Ballinteosig ; Joyce's 
Ballinteskin, . . . 
Ballintine, .... 
Ballintlea, .... 
Ballintleva, Ballintlevy 
Ballintlieve, . . . 
Ballintober, . . . 
Ballintogher, . . . 
Ballintoy in Antrim, 
Ballintra, Ballintrae, 
Ballintra bridge, 
Ballintruer, . 
Ballintry, . 
Ballinrdty ; the town of the 


Ballinure, 493 

Ballinyallig, Ballinvally, . 360 

Ballinvana, 19 

Ballinvarrig, Ballinvarry ; 

Barry's town. 
Ballinvella, Ballinvilla, . 483 

Ballinyoher, 858 

Ballinvreena, 279 

Ballinwillin, 363 

Ballinwtuly, 19 

Ballisk, 432 

BaUitore, 227 

5, 436 




Index of Names. 


Bally agran, 18 

Ballyard ; high town. 
Ballybane, Ballybaun ; 

white town. 

BaUybatter, 44 

Ballybay, 489 

Ballybeg ; small town. 
Ballyblagh, Ballyblaugh ; 

the town of the flowers. 

Ballyboe, 235 

Ballybofey, 337 

Ballyboggan ; O'Bogan's 

Ballyboghil in Co. Dublin ; 

the town of St. Patrick's 


Ballyboley, 230 

Ballyboro, 347 

Ballybough, 16 

BaUyboughlin, .... 16 

Bally bought, 16 

Ballyboy, 344 

Ballybrack ; speckled town. 
Bally branagh, BaUybran- 

nagh ; Walsh's town. 
Bally bunnion ; Bunnion's 

Ballycahan, Ballycahane ; 

O'Cahan's town. 
Ballycahill ; Cahill's town. 

Bally carton, 215 

Ballycastle, 276 

Bally clare, 413 

Ballyclerahan ; O'Clera- 

han's town. 

Bally clogh, 399 

Ballycloghan, 352 

Ballyclohy, 399 

Ballyclug ; town of the 

Ballycolla ; CoUa's town. 
Ballyconnell, ..... 153 
Ballycormick ; Cormac's 

Ballycroghan, .... 375 
Ballycrogue, 375 


Ballycullane ; O'Collins's 


BaUycushlane, .... 295 

Ballydavock, 248 

Ballydehob, 243 

BaUydrehid, 356 

Ballyduff ; black town. 
Bally ea ; O'Hea's town. 

Ballyederown, .... 241 
Ballyeighter ; lower-town. 

Ballyfoile, Ballyfoyle, . . 396 

BaUygaU, 93 

Ballygammon, . . . . 206 

Ballygarran, Ballygarrane, 480 

Ballygarraun, .... 480 

Ballygassoon, 202 

Ballyglass ; green town. 

BaUygow, 213 

Ballygowan, 213 

Ballyguile, 93 

BaUyheige, 337 

Ballyhisky, 432 

BaUyhooly, 497 

BaUyhoos, 8 

Ballykeel ; narrow town. 

Ballyknick, 368 

Ballyknock, 36& 

Ballyknockan, . . . . 368 

Bally knockane, . . . . 868 

^Ballyknockan moat, . . 89 

Ballylahan, 344 

BaUylanders, .... 337 

BaUyleague, 343 

Ballylegan, 332 

Bally lesson, 263 

Ballylevin, 490 

Ballylicky, .... 347 

Ballylig, 418 

BaUylongford, .... 4 

Ballylosky, . . . . : 229 

Ballylough, 433 

Ballyloughan, .... 434 

Ballyloughaun .... 434 

Ballylug, 418 

Ballylusk, 229 

Ballylusky, 229 

Index of Names. 



Ballymago^\'an, .... 10 
Ballymena, Ballymenagh, . 51 
Ballymoneen, ..... 452 

Ballymoney, 479 

Ballymore ; great town ; 

sometimes the mouth of 

the great ford {Bel-atha- 


Ballymote, 280 

Ballynaas, 200 

Ballynabama, Ballynahar- 

ny, Ballynabearna, . .419 

Ballynaboley 230 

Ballynaboll, Ballynaboul, . 421 
Ballynaboola, . . . . 230 
Ballynabooley, .... 230 
Ballynacaheragh ; the town 

of the stone fort. 

Bally nacaird, 214 

Ballynacally ; the town of 

the hag. 

Ballynacard, 214 

Ballynacarrick, Ballynacar- 

rig, Ballynacarriga, Bal- 

lynacarrigy; the town of 

the rock. 
Ballynaclogh, ..... 399 
Ballynacloghy, .... 399 
Ballynacorra, .... 354 
Ballynacourty ; the town of 

the court or mansion 

BaUynacoy, 472 

Bally nadoUy, .... 23 

Ballynafagh 286 

Ballynafarsid, .... 348 
Ballynafaima ; the town of 

the declivity. 

Ballynafeigh, 286 

BaUynafey, 286 

Ballynafie, 286 

Ballynafoy, ..... 286 
Ballynafnnshin ; the town 

of the ash. 

Bally nagall, 93 

Ballynagarde, .... 214 
Ballynagarrick, .... 397 

Ballynagaul, . . 



Ballynagee, . . 






Ballynageeragh, ' 


BaUynaglogh, . 


Ballynagore, . . 



Ballynagowan, . 


Ballynagran, . 


Bally nab aglish, . 





Ballynahaia, . . 



Ballynahatten, . 



Ballynahattina, . 



' 288,338 

Ballynahivnia, . 




. 30,440 

Ballynahow, . . 



Ballynahown, Ballyna- 

howna, . . . 

. . 30,440 

Ballynakill, BallynakiUa, 

Ballynakilly ; the town 

of the church or -w 


Ballynakillew, . 






Ballynamaddoo, . 




Ballynamaddy, . 








Baliynamuddagh ; 


na-vibodack, the t 

own of 

the bodaclis or chu 


Ballynanass, . . 



Ballynaraha; the to 

wn of 

the rath or fort. 

Ballynarea, . . 


Ballynarooga, . . 


Ballynascarry, . . 


Ballynashallog, . . 


Ballynashee, . . . 


Ballynasheeoge, . 




Ballynatona, Ballyn 


ne ; 


town of the bacTcside or hill. 


Index of Names. 


Ballynatray, 431 

Ballynavaddog, .... 470 

Ballyneddan, 443 

Bally neety, 337 

Ballyness, 444 

Ballynew ; new town. 

Bally nisky, 432 

Ballynoe ; new town. 

Ballynoran, 438 

Ballynm-e, 493 

Ballyorgan, 337 

Ballyragget in Eilk. Bel- 

atha-Eaghat (Four Mast.), 

Eagat's ford-naoutli. 
Ballyroe ; red town. 

Ballyroosky, 448 

Ballysadare, 445 

Ballysaggart, .... 23 

Ballysakeery, 49 

Bally sallagh ; dirty town. 
Bally shane ; John's town. 
Ballyshannon, . . . 176,346 

Ballystrew, 441 

Bally sugagh, 203 

Bally tarsna, Bally tarsney, 338 
Ballyteige; O'Teige's town. 
Ballytober, .... 254,436 

Ballytrasna, 338 

BaUyTaghan in Clare ; 

Baile-ui- Bheachain, 

O'Behan's town. 

Bally vally, 360 

Ballyvangour, .... 371 

Bally varnet, 420 

Ballyvool, 230 

Ballyvooley, 230 

Ballywater, 40 

Ballywaternioy, .... 40 

Bally whoUart, . . • . 498 

Bally willen, 363 

Balur's Castle and Prison, 156 

Balrath, 338 

Balrathboyne, .... 144 

Balrothery, 18 

Balscaddan at Howth, the 

town of the herrings. 


Balteen, 338 

Balteenhrack, .... 338 

Baltinglass, 71 

Baltrasna, 338 

Baltray, 481 

Baltyboys, 338 

Baltydaniel, 338 

Baltylum, 338 

Banagh, barony of, . . . 134 

Banagher, . .... 372 
Banemore ; great green field. 

Bangor, .'" 372 

Banna 370 

Bannagh, 370 

Bannaghbane, . . . . 370 

Bannaghroe, .... 370 

Bannamore, 370 

Bannow, 103 

Bansha ; Bainseach, a level 

Banteer ; Bdn-th', lea land. 

Bantry, 120 

Barnieen, 610 

Barmona, 510 

Barna, 419 

Barnaboy ; yellow gap. 

Barnacoyle, 496 

Barnacullia 475 

Barnadarrig, Barnaderg, . 419 

Barnageeha, Baraageehy, . 419 

Barnagrotty, 385 

Barnakyle, 496 

Barnanageehy, . . . . 419 

Barnane-Ely, .... 420 

Barnes, 420 

Barnish, 420 

Barnismore, 420 

Barr, 510 

Barranafaddock, .... 470 

Ban-avore, 510 

Barreragh, 510 

Barroe ; red top. 

Barr of Slawin, . . . . 510 

Barrow river, .... 75 

Baslick, 312 

Baslickane 312 

Index of Names. 



Eattertjohn, 44 

Batterstown, 44 

Baunatlea, 367 

Baunmore ; great green field. 
Baunoge ; little green field. 
Baunreagh ; grey field. 

Baunskeha, oOO 

Bauraneag, 20 

Baurstookeen, . . . . 395 

Bauville, 338 

Bavan, 297 

Bawn, 298 

Bawnboy; yellow field. 

Bawnfoun, 30 

Bawnfune, 30 

Bawnmore ; great field. 

Bawnoges, 33 

Beagh, 489 

Beaghy, 489 

Bealnasliriu'a, .... 442 

Bear, barony, 128 

Bear Island, 128 

Bearhaven, 128 

Beglieve, 366 

Behagh, 489 

Bebanagh, 489 

Bebeenagh, 489 

Behernagh, 489 

Beby, 489 

Belan, 311 

Belclare, 345 

Belderg; red ford- moutb. 

Belfarsad, 348 

Belfast, 348 

Bellagby, 345 

Bellanacargy, .... 345 

Bellanagare, 345 

Bellanalack, 347 

Bellananagh, 458 

BeUaiigb, 344 

BeUeek, 403, 404 

Bellew, 483 

Bellia 483 

Bellow-tree, Bell-tree, . . 482 

Belra, 265 

Belragb, 265 


Belraugb, 265 

Beltany, 194 

Beltra; strand-moiitb. 

Ben, 369 

Benagb, 370 

Benamore, 370 

Benaneba, 469 

Benbo, 370 

Benburb, ...... 370 

Bengore bead, .... 370 

Bengorni ; blue peak. 

Ben of Fore, 370 

Big Dog, 248 

Bignion, 371 

Billy, 40 

BiUywood, 208 

Binbulbin, 134 

Binnafreagban, .... 502 

Binnion, 371 

Blackvalley, 68 

Blackwater river, . . . 439 
Boa island, . . . 297, note. 

Bodoney, 293 

Bogagb, Boggagb, Boggan, 

Boggaun ; a boggy 


Bobaboy, 293 

Bobanboy, 294 

Bobann, 294 

Bober, 357 

Boberard ; bigb road. 

Boberbdy, 3 

Bohercuill, 358 

Boherduff*, 20 

Bobereen, 357 

Bobereenkyle, .... 358 

Boberkm, Boberkyle, . . 358 
Bobermeen ; smooth road. 

Bobernabreena, .... 279 

Boberqnill, 358 

Boberroe ; red road. 

Bobo, 293 

Boboge, 294 

Bobola, 293 

Bobullion, 294 

Boley, 230 


Index of Names. 


Boleylug, 230 

Boleynagoagh, , . . . 471 

Boleyneendiirrish, . . . 254 

Bonanass, 444 

Boola, 230 

BooladuiTaglia, . . . . 230 

Booldurragh, 230 

Booley, 230 

Boolteens, 231 

Boolteeny, 231 

Boolyglass, 230 

Booterstown, 46 

Borderreen, 358 

Borheen, 357 

Borleagh, 358 

Bornacourtia, .... 358 

Boro river, 347 

Borris, 340 

Borris-in-Ossory, . . . 340 

Borrisokane, 340 

Borrisoleigh, 340 

Bough, 293 

Boula 230 

Boulabally, 230 

Boultypatrick, .... 230 

Bourney, 406 

Bovevagh, 293 

Boyhill, 40 

Boylagh, barony of, . . 134 

Boynagh, 440 

Boyounagh, 440 

Boyne river, 75 

Boystown, 338 

Braade ; see Braid. 
Brackagh, Brackenagli, Brack- 
ernagh, Bracklagh; a speck- 
led place. 

BrackHn, 226 

Brackloon, 226 

Braddocks, 505 

Bradoge stream, .... 505 

Braid, The, 605 

Brandon hiU, 142 

Brankill, 469 

Brannish, 469 

Brannock island, . . . 247 


Bray, Bray head, . . . 377 

Breafiy, 466 

Breagho, 466 

Breaghva, 466 

Breaghwy, 466 

Breaghy, 466 

Breahig, 466 

Breandrum ; stinking ridge. 

Bree, 377 

Breen, ....... 279 

Breenagh, 280 

Breenaun, 279 

Breeoge, 280 

Bremore, 146 

Bricklieve, 366 

Brigh, 377 

Brigown, 377 

Brittas ; speckled land. 

Britway, 466 

Brockagh, Brocka, . . . 467 

Brockernagh, 467 

Brockey, 467 

Brocklagh, 467 

Brockly, 467 

Brockna, 467 

Brockra, Brockry, . . . 467 

Bronagh, 364 

Bruce, 278 

Bruckana, 467 

Brughas, 278 

Bruis, 278 

Bruff, 277, 278 

Bruree, 277 

Bruse, 278 

Bruslee, 358 

Bryanbeg, Bryanmore, . 279 

Buffanoky, 468 

Bullaun : a well in a rock. 

Bull, Cow, and Calf, . . 158 

Buncrana, 510 

Bunlahy, 509 

Bunnatreesruhan, . . . 254 

Bunratty, 610 

Bunskellig, 408 

Buntalloon, 609 

Surges, 340 

Index of Names. 



Burnew, 405 

Burren, 405 

Burrenrea, Burrenreagh., . 405 

Bnrris, 340 

Burrisearra, 340 

Biirrishoole, 340 

Burrisnafarney, .... 340 

Buttevant, 379 

Cabragh ; bad land. 

Caddagb, 378 

Cadian, 378 

Cady, 878 

Caber, 273, 274 

Caberagb ; full of stone 


Caherass 444 

Caberbarnagb, . . . . 272 

Caberconlisb, .... 274 

Cabercorcaun, . . . . 397 
Caberduggan ; Duggan's 

stone fort. 

Cabereen, 275 

Caberelly, 283 

Cabergal, 274 

Caberkeen ; beautiful stone 


Caherlarbig, 298 

Caberlustraun, . . . . 228 

Cabermoyle, 449 

Oabermurpby, .... 274 

Cabersiveen, 274 

Cabervillahowe, . . . . 439 

Cabii-acon, 247 

Cabirconree in Kerry ; 

Curee's fort, i. e. tbe 

great cbief, Curoi-mac- 

I) aire— 1st cent. 

Calary, 119 

Caldragb, 305 

Callow 448 

Callowbill, 496 

Calluragb, ... 304, 305 

Calry, 118, 119 

Caltragb, Caltra, . . . 305 
Camas ; see Camus. 


Camline, 416 

Camlougb ; crooked lake. 
Camus ; anything that 
winds ; a winding stream. 

Canbo, 176 

CanguUia, 331 

Cannafaby, 504 

Cannaway, 411 

Cannawee, 411 

Cape Clear island, . . . 143 

Cappa, 219 

Cappadavock, . . . . 248 

Cappagh, 219 

Cappagbcreen, . . . . 219 

Cappagbmore, Cappamore, 219 

Cappagbwbite, .... 219 

Cappanacreba, .... 211 

Cappanageeragb, . . . 219 

Cappanalarabaun, . . . 219 

Cappanctir, 16 

Cappanouk, 312 

Capparoe ; red plot. 

Cappateemore, . . . . 219 

Cappog, Cappoge, . . . 219 

Cappoquin, 219 

Cappy, 219 

Cappydonnell, .... 219 

Caran, Caraun, .... 406 

Carbury barony, . . . 135 

CarcuUion, 406 

Cargagb, 398 

Cargan, 398 

Cargin, 398 

Cargygray, 37 

Carba, 331 

Carban, 495 

Carbeen, 40() 

Carbeens, Carbeeny, . . 406 

Carboo, 234 

Carboon, 34 

Carlingford, . . . 101, 102 

Carlow, 433 

Carma^-y, 322 

Carn, 321 

Carnacally, 322 

Carnagat, 322 


Index of Names. 


Carnalbanagh ; the Scotch- 
man's cam. 

Carnalughoge, .... 322 

Carn-Amhalgaidh, . . . 196 

Carnane, Carnaim, . . . 322 
Carnbane ; white earn. 

Carn Clanhugh, .... 321 

Carndonagh, 322 

Camearny, 104 

Carnew, 322 

Carney, 322 

Carnfunnock, 468 

Carnfyan, 88 

Carnglass ; green carn. 

Camgranny, 323 

Carnkenny, 322 

Carnlea, 321 

Cammore ; great carn, . . 154 

Carnquill, 496 

Carnsore Point, . . 101,102 

Carnteel, 321 

Carn Tierna, 321 

Carntrone, 448 

Camtogher hills, ... 321 

Carntruer hill, .... 253 

Carr, 406 

Carra, 331 

Carragh ; rongh or rocky 

Carran, 406 

Carrantuohill, 6 

Carraun, 406 

Carrick, .... 396, 397 

Carrickaneagh, .... 469 

Carrickanee, 469 

Carrickaness, \5 

Carrickanoran, .... 438 
Carrickbeg ; little rock. 

Carrickconeen, .... 464 

Carrickcroppan, .... 386 
Carrickduff ; black rock. 
Carrickfergus ; Fergus's 


Carrickhawna, . . . . 196 
Carrickmore ; great rock. 

Carricknadarriff, .... 2 


Carricknashoke, . . . 


Carrick- on- Shannon, . 


Carrick-on-Suir, . . 


Carrickshock, . . . 


Can-ickslavan, . . . 


Carrig, .... 396, 897 

Carrigadrohid, . . . 


Carrigafoyle, . . . 


Carrigagh, .... 


Carrigaholt, .... 


Carrigahowly, . • . 


Carrigaline in Cork; the 

rock of O'Lehane. 

Carrigallen, .... 

. 397 


. 398 

Carriganaffrin, . . . 


Carriganass, .... 



. 397 

Carrigans, .... 


Carrigaphooca, . . . 


Carrigatna, .... 


Carrigaun, .... 


Carrigcleena, .... 

. 188 

Carrigdownane, Downan'. 


or Downing's rock. 

Carrigeen, .... 

. 397 

Carrigeenamron ety , 

. 364 

Carrigeennamoe, . . 

. 454 

Carrigeens, .... 


Carrigleamleary, . . 

. 164 

Carrignacurra, . . . 

. 355 

Carrignavar, .... 

. 22 

Carrigogunnell, . . . 



. 234 





Carron hill, .... 


Carronadayderg, . . . 

. 322 


. 234 

Carroward ; high quai'ter. 

Carrowbaue, Carrowbaun, 


Carrowbeg, .... 

. 234 

Carrowblagh ; the quarter 

land of the flowers. 

Carrowcrin, .... 

. 481 

Corrowduff ; black quartei 

Index of Names. 



Carrowgarriff, .... 234 
Carrowgarve, .... 234 

Carrowkeel, 234 

CarroTrmanagla ; middle 

Carrowmore, . . 
Carrownaglogh, . 
CaiTOwnaltore, . 
Carrownam addoo, 
Carrowreagh, Carrowrev- 

agh ; grey quarter-land, 
Carrowroe ; red quarter. 



Cartonagilta, 236 

Cartronbore, 358 

Cartronganny, . . . . 236 
Cartronrathroe, . . . . 236 

Casey glebe, 850 

Cashel, 178,275 





Cashelnavean, . . . . 

Cashen river, 



Cashlaimawogga, . . 
Cashlaundarragh, . . . 



Castlebane, Castlebaim ; 

white castle. 
Castlebar in Mayo, . . . 
Castlecomer ; the castle of 

the river confliience. 
Castledargan, . 
Castledermot, . 
Castledillon, . 
Castlegarde, . 
Castle- Garden, 
Castlehollis, . 





Castlekeeran, 314 

Castleknock, 87 

Castlelyons, IbO 

Castlemoyle, 382 

Castlepook, 183 

Castlerahan; the castle of 

the little rath or fort. 

Castlereagh, 294 

Castleruddery ; the castle 

of the knight. 

Castleterra, 8 

Castle ventry, .... 36 

Cavan, 388 

Cavanacaw, 388 

Cavanagh, 388 

Cavanaleck, 388 

Cavanreagh ; grey hill. 

Cavantreeduff, . . . . 253 

Cavany 388 

Cave of Dunmore, . . . 423 

Celbridge, 356 

Charlemont, 245 

Cheek Point, 179 

Church Island, .... 148 

Cladowen, 31 

Claggan ; Claigeann, the 

skull ; a round hill. 

Clahernagh, 402 

Clananeese, 116 

Clanhugh Demesne, . . 116 

Clankee, barony of, . . . 116 

Clanmaurice, barony of, . 116 

Clanwilliam, barony of, . 116 

Clara 414 

Claragh, 414 

Claraghatlea, 414 

Clarashinnagh, . . . . 414 

Clarbane, 414 

Clarcarricknagun, . . . 414 

Clarderry, 414 

Clare, 414 

Clareen, 414 

Claregalway, 414 

Clarehill, ". 414 

ClarkiU 414 

Clash ; Clais^ a trench. 


Index of Names. 


Clashanaffi-in, . . . . 113 

Claslianiskera, .... 389 
ClashdufF; black trench. 
Clashganniff, Clashganniv, 

Clashganny; sand pit. 
Clashmore ; great trench, 

Clawinch, 31 

Cleenish, 428 

Cleggan; see Claargan. 

Cleghile, . . r . . . Ill 

Cleighran, 402 

Cleraun, 402 

Clerhaun, 402 

Clerragh, 402 

CleiTan 402 

Clifden, 52 

CHffsofMoher, .... 287 

Clinty, 226 

Clintycracken, . . . 226 

Clogh, 398 

Cloghan, 351 

Cloghanaskaw, . . . . 351 

Cloghane, 351 

Cloghanenagleragh, . . . 352 

Clogharinka, . . . . , 204 

Cloghastookeen, .... 395 

Cloghaun, 351 

Cloghaunnatinny, . . . 208 

Cloghbally, 398 

Cloghboley, 398 

Cloghboola, 398 

Cloghbrack ; speckled stone. 
Cloghcor ; rough stone. 

Clogheen, 399 

Clogher, 400 

Cloghera, 402 

Clogherane, 402 

Clogherbrien ; Braen's 

stony place. 

Cloghereen, 402 

Cloghermore ; great stony 


Cloghernagh, 402 

Clogherny, 402 

Cloghfin; white stone or 

stone castle. 


Cloghineely, 156 

Cloghleafin, 479 

Cloghnagalt, 166 

Cloghoge, 399 

Cloghogle, 330 

Cloghpook, 183 

Cloghran, 402 

Cloghtogle, 330 

Cloghvally, 398 

Cloghvoley, 398 

Cloghroola, Cloghvoolia, . 399 

Cloghvoula, 399 

Cloghy ; a stony place. 

Clogrennan, . . . . . 281 

Clohecn, 399 

Clohernagh, 402 

Clohoge, 399 

Clomantagh, 399 

Clomoney, 399 

Clonad ; long meadow. 

Clonagb, 458 

Clonallan, 225 

Clonal vy, 242 

Clonamery, 381 

Clonard, ... . 224, 225 

Clonamey, 500 

Clonaslee, 858 

Clonbeg ; little meadow. 

Clonbrock, 467 

Clonbrone, 363 

Cloncon, 464 

Cloncoohy, 471 

Cloncose, 424 

Cloncough, 471 

Cloncouse, 424 

Cloncrew in Liuicrick ; 
Cluain - creamha, wild 
garlick meadow. 
CloncuUen ; holly meadow. 

Cloncurry, 10 

Clondagad 249 

Clondalee, 249 

Clondalkin ; Chiain-Dolcain, 
Dolcan's meadow. 

ClondaUow, 186 

Clondarragh, 485 

Index of Names. 



Clonderalaw, 378 

Clondougias ; the meadow 

of the black stream. 

Clondiiff, 457 

Clone ; Cluain, a meadow. 
Cloneen ; little meadow. 

Clonegall, 93 

Clonelty, 461 

Clonenagh, 503 

Clones, 224 

Clonfad, Clonfadda ; long 

Clonfeacle ; Cluain - Jiacla 

(Book ofL.), the meadow 

of the tooth, 

Clonfert, 142 

Clongall, 93 

ClongiU, 93 

Clongowes, . . . . . 214 

Cloniff, 457 

Clonkeen, 226 

Clonlea, 455 

Clonleigh, 455 

Clonliff; Cliiain-luibh, the 

meadow of the herbs. 
Clonmacnoise, .... 69 
Clonmeen ; smooth meadow. 
Clonmel, .... 225, 22G 

Clonmellon, 225 

Clonmelsh ; sweet meadow. 
Clonmore ; great meadow. 

Clonmiillin, 363 

Clonmult, 226 

Clonoghil, 493 

Clononey in King's Co. ; 

Cluain - Damhna (Four 

Mast.), Damhan's or Ba- 
vin's meadow. 
Clonoulty in Tipperary ; 

the Ulstennan's meadow. 
Clonroad, .... 259, 427 
Clonroosk ; the meadow of 

the marsh. 
Clonshire ; western meadow. 
Clonsilla ; Cluain-saileach, 

the meadow of sallows. 


Clonskeagh, 500 

Clontarf, 456 

Clontibret, 437 

Clontinteen, 209 

Clontinty, 208 

Clontui'k ; the boar's meadow. 
Clontuskert ; see p. 226. 

Clonty, 226 

Clontycoe, Clontycoo, . . 472 

Clonuff, 457 

Glonygowan, 455 

Clonyhurk, 248 

Cloon, 223 

Cloonacaltry, 305 

Cloonaff, 458 

Cloonagh, 457 

Cloonard, 225 

Cloonascoffagh, .... 53 

Cloonatreane, .... 470 

Cloonawillen, .... 363 
Cloonbeg ; little meadow. 

Cloonbrock, 467 

Cloonbrone, 363 

Cloonbiirren, 405 

Clooncah ; battle meadow. 

Clooncon, 464 

Clooncoose, 423 

Clooncose, 423 

Clooncous, 424 

Clooncraff; Cluain-creamha 
(Four Mast.), wild gar- 
lick meadow. 
Clooncunna, Clooncunnig, 
Clooncunny ; the meadow 
of the firewood. 

Cloondaff, . 
Cloonee ; meadow land 
Clooneen, . . . . 



528 Index 

C^»^^* - PAGE 

Cloonelt, 461 

Clooney ; see Cloonee. 
Cloonfad ; long meadow. 
Clooniinlougli ; the meadow 

of the clear lake. 

Cloongowan, 214 

Clooniff, 457 

Cloonkeen, 226 

Cloonlara 459 

Cloonlaughil, 491 

Cloonlee ; see Clonlea. 

Cloonlogher, 226 

Cloonmore ; great meadow. 

CloonmuUin, 363 

Cloonnafiuneela, . . . • HI 

Cloonnagashel, .... 22 
Cloonnameeltoge, . 453, note. 

Cloonoghill, 493 

Cloonrollagh, . . . • 488 
Cloonshannagh, Cloonshin- 

nagh ; fox-meadow. 

Cloonshee, 179 

Cloonsillagh ; the meadow 

of the sallows. 

Cloonskeagh, 600 

Cloontabonniv, .... 226 

Cloontakilla, 226 

CloontakiUew, .... 226 

Cloontarriff, Cloontarriv, . 456 

Cloonteen, 226 

Cloonties, .... 33,226 
Cloontubbrid ; the meadow 

of the well. 
Cloonturk ; boar's meadow. 

Cloontuskert, . . . • 226 

Cloonty, 33, 226 

Cloontycommade, . . . 206 

Cloran, 402 

Clorane, 402 

Clorhane, Clorhaun, . . 402 

Clorusk, 399 

Clough, 398 

Cloverhill, 35 

Cloyne, 424 

Clyduff, 31 

Colehill, 496 

of Names. 


Coleraine, Colerain, . . .512 

Collon, 496 

Colp, 158 

Comber, 59 

Commaun, 419 

Commeen, 419 

Coney keare, 465 

Conicar, Conieker, . . . 465 

Conigar, 465 

ConUg, 464 

Connaught, 75 

Connello, 131 

Connemara, 121 

Connigar, 465 

Connigare, 465 

Connor, 464 

Conva, 464 

Convoy, 464 

ConwaU, 25 

Cooga, 235 

Coogaquid, 235 

Coogue, 235 

Coolattin, 501 

Coolavehy, 489 

Coolavin, 121 

Coolballow, 338 

Coolbally, 338 

Coolballyogan, .... 338 

Coolballyshane, .... 338 

Coolbanagher, .... 372 
Coolcashin ; Cuil-caissine, 

C ashen' s corner. 
Coolbane, Coolbaun ; white 

back, or white corner. 
Coolboy ; yellow back or 


Coolcronoge, 288 

Cooldao, 243 

Coolderry ; back oak-wood. 
Coole ; a corner or a back. 
Cooleen ; little corner. 
Coleeny ; little corners. 
Cooleeshal, Coolishal; low 


Cooley hills, 159 

Coolfree, 502 

Index of Names. 



Coolgreany ; sunny corner 

or back. 

CoolliiU, 40 

Coolkeenaght, .... 129 
Coolkill ; back wood. 

Coolmountain, .... 40 

Coolnabrone 363 

Coolnacart, 214 

Coolnacartan, 215 

Coolnagro^rer, .... 472 

Coolnagun, 464 

Coolnahincli, 428 

Coolnanav, 457 

Coolnanoglagh, . . . . 202 

Coolnashinnagb, .... 466 

Coolnashinny, .... 466 
Coolnasmear ; the corner of 

the blackberries. 
Coolock, Coologe ; cuUg, 

little corner. 

Coolrahnee, 512 

Coolrain, Coolraine, . . 612 

Coolrainey, 512 

Coolroe ; red corner or back. 

Coom, 418 

Coomacheo, 419 

Coomadavallig lake, . . 245 

Coombe in Dublin, . . . 418 

Coomdeeween, .... 203 

Coomnagoppul at Killarney, 418 

Coomnagun, 419 

Coomnahorna, .... 419 

Coomyduff near Killarney, 68 

Coos, 423 

Coosan, 424 

Coosane, Coosaun, . . . 424 

Coose, 423 

Coosheen, 424 

Cooslughoga, 423 

Cor, Corr, 384 

Coracow, 241 

Corballis ; odd-town. 
Corbally ; odd-town. 

Corbeagli, 384 

Corcagban, 447 

Corcashy, 447 



Corcobaskin, 126 

Corcomobide, 116 

Corconu-oe, barony of, . . 121 

Corcrain, 481 

Corcreevy ; branchy hill. 

Cordalea, 250 

Cordangan ; fortified hill. 
Cordarragh ; hill of the oak. 
C or duff ; black round -hill. 
Corgarve ; rough round-hill. 
Corglass ; green round-hill. 

Corhawnagh, 222 

Corhawny, 222 

Corhelshinagh, .... 209 
Corick ; meeting of rivers. 

Cork, 446 

Corkagh, 446 

Corkaguiny, barony of, . 126 

Corkaree, barony of, . . 128 

Corkashy, 447 

Corkeeran, 384 

Corkey, 446 

Corkish, 447 

Corlatt, 326 

Corlea ; grey round hill. 

Corlough, 470 

Cormeen ; smooth hill. 

Cornabaste, 22 

Cornacreeve ; the round 
hill of the branchy tree. 

Cornadarum, 244 

Cornagee, Cornageeha, . . 384 

Comahoe, 425 

Cornahoova, 425 

Cornahove, 425 

Cornakessagh, .... 350 

Cornmucklagh, . . . . 462 

Cornasleehan, .... 358 

Cornaveagh, 384 

Corrabofin, 161 

Corracramph; the round- 
hill of the wild garlick. 

Corradeverrid, . . . . 244 

Corradoo, 325 

Corradooa, 325 

Corradooey, 325 



Index of Names. 


Corraffrin, ,...•• 113 

Corragunt, 266 

Corrahoash, 424 

Corrakeeran ; the round 
hill of the quicken trees. 
Corratoher ; the round- 
hill of the well. 

Corraweehil, 449 

Corray, 265 

Correen, 384 

Correenfeeradda, . . . . 384 

Corrinenty, . . . • • 254 
Corrinshigo, Corrinshigagh ; 
the hill of the ash trees. 

Corrofin, 354 

Corrog, Corroge, . . . . 384 
Corskeagh ; the roiind-hill 

of the white thorns. 

Coshhride harony, . . . 609 

Coshlea harony, .... 509 

Coshma barony, .... 509 

Coshquin, 609 

Cossaun, ...>.. 360 

Coumanare, Ill 

Coumaniller on Keeper-hill. 468 
Coumshingane, . 453, note. 

Cozies, 423 

Craan, Craane, '. - . . 407 

Crag, 396 

Craggy kerrivan, . . . . 397 

Craglea, 189 

Craig, 396, 397 

Craigatempin, . . . . 390 

Craigatuke, 468 

Craigavad, 397 

Craigmore ; great rock. 

Cran, 481 

Cranacrower, 481 

Crancam, 481 

Crandaniel, 481 

Crane, 407 

Cranfield, 39 

Cranlome, 481 

Crann, Crannagh, . . . 481 

Crannaghtown, .... 37 

Crannoge, 288 


Crannogeboy, .... 288 

Crannoge island, . . . 288 
Cranny ; same as Crannagh. 

Crappagh, 386 

Cratlie, 367 

Cratloe ; saUow wood. 
Craughwell ; Creamh-c?ioill, 

wild garlick wood. 

Crecora, 483 

Creevagh, .... 436, 484 

Creevary, 484 

Creeve, 483 

Creeveroe, 86 

Creevery, 484 

Creevy, 484 

Creg, 396, 397 

Cregduff ; black rock. 

Gregg, 397 

Creggan, 398 

Creggane, Creggaun, . . 398 

Cremome barony, . . . 131 

Crew, 483 

CrewhiU, 483 

Crickaun, 369 

Crickeen, 369 

Crimlin, 416 

Crinkill ; withered wood. 

Crippaun, 386 

Crit, 385 

Croagh, 374 

Croaghan, Croaghaun, . . 376 

Croaghpatrick, .... 190 
Croaghrim ; Cruach-dhruim, 

round ridge. 

Crockac apple, .... 369 

Crockada, 242 

Crockanure, 369 

Crockatanty, 292 

Crockaun, Crockeen, . . 369 

Crocknagapple, .... 369 

Crockshane, 369 

Crogh, 374 

Croghan, Croghanhill, . . 375 

Crohane, 51, 375 

Cromaglan, Cromagloun, . 417 
Cromkill ; stooping wood. 

Index of Names. 



Cromlin, 416 

Cromwell, 40 

Cronoge, 288 

Crosh, 316 

Crosheen, 316 

Cross, 315 

Crossakeel; slender crosses. 

Crossan, Crossane, Crossaun, 316 
Crossard ; high cross. 

Crossboyne, 145 

Crossderry ; cross or trans- 
verse oak-wood. 

Crosserlongh, 315 

Crossery, 316 

Crossfarnoge, 316 

Crossgar, 316 

Crossmacrin, 481 

Crossmaglen ; Cros - meg - 
Fhloinn, the cross of 
Flann's son. 

Crossmolina, 315 

Crossoge, 316 

Crossreagh ; grey cross. 

Crotlie, 367 

Crott, 385 

Crotta, 385 

Crottan, 385 

Crottees, 385 

Cruagh, 375 

Cruit, 385 

Crumlin, 416 

Crusheen, 316 

Crusheeny, 316 

Crushybracken, . . . . 316 

Crussera, 316 

Crutt, 385 

Crutta, 385 

Cuilbeg ; little wood. 
Cuilleen ; little wood. 

Cuilleendaeagh, .... 247 
Cuilmore ; great wood. 

Cuilsheeghary, .... 179 

Cuiltybo, 475 

Culdaff; Culdahhach [Cul- 
davagh], the back of the 
flax-dam or pool. 



Culfeightrin, 29 

CuUahill, 40, 496 

Cullan, CuUane, CuUaun, , 496 

Culleen, 475 

Cullen, 495 

Cullenagh, 495 

CuUentra, Cullentragh, . 495 
Cullen waine; Cuil-0-nLnbh- 
ain (Four IMast.), the cor- 
ner of the O'Duanes. 

Cullion, 495 

Cully, 476 

Cullycapple, 476 

Culmullen ; the angle of 
the mill. 

Cumber, 69 

Cummeen, 419 

Cunnagavale, 25 

Cunnaker, Cunnicar, . . 465 

Cunnigar, Cunnigare, . . 465 

Curkeen, 447 

Curkin, 447 

Curkish, 447 

Curra, 447 

Currabaha, Currabeha, . 447 

Curragh, 447 

Curraghanearla ; the earl's 

Curraghbeg ; little marsh. 
Curraghboy ; yellow marsh. 

Curraghbridge, .... 37 
Curraghduff ; black marsh. 
Curraghglass ; green marsh. 
Curraghlahan, Curraghlane ; 

broad marsh. 

Curraghmore, .... 447 

Curragh of Kildare, . . 447 

Curraghnadimpaun, . . 390 

Curraheen, 447 

Curran near Larne, . . . 393 

Curreen, 447 

Currin, 447 

Curry, 447 

Cush, 508 

Cushendall, 509 

Cushendun, 508 



Index of Names. 


Cuss, 508 

Cussafoor, 28 

Cussan, Cussana, . . . 360 
Cutteen ; a commonage. 

Daar river, 484 

Daars, 33 

DadreeB, 243 

Dalaradia, 95 

Dalkey Island, . . 101, 107 

Dalriada, 83 

Damma, 243 

Dangan, 295 

Dangandargan ; Dargan's 


Darragh, 485 

Darraragh, 487 

Darrary, Darrery, . . . 487 

Davillaun, 43 

Dawross, Dawros head, . 456 

Decomet, 207 

Deechomade, 207 

Deehommed, .... 207 
Deelis, Deelish ; Duibhlios, 

black fort. 
Deenish ; same as Dinish. 

Dehomad, 207 

DelviUe, 440 

Delvin, 130 

Derdaoil or Dariel, . . . 242 

Derinch, Derinish, . . . 484 

Dark, 423 

Derlett, 325 

Dernagree, . . . . . 485 

Dernish, 484 

Derrada, Derradd, . . . 486 
Derragh ; a place of oaks. 

Derrane, 487 

Derreen, 487 

Derreenataggart, . . . 487 

Derreens, 33 

Berries ; oak \roods. 
Derrin ; little oak wood. 

Derrindiff, 457 

Dcrrinlaur in "Waterford, . 485 

Derry, 485 


Derryad, Derryadda, . . 486 
Derry alien ; beautiful oak- 
Derry bane, Derrybawn, . 485 
Derry beg ; little oak-wood. 

Derrycaw, 410 

Derrycoogh, . . . • . 471 

Derrycreevy, 484 

Derry dampb, .... 60 
Derry dorr agb, Derrydor- 

ragby; dark oak-wood. 
Derryduff ; black oak- 

Derryfadda, 486 

Derrygarriff, Derry gar- 
riv, Derrygarve ; rugged 

Derrygraney, 323 

Derrybaw, 110 

Derry ha wlagh, . . . . 155 
Derrybillagb ; the oak-wood 

abounding in sallows. 
Derrybirk; the oak-wood 

of the boar. 
DeiTyhowlaght, . . . . 155 
Derrykeadgi'an, . . . 254 
DeiTykeighan, .... 485 
Derrylahan, Derrylane, . 485 

Derrylahard, 373 

Derry lard, 374 

Derrylea : grey oak-wood. 
Derrymore ; great oak-wood. 
Derrynacaheragh, . . . 275 
Derrynahinch ; the oak-wood 

of the river meadow 
Derry nafeana, 

Derry nanaff, . 
Derrynaned, . 
Derrynanool, . 
Derrynaseer, . 
Derryness in 

Donegal ; 



Doir-inis, oak-island, 

Index of Names, 



Deny vullan ; Boire-Mael- 
ain (Four Mast.), Mael- 
an's oak-wood. 
Derry willow, . . . . 339 

Derrywinny, 8 

Desert, 312 

Desertcreat, 244 

Desertegny; Egnagh's her- 
Desertmartia, . . . . 313 
Desertoghill ; the hermitage 
of the yew wood. 

Desertserges, 313 

Deune castle, .... 192 

Devenish, 456 

Devil's bit mountain, . . 420 

Devlin, 351 

Diamor in Meath ; Biamar 
(Dinn), a solitude. 

Dian, 296 

Dingin, 295 

Dinginavanty, . . .295 

Dingle, 295 

Dinish, Buibh-inis, black 

Dinn Righ, 88 

Dirk, 423 

Disert 312 

Doe, The, in Donegal, . . 118 
Dog, Big, and Little, . . 248 

Donabate, 217 

Donacarney ; see Donny- 

Donagh, .... 243, 307 

Donaghanie, 307 

Donaghcloney in Down ; 
Bomknach-chluana, the 
church of the meadow. 
Donaghcumper in Kildare ; 
the chiu-ch of the cum- 
mer or confluence. 
Donaghedy in Tyrone ; 
Bomhnach-chaeide, Kee- 
dy's or Caidoc's church. 
St. Caidoc, a companion 
of St. Columbanus. 


Donaghmore, . . . .307 

Donaghmoyne, ... . 307 
Donard ; high dim or fort. 

Donegal, 92 

Doneraile, 268 

Donnybrook ; Bomhnach- 

Broc, St. Broc's Church. 

Donnycarney, .... 308 

Donohill, 493 

Donore ; Bun-iibhair (Four 

Mast.), the fort of pride. 

Dooey, 325 

Doogary ; Bubh-dhoire, black 


Dooghcloon, 456 

Doogort ; black field. 

Doohallat, Doohamlat, . . 155 
Dooletter ; black hill-side. 

Doolin, 351 

Doon, 267 

Doonally, 269 

Doonan, Doonane, . . . 270 

Doonans, 270 

Doonard ; high fort. 

Doonass, 444 

Doonbeg ; small fort. 

Dooncaha, 110 

Doondonnell ; Donall's fort. 

Dooneen, Dooneens, . . 270 
Doonfeeny ; Finna's fort. 

Doonisky, 272 

Doonooney ; Una's fort. 

Dorrery, 487 

Doughcloyne, 456 

Doughloon, 456 

Douglas, 440 

Dowling, 351 

Down, 270 

Downamona, 270 

Downeen, 270 

Downing, 270 

Downings, 270 

Downpatrick, . . . 249, 269 

Downs, 270 

Drain, Drains, .... 499 

Dreen, 499 


Index of Names. 


Dreenagh, 499 

Dreenan, Dreenaan, . . 499 

Drehid, 356 

Drehidtarsna, . . . . 356 

Dressoge, Dressogagh ; a 

briary or branchy place. 

Drestemagh, Drester an, 

Dristernan ; same as 


Drimagb, 506 

Drimeen, Drimmeen, . . 506 

Drimna, 607 

Drimnagh, 507 

Drinagh, 499 

Drinaghan, 499 

Drinan, 499 

Drinane, Drinaun, . . . 499 

Driny, 499 

Drishaghaiin; same as Dres- 
Drishane ; same as Dressoge. 
Drisboge ; same as Dressoge. 

Drogbed, 356 

Drogbeda, 355 

Drom, 506 

Dromacummer, Dromcum- 
mer; the ridge of tbe 
river- confluence. 
Dromada, Dromadda, . . 506 

Dromagb, 606 

Dromaleague, .... 248 
Dromard ; bigb ridge. 
Drombeg ; small ridge. 
Drombofinny, . . . . 161 
Dromcolliber, .... 49 
Dromdaleague, .... 243 

Dromeen, 506 

Dromgarriff ; rough ridge. 

Dromin, 506 

Drominacreen, .... 481 
Dromina, Drominagh; see p. 507 

Dromineer, 443 

Dromkeen ; beautiful ridge. 

Drommoher, 287 

Dromnagh, 507 

Dr omore ; great ridge. 


Dromtrasna ; cross-ridge. 

Drum, 500 

Drumaa, 343 

Drumacrittin, Drumacruttin, 385 
Drumad ; long ridge. 
Drumadoon ; the ridge of 

tbe fort. 
Drumadrehid, . . . . 356 

Drumadried, 356 

Drumagb, 506 

Drumahaire, . . . 187, 249 

Drumaheglis, . . . . 305 






Drumanure; yew-ridge. 

Drumany ; ridges or ridged 


Drumar, Ill 

Drumard ; high ridge. 
Drumarraght, .... 
Drumasbellig, .... 
Drumatemple ; the ridge of 

the church. 
Drumballyroney ; the ridge 

of O'Rooney's town. 
Drumbanagher, .... 
Drumbane, Drumbaun ; 

white ridge. 

Drumbarnet, 420 

Drumbeg ; small ridge. 
Drumbo, Drumboe, . . . 454 
Drumbrugbas, .... 278 
Drumcanon; the ridge of 

the white-faced cow. 

Drumcar, 354 

Drumcaw, 244 

Drumcliff in Sligo ; Druim- 

chliabh (Four Mast.); the 

ridge of the baskets. 
Drumcolumb; St. Colum- 

ba's ridge. 
Drumcondra ; Conra's ridge. 
Drumcovet, 206 




Index of Names. 



Drumcrin ; the ridge of the 

Drumcroohen, .... 95 
Drumcroon, . . . . . 95 
Drumcrow; the ridge of 

the cattle sheds. 
Drumcullen, Druracullion, 495 
Drumdeeveen, .... 203 

Drumdeevin, 203 

Drumderaown, . . . . 241 
Drumderg ; red ridge. 
Drumdirao-wen, .... 241 
Dnimduff; hlack ridge. 
Drumderalena, . . . . 242 
Drumederglass, .... 242 

Drumfad, 606 

Drumgallan, 331 

Drumgil ; the ridge of the 

Gall, or foreigner. 
Drumgonnelly, .... 55 

Drumgoose, 424 

Drumgose, 424 

Drumgow^na, Drumgow- 

nagh ; the ridge of the 


Drumhalry, 119 

Drumhaman, 196 

Drumharriff, 456 

Drumhawan, 196 

Drumherriff, 456 

DrumhiUagh, 21 

Drumhirk, 463 

Drumhome, 14 

Drumhuskert, .... 21 

Drumillard, 468 

Drumiller, 468 

Drumina, 507 

Drumkeen ; beautiful ridge. 

Drumkeeran, 495 

Drumlamph, 491 

Drurolane ; Druim-Ieathan 

(Four Mast.), broad ridge. 
Drumlease ; Drum-lias, the 

ridge of the huts. 

DruEoleevan, 490 

Drumline ; flax ridge. 


Drumlish, ...... 262 

Drumlougher ; rushy ridge. 

Drumman, Drummans, . 506 
Drummany ; see Drumany. 

Drummeen, 506 

Drummin, 506 

Drummoher, 287 

Drummond, 507 

Drummuck, 18 

Drummully ; the ridge of 

the summit. 

Drumnacarra, .... 331 

Drumnacooha, .... 471 
Drumnacross ; the ridge of 

the cross. 

Drumnafinnela, . . . . Ill 

Drumnagah, 110 

Drumnaheark, .... 205 

Drumnahoe, 425 

Drumnahunshin ; the ridge 

of the ash. 

Drumnanaliv, . . . . 186 

Drumnascamph, .... 60 

Drumnashaloge, .... 204 

Drumnasole, 209 

Drumneen ; little ridge. 

Drumneth, 473 

Drumnid, 473 

DrumquLu ; Con's ridge. 

Drumragh, 265 

Drumraine, Drumraney ; 

ferny ridge. 

Drumralla, 488 

Drumreagh ; grey ridge. 
Drumroe ; red ridge. 

Drumroosk, Drumrusk, . 3 

Drumsamney, . . ^ . • 196 

Drumsastry, 232 

Drumsaul, 108 

Drumsawna, 196 

Drumshallon, . . . . 212 

Drumshanbo, .... 293 

Drumsheaver, . . . . 183 

DrumsHlagh, 21 

Prumsna, 353 

Drumsnauv, 353 


Index of Names. 


Drumsum ; the ridge of 

the furnace. 

Drumurcher, 161 

Duagh In Kerry ; Lubh-ath, 

black ford ; from a ford 

on the Feale. 

Duarrigle, 308 

Dublin, 75, 350 

Dulierin barony, . . . 233 

Duhallow, 410 

Dulane, 64 

Duleek in Meath ; Daimh- 

liag (O'C. Cal.), stone 

house or church. 

Dullowbush, 186 

Dunaghy, 268 

Dunamase, 268 

Dunamon, 267 

Dunboe, 454 

Dunboyne, 145 

Duncannon; Conan's fort. 
Duncla near Granard, . . 266 
Duncormick ; Cormac's for- 
Duncriffan at Howth, . . 335 

Duncrun, 95 

Dundalk, 267 

Dundareirke, 245 

Dundaryark, 245 

Dunderk, 423 

Dundermot ; Diarmad's fort. 

Dunderrow, 14 

Dundonald, 267 

Dundonnell, 267 

Dundrum, ...... 269 

Duneane, 246 

Duneight, 268 

Dunfanaghy ; Dun-Fionn- 

chon, Finnchu's fort. 

Dungall, 93 

Dungannon in Tyrone ; 

Dtin - Geanainn (Four 

Mast.), Geanan's fort. 

Dungarvan, 18 

Dunglow, 352 

Dunhill, 269 


Dunisky, 272 

Dunkineely in Donegal ; 
Dun-mhic- Chionnfhael- 
aidh, Mackineely's fort. 
Dunkit ; Ceat's fortress. 

Dunleary, 133 

Dunleer, 311 

Dunlewy ; Lughaidh's fort. 

Dunluce, 266 

Dunmanway, .... 871 
Dunmore ; great fort. 

Dunmore cave, .... 423 
Dunmoylan ; Moylan's fort. 

Dunmoyle, 382 

Dunmurry ; Bun-Muireadh- 
aigh., Murray's fort. 

Dunnalong, 216 

Dunnaman, 371 

Dunnamark, 216 

Dunnavenny, 371 

Dunquin in Kerry ; Duncaein 
(Four Mast.), beautiful fort. 

Dunseverick, 286 

Dunshanghlin, .... 307 

Duntinny, 208 

Duntryleague, .... 252 

Durha, 14 

Durless, 263 

Durnish, 484 

Durra, 14 

Durrow, 13 

Dyan, 296 

Dysart, 312 

Dysartenos, 152 

Dysert, 812 

Eantybeg, Eantymore, . 198 

Eany river in Donegal, . 603 
Easky in Sligo ; from the 
river : — lascach, fishy. 

Eden, 504 

Edenagor, 470 

Edenamohill, 202 

Edenderry, 504 

Edendurk, 463 

Edentiroory in Down, . . 292 

Index of Names. 



Edentrillick near Dromore, 253 

Ederdacxuragh, .... 242 

Ederdaglass, 242 

Edergole, Edergoole, . . 510 
Edemish ; central island. 

Ednashanlaght, .... 505 

Ednego, .214 

Effrinagh, 114 

Eglish, 305 

Eighter, lower. 
Eighterard; lower height. 

Elagh, 283 

Elaghbeg, Elaghmore, . . 282 

Eliogarty, 130 

EUagh, 283 

Elphin, 109 

Ely, , 130 

Emania, palace of, . . . 84 

Emlagh, .... 109, 449 

Emly, 449 

Emlygrennan, .... 483 

Enagh, 197 

Ennereilly, 443 

Ennis, 427 

Ennisboyne, 145 

Enniskeen, 428 

Enniskerry, 348 

Enniskillen, 156 

Ennistimon, 428 

Errigal, 149, 308 

Errigal Keerogue, . . . 308 

Errigal Trough, .... 308 

Esk, 432 

Eskaheen, 432 

Eskenacartan, .... 432 

Esker, 388 

Eskeragh, 389 

Esker Eiada, 389 

Esknamucky, 432 

Eskragh, 389 

Ess waterfall, 444 

Essan, Essaun, .... 445 

Estersnow, 313 

Faddan, 443 

Faes of Athlone, . . . . 477 


Faha, 285 

Fahan, 28, 286 

Fahanasoodry, .... 286 

Fahane, 286 

Faheens, 286 

Faheeran, 286 

Fahy, 285 

Fahykeen, 286 

Faiafannan, 286 

Falleendatha, 395 

Eardrum, 56 

Fargrim, 55 

Farnagh, 497 

Farnaght, 387 

Famahoe, 425 

Farnamurray, 8 

Famane, 497 

Famey, 497 

Famoge, 497 

Farra, 199 

Farragh, 199 

Farraghroe, 199 

Farranacardy, .... 215 

Farranholey, 230 

Farranseer, . . . ... 215 

Farrow, 199 

Farsetmore, 349 

Fareid, 348 

Farta, ....... 333 

Fartagh, 333 

Fartha, 333 

Fary, 199 

Fasagh, 478 

Fassadinin, 478 

Fassagh, 478 

Fassaroe, 478 

Feagh, 477 

Feale river, 159 

Fearmore; great grass or 
grassy place. 

Fedany, 443 

Feddan, 443 

Feeagh, 477 

Feeard, 476 

Feebane, 476 

Feebeg, 476 


Index of Names, 


Feemore, 476 

Feenagh, 477 

Feenisli, 476 

Feevagh, 477 

Feigh, 286 

Feighcullen, 476 

Feltrim, 465 

Fenagh, 477 

Fennor ; Finnabhair (Four 
Mast.), wliite field. 

Fermanagh, 125 

Fermoy, 118 

Fermoyle, 384 

Femagh, 497 

Ferney, 497 

Ferns, 497 

Ferrard, 129 

Ferta, 333 

Fertagh, 333 

Fethard, 476 

Fews, 476, 477 

Fiddan, Fiddane, Fiddaun, 443 

Fiddaunnageeroge, . . . 443 

Fiddown, 476 

Fidorfe, 52 

Fihoges, 287 

Findrum, 30 

FingaU, 92 

Finglas ; clear stream. 

Finish, 476 

Finisk, 42 

FinHff, 866 

Finn river and lake, . . 167 

Finnahy, 30 

Finnea, 343 

Finnis, 476 

Finnow stream, .... 439 

Fintona, 43 

Foildufi', 28 

Foilnaman, 395 

Foilycleara, 395 

Foorkill, 61 

Forenaglits, 387 

Formal, 384 

Formil, 384 

Formoyle, 384 


Formweel, 384 

Fornaght, 387 

Forramoyle, 199 

Forth baronies, . . . . 126 

Foy, Foyagh, .... 286 

Foybeg, 286 

Foyduff, 286 

Foyfin, 286 

Foygh, 286 

Foyle, 395 

Foylatalure, 28 

Foymore, 286 

Foyoges, 287 

Freagh, 501 

Freaghduff, 501 

FreaghiLlaun, 501 

Freaghmore, 501 

Freahanes, 502 

Freeduff, 501 

Freffans, 502 

Frehans, 502 

Freshford, 36 

Freugh, 501 

Freughmore, 501 

Fuarchosach, 28 

Funcheon river, .... 488 

Funshin, Fiinshinagh, . . 488 

Funshoge, 488 

Furrow, 199 

Fyagh, 286 

Gairha, 480 

Galbally, 9.3 

Galboley, 94 

Galboola, Galbooly, ... 94 

GaUagh, 331 

Gallan, 331 

Gallane, Gallanes, ... 331 

GallavaUy, 93 

Gallen, 129 

Gallon, 236 

Gallonnamraher, . . . . 236 

GaUow, 332 

Galtrim, 498 

Galvally, 93 

Galwally, 93 

Index of Names. 


Galwolie, .... 


. . 94 

Gardi'um, .... 

. . 55 

Gargrim, .... 

. . 55 

GarnaTilla near Caher, 

. . 482 

Garracloon ; rough meadow. 

Garran, Garrane, . . 

. . 480 

Garranamanagh, . . 

. . 480 

Garranbane, Garranbaun ; 

white shrubbery. 

Garranekinnefeake, . 

. . 480 

Garranes ; shrubberies. 

Garranmore ; great shrubbery. 

Garraun, .... 

. . 480 

Garrisker, .... 

. . 389 


. . 220 

Garryard ; high garden. 

Garrycastle, , . . 

. . 220 

Garry duff; black garder 

Garrymore ; great garden. 

Garry wen, . . , 

. . 220 

Garrysallagh, . . . 

. . 220 

Garryspellane ; Spillane's 


Garryvicleheen, . . 

. 220 


. 221 

Garvagh ; rough land. 

Garvaghy ; rough field. 

Garvary ; rough land. 

Gaulstown, .... 

. 93 

Gay island, . . . 

. 471 

Gearagh, Gearha, . . 

. . 480 

Gearhameen river, . 

. 480 

Geeragh, .... 

. 480 

Giant's Causeway, . 

. 157 

Girly in Meath ; Grea 


lack, a miry place. 

Glack; a hollow. 

Glanatnaw, . . . 

. 353 

Glanbehy ; birchy glen 

Glandaeagh, . . . 

. 247 

Glandine, .... 

. 415 

Glandore, .... 

. 188 

Glanmire near Cork, 

. 415 

Glannagalt in Kerry, 

. 165 


. 493 

Glantane, Glantaun, 

. 416 


Glanworth, 440 

Glascloon ; green meadow. 
Glasdrumman, Glasdrum- 
mond ; green ridge. 

Glashaboy, 440 

Glashare, Ill 

Glashawee, 440 

Glasheen, Glasheena, . . 441 

Glasheenaulin, .... 441 

Glashina, 411 

Glasmullagh ; green summit. 

Glasnevin, 440 

Glassan ; a green place. 

Glassavullaun, . . . . 380 

Glasthule, 440 

Glen, 415 

Glenacroghery, . . . . 212 

Glenagarey in Co. Dublin, 457 

Glenagower, 459 

Glenanaffrin, 114 

Glenanair in Limerick, . Ill 

Glenasmole, 472 

Glenavy, 311 

Glenbane ; white glen. 
Glenbeg ; little glen. 

Glencar, 330 

Glencovet, 206 

Glencullen ; holly glen. 

Glendaduff, 250 

Glendahork, 248 

Glendalough, 244 

Glendavagh, 244 

Glendavock, 248 

Glendavoolagh, .... 243 

Glendine 415 

Glendowan mountains, . 415 
Glenduff ; black glen. 

Gleneany in Donegal, . . 503 

Glenfada-na-sealga, . . 416 

Glenfarne, 497 

Glengarriff ; rugged glen. 

Glenglush, 440 

Gleninagh ; the ivy glen. 

Glenish, 461 

Gleenkeen ; beautiful glen. 

Glenlevan, 490 


Index of Names. 


Glenmore ; great glen. 

Glenmullion, 415 

Glennageeragh, .... 457 

Glennagross, 415 

Glennahaglish, .... 305 

Glennahoo, 425 

Glennahulla, 327 

Glenamaddy, 415 

Glennan, 416 

Glennanog, 202 

Glennasheevar, .... 183 

Glennaun, 416 

Glennawoo, 187 

Glennoo, 425 

Gleno, 493 

Glenofaush, 159 

Glen of the Downs. . . 270 
Glenogra ; Ogi-a's glen. 

Glenosheen in Limerick, . 87 

Glenquin, . . ... 50 
Glenreagh, Glenrevagh ; 

grey glen. 
Glenroe ; red glen. 

Gienscoheen, 159 

Glensmoil, 472 

Glensoushka in Kerry, . 160 

Glentane, Glentaun, . . 416 

Glenties in Donegal, . . 416 

Glenwhirry in Antrim, . 51 

Glin, 398, 415 

Glynn, 415 

Gneeve, Gneeves, . . . 235 

Gola, • . 510 

Golan, 510 

Golden in Tipperary, . . 511 

Gole, 510 

Goleen, 510 

Gort, 220, 221 

Gortaganniff, Gortaganny , 220,221 

Gortahar, 406 

Gortahork, Gortachurk ; the 

field of the oats. 

Gortalassa 2 62 

Gortananny, 446 

Gortanure, 221 

Gortayella, Gortavilly, . . 482 


Gortbofinna, 161 

Gortboy : yellow field. 
Gortbrack ; speckled field. 

Gorteen, , 221 

Gortfad, Gortfadda ; long 

Gortgranagh ; grain field. 

Gortia, 221 

Gortinagin, 213 

Gortinlieve, 366 

Gortinure, 493 

Gortmarrahafineen, ... 112 

Gortmillish, 220 

Gortmore ; great field. 

Gortnaboul, 22 

Gortnadiha , Gortnadihy ; 

the field of the caldron 

or hollow. 
Gortnadullagh, .... 23 

Gortnafurra, 199 

Gortnagappul, 459 

Gortnagarde, 214 

Gortnaglogh, 220 

Gortnagoyne, 471 

Gortnagross 316 

Gortnagrour, 472 

Gortnahaha, 364 

Gortnahey, 364 

Gortnahomna, 488 

Gortnahoo, Gortnahoon, . 426 

Gortnalaragh, 459 

Gortnamona ; bog field. 
Gortnamucklagh ; the field 

of the piggeries ; see p. 462, 
GortnasiUagh ; the field of 

the sallows. 
Gortnaskeagh, .... 500 

Gortnaskehy, 600 

Gortnaskey, 500 

Gortnavarnoge, .... 497 

Gortnavem, 497 

Gortnavea 460 

Gortnaveigh, 460 

Gortreagh; grey field. 
Gortroe ; red field. 
Gortvunatrime, .... 499 

Index of Names. 



Gougane Barra ; St. Barra's 

or Finbar's rock cleft, 
Goul, . . . 
Goulmore, . 
Gowel, . . 
Gowlan, Gowlane 
Gowlaun, . . 
Graffa, Graffee, 
Graffan, Graffin, 
Graffoge, Graffy, 
Gragan, Gragane, 
Grageen, Graigeen, 
Graigue, .... 
Graiguealug, . . 
Graiguefrahane, . 
Graiguen am anagh , 
Grallagh ; same as Girly. 
Granagh, Granaghan 

place producing grain, 
Graney river, 

Grangegeeth ; windy grange, 
Granny's grave, .... 
Gransha ; a grange, a place 

for grain. 
Greagh ; a moory level spot 

among hills. 
Greaghnaroog, .... 
Great Bear island, . . . 

Great Connell, 25 

Greenan, Greenane, . . . 281 
Greenan-Ely, . .113,281,282 

Greenaun, 281 

Greenbatter, 44 

Greenoge, 282 

Grenanstown, 281 

Grennan, 281 

Grillagh, Grellagh; same as 


Gubbacrock, 245 

Gurteen, 221 

Gurteenasowna, . . . . 196 
Gurteenroe ; red little field. 







Guilcagh in "Waterford ; a 

place producing broom. 

Gyleen, 511 

Heagles, 305 

Hill of Lloyd, 380 

Hinchoge, 489 

Horse island, 458 

Howth, .... 76, 101, 335 

I drone baronies, . . . . 124 

Ikeathy barony, . . . . 124 

Ulan, Illane, Illaun, . . 428 

lUananummera, .... 428 

lUanfad, 428 

lUaunfadda, 428 

Illauninagh, 428 

Illaunslee, 366 

Imaile in Wicklow, . . . 117 

Inagh, 503 

Inan, Inane, 503 

Inch, 67,427 

Inchagoill, 90 

Inchenny, 446 

Inchideraille, 242 

Inclmiore ; great island. 

Inis, 427 

Inish, 427 

Inishannon, 14 

Inishargy, 397 

Inishbofin, ... 66, 160, 161 

Inishdadroum, .... 244 

Inishdauwee, 249 

Inishdavar, 244 

Inisbdaweel, 249 

Inisbfree, 602 

Inisbkeen, 428 

Inishkeeragb, 457 

Inisblounagbt ; tbe island 
of new milk ; see p. 436. 
Inisbmaan ; middle island. 

Inishmacsaint, .... 427 
Inisbmore ; great island. 

Inisbnagor, 428 

Inishowen, 134 


Index of Nmnes. 


Inisliriisli; the island of the 

Inishtiirk, 463 

Inistioge, 428 

Innisfallen, ... 104, 148 

Inshinagh, 489 

In ver in Antrim, . . . 119 
Inver in Donegal, . . . 139 
Ireland's Eye, . 76, 101, 104 

Isertkelly, 313 

Isertkieran, 313 

Ishartmon, 314 

Islafalcon, 41 

Island Magee, . . .75, 392 

Isle of Man, 157 

Iveleary, 117 

I verk barony, 117 

Iveruss, 117 

Kanturk, 463 

Keadagh, 378 

Keadeen hill, 378 

Keadew, 378 

Keady, 378 

Keadydrinagh, . . . . 378 
Keale, Keel; a narrow place, 

valley, or river. 

Keeldra, 305 

Keeldrum ; narrow ridge. 
Keeloge, Keeloges, ... 32 
Keelty, Keelties, . . . . 475 
Keenagh, Keenaghan 

mossy place. 
Keenaght barony, 
Keeran, Keeraun, . 
Keerhan, Keerhaun, 
Keimaneigh, Pass of, 
Kenmare, . . 
Kenmare bay, 
Kerane, Keraun 

Kerrykyle, . 
Kesh, . . 
Kevit : see p. 206, 



Kilbaha, 490 

Kilbarron ; St. Barran's 

Kilbarry in TVaterford and 

Cork; from St. Barra or 

Finbar of Cork : see p. 446. 
Kilbeg ; small church or 

Kilbeggan ; Beccan's church. 

Kilbeheny, 489 

Kilbreedy, 303 

Kilbride., 303 

Kilbroney in Down; St. 

Bronach, Virgin, patron. 

Kilcanavee, 411 

Kilcanway, 411 

Kilcaragh in Kerry and 

"Waterford ; the church 

of St. Carthach of Lis- 

more: see p. 261, 
Kilcavan in "Wexford ; 

church dedicated to St. 

Keyin of Glendalough. 

Kilclare, 475 

Knclay, 302 

Kilcleagh, 302 

Kilclief in Down, ... 301 

Kilcolman, 303 

Kilcommon ; St. Coman's 


KUcruaig, 375 

Kilcruit, 385 

Kilcullen, 303 

Kildalkey, 268 

Kildare, 109 

Kildaree, 249 

Kildimo ; St. Dima's church. 

Kildorrery, 487 

Kildrought, 356 

Kilduff; black church or 

Kilfinnane, . . . . 97, 148 

Kilfithmone, 476 

Kilflyn ; Flann's church. 
Kilgarriff, Kilgarve ; rough 

chiu-ch or wood. 

Lidex of Names. 


Kilgarvan; St. Garbhan's 


KilguUane, 331 

Kilkee in Clare; St. Caeidhe's 

or Kee's church. 
Kilkeedy in Clare and 

Limerick; St. Caeide's 

or Keedy's church. 
Kilkeel ; narrow church, 

Kilkenny, 303 

Kilkieran, 143 

Killadangan, 296 

Killadrown, 241 


Killaloe in Clare and Kil- 
kenny ; Cill-dalua (O'C. 
CaL), the church of St. 
Dalua or Molua — flou- 
rished, 6th cent. 


Killanure, . . 

Killarney, . . 

Killarney lakes, 

Killashandra, . 

Killashee, . . 



. 381 

. 494 

499, 500 

. 433 

. 58 

. 179 

. 79 

Killaspuglonane ; the church 

of bishop Flannan. 

Killavil 30 

KiUawillin, 363 

Killea; Aedh's or Hugh's 


Killederdaowen, . . . . 241 
Killeany; the church of St. 

Endeus of Aran — 5th cent. 

Killeedy, 141 

Killeen, 304 

Killeenatruan, .... 443 

Killeenerk, 205 

Killeennagallive, . . . 186 

KiUeens, 304 

Killeentierna, ." . . . 304 

Killeeny, 304 

KiUeigh, 803 

Killenaule, 139 

Killery harbour, .... 49 


Killevy, 366 

Killinardan, 373 

Killiney in Dublin; Cill- 

Inghen, or Cill-Inghen- 

Leinin, the church of 

Lenin's daughters. 
Killiney in Kerry ; same 

saint as Killeany. 
Killisk, Killiskea, ... 432 

Killiskey, 432 

Killoe, 493 

KOlonan, 150 

Killure, 494 

Killulla, 327 

Killursa in Galway ; St. 

Fursa — 6th century. 

KiUybegs, 33 

Killycrappin, 386 

Killygordon ; Coill-na-gcuir- 

idin (Four Mast.), the 

wood of the parsnips. 

Killynamph, 22 

Killyon, 143 

Kilmacanoge in Wicklow ; 

the church of St. Mo- 

chonog, a primitive saint. 

Kilmacrenan, 49 

Kilmainham, 50 

Kilmallock, 147 

Kilmanagh, 139 

Kilmeedy, 141 

Kilmihil ; the church of 

Michael the Archangel. 

Kilminfoyle, 16 

Kilmore, 474 

Kilmore-Moy, .... 99 

Kilmountain, 40 

Kilmoyle, 382 

Kilmurry, 303 

Kilmurvy, 451 

Kilnafrehan, 502 

Kilnahuila, 327 

Kilnahushoge, .... 472 
Kilnaleck ; the wood of 

the flag-surfaced land. 
Kilnalxin, 472 


Index of Names. 


Kilnamanagh, 474 

Kilnamarve, 110 

Kilnamona, 187 

Kilpatrick; St. Patrick's 

Kilquane ; St. Cuan's church. 

KUreisk, 448 

Kilroot in Antrim; Cill- 

ruadh^ red church. 
KiLrush ; the church of the 

•wood or peninsula. 
Bolskeer in Meath ; the Vir- 
gin St Scire— 6th century. 

Kiltenan, 23 

Kiitenanlea, 23 

Kiltinny, 208 

Kiltober, 438 

Kiltubbrid, 438 

Kiltullagh, 376 

KiltybegB, 475 

Kiltyclogh, Kilty clogher, . 475 

Kiltynashinnagh, . . . 475 

Kilwatermoy, 40 

Kinalea barony, . . . . 116 

Kinalmeaky barony, - . 71 

Kinard, 504 

Kinawly, 139 

Kincon, 504 

Kincora, 354 

Kineagh, 458 

Kinego, 214 

Kineigh, 458 

Kingstown, 133 

Kinlough ; head of the lake. 

Kinnea, 458 

Kinnegar, 465 

Kinneigh, 458 

Kinnitty, 148 

Kinsale, 604 

Kinsalebeg, 504 

Kinsaley, 504 

Kinturk, 504 

Kinure ; head of the yew. 

Kinvarra, 504 

Kippagh ; a place full of 
stumps of trees. 


Kish, 349 

Kisha, 350 

Kishaboy, 350 

Kish light in Dublin bay, 349 

Kishoge, 350 

Knappagh, 385 

Knappoge, 385 

Knawhill, Ill 

Knickeen, 368 

Knock, 368 

Knockacullen, . . . . 495 
Knockaderry ; the hill of 

the oak-wood. 

Knockadoo, 325 

Knockadreet, 356 

Knockadrehid, .... 356 

Knockagallane, .... 331 
Knockagh ; a hilly place. 

Knockahorrea, . . . . 331 
Knockainy in Limerick ; 

the hill of Aine, a cele- 
brated banshee. 

Knockalassa, 262 

Knockalegan, 332 

Knockalisheen ; the hill of 

the little lis or fort. 
Knockalough; the hill of 

the lake. 

Knockaluskraun, . . . 228 

Knockan, Knockane, . . 368 

Knockanaffrin, . . . . 113 
Knockanare ; the hill of 

the slaughter. 

Knockanaryark, .... 207 

Knockaneag, 460 

Knockanee, 460 

Knockanemomey, . . . 406 

Knockanenabohilly, . 201, 202 

Knockanevin, 368 

Knockanglass, Knockane- 

glass ; green little hill. 

Knockaniska, 432 

Knockannamohilly, . . . 201 

Knockannavlyman, . . . 203 

Knockanoran, 438 

Knockanree, 20 

Index of Names. 


Knockanroe, Knockaneroe; 




. 368 

red little hill. 


. 368 



Knockeeunahone, . . 

. 425 

Knockanure ; yew hill. 


. 205 

Knockaphreaghaun, . . . 


Knockfierna, .... 

. 368 

Knockataggart : priest's hill 

Knockglass ; green hill. 

Knockatancashlane, . . . 


Knockgorm ; blue hill. 



Knockgraffon, . . . 

. 184 



Knocklayd in Antrim, . 

. 368 

Knockatemple ; the hill of 

Knocklofty in Tipperary 


the churcb. 

Cnoc-Iochta, the lofted or 



shelving hill. 

Knockatinnole, .... 


Knocklong in Limerick, 

. 96 



Knockloskeraun, . . 

. 228 

Knockatlowig, .... 


Knockma near Tuam, . 

. 176 

Knockatoher ; the hill of 

Knockmanagh ; middle hill. 

the well. 

Knockmealdown mountains ; 

Knockatoor ; the hill of the 

Cnoc- 3IaeIdomhna igh, 


Maeldowney's hill. 

Knockatotaun, .... 


Knockmehill, .... 

. 449 



Knockmore ; great hill. 

Knockaunavogga, . . . 


Knockmoyle, .... 

. 382 

Knockaiinbaun, .... 


Knockmu'llin ; the hill of 

Knockaimeevin, .... 


the mill. 

Knock aunnacli'ankady, 453, 


Knocknabeast, . . , 

. 191 

Knockaunnagoun, . . . 


Knocknaboha, . . . 

. 293 

Knockauntouragh, . . . 


Knocknabohilly, . . . 

. 201 

Knockaimvicteera, . . . 


Knocknaboley, Kncckna 

Knockavaddra, .... 


boola, Knocknabooly 

Knockavaddy, .... 


hill of the dairy ; see p 

! 229 

Knockavilla,"^ Knockavilly ; 

Knocknaclogha, . . . 


hill of the old tree ; see p 


Knocknacrohy, . . . 




Knocknafeadalea, . . 

. 185 

Knockawaddra, .... 


Knocknafreeny, . . . 




Knocknagapple, . . . 

. 369 

Knockbane, Knockbaun, 

Knocknagappul, . . . 

. 369 

white hiU. 

Knocknagaul in Limerick 



the hill of the Gauls oi 




Knockboy ; yellow hill. 

Knocknageeha ; windy hill 

Knockbrack ; speckled hill. 

Knocknagin, .... 




Knocknagiogh ; the hiU o 


Knockcroghery, .... 


the stones. 




. 22 



Knocknagoogb, . . . 




Knocknagower, . . . 



Index of Names. 


Knocknagown, . . . . 213 
Knocknagree ; the hill of 

the cattle. 
Knockaguilliagh, ... 22 

Knocknahoe, 425 

Knocknahooan, . . . . 425 
Ejiocknahorna ; the hill of 

the barley. 
Knocknalooricaun, . . . 184 

Knocknamoe, 22 

Knocknamohill, .... 201 
Knocknamona, .... 452 
KnockBamuck ; the hill of 

the pigs ; see p. 461. 
Knocknanuss, .... 
Knocknarea near Sligo; the 

hill of the executions. 

See Ardnarea. 
Knocknasawna, . 
Knocknasheega, . 
Knocknaskagh, . 
Knockninny, . . 
Knockpatrick; Patrick's hill. 
Knockraha, Knocknaraha ; 

hill of the fort ; see p. 263 


KJnockranny ; ferny hill. 
Knockrath ; the hill of the 

rath or fort ; see p. 263. 
Ejiockra'wer ; the same as 

Knockreagh ; grey hill. 
Kjiockroe ; red hill. 
Knockrower, Knockrour, . 
Knockshanbally ; the hill 

of the old town. 
Knocksouna, . . . 195, 252 
Knocktemple; the hill of 

the church. 

Knocktopher, 52 

Knockullard, 498 

Knoppoge, 385 

Kyle, 304 

Kyleheg ; small church or 







Kylefreaghane, .... 502 

Kylemore, 475 

Kylenagoneeny, .... 464 

Kyletaun, 475 

Lahasheeda 329 

Labbacallee, 329 

Labbadermody, .... 329 

Labba Iscur, 328 

Labbamolaga, 146 

Labby, . 329 

Labbyeslin, 329 

Lack 403 

Lacka, 405 

Lackabane, Lackabaun, . 405 

Lackagh, 404 

Lackamore ; great hill side, 
Lackan, .... 404, 405 

Lackanagrour, .... 472 

Lackanascany, .... 348 

Lackanadarra, .... 404 
Lackareagh ; grey hill side. 
Lackaroe ; red hiU side. 

Lackaun, 4 04 

Lackeen, 403 

Lacken, 404 

Lackenacoombe, . . . . 419 

Lackendarragh, .... 404 

LagacuiTy, 417 

Lagan, 75,418 

Laganeany, 194 

Laghil, Laghile, .... 491 

Laght, 325 

Laghta, 325 

Laghtagalla, 325 

Lagbtane, 325 

Laghy ; a miry place. 

Lagnagalloglagh, . . . 417 

Lagnaviddoge, . . . . 417 

Lagore, 459 

Laharan, 233 

Lahard, 373 

Lahardan, Lahardane, . . 373 

Lahardaun, 373 

Lahcen ; a little lahagh, or 
miry place. 

Index of Names. 



Laheratanvally, . . . . 298 

Lahertidaly, 298 

Lahesheragh, 232 

Lahesseragh, 233 

Lahinch, 429 

Lakyle ; half wood. 

Lambay island, . . 101, 105 

Lambeecher, 146 

Lammy, 491 

Lanaglug, 311 

Landahussy, 311 

Landbrock, 311 

Landmore, 311 

Lanny hussy, 311 

Lara, 299 

Laragh, .... 298, 299 

LaraghlDryan, 298 

Laraghleas, 298 

Laiaghshankill, . . . . 298 

Lareen, 298 

Largan, 390 

Larganreagh, 390 

Largy, 390 

Largynagreana, . . . . 390 

Largysillagh, 390 

Lame in Antrim, . . . 119 

Lame river, 326 

Larrycortnick, .... 41 
Lateeve ; half-side, i, e. one 
side of a hill ; see p. 232. 

Latt, 325 

Latteragh, 391 

Lattery, 891 

LaugW, 491 

Laune river, 490 

Laiiragh, 298 

Lavagh, 491 

Lavally 233 

Lavey, 491 

Laxweir near Limerick, . 101 

LeajfFony, 479 

Leafin, 479 

Leagh ; a grey place. 
Leamcon ; the hound's leap. 

Leamirlea, 164 

Leamlara ; the mare's leap. 


Leamybrien, 164 

Leamydoody, 164 

Leamyglissan, . . . . 164 

Leap castle, 164 

Lear, 611 

Lecale barony, . . . . 233 

Lecarrow, 234 

Leek, 403 

Leckan, Leckaun, . . . 404 
Lecknavarna, . . . . 497 
Leckpatrick ; Patrick's flag- 

Leeg, 403 

Leegane, 332 

Leek, Leeke, 403 

Lefin, 479 

Legacurry, Legachory, . 417 

Legaduff, 457 

Legan, 332, 418 

Legananny, 446 

Legane, Legaun, . . . 322 
Legandorragh, . . . . 418 
Legland; same as Leighlin. 
Legnabraid; the hollow of 

the gorge; see p. 505. 
Legnawly Glebe, . . . 139 

Legvoy, 403 

Lehinch, 429 

Leighlin, 416 

Leighmoney, 479 

Leinster, 88, 107 

Leitrim, 506 

Leix, 122 

Leixlip, .... 101, 103 

Lemanaghan in King's Co., 

Liath- Manchain (Four 

Mast.), St. Manchan's 

grey land. 

Lemnalary in Antrim ; the 

mare's leap. 
Lenaboy ; yellow wet-mea- 
Lenamore ; great wet-mea- 
Leny ; a wet meadow. 
Lennox in Scotland, . . 490 

2 n2 


Index of Names. 


Lerhin, 299 

Lerrig in Kerry ; a hill-side. 

Lessanny, 263 

Lessans, 263 

Letfem, 325 

Letter, 391 

Lettera, Letteragh, . . . 391 

Letteran, 391 

Letterbrick, 391 

Letterbrock, 391 

Letterfad ; long hill-side. 

Lettergeeragh, .... 391 

Letterkeen, 391 

Letterkenny, 135 

Letterlicky, 391 

Lettermacaward, . . . 392 
Lettermore ;. great wet hill- 

LettermuUan, . ...» 391 
Lettershanbo ; the wet hill- 
side of the old tent ; see p. 293 

Letter shendony, . . . . 391 

Lettery, 391 

Lettreen, 391 

Levally 233 

Levallyreagh ; grey half- 
town ; see p. 233. 

Leven in Scotland, . . . 490 
Lewagh near Thmies; land 
producing marsh mallows. 

Leyny barony, . . . 12 9 

Liafin, 479 

Lick, 403 

Lickane, 404 

Lickbla, 159 

Lickeen, 403 

Lickfinn ; white flag-stone. 

Lickmolassy, 403 

Lickoran, ... . . 438 

Lifford, 69 

Liggins, 332 

Lightford bridge in Mayo, 210 

Lignapeiste, 191 

Limerick, 48 

Lisadian, 296 

Lisalbanagh, 262 


Lisanisk, 272 

Lisanisky, 272 

Lisaquill, 496 

Lisarearke, 207 

Lisata^gart, 262 

Lisavaddy ; fort of the 


Lisbalting, 194 

Lisbane, Lisbaun ; white 


Lisbaniet, 420 

Lisbellaw, 345 

Lisboduff, 161 

Lisbofin, 161 

Lisboy ; yellow fort. 

Liscahane, 262 

Liscahill; Cahill's fort. 
Liscannor ; Canar's fort. 

LiscarroU, 262 

Liscartan ; the fort of the 

Lisclogher; stony fort; see p. 400 

Liscunnell, 185 

Lisdachon, 248 

Lisdarush, 245 

Lisdaulan, 247 

Lisdavock, 248 

Lisdavraher, 249 

Lisdavuck, 248 

Lisdoo ; black fort. 

Lisdoonan, 272 

Lisdoonvarna, , . . . 271 

Lisdown, 272 

Lisdowney in Kilkenny ; 

Downey's fort. 
LisdufF ; black fort. 
Lisduggan ; Duggan's fort. 
Lisfarbegnagommaun, . . 184 

Lisfennell, Ill 

Lisgarriff; rough fort. 

Lisgonnell, 185 

Lisheen, 263 

Lisheenaleen; the little fort 

of the flax. 

Lislarheen, 299 

Lislea ; grey fort. 

Index of Names. 



Lisle vane, 490 

Lismore, 261 

Lismoyle, 382 

Lismullin ; the fort of the 

Lisnabantry, 202 

Lisnabilla, 482 

Lisnacroppan, . . . . 386 

Lisnacullia, 475 

Lisnadarragh, 485 

Lisnadurk, 23 

Lisnafeddaly, 185 

Lisnafifiy, 52 

Lisnaiinelly, Ill 

Lisnafulla, 110 

Lisnagannell, 185 

Lisnagat ; fort of the cats. 

Lisnageenly, 185 

Lisnageeragh, . . . . 273 

Lisnagonnell, 185 

Lisnagore, 30 

Lisnagowan, 273 

Lisnagower, 30 

Lisnagree, 273 

Lisnagry, 273 

Lisnagunnell, . . . . 185 

Lisnagunnion, . . . . 464 

Lisnahall, 396 

Lisnahay, 364 

Lisnahirka, ..... 205 

Lisnahoon, 425 

Lisnalee, 20 

Lisnamuck; fort of the pigs. 

Lisnapaste, 191 

Lisnaskea, 500 

Lisnanees, 3 

Lisnascragh, 185 

Lisnatreeclee, 254 

Lisnaveane, 88 

Lisnaviddoge, .... 22 

Lisnisk, Lisnisky, . . , 272 

Lispopple, 201 

Lisrathdine, 281 

Lissadill, 262 

Lissadoill, 262 

Lissakeole, 185 


Lissan, 263 

LissanafFrin, 114 

Lissanalta, 374 

Lissane, 263 

Lissaneena, Lissaneeny, . 198 

Lissaneigh, 469 

Lissanearla, 262 

Lissaniska, Lissanisky, . 272 

Lissaphuca, ..... 182 
Lissard ; high fort. 

Lissarinka, 184 

Lissen Hall, 263 

Listowel, 262 

Lissonuffy, 262 

Little Dog, 248 

Lixnaw, 352 

Lloyd hill, 380 

Loghill, 491 

Lonart, 289 

Londonderry, 486 

Longfield, 39, 491 

Longford, 289 

Loop Head, 163 

Lorum, 19 

Loskeran, 228 

Lough, 433 

Loughan, 434 

Loughanagore, .... 470 

Loughanaskin, .... 434 

Loughandoul, 192 

Loughane, Loughaun, . . 434 

Loughanreagh, .... 434 

Loughanstown, .... 434 

Loughaiinnaweelaun , 434, 469 

Lough Avaul, 4 

Loughbanagher, .... 372 
Loughbeg ; little lake. 

Lough Boderg, . . , . 161 

Lough Bofin, . . . 160, 161 

Loughbollard, .... 338 

Lough Bray, 377 

Loughbrickland, .... 48 

Lough Conn, 433 

Lough Corrib, .... 158 

Loughcrew, 483 

Loughcrot, 385 


Index of Names. 



Lougli Dagea, . . . 
Lough Derg, .... 
Lougli DeiTavara, . , 
Lough Erne, .... 
Loughfad ; long lake. 
Lough Finn in Donegal 
Lough Foyhin, . . . 
Lough Gillagancan, . . 
Lough Gillaganleny, . 
Lough Graney, . . . 
Lough Guitane, . . . 


Lough Lagan, . . . 
Lough Leane at Killamey 
Loughloug'han, . . . 
Loughlynch, .... 
Lough Melvin, . . . 
Loughmuck, .... 
Loughnagin, .... 
Loughnagoyne, . . . 
Loughnahinch, . . . 
Loughnaloughan, . . 
Loughnapiast, . . . 
Loughnasollis ; the lake of 

the light ; see p. 209. 
Loughnaweeloge, . . . 
Lough Neagh, .... 
Lough Oughter ; upper lake 


Loughwheelion, .... 

Lowery, 491 

Luffany, 52 

Lugalustran, 228 

Lugatryna, 470 

Lugduff mountain, . . . 418 

Lugganaffrin, 113 

Luggelaw, 378 

Lughanagh, 28 

Lughinny, 28 

Lugmore ; great hollow. 

Lugnademon, 190 

Lugnamuddagh, .... 22 
Lugnaquillia mountain, . 418 
Lumcloon ; bare meadow