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(^irst .Scries.) 


P. AY. JOYCE, LL.D., T.C.D., M R.I.A., 

Onk ok the Professors in the Training Department of the Com- 
missioners OF National Education, Ireland. 

Cpiallam cnn6eall na poOla. 






Compauioit of tbc |llost 'ijonoumbic Crbn- of % §a% 






Riallam cimchealL iNia 

1; pOt)llLa — Let us wander round 
Ireland : So wrote the topogra- 
3r John O'Dugan, five hundred years 
), when beginning his poetical de- 
iption of Ireland, and so I address 
my readers, to-day. The journey will 
be at least a novel one ; and to those who are inte- 
rested in the topography of ourcountrj^, 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 collection, ar- 
rangement, and composition, was to me a never- 
failing source of pleasure ; it was often interrupted 
and resumed at long intervals ; and if ever it in- 

vi Pi'efacc. 

volved lal)Oiir, it wa8 really and truly a labour of 

I might havo illustrated various portions of the 
book by reference to the local etymologies of other 
countries ; and this was indeed my 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. 104), the Danish irruptions produced no 
appreciable effect ; and accordingly, our place-names 
are purely Keltic, with the exception of about a 

Preface. 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 our ances- 
tors, 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 dij0&culty 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 Rev. William Reeves, 
D.D. ; for these two great scholars have been spe- 
cially distinguished, among the honored labourers 
in the field of Irish literature, by their success in 
elucidating the topography of Ireland. 

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

vlii Preface. 

afterwards, during its ])rogrcss through the press, 
read the proof sheets — all with an amount of atten- 
tion and care, which could onl}^ be appreciated by 
an actual inspection of the well annotated pages, 
abounding witli remarks, criticisms, and corrections. 
IIow invaluable this was to me, the reader will 
understand when he remembers, that Dr. Reeves is 
the highest living autlioritj 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 thanks 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 courtesy 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 Eoyal Irish 
Academy for granting me permission — long before 
I had the honor of being elected a member of that 



learned body — to make use of their library, aud to 
consult their precious collection of Manuscripts. 
DiTBLiNj 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 O'Donoyan, 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 Rights ; published by the Celtic Society ; 
translated and edited by John O'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 Moyi'ath ; Irish Arch. Soc. Translated and 
edited by John O'Donovan. 

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

\ Vrcfacc. 

Tlu" Tribes mul Customs ol'llio distrut ol' JIy-ri;icliiatli : 
Irisli Arch. Soc. Translated iiiul edited by John 
O'Donovnn (quoted as " Hy-Fiuchrach " through this 

ADcseriptionofll-IarConnaught. ByEodcrickO'Flaherty: 
Irish Arch. Soc. Edited by James llardiman, M. R. I. A. 

The Irisli version of the Ilistoria Britouum of Xcnnius : 
Irish Arch. Soc. Translated and edited by James Hen- 
thorn Todd, D.D., M.ll.I. A. 

Archbishop Colton's Visitation of the Diocese of Dcrry, 
1397 : Irish. Arch. Soc. Edited by the Ecv. 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 Adaranan : Irish Arch, and 
Celt. Soc. Edited by the Rev. William Reeves, D. D., 
M. B., Y. P. R. I. A. This book and the next contain a 
vast amount of local and historical information, drawn 
from every conceivable source. 

Ecclesiastical Antic^uities 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' Eccl. Ant."). 

The Topogi'aphical 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 Ilenthorn Todd, D. D., 

Preface. xl 

M. R. I. A,, r. S. A. ; and the Eev. William Reeves, 
D. D., M. R;L a. ((luoted as '' O'C. Cal."). 

The Wars of the Gaedhil with the Gaill. Published under 
the direction of the Master of the Rolls. Translated and 
edited by James Hcnthorn 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 O'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., V. 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 

ii Prof a CO. 

ami on tlio t'orrcsponding or cognate words in oilier 
languages, I have derived my information cliiefly from 
Professor rictct's admirable work, "Lcs Origincs Indo- 
Europeonnes, on lesAryas Primitifs:" Zeuss' masterly 
Avork, (jramniatica Celtica, in ■wliicli the author quotes 
in every case from manuscripts of the eighth, or the 
beginning of the ninth century : Ebcl's Celtic Studies ; 
translated by William K. Sullivan, Ph.D., M. Pu I. A. : 
Irish Glosses; a Mediaeval Tract on Latin Declension ; 
13y "Whitley Stokes, A. B. ; and an Edition, with notes, 
of Three Ancient Irish Glossaries ; By the same accom- 
plished philologist. 


Lectures on the Manners and Customs of the Ancient 
Irish. By Eugene O'Curry, M. R. I. A. Edited, with 
Introduction, Appendices, &c., by W. K. Sullivan, 
Ph.D. Published in 1873. 


S the first edition of this book 
went olT very quickly — it was 
sold in six months — I have 
thought it right to issue a se- 
cond edition with as little delay 
as possible. 
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 the 
Press, in England and Scotland as well as in Ire- 
land, I here offer my thankful acknowledgments. It 
has been noticed in a great number of newspapers 
and magazines ; and while most of the reviews are 
elaborate and critical, not one is unfavourable. Several 
of the writers take exception to some of my state- 

xiv Preface to tite Second Editiou. 

ments, but in tho whole of tlieir 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 where 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 Rathgormuck 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 fJie Secnu(t Edifiou. 


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 oi^portunity of soliciting further information 
from those who are able to give it, and who are 
anxious to assist in the advancement of Irish litera- 

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 beautiful ornamental designs of the Book of 
Kells, and other very ancient Irish manuscripts. 
I have to thank the Council of the Irish Archseo- 
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 

Chapteh II.— Systematic Changes, 17 

Chapter III. — Corruptions, 47 

Chapter IV. — False Etymologies, 69 

Chapter V. — The Antiquity of Irish Local Names, ... 76 


Chapter I. — Historical Events 85 

Chaptei; II, — Historical Personages, 120 

Chapter III. — Early Irish Saints 141 

Chapter IV. — Legends, 158 

Chapter V. — Fairies, Demons, Goblins, and Ghosts, . . . 178 

Chapter VI. — Customs, Amusements, and Occupations, . . 199 

Chapter VII. — Agriculture and Pastui-age, 226 

Chapter VIII. — Subdivisions and Measures of land, . . . 240 

Chapter IX. — Numerical Combinations, 246 





CiiAiTER I. — Habitations and Fortresses, 265 

CiiAPTEii II. — Ecclesiastical Edifices 311 

Chapter III. — Monuments, Graves, and Cemeteries, . . . 328 

Chapter IV. — Towns and Villages 346 

Chapter V. — Fords, Weirs, and Bridges 3.52 

Chapter VI. — Koads and Causeways, 309 

ChapterVII.— Mills and Kilns, 373 



Chapter I. — Mountains, Hills, and Rocks, 378 

Chapter II.— Plains, Valleys, Hollows, and Cnyes, . . . 422 

Chapter III. — Islands, Peninsulas, and Strands 441 

Chapter IV. — Water, Lakes, and Springs, ...... 446 

Chapter V. — Rivers, Streamlets, and Watorfulls, . . . 4.54 

Chapter VI. — Marshes and Bogs, 461 

Chapter VII. — Animals, 468 

Chapter VIII.— Plants, 490 

Chapter IX. — Shape and Position, .521 

Index of Names, . , 531 

Jndex op Root Words 587 






;HE interpretation of a name iu- 
|;_ volves two processes: the discovery 
,__^ ^■' of the ancient orthography, and the 
(^^p^ determination of the meaning of tliis 
1 original form. fSo far as Irish local 
I names are concerned, the first is gene- 
)J; rally the most troublesome, while the 
second, Avith some exceptions, presents 
no great difficulty to an Irish scholar. 

There are cases, however, in which, although we 
have very 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 tliat we are 


2 Ihe Irish Local Name Sydon. [pakt i. 

not ill popsossion of tlio most ancient orthogr.ipli}', 
and tlinl tlio old forms lumd'.'d down to us arc nothing 
more tluin corruptions of others still older ; Lut in 
most cases of this kind, our ignorance is very probably 
due to the fact that the root-words of which tlio 
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 known to warrant a certain 
conclusion ; and accordingly, as the reader may ob- 
serve, I have interpreted them in almost all cases 
without 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 indulge in conjec- 
ture where certaint}^, 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- 
terpretations, I shall give here a short 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 
orthography, to any person who has studied the pho- 
netic laws by which they have been reduced from 
ancient to modern forms. There can be no doubt 
that the Irish name of Carricknadarriff, in the parish 
of Annahilt, county of Down, is Carraig-na-dtarhh, 

CHAV. 1.] lloic fJiC Meanings licivc hccii ascerfained. 3 

the rock of the bulls ; that BolierLoy, the name of a 
village in Cork, and of several places in other coun- 
ties, means yellow road {Botliar-huidhe) ; or that 
Knockaunbaun in Galway and Mayo, signifies white 
little hill. 

But this process requires clieck and caution ; tlie 
modern forms, however obvious in appearance, are 
often treacherous; and whoever relies on them with, 
unwatehful confidence will sooner or later be led info 
error. Carrick-on-Suir is what it appears to be, for 
the Four Masters and other authorities write it Car- 
raig-na-Siuire, the rock of the Suir ; and it appears 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 town was 
Carrickdrumrusk, as it appears on the Down Survey 
map ; 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 
Drumroosk. Drumroosk itself is the name of seve- 
ral townlands in the north-western counties, and 
signifies the ridge of the rooak or marsh. 

II. In numerous other cases, when the original 
forms 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 
the names Uueenstown and Newcastle are to the 
reader. Lisnanees is the name of a place near Let- 
terkcnny, and whoever would undertake to interpret 

3 * 

4 The Iri.sli Local Na/iic Si/sfciti. [part i. 

it as it stands would probably find hinisolf puzzled ; 
but it becomes plain enough when 3'ou hecar the 
natives pronounce it with a r/ at the end, which lias 
been lately dropped: — Lios-na-naosr/ [Lisnaueesg], 
the fort of the snipes. 

There is a small double lake, or rather two little 
lakes close together, tiiree miles from Grlengarriif iu 
Cork, on the left of the road to Castletown Bere- 
haven. They are called on the maps Lough Avaul — 
a name I could never understand, till I heard the 
local pronunciation, which at once removed the difh- 
culty ; the people pronounce it Longh-aic-woul, wliich 
any one with a little knowledge of Irish will recognise 
as LocJt-dlia-hhall, the lake of the two spots, a name 
that describes it with perfect correctness. 

Take as another example Ballylongford near the 
Shannon in Kerrj^: as it stands it is deceptive, the 
first part of the name being apparently Bally, a town, 
which in reality it is not. 1 have a hundred times 
heard it pronounced by the natives, who always call 
it in Irish BcaJ-atlia-longplnuvt [Bellalongfort], the 
ford-mouth of the fortress. Tlio 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 lo)ujphort or fortress of 
Carrigafoyle, two miles distant. 

Of this mode of arriving at the original forms of 
names I have made ample use ; I luive had great 
numbers of places named in Irish, either in the very 
localities, or by natives whom I have met from time 
to time 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 iu 
JJubliu. But in this method, also, the investigator 

CliAi'. I.] lloiv the 3lc(/i//ii(js have hccii asccrtamcd. 5 

must Lc very cautious; uamGS are often corrupted iu 
Irish as well as in English, and. the pronunciation 
of the people should he tested, whenever possible, by 
higher autliority. 

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 fanciful 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 
Carraig-na-ricoinne((U ; and they tell a wild legend, to 
account for the name, about a certain old witch, who 
in times loug 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 modei^n tourist books, and, anioug others, 
in Mrs. Hall's "Ireland," where the reader will find 
a well-told version of the story. But the Four 
Masters mention the place repeatedly, and always 
call it Cayraig-O-ijCoinncU, Avith which the pronun- 
ciation of the peasantry exactly agrees ; this admits 
of no exercise of the imagination, and banishes the 
old witch and her candle more ruthlessly than even 

6 The Irish Local jSfamc Systcni. [i»art I. 

St. Patrick himself, for it means simply tlio rock of 
the O'ConuoUs, who were no doubt the original 

The meaning of a name, otherwise doubtful, will 
often be explained by a knowledge of tlie locality. 
Quilcagh mountain in tlie north-west of Cavan, at 
the base of which the Shannon rises, is called in Irish 
by the inhabitants, CaUccnch. [CalkaghJ, wliich lite- 
rally signifies chalky (Ir. caiJc^ chalk; Lat. calx) ; and 
the first view of the hill will show the correctness of 
the name ; for it presents a remarkably white face, 
due to the presence of quartz pebbles, wliicli are 
even brought down in the beds of streams, and are 
used for garden walks, &c. 

Carrantuohill in Kerry, the highest mountain in 
Ireland, is alway called throughout 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 interpretation as mere silliness. Yet who- 
ever looks at the peak from about tlie middle of the 
Hag's Valley, will see at once that the people are 
quite riglit ; it descends on the Killaruey side by a 
curved edge, which the spectator catches in profile, 
all jagged and serrated Avith great masses of rock 
projecting like teeth, without a single interruption, 
almost the whole way down. The word tuathail 
[thoohill] means literally left-handed ; but it is ap- 
plied to anything reversed from its proper direction 
or position ; and the great peak is most correctly de- 
scribed by the name Carrdn-titathail, for the edge is 
toothed like the edge of a carrdv, 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. 0' Donovan, while enn:an:ed in 

7 O O 

ottAP. I,] How the Mcaiii.iujs Jiaro been asceiiained. 7 

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

His usual plan Avas to seek out the oldest and most 
intelligent of the Irish-speaking peasantry in each 
locality, many of whom are named in his letters; 
and besides numberless other inquiries, he caused 
them to pronounce the townlaud 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 townlands, towns, and parishes, and 
of every important physical feature in Ireland, are 
contained in these books, restored to their original 
Irish forms, and translated into English, as far as 
O'Donovan's own knowledge, and the information 
he received, enabled him to determine. " \^' 

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 
tliem i")revalent in the neighbourhood, or with tlie 
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 arriving at the meanings of names, but 
the information he received from deputies often left 

8 The Irish Local Name Si/s/ciii. [i-art i. 

liim ill great JouLt, uliieli lie not unfrcquently ex- 
presses ; ami his intcriirctatioiis, iii siicli cases, are to 
bo received -witli cant ion, Lased as they of'teii are, on 
corrupt spelling, or on this doubtful information. 

So far as time permitted, I have consulted O'Don- 
ovan'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 and extent of 
the information I have received from O'Donovan's 
manuscript writings. 

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

In the parish of Ivilmore, in the same county, the 
townland of Derry winny was called, by an intelligent 
old man, I)oirc-l)hai)inc, 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 bo 
milked. FarnamuiTy near Nenagh in Tipperar}', 
was pronounced Farranyniuryy, showing that the 
name is much shortened, and really signifies O'Mur- 
ray's land ; and Ballyhoos in Clonfert, Galway, was 
stripped of its deceptive garb by being called Lile- 
duiaia, the old tree of the coos or cave. 

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

riiAP. 1.] Hon- the 3Icaniufjs liave hcen ascertained. 9 

down to the 17 Hi conturj, in the Irish lauguag-e, Ly 
native writers. Much of this has been lately pub- 
lished and translated, but far the greater part remains 
still unpublished. 

Generally 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 whicli" 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 which 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 
already 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 llie texts have been 
translated in foot notes by tlie editors of tlie various 
published manuscripts, and I have generally availed 
myself of their authority, A list of the principal 
works already published will be found in the Preface. 

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

10 The Irish Local Ndiiic Sijs/ciii. [paiit i. 

tho present da}^ though disguised in an English 
dress, and often very mucli altered. In every such 
ease it becomes a nuestion to identify the ancient 
v.-ith tho modern name — to show that tlie latter is 
only a diflPerent form of the former, and that they 
both apply to tho same place. A great deal has 
been done in this direction by Dr. O'Donovan, 
Dr. lleeves, and otlier editors of the published 
manuscripts, and I have generally adopted tlieir 

This method of investigation will be understood 
from the following examples : — At the year 58G, 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 Munster. In a 
gloss to the Calendar of Aengus the Culdee, at the 
IGth of September, Cluain-Connire is stated to be 
"in the nortli of H'j Faclaiii ;" and this clearly 
identifies it with the modern townland of Cloncurry, 
which gives name to a parish in Kildare, between 
Kilcock and Innfield, since we know that i/y i^r/cVrr/yj 
was a territory occupying tho north of that county. 
As a further corroboration of this, the old translator 
of the Annals of Ulster, in rendering the record of 
tlie meeting in 837, makes the name Cloncurry. 

Once we have arrived at the form C/iiaiii-Coiiaire, 
the meaning is sufficiently obvious ; it signifies Co- 
nary's lawn or meadow; but who this Conary was, we 
have no means of knowing (See 'Donovan's Four 
Masters, Yol. L, p. 4-57). 

Ballymagowan is the name of some townlauds in 
Donegal and Tyrone, and signifies MacGrowan's town. 

CHAP. 1.] Ilow till'. Mranhifjs hare been ascertained. 11 

But Balljmagowan near Deny is a very different 
name, as will appear b}^ 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 
lOO-j, 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 Four Masters 
at 1537: — "The son of O'Doherty was slain in a 
nocturnal assault by Rury, son of Felim O'Doherty, 
at Baile-nn-gcnnanacJi [Ballynagananagh], in the Ter- 
mon of Derry." This old Irish, name signifies the 
town of the canons, a meaning preserved in the Inq. 
of J 605 ; while the intermediate forms between the 
ancient and the modern 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 journey, 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-Liithir.'' In the 
Life of St. Fechin, published by Colgan (Act. SS. 
p. 136 b.), we are informed that "the place wliich is 
called Snamh-Lufhir is in the region of Gairhre- 
Gahhva ;^^ and O'Donovan has shown that Carbery- 
(roura 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- 
lowiug places are mentioned as situated in the barony 
of Louo'htee : — " Trinitie Island scituate near the 
Toagher, * * * Clanlaskin, Derry, Bleyncupp, 
and Dromore, Snatclufiher and Killevallie" (Ulster 
Inq. App. vii.) ; Snawlugher being evidently the 

12 TIiv Irish Local Kanw Si/stcin. [paut i. 

ancient Siiani/i-Liif/n'r. We find these names exist- 
ing at the present day in the parish of Jvilmore, in 
tliis barony, near the toAvn of Cavan, in the modern 
forms of Togher, Clouloskan, Derries, ]31eancup, 
l)rummore, Killyvally, Trinity JsLand; and there 
is another modern townland called 81auore, which, 
tliough more altered than the others, is certainly 
the same as Suawlugher. If this required further 
proof we have it in the fact, that in Petty's map 
JSlanore is called 8nalore, which gives the interme- 
diate step. 

fSiiaii)/t-Liif//ir is very well represented in pronun- 
ciation b}^ Snawluglier 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 oui' old MSS., 
and Snamh-Lufhir signifies the swimming-ford of 
Lut/iir. This ingenious identification is due to Dr. 
Keeves. (See Beeves's Adamnan, p. 173). 

V. Some of the early ecclesiastical and historical 
writers, who used the Latin language, very often 
when they had occasion to mention places, gave 
instead 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 
Cambrensis, Colgan, O'Sullivan Beare, and others. 
Of all the sources of information accessible to me, 
this, as far as it extends, is the most authentic and 
satisfactory; and accordinglj^ I have collected and 
recorded every example of sufficient importance that 
I could find. 

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

CHAP. I.] Hoic the Meanings lutvc hoon aacevtained. 13 

it as their mother 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 pre- 
sent day, not only in the very names they have 
translated, hut 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. Columha erected a monastery at Durrow, in the 
King's County, about the year 509, and it continued 
afterwards during his whole life one of his favourite 
places. The old Irish form of the name is Dairmag 
or BeariJiag//, as we find it in Adamnan : — "A 
monastery, which in Scotic is called Dairmag ; " 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 " Eoboreti campus,'* 
the plain of the oaks. 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, from the great number of oaks, is in the 
Scotic language called Dear mag Ji, the field of the 
oaks" (Lib. iii. Cap. 4). Dair, an oak ; magh^ a plain. 

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, Dearmliagh 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. Maeldahh is mentioned 
as " from Dermaglt, in Ilg DaacJi, in the north of 

14 TItc Irish Local Name Sijsfcin. [part i. 

Ossorv," which passago also sliows that Durrow, 
though now inehulod in tlie Queen's Country, for- 
merly belonged to the territory of Idough, in Kil- 

There are several townlands in other ])arts of Ire- 
land called Uurrow, Uurra, and Durlia; and although 
we have no written evidence of their ancient forms, 
yet, aided by the pronunciations of the peasantry, 
and guided by the analogy of Durrow, we cannot 
hesitate to pronounce that they are all modern forms 
of Dcarmha(jh. 

We find the same term forming part of the name 
of Diinderrow, 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 occurred early in the ninth : — 
" By them(i. e. the Danes) were demolished Dun-dcr- 
ijiaigiand Inis-Eoganain^ (Owenan's or Little Owen's 
island or river-holm, now Inishannon on the river 
Bandon : "Wars of GQ.," p. 223)._ Dunderrow sig- 
nifies the fortress of the oak-plain, and the largo 
dun from which it was called is still in existence in 
the townland of Dunderrow, half a mile south of 
the village. 

Drumliome in Donegal takes its name from an 
ancient church originally dedicated to St. Adamnan 
(see O'Clery's Calendar at 23d Sept.). O'Clery and 
the Tour Masters call it Drniin-hutma, 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. Columba (Lib. iii. Cap. 23) by the 
equivalent Latin name Dorsum Tomuuc ; 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.] How the McaiuiifjH have hcen fPsecrianmL J5 

Adamnan and Colgan regarded Tomma) as a personal 
name ; for if it meant tumulus, the former would, no 
doubt, have translated it as lie 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 ; and this is 
the sense in which Lynch, the author of Cambrensis 
Eversus, understands it (Camb. Evers. 11. 686). 

About four miles from Bantry, on the road to 
Inchigeela, are the ruins of Carriganass castle, once 
a stronghold of the O'Sulli vans. O'Sullivan Bearo 
mentions it in his History of the Irish Catholics, and 
calls it Torrentirupes^ which is an exact translation 
of the Irish name Carraiy-nn-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 tlie 
parish of Ardagh, near Youghal, and another still in 
the parish of Lackan, Mayo ; while, in Armagh and 
in Tyrone, it takes the form of Carrickaness— all de- 
riving their name from a rock in the bed of a stream, 
forming an ean or waterfall. 

VI. When the Irish original of a name is not 
known, it may often be discovered from an old form 
of tlie 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, e^c, as well as in the pages of the 
early Anglo-Irish historical writers. The names 
found in these documents have been embalmed in 
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 
source they have remained, while many of the corre- 

16 Tlir Trinh Local N<tme Si/stcm. [vau r i. 

sponding modoni names liavo Leon altered in various 

They were oloviously, in many instances, taken 
down from the native pronunciation ; and very often 
they transmit the original sound sufHciently near to 
suggest at once to an Irish scholar, practised in these 
matters, the proper Irish form. Drs. O'Donovanand 
Reeves have made much use of this method, and I 
have succeeded, by means of it, in recovering the 
Irish forms of many names. 

Ballj'hough, the name of a village near Dublin, is 
obscure as it stands ; but in an Inquisition of James 
I., it is called Bally bought, which at once suggests the 
true Irish wnxweBaiJe-hochf, poor town ; and Bally- 
bought, the correct anglicised form, is the name of 
some townlands in Antrim, Kildare, Cork, and Wex- 

Cappancur near Geashill, King's County, is men- 
tioned in an Inquisition of James I., and spelled 
Keapancurragh, which very fairly represents the 
pronunciation of the Irish Ccapach-an-churraigh, the 
tillage-plot of the curracfli or marsh. 

There is a townland in the parish of Aghaboe, 
(iueen's County, the name of which all modern au- 
thorities concur in calling Kilminfoyle. It is certain, 
however, that the n in the middle syllable has been 
substituted for /, for it is spelled in the Down Survey 
map KillmuUfoyle : this makes it perfectly clear, for 
it is a very good attempt to write the Irish Cill-Maol- 
phoil, Mulfoyle's Church, Mulfoyle being a man's 
name of common occurrence, 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 

CHAT. II.] Systematic Cluiuges. 17 

Survey opens tlie way to the original name, hy spell- 
ing it Bealaboclone, from wliicli it is obvious that the 
Irish name is Bcal-atha-Iwchiuana, the ford of the cow- 
meadow, the last part, bochtifdhi, cow-meadow, being 
a very usual local designation. 



There are many interesting peculiarities in the 
process of altering Irish topographical names from 
ancient to modern English forms ; and the changes 
and corruptions they have undergone are, in nu- 
merous instances, the result of phonetic laws that liave 
been in operation from the earliest times, and among 
different 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 prcserrcd. — 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 writing aimed at pre- 
serving the original pronunciation, by representing 
it as nearly as they were able in English letters. 
Generally speaking, this principle explains the altera- 
tions that were made in the spelling of names in the 
process of reducing them from ancient to modern 
forms ; and, as in the Irish language there is much 


18 The Irish Local Name S'/sfcm. [rAur i. 

elision .aiitl softening of consonants ; as, consequent!}'', 
the same sounds usually take a greater number of 
letters to represent them in Irisli 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 those 
reasons the modern English forms of the names arc 
almost always shorter tlian the ancient Irish. 

Allowing for the didiculty of representing Irisli 
words by English letters, it will be found that, on 
the whole, the ancient pronuncialion is fairly pre- 
served. For example, Drummuck, the name of 
several places in Ulster, preserves almost exactly the 
sound of the Irish Dndin-muc, the ridge of the pigs ; 
and the same may be said of Dungarvan, in Water - 
ford and Kilkenny, the Irish form of which is I)an- 
Garhhain (Four Mast.), meaning Grarvan's fortress. 
Not quite so well preserved, but still tolerably so, is 
the sound oi Baik-a''-yidire [Ballyariddery], the town 
of the knight, which is now called Balrothery, 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 angli- 
cised Bellahagran, the original form being Bcl-atha- 
grcaii, the ford-mouth of tlio gravel. Cases of this 
kind are more common in Ulster and Leinster than 
in the other provinces. 

"Whenever 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, dim, a fort, is usually 
anglicised dayi ov doon ; ho, a cow, ho; druim, a long 
hill, di'um ; kitir, a wet hill side, kttcr, &c. In most 

C'iiAP. ll.] Sf/,sU'ill(i/ic C/nti/r/rH. 10 

cases, however, llie same letters du not represent tlie 
same soundti in the two hui^uages ; and, accordingly, 
while the pronunciation was preserved, the original 
ortliograph}^ 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 Carlo w, affords a good illustration, 
the Irish name being Leaiiilidhntim [Lavruni], the 
drum or ridge of the elms. 

II. Aspiration. — The most common causes of 
change in the reduction of Irish names, are aspiration 
and eclipsis ; and of the effects of these two gram- 
matical accidents, it will be necessary to give some 
explanation. , 

O'Donovan defines aspiration — " The changing of 
the radical sounds of the consonants, from being 
stops of the breath to a sibilance, or from 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 : b, c, d, f, g, iii, p, s, and f. The 
aspiration is denoted either by placing a point over 
the letter fc), or an h after it (ch) ; by this con- 
trivance letters that are aspirated are still retained 
in writing, though their sounds are wholly altered. 
But as in anglicising names, these aspirated sounds 
were expressed in English by the very letters that 
represented them, there was, of course, a change of 

B and m aspirated {bli, m/t), are both sounded like 
V or w, and, consequently, where we find bh or m/t in 
an Irish name, we generally have v or ic in the Eng- 
lish form: examples, Ardvally in Sligo and Donegal, 
from the Irish Ard-bhailc, high town ; Ballinvana 
in Limerick, Baik-an-bhana, the town of the green 


20 The Irish Local Kame Si/sfcjjt. [part i. 

field ; l^allinwully in Ivoscommon, Baile-an-mhuUaigh^ 
the town of the .sumniit. 

Very oftcu they arc represented by ./'in English, 
as we see in Cloondaff in Mayo, from Cluain-damh, 
ox-meadow ; BoherdnfT, the name of several town- 
lands in varions comities, Bothay-dnhh^ Llack road. 
And not unfrcqucntly they are altogether snppressed, 
especially in the end of words, or between two vowels, 
as in Knockdoo in Wicklow, the same as Knockdulf 
in other places, Cnoc-dtihh, black hill ; Knockronr or 
Knockrower in the sonthern connties, which has 
been made Knockramei-, in Armagh, all from Ciioc- 
rcamJiar ; fat or thick hill. 

For c aspirated see next Chapter. 

I) and (J aspirated {dh, r/h), have a faint guttural 
sound not existing in EngHsh ; it is something like 
the sound of y (in 3'ore), which occasionally represents 
it in modern names, as in Annayalla in Monaghan, 
E(niaicj]i-fjhc(d<i, the white marshes, so called, ])ro- 
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 different parts of the country, which 
represents the Irish Lios-na-Iaetjh, the fort of the 
calves, a name having its origin in the custom of 
j)enuiug calves at night within the enclosure of tlie 
lis ; Reanabrone near Limerick city, JReidh-na-brdif, 
the marshy flat of the mill-stone or quern ; Ballintoy 
in Antrim, Baile-an-tuaidh, the town of the north. 

i^ aspirated (fk) totally loses its sound in Irish, and 
of course is omitted in English, as in Bauraneag in 
Limerick, Barr-av-fhidiqh, the hill top of the deer; 
Knockanree in AVicklow, Cnoc-an-j]iraci(j}i, the hill 
of the heath. 

CHAP. II.] Si/Hlemativ Chanrjes. 21 

P aspirated [ph), is represented by/, as in Bullin- 
foyle, the name of a place in AVicklow, and of ano- 
ther near Galway, Bailc-an-pJioiU, the town of tlie 
liole ; Shanlongford in Derry, Sean-longpltoii, the 
old long fort or fortification. 

;S' and ;" aspirated (s//, tli), both sonnd the same as 
English //, as in Drumhillagh, a townland name of 
freqvnent occurrence in some of the Ulster counties, 
Bruim-ahaUcach, the ridge of the sallows, which also 
often takes the form Drumsillagh, where the original 
6- sound is retained ; Drumhuskert in Mayo, Dvniin- 
fhuaisccart, northern drum or ridge. 

III. Eclipsis. — 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 
writing, but the sound of the eclipsing letter only is 
heard, that of the eclipsed letter, which is the letter 
proper to the word, being suppressed. For instance, 
when (I is eclipsed by ii it is written n-d, but the 
n alone is pronounced. In representing names by 
English letters, however, the sound only was trans- 
mitted, and, consequently, the eclipsed letter wns 
wholly omitted in writing, which, as in case of aspi- 
ration, resulted in a change of letter. 

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

22 The Iriah Local Name Si/stem. [part i. 

The consonants tliat aro eclipsed are h,c,(I,f,r/, 
p, .V, /, ; and each lias a special eclipsing letter of its 

Ji is eclipsed by m. Lup^namuddagh near Boyle, 
Hoscommon, represents the Irish Lufi-na-mbodach, the 
hollow of the ho(/(ig/is or churls ; Ivnocknamoe near 
Abhoyloix, Queen's County, C)ioc-na-tnho, the hill 
of the cows ; Mullaghnamo^'agh in Derry, Mullach- 
na-)iiboit/u'ac/i, the hill of the Lyres, or cow-houses. 

C is eclipsed by g. Knocknagulliagh, Antrim, is 
reduced from the Irish Cnoc-na-gcoiUeach, the hill of 
the cocks or grouse ; Cloonagashel near Ballinrobe, 
ought to have been anglicised Coolnagashel, for the 
Four ISfasters write the name Cidl-na-gcaiaeal, the 
angle of the cashels or stone forts. 

D and g are both eclipsed by n. Killynaraph in 
the parish of Aghalurcher, Fermanagh, CoiU-na- 
vdani/i, the wood of the oxen ; MuUananallog in 
Monaghan, MuUacJi-na-ndealg, the summit of the 
thorns or tliorn bushes. The eclipsis of g 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 m- 
f'tn.nco^Ciioc-Jia-iigah/iar [Knock-nung-our], the hill 
of the goats, is anglicised Knocknagore in Sligo and 
Down, and Knocknagower in Kerrj^ 

/''is eclipsed by b/i, which is represented by r in 
English. Carrignavar, one of the scats of the M'Car- 
thys in Cork, is in Irish Carraig-na-hJifear, the rock 
of the men ; Altnaveagh in Tyrone and Armagh, 
Alt-na-hhfiach, the cliff of the ravens ; Lisnaviddoge 
near Templemore, Tipperary, Lios-]ia-hlifcad6g, the lis 
or fort of the plovers. 

P is eclipsed by h. Gortnaboul in Kerry and 

ciiAi'. II.] System fiiic C/iangi's. 23 

Clare, Gort-nn-hpoU, the field of the holes : Coma- 
baste in Cavan, Cor-na-hpimf, the round hill of the 
worms or enchanted serpents. 

*S-is eclipsed by /, but this occurs only in the geni- 
tive singular, witli the article, and sometimes without 
it. Ballintao-ffart, the name of several places in 
• various counties from Down to Kerry, represents the 
Irish Brtik-an-fsarjairt, the town of the priest, the 
same name as Ballysaggart, which retains the s, as 
the article is not used ; Kuockatancashlane near 
Caherconlish, Limerick, Cnoc-a'-tsean-c/iaiskain, the 
liill of the old castle ; Kiltenanlea in Clare, Cill- 
tScnain-leith, the church of Senan the hoary; Kilte- 
nan in Limerick, Ciil-tSeiiaiii, Senan's church. 

T is eclipsed by d. BallynadoUy in Antrim 
Baik-u(i-dfu/ac/i, the town of the little hills; Gortna- 
dullagh near Kenmare, Gort-nn-dtuJach, the field of 
the bills; Lisnadurk in Fermanagh, Lios-ua-dforc, 
the fort of the boars. 

lY. 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 L-ish definite article an, to 
nouns, as in case of Anveyerg in the parish of Agli- 
namuUan, Monaghan, which represents the Irish 
An-hhcith-dhoarg, the red birch tree. When the arti- 
cle was in this manner placed before a word begin- 
ning with a vowel, it was frequently contracted to ti 
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, whicli has tlie words 
Uderre, Iendeinaiu,Iuette, Lide, Lami, and many others, 
formed by the incorporation of the article /, 

24 'The Irish Local Ntonc Sij-sfciii. [vaut i. 

A coiisidorablo number of Irish names liavo incor- 
porated tlio article in tliis manner ; among others, 
tlie following : Nanl, the name of a village near lial- 
briggan. The Irish name is an aill, i. e. tlio rock or 
cliir, which was originall}' applied to the ])erpendi- 
cular rock on which the castle stands — rising over 
the little river IJelvin near the village. The word 
was shortened to n\ull, 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 fcaddi)), the brooks or streamlets, and it 
took its name from a townland whicli is now often 
called F('ara)i)t-)ia-hh/ea(/dii, 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 ^lonaghan, an fhrart, the grave. 

Nuenna river in the parish of Freshford, Kilkenny 
— an naifJtuc [an oohina],the green river. Tlie river 
Nore is properly written an Fheoir, i. e. the Feoir ; 
Boate calls it " The Nure or Oure," showing that in 
his time (1G45) the article had not been permanently 
incorporated. Nobber in Meath ; the ohah' or work, 
a name applied, according to tradition, to the English 
fortress erected there. Mageoghegan, in his transla- 
tion 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 ah\ays called 
"The Naul," by the inhabitants : in this loth the 
Irish and English ai tides are used together; but in 
" The Oil " (the aill or rock), a townland in the 
parish of Edermine, "Wexford, and in " The Obber," 

CHAP. II.] SyHtcmatic Chancjcs. 25 

the Irish article is omitted, and the English used in 
its place. 

AVhile in so many names the article has been in- 
corporated, the reverse process sometimes took place ; 
that is, in the case of certain words which properly 
hcgan with n, this letter was detached in consequence 
of being mistaken for the article. The name Ua- 
choh(jh//<i!l [Oohongwal], is an example of this. The 
word Co)if/hhail means a habitation, but it was very 
often applied to an ecclesiastical establishment, and 
it has been perpetuated in the names of Conwal, a 
parish in Donegal ; Conwal in the parish of liossin- 
ver, Leitrim ; Cunnagavale* in the parish of Tuogh, 
Limerick; and other places. With ;/?;a (new) pre- 
fixed, it became NnacJioughJiaiJ, 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 supposed that the proper word was 
UaclionghJiail and n merely the article. In this muti- 
lated state it exists in the modern names of several 
l>laces, viz. : Oughaval in the parish of Kilmacteige, 

* This place is called CunnagJial/tuil in Irish by tlie people, 
nn'l it is worthy of notice, as it points directly to what appears 
to be the true origin of Cunghluiil, viz., corigahhail. I am 
awai'o that in O'Clei'y's Glossary, Conghhail is derived from 
cnmhhaile (von + baile). Hut in a passage in tlie " Book of 
Armagh," as quoted by Dr. AV. Stokes in his Irish Glosses, 1 
find the word coiiguhnim used in tlie sense oniahito ; and 0'J)o- 
novan states that corigi'h = he holds (Sup. to O'li. Di.^'t.). The 
infinitive or verbal noun formation is cotigiibriil or congabliail, 
which, accordinir to this use, menus hahiiiitio ; and as Colgan 
translates Onighhail hy the same word liahiUitio, there can be, 
1 think, no doubt that covghhail is merely a contracted form of 
coiigdhhdU. ('(ivgahhdil literally means conceptio, i.e. com- 
pi-ehending or including ; and as :ii)])li('d to a habitation, would 
mean the whule of tlie premises included in the establish^ 

2;> The Triah Local Name Sij-'itein. [i'ARL' i. 

Sligo ; the paiisli of Ouo'liaval in INEayo ; ami Oiigli- 
aval in llio parisli of >SliaJLally, Ciuoon's County ; 
■vvliicli last is called by its correct name Nuachonghltail, 
in O'Clery's Calendar at the 15tli May. Tliis is also 
the original name of Fanglianvale in Derry, Avliich 
is written UdcltoiujhJKtil by the Four Atasters. This 
old name was corrupted to Fauglianvale by people 
wlio, I suppose, were thinking of tlie river Fanghan; 
which, liowever, is three miles off, and had nothing 
whatever to do with tlie original name of the r)lace. 

The word UdcJioiKihlidil lias a respectable antiquity 
in its favour, for " The Book of Uachongbhail" is 
mentioned in several old authorities, among others 
the Book of Ballymote, and the Yellow Book of Le- 
can ; the name occurs also in the Four Masters at 
1197. Yet there can be no doubt that Nuachonr/- 
hhail is the original word, for we have the express 
authority of Colgan that itud not ?/r/ is the prefix, as 
he translates JVaachonplJiail by vora Juihitatio ; in- 
deed ua as a prefix could, in this case, have scarcely 
any meaning, for it never signifies anything but " a 

The separation of the n. may be witnessed in opera- 
tion at the present day in Kerry, where the parish of 
Nohoval is locally called in Irish sometimes Uaclio- 
hhail and sometimes an Uacliohhail, 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 this manner, appears also to 
be the opinion of Dr. Graves, for in a paper read 
before the R. I. Academy in December, ] 852, he 
remarks that the loss of the initial n in the words 
oklhcho. (night) and t(imJiir{:\, number) "may perhaps 
be accounted for, by supposing that it was confounded 
with the n of the article." 

CHAP. II.]' Systematic CJuinges. 27 

The words eascn (or casgan), an eel, and cas (or 
easoi/), awoasel,bave, in like manner, lost the initial ;/, 
for the old forms, as given in Cormac's Glossary, are 
naiscu and ncss. Dr. Whitley Stokes, also, in his 
recent edition of this Glossary, directs attention to the 
Breton Ormiotdi for Normandy, and to the English 
adder as compared with the Irish natliir (a snake) 
and Lat. natrix; but in these two last examples, it 
is probable that the article has nothing to do with 
the loss of the ;/. 

As a further confirmation of tliis opinion regarding 
the loss of n in UacJionghliail, 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 I^at. li/nx ; it was formerly 
written loure, and in the It lo)iza, the / is still re- 
tained. Er, aziir (Eng, azure), from hzulus. So also 
It. Hsciginiolo, the nightingale, homliiscinia; and It. 
orhacca, a berry, from hiiifi-hacat. 

Anotlier change that has been, perhaps, chiefly 
produced by the influence of the article, is the omis- 
sion or insertion of tlie letter/. The article causes 
tlie initial consonants of feminine nouns (and in cer- 
tain cases those of masculine nouns also) to be aspi- 
rated. Now aspirated./' is wholly silent; and being- 
omitted in pronunciation, it was, in the same circum- 
stances, often omitted in writing. The Irish name nf 
the river Nore affords an instance of this. Keating 
and OTIeeren write it Feoir, Avhich is sounded Eoir 
when the article is prefixed {an F/icoir). Accordingly, 
it is written without tlie /quite as often as with it : 
the Eour Masters mention it three times, and each 
time they call it Fair. The total silence of this 
letter in aspiration appears to be, to some extent at 
least, the cp,use of its uncertain character. lu the 

28 The Iria/i Local Nome Si/slmv. [tart i. 

oaso of ninny words, the writers of Trisli seem either 
to have inserted or oniittcd it iudillerentl}', or to 
liavo been uncertain wlietlier it sliould Lo inserted 
or not ; and so we often find it omitted, even in very 
old authorities, from words where it was really 
radical, and ])refixed to other words to which it did 
not helong. The insertion of / is very common in 
the south of Ireland (See O'Donovan's Grammar, 
p. -50, and O'Brien's Irish Dictionary, p, 446). 

The following- words will exemplify these remarks : 
from ((ill, a rock or cliff, we have a pfreat number of 
names — such as Aillenaveagh in Galway, dill-na- 
hlifiach, the ravens' cliff, &.ci. But it is quite as often 
called /((ill, especially in the south; and this form 
gives us many names, such as Foilduff in Kerry and 
Tipperary, black cliff ; Fojdatalure in Kilkenny, the 
tailor's cliff. Aill I believe to be the most ancient 
form of this word, for Aill-finn (Elpliin) occurs in the 
Tripartite Life of St. Patrick. So with ?/r/?' and,/)^ro', 
cold ; and Fahan on Lough Swilly, is sometimes 
written Fcd/iain, and sometimes At/iain,aTid Otludn, 
by the Four Masters. 

The,/' has been omitted by aspiration in the names 
Lughinny in the parish of Killahy, Kilkenny, and 
in Lughanagh in the parish of Killosolan, Galway, 
both of which represent the Irish an fhliuchdine [an 
luhiny], the wetland ; and also in Ahabeg, in the parish 
of Carrigparson, Limerick, an fluntJiclu' hf((n, the little 
green. In these names, the article, after having caused 
the aspiration of the/, has itself dropped out ; but it 
has held itsplaceinNurchossynearClogherin Tyrone, 
the Irish name of which is (oi f]n((()'-chom(h, the cold 
foot or cold bottom-land, so called probably from its 
wetness. A place of this name [FvarcJiosach) is 
mentioned by the Four Masters at 1584, but it lies 

CHAP. II.] Sijdematic Changes. 29 

in Donegal ; there is a little island in Lough Oorrib, 
two miles and a half north-east from Oughterard, 
■\vitli tlie strange name of Cussafoor, which literally 
signifies " cold feet ;" and Derreennagusfoor is the 
name of a townland in the parish of Kilcummin in 
Galway, signifying the little oak wood of the cold 

The /has been affixed to the following words to 
which it does not radically belong : f(ui for an, 
stay ; fiolav for iolar, an eagle ; fahine for ainiie, a 
ring, &o. It has also been inserted in Culfeightrin, 
the name of a parish in Antrim, which is properly 
Cuil-cachtrann, the corner or angle of the strangers. 
TJrney in Tyrone is often called Furny, as in tlie 
record of Primate Colton's Visitation (1397), and the 
/is also prefixed in the Taxation of Down, Connor, 
and Dromore (130C), 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 
between it and the noun, as anam, soul, an taiiani, the 
soul.* In tlie case of a few names, this t has re- 
mained, and lins become incorporated with the word, 
while the article has disappeared. For example, 
Turagli in the parish of Tuogli, Limerick, i. e. a?i 
t'inbrach, the yew land; Tummery in the parish of 
Dromore, Tyrone, an t-iomaire, the ridge ; so also 
Tassau in Monaghan, the assan or little cataract; 
Tardree in Antrim, an tard-fhracigh, the height of 
the heather. The best known example of this is 

* 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 mo- 
dern Irish. 

30 y'/ic Iris// Local KdDic Sijstcui. [pAllT 1. 

']\^]npo ill ]^"'ennfinag]i, ^\■]li(•ll is called in Iri.sli (in 
t-Io)iipoilh (l<isiol [.111 timpo (lesliil |, i())iii>o(lh nieaiiini^ 
turuiii<7, and dfisiol, (Icrtrosnui — Irom left to right. 
The place received its name, no doubt, from the 
ancient custom of turning sun-Avays, i. e. from left to 
right in -worship (See r/w.s, in 2nd series). 

V. rroriucidl Dif/'ej'cnccs of Pronunclaiion. — There 
are certain Irish words and classes of words, which 
by the Irish-speaking people are pronounced differ- 
ently in different parts of tlie country; and, in accord- 
ance with the general rule to preserve as nearly as 
possible the original pronunciation, these provin- 
cial peculiarities, as might bo 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 iu certain situations like on in the 
English word ounce* Gah/iar, a goat, is pronounced 
(/oxT in the south, and/7or<? in the north; and so the 
name Lios-na-vfjahhar (Four Mast.: the lis or fort of 
the goats) is anglicised Lisuagower in Tipperarj', 
and Lisnagore in Monaghan. See also Ball3'nahown, 
a common townland name in the south {Baik-na- 
hab/iann, the town of the river), contrasts with Bally- 
nahone, an equally common name in the north. 
Fionn (white or fair), is pronounced /fo?^? or Jiune in 
Munster, as in Bawnfoun in Waterford, and Bawn- 
fune in Cork, the white or fair-coloured field. In 
most other parts of Ireland it is pronounced /??, as 
■in Findrum iu Donegal and Tyrone, which is written 

• For this .ind the snccpcdiiig provincial peculiarities, sec 
O' Donovan's Grammar, Tart I., Cliaps. 1. and ii. 

CHAT. 11.] S//sf Cilia f/'c CI/aiif/:'s. hi 

hy tlio Four ]\Iastcrs Flialniiiii, Avliilc or fair ridg-c ; 
aud this form is often adopted iu Minister also, as in 
Fiiinaliy in the parish of TJppercliureh, Tipperary, 
Fionn-fhiiitlichc, the white phit or exercise field. 

The sound of h aspirated {hit = v) is often sunk 
altogether iu Munster, while it is very generally re- 
tained in the other provinces, especially in Connaught. 
In Derrynanool in the parish of Marslialstown, Cork 
{Doire-na-n-ahhall, the grove of the apples), the /^/tis 
not heard, while it is fully sounded in Avalhane in 
the parish of Clontibret, Monaghan {AhhaU-han, 
white orchard), and in Killavil in the parish of Kil- 
shalvy, Sligo {Cill-ahhaill, the church of the apple 
tree) . 

In certain positions adh is sounded like Eng. eye, 
in the south; thus cindh., which generally means a 
raised dyke of clay, but sometimes a sunk ditch or 
fosse, is pronounced cJ;/ in the south, as in Clyduff 
in Cork, Limerick, and King s Count}^, black dyke. 
More northerly the same word is made cht or claic ; 
as in Clawdowen near Clones, deep ditch ; Clawinch, 
an island in Lough Eee, the island of tlie dyke or 

Adk in the termination of Avords is' generally 
sounded like oo in Connaught ; thus inadadli, a dog, 
is anglicised niaddoo inCarrownamaddoo,the quarter- 
land of the dogs, the name of three townlands in 
Sligo — while the same name is made Carrowna- 
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 Munster of the final gh, 
which is sounded there like English hard (j in fg. 
Great numbers of local names are influenced by this 

32 The Ifish Local Name Sydcii). [paki' i. 

custom. Balliucollio- near Cork is ]}iiilc-(ui-cJinI- 
laiij/i, the town of the boar ; and Ballintanni<^ in tlio 
parish of I^allinaboy, Cork, Bdih'-fiii-f-.seaiud;///, the 
town of tlie fox. The present name of tlie rivor 
Maigue in Limerick, is formed on the same princi- 
ple, its Irish name, as written in old authorities, 
being Mnifj/i, that is the river of tliO plain. Nearly 
all the Munster names ending in rj hard are illustra- 
tions of this peculiar pronunciation. 

It is owing to a difference in the way of pronounc- 
ing tlie original Irish "svords, that clnaiii (an insulated 
bog meadow) is sometimes in modern names made 
clooii, sometimes chn, and occasionally clone; that 
dim (a fortified residence) is in one place spelt doon, 
in another dun, and in a third doicn ; that in the 
neighbourhood of Dublin, hall// is shortened to hal; in 
Donegal rath is often made rije or rai/; and that discrt 
is sometimes made isfer and triatlc, &c., &c. 

VI. Irkh Names with EiujUsh Plurals. — It is very 
well known that topographical names are often in the 
plural 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 plurals, as in 
the w'ell-known examples, Thebes and Athens. 

Great 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. 
Eor example, the townland of Hawes in the parish 
of Tynan, Armagh, was originally tw^o, which are 
called in the map of the escheated estates (1G09) 
Banragh and Douragh {Bun-rath, and Diibh-rafh, 

CHAP. IT.] Syatcmatie CIkcikjc^. 33 

white rath and black rath) ; but they were after- 
wards formed into a single townland, which is now 
called Eawes, that is, liaths. 

There is a considerable diversity in the manner 
of anglicising these plural forms. Very often the 
original terminations are retained ; as in Milleeny in 
the parish of Bally vourney, Cork, 3Iillinidhe, little 
hillocks, from mccdl, a hillock. Oftener still, the 
primary plural inflection is rejected, and its place 
supplied by the English termination. Keeloges is 
the name of about twenty-six townlands scattered 
all over Ireland ; it means "narrow stripes or plots," 
and the Irish name is Caeldga, the plural of caelog. 
Carrigans is a common name in the North, and 
Carrigeens in the South ; it is the anglicised form of 
CarraicjinidJic, little rocks. Daars, a townland in the 
parish of Bodenstown, Kildare, means "oaks," from 
dairghe, plural of dair, an oak. So Mullans and 
Mullauns, from mulldin, \\ii\Q flat hills; Derreens, 
from doirinid/ie, little dern'es or oak groves; Bawnoges, 
from hanoga, little green fields, &c. 

In other names, the Irish plural form is wholly 
or partly retained, while the English termination is 
superadded ; and these double plurals are very com- 
mon. Killybegs, the name of a village in Donegal, 
and of several other places in diff'erent parts of Ire- 
land, is called by the Four Masters, Cealla-heaga, little 
churches. The plural of chiain (an insulated mea- 
dow) is chiaintc, which is anglicised Cloonty, a com- 
mon townland name. AYith s added it becomes 
Cloonties, the name of some townlands, and of a 
well-known district near Strokestown, Roscommon, 
which is called Cloonties, because it consists of 
twenty-four townlands, all whose names begin with 


34 The In'.sh Local Ndinr Si/sfon. [taut i. 

VIT. Transmission of Oblique Forms. — lu the trans- 
mission of words from ancient into modern European 
lanp^ungps, there is a curious principle very extensive 
in its operation, whicli 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 from the nominative, but from 
one of the oblique forms. 

All English words ending in afion are examples 
of this, such as nation : the original Latin is nafio, 
gen. nationis abl. natione, and the English has pre- 
served the n of the oblique cases, Tjoi. parSy gen. 
partis, &c. ; here again the English word ^jc//-^ retains 
the t of the genitive. 

This principle has been actively at work in the 
reduction of names from Irish to modern Ensrlish 
forms. There is a class of nouns, belonging to 
the fifth declension in Irish, which form tlieir geni- 
tive by adding n or nn to the nominative, as nrsa, a 
door jamb, genitive ursan, dative ursain ; and this n 
is obviously cognate with the n of the third declen- 
sion in Latin. 

Irish names that are declined in this manner very 
often retain the n of the oblique cases in their modern 
English forms. For example, Carhoon, the name of 
a place in the parish of Kilbrogan, Cork, and of two 
others in the parishes of BeaghandTynagh, Galway, 
is the genitive of Carhoo, a quarter of land : — Irish 
ceatliramha, gen. ceathramJtan. In this manner, we 
get the modern forms, Erin, Alban, Eathlin, from 
Eire, Alba (Scotland), Reachra. 

Other forms of the genitive, besides those of the 
fifth declension, are also transmitted. Even within 

CHAP. II. J Sijstonafic C//aiigcs. 35 

the domain of the Irish language, the same tendency 
may be observed, in the changes from ancient to mo- 
dern forms ; and we find this very often the case in 
nouns ending in ac/t, and which make the gen. in 
air/h. Tulach, a hill, for instance, is tnlaigli 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 
Talbj are derived from it ; such as Tullyallen on the 
Boyne, above Drogheda, which is most truly de- 
scribed by its Irish name Tnlaigh-dlainn, beautiful 

The genitive of teach, a house, is tighe, dative iigh, 
and at the present day this last is the universal name 
for a house all over the south of Ireland. Many 
modern names beginning with Ti and Tee are ex- 
amples of this ; for, althougli tlie 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 church in King's County, which 
has given name to a parish, and which is called 
in the Calendars, Teach-Saraiu, Saran's house. St. 
Saran, the original founder of the church, was of the 
race of the Dealbhua, who were descended from Olioll 
Olum, King of Munster (O'Clery's Cal. 20th Jan.) ; 
and his holy well, Tobar-Sarain, is still in existence 
near the church. The people call the church in Irish, 
Tigh-Sarahi, and it is from this that the present name 
Tisaran is derived. 

VIII. Translated Names. — Whoever examines the 
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 three classes, viz. really 


36 'The Irish Local Name Si/sfofii. [paht i. 

modern English names, imposed by English-speaking 
people, such as Kingstown, Castleblakeney, Charle- 
ville ; those which are translations of older Irish 
names ; and a third class to which I shall presently 
return. AVith 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 townland names that 
have an English form, are translations, and of these 
I shall give a few examples. The Irish name of 
Cloverhill in the parish of Kilmacowen, Sligo, is 
Cnoc-na-seama)\ the hill of the shamrocks ; Skins- 
town in the parish of liathbeagh, Kilkenny, is a trans- 
lation of Baile-na-gcroiceann ; 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 ; for 
its Irish name is ^cAr/(7-;^r (Bookof Leinster), which, 
in the Life of St. Pulcherius published by Colgan, is 
explained, " Achadh-ur, i. e. green or soft field, on 
account of the moisture of the rivulets which flow 
there." The present translation was adopted because 
achadh, a field, was mistaken for ath, a ford. The 
Irish name of Strokestown in Roscommon, is not 
BaUe-na-mhuiUe, as the present incorrect name would 
imply, but Bel-atha-na-mhidlle, the ford (not the 
town) 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 

CHAP. II.] Systematic Chcnnjes. 37 

name is Caklcan-na-fjacitlio, the castle of the wind, 
which has been made Castleventry, as if tentry had 
some connection in meaning with ventKn. 

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

In some of the eastern counties, and especially in 
Meath, great numbers of names end in the word 
town; and those derived from families 'are almost 
always translated so as to preserve this termina- 
tion, as Drakestown, Gernonstown, Cruicetown, &c. 
But several names are anglicised very strangely, 
and some barbarously, in order to force them into 
compliance with this custom. Thus the Irish name 
of Mooretown in the parish of Ardcath, is Baile-an- 
churraigh, the town of the moor or marsh ; Cran- 
naghtown in the parish of Balrathboyne, is in Irish 
BaUe-na-gcramiach, 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 Bailc-na-hhfionnocj 
[Ballynavinnog], the town of the scaldcrows, and by 
a strange caprice of error, a scaldcrow ox Jinnoge is 
here converted into a phoenix ! 

Many names again, of the present class, are only 
half translations, one part 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 topograj^hical 
term, as to be in itself sufficiently understood, or 

38 The Iris// Load Name Si/sfmi. [pakt i. 

that the translators were ignorant of its English 
equivalent. In the parish of Ballycarnoy, Wexford, 
there is a townland taking its name from a ford, 
called in Irish S</((irh//-((H-lJ/ireaf/uiai(jh [Scarriff-an- 
vranny], Walsh's scariff, or shallow ford, and this 
with an obvious alteration, has given name to the 
harony of Scarawalsh. In Cargygray, i}i the parish 
of Annahilt, county of Do\vn,_r//Y/iy is a translation of 
riahhacha, and caryy is the Irish for rocks; the full 
name is Cairrgc-riabhacha, grey rocks. The Irish 
name of Curraghbridge, near Adair in Limerick, is 
Droichd-na-corra, the bridge of the weir, or dam, and 
it is anglicised by leaving corra nearly unchanged, 
and translating droicliet to bridge. I shall elsewhere 
treat of the term Eochaill (yew Avood) and its modern 
forms : there is a townland near Tullamore, King's 
County, with this Irish name, but now somewhat 
oddly called the wood of 0. In some modern au- 
tliorities, the place is called The Owe ; so that while 
cliaill was correctly translated wood, it is obvious that 
the first sjdlable, eo, was a puzzle, and was prudently 
left untouched. 

IX. Irish Names simnlatii)g EngJiali 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 down in their present forms, under 
the action of a certain corrupting influence, which 
often comes into operation when words are trans- 
ferred (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 use it, into another that 
they can understand, formed by a combination of 

CHAP. II.] Systematic Changes. 39 

their own words, more or less like the original in sound, 
but almost always totally different in sense. This 
principle exists and acts extensively in the English 
language, and it has been noticed by several writers 
— among others by Latham, Dr. Trench, and Max 
Miiller, 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 
English words and phrases ; and in their writings 
may be found many amusing examples, a few of which 
I shall quote. 

The word "beefeater" is corrupted from haffetier, 
which was applied to a certain class of persons, so 
called, not from eating beef, but because their office 
was to wait at the hnjfet. Shotover Hill, near Ox- 
ford, a name which the people sometimes explain by 
a story of Little John shooting an arrow over it, is 
merely the French Chateau Vert, Tlie tavern sign 
of " The goat and compasses " is a corruption of tlie 
older sign-board, " God encompasseth us ;" " The cat 
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 foundation 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 coill, a wood, is hill or 
hyle ; in many names, however, chiefly in the north 

40 The Irish Local Name System. [rAiiT i. 

of Ireland, it is changed to the English word /(/(/. 
Cranfiold, the name of three townlands in Down, 
Antrim, and Tyrone, is in Irish crcumlicholll [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 tlio whole or part of a great 
many townland names. The conversion of cJioill into 
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/j 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, 
in which the same word coill is made hill. Who 
could doubt but that Coolhill in the parish of The 
Eower, 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], backwood, and the second buidhe- 
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. 

Mointedn [moan-thaun], boggy land, and Moiiitin 
[moantheen], a little bog, are in the South very ge- 
nerally anglicised mountain, as in Ballynamountain, 
Xilmountain, Coolmountain,&c., all townland names ; 
and in both North and South, iiachfar, upper, is 
frequently changed to n-ater, 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. Brnif/hid, a 
gorge, is made broad, as in Knockbroad in Wexford, 

CHAP. II.] Systematic C/iaiiges. 41 

the hill of the gorge; and the genitive case of conadh, 
firewood, appears as honey, as in Magherahoney in 
Antrim, the field of the firewood. 

Many of these transformations are very ludicrous, 
and were probablj^ made under the influence of 
a playful humour, aided by a little imagination. 
There is a parish in Antrim called Billy; atownland 
in the parish of Kinawly, Fermanagh, called Molly ; 
and another, in the parish of Ballinlough, Limerick, 
with the more ambitious name of Cromwell ; but all 
these sail under false colours, for the first is hile 
[bills], an ancient tree; the second mdhiir/he [mauly], 
hill-brows, or braes; and Cromwell is nothing more 
than crom-choiU [crumwhill], stooped (crom) or sloping 

There is a townland in Kerry and another in 
Limerick with the formidable 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 Fer- 
managh and Cavan ; Tuaim-coill, 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 ; 
Barnycarroll would be taken as a man's name by 
any one ; for Barny (Bernard) is as common in Ire- 
land as a Christian name, as Carroll is as a surname ; 
but it is really the name of a townland in the parish 
of Kilcolman in Mayo, rei^resenting exactly the sound 
of Bcarn-Vi-ChearbhaUl, O'Carroll's gap ; and in case 
of Laithreaeh-Cliormaic, in Deny (Cormac's lavha or 
house-site), the temptation was irresistible to call it 
as it is now called, Larrycormac. 

There are several places in Tipperary and Limerick 

42 TItc Irisli Local Name System. [rAux i. 

called by the Scriptural name ^[ountsiou: but Mount 
is only a translation of r»or, and sion, an ingenious 
adai)tion of ■sidhcdn [sliceawn], a fairy mount ; the 
full Irish name being Ciioc-a-f.sid/icain [KnoeateeanJ, 
fairy-mount hill: and Islafalcon in tlie parish of Ard- 
tramou, AVexford, is not wliat it ajjpears to be, the 
island of tlu) falcon, but Oilvdn-(t'-pJiO((iin [Ilaun- 
a-fuckaun], the island or river-holm of the buck 

We have a very characteristic example of this pro- 
cess in the name of the Phoenix Park, Dublin. This 
"svord Phoenix (as applied to our park) is a corruption 
o{ fionn-nisg' [feenisk], which means clear or limpid 
water. It was originally the name of the beautiful 
and perfectly traus])arent spring well near the Phoe- 
nix pillar, situated just outside the wall of the Vice- 
regal grounds, behind the gate lodge, and which is 
the head of the stream that supplies the ponds near 
the Zoological Gardens. To complete the illusion, 
the Earl of. Chesterfield, in the year 1745, erected^ 
jiillar 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 received 
its name from this pillar. The change from fionn- 
uisrj 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 "Waterford. 

X. Retention of In's/i irritten 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, 

CHAP. II.] Si/siciiiatic CIkohjcs. 43 

the names are pronouuced in conformity Avith tlie 
powers of the English letters; and accordingly wlien- 
ever the old orthography is retained, the original 
pronunciation is generally lost. 

This may be illustrated by the word rath, which is 
in Irish pronounced raic. There are over 400 town- 
land names beginning with this word in the form of 
ra, rah, raw, and ra>/ ; these names are derived from 
the spoken, not the written originals ; and, while the 
pronunciation is retained, the spelling is lost. There 
are more than 700 names commencing with the word 
in its original form, i-afh, in which the correct spelling 
is preserved; but the pronunciation is commonly 
lost, for the word is pronounced rath to rhj^me with 
bath. It is worth}^ of remark, however, that the 
peasantry living in or near these places, towhomtlie 
names have been handed down orally, and not by 
writing, generally preserve the correct pronunciation ; 
of which llathmines, Eathgar, Eathfarnhara, and 
Kathcoole are good examples, being pronounced by 
the people of the localities, Ea-mines, Ea-gar, Ea- 
farnham, and Ka-coole. 

The principal effect of this practice of retaining the 
old spelling is, that consonants which are aspirated 
in the original names, are liardened or restored in the 
modern pronunciation. To illustrate these princii:)les 
I have given the following short list of words that 
enter frequently into Irish names, each containing 
an aspirated letter ; and after each Avord, 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 as})irated, but sounded as it would in- 
dicate to an English reader, and the proper pronun- 
ciation is lost : — 

41 The Irish Local Name Si/stew. [pakt i. 

1. Af/i [ah], a ford: Agolagh in Antrim, Af/t- 
(tohhlavh, forked ford ; Atliciiry \n Gahvay, a corrupt 
form from Aih-mt-fioyh (Four Masters), the ford of 
tlie kings. 2. Gaotli, wind (gwee) ; Mastergeelia, two 
townlands in Keny, Masteragwee near Coleraine, 
and Mostragee in Antrim, tlie master of the wind, so 
called from the exposed situation of the places ; 13al- 
geeth, the name of some places in Moath, windy town, 
the same as Ballynageeha and Ballynagee in other 
counties. 3. Tamhnacli, a green field [tawnagh] ; 
Fintona in Tyrone, written by the Four Masters 
Fionn-tamhmich, fair-coloured field ; Tamnyagan in 
the parish of Eanagher, Deny, O'Hagan's field. 
4. Damh [dauv], an ox ; Davillaun 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 hvtliar [boher], a road, is converted into 
hatter. This word "batter" is, or was, well under- 
stood in these counties to mean an ancient road; and 
it was used as a general term in this sense in the 
patents of James I. It signifies in "Wexford, a lane 
or narrow road : — " Bater, a lane bearing to a higli 
road " (" Glossary of the dialect of JForth and 
Bargy." By Jacob Poole : Edited by William 
Barnes, B. D.). "As for the word Bater, that in 
English purpozeth a lane bearing to an highway, 
I take it for a meer Irish worde that crept unawares 
into the English, through the daily intercourse of 
the English and Irish inhabitants" (Stanyhurst, 
quoted in same). 

The word occiu'S in early Anglo-Irish documents 
in the form of hotliir, or hothyr, which being pro- 
nounced according to the powers of the English let- 
ters, was easily converted into hotter or hatter. It 

CHAP. II.] Systematic Changes. 45 

forms a part of the following names : — Batterstown, 
the name of four townlands in Meatli, which were 
always called in Irish Baile-an-bltdthair, i. e. the town 
of the road ; and anglicised by changing JjotJiar to 
batter, and translating bai/c to town. Batterjohn and 
Ballybatter are also in Meath. Near Drogheda 
there is a townland called Greeubatter, 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 known 
by the name of Bothar-na-gctoch [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 
constructed in the second century, viz. that called 
Slighe Cualann, passed through Dublin by Ratoath, 
and on towards Bray ; under the name of Bealach 
Baib/itiiine (the road or pass of the [river] DuibhUun)* 
it is mentioned in the following quotation from the 
"Book of Eights":— 

" It is prohibited to him (the king of Erin) to go with a host 
On Monday over the Bealach Diiibhiinne. 

The old ford of hurdles, which in those early ages 
formed the only foot passage across the Liffey, and 

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

46 'Jlic Irish Local Naine Si/sfciii. [paut i. 

which gave the name oiAtli-CUdth to tlio city, crossed 
the livor 'svlioro Wliitwortli hridge now stands, lead- 
ing from Church-siroot to Bridge-street ;* and the 
road from Tara to AVicklow must necessarily have 
crossed the Lilfey at this point. There can be, I 
think, no doubt that the present Stony batter formed 
a portion of tliis ancient road — a statement that is 
borne out by two independent circumstances. First 
— Stony batter lies straight on the line, and would, 
if continued, meet the Liffey exactly at Whitworth 
bridge. Secondly, the name Stonybatter, or Bothar- 
na-ijdoch, affords even a stronger confirmation. The 
most important of the ancient Irish roads were gene- 
rally paved with large blocks of stone, somewhat like 
the old lioman roads ; a fact that is proved by the re- 
n)ains 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 day — Bohernaglogh ; and the 
existence of this name, on the very line leading to 
the ancient ford over the Liffey, leaves scarcely any 
doubt that this was a part of the ancient Slighc Cua- 
lann. It must be regarded as a fact of great interest, 
that the modern-looking name Stonybatter — changed 
as it has been in the course of ages — descends to us 
with a history seventeen hundred years old written 
on its front. 

Booterstown (near Dublin) is another member of 
the same family ; it is merely another form of Bat- 
terstown, i. e. Eoadtown. In a roll of about the year 
1435 it is written in the Anglo-Irish form, Bally- 
bothyr [Bailc-an-hliothaiy — town of the road), of 
which the present name, Booterstown, is a kind of 
half translation. In old Ancrlo-Irish documents fre- 


Gilbert's "History of Dublin," Vol. I., Chap. ix. 

CHAP. III.] Corniptions. 47 

quent mention is made of a road leading from Dublin 
to Bray, In a roll of the fifteenth century it is called 
Bothj'r-de-Bree (road of Bray) ; and it is stated that 
it was by this road theO'Byrnes andO'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 principles 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 
far the greatest number 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 Tre- 

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

48 llic Irish Local Name System. [pakt i. 

laud. Some of these laws of corruption have been 
noticed by Dr. O'Donovau and Dr. llcevcs ; and I 
liave given expression to others : I have hero brought 
them all, or tlie most important of them, under 
one view, and illustrated each by a number of 

I. Iiifeirhanf/c ©/' 1, r, n, m. — The interchange of 
these letters is common in most languages : it would 
be easy, if necessary, to give examples from every 
language of Europe. 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) ; Rousillon 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 
respect, quite as much in one language as in the other. 
L appears to have been a favourite letter, and the 
instances are particularly numerous in which it is 
substituted for the letter r. The word sndhair 
[sruher], a stream, forms the 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, watercress, 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 Ma-sters call it Achadh-biorair [Ahabirrer], the 
field of the watercresses, but the present spoken Irish 
name is Ac/iadh-b/tiolar, from which the English form 
is derived ; in Toberburr near Finglas, Dublin, the 
original r is retained [Tohar-biorair, watercress well). 
Loughbrickland in Down was anciently Loc/i-Hricrenn 

CHAP. III.] Corrupt ions. 49 

(Four Masters), the lake oi Bricriu ; and it received 
its name from an Ulster poet of the time of king 
Conor Mac Nessa (1st cent.), who, on account of the 
bitterness of his satires, was called Bricrm Nonh- 
ihciifja — Bricriu of the poison-tongue (see O'Curry, 
Lect. Ill, 17). 

iVis also sometimes, though not often, changed 
to /, as in the 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 
indicate. The O'Connings, or as they are now 
called, Gunnings, were chiefs of the territory of 
^5- &'re//^(', extending from Kuockgrean to Limerick ; 
and this was their principal castle. 

The change of n to r is one of frequent occur- 
rence, an example of which is the name of Kilmac- 
renau in Donegal, which is called in Irish authori- 
ties, CiU-mac-nEnain, translated by Colgan, the 
church of the sons of Enan, who were contempo- 
raries and relatives of St. Columha. 

The Irish name of Limerick is Luimneach [Limi- 
negh : 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 
Four Masters at 561, will show : — 

" The Luimneach did not bear on its bosom, of the race of 

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

and the modern name was derived from this, by a 
change of n to r, and by substituting ch for the 
guttural in the end. 

The root of the word is hm, bare, of which luimne 
is a diminutive form (see for the diminutive termi- 


60 Tlie It'kh Local Name System. [part i. 

nation no, 2nd Sor., c. II.) ; and from this again 
was devcloi^cd, by the addition of the adjective post- 
fix acli, the full name Luhnncach, which signifies a 
bare or barren spot of land, and which was applied 
to the place long before the foundation of the city. 
Several conjectural and legendary derivations of the 
name are cited by Mr. Maurice Lenihan in the 
"Kilk. Arch. Jour.,*" 1864-0, p. 425, note 1 ; but I do 
not think it necessary to notice them here. 

In connection with the name of Limerick, it may 
be remarked that lorn, bare, is a usual component of 
local names. There is a place called Lumcloon near 
the village of Cloghan in King's County, which the 
Four Masters call Lomchluaiu, bare clooii or meadow; 
or more {uHyLomcJiluain-I-FhlaitJiile, from the family 
of O'Flahily, or as they now call themselves. Flattery. 
There are other places of the same name in Carlow 
and Wicklow ; and it takes the form of Lomcloon 
in Sligo. Clonlum in Armagh, and Cloonloum in 
Clare, have, the same meaning, the root words being 

Lui)nncacli itself is a name of frequent occurrence, 
but only in one other place is it anglicised Limerick, 
namely, in the parish of Kilcavan in Wexford. It 
takes the form of Limnagh in Sligo ; of Lumnagh 
near Ballyvourney in Cork ; and of Luimnagh in 
Galway. Lomanagh, the name of some places in 
Kerry ; Lomaunagh (-baun and -roe, whitish and 
reddish) in Galway ; and Loumanagh in Cork, are 
slightly different in formation ; but they have all 
the same meaning as LuhnneacJt. The word is seen 
compounded in Cloonlumney in Mayo, and in Ath- 
lumney in Meath, the meadow and the ford, of the 
bare place. 

In some of the northern counties, the Irish speak- 

CHAi'. 111.] Coi-nijyiioiis. 51 

ing people canuot without difficulty articulate the 
combinations en and r/n, and in order to facilitate the 
pronunciation they' change the n to r. There are 
about forty-five townlands commencing with the word 
Crock, 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 
cruac//, a rick or piled up hill. But all these Crocks 
are really Knocks, disguised by the change of this one 
letter. In the Ulster counties, the termination na- 
fjrow or nagrcw 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 Tnlaigh-nci-gcno, the hill of 
the nuts. 

The change of / to ;• is not very common, but it is 
found in some names. Dromcolliher in Limerick 
is properly Druini-coUchoillc, the ridge or hill of the 
hazel wood ; and Ballysakeery, a parish in Mayo, is 
called in Mac Firbis's " Hy Fiachrach," Bcdk-casa- 
caoik [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 Caohhnilc, 
or, as it is written more fully by the Four Masters, 
Caohlunk-rmulh, i. e. the reddish narrow-sea-inlet, a 
most appro 2:)riate name. 

The change of m to n, or vice versa, is not of 
frequent occurrence. In Eathaugan in Kildare, the 
first )i should be m, the correct name as written by 
the Four Masters being Ilatli-ionujltaln, Imgan's rath ; 
and the old rath is still to be seen just outside the 
town, in a field near the church. The barony of 
Glenquin in Limerick takes its name from a townland 


52 Tlic In'.^/i Loral Kainc Systetii. [pakt i, 

(now divided into tliree), near Newcastle ; the proper 
anglicised Ibrni would be Glenquim, for the Irish 
name is Glcaiui-a'-c/iidm, the glen of the coo/n or 

iVis changed to iii in Kilmaiuham (near Dublin), 
which should have been called ]vilmaiuen ; it is 
written Kilmanan by Loate, which shows that it 
has been corrupted within the last two or three hun- 
dred years. It took its name from 8t. 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 i) to in, the Irish name 
being Macjh-da-cJion [Moyacon : Four Masters] the 
plain of the two hounds. We see the same in Slieve 
Eelim, the name of a mountain range east of Lime- 
rick city, which is Sliahh-Eihlirninc [Slieve-EvlinnaJ 
in the Annals, Ebhliu's mountain ; and it was so 
called, according to an ancient legend in Lebor na 
hUidhre, from Ebhliu, the step-mother of Eochaidh, 
who gave name to Lough Neagh, mentioned further 

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 con- 
siderable influence iu corrupting language. It is 
easier to say Aghaviller than the right name Agha- 
virrer, and so on, in several other cases. 

II. CJtavcjc of eh, gli, dh, and th, to f. — The gut- 
tural sound of c aspirated (cA), as heard in locJt, cannot 
be pronounced at all by a speaker of mere English ; 

CHAP. 111.] Corruj)tions. . 53 

and as it constantly occurs 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 Baile- 
iiiead/io)i(ic/i, middle town, the same as Ballymenagh 
in other places. Sometimes, both in the middle and 
end of words, it is represented by (j/i, which is often 
sounded by the English-speaking natives, like the 
proper guttural cit, 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 commouly not sounded at all, 
as in Fermanagh, Kilnamauagh, &o. 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 criiachan, a little 
rick or hill; and in many cases it is represented by k 
or eh, as in Foorkill near Athenry, Gal way, Fuarchoiil 
cold wood. 

Sometimes it is changed to ivh, of which a good 
example is seen in Grlenwhirrj^ a parish in Antrim, 
taking its name from the river which runs by Kells 
into the Main. It is called Glancurryin the Inqui- 
sitions, and its Irish name is Gleaim-d-choive, the glen 
of the river CuiTy, or Coirc, this last name signify- 
ing a caldron. The caldron is a deep pool formed 
under a cataract ; and a rocky hill near it is called 
Sceir-a'-choire, the rock of the caldron, which, in the 
modernized form Skerrywhirry, is the name of a 

But there is a more remarkable change which this 
aspirate undergoes in common with three others. In 
many names, the sounds of the Irish aspirated letters 

64 The Irixh Local Name Si/sfom. [patit i. 

ch, gli, d/i, and ih, are converted into the sound of/; 
and this occurs so frequently as to preclude all sup- 
position of mere accident. Ch is a hard guttural, as 
heard in the common word /otif/h {/och) ; f/h or dh 
(both -whicli have the same sound) is the correspond- 
ing soft guttural ; ih is sounded exactly like Eng- 
lisli h. 

The sound of eh is changed to that of / in the 
following names. Knocktopher in Kilkenny is in 
Irish Cnoc-a'-tochairy the hill of the togher or cause- 
way, and it was so called from an ancient togher 
across a marsh ; Luffany, the name of two townlands 
in Kilkenny, anfJiliitchtdxe [an luhany], the wet land; 
Clifden, the name of a well-known village inGalway, 
is a very modern corruption of Clochan^ which is still 
its Irish name, and whicli means a beehive- shaped 
stone house ; but according to some, the Cloelidn was 
here a row of stepping stones across the Owenglin 
river; Lisnafiffy, the name of two townlands in 
Down, Lios-na-faithcJie, the lis of the faha or exer- 
cise-green ; Fidorfe, near Eatoath in Meath, Fidli- 
dorcha, dark wood. 

The change of ^A or dh 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 magli, a i")lain; and the Irish name, 
as now pronounced in the localities, comes very near 
the English form. Balief in Kilkenny is BaUe-Aodha, 
Hugh's town. In some cases, instead of the hard 
labial/, it is turned into the corresponding soft labial 
r, as in Lough Melvin in Leitrim ; which is called 
in the Annals, Loch-MeilgJie^ from Meilghe, king 
of Ireland in a. m. 4G78. Adrivale in the parish of 

CHAP. III.] Corrupt Ions. 55 

Drisliane, Cork, Eadar-ghahhal^ a place between (the 
prongs of) a fork, i. e. a fork formed by rivers. 

The change of ih to ,/ is often met with ; but 
it is really a change from the sound of English h 
(which is equal to Irish ///) to that of./. The parish 
of Tiscoffin in Kilkenny took its name from an old 
church called Tigh-ScoitJtia [Tee-scoheen], i. e. Scoi- 
thin's house ; St. Scoithin was a relative of St. Ailbe 
of Emly, and erected his primitive church here to- 
wards the close of the sixth century (see O'Clery's 
Cal. 2nd Jan., and Colgan, A. SS., p. 9) ; Cloonas- 
coffagh in the parish of Kilmacshalgan, Sligo, Cliiain- 
na-scoihach, the meadow of the flowers. In accord- 
ance with the same law, a scr/if/iaii, or streamlet, 
is often called sniffane; and this is almost alwaj^s the 
case in some of the western counties, as in Ballin- 
trofaun in Sligo, Baile-an-tsrotJiain, the town of the 

The greater number of the alterations noticed 
under this headiug are attributable to the English 
language ; but there are several instances of words 
/ind names corrupted similarly by the speakers of 
Irish. For example, the word chuaidh (past tense of 
the verb tcidh^ go), is pronounced foo in the south; 
and O'Donovan, in one of his Deny letters, informs 
us, that magh, a plain, is there pronounced in Irish 
"something between mugh and niuff,''^ thereby facili- 
tating or suggesting its conversion into the present 
name, Muff. 

Any 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 mauy in- 
stances to the letter-changing laws of the English 

5u The Irk/i Local Name Syntem. [part i. 

language ; of which names beginning with the word 
h)wck lua}^ be taken as an ilhistration. In such Eng- 
lish words as "knight," "knife," "knee," &c., the 
k sound is now entirely omitted in pronunciation ; 
but in the Anglo-Saxon originals cnicjJit, cnif, ciicow, 
both letters — the c hard and the n — were pro- 
nounced (Max Miiller, "Lectures," 2nd Series, p. 
186). The Irish oioc is subjected to the same law, 
for while both letters are heard in Irish, the angli- 
cised form k)ioc/c is always pronounced >iock. 

There is a similar compliance with English custom 
in the change of the Irish gutturals tof. The Eng- 
lish language, though it has now no gutturals, once 
abounded in them, and in a numerous class of words 
the guttural letters are still retained in writing, as in 
danglitcr, laughter, night, straight, pJough^ &c. While 
in many such words the sound of the gutturals was 
wholly suppressed, in others it was changed to the 
sound of./j as in trough, draugJit, cough, rough, &c. 
It is curious that the struggle between these two 
sounds has not yet quite terminated ; 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 guttui-al. 

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 with 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 circumstance causes them to be, to 
some extent, confounded one with the other ; in 
modern Irish, gh is very generally substituted for the 
older dh. lu topographical names, this aspirated g 

CHAP. 111.] CornijJtions. 57 

is often hardened or restored (after the manner shown 
at page 43) ; and thus many names have been cor- 
rupted both in writing and pronunciation, by the 
substitution of r/ for dh. But as far as I have ex- 
amined, I find only one example of the reverse — a 
for gh. 

There are four townlands called Gargrim in the 
counties of Donegal, Fermanagh, Leitrini, and Ty- 
rone, which should have been called Gardrim ; for 
the Irish name is Gearvdhrnim, i. e. short ridge or 
hill, and it is correctly anglicised in Gardrum, the 
name of two townlands in Fermanagh and Tyrone. 
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, Fardhmim or 
Fordhruhn (outer ridge or hill), in which form it 
appears in the Four Masters at a. d. 1153 : in its 
correct anglicised form, Fardrum, it occurs in Fer- 
managh and "Westmeath. Drumgounelly in the 
parish and county of Louth, should have been 
called Drumdonnelly, from the Irish Dndm-DJion- 
ghaile, the ridge or hill of the Donnellys ; Sliguff 
in Carlow would be more correctly anglicised Sli- 
duff, the Irish name being S/ighe-d/nih/i, black road ; 
and the townland of Rossdagamph in the parish 
of Inishmacsaint, Fermanagh, is Ros-da-dJiamli, 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 SlitthJi-gluimh (which 
means stormy mountain) ; but the natives be- 
lieving it to be Sliabh-dJuunJt, i. e. the mountain 
of the oxen, have perpetuated the present incorrect 

IV. — Interchange ofhandm.. — These letters are 

58 The Irish Local Name Si/stem. [part i. 

often substituted one for the other ; but so far as I 
have observed, the change of b to m occurs oftener 
than the reverse. The tendency to change b to m 
appears to be greatly assisted by tlie grammatical 
law of eclipse (see p. 22, supra); in other words, as the 
sound of m is, in case of eclipse, correctly substituted 
for that of b, there is a tendency to make the same 
change where there is no eclipse at all to justify it, 
in which case the change is merely a corruption. 

"When the preposition «, signifying "in," comes 
before a noun beginning with b, the b is then regu- 
larly eclipsed by ni ; and this )ii has in some cases 
remained after the preposition has been omitted, 
exactly as f was retained in Turagh after the removal 
of the 'article (see Turagh, p. 29, supra). The name 
of Managher in the parish of Aghadowey in Derry, is 
a good example of this : for it is in reality the same 
as Banagher (a place of gables or pointed rocks : see 
Banagher, further on). When the preposition a is 
used, the form of expression is a-niBeannchair, which 
is pronounced in speaking, a-managher ; and the 
omission of the preposition left the name as it now 
stands :— Managher. This form of phrase is very 
common in the Irish language both spoken and 
written : we find it, for example, in case of this very 
name, Bcannchair, in the Four Masters at a. d. 1065, 
where it is recorded that the king of Ulidia was 
killed at Bangor {Ro marbhadh an ri a mBeannchair ; 
the king was killed at Bangor). 

It is curious that Stamboul, the modern name of 
Constantinople, exhibits a complete parallel to this ; 
for it appears that this name is a contraction of the 
Greek phrase " es tan polin," i.e. "in the city" 
(Rev. Isaac Taylor s " Words and Places "), a phrase 
corresponding with the Irish a-mBeannchau\ and 

CHAP. III.] CorriqMons. 59 

the s of the Greek preposition has been retained, just 
as m has been in Managher. 

B is eclipsed by m in some cases where it is hard 
to assign the eclipse to any grammatical rule ; as in 
case of CllI-)uBiaii [Kilmean] mentioned by the 
Four Masters at a. d. 583 : but here perhaps Bian is 
in the genitive plural (see p. 21, supra). It is evi- 
dently something like this that takes place in the 
popular pronunciation of Lisbellaw, often heard in 
the county Fermanagh, viz. Lismellaw ; which I do 
not believe to be a corruption, but the correct pho- 
netic representative of Lios-mhel-atha (see Lisbellaw 
further on). 

In Deny the word ho-iJicavh, cow-house, which 
should be anglicised boyagh, is very commonly made 
moyagJi. It was evidently under the same influence 
that Emlygreuuan, the name of a parish near Kil- 
mallock in Limerick, was corrupted from the proper 
Irish name, BUe-Ghroidhniii [Billagrynin], Grrynan's 
bile or ancient tree ; though here the change appears 
to have been helped by a desire to assimilate the 
name to that of Emly, a well known place in Tippe- 
rary, not very far off. 

The change of m to b, of which there are some 
undoubted examples, is a mere corruption, not 
admitting even partially, like the reverse change, 
of any grammatical explanation. Ballymoney, in 
Antrim, is usually called Bally boney in early Anglo- 
Irish records (Eeeves : Eccl. Ant. p. 80, note u), 
but I am convinced that Ballymoney is the correct 
form ; and the family name O'Amergin or Mergin, 
is now corruptly made Bergin (O'Donovan ; Battle 
ofMoyr. p. 290, note x). The name of Bannady 
near Ballaghaderreen in Mayo, originally began with 
in, for the Four Masters write it Meannoda. There 

CO The Irish Local Name Si/sfem. [i'ART i. 

is a place called Bimnafcdia in the parish of Dromard 
in Sligo, Avhicli is anglicised from its present Irish 
nanu\JlaihiH(-/c(/(', the mouth oi the /cad or stream- 
let (see Faddan further on). Duald Mac FirLis, in 
his Ily Fiachrach, writes the name Bun-fede ; but 
in a poem in the Book of Lecan, written by his 
ancestor more than 200 years earlier, tlie place is 
called JLiine-na-/c(/c (the shrubbery of the streamlet) ; 
and as this is no doubt the original form, there is 
here a change from iii to h. A change much the 
same as this occurs in the name of Bunnyconnellan 
in the parish of Kilgarvan in Mayo, which was cor- 
rupted from the correct name Mainc-Chonallam (Con- 
allan's shrubbery) as we find it written by Mac Firbis 
in Hy Fiachrach. 

Y. — Insertion of t hcinrcn s and r. — The combina- 
tion sr is one of rare occurrence in modern Euro- 
pean languages; there is not a single word in 
English, French, German, Greek, 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 four that enter often into topo- 
graphical names. These are srdid, a street, srafh, 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 sriifh, 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 modern townland names containing 

CHAP. III.] Coii'iiptions. 61 

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 English ; 
and in all the rest it has been corrupted by the inser- 
tion of a f. 

There are about 170 modern names commencing 
with tifr, and many more containing these letters in- 
termediate. In all these, with hardly an exception, 
the «? is a late insertion ; for although we have words 
in Irish beginning with sir, 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. 
German stroiiiii (Eug. stream), and in the name of 
the well-known Thracian river Strymon, both of 
which are derived from a Sanscrit root, si-u, meaning 
to flow* 

A few names will illustrate these remarks. In 
Srugreana near Caherciveeu, Kerry {Sntth-g)-eanach, 
gravelly stream), and in Srananny in parish of 
Donagh, Monaghan (Srafh-aii-eanaigh [Srahananny], 
the strath or holm of the marsh), the initial .sr has 
been retained. It has been changed to s/u' in Shrough, 
near Tipperary, from srufh, a stream ; and also in 
Shronedarragh, near Killarney, the nose or point of 
the oak. 

In the following names, a t has been inserted : — 
Strancally, above Youghal, the well-known seat of 
the Desmonds ; whose castle, now in ruins, was built 
on a point of rock jutting into the Blackwater, called 
Sron-caiUighc, the hag's nose or promontory'. Ard- 

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

62 The Irish Local Name S//sfeij/. [part i. 

straw in Tyrone, Avliicli tlie annalists writo Ard-srafha 
[Ard-sralia], tiic lioight of (or near) tlio river holm; 
Stradone in Cavan, and Stradowan in Tyrone, deep 
■srafh or liohn. 

This corruption — the insertion of7— is found more 
or less all over Ireland, but it prevails more in the 
northern counties than anywliere 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 cou- 
fiued to Donegal, Fermanagh, and Monaghan. 

VI. Addition ofd after n, 1, andv; and o/h 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 Milller calls phonetic decay, and 
he shows that it results from a deficiency of mus- 
cular energy in pronunciation, in other words, from 
laziness. There are cases, however, in which this 
principle seems to be reversed, that is, in which 
words are corrupted by the addition of anomalous 
letters. In English, for instance, a d is often added 
after n, and in Greek, after both n. and I ; as in Eng. 
thunder from Ang. Sax. thunor ; cinder from Lat. 
{cinia) cincris, &c. ; and in Gr. aner, gen. andros, &o. 
This tendency in English is also noticed by Lhuyd 
in his " Archroologia " (p. 9). Another corruption 
similar to this, which is found in several languages, 
is the addition of /^ after m; as in Eng. slamher from 
Ang. Sax. slumcrian; Er. nomhre from namcrus; Lat. 
coiiiburo, from com {con), and uro ; Gr. gamhroH 
for (jamros, &c. Max Milller shows, however, that 
the insertion of these letters is due to the same 

CHAP. III.] Corruptions. 63 

laziness in pronunciation that causes omission in 
other cases.* 

These corruptions are very frequent in Irish names, 
yiz. : — the letter d is often placed after n and /, and 
sometimes after ;•; 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 Galwa,y, 
which the Four Masters write Tir-oilein, the district 
of the island ; Killashandra in Cavan is in Irish 
CiU-a'-scan-ratha, the church of the old rath, and it 
was so called because the original church was built 
within the inclosure of an ancient rath which still 
exists; Eathfryland in Down is horn. Rath- Fraei- 
leann, Freelan's rath; Tullyland in parish of Balli- 
nadee, Cork, Tiilaigh-Eileaiu, Helena's hill. 

D is added after I in the word " field," when this 
word is an anglicised form oi coill, a wood, as in 
Long-field, Cranfield, &c., w^hich names have been 
examined at page 40. The same corruption is found 
in the ancient AVelsh personal name, Gildas, and in 
the Irish name Mac Donald, which are more correctly 
written Gillas and Macdonnell. 

Lastly, d is placed after r in Lifford, which is in 
Irish Leithbhearr (Four Mast.) ; this is a compara- 
tively modern corruption ; for Spencer, 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 two letters, 
/ and r. 

The addition of h to m occurs only seldom ; we 
find it in Cumber or Comber, which is the name of a 
town in county Down, and of several townlands in 
different counties, both singly and in composition. 

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

G4 The Irish Local Name St/sieiif. [part i. 

It is the Irish conufr, the confluence of two waters, 
p.nd it is correctly anglicised Cummer and Comer in 
many other places. 

All these clianges were made in 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 loth century), and often also 
in old Irish, the custom was very general of using nd 
for nn. For instance, the word cam (a head) is cited in 
this form by Zeuss from MSS. of the eighth century; 
but in middle Irisli MSS. it is usually written cc7id. 
In all such words, however, the proper termination is 
restored in modern Irish ; and so strong was this 
countercurreut, that the d was swept away nut 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 Alfi'rcnd (the Mass) is spelled correctly with 
a d, for it is derived from Lat. off'erenda ; but in 
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 d is rejected, and 
there is a return to the old Irish nn ; and in modern 
anglicised names, the r/ is reinstated, and »c? 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 
aspirated m (mh = Eng. v) is often represented in the 
present names by injj/i. This mode of spelling is 

CHAP. III.] Corruptions. 65 

protably an attempt to represent the half nasal, half 
labial- aspirate sound of w?/^, which an ear unaccus- 
tomed to Irish finds it very difficult to catch. Under 
the influence of tliis custom, dam/i, an ox, is converted 
into damph, as in Derrydamph in the parish of 
Knockbride, Cavan, Doirc-damh, the oak grove of the 
oxen ; creamh, wild garlic, is made cran}ph, as in 
Annacramph in the parish of Grange, Armagh, 
Eanach-cremnJia, wild garlic marsh* 

VII. 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 forms 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 sta or sti, in a con- 
siderable number of names, of which the following 
are examples. Stillorgan is in Irish Tigh-Lorcain 
[Teelorkan], Lorcan's church; and it may have re- 
ceived its name from a church founded by St. Lorcan 
or Laurence O'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-collain, by the Four 
Masters, i.e. Collan's house. So also Stirue in Louth, 
red house; Stapolin near Baldoyle, Dublin, the house 
of Paulin, or little Paul ; and Stalleen near Donore 
above Drogheda, is called in the Charter of Mellifont, 
granted by king John in 1185-6, Teachlenni, i. e. 
Lenne's house. 

This corruption is almost confined to the counties 

* For full information on the subject of letter changes in 
various lantruagcs, see Max Miiller'.s most interesting lecture on 
" Phonetic Change" (Lectures on the Science of Language ; 
Second Seiies). 


66 The Irish Local Name System, [part i. 

of Dublin, Meath, and Louth ; I can find only very 
few examples outside these comities, among which 
are, the parish of Stacumny in Kildare, Stakally in 
the parish of Powerstown, Kilkenny, and Tyrella in 
Down, which is called in the well-known Taxation 
(1306), published by Dr. lleeves, Staghreel. But its 
Irish name is Tech-Riarihla [Tahreela : O'C. CaL], 
the house of St. Riaghal or Ilegulus, who is com- 
memorated on 17th Sept. Tliere are altogether in 
Dublin, Meath, and Louth, about twenty-three names 
which commenced originally with Ta or Ti, in about 
two-thirds of which it has become Sta or Sti. 

The Irish word leadii, 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 Niall's and 
Manus's monument ; and we also find Slaghtfreeden, 
Slaghtybogy, and a few others. 

It will be recollected that all the corruptions hi- 
therto noticed were found capable of exj)lanation, on 
some previously established principle of language : 
the reason of the alteration now under consideration, 
however, is not so evident. In case of the conver- 
sion of ta and ti into afa and sti, 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 
wliole classes of words commencing with st, which 
mean habitation, place, &c. For example, Ang. 
Sax. stow, a dwelling-place, a habitation ; stede, a 
place, a station ; Danish, sted, locus, sedes ; stad, urbs, 
oppidum ; sfede, statio ; Icelandic, stadr, statio, urbs, 
oppidum ; stofa, curta domus ; sto, statio. And I 

CHAP. 111.] , Corrujitions. 07 

may add, that in Iceland, Norway, and otlier 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 hy only looking 
over a map of one of these countries. 

It appears to me, tlien sufficiently natural, that 
the northern settlers sliould 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 own 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 Tabannou ; and an Irishman would un- 
derstand quite well what he meant. 

This opinion is further supported by these two 
well-known facts : first, many places on the eastern 
coast have Danish names, as Waterford, Leixlip, 
Howth, Ireland's Eye, &c. ; and secondly, the Danes 
frequently changed the Irish inis, an island, into 
their own equivalent word, ey, 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 first, not last, as in Irish 
(for instance, the Irish order is Sta-bannon, but the 
northern Bannon-sta) ; it may be answered that in 
angUci-iUHj Irish names, it is very usual to convert 
each part of a compound wholly or partly into an 
English word, leaving the whole at tlie same time in 
the original Irish order ; as, for instance, Batterjohn, 
Castledonovan, Downpatrick, Port Stewart, &c., in 
which the proper English order would be John's 
batter, Donovan's Castle, &c. 


68 The Jrtnh Local Name Si/sfcm. [part i. 

It is only fair to state, liowever, tliat "Worsae does 
not notice this corruption, thougli in his " Account 
of tlio Danes and Norwegians in Enghind, .Scothmd, 
and Irehmd," ho has collected every vestige ho could 
find of tlio Danish rule in these countries. 

Notwithstanding tho variety of disturbing causes, 
and tho groat number of individual names alfected 
by each, only a small proportion of the whole are 
corrupted, the great majority being, as already stoied, 
anglicised correctly, or nearly so. When 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 fraction of all 
will 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 preceding 
chapter, seventeen different sources of change in Irish 
names, and I have selected these, because they are 
the most striking and important, as well as the most 
extensive in their influence. There are other letter 
changes of a less violent character, such as those 
caused by metathesis, &c., which I have not thought 
sufficiently important to notice. The interchange of 
hard and soft mutes (or tonics and media') 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 2\dleii or TuJdn, i. e. the little 
tidach or hill ; as examples of the latter, it will be 

CHAP. IV. J False MtijmoJofjics. 69 

sufficient to mention the frequent change of duhh 
(Wack) to (h[ff, f/arhh (rough), to g(inff, canrn'g (a 
rock) to carn'ck, &c., in the two former of which the 
sound of r is converted to that of/, and in the last 
the sound of^ (ingot) is changed to that of ^. There 
are also corruptions of an exceptional and un- 
expected 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 
county histories, topograpliical dictionaries, tourist's 
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 autho- 
rity 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 

70 The iris/! Local Kamc Si/sfcw. [rAirr t. 

own fancy, or to lend plausibility to some favourite 

There are laws and niofliod in etymology, as well 
aa in otlier soienoos, and 1 have sot forth in tlie 
three preceding cliapt<'rs, tlio principles by which 
an inquirer must be guided in the present branch 
of tlie subject. But when we see men pronouncing 
coiitidcntly on questions of Irisli 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, wasVallance}'. He built whole theo- 
ries regarding the social condition and religious belief 
of the early inhabitants of Ireland, chieiiy on false 
etymologies ; but his system has been long exploded, 
and no one would now think of either quoting or re- 
futing his fanciful conjectures. He was succeeded 
by a host of followers, who in their literary specula- 
tions seem to have lost every vestige of judgment and 
common sense ; and the race, though fast dying oiit 
under the broad sunlight of modern 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 " River 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 

CHAP. IV.] Pake Etymotogics. 7l 

offer an opinion, as I know nothing certain of 
their etymology, and the author's conjectures are 
far more likely to be wrong than right, for they 
are founded on the modern forms of the names. A 
full half are certainly wrong, and of these one ex- 
ample will be sufficient. The name Nenagh (river) 
is derived from Sansc. «i, to move, Gael, nigh, 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 n, since the 
original name is Aenach, the initial n 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 Gibson's Etymological Geography, a conside- 
rable 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 
Mayo, Iinshbosi)ie, and interprets it Bodnes island! 
and he confounds Inishcourcy in Down with Ennis- 
corthy in Wexford, besides giving an erroneous ety- 
mology for both. 

The Rev. Isaac Taylor, who also deals frequently 
with Irish names, in a work of great ability, " Words 
and Places," is more 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), 
thougli 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, takiug its 

72 The Irish Local Kame Sysicm. [i-akt 1. 

narao from an old clmrcli, now called Inch, i. o. tlio 
island, bocauso it was built on a small island or pen- 
insula, on the west side of Strangford Lough. The 
full name is Inishcourey ; and as it is a historical fact 
that an abbey w.s founded there b}' 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 Jii/.s-Ciiinhscrait/h [Inishcooscry], Cooscragh's 
island, long before Johu de Courcy was born ; and 
this name was gradually corrupted to Inishcourc}^ 
both on account of the curious similarity of sound, 
and of that chief's connection with the place. 

All this will be rendered evident by reference to 
the Annals. We find it recorded in the Four Mas- 
ters that in 1001 *' Sitric son of Amlaff set out on a 
predatory excursion into XJlidia in his ships ; and 
plundered Kilclief and Iiiu-Cioiihscrriigh ;" and 
Tighernach, who died in 1088, records the same 
event. Moreover, Hugh Maglanha, abbot oi Iiiish- 
cumhucraigh, was one of those who signed the Cliar- 
ter of Newry, a document of about the year 1160. 

Dr. Heeves has conjectured, what is highly pro- 
bable, that the person who gave name to this place 
was Cumhsrrafh, one of the sons of Conor MacNessa, 
who succeeded his father as king of Ulster in the 
first centur}'. 

It has been said by a philosopher that words go- 
vern men, and we have an excellent example of this 
in the name of tlie Black Yalley, near Killarney. 
Many of our guide books, and tourists without 
number, describe it as something wonderful in its 
exce.>- si ve blackness ; and among them is one well- 
known writer, who, if we are to judge by his de- 

ciiAP. iv.j Pake Eti/motogies. 1^ 

scription, either never saw it at all, or wrote from 

It may be admitted that the direction of this valley 
with regard to the sun, at the time of day when visi- 
tors generally see it, has some influence in render- 
ing the view of it indistinct ; but it certainly is not 
blacker than many other valleys among the Killar- 
ney mountains ; and the imagination of tourists is 
led captive, and they are betrayed into these de- 
scriptions 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 diflerent 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 al- 
most regret being obliged to give it a much less 
poetical interpretation. They invariably call it 
Coom-ee-wiv* (this perfectly represents the pronun- 
ciation, except only the w, where there is a soft gut- 
tural that does not exist in English), which will be 
recognised as Cum-iti-Dhuibh, 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-mic-Nois, which has been translated, and is 
very generally believed to mean, " the retreat of the 
sons of the noble," a name which it was thought to 

_ * The popular pronunciation is also preserved in a slightly 
different form by the writer of a poem in the " Kerry Magazine," 
vol. i. p. 24 : — 

"And there the rocks that lordly towered above; 
And there the shady vale of Coomewove." 

74 Tltc Irish Local Ntuno, System. [part 1. 

Imvo recolvod, citlior because tlie place was much 
froqupntcd by tlio nobility as a retirement in their 
old ap;!^, or because it was tlio burial-place of so 
many kings and chiefs. ]5ut tliis guess could never 
be made by any one liaving the least knowledge of 
Irisli, for in the original name tlio last two syllables 
are in the genitive singular, not in the genitive plu- 
ral. Nus Tgen. ;/o/.s), indeed, means noble, but here 
it is the name of a person, who is historically known, 
and Clnain-mic-Nois means the meadow of the son 
of Nos. 

Though tlie Irish name given above is generally 
used by the Four Masters, yet at 1461 they call the 
place Clnain-muc-Nois-mic-Fiadai<ih, by which it ap- 
pears that this Nos's father was Fiadhach [Fceagh], 
Avho was a chief belonging to the ti'ibe of tlie ])calJ)h- 
va-Eatlira (now the barony of Garrj'castle in King's 
County), in whose territory Clonmacnoise was situ- 
ated. Clnain-nmc-Nois would signify the meadow of 
Nos's pigs ; but though this form is used by Colgan 
iu the Tripartite Life, the correct original appears 
to be Cluain-maccii-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. 

Askeaton in Limerick is transformed to Eas-cead- 
iiinif, in a well-known modern topograpliical work 
on Ireland : the writer explains it " the cataract of 
the hundred fires," and adds, " the fires were prob- 
ably some way connected with the ritual of the 
Druids, the ancient Irish Guebres." The name, 
however, as we find it in many Irish authorities, is 
Eas-Gt'phtine, which simply means the cataract of 
Gephtine, some old pagan chief. The cataract is 

fiiAi'. iv.] Pahe Etijmolofjk's. 75 

where the Deel falls over a ledge of rocks near the 

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 of Balla, in Mayo, was a fire temple, 
Vallaneey changes the name to Beilarih, which he 
interprets " the fire of fires." But in the Life of St. 
Mochua, 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 liosdaiv- 
hhrcach, i.e. oak-grove ; that he enclosed the wells 
of his religious establishment 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." 

Agliagower, in the same county, Vallaneey also 
explains " fire of fires," and with the same object, as 
a round tower exists there. He was not aware that 
the original name was AcJiadJi-fohJiair, for so it is 
called in tlie Four Masters and in the most ancient 
Lives of St. Patrick : it signifies " the field of the 
spring," and tlie 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 
Piachrach," 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 ccan, head, need, noble, and mcacaii, a 
root. The true form of the name, liowever, is Cinei- 

7G Tlic Iri.s/i Local Name Si/fifcin. [i'akt 1. 

iiiTicro (O'lleeriu), Avliicli ^vas originally the iiamo, 
not of tho territorv, Lut of the tribo tliat inliabitod it, 
ami wliicli means " the descendants {ciiic/) of 13oce," 
who was the ancestor of the O'Mahonjs, and flour- 
ished ill the seventh century. 

In Seward's Topocra])hical Dictionary It is stated 
that Baltinglass (in AVicklowj " is derived from Heal- 
tinuc-ghtx, or tlte fire of BcaTs 9)iij-stcries, the fires 
being lighted there by the Druids in honour of the 
sun ;" and the writer of a Guide to Wicklow (Curry, 
Dublin, ] 834) says that it is " JBal-feach-iia-r/lass, or 
t/ie toivn of the grey Iiouses ;" and he adds, " certainly 
the appearance of them bears us out in this." This 
is all pure invention, for neither of the original forms 
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 Beahich-Choiir/Iais [Ballaconglas : Dinn- 
senchus], the pass or road of Cuglas, a personage 
connected with the locality, about wliom there is a 
curious and very ancient legend : in Grace's Annals 
it is anglicised Balkynglas, which is nearer the 
original than the modern corrupt name. There was 
another Beal(ich-Clio)Hjliiis; near Cork city, but the 
name is now lost, and the exact situation of the 
place is not known. 



Ix an essay on Irisli local names it may be expected 
that I should give some information regarding their 
antiquity. In various individual cases tlirough this 

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

book I have indicated the date, certain or probable, 
at which the name was imposed ; or the earliest 
period when it was known to have been in use ; but 
it may be of interest to sttite here some general con- 
clusions, to which the evidence at our command en- 
ables us to arrive. 

When we wish to investigate the composition and 
meaning of a name, Ave are not warranted in going 
back farther than the oldest actually existing manu- 
scripts in Avhieh it is found WTitten, 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 scope and fuller 
evidence to guide us. 

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 3'ears 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 first mentioned it, the validity of 
any further deductions regarding its absolute age 
depends on the authenticity of our history, and on 
the correctness of our chronoloev. 

I will illustrate these remarks by an example : — 
The city of Armagh is mentioned in numerous Irish 
documents, many of them of great autiquitj^, such as 
the Book of Leinster, &c., and always in the form 
Ard-Macha, except when the Latin equivalent is 

78 The Irinh Local Name S^stcj^i. [taut i. 

used. The oldest of these is tlio liook of Armagh, 
whicli is known to Inivo been (ranscriLied ahout the 
year 807 ; in this wo find tlio name transhitod by 
Altitudo Jfar/i(t\ Avliich determines the meaning, 
namely, !Maclia's height. 

]5ut in tliis same Book of Armagh, as well as in 
many other ancient authorities, the place is men- 
tioned in connection witli St. l*atrick, 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 fiftli century, tliough we 
possess no document of that age in which it is written. 
And even without further testimony we are able to 
say that it is older, for it Avas 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 Christian era ; and the third, Macha, 
v/ife of Crunn, W'ho lived in the reign of Conor Mac 
Nessa in the first century. The second Macha is 

CHAP, v.] Ths AntiquiUj of Irish Local Names. 79 

recorded to have been buried there ; and as she was 
hy far the most celebrated of the three, she it was, 
most probabl}^ 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 Greek geographer, Ptolemy, who 
wrote his treatise in the beginning of the second 
century. It is well known that 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 
Ptolemy are, therefore, so far as they are authentic, 
as old at least as the first century, and with great 
probability much older. 

Unfortunately veiy 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 Senos, now the Shannon ; Birgos, the Barrow ; 
Boiiouinda, the Boyne ; Rhihina, Rechra or Pathlin ; 
Logia, the Lagan ; Nagnatai, Connaught ; Isamnion 
Akron, Rinn Seimhne (now Island Magee), i.e. the 
point of Seitnhiie, an ancient territory ; Eblana, 

* The following observations refer to Mcrcator'sEilitioii, 160.5. 

80 The Irish Local Name Si/stem. [part i. 

Dublin ; niul another to wliich I sliall return prc- 

The rivor tliat lie calls (>hok<i appears, by its posi- 
tion on the map, to bo the same as the Wicklow river 
now so well known as the Ovoca ; but this last name 
has been borrowed from I'tolemy 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 Doinwn near the Oboka. 
It is now impossible to determine the place that is 
meant by this ; but the record is valuable, as the 
name is obviousl}^ the Keltic (/loi, with the Greek 
inflexion on postfixed, which shows that this word 
was in use as a local appellative at that early age. 

There is one very interesting example of the com- 
plete preservation of a name unchanged, from the 
time of the Phoenician navigators to the present day. 
Just outside Ehhtna there appears a small island, 
which is called Edri Deserfa on the map, and Edrou 
Ileremos in the Greek text, i. e. the desert of Edros ; 
which last name, after removing the Greek inflexion, 
and making allowance for the usual contraction, re- 
gains the original form Edar. This is exactly the 
Irish name of Ilowth, used in all our ancient autho- 
rities, either as it stands, or with the addition of Ben 
{Boi-Edair, the peak of Edar) ; still well known 
throughout the whole country by speakers of Irish ; 
and perpetuated to future time in the names of several 
villa residences built within the last few years on the 

Some writers have erroneously identified Edrou 
Ileremos with Ireland's Eye, probably because the 

CHap. v.] The Antiquii!/ of Irish Local iSfames. 81 

former is represented as an island. The perfect co- 
incidence of the name is alone sufficient to prove that 
Bcn-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 
coasts, whereas the bold headland oi 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 mis- 
took it for an island. Besides, as we know from our 
most ancient authorities, Howth was a celebrated 
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 was selected, 
like many other islands round the coast, as a place of 
religious retirement by Christian missionaries. 

According to some Irish authorities, the place re- 
ceived the name of Ben-Edair from a Tuatha De 
Danann cliieftain, Edar, the son of Edgaeth, who 
was buried tliere ; while others say that it was from 
Edar the wife of Gfann, one of the five Firbolg bro- 
thers who divided Ireland between them. The name 
Howth is Danish. It is written in ancient letters 
Ho/da, Ilonete, and Hoiceth, all different forms of the 
northern word Jioved, a head fWorsae). 

The Irish names originally collected for this an- 
cient atlas were learned from the natives by sailors 
speaking a totally different language ; the latter 
delivered them in turn, from memory, to the com- 
piler, who was of course obliged to represent them 
by riioeniciau letters ; and they were ultimately 
transferred by Ptolemy into the Greek language. It 
appears perfectly obvious, therefore, tliat the names, 
as we find them on Ptolmiy's mop, must in general 


82 The Irish Loni/ Name Si/stciii. [rAiiT i, 

be vory mucli distorted from tlic proper forms, as used 
at the time by tlio inlKil)it;ints. 

Enormous chaugcs of form have taken place in 
our own time in many Irisli names that have been 
transferred merely from Irish to Englisli, under cir- 
cumstances far more favourable to correctness. If 
some old compiler, in drawing a map of Ireland, 
had removed the ancient Ccaiin Leimc (the head of 
the leap) twenty or thirty miles from its proper posi- 
tion (as Ptolemy does in case of several places), and 
called it by its present name Slyne Head, and if 
all intermediate information were lost, it is highly 
probable that it would never be recognised. 

When we reflect on all this, and remember besides 
that several of the names are uo doubt fantastic 
translations, and that with great probability many 
of them never existed at all, except in the imagina- 
tion of the voyagers, Ave 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 eentmy. 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 ob- 
solete, occur frequently in Irish MSS., and have been 
in use down to recent times ; the remainder exist at 
the present day, and are still applied to the localities. 

It will not be necessary to detail the numerous 
writers, whose works are still extant, that flourished 

CHAF. v.] The Aiitiquitij of Irish Local Name>i 83 

at difFereut periods from Adamnan down to the time 
of Colgan and the O'Clerjs ; or the ancient MSS. 
that remain to ns, enumerating or describing Irish 
localities. 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 njimber of names containing the words dun, 
rath, lis, cahcr, carn,fert, cloon, &c., are as old at least 
as the advent of Christianity, and a large proj^ortion 
much older ; for all these terms are of pagan origin, 
though many of them were adopted by Christian mis- 
sionaries. And in various parts of the book will be 
found numbers of territorial designations, which were 
originally tribe names, derived from kings and chief- 
tains who flourished at different times from the found- 
ation 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 /.■///, 
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 examjile 
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 

84 'Ihc Iruh Local Name Si/sfeui. [part i. 

nlso a contemporary and friend of St. JUigid of Kil- 
dare, and bccamo bishop of Ca^-'ic/ Irni, in the diHtrict 
of Ciii/ Irra, the peninsula lying south west of Sligo. 
In the Book of Armagli, and in the Tripartite Life, it 
is stated that after 8t. I'atrick had passed from thei'br- 
r(nj/i, or assembly place, of the sons of Awly, he crossed 
the Moy at Bartragh, and built the church of Ca-swl 
Irra for his disciple, Bish*)p Bronus, the son of Icnus. 
!^3ronus died on the 8th June, 512, on which day he is 
commemorated in O'Clery's Calendar. And the name 
Killaspugbrone is very little altered from the original 
Ci//-caspi(ig-Brdin (Four Mast.), the church 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 
active 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 im- 
posed within our 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 find 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 gene- 
tally with very slight alterations of form. 






'p^(f^j^^~^' HE face of tLe country is a book, 
._^^^^^^§r}. which, if it be deciphered correctly, 
and read attentively, will unfold 
more than ever did the cuneiform 
i inscriptions of Persia, or the hierogly- 
^^C^i/ P^iics 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 colours. 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 
porth of Ireland to the neighbouring coasts of Scot- 

8G Jlinforica/ and Loueudari/ Ktniics. [part ii. 

laiul, and tlio intimate interconrso tliat in consequence 
existed in earl>' 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 liiada, son of Conary the second, king of 
Ireland. This expedition, which is mentioned in 
most of our Annals, is confirmed by Bede in the fol- 
lowing words : — "In course of time, Britain, besides 
the Britons and Bicts, received a third nation, the 
Scoti, who, issuing from Ilibcrnia under the leader- 
ship of lleuda, secured for themselves, either by 
friendship or by the sword, settlements among the 
Bicts, 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. I. 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 50G, which 
laid the foundation of the Scottish monarchy. The 
country colonized by these emigrants was known by 
the name of Airer-Gacdhil [Arrer-gale], (Wars of 
GG.), i.e. the territory of the Gael or L-ish ; and the 
name is still applied to the territory in the shortened 
form of Argyle, a living record of these early colo- 

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

CHAP. I.] Jliston'cai Efcnts. 87 

The Irish Dalriacla included that part of Antrim 
extending from the Ravel water northwards, and the 
same district is called at the present day the Eoute, 
or by Latin writers Ruta., which is considered by 
TJssher and 0' Flaherty to be a corruption of the 
latter part of DoX-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 alteration, 
through the turmoil of seventeen centuries, the name 
of the first leader of a Scotic colony to the coasts of 

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 for 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 ; 

88 Jlinforical and Legendary Nam ex. [part. il. 

nnd tho Irish aro called Scoti in Cormac's Glossary, 
as well as in other native writings. Adanman often 
uses Hibernia and Scotia synonymously : thus in 
his Life of Columba wo find the following pas- 
sage : — " On a certain day the holy man ordered 
one of his monks named Tronan of the tribe of 
Mocuruntir, to go on a commission to Scotia {ad 

Scofiani) : The saint answering him 

' Go in peace ; you shall have a favourable and 
good wind till you arrive in Hibernia (ad Iliber- 
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 Scot id) ; he will ac- 
company you in your journey for some days in Hi- 
bernia." 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 victory of Theodosius over the three 
nations of the Saxons, the Picts, and the Scots, in 
which 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 Cslaughtered) Scots." 

The foundation of the celebrated palace of Eamhuin 
or Emania, which took place about 300 years be- 
fore the Incarnation, forms an important epoch ; it 
is the limit assigned to authentic Irish historj'- 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 E cents. 89 

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

She afterwards married the surviving monarch, 
Kimbay, and took the five sons of Dihorba prisoners. 
The Ultonians proposed that they should be put to 
death: — "Not so," said she, " because it Avould 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- 
mJiidn, from co, a brooch, aud mniit. the neck (see 
Armagh, p. 77, 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 ratli or rampart of earth with a deep fosse, 
enclosing about eleven acres, within which are two 
smaller circular forts. The a-reat rath is still known 
by the name of the Navan Fort, in which the original 
name is curiously preserved. The proper Irish form 
is EamJinin, which is pronounced r/r^';/, Emania, being 
merely a latinized form. The Irish article mi, con- 
tracted as usual to n, placed before this, makes it 
uEamJniin, the pronunciation of which is exactly re- 
presented by Navan (see page 23, supra). 

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

00 JIlHtorical and Leycmlary Namex. [i'AUt ii. 

■would porliapsbo difficult to identify its site with ab- 
solute certainty, were it uot for the singular tenacity 
with which it has retained its name through all the 
social revolutions of sixteen hundred years. 

The lied 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 their name 
from residing in one of the houses of the palace of 
Emania, called Crachh-ruadh [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 
Finians, 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 
macCumhail [Finnmac Coole], who resided atthehill 
of Allen in Ivildare, 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 part 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 
affairs of the kingdom. 

One of the principal amusements of these old 

CHAr. 1.] Hktorical Events. 01 

heroesjwlien not employed in war, was hunting ; and 
during their long sporting excursions, tliey had cer- 
tain favourite liills on ^^hich 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 Dublin mountains, a few 
miles south of Tallaght ; another among the Galties ; 
and the fine mountain of Seefin terminates the Bally- 
houra range towards the north east, tliree miles south 
of Kilfinane in Limerick. Immediately under the 
brow of this mountain, reposes the beautiful vale of 
Glenosheen, whose name commemorates 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 warriors. There 
are also places called Seefin in Cavan, Armagh (near 
Newry), Down, King's County, Galway, Mayo, and 
Sligo ; while in Tyrone we find Seeiu, which is the 
same name, with the /' aspirated and omitted. Finn's 
father, Cumhal [Coole], was slain by Gravil-mac- 
Morna at the terrible battle of Cniicha or Castleknock, 
near Dublin ; he is believed to have had his residence 
at Hathcoole (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, wliere, according to tradition, Finn's soldiers 
used to meet for various purposes ; and many of 

92 Hi>i(oricnl and Logenihrnj Nams. [taut h. 

tlieni still retain nanios that spoak plainly enough of 
these assemblies. In the county ^louaghan we lind 
Lisuaveane, that is, Lioa-na-b/iFiaiin, the fort of the 
Fiaima ; in Donef^al, Meenavean, where on the liimi, 
or moinitain ilat, they no Jonht rested from the 
fatigues of the ehase ; near Killorgliu in Kerry, 
Derrynafeana (Uerrj'-, an oak wood), and in another 
part of the same county is a river called Owenna- 
feana ; in Westmeath, Carnfyan and Skeanaveai e 
(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, Coffagh Gael lira murdered his 
brother, Leary Lore, monarch of Ireland, and the 
king's son, Olioll Aine, and immediately usurped the 
throne. Maen, afterwards called Labhradh Linshagh 
(Lavra the mariner), son of Olioll, 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 Gaul. He entered 
the military service of the king of that country, and 
after having greatly distinguished himself, he re- 
turned to liis native land with a small army of 
foreigners, to wrest the crown from the murderer of 
his father and grandfather. 

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 High [Din- 
roe, the fortress of the kings], in which Coffagh was 
then holding an assembly with thirty native princes 
and a guard of 700 men. The palace was surprised 
by night, set on fire, and all its inmates — king, 
princes, and guards — burned to death. Maen then 

CHAP. I.] Hidorical Events. 93 

assumed the sovereignty, and reigned for nineteen 

The exact description of tlie annalists indentifies 
very clearly the position of this ancient palace, 
the great mound 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 Leiglilin- 

Lavra's foreign auxiliaries used a peculiarly-shaped 
broad-pointed spear, which was called hiiglien [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 Laymtev, which is 
the very name given in a state paper of the year 
1515, and which naturally settled iuto the present 
form Leinster. 

Lavra's expedition is mentioned by Tighernach, 
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- 

* Fcr which see O'Curry's Lectures, p. 262. 

01 Historical and Lc<jeiHhi)'ij K((nics;. [part ii. 

plied to a colony of Gauh, sudkientlj numerous and 
important to fix the word in the lanp^uage. 

We find it stated in Cormac's Glossary that tlio 
word Gall was a]iplied to pillar stones, because they 
were first erected in Ireland by the Galli, or primi- 
tive inliabitants of France ; which not only corrobo- 
rates the truth of the ancient tradition of a Gaulish 
colony, but proves also that the word Gall was then 
believed to be derived from tliis people. Thus the 
story of Lavra's conquest is confirmed by an indepen- 
dent and unsus[iicious circumstance ; and as it is re- 
corded by the accurate Tighernach, and falls within 
the limits of authentic Irish history as fi.xed by that 
annalist (about oOO years B. C), there seems no suffi- 
cient reason to doubt its truth. 

The little island of Inchagoill in Lough Corrib, 
midway 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 Gau.1 ; and it corroborates, moreover, an in- 
teresting fragment of our ancient ecclesiastical history. 
The name in its present form is anglicised from 7///.s- 
an-Glioill, the island of the Gall, or foreigner, but its 
full name, as given by O'Flaherty and others, is /^(/s-r/y;- 
Ghoill-chraihh thigh [crauvy], the island of the devout 
foreigner. This devout foreigner was Lugnat or Lug- 
Dfed, who, according to several ancient authorities, 
was the lumaire or pilot of St. Patrick, and the son of 
his sister Liemania. Yielding to the desire for soli- 
tude, 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, w hich occurs in the Tripartite Life 
of St. Patrick, as well as others relating to the family 

CHAP. I.] Historical Events. 95 

history of the saint, was by many impugned as un- 
worthy of credit, till it received an unexpected confir- 
mation in the discovery on the island of Lugnaed's 
headstone by Dr. Petrie. It is a small pillar stone, 
four feet high, and it bears in old Eoman characters 
this inscription : — "Lie Lugnaedon maccLmenueh," 
the stone of Lugnaed the son of Limenueh, which 
is the oldest Roman letter inscription ever discovered 
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 Lugnaed 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 demense 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 no me of Toberloona, but which 
is called Tohar-Litgna in Mac Firbis'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. TV. Stokes, in his recent edition of Cormac's 
Glossary, has given a somewhat different reading of (his inscrip- 
tion, viz. : — "• Lie Lugu.edon macci Mknueu," tlie stone of 
Luguasd, the son of Menueh. "Whether this reading is incon- 
f-istent with the assumption that the stone marks the grave of 
Lugnat, St. Patrick's nephew, I will not now undertake to do 
terniinc ; but the matter deserves investigation. 

96 Historical and Lcgcudary Kmnes. [part il. 

We liavo nt least two interesting exani])les of local 
names formeil hy the word (rail as iipplied to the 
Danes — I'ingall and Donegal. A colony of these 
people settled in the district lying norlli of Dublin, 
between it and the Delvin river, which, in conse- 
quence, is called in our authorities (O'C. Cal., AVars 
of GG-., i^c), l''i)ic-G(ii/, the territory or tribe of the 
Galls 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 I)t(ii-)>a-nGall, the fortress of 
the foreigners. These foreigners must have been 
Danes, and the name was no doubt applied to an 
eartlien dun occupied b}' 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 Penny Journal, 
p. 185), Avritten in the tenth century, by theTyrcon- 
nellian bard, Flann macLonan, in which it is stated 
that Egnaghan, the father of Donnel, from whom the 
O'Donnells derive their name, gave his three beauti- 
fuldaughters, Duvlin,Bebua,andBebinn, in marriage 
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 Egna- 
ghan then resided. There are places in other parts 
of Ireland called Donegal and Donegall ; but some 
or all of these may have received their names from 
English settlers. 

The Annals of Ulster relate that the Danish fortress 
•was burned in llo9, b}^ Murtough M'Loughlin, king 
of the Northern lly Niell : not a vestige of it now re- 

CHAP. I. ] Historical Eccnts. 97 

mains, but O'Douovan 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 
Masters at 1419 call Ath-na-nGall, 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 word Gall commemorates Eng- 
lish settlements. Gralbally in Limerick is called in the 
Four Masters, Gallbhaile, English-town, and it pro- 
bably got its name from the Fitzgeralds, 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. Gralwally in Down, 
Galvally in Derry, and Grallavally in Kerry are all 
the same name, but the b is aspirated as it ought to 

Ballynagall, Ballynagaul, 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 
(jaJl, naijaU, (jill, and gidle, 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 shrubbery of the strangers ; Clon- 
gill in Meath, the Englishman's meadow ; Ballinguile 
and Ballyguile in Cork and Wicklow, the town of 
the Englishman. 


98 Ilisforical and Lcgcmhmj Namcft. [part ii. 

0(i//h/ni(ii/c [Galvoola] is a iiamo that often occurs 
in diil'eront anglicised forms, meaningKiiglisli-booley, 
i. e. a booloy or dairy place Lclonging to English 
people. ' In Tijtperary it gives name to the parish of 
Galbooly ; in Donegal it is made Galwolio ; while 
in other places we find it changed to Galboley 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. Tlie Firbolgs, in their descent on 
Ireland, divided themselves into three bodies imder 
separate leaders, and landed at three different places. 
The men of one of these hordes were called Firdom- 
iminn [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 Iiiver-JJo)iinaiii)i (Book of 
Leinster), the river mouth of the BouuKtnns, and it 
has been identified, beyond all dispute, with the little 
bay of Malahide; thepresentvulgarnameMuldowney, 
is merely a corruption of MacU-Bomnainn, in which 
the word maeU, a whirlpool, is substituted for the 
inhhcv of the ancient name. Thiis this fugitive-looking 
name, so little remarkable that it is not known beyond 
the immediate district, with apparently none of the 
marks of age or permanenc3^ 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 

CHAP. I.] Historical Ercnts. 99 

a most instructive illustration of the tenacity with 
which loose fragments of language often retain the 
footmarks of former generations. 

According to our early histories, which in this par- 
ticular are confirmed by Bede (Lib. I., Cap. L), the 
Picts landed and remained some time in Ireland, on 
their way to their final settlement in Scotland. In 
the Irish Annals, they are usually called Cruithiie 
[Cruhne], which is also the term used by Adamnan, 
and which is considered to be synonymous with the 
word Picti, i. e. painted, from cruiih, colour. After 
their establishment in Scotland, they maintained in- 
timate relations with Ireland, and the ancient Dala- 
radia, which extended from Newry to the Eavel 
Water in Antrim, is often called in our Annals the 
country of the Crutheni. It is j)robable 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 
Glunmore (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. Duncruu, 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 Dun-Cnnthiie (Four 
Masters), which Colgan (Tr. Th., p. 181, n. 187), 
translates Ai\c CndlKenonim, the fortress of the Cruth- 
nians. In the parish of Macosquin, 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. 


100 Historical and Legcndanj Nama. [part n. 

After the Milesian conquest of Ireland, the van- 
quished races, consisting- chielly of Firbolgs and 
Tuatha Do Danauns, were kept in a etato of suhjcc- 
tiou by the conquerors, and oppressed witli heavy 
exactions, which becamo at last so intolerable, that 
they rose in rebellion, early in the first century, 
succeeded in overthrowing 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 figure conspicuously in early Irish history, are 
known hy i\\Q-iin,m.Q oi AifJteach-I'Hatha [Ahathooha], 
which signifies literally, plebeian races ; and they 
are considered by some to be the same as the Atta- 
cotti, a tribe who are mentioned by Ammianus Mar- 
cellinus and by St. Jerome, as aiding the Picts and 
Scots against the Britons. 

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

To travellers on tlio Great 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 which is still preserved in 
the name. 

In the middle of the thii'd century, Cormae mac 
Art, monarch of Ireland, undertook an expedition 
against Fiacha Muilleathau [Mullahan], king of 

CHAP. 1.] Hhforiccd EvcnU. 101 

Munster, to reduce him to submission, and lay 
the province under additional tribute ; and his army 
marched from Tara unopposed, till they pitched 
their tents on this hill, which was up to that time 
called Dniim-damhghah'e [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), lying south of Knocklong, and north east of 

After a protracted struggle, and many combats in 
the intervening plain, Cormac, defeated and bafHed, 
was forced to retreat without effecting his object. He 
was pursued, with great loss, as far as Ossory, and 
obliged by Fiacha to give secmity that he would 
repair the injury done to Munster by this expedition. 
And from this event the hill of Knocklong received 
its name, which is in Irish, Cnoc-luuic/e, 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 Dnihn-damhgliaire, 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 Dairbhre [Darrery], 

102 Illslorira/ and Legendanj Names, [part it. 

now Valontia Island in Kerry ; and lie camo, and the 
men of Munster besought him to roliovo tliem from 
the plague of thirst. 

Mogh-Euith called for his disciple Canvore, and 
said to him, " Bring me my magical spear ; " and 
his magical spear was brouglit, and he cast it high 
in the air, and told Canvore to dig up the ground 
where it fell. " What sliall be my reward i^" said 
Canvore ; " Your name shall be for ever on the 
stream," said Mogh-Euith. 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 drank 
till they were satisfied. Cormac was then attacked 
with renewed valour, and his army routed with great 

I visited this well a few years ago. It lies on the 
road side, in the townland of Glenbrohane, near 
the boundary of the parish of Emlygrennan, three 
miles to the south of Knocldong ; and it springs 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 impro- 
bable ; and if we only suppose that the druid pos- 
sessed 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 iu the niain true ; for 

CHAP. I.] Historical Events. 103 

all unusual occurrences were in those days ac- 
counted supernatural. Aud this view receives some 
confirmation from the prevalence of the tradition 
at the present day, as well as from the curious cir- 
cumstance, that the well is still called Tober Can- 

There is a village on the east side of the river 
Moy, a kind of suburb of Ballina, 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 Ily Fiaehrach, 
and the same story is told in the Dinnsenchus. The 
persons concerned are all well known characters, 
and the event is far within the horizon of authentic 

Guaire 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 

104 IlistovkaJ and Lcyendary NamcR. [pakt. ii. 

nnd onptiirod llio iinmlcrors, and broiip^lit thorn in 
chains to tlio liill ovtn'looking- tlio Moy, wliicli was np 
to tliat time called l'i(/<ic/i-)iii-/aircsio)i(i [Tullanafark- 
shiua], the hill of tho prospect, where he hanged 
them all ; and from this circumstance the place took 
the name oi Ard-iia-rii/y/nid/i [Ardnarea], the hill of 
the executions. 

The}'- were buried at the other side of the river, a 
little south of tho present town of Ballina, and the 
place was called Ard-ua-MacI, 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-n<i-Mael is 
obsolete, the origin of the cromlech is forgotten, and 
bishop Cellach and his murderers 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 sure 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 1373 Danish and 
Norwegian names in the middle and northern coun- 
ties of England, ending in tliorpe, hy, iJiwaite, icif/i, 
toft, heck, na'S, cy, dale, foree,feI/, tfirn, and Jiaugh. We 
have only a few Danish terminations, as ford, which 
occurs four times ; ey, three times : ste)\ three times ; 
and ore, which we find in one name, not noticed at 

CHAP. I.] Historical Eccnts. 105 

all by "Worsae ; and in contrast with 1373 names in 
one part of England, we have only about fifteen in 
Ireland, almost all confined to one particular district. 
This appears to me to afford a complete answer to 
the statement which we sometimes see made, that the 
Danes concjuered the country, and that their 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 was 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 neighbouring Irish ; they 
took no permanent hold on the country ; and their 
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 warfare 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), Olderfleet, Carnsore Point, Ire- 
land's Eye, Lambay Island, Dalkey, Howth, Leixlip 
and Oxmantown ; to these may be added the Lax- 
weir on the Shannon, the termination stcr in the 
names of three of the provinces, the second syllables 
of such names as Fingall and Donegal ; probably 
"Wicklow and Arklow, and the s prefixed to some 
names near the eastern coast (for which seep. Go). 

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- 

106 ITisfon'cciI and Lcf/ouhiri/ NiDiirfi. [part ii. 

bably altogether Danish ; the first two are called 
respectively by early English writers Vadrefiord 
and AVeisford. The Danes had a settlement some- 
where near the shore of Strangford Lougli, in the 
ninth and tenth centuries , and the Galls of Lonyh 
Ctian (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 sfroifj- fiord, from the well-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 Caii-Unn ; so that the full name, 
as it now stands, signifies the fiord of Cnirlinn. 
In O'Clery's Calendar it is called Snamh-ech, the 
swimming-ford of tlie horses; while in " Wars of 
GG," and several other authorities, it is called 

The last syllable of the name of Olderfleet Castle, 
which stands on the little neck of land called the 
Curran, near Larne in Antrim, is a corruption of 
the same word /o>y/ ; and the name was originally 
applied, not to the castle, but to the harbour. One 
of the oldest known forms of the name is Wulfrich- 
ford ; and the manner in which it gradually settled 
down to " Olderfleet" will be seen from the following 
forms, found in various records : — Wulvricheford, 
AVokingis-fyrth, Wolderfrith, Wolverflete, Ulder- 
fleet, Olderfleet. It is probable, as Dr. Beeves 
remarks, that in the first part of all these, is dis- 
guised the ancient Irish name of the Larne water, 
viz., OUorhha [Ollarva] ; and that the various forms 
given above were only imperfect attempts at repre- 
senting the sound of OUarca-fiord. 

Carnsore Point in Wexford, is known in Irish by 

CHAP. I.] Historical Events. 107 

the simple name Cam, i- ©• 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 bor- 
ders on the north the entrance of the Humber, there 
formerly stood a castle called Ravensore, raven's 
point. Ore is, as is well known, the old Scandina- 
vian name for the sandy point of a promontory" 
(p. (Sij). The ore in Carnsore, is evidently the same 
word, and the name written in full would be Carns 
ore, the *' ore" or sandy point of the Carn. 

Ptolemy calls this cape, Hieroii 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 conjecture 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, 
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 beannuighthe [bannihe] means 
blessed, and this is obviously the word Camden had 
in view ; but it has no connection in meaning with 
Bannow. The harbour where Robert Fitzstephen 
landed was called in Irish Cuan-an-hhninbh (0 'Fla- 
herty, lar Connaught) the harbour of the bonnive 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 Wy- 
kynglo. "Wygyngelo, and Wykinlo, which remind us 
of the Scandinavian vifj, a bay, or Viking" (Worsae, 

108 Jlisforirn/ and Leffcndnri/ Names, [paht. ii. 

p. 325). Its Irisli name is Kilraantan, St. Mantan's 
church. Tliis saiut, according to Mac Gcogliogan 
(Annals of Clonmacnoisc), and otlicr authorities, 
was one of St. Patrick's comi^anions, who had his 
front teeth knocked out by a Llow of a stone from 
one of the barbarians who opposed the saint's landing 
in AVieklow ; licnco he was called Mantan, or the 
toothless, and the church which was afterwards 
erected there was called after him, Cill-Mantain (Four 
Mast.). It is worthy of remark that the word maniach 
[mounthagh] — derived from ma)d, 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 Lax- 
Jihiup^ 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. Giraldus 
Cambrensis (Top. liib. II., 41), after speaking of the 
fish leaping up the cataract, says; — "Hence the 
place derives its name of Saltiis Salmonis (Salmon 
Leap)." From this ^ord salfus, a leap, the baronies of 
Salt in the county Kildare have taken their name. 
According to Warsae, the word la.r, a salmon, is very 
common in the local names of Scotland, and we have 
another example of it in the Lax-n-ei)'., i. e. Salmon 
weir, on the Shannon, near Limerick. 

The original name of Ireland's Eye was Iiiis- 
Ereann; it is so called in Dinnsenehus, and the mean- 
ing of the name is, the island of Eire or Eria, who, 
according to the same authority, was a woman. It 
was afterwards called I)ds-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 church on it in the seventh 

CHAP. I.] Historical Events 109 

century, the ruins of which remain to this day. They 
are couimemorated in O'Clery's Calendar, in the fol- 
lowing- words : — " The three sons of Nesan, of I)iis 
Faithloin, 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 Lein- 
ster) ; and in both cases it signifies the Island 
of Fathlenn, a man's name, formerly of common 

The present name, Ireland's Eye, is an attempted 
translation of Inis-Ercann, for the translators under- 
stood Frcann to be the genitive case of Fire, Ireland, 
as it has the same form ; accordingly they made 
it Ireland's Fi/ [Ireland's island, instead of Fria's 
island), which in modern times has been corrupted 
to Ireland's F^e. Even Ussher was deceived by this, 
for he calls the island Oculus IlibernicB. The name 
of this little island has met with 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 Eire, a woman, 
to Ireland, but correctly translated Inis to cij ; the 
succeeding generations accepted what the others 
corrupted, and corrupted the correct j)art ; 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 part of other local names ; there 
are, for instance, two places in Antrim called Carn- 
earny, in each of which a woman named Eire 
must have been buried, for the Four Masters 

110 Histovicat and Lcgcndanj Nanus, [paut it. 

Avrito tlio name Cani-Evcaiin, Eire's mouumcntal 

Lanibay is merely an altered form of Laiiib-ci/, i. e. 
Lamb-island ; a name •wliicli 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 
summer. Its ancient Irish name was lirc/irii, which 
is the form used by Adamnan, as well as in the 
oldest Irish documents ; but in later authorities it is 
written liecltra and RcacJira. In the genitive and 
oblique eases, it is JRccI/riiin, RcacJirainn, &c., as for 
example in Leabhar Breac: — ^^Fothaifjhis Colam-cillc 
cchtin irrac/iraind oirt/iir Brcfj/i," " Columkill erects 
a church on JRac/irn in the east of Brcgia^^ (O'Don. 
Gram., p. 155). So also in the poem on the history 
of the Picts printed from the Book of Ballymote by 
Dr. Todd (Irish Nennius, p. 127) :— 

"From the south (i. e. from near the mouth of the Slaney) 
was Ulfa sent, 
After the decease of his friends; 
In Bachra in Bregia (In Buchrand im Breogaihh) 
He was utterly destroyed." 

Though the name Rachra, 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 Eechcu, and the 
parish to which it belonged, Port-raliern, 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-rahcrn has been worn 
down to Portraine (Reeves). The point of land 

CHAP. I.] Historical Events. Ill 

there was, iu 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 Port-liachrann ; the port or landing place 
oi Rachra. 

Other islands round the coast were called Rachra, 
which are now generally called Rathlin, from the 
genitive form Rachrann, by a change from /• to / 
(see pages 34 and 48). 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 Eechrenn," 
"and (the Danes) destroyed i?fr//>r«n" (Todd, Wars 
of GGr., Introd., p. xxxii). 

The best known of these is Rathlin on the Antrim 
coast, which Ptolemy calls RiJdna, and whose name 
has been modified in various ways by foreign and 
English writers ; but the natives still call it Raghery, 
which correctly represents the old nominative form. 
TJssher (Br. Ecc, Ant., c. 17) says : " our Irish anti- 
quaries call this island Ro-chrinnc,^' 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 
Rachra, in which no n appears, which puts out of the 
question its derivation from crann a tree. 

Dalkey is called in Irish, Dclginis (O'Cl. Cal., Four 
Mast., &c.), thorn island. The Danes who had a for- 
tress on it in the tenth century, called HDalk-ei, which 
has the same meaning as the Irish 'name, for the 
Danish word dalk signifies a thorn : the present name 
Dalkey is not much changed from Dclginis, but the /, 
which is now silent, was formerly pronounced. It is 
curious that there has been a fortress on this island 

112 Historical ami Legendanj Names, [vart ii. 

from the remotest antiquity to the present day. Our 
o\\x\y C'lironiclcs record tliat Seadhglia [shn], one of 
the chiefs of the Milesian colony, erected the Dun of 
Dohjinis ; this was succeeded by the Danish fort ; and 
it is now occupied by a martello tower. 

Oxmantown or Ostmantown, now a ]iart of tlie city 
of Dublin, was so called because the Danes or Ost- 
men (i. e. eastmen) built there a town 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 sfadi\ a place which has been added to the old 
Irish names. Leinster is the place (or province) of 
Laiglicn or Layn ; Ulster is contracted from JJla-stcr, 
the Irish name TJhidh being pronounced TJUa ; and 
Munster from Moon-stcr, or Mounstcr (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 
localities where certain remarkable transactions took 
place, connected with their efforts to spread the 
Gospel. Of these I will give a few examjiles, 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 barn a church was subsequently erected, 

CHAP. I.] Historical Event!^. 113 

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 trans- 
action the following are Ussher's words : — " Which 
place, from the name of that church, is called in Scotic 
to this day, SahJiall Patrick ; in Latin, ZaJndum Patricii 
vel Ilorreimi Patricii " (Patrick's barn). It is still 
called in Irish Sab/udt, which is fairly 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 church 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, to Drumsaul in the parish of Ematris, county 
Monaghan, and to Sawel, a lofty mountain in the 
north of Tyrone. This supposition supersedes the 
far-fetched explanation of the last name, given in 
the neighbourhood, which for several reasons I have 
no hesitation in pronouncing a very modern fabrica- 

Very 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. 38), we are told that a noble Druid named Ona, 
lord of the ancient district of Corcaghlan in Roscom- 
mon, presented liis residence, called Emlagh-Ona 
(Ona's marsh) to St. Patrick, as a site for a church. 
The church was built near a spring, over which stood 
a large stone, and from this the place was called Ail- 
Jinn, which Colgau interprets " the rock of the clear 


114 Historical and Lciiendar 11 Names, [pakt. ti. 

spring ;" the stoneis 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 Oua's ancient residence. 

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

The origin and meaning of the name are very 
clearly 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-dnra, 
which in Latin sounds Cclla-qucrcm (the church of 
the oak). For a very high oak stood there, which 
Brigid 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 with a weapon." Bishop Ultan, the writer of 
the third Life, gives a similar interpretation, viz., 
Cella rohovis. 

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 Ireland ; 
and various terms are employed to commemorate the 
events. Moreover, in most of these places, traditions 
worthy of being preserved, regarding the occurrences 
that gave origin to the names, still linger among the 

The word cath [cah] signifies a battle, and its 

CHAP. I.] Historical Events. 115 

presence in many names points out, -with all the cer- 
tainty of history, the scenes of former strife. We 
see it in Ardcath in Meath, and Mullycagh 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 
we find such names as Ballynarooga (in Limerick), 
the town of the defeat or rout {ruag) ; Greaghna- 
roog near Carrickmacross, and Maulnarouga in Cork, 
the marshy flat and the hillock of the rout ; Bin- 
uarogue in Sligo, and Eingarogy, the name of an 
island near Baltimore, on the south coast of Cork, 
both signifying the rinn or point of the defeat. And 
how vivid a picture of the hideousness of a battle- 
field is conveyed by the following names : — Meena- 
gorp in Tyrone, in Irish Mln-na-gcorp, the moun- 
tain flat of the corpses; Kilnamarve near Carrigallen, 
Leitrim, the wood of the dead bodies [Coill-na-mavhh)', 
Ballinamara in Kilkenny, the town of the dead 
{Baile-na-marhh), where the tradition of the battle is 
still remembered ; LisnafuUa near Newcastle in 
Limerick, the fort of the blood; Cnamhchoill [knaw- 
hill] (Book of Leinster), a celebrated place near 
the town of Tipperary, now called Cleghile (by a 
change of n to /—see p. 49), whose name signifies the 
wood of bones : the same Irish name is more correctly 
anglicised Knawliill in the parish of Knocktemple, 

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 

9 * 

IIG Hisforicnl and Legendavij Namrft. [iwrt ii. 

wliioli arc found all over the country : — Glcnanair, a 
fine valley near the boundary of Ijimerick and Cork, 
five miles south of Kilfinane, the glen of slaughter, 
where the people still })reservo a vivid tradition of a 
dreadful battle fought at a ford over the river ; and 
■with the same root word (ar, slaughter), Drumar 
near Ballybay in Monaghan, Glashare, a parish in 
Kilkenu}^ the ridge, and the streamlet, of slaughter ; 
and Coumanare {Coiim a hollow), in the parish of 
Ball^'duff, a few miles from iJingle in Kerry, where 
numbers of arrow heads have been found, showing 
the truthfulness of the name ; which is also corrobo- 
rated by a local tradition of a great battle fought in 
the valley. In Cork they have a tradition that a 
great and bloody fight took place at some distant 
time on the banks of the little river Ownanare (river 
of slaughter), which joins the Dalua one mile above 

The murder of any near relative is termed in Irish 
jxoncjlial [finnal] which is often translated ,/;•</ /"r/f/r/^^ ; 
and the frequent occurrence of names containing this 
word, while affording 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 Mo- 
naghan, and Lisfennellin Waterford, where in both 
cases the victim met his doom in one of the lonely 
forts so common through the country ; Cloonnafin- 
neela near Kilflyn in Kerry [chon, a meadow) ; 
Tattanafinnell near Clogher in Tyrone, the field 
{tate) of the fratricide ; Drumnafinnila in Leitrim, 
and Drumnafinnagle near Kilcar in Donegal, the 
ridge of the fratricide, in the last of which places 
there is a vivid tradition accounting for the name : — 
that one time long ago, the clan of MacGilla Carr 

CHAT". I.] Historical Events. 117 

(uow called Carr), fell out among themselves, and 
slaughtered each other almost to annihilation (" Do- 
negal Cliff Scenery" by " Kinnfaela," pp.60, 61). 
And occasionally the murdered man's name is 
commemorated by being interwoven with the name 
of the spot, as may be seen in Gortmarrabafineen, 
near Kenmare in Kerry, which represents the Irish 
Gort-marhhtha-Finghin, the field of Fineen's murder. 
A name of this kind is recorded in tlie annals of 
Lough Key (II., 3G8), \iz., Afh-3Iar/jhf/ia-Ca(/iail, 
the ford of the killing of Cathal, which in the ang- 
licised form Aghawaracahill, is now the name of a 
townland in the parish of Kilmore in Roscommon, 
south of the village of Drumsna. But no one knows 
who this unfortunate Cathal was. We have also in 
the parish of Clones in Fermanagh, Coruamramurry, 
the round hill of the dead woman — Cor-na-mna- 
mairhhc {bean, a woman ; genitive mna). 

In "A Tour through Ireland, by two English 
Gentlemen" (Dublin, 1748), we read: — *' The poorer 
sort of Irish Natives are mostly Roman Catholicks, who 
make no scruple to assemble in the open Fields. As 
we passed Yesterday in a Bye-road, we saw a Priest 
under a Tree, with a large Assembly about him, ce- 
lebrating 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 

118 Historical and Legendary Karnes, [i'aut ii. 

tliis, if wo 1)0 wise onoiigh to turn it to right account, 
may have its iiso, by reminding us of tlio 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 own day we may witness the celebra- 
tion of Mass in the open air ; for many will remember 
the vast crowds that congregated on the summit of 
Brandon hill in Kerry, on the 28tli of June, 1868, 
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 
the word Aiffrion (AlTrin), 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 townlands ; and it 
may be further observed, that the existence of such a 
name in any particular locality, indicates that the 
custom of celebrating Mass there must have con- 
tinued for a considerable time. 

Sometimes the lonely side of a hill was chosen, 
and the people remember well, and wall 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 Kilmore, county Eos- 
common, and it has left its name on the townlandof 
Ardanaffrin, the height of the Mass ; another in the 
parish of Donaghmore, county Donegal, called Cor- 
raffrin (cor, a round hill) ; a third in the parish of 
Kilcommon, Mayo, namely, Drumanaffrin ; a fourth 
in Cavan, Mullanaffrin {muUach, a summit) ; and still 
another, Knoekanaffrin, in Waterford, one of the 
highest hills of the Cummeragh range. 

CHAP. I.] Histoncal Events. 119 

Sometimes again the people selected secluded dells 
and mountain gorges ; such, as Clashanaffrin in tlie 
parish of Desertmore, county of Cork {clash, a trench 
or fosse), and LugganafPrin in the county of Gralway, 
the hollow of the Mass. And occasionally they took 
advantage of the ancient forts of their pagan ancestors, 
places for ages associated with fairy superstitions ; 
and while they worshipped, they were screened from 
observation by the circumvallations of the old fort- 
ress. The old palace of Greenan-Ely near London- 
derry was so used ; and there is a fort in the town- 
land of E-ahanane, parish of Kilcummin in Kerry, 
which still bears the name of Lissanaffrin, the fort 
of the Mass. 

Many other names of like formation are to be met 
with, such as GrIenanafFrin, CarriganafFrin, Lough 
AnafFrin, &c. Occasionally 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 Sruthan-an-Aiff)'inn. 

There are other words also, besides Affrin, which 
are used to commemorate these Masses ; such as 
filtdir, an altar, which gives name to a townland, now 
called Altore, in the parish of Kiltullagh, Eoscom- 
mon ; and to another named Oltore, in the parish of 
Donaghpatrick, Galway. 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. 

120 Historical and Lccjcndanj Names. [rAUT ii. 



Our annals generally set forth with great care the 
genealogy of the most remarkable men — kings, 
chieftains, or saints — who flourished at the different 
periods of our historj^ ; 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 th^y deserve, when examined by the in- 
ternal evidence of mutual comparison, are found to 
exhibit a marvellous consistency ; and this testimony 
of their general truthfulness is fully 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 occur- 

Nor are these the only testimonies. Local names 
often afford the most unsuspicious and satisfactory 
evidences of the truth of historical records, and I 
may 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 coun- 
try, and the illustration of this by some of the most 
remarkable examples will form the subject of the 
present 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 

CHAP. II.] Historical Personages. 121 

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 their 
distinguished ancestors. In nine cases out of ten, 
names of tenitories and of the tribes inhabiting 
them are identical"* (the former being derived from 
the latter). The names of tribes were formed from 
those of their ancestors, by prefixing certain words 
or postfixing others, the most important of which are 
the following : — 

Cinel [kinel], kindred, race, descendants ; Cinel- 
AcdJia [Kinelea : O'Heerin], the race of Aedh [Ay] 
or Hugh, a tribe descended from Aedh (father of 
Failbhe Flann, king of Munster in A.D. 636), who 
were settled in the county Cork, and gave name to 
the barony of Kinalea. Kinelarty, a barony in 
Down, Cinel-FJiafihaytaigh (Four Mast.), the race of 
Fagartagh, one of the ancestors of the Mac Artans. 

Clann, children, descendants, race ; in the Zeuss 
MS. it is given as the equivalent oi 2'>yogenies. The 
barony of Clankee in Cavan derives its name from 
a tribe who are called in Irish Cknui-an-Chaoich 
[Clanankee : Four Mast.], the descendants of the 
one-eyed man ; and they derived this cognomen from 
Niall Caoch O'Eeilly (caoch [kee], i. e. one-eyed, 
Lat. ccpciis), who was slain in 1256. The baronies 
of Clanwilliam in Limerick and Tipperary, from the 
ckiun or descendants of William Burke ; Clanmaurice, 
a barony in Kerry, so called from the Fitzmaurices, 
the descendants of Maurice Fitzgerald. Besides 

* 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 ftimily names. 

122 Jliston'cal and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

several historic districts, this word gives name to 
some ordinary towulands ; such as Clanancese Glebo 
in Tyrone, from the race of Aengus or^neas ; Clan- 
hugh Demesne in Westmeath, the descendants of 
Aedh or Hugh. 

Core, eorca, race, progeny. Corcomohide, the name 
of a parish in Limerick, is written in Irish Corca- 
Muichet (Book of Lismore), the race of Muichet, who 
in the " Forbais Dromadamhghaire" are stated to 
have been descended from Muichet, one of Mogli 
Ruith's disciples (see p. 101, supra). 

Miiintir, family, people ; Muntermellan and Mun- 
terneese in Donegal, the family of Miallan and Aen- 
gus ; Munterowen in Gal way, the family of Eoghan 
or Owen ; Munterloney, now the name of a range of 
mountains in Tyrone, from the family of O'Luinigh 
or O'Looney, who were chiefs of the surrounding 

Siol [shiel], seed, progeny. Shillelagh, now a 
barony 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 Maelughra. 

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

Ua 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 

CHAP. II.] Historical Personages. 123 

nominative plural is ni [ee : often written in Latin 
and English, hui or h>/], which is applied to a tribe, 
and this word still exists in several territorial desig- 
nations. Thus OfFerlane, now a parish in Uueen's 
County, was the name of a tribe, called in Irish 
Ui-FoircheaJJain [Hy Forhellane : Four Mast.], the 
descendants of Foircheallan ; Ida, now the name of 
a barony in Kilkenny, which represents the sound of 
Ui-Deaghaigh, the descendants of Deaghadh ; Imaile, 
a celebrated district in Wicklow, Ui-Mail (O'Heeren), 
the descendants of Mann 3IaI, brother of Cahirmore, 
king of Ireland in the second century. 

The ablative plural of na is iiihh [iv], and this 
form is also found occasionally in names (see p. 34, 
VII.). Thus Iverk, now a barony in Kilkenny, which 
O'Heeren writes Ui-Eirc (ablat. Uib h-Ei re), ih.e de- 
scendants of Ere ; Iveleary in Cork (the descendants 
of Laeghaire) , taking its name from the O'Learys, its 
ancient proprietors ; Iveruss, now a parish in Lime- 
rick, from the tribe of Uibh-Rosa. 

That the foregoing is the proper signification of 
this word in its three cases, we have authorities that 
preclude all dispute ; among others that of Adam- 
nan, who, in several passages of his Life of Columba, 
translates ua by nepos, ni by ncpotes, and uihh by ne- 

The word tuath [tua] meant originally populus 
(people), which it glosses in the Wb MS. of Zeuss ; 
but, in accordance with the custom of naming the 
territory after its inhabitants, it came ultimately to 
signify 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'Heeren, is Tuaih Bladliavh ; but by the 
Four Masters and other authorities it is usually 

124 Historical and Lcgcmtary Names, [i'aiit ii. 

called Tiuif/ia, i, e. dislricts. It was tlio iiilieritance 
of tho !N[ao Swcenys, tlio chief of wliom was called 
'Mac (Sweeny »" (lTn(({h, or, as it is pronounced and 
written in English, na Doe, i. e. of tho districts ; and 
it is from this appellation that the place came to be 
corru])tly called Doe. 

With tlio preceding may he enumerated the word 
Fir or Fcnra, men, which is often prefixed to the 
names of districts to form tribe names. The old tribe 
called Fir-fire (tho men of the territory), inWicklow, 
is now forgotten, except so far as the name is pre- 
served in that of the river Vartry. The celebrated 
territory of Fermoy in Cork, which still retains its 
name, is called in Irish Fcara-muiiiJic-Feine, or more 
shortly, Fenra-muighe (O'lleerin), the men of the 
plain. It is called in the Book of Rights Marjh Finn, 
the second part of which was derived from the Fians 
or ancient militia (p. 90) ; and the full name Feara- 
muicjhc-Fcine means the men of the plain of tho 

There are also a few words which are suffixed to 
men's names, to designate tho tribes descended from 
them ; such as raidhc [ree], in the word Calraidhc. 
There wore several tribes called Calraidhc or Calry 
(the race of Cal), who were descended from Lewy 
Cal, the grand-uncle 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 ancient 
TeflSa, whose name is preserved by the mountain of 
Slievegolry, near Ardagh, county Longford, Sliabh 
gCalraidhc, the mountain of the (people called) Calry. 
There is a townland called Drumhalry {Bruim-Chal- 
raidJtc, the ridge of the Calry), near Carrigallen in 
Leitrim ; and another of the same name in tho parish 
of Killoe, county Longford ; which shows that Calry 

CHAP. II.] Historical Personages. 125 

of nortli Teffia extended northward as far as these 
two townLands. Cahy in Sligo and Calary in Wick- 
low also preserve the names of these tribes. 

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 designa- 
tions are now obsolete, with a single exception. To 
one of his sons, Lathair [Laher], he gave a terri- 
tory in Ulster, whieli was called from him Latharna 
[Laharna : Book of Eights], a name which exists to 
this day, shortened to Larne. Though now exclu- 
sively applied to the town, it was, in the time of 
Colgan, the name of a district which extended north- 
wards along the coast towards Glenarm : the town 
was then called Inver-au' Laharna, the river-mouth 
of (the territory of) Laharna, from its situation at 
the mouth of the Ollarhha, or Larne Water. In the 
Down Suiwey Map it is called "Inver alias Learne ;" 
and the former name is still retained in the adjacent 
parish of Inver. 

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 descen- 
dants of Beann, one of Conor's sons, were called from 
him Beanntraighe [Bantry : Book of Rights], i. e. the 
race of Beann ; a part of them settled in Wexford, 
and another part in Cork, and the barony of Bantry 
in the former county, and the town of Bantry 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 

12G Ilidorical and Legendary Namcfi. [part ii. 

at the violation of his safe conduct, retired into exile, 
aoconipaniod hy Cormac Conlinp;as, son of Conor, and 
by thrro thousand warriors of Uladh. They received 
a hospitable welcome at Cruachan from Maev [queen 
of Connaught], and her husband Ailill, whence they 
afterwards made man}' hostile incursions into Ul- 
ster,"* taking part in that seven years' war between 
Ulster and Connaught, so celebrated by our histo- 
rians and romancers as the " Tain bo Cuailnge," the 
cattle spoil of Cooley (near Carlingford). 

Fergus afterwards resided iu Connaught, and 
Maev bore him three sons, Ciar [Keer], Conmac, 
and Modhruadh [Moroo], who became the heads of 
three distinguished tribes. Ciar settled iu Munster, 
and his descendants possessed the territory west of 
Abbey feale, and lying between Tralee and the Shan- 
non ; they were called Ciarraklhe [Keery : Book of 
nights], i. e. the race of Ciar, and this name was 
afterwards applied to the district ; it was often called 
Ciavraidhe Luaclira^ from the mountain tract of 
Sliabh Luachra (rushy mountain, now Slievelougher), 
east of Castleisland. This small territory ultimately 
gave the name of CiarraidJie or Kerry to the entire 

The descendants of Conmac were called Conmaicne 
[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, Conmaicne-mam TO'Dugan : muir, the sea, 
gen. mam), or the sea-side Conmaicne ; which name is 
still applied to the very same district, in the slightly 
contracted and well-known form Connemara. 

* From " The Irish before the Conquest," by M. C. Ferguson. 

CHAP. II.] Historical Personages. 127 

The posterity of the third son, Modhruadh, were 
called Corca-Modhriiadh, 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 Bm'ren and Oorcom- 
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 Ddl-Confinn {ddl, a tribe), 
who afterwards took the family name of O'Finn. 
They inhabited a district in Oonnaught, which was 
called from them Citil-O^b/iFinn [Coolovin : Four 
Mast.], the corner of the O'Finns ; and the same 
name in the modernized form of Coolavin is still 
applied to the territory which now forms a barony 
in Sligo. 

When the Connaught forces under Maev marched 
to invade the territory of Conor, the task of defend- 
ing the different fords they had to cross was allotted 
to Cuchullin, the great IQster champion ; and the 
various single combats with the Connaught warriors, 
in all of which he was victorious, are described with 
great minuteness in the heroic romance of " Tain bo 
Cuailnge." One of these encounters took place at a 
ford of the little river JYith (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 Gowanree, who in- 
habited Erris. After a long and sanguinary combat 
Ferdia was slain, and the place was ever after called 
Ath-Fhivdia [Ahirdee : Leabhar na hUidhre], Fer- 
dia's ford. The present form Ardee is a very modern 
contraction ; by early English writers it is generally 
called Atherdee, as by Boate (Chap. I. Sect, vi.), 

128 Historical and Lcgetnlanj Kamcs. [i>aut ii. 

w'liicli preserves, with little change, the original Irish 

In tho reign of IV'liniy tlic Lawgiver (A. D. Ill 
to 119), the men of ^Minister seized on Ossory, and 
all the Leinster territories, as far as !MulIaglimast. 
They were ultimately expelled, after a series of 
battles, by an Ulster chief, Lnghaidli Laeighseaeh 
[Lewy Leeshagh], son of Laeighseaeh Canvore, son 
of the renowned Conall Cearnach, chief of the Red 
Branch Knights of Ulster in the first century (see 
p. 90). 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 Laciyhis [Leesli], their 
territory took the same name, which in English is 
commonly written Leix — a district that figures con- 
spicuously in Irish and Anglo-Irish chronicles. 

The name of this principality has altogether dis- 
appeared from modern maps, except so far as it is 
preserved in that of the town of Abbejdeix, 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 of Lewy was fought at AtJi-Truisden, a ford on 
the river Greece, near Mullaghmast, and the former 
retreated to the Barrow, where at another ford there 
was a second battle, in which a Munster chief, Ae, 
the foster-father of Ohy Finn Fohart (p. 131), was 
slain ; and from him the place w^as called Atli-I 
(Wars of QG-.)? "t^^ ford of Ae, now correctly angli- 
cised Athy. 

From Fiacha Raidhe [Eee], grandson of king 
Felimy, descended the tribe named Corca-Racidhe 
(O'Dugau), whose name is still borne by the barony 

CHAP. II.] Ilktorical PcvsoncKjes. 129 

of Corkaree in Westmeatli, their ancient patrimony. 
This territory is mentioned by Adamnan (Lib. I. 
cap. 47), who calls it Korkun'tl ; and in the Book of 
Armagh the name is translated liegiones lioidc, i. e. 
the territories of Eaidhe or Ree. 

The fanciful creations of the ancient Irish story- 
tellers have thrown a halo of romance round the 
names of many of the preceding personages ; never- 
theless I have treated of them in the present chapter, 
because I believe them to be historical. As we de- 
scend from those dim regions of extreme antiquity, 
the view becomes 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 connection with the 
document called the " Will of Cahirmore," which 
has been translated and published by O'Donovan in 
the Book of Eights. According to our genealogical 
writers (see OTlaherty's Ogygia, Part III. c. 59), 
he had thirty sons, but only ten are mentioned in 
the Will, two of whom are commemorated in well- 
known modern names. 

His eldest son was Ros-failghe [faly], i. e. Ros of 
the rings {fdiU, a ring, ^Vfailghc), whom the monarch 
addresses as " my fierce Ros, my vehement Failghe." 
His descendants were called Ui/ 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 ap- 
plied to two baronies in Kildare, forming a portion 
of their ancient inheritance. 

Another son, Ceatach, also named in the Will, was 
probably the progenitor of the tribe that gave name 


130 Historical and Legcndanj Kamcf^. [paiit li. 

to tlio Larony of Ikeaili}', in Kildarc — Hi/ Cenfaigli, 
tliG race of Coataoli. Others of Caliirraore's sons -were 
the aiu'pstors of tribes, but their names have been 
long extinct. 

The barony of Idrono in Carlow, perpetuates the 
memory of the tribe of Hy JJrona (Book of liig-lits), 
•who formerly possessed this territory, and wlioso fa- 
mily name was O'liyan ; their ancestor, i'rom wliom 
the}' derived their tribe name, was Drona, fourth in 
descent from Cahirmore. 

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

Enna Kinsellagh, king of Leinster in the end of 
the fourth centurj^, was fourth in descent from Cahir- 
more. He had a son named Felimy, from whom 
descended the sept of //// Fvliinij (Four Mast.) ; one 
branch of them settled in the county Carlow, and 
their name is still preserved in that of the parish of 
Tullow-Offelimy, or Tullowphelim (which was also 
applied to the town of Tullow), i. e. the fulach or 
hill of the territory oi Hi/ Feliiny, which included 
this parish. 

Cahirmore was slain by the celebrated Conn of the 
Hundred Battles, who ascended the throne in A. D. 
123. After a reign of thirty-five years, Conn's two 
brothers, Fiacha and Eochy Finn Fothart, betrayed 

CHAP.] I.J Illstoricaf Personages. l3] 

Lim into the hands of Tibraide Tireach. kin., of Ul 
ster, who murdered him as he was making, prenar. 
tions to celebrate the Feis or convention of S" 

of which accor/ng to O^H^ll^ 
in Munster. The names of all these hive rece;tfv 
disappeared except that of one MascraiJit nr^ ^ 
or Muscunclhe Fhjnu, which now forms the two 
baronies of Muskeny in Cork. From Carbery Baskln 

r soul we't' r^ 'r'^'^y '' CorcZsk n n 
obsolete cSl? ^r''{ ^''^ '^'. ^^'^^ ^^« become 

of the thrPP f ^1 ^'^^^ "^'^^ ^^' ^°^* celebrated 
ot the three, for whom see page 8(;. Carbery Muse 

Jad a son named Duibhne' [Divne], whose desceT 
?0>Hefrin) ^rD\|^^ ^is^rict oi' ^. J^E 
M-rf! f ' !-.,P^^^.°e's race; and a portion of 
this territory stilly retains the name, though some- 
what corrupted, viz., the barony of Corka|uiny7r^, 
changed to ^r; p. 56), in Kerry, which comm-ise^ the 
peninsula between Tralee and Dingle ba>^ 

Art the son of Conn of the Hundi^ed Baitles, sue 

bS iT"^^' ^'^"i^ immediately on his accessi;n he 
banished his uncle, Ohy Finn Fothart fFohart] 
from Munster. Eochy proceeded to LeinLr, an^ 
the king of that province bestowed on him and his 
sons certain districts, the inhabitants of which were 
afterwards called Fotharta [Foharta: Book of Ri<.htsl 
from their ancestor. Of these, the two principal st 1 
retain the name, viz., the baronies of Forth in Wex- 
ford and Carlow ; the former called in the Annals 

10 * ^ 

1'32 Jlistoricdl ami I,i(jcn<l<iri/ Xdinca. [I'Airr n. 

for distinction, Fothnrta of the Cnrn, i. e. of Carnsore 
Point ; and the latter, Foi/iaiia Ira, from tlio plain 
anciently called J/cy Fea, Ij'ing cast of the town of 

After Art, the son of Conn, had reigned thirty- 
years, he was slain in the year 195, in the battle 
of JJ(i(/h JIiicrui»i//e [Muckrive] near Athenry, by 
Lewy 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 Tveoit is at this day" (Trevet in the 
county Meath). " When his body was afterwords 
carried eastwards to Damha Berglnachra, if all the 
men of Erin were drawing it thence, they could not, 
BO 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 R. Towers, 
p. 100). 

In the historical tale called " The Battle of Magh 
Miicruimhe/' it is stated that, when Art was buried, 
t/i7re 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 /df/s 
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 

CHAP. II.] Ilisfoiical Personages. 133 

of Conn of the Hundred Battles ; lie 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 — the well- 
known ridge of sand hills called Esker Riada, ex- 
tending from Dublin to Galway, being adopted as 
the boundary. From Owen descended a long line 
of kings, and he was the ancestor of the most distin- 
guished of the great Munster families. 

He spent nine years in Spain, and the king of that 
country gave him his daughter Beara in marriage : 
on his return to Ireland, accompanied by Spanish 
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- 
father Nuadhat, king of Leiuster. From this king, 
according to O'Douovan (Cambr. Evers., note, q. 
473, Yol. I.), Maynooth derives its name : — Magh- 
Nuadhat, i. e. Nuat's plain. 

Olioll Olum, the son of Owen, succeeded liim 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, Cormao 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 

134 Ifififon'cal and Lcr/endari/ Names, [part ii. 

tlie king bestowed on liini a large territory, extend- 
ing from tlie Liffey northwards to Drumiskin in 
Louth. Tudg's descendants were called Ciaiiae/it/i 
[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, Lut in 
Ulster it is still the name of a barony in the north 
west of Londondeny, called Keenaght, from the 
O'Conors of Glengiven, who formerly ruled over it, 
and who were a branch of the tribe of Keenaghta, 
having been descended from Connla the son of Tadg. 
The name is also preserved in Coolkeenaght, in the 
parish of Faughanvale, Derry ; Ciiaille-Cianachfa 
(Four Mast.), the bare tree or pole 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 
Collon in Louth, eastwards to Clogher Head, was 
anciently called Ard-Ciana(hta (Four Mast. ; Ard- 
Ceanachle, Adamnan), the height of the territory of 
Keenaght, and the inhabitants were called Feara- 
Arda-Cicoiac/tfa, or more shortly Feam-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 
Gaileng (Cormac of the dishonoured spear) ; see 
Knockgrean, (2nd. Ser.), 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 Graileug and his son Luigh, 
or Lew}^, were known by the two names Gaile.nga 
(O'Dugan), or the race of Graileng, and Liii(jhne 
[Leyny : O'Dugan], the posterity {ne) of Luigh. 

CHAP. II.] Historical Personages. 135 

These Avere originally only various names for the 
same tribe, but they are at the present day applied 
to different districts — one, in the modern form of 
Gallen, to a barony in Mayo, and the other to a 
barony in Sligo, now called Leyny. 

A branch of the same tribe settled in Leinster, 
where there were two territories, called respectively 
Mor-Gailenga and Gailcnrja-heag (O'Dugan), or the 
great and little Gailenga ; 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 Mionha 
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 posses- 
sors, the O'Eogartys ; and the name is now applied 
to a barony in Tipperary, in the shortened form of 

Eochy Liathanach [Lehanagh] was fifth in de- 
scent from Olioll 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-ui-LiatJiain [Cashlan-ee-Leehan], the castle 
of the territory of Hy-Liathain. 

Settled in different parts of Connaught and Lein- 
ster were formerly seven tribes— three in the former 
province, and four in the latter — all with the same 
tribe name of Dealhhna [Darvana] ;. they were an 
offshoot of the Dalcassians of north Munster, and 
were descended from Lewy Dealbhaeth [Dalway], 
who was the son of Gas mac Tail (seventh in descent 
from Olioll Olum), the ancestor of the Dalcassians 

136 Ilidoriral and Lcgendarij Names, [part ii. 

They dorivod their tiibo name from Lcwy Dealhh- 
aeth : — DealbJiua, i. c. the dosccnJauts of Dealbh- 
aoth. None of those tribes have left their name 
in our present territorial nomenclature except one, 
namel}', Dra/b/nia vior, or the groat Dcalbhna, which 
is now the barony of Delvin in Westmoath. 

From Conal], tho ninth from Olioll Olum, de- 
scended the tribo of Ily Conaill Gahra (Book of 
Leinster),who possessed a territory in the county of 
Limerick, a part of which still retains the name, viz., 
the baronies of Upper and Lower Connello. 

I have already mentioned (p. 89) the destruction 
of the palace of Emania, in the year 332, by the 
three Collas ; these were Colla Uais, Colla Meann, 
and Colla da Chrioch, who were tho 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. lie was the progenitor of the several 
tribes known by the name of TJi mio 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 Westm<}ath. 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 Ih/ Mic Cacrthainn (Four Mast.) ; the 
territory they inhabited, which was situated in the 
west of the present county of Derry, was called from 
them Tir-mic-Caeytliainn (the land of Kieran'p son), 
or more shortly, Tir-Cliaerfhainn, which is still the 
name of a barony, now called Tirkeeran. 

CHAP. 11.] Historical Pei'sonagcs. 137 

The barony of Cremorne in Monaglian preserves 
the name of the ancient district of Crioch-Miigh- 
(Uiorn [Cree-Mourne],!. e. the country (cr/or//) of the 
people called MiajJidhonia, 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 they gave their tribe name of 
AlugJidhorna, and which is now known as the barony 
of Mourne. 

The Mourne mountains owe their name to the 
same event, having been previously called Beanna- 
Boirclie [Banna borka]. The shepherd Boirche, ac- 
cording to the Dinnsenchus, herded on these moun- 
tains the cattle of Ross (son of Imchadh), king of 
Ulster in the third century, and the account states 
that his favourite look-out point was the summit of 
Slieve Slanga, now Slieve Donard, the highest peak 
in the range ; hence these mountains received the 
very appropriate name of Beanna-Boirche, Boirche's 

Niallan, descended in the fourth degree from Colla 
Da Chrioch [Cree], was the progenitor of the tribe 
called Hy NiaUain (i. e. Niallan's race) ; and their 
ancient patrimony forms the two baronies of Oneil- 
land in Armagh, which retains 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 lo- 
calities. The following short genealogical table ex- 
hibits a few of his immediate descendants, viz., those 
concerijed in the present inquiry, and it will render 

138 IIiHtorical and Lcgcndari/ Namen. [part ii. 

•what I have to say regarding them more easily un- 

Eocliy ^roj-vano. 

I • ^1 1 

Fiachra. Olioll. Niall of the Nine Ilostngcs. 

I I 

Dathi. Awly. Lcary. Owen. Conall, Carbery. 

Fiachra Ealjrach. 


Fiachra [Feecra], son of Eochy Moyvane, was the 
ancestor of the //// Fiachrach^ which branched into a 
great number of families. Amhalgaidh [Awly], his 
son, brother of the monarch Dathi [Dawhy], was 
kiug of Connaught, and gave name to Tiv-Atnlud- 
(jaidh, i. e. Awly's district, now the barony of Tir- 
awly in Mayo. 

Fiachra Ealgach, son of Dathi, gave his name to 
Tir-Fhlacliradi (Four Masters), Fiachra's district ; 
and the sound is very well preserved in the modern 
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-OlioUa (Hy FiacJirach), which, by a change of/ 
to r, has been corrupted to the present name. 

The great monarch Niall of the Nine Hostages, 
kiug 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 
Gulban, Carbery, and Enna Finn. The posterity 

CHAP. II.] Hidoricctl Personages. 139 

of Niall are usually called H;/ Neill, tlie southern 
III/ Neill being descended from tlie 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 Gulban are renowned in Irish 
history as the heads of two great branches of the 
northern Hy Neill, the Kinel Owen and Kind Conneli. 
Owen, who died in A. D. 465, was the ancestor of 
the O'Neills, and his descendants possessed the ter- 
ritory 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 GG.), Owen's territory, 
which 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-Giilbain 
(Gulban'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, Conall's dis- 

One of the sons of Conall Gulban was Enna 
Boghaine [Boana], and he became the ancestor of a 
tribe called Ki}iel Bogliaiiie ; the district they inha- , 
bited was called Tii'-Boghaine (Four Mast.), and fre- 
quently Baghaineach [Bawnagh], i. e. Boghaine's 

140 Historical and Lc<je)HJ(U'y Names, [pakt ii. 

territory ; and tliis latter still holds its place in the 
form of Banagh, "whith is the name of a modern 
baron}', a ]iortion of the ancient district. 

Baeighill [Boyle], who was tenth in descent from 
Conall Gulban, was the ancestor of the O'Boylcs, 
and the district they possessed was called from tliom 
Baeiijlicllach (Four Mast.), or Bo3'lagh, which is 
still the name of a barony in the south west of 

Flaherty, also descended from Conall Gulban, was 
king of Ireland from A. D. 723 to 729 : fifth in 
descent from him was Cannanan, from whom is 
derived the family of O'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'Donuells. From this 
family Letterkenny in Donegal received its name, 
which is a shortened form of Leffcr-Cannanan, the 
O'Cannanans' hill-slope. 

Carbery, 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 
Carbury. The baronies of Carbery in Cork derive 
their name from a different source. When Cathal 
O'Donovan left his native district, Cairbre-AehJidha 
in Limerick, in the beginning of the 14th century, 
and settled in the south of Cork, he called his newly 
acquired territory Cairbre, the tribe name of his 
family ; and it has retained this name ever since. 

CHAP, iii.j Early Irish Sainis. 141 



Our early ecclesiasticcal 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, on the other hand, great 
numbers, of whom we possess only meagre details, 
sometimes obscure 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. 

J^Iost of these saints settled in particular districts, 
and founded churches, monasteries, or schools, which 
continued for ages to be centres of civilization, and 
of knowledge both secular and religious. Whoever 
understands the deep religious 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 Temple 
(a church), 7tr, Ti or Ty, (a house), &o. 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 

142 Ithioricat and Lcgenchmj Names, [paiit it. 

dedirated, or that in some other way indicate eccle- 
siastical origin. 

To attempt an enumeration of even the principal 
paints that adorned our country from the fifth to the 
eight or ninth century, and who are conimomorated 
in local names, would far exceed the limits of a 
chapter ; but I shall hero 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 neighbourliood of Downpatrick, 
he met and converted a young man named Mochaei 
[Mohee], wliose mother was Bronach, daugliter of 
the pagan chief Mileho, with whom the saint liad 
spent seven years of his youth in captivity. After 
having baptized him, he tonsured and dedicated 
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 Gospels. 

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 Nacndrnim, 
or Nendrum, in Strangford Lough, which was long 
a puzzle to topographers, and was generally con- 
founded with Antrim, till Dr. Eeeves, in his " De- 
scription of Nendrum," identified the place, and 
corrected the long-established error. It forms the 
eastern portion of Ballinakill parish, and in memory 
of the saint it was also called Inis Mochaei or Mahee 

CHAP. III.] EarJij Iiinh Saints. 143 

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 tlie foundations of 
the old church. The name Naendruiin sio-nifies " nine 
ridges;" for so it is explained in MS. H. 3. 18 : — 
" Naendruim, i. e. the name of a church, i. e. nine 
hillocks in the island in which it is'' (see Naendruim 
in App. to O'R. Diet.). 

Another of St. Patrick's disciples was St Domhan- 
ghart [Don art], bishop, son of Eochy, king of Uli- 
dia. He founded two churches — one at a place 
called Eath-murhhuUg, near the foot of Slieve Donard, 
and the other " on the very summit of tlie moun- 
tain 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 Mourne mountains, 
and of whom the peasantry tell many curious 

The ancient name of this mountain was Slieve 
Slainrje, so called from the bardic hero Slainge, the 
son of Parthalon, who was buried on its summit ; and 
the great cam raised over him still exists, and forms 
a very conspicuous object. Giraldus 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 

144 Hiafovical and Legemhirij N(imo>i. [part ii. 

callcil tlio mountaiu of St. Dominicus" [i. e. Slicve 
Donard: Top. liib., Dist., III. Cap. ii.J. 

The "uoble monastery" of Cambrensis is the 
dmrch mentioned by Colgan (A. SS., p. 743) as 
"formerly called R(ifh-)iuifbhuilg, now called Afach- 
airc-raf//a," and Mliieh he states is at the foot of the 
mountain. This identifies it with Magliera, now 
the name of a village and parish, north of the moun- 
tain ; 3Iac/iaiir-raf//a (the plain of the fort) being 
pronounced MagJ'.cya-rdJia, which was shortened to 
Magliera. The old name liath-inurhlinihj (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 effected by first dropping mnr- 
hhuilfj, and afterwards j^refixiug machaire ; and the 
intermediate stage appears in the taxation of 1306, 
in which the church is called simply Rath. 

The murhhoki from which it took its original name 
is the small inlet near it, entering from Dundrum 
Bay ; and it is a curious confirmation of the authen- 
ticity of the foregoing history of the name, tliat on 
its shore there are still two townlands (originally 
one) called JMurlough, which is the anglicised form 
of Murlholg. 

There is a village in Derry called Magliera, which 
is also contracted from Machaive-ratha. It was an- 
ciently called Baih-Luraujh (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 Cuana, of the race of Colla Uais, monarch of 
Ireland :" he is well remembered in the place, and 
his church, grave, and holy well are still to be seen. 
From this chm-ch, the level land where the town 

CHAP. III.] Early Irish Saints. 145 

stands took the name oiMachalre-Raiha-LuraicjU (the 
plain of Rathlowry), contracted to Machaire-ratJia^ 
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 Cill-NaiJe (O'Cl. CaL), 
which ought to have been anglicised Kilnaxohj. In 
O'Clery's Calendar, the following notice of him 
occm^s at the 27th of January : — " Naile of Inhher- 
Nai/e, in Tir-Baghuine'in Cinel- Conai//. {theharony of 
Banagh in Donegal), and afterwards abbot of Ci/l- 
N((ile, and Dainihinisin Feara-Manach " (Devenish in 
Fermanagh). Iitbher-Naile (Naile's river mouth;, is 
the present village of Inver, west of Donegal, of 
which he is also the jDatron, and where he is still 
remembered ; and his name is preserved in that of 
Legnawly Glebe (Naile's hollow), near the village. 

Another Natalis or Naile is the patron saint of 
Kilmanagh, west of Kilkenny {Cill-Maiiach, 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. 

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 referring to the calendars, will find it involved 
in much confusion : but it seems certain that they 

11 ^ 

14G Hiiitorical and Legendary Ntancs. [part ii. 

were two different persons ; tliat Naile of Kihnanagh 
was really the son of Aengus ; and that the other 
Naile flourished somewhat later, for it is stated that 
he died in 564. 

Ardbraccan (Breoan's height) in Meath, was 
founded by St. Brecan, about whose history, al- 
though he was a very remarkable man, there hangs 
considerable obscurity. 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 
Great Island of Arran, 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 Homan characters (see Petrie's 
P. Towers, p. 138). He is also venerated at Kil- 
breckan (Breoan's church), in the parish of Doora 
in Clare (O'Cl. Cal, p. 117). 

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 
from her earliest years filled with the spirit of piety, 
and when she came of age, obtained her parents' con- 
sent to devote herself to a religious life. After having 
received the veil, slie proceeded to the territory of 
Ht/ Conaill 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 

. CHAP. HI.] Eavhj Irish Saints. 147 

afterwards attained to great celebrity. The name of 
the place was changed to Cill-Idc (O'Cler CaM or 
as It IS now called, Killeedj, which gives name to a 
pansh ; and at the present day the plL coSns the 

^^r' ''''''^'' ^^^ '^^y ^-ti^ 

This virgin saint is remembered with intense vene- 
ration all over Munster, and especially in Limeiick 
Her name is sometimes changed to Mide (by prefix- 
ing J/0-) and m this form we find it in the names of 
churches dedicated to her, of which there are se^eial 
and which are now called Kilmeedy; one of them 
giving name to a village in Limerick. ^ 

bt. Brendan of Clonfert, or as he is often called 
Brendan the navigator, was the son of Finlogt of 
the race of Ciar (see p. 126) ; and was born near 
Tra ee m Kerry in the year 484. He received ftf 
rudiments of his educatiL under a WshopTc and 
wasan intimate friend of St. Ite of Killeedy After 
having studied with St. larlath at Tuam, and w th 
St.Fmnian at Clonard, he visited Brittany, where 

last'Stta't rr'tT /?"^^ P-vious''to thi 
last Msit that he undertook his famous voyage in 

Tbout on ir^ I' '"" ^i""' '^'^'^ years' :Sin^S 
tToLTtrlnge^^?^^. ^^^' ^^^ '^ ^^^ ^-^^d oS 
He founded the monastery of Clonfert in Galway 

^:.Tz tl!i:^^ri^-t[}:^^j-^o^ pre* 

reverence; thus Conna becan'l^cSnn Id i^d r/nT^Tr'" 
diminutives an, in, and 6;, were also often nostfixed T J ^^ 
m Lrnan, Ernog, Eaeithin,, &c Son edme; tl e^n' ^"'^ 
were great y changed by these additions ; thus iS ; ' th;:""'^'^ 
name as Maedhoc, (Mo-Aedh-6g, my litt e Aedh W V. i '1'"^ 
pronounced they are quite unhL V.irh.In ^' ""^h when 

148 ITistorical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

about the year 553, where he drew together a vast 
number of monks ; it soon became one of tlie most 
celebrated religious establishments in Ireland ; and in 
memory of the founder the place is generally called 
in the Annals Clonfcrt Brenddin. He also founded 
the monastery of Ardfert, in his native county (wliich 
is also called Ardfert Brendain), where a beautiful 
ancient 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. 
Thei'e is a parish in King's County called Kilclon- 
fert (the church of the meadow of the grave : St. 
Colman patron), the ancient name of which as given 
in O'Clery's Cal., is C/iiain-ft-rta-JWug/iaine. 

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- 
known 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. Regard- 
ing the exact period when the latter flourished, there 
is much uncertainty ; but according to the most re- 
liable accounts he 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 descent. 

Ciaran was one of the numerous band of saints'. 111.] Earlij Irish Saints. 149 

who attended St. Fiuniau's school at Clonard ; and 
having retired to a solitary place called Sai(/hir 
[Sair], in the territory oi Eile in Munster, he after 
some time erected a monastery there, which gradually 
grew and became the nucleus of a town. He sub- 
sequently employed himself partly in the care of his 
monastery, and partly in preaching the Gospel 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 nnnnery near Seirkieran 
for his mother Liadhan [Leean], or Liedania ; and 
from her the place has since borne the name of Kil- 
lyon (Liadhau's church). It is highly probable that 
it is from her also that the parish of Killyon in 
Meath, and the townlaud of Killyon in the parish 
of Dunfierth, Kildare, received their names. The 
parish of Killian in Galway, which is written Kil- 
lithain in the Register of Clonmacuoise, took its 
name from some saint of this name, but whether 
from St. Ciaran's mother or another Liedania, is un- 

150 llktorical and Lcgenilarij Names, [paiit il. 

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

There is another Tech-Baeithin in the ancient ter- 
ritory of Airtcach in Roscommon, which also gives 
name to a parish, now called Tibohine, the patron 
saint of which is a different Baeithin. He is men- 
tioned in O'Clery's Calendar at the 19th of Feb- 
ruary (his festival day) : — " Baeithin, bishop (son 
of Cuana) of Tech-Baeithin in Airteach, or in the 
west of 3Iidhe (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 was 
written 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 Taghboyne, in the parish of Cluirchtown, 
Westmeath, where he is also patron. He built an- 
other church near an ancient rath, not far from KelJs 
in Meath, and the rath remains, while the church has 
disappeared ; hence it was called Eath-Baeithin, and 

ciiAV. 111.] JUar/i/ in'.^/i Sainf.s. lol 

in recent times Balratlibojue, tlie town of Baeithin's 
rath, wliich is now the name of a joarish. 

Another Baeithin, son of Finnach, of the race of 
Laeighsech Ceannmhor (see p. 128), built a church 
at Ennishoyne (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 flourished about the beginning of the seventh 
century. Crossboyne in Mayo is called in "Hy 
Fiachrach," Cros-Baeif/u'ii, i. e. St. Baeithin's cross ; 
but who this Baeithin was 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-muighe-samh, in Loch-Erne ; and he 
was Ninnidh Saebhruisc [sachhruisc, i. e. torvi oculi), 
who was of the race of Enda, son of Niall" [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. 

Knockniuny, 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 connection 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 himself by piety and learning, he established a 
monastery at a place called Tulacli-Mm (smooth little 
hill), in the same district. 

He visited Connor, in Ulster, and thence proceeded 

1-j2 Jlistorical and Lrfjonlary Kamca. [takT ir. 

to North Britain and Wales. On his return he settled 
for some time in Fingal. north of Dublin, whore he 
kept a pwnrm of hoc^s. a j'orlion of the 1 eos hi-oiifjht 
over from Wiilcs bv St Modnmiioc of Tibberiiglniy 
in Kilkenny. From this circumstance the ])lace was 
calleil Lunn-hcdchaire ["backora : O'Clery's Cal.], the 
church of the bee-man.* This is the ruined cliurch 
and cemetery of liremore, a little north of Balbrig- 
gan, now nameless, but which in the Reg. Alani of 
the see of Dublin is called Lanibeechrr. lie returned 
to Tiihic/i-tiiin, 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, Eidhncn 
Molaija — Molaga's little ivy (church), a name which 
most truly describes the present appearance of this 
venerable little ruin. It is now culled 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 bod or grave, which 
gives name to a townland. Tiie place called Tnlavh- 
1)1111 was obviously identical with, or in the imme- 
diate neighbourhood of, Templemolaga ; but the 
name is now obsolete. 

* Giraldus, among others, relates this circumstance of the im- 
portiition of I'ces by St. Modomnoe, or Domnoc, or as he Ciills 
him, Dominicus : — " S. Dominiciis of Ossory, as some say, intro- 
duced bees into Ireland, long after the time of Solinus" (Top. 
Hib., ]->ist. I., c. v.). Some records say that those were the 
first bees brought to Ireland, but J^anigan ("Vol. II. p. 321) 
shows that tliere were bees in the country before St. Domnoc's 
time. It is evident that he merely importtd hive or domesticated 

CHAP. III.] Edrti/ Irish Saints. 153 

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

St, Mocheallog [Mohallog] or Dacheallog flou- 
rished in tlie beginning of the seventh centurj^ 
According to Lanigan, he spent some time under 
the instruction of St. Declan of Ardmore, and died 
between the years 639 and 656. He founded a 
church at Kilmallock in Limerick, which the same 
author says is supposed to be a contraction of Cill- 
MocheaUog ; 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 Cill-Ba- 
cheallog 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, al- 
ways call the town Cill-Mocheallog, St. Mocheallog's 

Finan was the name of many saints, of whom 
Fin an surnamed Lobhar, or the leper, because for 
thirty years he was afflicted with some kind of lep- 
rosy, was the most remarkable. He was a native of 
Ely 0' Carroll in King's County, then forming part of 
Munster, and governed for some time as abbot the 
monasteries of Swords near Dublin, and Clonmore- 
Ifogue in Leinster. He is mentioned in O'Clerj^'s 
Calendar at the 16tli of March, in the following 
words : — " Finan the leper of Sord, and of Cluain- 
mor in Leinster ; and of Ard-Fionain in Munster ; 

15-4 liisloriciil ami Lv(jc)id((rij iVamcs. [vwii ii. 

he was of the race of Cian, son of Olioll Olum." lie 
died betweoTi the years (u') and fJOO. 

lie founded a monastery in the ishmd of Innis- 
faUon (see p. 109), in the lower lake of Killarnoy ; 
and tliat of Ardfinnan in Ti})perary (mentioned 
above), -whicli preserves his name. Kilfmane in 
Limerick douLtless owes its foundation to this 
Finan also, being called in Irisli Cill-Fliionain, i. e. 
Finan's cliurcli ; liis well still exists, and his festival 
was formerly celebrated there, but all memory of the 
exact day is lost. 

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 Kerry, 
and was descended from Carbery Muse. He is the 
patron of Kinnitty, in King's County — Ceann-Eitiyh, 
Etech's head — so called according to a gloss in the 
Felire of Aengus at the 7th of April, the saint's 
festival day, because tlie head of Etech, an ancient 
Irish princess, was buried there. Derrynane, the 
well-known seat of the O'Connell family, took its 
name from him — Doirc-FItiondin [Fh silent) — Finan's 
oak grove ; and his house, one of the beehive-shaped 
structures, is still to be seen on Church Island, in 
Currane Lough, four miles north of Derrynane. 
His name is also preserved in Rahinnane, Finan's 
fort, now a townland near Ventry, so called from a 
fine rath, in the centre of which stand the ruins of a 

One of the brightest ornaments of the Irish Church 
in the seventh and eighth centuries was the illustrious 
Adaranan, abbot of lona, and the writer of the well- 
known Life of St. Columba ; whom the Venerable 

CHAP. III.] Earh/ Irish Saints. 155 

Bede designates as " a wise and good man, and 
most eminently learned in the science of tlie Holy 
Scriptures" (IJist, 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 
a native of Donegal, and that he was born about the 
year 627. lie was elected abbot of lona in the year 
679. In 685 he was sent to Alfrid, king of the 
Northumbrian Saxons, to solicit a restoration of some 
captives that had been carried off the previous j'ear 
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 Roman 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 
Glossary, an Irish diminutive of Adam. It is gene- 
rally pronounced in three syllables, but its proper 
Irish pronunciation is Awnaun, the d and tn being 
both aspirated (Adhamhnan). 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 Raphoe, where he was 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 Droichct-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- 
droichit, the town of the bridge. 

Errigal in Londonderry has Adamnan also for its 
patron, and hence it was called in Irish Airccal- 
Adhamhiain, Adamnan's habitation. The old church 

loO Jlisforical and Lcgouhiri/ Kamcs. [tart li. 

Avas situalcil in llio towuland of 13alliuicmiilo (tho 
town of the chttnh) ; south of which is tho only local 
commemoration of the saint's uamc, viz., a large stone 
called " Onan's rock." 

In the life of 8t. Farannan, published by Colgan, 
we are informed that Tibraide, lord of Jlj/ Fiachrach, 
bestowed on St. Columba a place called Cnoc-na- 
maoilc ; but that it was subsequently called Serin- 
Adliaiiihiiahi from a shrine of that saint afterwards 
erected there. From this shrine the parish of Skreen 
inMayo derived itsname. Ileis there called Awnaun, 
and his well, Toberawnaun (which gives name to a 
townlaud), lies a little south of the old church. 

There is a townlaud called Syonan 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 Adanman in one of 
his visits to Ireland preached to the multitude on the 
hill there, which has ever since been called Siiidhc- 
Adliamhnain [Syonan], Adamnan's seat. Killonan 
in the parish of Derrygalvin 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 Seuan, of Tench- 
Satra ; and in O'Clery's Calendar we find, " Mosha- 
cra, abbot of Clonenagh, and of Teach Sacra, in the 
vicinity of Tallaght." 

This Moshacra or Sacra was one of the fathers who 
composed the synod lield at Armagh about the year 
G'JU, at which Adamuan attended from lona. He 
was the founder and abbot of the monastery at Teach- 

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

CHAP. III.] EavJy Irish Saints, 157 

Sacra (Sacra's house), a name afterwards changed to 
Tassagard (Grace's Annals), and subsequently con- 
tracted to Saggart, which is now the name of a vil- 
lage and parish neoT Tallaght in Dublin. 

One of tlie most remarkable among the early saints 
of Ireland was St. Moling, bishop of Ferns. He 
was descended from Cahirmore, monarch of Ireland 
in the second century ; his mother was Nemhnat, a 
native of Kerry, and he is therefore often called Mo- 
ling Luachra, from the district of Luachair, on the 
borders of Cork, Kerry, and Limerick. At his inter- 
cession, and in opposition to the advice of St. Adam- 
nan, Finaghty, king of Ireland, remitted the Borumha 
or cow-tribute to the Leinstermen, which had been 
exacted for centuries, and which was reimposed many 
years afterwards, by Brian Borumha. He died on 
the 17th of May, 697. 

He is mentioned in O'Clery's Calendar as " Mo- 
ling Luachra, bishop and confessor, of Tigh-Molingr 
This place is situated on the Barrow, in the south of 
the county of Carlow, and was originally called Ros- 
hroc, badger wood ; but the saint erected a churcli 
there about the middle of the seventh century, and 
it was afterwards called Tigh-MoUng [Tee-Moling], 
i. e. St. Moling's house, which is now reduced to St. 
MuUins. 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 Ilagiologist — embraced a religious life in 
the monastery of Clonenagh, in Queen's County ; 
and having made gi-eat progress in learning and 
holiness, he entered the monastery of Tallaght, near 
Dublin. There he spent several years under St. 

158 nintoncal and Legendanj Names, [part ii. 

Maelruain, whom lio assisted to compile a Calendar 
of saints, which is well known as the Martyrolog-y of 
Tallapht. lie was the autlior of a still more ccslc- 
brated work, which is now commonly known as the 
Feliiv of Aongns, a melrieal cak-ndar, in which the 
saints of each day are commemorated in a stanza of 
four lines, lie died, accordin^: to the most probable 
accounts, about the year 824.* 

He built a cell for himself in a lonely spot near 
Clononagh, to which he frequently retired for medi- 
tation and prayer. It was called from him Diserf- 
Aoif/iisa, Aeugus's hormitago, now modernized to 
Dysartonos; 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 

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

CHAP. IV.] Legends. 150 

"between what is partly real and what is wholly ficti- 
tious ; but some of these shadowy relations possess 
certain marks, and are corroborated by independent 
circumstances, which render it extremely probable 
that they have a foundation of truth. 

It must be carefully borne in mind that the cor- 
rectness 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 Red Branch knights of Ulster 
in the first century, lived in his old age at Cruaclian, 
the royal palace of Maev, queen of Connaught. OlioU 
More, IVtaev's husband, was slain by the old warrior 
with a cast of 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- 
connel now stands. There they slew him, so that 
the place was ever after called Bcl-aiha-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-atka- 
Chonaill ; and it is certain that it took its name from 
some man named Conall, whether it be Conall Cearn- 
ach 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 difficult, and sometimes impos- 
sible, to determine the line of separation. They have 
been transmitted from several ancient authorities, and 

160 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

always with remai-kable consistenc}' ; many of them 
are reflected iu the traditions of tlio peasantry ; and 
the truth of several is eonfirmed by present existing 
monuments. But to most of them tlie old historians 
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 forty days before the deluge, with 
fifty young women and three men — Bith[Bih], 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. Bitli 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 of Monaghan, 
Fermanagh, and Tyrone. Bith's earn still exists, and 
is a large and conspicuous monument on the top of a 
hill, in the townland of Carnmore (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 northwest.* 

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 

• See O'Donovan's Four Masters, Vol. I., p. 3. 

CHAP, iv.] Legends. 161 

had lived there for 300 years, they were destroyed by 
a plague, which iu one week carried off 5,000 men 
and 4,000 women ; and they were bmied in a place 
called, from this circumstance, TaimhJeaclit- Mhidn- 
tire-Parlhaloin (Four Mast.), the Tavlaght or plague- 
grave of Parthalon's people. This place, which lies 
about five miles from Dublin, still retains the name 
Taimfiieac/tt, 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 Taimhieacht, 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 down 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, Magherchowlett, and in a patent of 
James I., Magherhconlaght, both of which point to 
the field of the plague-grave. 

The Fomorians — a race of pirates who infested 
the coasts of Ireland, and oppressed the inhabitants 
— are much celebrated in our histories. They came 


162 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

to Ireland in tlio time of Nevvy (wlio led another 
colon}', thirty years after the destruction of Par- 
thalou's people) ; and their principal stronghold was 
Tory island. Balor of the great blows 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 
Clanmacnoise, that Enniskillen received its name 
from her : in the Irish authorities it is always called 
Inis-Cethlenn, 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 Clock- ChinnfJiaeJaidh, 
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 

CHAP. IV.] Legends. 163 

blood that penetrated to its centre ; and the tourist 
who is a lover of legend may indulge his taste among 
the people, who will tell endless stories regarding 
this wonderful stone* 

From the same people the Giant's Causeway has 
derived its name. It is called in Irish Clochan-na- 
hhFomJiaraigh, [Clohanavowry : O'Brien's Diet, voce 
Fo)n/ic(r~\ — 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 Causeway." 

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-cJnch-Danainne, the two 
paps of Danann, now well known 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 Mcoiann, 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 
Ullin, 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 

* See O'Donovan's Four Masters, Vol. I., p. 18, for a very 
full version of this legend. 


164 ITistoricn/ and Lcgcndanj Names, [part ii. 

then Loch Orhsoi Lurst [out of tlio grave] over 
iho land, so that it is from liim that Loch Orbscn 
is named. (Yellow liook of Lecan, quoted by 
O'CuiTj, Atlantis, VII., p. 228). This lake is 
called Loch Orbscn (Orbsen's lake) in all our autho- 
rities ; 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 
Orbscn ; 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 Iiircr Sccine, or 
Ivenmare bay, where they had attempted to land, 
scattered their fleet along the coast, and drowned 
many of their chiefs and people. 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, Tcach-DJioinn,\.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 Invcr Colptha [Colpa: Four 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 Invcr Sccine, and after three days they 
fought a battle against a party of the Tuatha De Da- 

CHAP. IV.] Legench. 165 

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 
(Four Mast.) ; it is now called Glenofaush, and is 
situated at the base af 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 known by the 
name of Scota's grave, and is situated by the Finglas 
stream ; the glen is called Grlenscoheen, 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 Cuailnge, the sons of Brogan, 
grandfather of Milesius. The former fell at Sliabh 
Fuaid (Fonr Masters : Fuad's mountain), near New- 
townhamilton in Armagh, which still retains the 
name of Slieve Fuad ; it is the highest of the Fews 
range ; but the two words, Fuad and Feus, have no 
connection, the former being much the more ancient. 

The place where Cuailnge [Cooley] fell was called 
Sliabh Cnaihuje (Four Masters) ; it is the mountain- 
ous 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 Brogau's sons, was named Sliabh 
BladJima (Slieve-Blawma ; Four Masters), now called 
Slievebloom. Whether this is the same person who 
is commemorated in Lickbla in Westmeath, I cannot 
tell ; but the name signifies " Bladh's flagstone," for 
the Four Masters write it Liag-Bladhma, 

IGG niatoykal and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

Finl, tlio wife of Lewy (sou of Itli, the imclo of 
^Milosius), gave name to the rivor Fealo in Kerry : 
the legend says that her husband unexpectedly carao 
in sight, while slio stood naked after Lathing in the 
stream ; and that slie, not recognising him, imme- 
diately died through fear and shame. An ahbey, 
built in later ages on its banks, was called in Irish 
Mainistir-na-Fci/c, 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 An- 
nals relate that Breasal Boidhiobhadh [Bo-yeevaJ 
son of liury, ascended the throne of Ireland, A. M. 
5001. lie received his cognomen, because there was 
a great mortality of cows in his reign : ho, a cow, 
diobliadh, 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 Saicasge.'" 
This glen is situated in the coimty of Kerry, in the 
parish of Templenoe, north-west of Kenmare, and 
near the valley of Glencare; and it is still called 
GIean)i-samhaince [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 
enchanted white cow, or ho-finn,\;h.\Ci\x appears above 
the waters at certain times ; hence the lake is called 
Loch-lo-finne, the lake of the white cow, and it has 
given name to the island. Bede calls the island Ink- 

CHAP. IV.] Legends. 1G7 

bo-finde, and interprets it "the island of the white 


There is another Inishbofin in Lough Eee on tha 
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 Ireland called Lough Bo- 
fiu, the white cow's lake ; Lough Boderg (of the red 
cow), is a lake on the Shannon south of Carriek-on- 
Shannon ; Corrabofin near Ballybay in Monaghan 
(properly Carrowbofin, the quarter-land of the white 
cow) ; dortbofinna (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 black 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 livelier, from the Irish word urcJiur, 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 wild 
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 casts is com- 
memorated at the place now called Ardnurcher, in 
Westmeath — a cast that ultimately caused the death 
of Conor Mac Nessa, king of Ulster in the first cen- 
tury. The name Ardnurcher is a corruption, and the 
proper form would be Athnurcher ; the Four Masters, 
in recording the erection of the castle in 1192, whose 

1G8 Ilisiorical ami Legendary Nmncs. [part ii. 

ruins aro still there, call it Atii-nn-urehair ; and the 
natives still call it in Irish Baik-al/ia-CDi-urc/iair, 
which they pronounce Blaamirclier. 

Couall Cearnach, on a certain occasion, slow in 
single combat a Leinster chieftain named Mesgedhra 
[Mesgera], whoso brains — according to the 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 pui'sued 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 tahhall 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 

CHAP. IV.] Legends. 169 

of Grod was on that day crucified by the Jews . " That 
is a pity," said Conor ; " were I in his presence, 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 
At/i-an-nrc/iai); the ford of the cast ; which Michael 
O'Clery, in a fly-leaf note in O'Clery 's Calendar, iden- 
tifies with At h-ari'ur chair or Ardnurcher in West- 
meath (see O'Curry'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 Eed Branch knights of 
IJlster, endeavouring once to escape from a woman 
named Mai, by whom he was pursued, made his way 
southwards to the extremity of the county of Clare, 
where he unhappily found himself in a cul-de-sac, 
with the furious termagant just behind him. There 
is a little rock called Balldn-na-Uime (leap rock), 
rising over the waves, about twenty-five feet beyond 

1 70 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

the capo, ou wliicli tho oliiof alighted with a great 
bound from tho maiulaud ; and tho 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 short into the boiling sea. Hence the cape was 
called Ze//y2-C//c»;f/<«//7///i;/,Cuchullin's Leap, which is 
the name alwaj's 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, 
Ceann-Leime [Canleama], the head of the leap, or 
Leap Head, which seems to have been modified into 
the present name Loop Head by the Danes of the 
lower Shannon: Danish /i/aiip, a leap. The woman's 
body was swept northwards by the tide, and was 
found at the southern point of the clifis of Moher, 
which was therefore called Ceann caillighe [Cancallee] 
or Hag's Head : moreover the sea all along was dyed 
with her blood, and it was called Tonn-Mal or Mai's 
Wave, but it is now known by the name of Mai 
Bay. Ceann-Leime is also the Irish name of Slyne 
Head in Galway ; but I do not know the legend, if 
there be one (see page 82, supra). 

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-Ieith, the leap of the grey man ; Leamy- 
doody and Learn j'glissan in Kerry, and Lemybrien 
in Waterford ; which mean, respectively, O'Dowd's, 
O'Grleeson's, and O'Brien's leap ; Carrigleamleary 
near Mallow, which is called in the Book of Lismore, 
Carraig-Ieme-Laeguiriy the rock of Laeghaire's or 
Leary's leap. Leap Castle in King's County, near 

CHAP. IV.] Legends. 171 

Eoscrea, the ruins of wliicli are still to be seen, is 
called by the Four Masters Leim-ui-Bhanain [Leamy- 
vannan], O'Banan's leap. 

The name of Lough Derg, on the Shannon, reminds 
us of the almost unlimited influence of the bards in 
old times, of the merciless way in which they often 
exercised it, and the mingled feelings of dread and 
reverence with 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 circumstance it re- 
cords happened or not. It is one of the incidents 
in an ancient tale called Talland Etair, or the Siege 
of Howth (see O'Curry's Lect., p. 266). 

Aithirne [Ahirny], 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 with his blood; 
andthe king thereupon said: — "Then Loch-Dergltderc 
[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 

172 Historical and Lcgemlary Names, [part ii. 

autlioritios, and tlio present name Lough Derg is 
merely a contraction of tlie original. 

In the parish of Kilgobbau in Kerry, about eight 
miles west of Tralee, is situated the beautiful valley 
of Glannagalt ; 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 
the country, would ultimately, if left to themselves, 
find their way to this glen to be cured. Hence the 
name, Glcann-na-ngcalt, the valley of the lunatics. 
There are two wells in the glen, called Tobernagalt, 
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 drink 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 sanity. 

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 Ventry," we are 
told that Daire Dornmhar, " The monarch of the 
world," landed at Ventry 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, Gall, 
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- 

CHAP. IV.] Legends. 173 

formed astounding deeds of valour, lie fled in a state 
of derangement from the scene of slaughter, and 
never stojiped 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 him. 

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 substance, as taken down from the peasantry 
by O'Donovan ; 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, Goll 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 ; GroU 
obeyed Finn's injunction, but Fergoman, disregard- 
ing it, approached the spot where he had left the 
litter, and saw an enormous wild sow, the mother of 
the brood, standing over their bodies. She imme- 
diately rushed on him to revenge their death, and a 
furious fight began, the sow using her tusks, the 
warrior his spear. 

Fergoman had a sister named Finn, who was as 
warlike 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. 

174 Jli'storica/ and Legcndanj Names, [part it. 

Sho happened to bo standing at tlio same side of the 
lake, hut sho licard tho eclio of the sliout from the 
clilfs on tlio 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 eamo resounding again from 
tho opposite clills. And so she crossed and recrossed, 
till the dreadful dj'ing 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 Fiiuir, 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 mcen or moun- 
tain 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 
Finua's lake ; and this is quite consistent with the 
name given by Adamnan to the river, namely jP/>i(/r/. 
The suggestion sometimes put forth, that the name 
was derived from the word finn, white or clear, is 
altogether out of the question ; for the waters of 
both, so far from being clear, are from their source 
all the way down 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 forth of lakes. Almost every consider- 
able lake in Ireland has its own story of an enchanted 
well, which by the fatal neglect of some fairy in- 

CHAP. IV.] Legends. 175 

junction, or on account of an affront offered to its 
guardian spirit, suddenly overflowed the valley, and 
overwhelmed 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 ; 
and nearly all the principal lakes in Ireland are 
accounted for in this manner. There is one very 
remarkable example of an occurrence of this kind — 
an undoubted fact — in comparatively recent times, 
namely, in the year 1490 ; at which year the Four 
Masters record : — " There was a great earthquake 
[maidhm talmhan, an eruption of the earth) at Sliabh 
Gamh (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 now dried up, 
but it has left its name on the townland of Moym- 
lough, in Irish Maidhn-loch, the erupted lake, in the 
parish of Killoran, county of Sligo ; and a vivid tra- 
dition of the event still prevails in the county. (See 
O'Donovan's Four Masters, Vol. IV., p. 1185). 

I will digress here for a moment to remark that 
the word madhm [maum or moym] is used in the 
western counties from Mayo to Kerry, and especially 
in 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 

176 Ilintoricol and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

women ; iu Kerry ]Maunmalialtora, of the altar ; and 
in Fermanagh Mullanvaum, the summit of llio ele- 
vated pass. 

The origin of Lougli 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 
O'Flaherty's Ogygia. Fiacha Labhruinne [Feeha 
Lavrinua] 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 
Ernai, 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 from them the lake is named \_Loch Eirne^^ 
that is, a lake over the Ernai." 

Our 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 tradi- 
tion, as well as its great antiquity, it seems highly 
probable that some great inundation actually occun^ed 
about the time mentioned, and the well-known shal- 
lowness of the lake lends some corroboration to the 
truth of the records. G iraldus, who evidently bon'o wed 
the story from the native writers, relates that it was 
formed by the overflowing of a fairy 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 Lougli Neagli'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." 

CHAP. IV.] Legends. 177 

The ancient name of the territory now covered by 
the lake, was Liathmhuine [Leafony : grey shrub- 
bery], and it was taken possession of by a Mimster 
chieftain named Eochy Mac Maireda, after he had 
expelled the previous inhabitants. He occupied the 
plain at the time of the 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 writings, and of which the 
present name has preserved the sound, a little short- 
ened. The N which now forms the first letter does 
not belong 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 centuries. 
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 : — 

"Eochy Maireda, the rebellious son, 
Of wonderful adventure, 
Who was overwhelmed in lucid Linnmhuine^ 
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. 


178 Ilidorioal and Legendary Names. [i'ARt ii. 


It is very probable ihat the belief in the existence 
of fairies, so characteristic of the Iveltie race of these 
countries, came in with tlie 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 circumstan- 
tiality that prove it to have been, at the time of 
which they treat, long established and universally 

It was believed that these supernatural beings 
dwelt in habitations in the interior of pleasant hills, 
which were called by the name oi sidh or sit h [shee]. 
Colgan's explanation of this term is so exact, and he 
gives such an admirable epitome of the superstition 
respecting the sidli 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 
hills ; and these habitations, and sometimes the 
hills themselves, are called by the Irish sidlic or 

In Colgan's time the fairy superstition had de- 
scended to the common people — the vulgus ; 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 Duine 
sidhe [dinna-shee ; people of the fairy mansions], 

ciiAP.v.] Fairies, Demons, Goblins, and Gliosis. 179 

was an article of belief with the high as well as with 
the low ; as may be inferred from the following 
curious passage in the Book of Armagh, where we 
find the two daughters of Laeghaire [Leary], king of 
Ireland, participating in this superstition : — " Then 
St. Patrick came to the well which is called Clehach, 
on the side of Cniachan 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, Ethnea the fair and Fedelma the 
ruddy, came early to the well to wash, after the 
manner 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 sup- 
posed them to be Dnine sidhe, or gods of the earth, 
or a phantasm" (^Todd's Life of St. Patrick, p. 452). 
Dr. Todd adds in a note :— " Buine sidhe, the men of 
the sidhe, or phantoms, the name given by the Irish 
to the fairies — men of the hills; the word sidhe or 
soidha 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 cog- 
nate with the Lat. sedes, or from a Celtic root, side^ 
a blast of wind." 

The belief of king Laeghaire's daughters regard- 
ing 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 
fairies inhabit the sidhe, or hills, and that occasionally 
mortals are favoured with a view of their magnificent 


180 Historical and Legendary Names. [i'art ii. 

To readers of modern fairy lore, tlio bansliee is a 
\\'cll-kno-\vn spirit : — Irish hran-Kidlic, woman of tlio 
fairy mansions. Many of llio old Milesian families 
are attended by a banshee, who foretells and laments 
the approaching death of a member of the favonred 
race by /icmiiif/ round the house in tlio lonely night. 
Numberless banshee stories are related with great 
circumstantiality, by the peasantry all over Ireland, 
several of which are preserved 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 Derg, 
&c. — are frequently referred to as the architects and 
inhabitants of the sidhc. For example, in the copy 
of the " History of the Cemeteries " contained in the 
MS. H. 3. 17, T. C. D., the following statement 
occurs relating to the death of Cormac mac Art : — 
" Or it was the siahJira [sheevra] that killed him, 
i. e. the Tuatha de Dananns, for they were called 
siahhras'^ In some cases, however, the sidhe were 
named after the chiefs of the Milesian colony, as in 
case of Sidh-Aed/m at Ballyshannon (see page 182) ; 
and at present the Tuatha De Danann origin of these 
aerial beings seems to be Cjuite 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, &c. — 

CHAP, v.] Fairies, Demons, Goblins, and Ghosts. 181 

we may conclude that they were a people of superior 
intelligeuce 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 ob- 
scure manner in which they were forced to live after 
their subjugation, in retired and lonely places, gra- 
dually impressed the vulgar with the belief that they 
were supernatural beings. 

It is not probable that the subjugation of the 
Tuatha De Dananns, with the subsequent belief re- 
garding them, was the origin of Irish fairy mythology. 
The superstition, no doubt, existed long previously ; 
and this mysterious race, having 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 Druim Lighcan, held a meeting at 
Brugh 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. Bodhbh [Bove] Derg, son of the Dagda, 
was chosen king ; and Manannan, their chief coun- 
sellor, arranged the difl^erent 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 Bmdhhli [BoovJ, with Bove 
Derg for its chief, was on the shore of Lough Derg, 

182 JTisforical and Lcgcndnri/ H^amat. [part li. 

somewhere near rortumna. Several hills iu Ireland, 
noted fairy haunts, took their names from this chief, 
and others from his daughter, Bugh [Boo]. One of 
the former is Kuockavoe near Strabane. The Four 
Masters mention it at A.D. 1522, as " Ciwc-Buidhbh, 
commonly called Cnoc-an-B/io^/in ;" which shows 
that the former was the correct old name, and that it 
had been corrupted in their time to Cnoc-an-Bhogha, 
which is its present Irish name, and which is repre- 
sented in sound by the anglicised form, Knockavoe. 
The}'' mention it again at 1557 ; and here they give 
it the full name Cnoc-Bnidhhh-Derrj, Bove-Derg hill. 
It was probably the same old chief who left his name 
on Rafwee in the parish of Killeany in Galway ; 
which, in an ancient authority quoted by Hardiman 
(lar 0. 370), is called llath-Buidhbh, Bove's fort. 
From his daughter is named Canbo, in the parish of 
Killummod, Roscommon, which Duald M'Firbis 
writes Cennn-Bugha, i.e. Bugh's head or hill. 

Sidh Truhn, 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 
Neannfa, under Sidhmall, is now called Mullaghshee 
or Fairy mount, and is situated in the parish of Kil- 
geffin, near Lanesborough, in the county Roscom- 
mon. Sidh Meadlia [Mfi], over which presided Finn- 
bharr [Finvar], is the well-known 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 Aedha Ruaidh, another of these celebrated 
fairy resorts is the hill now called Mullaghshee, on 
which the modern church is built, at Ballyshannon in 
Donegal. The Book of Leinster and other ancient 

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

authorities relate that Aedh-Euadh [Ay-roo], the 
father of Macha, founder of Emania (see p. 88), was 
drowned in the cataract at Bally shannon, which was 
thence called after him, Eas-Raaidh, or Eas-Aedha- 
Hiiaidh [Assroo, Assayroo], Aedh Ruadh's waterfall, 
now shortened to Assaroe. He was buried over the 
cataract, in the mound which was called from him 
Sidh-Aedha — a name still partly preserved in Mul- 
laghshee, the hill of the sidh or fairy palace. 

This hill has recently been found to contain sub- 
terranean chambers, which confirms our ancient le- 
gendary accounts, and shows that it is a great sepul- 
chral mound like those on the Boyne. How few of 
the people of Bally shannon know that the familiar 
name MuUaghshee is a living memorial of those dim 
ages when Aedh Ruadh 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 tlie extent to which 
the fairy mythology was accepted in Ireland in re- 
mote 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, shce. 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 

184 Historical and Legendary Kamcs. [I'aut ii. 

very early period, for wo ilud it expressly stated in a 
passage in tlio Leabhar-na-liUidlire, that the igno- 
rant called the faries side. At the present (\n.y, the 
■word generally signifies a fairy, but the diminutive 
nid/ico;/ [sheeoge] is more commonly employed. When 
fiid/i forms part of a name, it is often not easy to de- 
termine whether it means the fairies themselves or 
their habitations. 

S/ice and its modifications constitute or begin the 
names of about seventy townlands, which are pretty 
equally distributed over the four provinces, very few 
being found, however, in the counties of Louth, 
Dublin, and Wicklow\ Besides these, there are 
many mox-e places whose names contain this word in 
the middle or end; and there are innumerable fairy 
hills and forts through the country, designated by 
tlie word s/ice, which have not communicated their 
names to townlands. 

Sid/i-d/tndm [Sheerim], fairy ridge — the old name 
of the Rock of Cashel and of several other ancient 
fairy haunts — is still the name of six tow^nlands in 
Armagh under the modern form Sheetrim; thechange 
from d to Min druini) must have begun a long time 
ago, for Sidh-druini is written Sith-truim in Torna 
Eigas's poem (" Hy Fiachrach," p. 29) : Sheerev- 
agh, in Eoscommon and Sligo, grey shee\ Shee- 
gorey near Boyle, the fairy hill of Guaire or Grorey, 
a man's name. There is a townland in the parish of 
Corbally, Tipperary, called the Sheehys, or in Irish 
Na sit lie [na sheeha], 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 hills. 

There is a famous fairy palace on the eastern 
shoulder of Slievenaman mountain in Tipperary. 

ctiAP. v.] Fairies, Demons, Gohlins, and Ghosts. 185 

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, Sliahh-na-mhan-Jionn, which would signify the 
mountain of the fair-haired women ; but O'Dono- 
van shows that the true name is Sliahh-na-mban- 
Feimhinn [Slievenamon Fevin], the mountain of the 
women of Feimlicann, which was an ancient territory 
coextensive with the barony of Iffa and Offa East ; 
and this was shortened to the present name, Sliabh- 
na-mban, or Slievenaman. 

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 Roscommon, is called by the Four Masters 
Cluai)i-sithc, 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-sifhe (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 faries ; and the name of Cheek Point on the 
Suir below "Waterford, is merely an adaptation from 

186 Ilislorical and Lcgoidari/ Xamrs. [paut U. 

Sliccga point ; for the Irisli iiamo is Poijifr-na-vge 
[Pointa-na-shcoga], tho point of the fairies. The 
townland of Sheegys (i. e. fairy hills) in the parish 
of Ivilbarron, Donegal, was once no doubt a favourite 
resort of fairies ; and on its soutliorn boundary, near 
high water wark, there is a mound caUed Muhiashee- 
frog, the liill of tlie fairy dwellings. In the parish of 
Aghauagh, Sligo, there are two townlands, called 
Cuilshecghary, which the people call in Irish, Coill- 
soiflicltairc, the fairies' wood, for a largo wood for- 
merly stood there. 

While sid/ieog means a fairy, the other diminutive 
sidJiedn [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. 

Great 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- 
lands scattered through the four provinces. It is not 
unfrequently changed to Sion, as in the parish of 
Laraghbi-yan in Kildare, where the place now so 
called evidently took its name from a shecaun, for it 
is written Shiane in an Inquisition of James I. ; and 
there are several other instances of this odd cor- 
ruption. Near Ballybay in Monaghan, is a place 
called Shane, another form of the word ; and the 

tlural Shanes, fairy hills, occurs in the parish of 
joughguile, Antrim. Sheena in Leitrim, Sheeny 

CHAP, v.] Fairies, Demons, Gob/ins, and Ghosts. 187 

in Meath and Fermanagh, and Sheeana in "Wicklow, 
are different forms of the Irish plural sidhne [sheena], 
fairy hills. 

The sound of the s is often eclipsed by t (p. 23), 
and this gives rise to further modifications. There 
is a castle called Ballinteean giving name to a town- 
land in the parish of Ballysakeery, Mayo, which is 
written by M'Firbis, Baile-an-tsiodhain, the town of 
the fairy hill ; the same name occurs near Ballinrobe 
in the same county, and in the parish of Kilglass, 
Sligo : in Down and Kildare it takes the form of 
Ballintine ; and that this last name is derived from 
sidhean is shown by the fact that Ballintine near Bla- 
ris in Down is written Shiane in an Inquisition of 
James I. Aghintain near Clogher in Tyrone, would 
be written in the original, Achadh-an-tsiadhain 
[Aghanteean] , 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 men- 
tion, but the subject deserves more space than I can 

The Pooka — Irish puca — is an odd mixture of 
merriment and malignity ; his exploits form the sub- 
ject of innumerable legendary narratives ; and every 
Hterary 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 that he can " put a girdle round about 
the earth in forty minutes ; " and the genius of Shak- 

* See Crofton Croker's " Irish Fairy Legends," and Wilde'a 
•' Irish Popuhir Superstitions." 

188 Historical and Lcgcmhinj Names, [part ii. 

ppearo has conferred on Lini a kind of immortality 
ho never expected. 

There are many places all over Ireland whore tlie 
Pooka is still well remembered, and where, though he 
lias himself forsaken liis liaunts, lie has loft liis name 
to attest his former reign of terror. Ono'of the best 
known is Pollaphuca in AVicklow, a wild chasm 
where the LiiTey falls over a ledge of rocks into 
a deep pool, to which tlie name properly belongs, 
signifying the pool or hole of the Pooka. There are 
three townlands in Clare, and several other places in 
different parts of the country, with the same name; 
they 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, 
euitable haunts for this mysterious sprite. The ori- 
ginal name of Puckstown in tlie parish of Mosstown 
in Louth, and probably of Puckstown, near Artaine 
in Dublin, was Pollaphuca, of which the present 
name is an incorrect translation. Boheraphuca {ho- 
lier, a road) four miles north of Poscrea in Tipperary, 
must have been a dangerous place to pass at night, in 
daj'-s of old. Carrigaphooca (the Pooka's rock) two 
miles west of Macroora, where on the top of a rock 
overhanging the Sullane, stand the ruins of the 
M'Carthy s castle, is well known as the place whence 
Daniel O'Eourke began his adventurous 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 which the peasantry will 
relate with minute detail. 

About half way between Kilfinane 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 

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

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 Eathpooka, which 
have, in some cases, given names to townlands. In 
the parish of Kilcolman in Kerry, are two townlands 
called Eathpoge on the Ordnance map, and Eath- 
pooke in other authorities — evidently Rathpuca, the 
Pooka's rath. Sometimes his name is shortened to 
pooh, or pack ; as, for instance, in Castlepook, the 
goblin's castle, a black, square, stern-looking old 
tower, near Doneraile in Cork, in a dreary 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 (written Cloyth-an-puka in a 
rental book of the Earl of Kildare, A. D. 1518), 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 
found it used in this sense in the quotation at page 
180 from 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 

100 Hisloricnl ami Legendary Names. [part ii. 

written in several modern autliorities, Drumshevory, 
the ridp^o of the sJiccrran ; niid they must liave also 
Imunted GlennaBlioevar, in the parish of luishmao- 
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 scillingS, an 
inexhaustible fairy purse, if you can only manage to 
hold him spell-bound by an uninterrupted gaze. 
This lively little follow is known by several different 
names, such as hiprachaun^ Invicane, lurrigadanc, chiri- 
cane, Inppercadane, loughryman, &c. The correct ori- 
ginal designation from which all these have been 
con-upted, is luchorpan, or as we find it in the MS. 
H. 2, 16 (col. 120), lucharhan; from /e^, "everything 
small " (Cor. GL, voce "luda"), and corpdn, a dimi- 
nutive of eo)p, a body, Lat. coipns; so that hichotpdn 
signifies " an extremely little body " (see Stokes's 
Cor. Gl. p. 1). 

In the townland of Creevagh, near Cong in Mayo, 
there is a cave called Mullenlupraghaun, the lepre- 
chauns' mill, " where in former times the people left 
their caslcecns of corn 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 {poul, 
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 townland of 
Knocknagraigue East, four miles from Corrofin in 

CHAP, v.] Fairies, Demons, GohruiSy and Ghosts. 191 

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 coman, or hurley. 
Their favourite amusement is told clearly enough in 
the name Lios-fear-heg-na-gconidn, the fort of the 
little hurlers. Sam Lover must have been well ac- 
quainted 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 their 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, 
heard a strain of wild music from the inside. Knock- 
graffon is not the only " airy " place where the ceol- 
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 Down, called Knocknafeadalea, 
whistling hill, from the music of the fairies which 
was often heard to proceed from it ; and the townland 
of Lisnafeddaly in Monaghan, and Lisnafeedy in 
Armagh, both took their names (signifying the fort 
of the whistling : fead or fid, a whistle) from lisscs, 
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- 

192 matoyical and Lcgcnilavy Names, [part ii. 

anta are terrified by slirill screams and other inde- 
scribable noises ; and in the morning the fiekls are 
strewn 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 conflicts, got 
the name of Lisnascragh, the fort of the screeching. 

Very often when you pass a lonely fort on a dark 
night, you will be astonished to see a light shining 
from it ; the fairies 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 Lisuagannell 
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 Tipper ary ; Lisgonnell in Tyrone ; 
and Liscunnell in Mayo. We must not suppose that 
these fearful lights are always the creation of the 
peasant's imagination ; no doubt they have been in 
many instances actually seen, and we must attribute 
them to that curious phenomenon, ignis fatuus, or 
Will-o'-the-wisp. But the people 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 dreaded scenes nightly 
enacted there. The word dealbh [dalliv], a shape or 
image {delh, effigies, Zeusa, 10) is often applied to a 
ghost. The townland of Killeennagallive in the 
parish of Templebredon, Tipperary, took its name 
from an old churchyard, where the dead must have 
rested unquietly in their graves ; for the name is 

CHAP, v.] Fairies^ Demons, Goblins, and Ghosts. 193 

a corruption (p. 56) of CilUn-na-ndealbh, 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, certain clusters of thorn bushes, 
which have the reputation of being haunted, are 
called by the name of Dullowbush (du/ioic, i.e. dealbh), 
i. e. the phantom bush. 

There is a hideous kind of hobgoblin generally met 
with in churchj^ards, 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, Roscommon, 
must be a horrible place to live in, if the dullaghan 
that gave it the name ever shows himself now to the 

Every one knows that a ghost without a head 
is very usual, not only in Ireland, but all over the 
world ; and a little lake in the parish of Douagh- 
more in Donegal, four miles south of Stranorlar, is 
still called Lough Gillagancan, the headless man's 
lake, from having been haunted by one of these visit- 
ants. But I suppose it is only in Ireland you could 
meet with a ghost without a shirt. Several of those 
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 called Lough Gillaganleny, the lake of the 
shirtless fellow : one for instance, two miles east of 
the nortliern extremity of Lough Eask, near the 


194 Ilisforical and Legendary Names. [part ii. 

town of Douegal ; and anotlior in tlie parisli of Ross- 
inver in Lntrim, five miles from Mauorliamiltoii 
[Gil/if, a follow ; r/an, without; leinc, a shirt). 

Glennawoo, a townlaud in the parish of Kilmac- 
teige, Sligo, must havo been, and perhaps is still, a 
ghastly ueighboui'hood, for the name Gleann-nti- 
bhfaath [Glennawoo] signifies the glen of the spectres ; 
and in the parish of Aghavea, Fermanagh, is a place 
which was doubtless almost as bad, viz.,Drumarraglit, 
the ridge of the avvcKjld or apparition. Near the 
church of Kilnamona in Clare, there is a well called 
Toberatasha; it is in the form of a coffin, and its 
shape is not more dismally suggestive than its name, 
Tohar-(C -ta'm\ the well of the/WcA or ghost. What 
kind of malignant beings formerly tormented the 
people of Drumahaire in Leitrim, it is now impos- 
sible to tell ; and we should be ignorant of their 
very existence if our annalists had not preserved 
the true form of the name — Brmm-da-etliah' [Drum- 
a-eliir ; Four Masters], the ridge of the two air- 

Besides the celebrated fairy haunts mentioned at 
p. 182, there are several other places in different parts 
of Ireland, presided over, each by its own guardian 
spirit, and among them several female fairies, or han- 
shees. Some of these are very famous, and though 
belonging to particular places, are celebrated by tlie 
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 
express himself; — - 

CHAi'. v.] Fairies, Demons, Goblins, and Ghosts. 195 

" God grant 'tis no fay from Knockfierna that woos me ; 
God grant 'tis not Cleena the queen that pursues me ; 
That my soul, lost and lone, has no witchery wrought her, 
\\'hile i dream of dai'k groves and O'Donovau's daughter." 

lu the Dinusenclius 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 Glandore, near Skib- 
bereen in Cork. In this harbour the sea, at certain 
times, utters a very peculiar, 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-Cleena, Cleena's 
wave. Cleena had her palace in the heart of a great 
rock, situated about five miles south-south-west from 
Mallow ; it is still well known by the name of Carrig- 
Cleena, and it has given name to two townlands. 

Aeibhell [Eevil], or more correctly Aebhinn [Ee- 
vin], whose name signifies "beautiful," was another 
poAverful banshee, and presided over north Munster : 
she was in an especial manner the guardian spirit of 
the Dalcassians. When the Dalcassian hero, Dunlang 
or Dooling O'Hartigan, the friend and companion of 
Murchadh [Murraha], Brian Bora's eldest son, was 
on his way to the battle of Clontarf, she met him and 
tried to dissuade him from fighting that day. For 
she told him tliat he would fall with Murchadh : and 
she offered him the delights and the immortality of 
Fairyland, if he would remain away. But he replied 
that nothing could induce him to abandon Murchadh 
in the day of battle, and that he was resolved to go, 
even to certain death, She then threw a magical 
cloak round liim which made him invisible, warning 


190 Historical and Legendary Names, [pakt it. 

liini that lie would certainly be sluiu if he threw it 

lie rushed into the midst of tlie battle, and fought 
for some time b}' the side of Miu'chadh, making fear- 
ful havoc among the Danes. Murchadli looked round 
him ou every side, and at last cried out, " I hear tlio 
sound of the blows of Dunlang O'llartigan, but I 
rannot see him ! " Then Dunlang could no longer 
bear to be hidden from the eyes of Murchadh ; and 
ho threw off the cloak, and was soon after slain ac- 
cording to the fairy's prediction. 

The aged king, Brian, remained in his tent during 
the day. And towards evening the tent was left un- 
guarded in the confusion of the battle ; and his at- 
tendant urged him to mount his horse and retire, for 
he was in danger from straggling parties of the Danes. 
But he answered — "Retreat becomes us not, and I 
know 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 
GG.,p. 201). 

Aeibhell liad her palace two miles north of Killa- 
loe, in a rock called Crageevil, but better known by 
the name of Craglea, grey rock. 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 moun- 
tain, still called Tobereevil, Aeibhell's well. 

There is a legend common over ail 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, 

(JHAP. v.] Fairies, Pemoiis, Gohli/ts, and Gliosis. 197 

chose tins 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- 
habitants hear the clanking of chains, or other un- 
earthly noises. 

During the period of St. Patrick's sojourn in Con- 
naught, he retired 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 iag or 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 Bcde 
mentions 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. II., cip. 27), as infesting Loch Ness, 

l08 llidorlcal and Legcminrrj N'aiiics. [I'Aitx ii. 

in Scotland. In the life of St. ISIoeliua of Balln, it 
is related that a stno^ wliieli was wounded in tlie cliaso 
took refuf^e in an island in Longli liec ; but that no 
one dared to follow it, " on account of a liorrihlo 
monster that infested the lake, and was accustomed 
to destroy swimmers." A man Avas at last prevailed 
on to swim across, "but as he was returning, the 
beast devoured liim." O'Flaherty (lar Connauglit, 
c. 1-)) has a very circumstantial story of an "Irish 
crocodil/' that lived at the bottom of Lough Mask ; 
and in O'Clery's Calendar (p. 145) we read about 
the upper lake of Glendalough :— " They say that 
the lake drains 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 assumes 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 occasionally 
met with in old castles, lisses, caves, &c., as well as 
in lakes. The word by which they are most com- 
monly designated in modei-n times, is pi'ast ; we find 
it in Cormae's Glossary in the old Irish form hei.-^f, 
explained by the Lat. hesf/ci, from which it has been 
borrowed ; and it is constantly used in the Lives of 
the Irish saints, to denote a dragon, serpent, or mon- 
ster. Several lakes in different parts of the country 
are called Loughnapiast, or, more correctly, LocJi-na- 
jychte, 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-pciste (Lig, a 
hollow or hole), which is the abode of another. 

When St. Patrick was joiu'n eying westward, a 
number of them attempted to oppose his progress at 
a place in the parish of Ardcarn in Roscommon, 

(HA I'. "\i.] Cusfcms, Amusements, Occiqxdwns. 199 

■which is called to this day Knocknabeast ; or, in 
Irish, CNOc-na-lipidsf, 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 
another with a similar name in the townland of Gul- 
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'-dcamhain, 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-diahltail, 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, Caiskn-a-dcanihaui. 



The pagan Irish divided their year, iu 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 EarracJt, SanihradJt, FogJimhaVy 
and Geimhridh [Arragh, Sowra, Fowar, Gevre] : 
Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, wdiich are 
the names still in use ; and they began on the first 
days of February, May, August, and November, 

200 Historical ami Legendary Names. [rAiiT ii, 

respectively. Wo Imvo historical testimony that 
games were celebrated at tlie beginning of Siiramor, 
Autumn, and Winter ; and it may be reasonably in- 
ferred that Spring was also ushered in by some sort 
of festivity. 

The first day of May, whicli was tlie beginning of 
the summer half 3'ear, was called 7i(Y////'r//»r [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 Beltaiie in winter to fade." 

Tuathal [Thoohal] the Acceptable, king of Ire- 
land in the first century, instituted the feast of Beall- 
taine at Uisncacli, now the hill of Usnagh in "West- 
meath, where, ever after, the pagan Irish celebrated 
their festivities, and lighted their Druidic fires on the 
first of May ;. and from these fires, according to Cor- 
mac's Glossary, the festival derived its name : — 
*^ Belltainc, i.e. bil-te)ie, i.e. tene-bil, i. e. the goodly 
fire (tene, 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 re- 
cent 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 

CHAP. VI.] Ciistoiiis, Ajnmoncids, Occupations. 201 

of the old clruiJic fire superstitious of May moruing 
still linger among the peasantry.* 

The May-day festivities must have been formerly 
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 BeaUtainc. There are two of them in Donegal — 
one near Raphoe, 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 Tamnaghveltou, and in Donegal, Meenabal- 
tin, both signifying the field of the Beltane sports ; 
and in Lisbalting, in the parish of Kilcash, Tippe- 
rar}', the old Ik where the festivities were carried on 
is still to be seen. There is a stream joining the river 
Galey near Athea in Limerick, called Glasheenna- 
baultiua, the rjlasheen or streamlet of the May-day 

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 1st 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 in a modified form down to the beginning 
of the present century. This fair was 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 TaUUenn {TailUc, 
gen. TaiUfoiu), which is the present Irish name, but 
corrupted in English to Teltown. 

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

202 JL'afoiicd/ aii(f Lrtjciidnri/ iCanicfi. [I'AUr It. 

Tlie place still exhibits the remains of ratlis and 
artificial lakes ; and according; to tradition, marriages 
were colebratod in one particular liollow, wliicli is 
still called Lfif/-aii-(U'n((i(j/t [Laganeany, the hollow 
of the fair]. Moreover, the Irish-speaking people 
all over Ireland still call the first of August LiKjh- 
Ndxd'Ui [Loonasa], i. e. Lewy's fair. 

The first of November was called Sdui/niin [savin 
or sowan], which is commonly explained mmli-fliuiu^ 
i. e. the end of sanih or summer ; and, like BcaUtaiiw, 
it was a day devoted by the pagan Irisli to religious 
and festive ceremonials. Tuathal also instituted the 
feast of Samhuin (as well as that of Belltaine — see p. 
200) ; and it was celebrated on that day at Tlachifja, 
now the Hill of "Ward near Athboy in Meath, where 
fires were lighted, and games and sports cari'ied on. 
It was also on this day that the Fek or conveution 
of Tara was held ; and the festivities were kept up 
three days before and three days after Samhuin. 
These primitive 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 un- 
doubted relics of ancient pagan ceremonials. 

AVhile 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 fiamhnia has remained as a per- 
petual memorial of those bygone pastimes. Such a 
place is Knocksouna near Kilmallock in Limerick. 
The Four Masters, who mention it several times, call 
it Samhuin — a name exactly analogous to Beltany : 
while in the Life of St. Finnchu, in the Book of Lis- 
more, it is called Cnoc-SamJina, the hill of Samhuin, 

CHAT. VI. J Ciidoiiis, Amusements, Occupations. 203 

which is exactly represented in pronunciation by 
Knocksouna. According to this last authorit}^ the 
hill was more anciently called Ard-)i((-i'io(jIiraidhe 
[reery], the hill of the kings ; from all which we 
may infer that it was anciently a place of great 
notoriet3^ In the parish of Kiltoghert, county Lei- 
trim, there is a place with a name having the same 
signification, viz., Knocknasawna ; and a hill two 
miles from Raplioe in Donegal, is called Mulla- 
sawny, the hill-summit of Sam/tain. 

It would appear from the preceding names, as well 
as from those that follow, that these meetings were 
usually held on hills ; and this was done no doubt 
in imitation of the original festival ; for TlacJifgn or 
the hill of Ward, though not high, is very conspi- 
cuous over the flat plains of Meath. Drumhawan 
near Ballybay in Monaghan, represents the Irish 
Druim-SJiamhnin, the ridge of Somhuin ; and in the 
parish of Donaghmoyne in the same county, is an- 
other place called Drumhamau, 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 
pronunciation is very well preserved in Drumsawna, 
in the parish of Magheraculmoney, Fermanagh. 
Oarrickhawna \_Carrick, a rock], is found in the 
parish of Toomour in Sligo ; and Gurteenasowna 
{Gurtccn, a little field), near Dunmanway in Cork. 

An assembly of the people, convened for any pur- 
pose whatever, was anciently called aenach [enagli] ; 
and it would appear that these assemblies were often 
lield at the great regal cemeteries. For, first, the 
names of many of the cemeteries begin with the 
word aenach, as Acnach-Chruachain, Aenach- Tailltenn, 
Aenach-in-Bi'oga, &c. ; and it is said in the " History 

204 llidorical and Lcfjeuihtnj Kamex. [paut It. 

of the Cemeteries" (Petrie, R. Towers, p. lOG), that 
"there are fifty hills [burial mounds] at each Aciun/i 
of those." Secondly, the douLlo purpose is sliown 
very clearly in the accounts of the origin of Cani- 
Atn/ia/f/akl/i [Awly] near Killala : — " Cani-Amha/- 
f/ni(//i, i. e. of Amhalgaidh, sou of Piachra l]algach, 
son of Datlii, son of Fiachra. It was by him that 
this earn was formed, for the purpose of holding a 
meeting [aonacJi) of the Ily 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 11. Towers, p. 107. 
See p. 138, supra). 

In modern times and in the present spoken lan- 
guage, the word acnacJi is alwa3's 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 
purposes to suit the requirements of each succeeding 
generation. This we find in the case of Ncnagh in 
Tipperary, which is still celebrated for its great fairs. 
Its most ancient name was Aeiiach-TIicte ; and it 
was afterwards called — and is still universally called 
b}^ speakers of Irish — Acnach-TJfuihnmhan [Enagh- 
IJrooan], the assembly or assembly-place of tJv- 
nihumhan or Ormond, which indicates 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., nAenach, 
i. e. the fair, M'hich is exactly represented in pro- 
nunciation by Nenagh (see p. 24). 

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 

CHAP. VI.] Cnstoms, Amusements, Occupations. 205 

these fairs have been long discontinued, or transferred 
to other localities. The usual forms in modern names 
are -ceny, -eoui, -cuagli, and in Cork and Ji.Qvvj,-eaiiig. 
Monasteranenagh in Limerick, where the fine ruins 
of tlie monastery founded by the king of Thomond 
in the twelfth century, still remain, is called by the 
Four Masters, Mainktcr-an-acnakjh^ the monastery of 
the fair. But the fair was held there long before 
tlie foundation of the monastery, and down to that 
time the place was called Aenacli-heag (Four Mast.), 
i. e. little fair, probably to distinguish it from the 
great fair of Neuagh. 

The simple word Enagli is the name of about 
twenty towulands in different counties, extending 
from Antrim to Cork ; but in some cases, especially 
in Ulster, this word may represent canach a marsli. 
The Irish name for Enagh, in the parish of Clonlea, 
county Clare,^is Aenagli-O' hhFhinn [Euagh-O-Vlin], 
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 Balliueanig is found in Kerry, and Ballynenagh 
in Londonderry — all meaning the town of the fair : 
Ardaneanig {ccrd^ a height), is a place near Killarney ; 
and in Cork and Sligo we find Lissaneena and Liss- 
aneen}', the fort of the fair. The plural of canach is 
aentaUjh ; and this is well represented in pronuncia- 
tion by Eanty (-beg and -more), in the parish of 
lulcorney in Clare.* 

In the Tripartite Life of St. Patrick, we have an 
interesting: notice of one of the ancient tribe asseni- 


* See Mr. W. M. Ilenncssy's paper " On the Curragh of Kil- 
dare," for much valuiiblL' information on the subject of the 
ancient aenachs. 

20G Ilislorical and Lcgenclanj Names, [part it. 

Llies. In the saint's progress througli Connaught, 
lie visited the assembly place of the tribe of Amlial- 
gaidh (Awley : brother of Dallii : see p. 138), 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 Fovvnch-mac-nAmhahjaUlh [Forragh-mac- 
nawley], i. e. the assembly place of Amhalgaidh's 
clan ; the word Forrnch, which Tireclian latinizes 
Fornjea, 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 Kiilala, there are 
two townlands, adjoining one another, one called 
Farragh, which is little changed from the old form 
Forrac/i, as given in the Tripartite Life ; and the 
other — which is on a hill — called Mullafarry, i, e. 
MuJIach-Forraigh, the hill of the meeting place. 
There is also a hill in the same neighbourhood, 
called Knockatlnnole, Cnoc-a''-tionuiJ, the hill of the 
assembl}', which commemorates gatherings of some 
kind ; but whether in connection 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 Forvach or Fan'ach 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 Mitchels- 
town in Cork ; Gortnafurra in the vale of Aherlow 

CHAP. VI.] Customs, Amusements, Occupations. 207 

in Tipperaiy, the field of the assembly place ; Far- 
raghroe in Longford, and Forramojde in Gralway, 
the red, and the bald or bare, meeting place. 

Nils [nawee] is a word of similar acceptation to 
aenach ; Cormac's Glossary explains it a fair or meet- 
ing-place. This term is not often used, but there 
is one place celebrated in former ages, to which 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 TaUUcnn 
in Meath (see p. 201) ; it continued to be used as 
a roj-al residence till tlie tenth century ; and the 
great mound of the palace still remains, just outside 
the town. This word is also found in a few other 
names, all in Leinster ; such as Nash in the parish 
of Owenduff, "Wexford, which is still a fair green ; 
and Ballynaas in the parish of Rathmacnee in the 
same county. 

The word sluagh [sloo], usually translated host, 
signifies any multitude, but in the Annals it is com- 
monly applied to an army ; it occurs in the Zeuss 
MSS., where it glosses ugmen, 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 tlie habit of congregating, for some 
purpose. One of the best known is Ballinasloe, on 
the Galway side of the river Suck. Its Irish name as 
used by the Four Masters, is l^cl-atha-jia-sJuaighcadh 
[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 great horse fairs. 

Very often the .s- is replaced by /, by eclipse (see 
page 23). Srahatloe, in the parish of Aghagower, 

208 Histoiical and Lcfjcndarii Names, [i'akt ii. 

Mayo, is an instance, the Irish name being Sraf/i-a- 
fs/iiair//i, the rivor-liohn of the host. So also TulHu- 
tloy in Loitrini ; Kuockatloe in Clave, and Xnocka- 
tlowig near Castleveutry in Cork, all signifying the 
hill of the host. 

Meetings or meeting-places are sometimes desig- 
nated by the word jjo/hi/, which signifies people. 
This is not, as miglit 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 popnluH. 
It is ofted used to denote a congregation, and from 
this it is sometimes employed in the sense of "parish ;" 
but its primary sense seems to he j^cople simply, with- 
out any reference to assemblies. 

The barony of Pubblebrien in Limerick, is called in 
Irish PohuI-ui-BJtriain [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 known by the name 
of Pobble O'lveeffe, O'Keelfe's people. 

There is a townland near Enniskillen, containing 
the remains of an old church, and another near Ard- 
straw in Tj'rone, both called Bubble, i. e. a congre- 
gation or parish. The word occurs in combination 
in Beanabobul in the parish of Ballyvourney, Cork, 
Reidh-na-bpohnI, the mountain-flat of the congrega- 
tions ; in Lispopple in Dublin and AVestmeath { //«, 
a fort) ; and in Skephubble, near Finglas, Dublin, 
the sheagh or bush of the congregation, where prob- 
ably 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- 

CiiAi'. VI.] Customs, Ainuscineiifs, Uccuj)aLio)is. 209 

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 boucJiail [boohil], a bo}^ is of frequent 
occurrence in such names ; for example, Knockan- 
namohilly, in the parish of Youghalarra, Tipperary, 
in Irish Cnocan-na-inhoucJiaiUidlio, 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- 
anenabohilly, in the parish of Kilcrumper, Cork — 
the two last names being less correctly anglicised 
than the others. We find names of similar import 
in the north : Edenaraohill is a townland in the 
parish of Donaghmore, Donegal ; and there is an- 
other place of the same name in the parish of Maghe- 
raculmoney in Fermanagh, both anglicised from 
Ei(da)L-na-nihonc]i((il, 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 
6(j [oge], which literally signifies young, but is often 
applied to a young person. Tullyhog, or Tullaliogue, 
near Stewartstown in Tyrone, where the O'Hagans 
resided, and where they inaugurated the chiefs of the 
O'Neills, is very often mentioned in the Annals, al- 
waj^s by the name of Tnlach-og or TcalacJi-oy, the hill 
of the youths ; and the name indicates that the place 
was used for the celebration of games, as well as for 
the inauguration of the chieftains. The fine old fort 


'J 10 llistoiical and Lcgcmlanj Namen. [pakt ii. 

ou which the ceromouies took itlace iu long past ages, 
still ri'inaiiis ou tlio top of tho tuJ((ch ov \n\\', and 
from time ininiomorial up to fifty or sixty j-cars ago, 
a yearly gathering of young people was licld on it, 
tho representative of the ancient assemblies. In 
Tipperary we find Glennanoge and I'allaghoge, tho 
glen and tho road ol' the youths. The synonymous 
term cxjlach occurs in Coolni;:ioglagh, in the parish of 
Mouagay, Limerick, tlie hill-back of the young per- 
sons ; while in the parish of Grange, Armagh, wo 
find Ball3'gassoon, tho town of the (joaaoons (young 
boys), or iu the Muuster dialect, (loraoons. 

Others terms are emploj^ed to designate the places 
of these meetings, which will be understood from a 
few examples. There can be little doubt that lially- 
suo-ao-h near >Savd iu Down, has its name from some 
such merry-makings ; for its name, Baile-sufjdclif 
merry-town, indicates as much. Kuockaunavogga, in 
the parish of Bourne}^ Tipperary, shows a similar 
origin, as is seen by its Irish name, Cnocan-a''- 
nihaydidh, the hill of the joking or pleasantry ; and 
this termination is found in many other names, such 
as Ardavagga {(ird, a height), in the parish of Kil- 
murry-ely. King's County ; and Cashlaunawogga, 
the castle of the merriment, a ruined fortress near 
Kilfenora in Clare. So also Knockannavlyman,iu the 
parish of Ballingarry, Limerick, Ciiocan-ci'-hliladh- 
/iiaiini, the hill of the boasting ; Ardiugary near Let- 
terkeuny, which the Four IsLastevs call Ai-d-aii-g/iain; 
the hill of the shouting or laughter ; Knocknaclogha 
near Bomeroy in Tyrone, the seat of Macdonnell, 
the commander of O'Neill's gaUoglasses, Cnoc-an- 
clduldie (Four Masters), the hill of the game. 

Not unfrequently the same idea is expressed by 
the word diomlann [deeveen], which signifies idle 

CHAP. VI.] Ciisfonis, Anuisen)enis, Ocvupartoim. 21 1 

orvaiu — a term imposed, we may be sure, by wise 
old people, who looked upon these pnstime meetings 
as mere idleness and. vanity. We see this in such 
names as Drumdeevin, near Kilmacrenan in Done- 
gal, and Dromdeeveen, west of DromcoUiher in 
Limerick, both signifying idle ridge ; Coomdeeween 
in Kerry {coo))i, a hollow) ; Tievedeevan in Donegal, 
idle hill-side {fachh). 

By an examination of local names, we are enabled 
not only to point out the spots where the peasant 
assemblies 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 of the neighbourhood 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-European lan- 
guages, the Irish and Sanscrit have alone preserved 
the word, and that with little change, the Sansc. 
rinl<Jia 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 Scn't/iin-a'-rinceadh, the little bush of the 
dancing ; the bush no doubt marking the trj^stiiDg- 
place, under which sat the musician, surrounded by 
the merry juveniles. A large stone (clock) must 
have served a similar purpose in Clogharinka in the 
parish of Muckalee, Kilkenny ; and we have Clash- 
arinka, the trench or hollow of the dance, near Castle- 
martyr in Cork. A mill is generally a place of 


212 Ili.storicul and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

amusement ; and that it ^vas sometimes selected for 
dauco meetings, avo see by Mullcnarank}', tlio mill 
of the dance, in the parish of Lisronapli in Tippc- 
rary. A merry place must have been Ballinrink in 
the parish of Killeagh, Meath, since it deserved the 
name of daiiciiig foicii ; and this was the original 
name of llingstown in the parish of Faughalstown 
in AVestmeath. 

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 descriptions of its 
pleasures and dangers, and of the prowess and ad- 
ventures of the hunters. That they sometimes had 
certain favourite spots for tliis kind of sport, we have 
sufficient proof in such names as Drumnashaloge in 
the parish of Clonfeacle, Tyrone ; and Drumashellig 
near Balh^roan in Queen's County, in Irish Dniim- 
na-seaUj, the ridge of the chase. The word scak/y 
[shallog], hunting occurs in many other names, and 
as it varies little in form, it is always easy to recog- 
nise it. Derrynashallog {Dcrnj, an oak wood) is in 
the parish of Donagh in Monaghan ; and Ballyna- 
shallog, the town of the hunting, lies near the city 
of Londonderry. 

The very spot where the huntsman wound his horn 
to collect his dogs and companions, is often identi- 
fied by such names as TuUynahearka near Aughrim 
in Eoscommon, Tulaigh-na-hadhairce, the hill of the 
horn; Killeenerk in Westmeath {KiUeeu, a little 

CHAP. vi.J Custo)}is, Amusements, Occupations. 213 

wood), and Drumnaheark in Donegal (Drum, a ridge); 
Knock erk near Slane in Meatli, and Lisnahirka in 
Itoscomraon, the hill and the fort of the horn. 

Another favourite athletic exercise among the 
ancient Irish, and which we find very often men- 
tioned in old tales, Mas hurling ; and those who re- 
member the eagerness with which it was practised 
in many parts of Ireland twenty-five years ago, can 
well attest 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 pas- 
time among the people. 

The hurley or curved stick with which the ball 
was struck, corresponding with the bat in cricket, is 
called in Irish coman, signifying literally a little 
crooked stick, from com or cam, curved. It is by 
this word that the game itself is commonly desig- 
nated ; and it is called coman in most parts of Ire- 
laud, 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. Aughnagomauu, in the parish 
of Ballysheehan, Tipperary, is written in Irish 
Achadli-na-(jcoman, the hurling-field ; there is a 
townland near Belfast called Ballygammon, which, 
as it is written Batli/goman in a grant of James I., 
obviously represents Bailc-na-gcoman, the town of 
the hurling ; and we have Gortgommon in Fer- 
managh, and Lisnagommon in Ciueen's County, the 
field and the fort, of the comcins. 

Look-out points, whether on the coast to com- 

214 Ilistoricdl and Lc<ieudari/ NaiiicK. [paiit ii. 

maiul tho sea, or on the borders of a liostilo territory 
to guard against surprise, or in tlie midst of a pastoral 
country to wateli the Hocks, ai-e usually designated 
by tho word coiiii/icad [covade]. This word signifies 
watching or guarding, and it is generally applied 
to hills from which there is an extensive prospect. 
MuUycovet and Mull3dvivet in Fermanagh must 
have been used for this purpose, for they are both 
modern forms of 3Ii(//(i/f///-('oi)ii//rada, the hill of the 
watching ; and Glencovot the name of a townland 
in Donegal, and of another near Enniskillen, and 
Drumeovet in Derry, have a similar origin. Some- 
times the III is fully pronounced, and this is generally 
the ease in the south, and occasionally in the north ; 
as in Cloontycommade near Kanturk in Cork, Chiain- 
tifjlie-coiinJicada, the meadow of the watching house ; 
and Slieve Commedagh, a high mountain near Slieve 
Donard in Down, the mountain of the watching. 

The compound I)c(t(jh-(hohnhcad [Deacovade] sig- 
nifies " a good reconnoitering station " {dcagli, 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 Moj-rath, Congal Claen speaks 
to the druid, Dubhdiadh : — " ' Thou art to go there- 
fore 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 descrip- 
tion of the chiefs of the west, that I will aiTay my 
battalions, and arrange my forces.' Then Dubh- 
diadh went to Avd-na-hiomfhairccHc [Ard-na-himark- 
sha, i. e. the hill of the reconnoitering], and from it 
he took his view'' (Battle of Moyrath, p. 179). 

CHAP. Ai.] Customs, Amusements, Occupaticns. 215 

Elevated stations that commaud an extensive view 
often received names formed from the word radliarc 
[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 (i/s, a fort) ; and in Knockan- 
aryark, two miles east of Kenmare, prospect hill. 
There is a residence near Dalkey in Dublin, with 
the name llarkanillin, which represents the Irish 
Radharc-an-oUeain, 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 tlie 
guidance of travellers or to alarm the country in any 
sudden emergency. Fires were lighted also on cer- 
tain festival days, as I have stated (p. 200) ; and 
those lighted on the eve of St. John, the 24th of June, 
are continued to the present day through the greater 
part of Ireland. The tradition is, that the May-day 
festival 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 b}'' the names, though in almost all these 
places the custom has, for ages, fallen into disuse. 
The words employed are usually tehie and solas 
[tinnr, svdlas]. 

Teine is the general word for fire, and in modern 
names it is usually found forming the termination 
tinny. It is found in Iviltinny near Coleraine, the 
wood of the fire ; Duntinny in Donegal [dun, a fort) ; 
IMullaghtinny neai" Clogher in Tyrone, the summit 
of the fire. Tennyphobble near Granard in Long- 

216 Historical and Lff/ouhtri/ Names. [i'Aut ii. 

ford, Tt'iii<-j)/i()l)(n7, tho firo of tlio parish or congrega- 
tion, plninly indicates some festive assembly round a 
fire. Cloghaunnatinny, in tlio parish of I'Cihnurry, 
Clare, was anciently, and is still called in Irish, 
C/o(7i(iii-l/i/c-f('iiu\ the stepping stones of the fire tree, 
from a large tree which grew near the ci'ossing, under 
which ]\iay fires used to bo lighted. These fires were 
no doubt often lighted under trees, for the Four 
Masters mention a place called Bik-tei)ica(Ih [Billa- 
tinnr], the old tree of the fire ; which O'Donovan 
identities with the place near Moynalty in Meath, 
now called in Irish, Coi/Z-a^-h/ii/c, the wood of the 
bi/e, or old tree, and in English, Billywood. And 
in the parish of Ardnurcher, Westmeath, there is a 
place now called Creeve, but anciently Cracbh-fcino 
[Creeve-tinne : Four Mast.] the branchy tree of the 

The plural of tcine is tci)ite [tintrj, and this is also 
of frequent occurrence in names, as in Clontinty near 
Glanworth, Cork, the meadow of the fires ; Molly- 
nadinta, in the parish of llossinver, Leitrim; Mullaiyli- 
na-dtciiite, the summit of the fires. This word, with 
the English plural added (p. 32), gives names to 
Tents (i. e. fires), three townlands in Cavan, Fer- 
managh, and Leitrim; and the English is substituted 
for the Irish plural in Tinnies in Valentia island. 
The diminutive is found in Clontinteen in West- 
meath, and in TuUantintin in Cavan, the meadow 
and the hill of the little fire. 

Solas is the word in general use for light in the 
present spoken language ; there is another form, 
soil/se, which is sometimes used in modern Irish, and 
which is also found in the Zeuss MSS., where it 
glosses lumen (Zeuss, gram. Celt., p. 257) ; and its 
diminutive soi/keaii (sileshaun) is often found in local 

CHAP. VI.] Cusfoiits, Aiiiiiscijieiifs, Occupations. 217 

names. SoI((s gives name to ArdsoUus, 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 ; while we find 
Kossolus in Monaghan, and RostoUus in Galway [s 
eclipsed by t ; see p. 23), the wood or the promon- 
tory of light. 

There are similar names formed from soil/scaii ; as 
for instance, Mullaghselsana in the parish of Errigal 
Trough, Monaghan, the hill of the illuminations; and 
Corhelshinagh in the same county, the round hill of 
the fires. 8ileshaun, the name of a place in the 
parish of Inagh, Clare, exactly represents the pro- 
nunciation of the word ; and this same name is 
shortened to Selshan on the eastern shore of Lough 
Neagh, north of Lurgan. 

In former days, when roads were few, and bridges 
still fewer, a long journey was an undertaking always 
arduous, and generally uncertain and dangerous. 
Rivers 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 un fre- 
quently a matter of life or death. To keep a light 
of some kind burning on the spot would suggest it- 
self as the most natural and efl'ectual plan for direct- 
ing travellers ; and except in a state of society down- 
right barbarous, it is scarcely conceivable that some 
such expedient would not at least occasionally be 

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 

218 JFidorical and Legcndanj Names, [part ii. 

— some or all of these "wg may suppose would be 
adopted, according to eircmnstnnccs. 'Wi\i this cus- 
tom existed appears ver}' jiruLable I'rom this i'aet, that 
many lords — now generally spanned by bridges — 
in different parts of Ireland, still go by the name 
of Af/i-sofd/'^, the ford of the light, variously modern- 
ized according to locality ; aud some of them have 
given names to townlands. At the same time, it 
must be observed, that the brightness of the water 
may have originated some of the names quoted be- 
low ; for we iind the word fio/iis sometimes ap])lied 
to water in this sense. Thus in a poem in the Book 
of Lecan, a certain district is designated " Fir-iire 
na sreh so/us," " Fir-Tire of the bright streams " 
(HyF. 24); and near the lake of CourashinganQ 
in the Comeragh Mountains in Waterford, a stream 
flows down a ravine, which, after a heavy sliower, 
is a brilliant foaming torrent that can be seen several 
miles off; and this is called An fiilsrjc soJai^, the water 
of light, or bright water. 

A ford on the 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 Buulahy in Longford, to Scrabby, crosses 
a little creek of Lough Gowna ; another on the 
Glenanair river neo.r Doneraile, on the confines of 
Limerick and Cork ; aud Athsollis bridge crosses the 
Buingea liver, 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, At h-a'-sokiis ; 

CHAP. VI.] Ciisfoins, Amiisonents, Occupations 219 

and Ballynasollus in Tyrone should liave been made 
BellanasoUus, for its Irish name is BeZ-ai/ia-iia-soln.'^, 
the ford mouth of the lights. Ballj'soilshaun bridge 
spans the Nenagh river four miles south east from 
Nenagh ; its Irish name is BcI-atha-soiUsedin, which 
was originally the name of the ford before the bridge 
was built, and which has the same meaning as the 
last name. There is a ford on the river Swilly, two 
miles west of Letterkenny, which, judging from its 
position and its being defended by a castle, as well 
as from its frequent mention in the Annals, must 
have been in former days one of the principal passes 
across the river ; and as such was no doubt often sig- 
nalled by lights. The Four Masters write the name 
Scaifbh-HJwlais, the scari/f' or shallow ford of the light ; 
it is now called Searriffhollis, and the castle, which 
has disappeared, was called CastlehoUis. 

Places of execution have been at all times, and in 
all countries, 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 
instances in the usual English names Gallows-hill, 
Gallows-green, &c. ; and such names, from the pecu- 
liarity 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 loog standing in the 
language, and is either cognate with or borrowed 

220 Historical and Lvijendanj Names, [i'aut ii. 

from the Latiu cru.r, wliich it glosses iu the Zeuss 
MS8. AV^o liiul it ill Knocknucroliy, tlio name of 
three townUinds in Limerick, Iverr}', iind AVatorford, 
iu Irish Ciioc-iia-croic/ii; tlie hill of tlie gallows ; and 
in Ardnacrohy in Ijimeriek, with the same meaning. 
The instrument of doatli mnst have been erected in 
an ancient fort, in Ifanacrohy in Tipperary. The 
word often takes the ibrnis of eir/ii/ and crc//a in 
modern names, as iu Cappanacreha {Cappa, a plot of 
ground), in Galway ; and llaheenacrehy near Trim 
iu Meath, the little fort of the gallows. 

Civc/iaire [crohera] siguiiies a hangman ; and it is 
iu still more frequent use iu the formation of names 
than crock, usually in the forms croghery and croghera. 
Knockcroghery, the hangman's hill, is a village iu 
Iloscommon, where there is a station on the Midland 
liailway ; and there are places of the same name in 
Cork and Mayo. Mullaghcroghery, with a similar 
meaning, occurs three times in Mouaghan ; and iu 
Cork, (jlenacroghery and Ardnagroghery, Ard-na- 
gcrochairc (p. 22j, the hill of the hangmen. 

Scalan [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 
tShallon, a townlaud near Fiuglas 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. 

Tliere is another mode of designating places of 
execution, from which it appears that criminals were 
often put to death by decapitation ; an inference 
w^hich is corroborated by various passages iu Irish 
authorities. Names of this kind are formed on the 

CHAP. VI.] Cusloms, Amusements, Occifpafioii-s. 221 

Irish Avord ccaiui, a head, which is phaced in the end 
of words in the genitive plural, generally taking the 
forms iiagiii, ncKjaii, &c. 

There is a place called Knocknagin near Balro- 
thery in Dublin, where quantities of human remains 
Avere found some years ago, and this is also the name 
of a townland in the parish of Desertmartin, Derry : 
Irish form Cnoc-na-fjceann, the hill of the heads. 
The termination is modified in accordance with the 
Munster pi'onun elation in Knocknagown in Cork, and 
in Knockaunnagown in Waterford, both having the 
same meaning. Longhnagin occurs in Donegal, and 
Grortinagin, 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 inven- 
tion of gunpowder, those w^ho manufactured swords 
and spears were naturally looked upon as very im- 
portant personages. In Ireland they were held in 
great estimation ; and in the historical and legendary 
tales, we find the smith was often a powerful chief- 
tain, who made arms for himself and his relations. 
"We know that A^ulcan was one of the most powerful 
of the Grrecian gods, and the ancient Irish had their 
Goban, the Tuath De Danann smith-god, who figures 
iu 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. GobJia [gow] is a smith, old Irish 
form goha ; old Welsh gob, now gof ; Cornish and 
Breton gof. The usual genitive form is gohhan 
[gown], but it is often the same as the nominative ; 
and both forms are reproduced in names, the former 
being commonly made goxoan or gown, and the latter 
gow. Both terminations are very common, and may 

222 Historical and Lcfjendary Nitmefi. [I'Alit ii. 

bo generally translated " of the smith," or if it be 
natjoiam, "of tlu? smiths." 

Lallygowan, liallygow, and ]jallingowan,tho 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- 
gowau, the town of the smiths. Occasionally the 
Irish genitive plural is made goihJinc, which in the 
west of Ireland is anglicised guivnia, f/inia, &c. ; as 
in Carrownaguivna and Ardgivna in Sligo, the quar- 
ter-laud, 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 TjTone and 
Donegal, the smitli's head or hill {cca)in) ; Ednego 
near Dromore in Down, the hill brow (ciidan) of the 
smith. It takes a dilferent form in Clougowes in 
Kildare, the smitli'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 ccrd or cerf, and 
glosses acrarius. 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." Bukns. 

Acrarius, which according to the glossographer of 
a thousand years ago, is equivalent to ccrd, signifies 
literally a worker in brass ; and cuiiously enough, 
this corresponds exactly with the description the 
caird gives of himself in Burns's poem : — 

" ]My bonnie lass, 
1 work in brass, 
A tinker is my station." 

cii.vr. VI.] Customs, Amusements, Occupations. 223 

This word usually enters into names with the c 
eclipsed (p. 22), forming the termination nngarde or 
nagard, " of the artificers." Thus there are several 
places in Antrim, Derry, Limerick, and Clare, called 
Ballj'nagarde, in Irish Baile-na-gceard, the town of 
the artificers : the same name is corrupted to Ball}-- 
nacaird in the parish of Eacavan in Antrim, and to 
Ballynacard in King's County. Castlegarde and 
Gortnagarde in Limerick, the castle, and the field, 
of the artificers. 

Cearda or ccardcJia denotes a workshop of any 
kind, but it is now generally applied to a forge : old 
Irish cenldchac, ofiicina (Zeuss). It enters very often 
into names as a termination, under several forms, in- 
dicating 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-cearclcha, the hill-back of the forge. A final 
n is often added, in accordance with the fifth declen- 
sion ; as in Coolnacartan in Queen's County, the 
same name as the last ; Ballycarton in Derry ; Mul- 
laghcarton in Antrim [mulIacJi, a summit) ; Shrona- 
carton and Eathnacarton in Cork, the nose or point, 
and the fort, of the forge. Other forms are exhibited 
in Farranacardy in Sligo, forge land ; and TuUy- 
nagardy near Newtownards in Down, Tulaigh-na- 
gceardcha, the hill of the forges. 

Saer, a builder or carpenter, appears in modern 
names generally in the form seer ; as in Rathnaseer 
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 (page 23) ; as in 
Ballinteer, the name of a place near Dundrum in 

'224: lliaforical (tiul Lcfjendarij Namc^. [taut 11. 

DuLlin, and of another place in Londonderry, in 
1\'\A\ Ji((i7('-an-fs<i(ir, the town of the carpenter or 

The ancient Keltic nations navigated their seas 
and lakes in the currach or hide-covered Avicker boat ; 
nnd it is very probaLlo that it was in fleets of these 
the Irisli 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 thoy arc now frequently 
found buried in lakes and dried-up lake beds. 

Coblilach [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 ]\[unster the word is pronounced 
as if written cohhaUacli [cGltagh], and it is preserved 
according to this i^ronunciation in the names of se- 
veral places, the best known of which is Carrigaholt, 
a village in Clare, at the mouth of the Shannon. 
The Four Masters write it Carrahj-an^chohldaUjli 
[Carrigahowly], 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 Carraiy- 
cC-chohhaltaUjh (Carrigaholty), 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 Grrace O'Malley, the Connaught 
chieftainess, who paid a visit to Queen Elizabeth. 
The word, with its Munster pronunciation, appears 
in Ringacoltig in Cork harbour, opposite Hawlbow- 
line island, the rinn or point of the fleet. 

Most of the various terms employed to designate 

CHAP. VI.] Customs, Amusements, Occupations. 225 

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. 160) landed at a 
place called JJun-na-niJjarc, the fortress of the barks 
or ships, which O'Donovan (Four Mast., vol. i., p. 3) 
believes is the place now called Dunnamark, near 
Bautrj. And this word hare is not, as might be 
thought, a loan word from English, for it is used in 
our oldest MSS. (as in L. na hUidhre : see Kilk. 
Arch. Jour. 1870, p. 100). Long signifies a ship. 
According to Cormac's Glossary, it is derived from 
the Saxon word Jang, long ; it appears more likely, 
however, that both the Saxon and Irish words are 
cognate with the Lat. longus, for we find the Irish 
word in the Zeuss MSS. {fortongis = navigatione). It 
occurs occasionally in local names, as in Tralong 
near Iloss 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 ; Anualong on the coast of 
the county Down, Ath-na-long , the ford of the ships, 
a name which shows that the little creek at the vil- 
lage 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. Such a place was Rinawade on the Liff'ey, near 
Celbridge, above Dublin — R'lnn-a^-hhaul, the point of 
the boat; and Donabate near Malahide, the church 
[domhnacli] of the boat. 

" The Irish made use of another kind of boat in 
their rivers and lakes, formed out of an oak wrought 
hollow (i. e. one oak), which is yet used in some 


226 Historical and Lcgcndar// Names, [part ii. 

places, vnl called in Irish coiii, English ro//" (Harris's 
AVarc, ]i. 179). The correct Irish word is cnf, of 
■which cui/i or coilc is tlie genitive, and it is still in 
constant use for a small boat or canoe. From it is 
derived the name of Annacott}^ now a small village 
on the river ^lulkear, east of limerick, called in 
Irish Atli-iia-coifc, the ford of the f(d or small boat ; 
as well as that of Ayleacotty in Clare, the cliff of the 
boat : the name of Carrickacottia on the shore of the 
river Erne, a mile below Belleek, indicates that the 
cot for the conveyance of passengers across, used to 
be moored to the carrick or rock. A diminutive 
form appears in the name of a well-known lake near 
Killarney, Lough Guitane. which the people pro- 
nounce LocJi-coitcciiu, the lake of the little cot ; a 
name exactly the same as Loughacutteen in the 
parish of Whitechurch near Caher in Tipperary, 
only that a different diminutive is used. 



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 special notice, in the 
reigns of many of the early kings. 

It has been remarked by several writers, and it is 
still a matter of common observation, that many 
places, especially hill sides, now waste and wild. 

CHAT, VII.] Agrk'iillnre and Pasturarjo. - 227 

show plain traces of former cultivation.' Boate (Nat. 
Hist. Chap. X., Sect, iii.), writes:— "It hath been 
observed in many parts of Ireland, chiefly 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 un- 
even, as if it had been plowed in former times. The 
inhabitants do affirm, that their forefathers being 
much given to tillage, contrary 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 inhabited 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 tlie Archbishop of Dublin, that " Ire- 
land has been better inhabited than it is at present " 
(about 1645). But I think Boate gives the true so- 
lution in the continuation of the passage quoted 
above : — '* Others say that it was done for want of 
arable, because the champain was most everywhere 
beset and overspread with woods, which by degrees 
are destroyed by the wars." 

There are several terms entering into local names, 
which either indicate directly, or imply, agricultural 


228 Historical and Legendari/ Karnes, [part ii. 

operations, tlio ciiolosure of the land Ly fences, or its 
eniplovment as pasture ; and to the illustration of 
those that occur most frequently I will devote the 
present chapter. 

Ceapac/t [cappagh] signifies a plot of land laid out 
for tillage ; it is still a living word iu Connaught, 
and is iu common use in the formation of names, but 
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 Conn ;" but this is a mere guess: 
the name is a plain Irish compound, CWtpach-C/ndnn, 
signifying merely Conn's plot of land, but no one can 
tell who this Conn was. 

Cappaghwhite in Tipperary, is called after the 
family of White ; Cappaghcreen near Dunboyne iu 
Meath, withered plot ; Cappauageeragh near Geashill 
in King's County, the plot of the sheep ; Cappatee- 
more in Clare, near Limerick city, is in Irish 
Ccapach-a^-fi(j/ie-nihoir, the plot of the gi'eat house ; 
Cappanalarabaun iu 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 towuland in Fermanagh ; Cappy- 
donnell iu King's County, Donnell's plot ; and the 
diminutive Cappog or Cappoge (little plot), is the 
name of several places iu Ulster, Leinster, and 

Garrd/ia [gara], a garden ; usually made garri/ or 
garra iu modern names. About half a mile from 
Banagher iu King's County, are situated the ruins of 
Garry Castle, once the residence of the Mac Coghlaus, 

CHAP. VII.] AgricnUure and Pastararje. 229 

the chiefs of the surrounding territory. This castle 
is called in the Annals, Garrdha-an-chaislcln [Garran- 
cashlane], i. e. the garden of the castle; and from this 
the modern name Grarry castle has been formed, and 
has been extended to the barony. The literal mean- 
ing of the old designation is exactly preserved in the 
name of the modern residence, Castle Garden, situ- 
ated near the ruins. 

Garry, 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 Garry, from 
its fertility compared with the surrounding district. 
The well-known Garryowen, near Limerick, signifies 
Owen's garden ; Garrysallagh in Cavan and other 
counties, dirty garden, and sometimes, willow garden ; 
Garry vicleheen near Thurles in Tipperary, Mac 
Leheen's garden ; Ballingarry, the town of the gar- 
den, is the name of a town on the borders of Limerick 
and Tipperarj^ and of fourteen townlands. The word 
Garry begins the names of about ninety townlands 
scattered over the four provinces. 

Govt, a tilled field : in the Zeuss MSS. it occurs 
in the form gart, and glosses hortns, and Colgan 
translates it prmlium. It is obviously cognate with 
Fr.Jardiii, Sax. gcard, Eng. garden, Lat. Iwrtus. It 
is a very prolific root word, for there are more than 
1200 townlands whose names are formed by, or begin 
with Gort and Gurt, its usual modern forms. Gort- 
naglogh, or as it would be written in Irish, Govt- 
na-gchck, the field of the stones, is the name of a 
dozen townlands, some of them in each of the four 
provinces ; Gortmillish in Antrim, sweet field, so 
called probably from the abundance of honeysuckle ; 
Gortaganniff" near Adare in Limerick, the field of the 
sand ; Gortanure and Gortiuure, in several counties, 

230 Tltdorical and Lcgcmlary Karnes. [part ii. 

tlio field of tlio yew. The town of Gort in Galway, 
is called by the Four Masters Gorf-iiint^i-GKcdrr, 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 Guairr- Aidhne, king of Con- 
naught in the seventh century (see p. lO-'i). 

Gortcen, Gortin, and Gurteen (little field), three 
dilTerent forms of the diminutive, are exceedingly 
common, and are themselves the names of about 100 
townlands and villages. The ancient form garf is 
preserved in the diminutive Qartan, the name of a 
parish in Donegal, well-known as the birth place of 
Saint Columba ; which is written Gorton in some 
ancient Irish authorities, and Gartan in others. 

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 Muuster. In modern names it usually 
appears as Tawnagh, Tawny, and Tonagh, Avhich are 
themselves the names of several places ; in the uortli 
of Ulster the aspirated ni is often restored (see p. 44), 
and the word then becomes Tamnagh and Tamny. 
In composition it takes all the preceding forms, as 
well as Tawna and Tamna. 

Saintfield in Down is a good example of the use 
of this word. Its old name, which was used to a 
comparatively late period, and which is still well 
known, was Tonaghneeve, the phonetic representa- 
tive of 'Camhnach-nacmh^ the field of saints. There 
is a townland near the town whicli still retains 
the name of Tonaghmore, great field ; originally 
so called to distinguish it from Tonaghneeve. 

The forms Taicnagh and Tatauc are found in Taw- 

CHAP. VII.] Agyicnlture and Padurage. 231 

naglilahan near Donegal, broad field ; Tawnagha- 
knaff in the parish of Bohola, Mayo, the fields of the 
bones (c;m;;?/^ 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-aehUjli) ; 
and Tawnybrack in Antrim, speckled field. Tam- 
nagh and its modifications give names to Tamnagh- 
bane in Armagh, white field ; Tamnaficarbet and 
Tamnafiglassan, botli in Armagli — the first Tamil' 
nac}i-fcadha-cavhaif, the field of the wood of the clia- 
riot, and the second the field of Glassan's wood ; 
Tamnymartin near Magliera ' in Derry, Martin's 

Kathdowney, the name of a village and parish in 
Uueen's County, signifies as it stands, the fort of the 
church {dotnh)iach) ; but the correct name would be 
liatliton-iicij, representing the Irish Rath-famhnaigh, 
as the Four Masters write it — the fort of the green 
field. This was the old pagan name, which the 
people corrupted (by merely changing t to d) under 
the idea that doni/n/aeh was the proper word, and that 
the name was derived from the church, Avhich was 
built on the original rath. 

There is a form Taniag/i, used in some of the 
Ulster counties, especially in Antrim and Monaghan; 
such as Tavnaghdrissagh 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. 

Achadh [aha], a field : translated cainpulus by 
Adanman. It is generally represented in modern 
names by agha, agh, or augh ; but in individual cases 

232 llidorical and Legendary Karnes. [i'aUt it. 

the invpstlgator must bo careful, for tlieso three 
words often stand for <(th, a ford. 

The parisli of Aglia in Carlow, takes its name from 
a very old church ruin, once an important religious 
foundation, which the Four Masters call Ac/iad/i-ar- 
ff/ihiiii, the field of the green tillage. Aghinvor on 
Lough Erne in Fermanagh, is called in the Annals 
Achadh-inbhii'y the field of the inver, or river mouth. 
Aghmacart in Queen's County, is in Irish Achadh- 
mic-Airf, the field of Art's son ; Aghindarragh in 
Tyrone, the field of the oak ; Aghawoney near Kil- 
macrenan in Donegal, written by the Four Masters 
Achadh-mltoua, bogfield. Achonry in Sligo is called 
in the Annals, Achadh-Chonaire [Ahaconnary], 
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-achadh, 
high field. In a few oases the modern form is 

Cluain [cloon] is often translated prafinii by Latin 
writers, 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 sur- 
rounded by 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 writers into the erroneous belief that the 
word originall}' meant a place of 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- 

CHAP. VII.] Agricuifurc and Pasturage. 233 

plained bj 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 tiiese may be 
reckoned the following. Clones (pronounced in two 
syllables) in Monaghan, where a round tower re- 
mains to attest its former religious celebrity ; its 
name is written in the Annals Cluain-Eois, [Cloo- 
Doce] 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 Christian settlement. 

Clonard in Meath, where the celebrated St. Finian 
had his great school in the sixth century, is called 
in all the Irish authorities, CIuain-Erainl, 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 establishment 
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-Erainl or Clonard 
signifies Erard's meadow ; and since, as in case of 
Clones, a moat still remains there, Erard may have 
been the pagan chief who erected it, ages before the 
time of 8t. Finian. It is worthy of remark that 
Erard is occasionally met with as a personal name 
even at the present time. There are several other 

234 llintorical and Lcfjcndary Namoi. [part ii. 

places in Lcinstcr aiul !N[unstor called Clouard and 
Cloonard, but in those tlio Irish form of tlio name is 
probably C/iiaiii-ard, high meadow. 

AVe find the names of some of the religious esta- 
blishments formed by suflixing the name of a saint 
or some other Christian term to the word c/iiaiii ; and 
in these cases, this cJuain may be a remnant of the 
previous pagan name, which Avas partly changed 
after the ecclesiastical foundation. Clonallan, now 
a parish near Newry in Down, is mentioned by 
Keating, Colgan, and others, who call it Cluaiii-Dal- 
Inin, Dalian's meadow ; the (/ is omitted by aspira- 
tion (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-CJioluimcille, of which 
we possess copies in a very old dialect of the Irish. 
From liim also the church of Ivildallan in Cavan, 
and some other churches, derived their names (see 
Beeves, Eccl. Ant., p. 114). 

Except in a very few cases, clua'ui is represented in 
the present names by either cloti or doon; and there 
are about 1800 places in Ireland whose names begin 
with one or the other of these syllables. Clou is found 
in the following names : — Clonmellon in AVestmeath 
is written by the Four Masters, Cluain-MiUUn, Milan's 
Meadow. Clonmel in Tipperary, they write CUiain- 
meala, which is the Irish name always used at the 
present time : this name, w'hich it bore long before 
the foundation of the town, originated, no doubt, 
from the abundance of wild bees' nests. There- is 
also a Clonmel near Glasnevin, Dublin, and another 
in lung's County. Clonmult, the meadow of the 

CHAP. VII.] AgricuUttye and Pasturage. 235 

wethers, is the name of a village and parish iu Cork, 
and of a townland in Cavan. 

AVith cloon are formed Cloontuskert iu Roscommon, 
which is written in the Annals C/uain-tHaiscerf, the 
northern meadow ; Cloonlogher, the name of a parish 
in Leitrim, Cliiai)i-hiaclira, the meadow of rushes ; 
Cloonkeen, a very common townlaud name, Clnain- 
caoiif, heautiful meadow, which is also very often 
anglicised Clonkeeu. Clonkeen in Galway is 
written Ch(a'ui-cain-CairiU in "Hy Many," from 
Cairell, a primitive Irish saint : and it is still very 
usually called Clonkeen-Kerrill. Sometimes the 
word is in composition pronounced cliii, as we see in 
Bracklin, the same as Brackloon, both townlaud 
names of frequent occurrence, derived from Brcac- 
chluaiti (Four Mast.), speckled meadow; and of 
similar formation are Mucklin Mucklone and Muck- 
loon, pig meadow. 

Two forms of the diminutive are in use ; one, 
Ciuaiitiii [Clooueen], occurs in the Four Masters, and 
in the form Clooneen (little meadow), it gives name 
to a great many townlands, chiefly in the west of Ire- 
land. The other diminutive, C/»r(f/»/i;/, in the angli- 
cised form Cloonteen, is the name of several places 
in Connaught and Munster. The plural of cliKiin is 
cluainte [cloonty], and this also enters into names. 
It is sometimes made cloonta, as in Cloontabonniv in 
Clare, the meadows of the bonnires or young pigs ; 
Clooutakillewand 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 clinfij iu Ulster, as in Clinty in the parish 
of Kirkiuriola iu Antrim ; Clintycracken in Tyrone, 
Cluainte-ci'oiccann, the meadows of the skins, so 

2tJ6 Historical and Legouhn-y Kamn. [pakt ll. 

calletl probal)]y from being used as a place for 

T(iar[ioox'] signifies a bleacli green ; in an extended 
sense it is applied to any place wliere 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 ; and it was sometimes applied to 
spots wliere cattle used to feed and sleep. The word 
is used in Alunster, Connauglit, and Leinster, but 
does not occur at all in the Ulster counties. 

Toor is the almost universal anglicised form, and 
this and Tooreen or Touriu (little bleach green) are 
the names of more than sixty townlands in the three 
jirovinces : as a part of compounds, it helps to give 
names to a still larger number. Toornageeha 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 (bhif/i) ; Toor- 
eennagrena 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 Br/-af//a-a'-fiiair [Bellatoor], the ford- 
mouth of the bleach green, and it took this name 
from a ford on the river Greece ; Monatore {luon a 
bog) occurs in Wicklow and Kildare ; Tintore in 
Queen's County is in Irish Tigh-an-tunir [Teentoor], 
the house of the bleach green ; and the same name 
without the article becomes Tithewer, near Newtown- 
raountkennedy in AVicklow. 

The peasantry in most parts of Ireland use a kind 
of double axe for grubbing or rooting up tlie surface 
of coarse land; it is called a gyafun [graffaun], from 
the verb graf, to write, engrave, or scrape, cognate 
with Greek grapJto. Lands that have been grubbed 

CHAP, vii.] AgvicuUure and Pasturage. 237 

or grafed with this instrument have in many cases 
received and preserved names, formed on the verb 
gyqf, that indicates the operation. This is the origin 
of those names that begin with tlie syllable graf; 
such as Graffa, Graffan, GrafFee, Graffoge, Gratfin, 
and Graffy, which are found in the four provinces, 
and all of which signify grubbed land. 

Ploughing by the horsetail, and burning corn in 
the ear, were practised in Ireland down 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 through the increasing 
intelligence of the people. Loisgrcdji [lusgraun] is 
the term applied to corn burnt in the ear ; and the 
particular spots where the process was carried on are 
in many cases indicated by names formed on this 

The modern forms do not in general depart much 
from what would be indicated by the original pro- 
nunciation ; it is well represented in Knockaluskraun 
and Knockloskeraun in Clare, each the name of a 
hill (Joiock) where corn used to be burned. The 
simple term gives name to Loskeran near Ardmore 
in Waterford. 

Sometimes the word is pronounced histraiin ; and 
this form is seen in Caherlustraun near Tuam in 
Galway, where the corn used to be burned in an an- 
cient caJto' or stone fort ; in Lugalustran in Leitrim, 
and Stralustrin in Fermanagh, the hollow, and the 
river holm of the burnt corn. 

Land burnt in any way, whether by accident or 
design for agricultural purposes — as, for instance, 
when heath was burnt to encourage the growth of 

238 Uisiorical and Lff/cndari/ Names, [part ii. 

grass, ns noticed by Boato (Nat. Hist. XIII., 4) — 
was (losignatccl by the word /oixf/f/ic [hiskr-j, burnt; 
whit'li in modern names is usually changed to /ksL;/, 
hski/ or hisJi. Ballylusky and Ballylusk, i. e. liailo- 
Ioift(/f/i(', burnt town, are the names of several town- 
lands, the former being foundintheMunster coimties, 
and the latter in Leinster ; while it is made Bally- 
losky in Donegal : Molosky in Clare, signifies burnt 
plain : — Jfo = nuiyJi, a plain. 

Sometimes the word tcotdn [totauu], a burning, is 
employed to express the same thing, as in Knockato- 
taun in Mayo and Sligo, Cnoc-a''-tcctdin, 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 their 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. (See 2ud Ser. chap. xxvi.). 

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; 

CHAP. VII.] Arji'icuUure and Pant u rage. 239 

Dublin edition, 1809, p. 82). O'Flaliertj also no- 
tices the same custom : — " In summer time they 
drive their cattle to the mountaines, where such as 
looke to the cattle live in small cabbins for tliat sea- 
son " (lar-Connaught, c. 17). The term looley 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. 

Great 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 form the beginning of a still larger 
number. In Boleylug near Baltinglass in Wicklow, 
they must have built their " cabbins " for shelter in 
the hirj 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 Glenkeeu, Tipperary, is in Irish Afh~ 
hhuaile-Shcain, the ford of John's booley. Ballyboley, 
the name of some townlands in Antrim and Down, 
Ballyvooly in the parish of Layd, Antrim, and 
Ballyvool near Inistioge, Kilkenny, are all different 
forms of Baile-hiiailc, the town of the dairy place ; 
Ballynaboley, Ballynaboola, and Balljmabooley, have 
the same meaning, the article iia being inserted ; and 
Boulabally near Adare in Limerick, is the same 
name with the terms reversed. On Ballyboley hill 
near the source of the Larne water in Antrim, there 

240 Ilinforical and Lcgcndanj Names, [part ii. 

nre still niimoronaromains of the old " cabbins," ex- 
teiulinfjf for two miles along tho face of the hill ; they 
are called Holey /loiiHea, and the poo})lo retain the 
tradition that they were formerly used by the in- 
habitants of the valley Avhen they drove np their 
cattle in summer to pasture on the heights (see 
Beeves, Eccl. Ant., p. 208). 

The diminutive biiailtin [booltoen], and the plural 
huailte [boolty], occur occasionally : Boolteens arid 
Boolteeny (see p. 32, vi.), in Kerry and Tipperary, 
both signify little dairy places; Boultypatrick in 
Donegal, Patrick's booleys. 



Aaiong 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 peopl-e ; 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 
tricha-ceds (thirty hundreds) or tric/ias, Meath con- 
taining 18, Connaught 30, Ulster 36, Leinster 31, 
and Munster 70 ; each tricha contained 30 baile-hia- 
taighs (victualler's town), and each Baile-hiatagh, 
12 seisreachs. The division into provinces is still re- 

CiiAP. VIII.] Subdivisions and Mcamns of Land. 241 

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- 
nor subdivisions and standards of measurement were 
adopted in different parts of the country ; and so far 
as these are represented in our present nomenclature, 
I will notice them here.* 

The old term tricJia or triiicha [truha], is usually 
rendered by " cantred " or " district," and we find it 
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 eac/}, a horse, and it was used to de- 
note the extent of land a six-horse plough would turn 
up in one year. "\Ve find the term in Shesheragh- 
raore and Shesheraghscanlan near Borrisokane in 
Tipperary : in Shesheraghkeale (kea/e, narrow) near 
Nenagh, the same name as Sistrakeel (see p. 60, v.) 
in the parish of Tamlaght Finlagan, Derry ; and 
in Drumsastry in Fermanagh, the ridge of the plow- 

The tenns in most common use to denote portions 
of land or territory, were those expressing fractional 
parts, of which there are five that occur very fre- 

• For further information the reader is referred to Dr. Reeves's 
paper " On the Townland Distribution of Ireland" (Proc. R. I. 
Academy, Vol. VII., p. 473), from which much of the informa- 
tion in this chapter has been derived ; and to a paper " On the 
Territorial Divisions of the Country," by Sir Thomas Larcom, 
prefixed to the " Relief Correspondence of the Commissioners 
of Public Works." 


242 Ilisforical and Logcmhirij Names. [pakt ii. 

qufintly. Tlio word Icdlli [liili] signifies half, and we 
find it forming part of names all over Ireland. Tlius 
when a scisycaeli was divided into two equal parts, 
each was called h'(if/i--s/ici-srcach [laliesheragh], half 
]ilowland, wliich gives name to Lahcsheragli in 
Kerry, to Lahesseragh in Tipperary, and to JJally- 
nalahessery near Dungarvan in Waterford, which 
signifies the town of the half-plowland. In like 
manner, half a townland was denoted hy the term 
Lcatli-hhaile, pronounced, and generally anglicised, 
Lavally and Levally, which are the names of about 
thirty townlauds scattered through the four pro- 
vinces. Laharan, the name of many places in Cork 
and Kerry, signifies literally, half land, Irish Leath- 
fhearann, the imiidXf in fearann (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- 
CathaiJ, Cathal's half or portion. Cathal [Cahal], 
w'ho was fifth in descent from Deman, king of Ulidia 
in the middle of the sixth century, flourished 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 Macjh-inis, wliich Colgan 
translates Insula canipcsfrts, the level island, being a 
plain tract nearly surrounded by the sea. 

Triaii [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 Water- 
ford, and two of the three parts — now two baronies^- 

CHAP. VIII.] Suhdii-isions and Mcamres of Land. 2i3 

are still known by the names of Middlethircl and 
Uppertliird. The barony of Dufferin in Down, is 
called by the Four Masters Duhh-thrian [Duvreen], 
the black third, the sound of which is very well re- 
presented in the pi'esent name ; the same as Diffreen 
in Leitrim, near Glencar lake. 

Trian generally takes the forms of Trean and Trien, 
which constitute or begin the names of about 70 
townlands in the four provinces. Treanamullin 
near Stranorlar in Donegal, signifies the third part 
or division of the mill, i. e. having a mill on it ; 
Treanfohanaun in Mayo, the thistle-producing third; 
Treanlaur in Galway and Mayo, middle third ; 
Treanmanagh in Clare, Keny, and Limerick, same 
meaning ; Trienaltenagh in Londonderry, the third 
of the precipices or cliffs. 

Ceathramhadh [carhoo or carrow] signifies a quar- 
ter, from ccuthair [cahir] four. The old townlands 
or ballybetaghs, were very often divided into quarters, 
each of which was commonly designated by this word 
ccathramhndJi, which, in the present names generally 
takes one of the two forms carrow, and carJioo ; 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 
divided were generally distinguished from one an- 
other by adjectives descriptive of size, position, shape, 
or quality of the land, or by suffixing the names of 
the occupiers. Thus, there are more than 60 modern 
townlands called Carrowkeel, Ceathramhadh-cael, 
narrow quarter ; Carrowgarritf and Carrowgarve, 
rough [garbh) quarter, is the name of sixteen ; there 


244 Historical ami Legendary Names, [part ii. 

nro 25 called Carrowbano and Carrowbaun, wliite 
quarter; 24 called Carrowbog, little quarter ; and 
more than GO called Carrowmoro, great quarter. 
Lecarrow, half-quarter, gives name to about 60 
townlands, the greater number of them in Con- 

A fifth part is denoted by coigeadli, [coga] : the 
application of this term to land is very ancient, for in 
the old form coiccd it occurs in the Book of Armagh, 
where it is translated quinta pars. In later times it 
was often used in the sense of " province," which 
application evidently originated in the division of 
Ireland into.^tr 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. 

Sciseadh [shesha] the sixth part; to be distin- 
guished from scisreach. 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 slighty different ; as in the case of Sheshia 
in Clare, and Sheshiv in Limerick ; Shesharoe in 
Tipperary, red sixth ; Sheshodonnell in Clare, 
O'Donnell'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 com- 
mon 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 

CHAP. VIII.] Subdii'isions and Measures of Land. 245 

of a plowland ; and this term occurs occasionally in 
the other provinces. It has given name to about 
twenty townlands now called Gneeve 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 townlands, each called Two-gneeves. 

In many parts of Ireland the Anglo-Norman 
settlers introduced terms derived from their own 
language, and several of these are now very common 
as townland names. Cartron signifies a quarter, and 
is derived through the French quarteron from the 
mediaeval Lat. quarteronus ; it was in very common 
use in Connaught as well as in Longford, West- 
meath, 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-gaini/n/i, sandy cartron; 
Cartronnagilta in Cavan, the cartron of the reeds ; 
Cartronrathroe in Mayo, the cartron of the red 

Tate or tafh appears to be an English word, and 
meant 60 native Irish acres. It occurs chiefly in Fer- 
managh, Monaghan, and Tyrone, generally in the 
forms tat, tatt, and tatty; and, as in the case o^ cartron, 
it usually compounds with Irish words. Tattyna- 
geeragh in the parish of Clones in Fermanagh, the 
tate of the sheep ; Tattintlieve in Monaghan, the tate 
of the slieve or mountain. 

In Cavan, certain measures of land were called by 
the names poll, gallon, and pottle. Thus Pollakeel is 
the narrow ;jo//; Pollamore, groat jwl I, &c. In most 

246 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

other countios, liowovcr, poll is an Irit^h word sif^ni- 
fvinp: a hole. Pottlcbano ami rottleboy in Cavan, 
signify Avliitc and yellow potth\ respectively ; Gallou- 
nanibraher the friars' (jallon, &e. 



While names involving numerical combinations are 
found all over the world, a careful examination 
would be pretty sure to show that each people had a 
predilection for one or more particular numbers. 
During my examination of Irish proper names, I 
have often been struck with the constant recurrence 
of the numbers two and three ; and after having 
specially investigated 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 
especiallj^ 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 

CHAP. IX.] Numerical ComhincUiom. 247 

course, as they have in all countries, names with 
combinations of other numbers, and those containing 
the number three are very numerous ; but the num- 
ber two is met with many times more frequently 
than all the others put together. 

The Irish word for two that occurs in names is da 
or dlid, both forms being used ; da is pronounced 
dmv ; but in the other form, (///, which has a peculiar 
and rather faint guttural sound, is altogether sup- 
pressed in modern names ; the word dhd being gene- 
rally represented by the vowel a, while in many cases 
modern contraction has obliterated every trace of a 
representative letter. It is necessary to bear in mind 
tliat 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 orioin, 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-gltlas, the territory of the two 
streams; and the identity of this witli the modern 
Terryglass is placed beyond all doubt by a passage 
in the "Life of St. Fintan of Clonenagh,'' which de- 
scribes 'Jlr-da-glas 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 
Adaranan in his " Life of St. Columba" (Lib. ii., Cap. 

2-18 llidorU'cil and Lcijendury Names, [part ii. 

xxxvi.\ written in tlio end of tlio seventh century ; 
but according to his usual custom, instead of the Irish 
name, ho gives the Latin equivalent : in the heading 
of the cluipter it is coWedi Aye r daorum rironim, and 
in the text Jiun duiim rindonun, either of wliich is a 
correct translation of Tiv-da-iiJilax* There is a sub- 
division of the townland of Ologher in the parish of 
Kilnoe, Clare, called Terryglass, which has the same 
Irish form and meaning as the other. 

In the Book of Leiuster there is a short poem, 
ascribed to Finn Mac Curahail, accounting for the 
name of Magh-da-glifisi, in Leinster, the plain of the 
two swans ; and the Dinnsenchus gives a legend 
about the name of the river Owendalulagh, which 
rises on the slope of Slieve Aughty, and Hows into 
Lough Cooter near Gort in Galway. This legend 
states, that when Echtghe (Ektc], a Tuatha De 
Danann 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- 
loilfjheach, the river of the two milch cows. Accord- 
ing to the same authority, Slieve Aughty took its 
name from this lady — 8Uahh-Ec}dghe, Echtghe's 
mountaiu. 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- 

* See Reeves's Adamnan, where atjer duorum rivorum is iden- 
tified with Terryglass, 

CHAP. IX.] Numencal Combinations. 249 

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. 

One of tlie three Collas who conquered Ulster in 
the fourth century (see p. 136) was called CoUa-da- 
Clirich, Colla of the two territories. Da-chrich was a 
favourite sobriquet, and no doubt, in case of each in- 
dividual, it records tlie fact of his connection, 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 Alartyr- 
ology of Donegal there are nine different persons 
mentioned, called Fer-da-chrich, the man of the two 

The word Dubh applied to a dark-visaged person 
is often followed hyda; thus the Four Masters mention 
two persons named Dubh-da-bharc, the black (man) 
of the two ships ; four named Dubh-da-chrich ; eight, 
Dubh-da-bhoireanu (of the two stony districts?) ; two, 
Dubh-da-inbher, of the two estuaries; one, Dubh-da- 
ingean, of the two daughters; four, Dubh-da-leithe, of 
the two sides or parties; and two, Dubh-da-thuath, of 
the two districts or cantreds. In the " Grenealogy 
of CorcaluidJie^^ we find Dubh-da-mhagh, of the two 
plains ; and in tlie Martyrology of Donegal, Dubli- 
da-locha, of the two lakes. 

Fiacha Muilleathan, king of Muuster in the third 
century, was called Fer-da-liach, the man of the two 
sorrows, because his mother died and his father was 
killed in the battle of Magh Mueruimhe on the day 
of his birth. The father of Maine Mor, the ancestor 

250 Historical and Leijonchxnj Names, [part ii. 

of tlio Jfi/ Mail!/, was Eocliaidh, surnamod l^er-da- 
pfhiall.tho man oftlictwolioslagos. !N[any more names 
might bo v'liod, if it wero necessary to extend this 
list ; and wliile the number two is so common, wo 
meet witli few names involving any other number, 
except three. 

It is very natural iliat a |>laco should bo named 
from two prominent objects I'ormiug part of it, or in 
connection with it, and names of this kind are oc- 
casionally met with in most countries. The fact that 
they occur in Ireland would not bo considered re- 
markable, were it not for these two circumstances — 
first, they are, beyond all comparison, more numer- 
ous than could be reasonably expected ; and secondly, 
the word da is usually expressed, and forms part of 
the names. 

Great numbers of places are scattered here and 
there tlirough the country whose names express posi- 
tion between two physical features, such as rivers, 
mountains, lakes, &c., those between two rivers being 
the most nmnerous. Killederdaoweu in the parish 
of Duniry, Galway, is called in Irish, Coiil-eder-da- 
ahhainn, the wood between two rivers ; and Killa- 
drown, in the parisli of Drumcullcn, King's County, 
is evidently the same word shortened by local cor- 
ruption. Dromderr/own in Cork, and Dromdin/owen 
in Kerry, are both modern forms of Druim-dir-dhd- 
ab/uiiiiii, the ridge between two rivers, where the 
Irish d/id is represented b}^ a in the present names. 
In Cloonederown, Galway — the meadow between 
two rivers — there is no representative of the d/ia, 
though it exists in tlie Irish name ; and a like remark 
applies to Ballj'ederown (the townland between two 
rivers), an old castle situate in the angle where the 
rivers Funcheon and Araglin in Cork, mingle their 

CHAP. IX.] Numerical Comhlnations. 251 

waters. Coraeow in the parish of Killaha, Kerry, 
is a name much shortened from its original Comhrac- 
dhd-abha, the meeting of the two streams. The Four 
Masters at A.D. 528, record a battle fought at 
a place called Lnachair-nior-etir'-da-inbhir, the large 
rushy place between two river mouths, otherwise 
called AilhJie or CIuain-AUhJic (Ailbhe's meadow), 
now Clonalvy 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) 
between two marshes ; Aderr/voher in Sligo, is in 
Irish Eadar-dha-hhothnir (a place) between two roads, 
an idea that is otherwise expressed in Gouldavoher 
near Mungret, Limerick, the fork of the two roads. 
Dromdiralough in Kerry, tlie ridge between two 
lakes, and Drumederr/lena in Sligo, the ridge between 
the two lenas or meadows ; Inchiderrdlle near Inchi- 
geelagh, is in Irish Ink-idir-dha-fliaiU, the island or 
river holm between two cliffs ; a similar position has 
given name to Derdaoil or Dariel, a little village in 
the parish of Kilmastulla, Tipperary, which is 
shortened from the Irish Idir-da-fltaiU, between two 
cliffs ; Cloonderavally in Sligo, the cloon or meadow 
between the two bailies or townlands. 

Crockada in the parish of Clones, Fermanagh, is 
only a part of the Irish name, Cnoc-edar-da-yhreueh, 
the hill between the two marshy flats ; and the true 
form of the present name would be Knoekadder. 
Mogh, the name of a townland in the parish of Rath- 

252 Historical and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

lyuin, Tipperary, is also an abbroviation of a longer 
name ; the inhabitants call it 2[agh-idir-dha-ahhainn^ 
the plain between two rivers. 

The well-known old church of Af^hadoo, near Kil- 
larney, which gives name to a parish, is called by the 
Four Masters, at 1581, Achadli-dd-cu, the field of 
the two yew trees, which must have been growing 
near each other, and must have been sufficiently 
large and remarkable to attract general attention. 
Part of the townland of Drumharkan Glebe in the 
parish of Cloone, Leitrim, is called Cooldao, the back 
of the two yews. In the townland of Cornagee, 
parish of Killinagh, Cavan, there is a deep cavern, 
into wdiich a stream sinks ; it is called Polladaossan, 
the hole of the two dossans or bushes. 

Near Crossmolina in Mayo, is a townland called 
Glendavoolagh, the glen of the two bodies or dairy 
places. In the parish of Killashee, Longford, there 
is a village and townland called Cloondara, contain- 
ing the ruins of what was once an important ecclesi- 
astical establishment; it is mentioned by the Four 
Masters at 1323, and called Cluain-da-rath, the mea- 
dow of the two raths ; and there is a townland of the 
same name in the parish of Tisrara, Roscommon. 

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 Glasslough ; it is mentioned 
twice by the Four Masters, and its full name, as 
written by them, is Bomhnach-maicjhe-da-chlaoine, 
[Donagh-moy-da-cleena], tlie church of the plain of 
the two slopes. Dromdaleague 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 

CHAP. IX.] Numerical Combinations. 253 

cabs or mouths ; the fivo mouths, I suppose, describing 
some peculiarity of shape. 

Several places derive their names from two plains : 
thus Damma, the name of two townlands in Kil- 
kenny, is simply Da-mliagh two plains ; Rosdama in 
the parish of Grange, same county, the wood of the 
two plains. That part of the King's County now 
occupied by the baronies of Warrenstown and Cooles- 
town, was anciently called Tnath-da-mhaighcy the 
district of the two plains, by which name it is 
frequently mentioned in the annals, and which is 
sometimes anglicised Tethmoy ; the remarkable hill 
of Drumcaw, giving name to a townland in this 
neighbourhood, was anciently called Druim-da' 
mhaighe^ from the same district ; and we find Glen- 
davagh, 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 ; " and other glens of the same 
name in Waterford, Kerry, and Galway, are also 
so called from two lakes near each other. There is 
an island in the Shannon, in the parish of Killady- 
sert, Clare, called Inishdadroum, which is mentioned 
in the "Wars of GG." by the name of Inis-da-dromaud, 
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 Derryvullan, Fermanagh 
(of the two barrs or tops) ; to Cornadarum, Fer- 
managh, the round hill of the two drums or ridges ; 
and to Corradeverrid in Cavan, the hill of the two 
caps (barred). Tuam in Galway, is called in the 

254 IIintorical ami Lcycndnry Namci. [part il. 

annals Tnoim-da-ghualann , llie tumulus of the two 
sbouklors, evidently from tlio 8liii])G of the ancient 
sepulchral mound from wliicli llic place has its name. 

Dosertcreat, a townlaiul givinc: name to a parisli 
in Tyrone, is mentioned hy 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 
Discart-da-chriocli, the desert or hermitage of the two 
territories ; they mention also a place called Mugh- 
da-chnirncach, the plain of the two earns ; Magh-da- 
ghahhal, the plain of the two forks ; Ailiim-da-b/icr- 
Doc/i, the island of the two gaps ; 2fa(jh-da-C!iainncach, 
the plain of the two Cainueachs (men). The district 
between Lough Conn and the river Moy was anciently 
called An JJa JB/iac, the two bends, under which 
name it is frequently mentioned in the annals. 

There is a townland in the parish of llossinver, 
Leitrim, called Lisdarush, the fort of the two pro- 
montories ; and on the side of Hungry Hill, west of 
Glengariff 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-cdha-da- 
charadh, the plain (or footboard) of the ford of the 
two weirs ; and Charlemont in Tyrone was anciently 
called Arhadli-an-dn-charadh, the field of the two 
weirs. Gubbacrock in the parish of Killesher, Fer- 
managh, is written in Irish Goh-dha-chnoc, the beak 
or point of the two hills- 

Dundareirke is the name of an ancient castle in 
Cork, built by the M'Carthys, signifying the fortress 
of the two prospects (Biin-da-rad/iarc), and the name 
is very suitable ; for, according to Smith, "it is on a 
hill and commands a vast extended view as far as 

CHAP. IX.] Numerical Combinations. 255 

Kerry, and east almost to Cork ;" there is a town- 
land of the same name, but written Dundarj'ark, in 
the parish of Danesfort, Kilkenny. 

The preceding- names were derived from conspicu- 
ous physical features, and their origin is therefore 
natural enough, so far as each individual name is 
concerned ; their great number, as already remarked, 
is what gives them significance. But those I am now 
about to bring forward admit in general of no such 
explanation, and appear to me to prove still more con- 
clusively the existence of this remarkable disposition 
in the minds of the people, to look out for groups of 
two. Here also, as in the preceding class, names 
crowd upon us with remarkable frequency, both in 
ancient authorities and in the modern list of town- 

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 were 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 
natural 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. 

25G Historical and Legendary N'ames. [rART it. 

A portion of tlio Shannon near Clonmacnoisc was an- 
ciently called Snamli-d(i-en [Snanv-da-ain], the Knaui-s 
or swimming-ford of the two birds. The parish of 
Dimeane iu Antrim, has got its present name by a 
slight contraction from Dun-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 Col- 
looney, Sligo, which the Four Masters mention at 
11 96 by the name of ^Sliabh-dd-t'n, the mountain of 
the two birds, now called Slieve Daeane ; 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 townland in the parish of 
Kinawly, Fermanagh, called Rossdanean, the penin- 
sula of two birds ; Balladian near Ballybay in Mo- 
naghan, is correctlylBcalac/i-a^ -da-en {healach, a pass) ; 
and Colgan (A. SS., p. 42, note 9) mentions a place 
near Lough Neagh, called Cluain-dd-en, the meadow 
of the two birds. 

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 parish of Kinawly, 
Fermanagh, is atownland called Aghindaiagh, in Irish 
Achadh-an-da-fhiach, the field of the two ravens ; in 
the townland of Kilcolman, parish of same name, 
Kerry, is a pit or cavern called Poll-da-fliiach, the 
hole of the two ravens ; we find in Cavan, Neddaiagh, 
the nest of the two ravens ; in Galway, Cuilleen- 
daeagh, and in Kerry Glandaeagh, the little wood, 
and the glen, of the two ravens. The parish of Bal- 
tcagh in Down is sometimes written in old docu- 
ments, Ballydaigh, and sometimes Boydafeigh, 
pointing to Baik-da-fhiach or Both-da-fhiach, the 

CHAP. IX.] Numerical Combinations. 257 

town or tlie liut of the two ravens " preserving the 
tradition that two ravens flew away witli the plumb- 
line from the cemetery Itellick in the townland of 
Kilhoyle, where the parishioners were about to erect 
their church, to Ardmore, the townland wliere tlie 
site was at length fixed" (Eeeves: Colt. Yis. 133). 
With Branog, another name for the same bird, we 
have Brannock Island, near Great Aran Island, Gal- 
way bay, which is called in Irish Olican-da-bhranog 
(O'Flaherty, 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 im- 
properly anglicised Lisdaulan ; the Four Masters at 
1380, call it Lios-da-lon, the fort of the two black- 

Several places get their names from two hounds ; 
such as Moyacomb in Wicklow(see p. 52) ; Cahiracon, 
two townlands in Clare, which are called to this day 
in Irish CaOiair-dhd-chon, the calicr or stone fortress 
of the two hounds ; and Lisdachon in Westmeath. 
In the parish of Devenish, Fermanagh, there are 
two conterminous townlands called Eig 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 an- 
nals, SUahh-dd-chon, the mountain of the two hounds. 
"We find also Cloondacon in Mayo, the meadow of the 
two hounds. 

In several other places we have two oxen comme- 
morated, as in Cloondadauv in Galway, which the 
annalists write Cluain-dd-damh, the meadow of the 
two oxen ; Eossdagamph in Fermanagh, and Augh- 
adanove, Armagh, the promontory and the field of 
the two oxen ; in the first, d is changed to (j (see p. 


25S Histovkal and Legendary Names, [part ii. 

50), and in tlio socond, da prefixes n to tlio vowel. 
At tlio _year (i3G,tlio Four Musters iiieution.a lako in 
■U'lucli a crannogo was built, situated in Oriel, Lut 
not now known, called Loch-da-danih, the lake of the 
two oxen. 

Two bueks are commemorated in such names 
as Ballydavock, Cappadavoek, Qlendavock, Lisda- 
vock, (town, plot, glen, fort), and Attidavock, the 
site of the house of the two bucks. The parish of 
Clonyhurk in King's County, containing the town of 
Portarliugton, takes its name from a towuland which 
the Four Masters call Cluain-da-thorCy the meadow of 
the two boars ; Glendahurk in Mayo is the glen of 
the two boars ; and Lisdavuck in King's County, the 
fort of the two pigs [mue, a pig). 

Cloondanagh in Clare is in Irish Cluain-da-ncach, 
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 Clondelara, near Clonmacnoise, is the 
meadow of the two mares. Clondalee in the parish 
of Killyon, Meath, is called in Irish CInain-da-laerih, 
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 Galway. 

There is a legend concerning the origin of Clonda- 
gad in Clare, the cloon of the two gads or withes, and 
another accounting for the name Diin-da-k'th-ghis, 
anciently applied to the great rath at Downpatrick, 
the fortress of the two broken locks or fetters. The 
two remarkable mountains in Kerry now called the 

CHAP. IX.] Numerical Coinhinafioiis. 259 

Paps, were anciently called, and are still, in Irish, 
Da-cJuch-D((nainnc [Da-kee-Dannina], the t^Yo paps 
of Danann (see p. 163) ; and the plain on which tliey 
stand is called ]Jun-n'-cIa-c/i/ch, the bottom or founda- 
tion of the two Paps : Drumahaire, the name of a 
village in Leitrim, signifies the ridge of the two air- 
spirits or demons (see p. 194). 

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 townlandsin Galway (for which see Sir William 
"Wildes "Lough Corrib "), and of another near 
Crossmolina, Mayo. There is a fort one mile south 
of the village of Killoscully, Tipperary, called Lis- 
davralier, the fort of the two friars ; and there is 
another of the same name in the south of Ballymoy- 
lan townland, parish of Youghalarra, in tlie same 
county. In both these cases the friars were probably 

There is a parish called Toomore in the county of 
Mayo, taking its name from an old church standing 
near the river Moy ; it is also the name of a townland 
in the parish of Aughrim, Eoscommon, and of a 
townland and parish in Sligo. This is a very curious 
and a very ancient name. Toomore in Mayo is 
written Tuaim-da-hJiodhar 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-our, which easily sank into Too- 
more ; 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 


200 Iliiiiovkal and Lcgcndarrj Names. [i'ARt ii. 

only so far as it is preserved in the name Cor-dn-Iiath, 
tlio hill of the two gre)' persons. Two people of a 
(lillereut eomplexion are commemorated in Glenda- 
duif iu Ma_yo, the glen of the two Llack visaged 
persons. Mecndacalliagli in the parish of Lower 
Fahan, Donegal, means the merit or monntain flat 
of the two calliagJia or hags, probably a pair of those 
old witclies who used to turn lliemselves, on Good 
Friday, into hares, and suck the cows. 

It must occur to any one Avho glances through 
these names to ask himself tlie question — what Avas 
the origin of this curious custom Y 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 ofl'er au}' 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 
Christianity ? or does it commemorate some wide- 
spread social custom, prevailing in times beyond the 
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 two a sacred number with the 
primitive people of this country ? I refrain from all 
conjecture, 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 
frequency 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 

CHAP. IX.] Numerical Combinations. 2G1 

Welsh. Dr. Reeves lias observed that the old chro- 
niclers often enumerate rivers in threes ; such as the 
three UiitseannH ; the three Sucks ; the three Finns ; 
the three Coimdes ; the three rivers, Siuir, Feil, and 
Ercre ; the three, Fleasc, Mand, and Lahhrann ; the 
three black rivers, Fahluta, Torann and Callann ; the 
nine Brosnaclis (3 x 3) ; the nine Itighes, &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 
TuatJias or districts in Connau<:^lit ; the places called 
three castles in Kilkenny and Wieklow ; Bcarna-tvi- 
carhad the gap of the three chariots, a place in the 
county Clare ; the earn of the three crosses at Clon- 
macnoise ; several places called three plains ; three 
Connaughts ; and many others. He has also given 
me a long list, taken from the annals, of names of 
persons distinguished by three qualities (such as Fear- 
na-dtri-mhuadh, 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, I shall content myself with simply noting 
the fact, that names of this kind occur in great num- 
bers in our old writings. 

Many of these combinations were no doubt adopted 
in Christian times in honour of the Trinity, of which 
the name Trevet (see p. 132) is an example ; and 
it is probable that the knowledge of this mystery 
disposed men's minds to notice more readily com- 
binations of three, and to give names accordingly, 
even in cases where no direct reference to the Trinity 
was intended. 

We learn the origin of Duntryleague near Galbally 
in L(imerick, from a passage in the Book of Lismore, 

2G2 Historical and Lprjcndartj Names, [pakt ii. 

wliioli statos that " Cormac Cas (king of Munster), 
sou of Oilioll Ulum (see p. 133, supra) fought the 
battle of Kuocksouna (near Kihuallock) against 
Eochy Abhradhruadh [Ohy-Avraroo], kiug of Ul- 
ster, iu which Eochy was slain ; and Cormac was 
wounded (iu the head), so that he was tliree years 
iiuder cure, with his brain continually flowing from 
his head." Then a goodly dun was constructed for 
him, " having iu the middle a beautiful clear S7-)ring, 
and a great royal house was built over tlie well, and 
three /iagdiis (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-Uarj, the fortress of 
the three pillar stones." 

The erection of three stones like those at Duntry- 
league must have been usual, for we find several 
names containing the compound tri-Jiarj, three pillar 
stones. It occurs simply iu the form of Trillick, as 
the name of a village in Tyrone, and of two town- 
lands, one in Donegal and the other iu Fermanagh. 
In the parish of Ballymacormick, Longford, there 
are two townlands called respectively, Trillickacurry 
and Trillickatemple, the triUich 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 brow, 
and the second the fort, of the three pillar stones. 

Several places take their names from three persons, 
who were prabably joint occupiers. In the parish of 
Kilbride, lUeath, there is a townland called Ballintry, 

CHAP. IX.] Numerical Combinations. 2G3 

Bailc-an-tri, the town of the three (persons). The 
more usual word employed in this case, however, is 
trixu' [troor], which means, not three in the abstract, 
but three persons ; and it is not improbable that in 
the last mentioned name, a final ;■ has been lost. 
Lallintruer in the parish of Donaghmore, Wicklow, 
has the same meaning as Ballintry. In the parish 
of Eamoan, Antrim, is a hill called Carntroor, where 
three persons must have been buried under a earn ; 
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 
with it, the Irish name being Cahhan-tri-dmnh, the 
round hill of the three oxen. The celebrated castle 
of Portnatrynod at Lifford, of which the name is 
now forgotten, and even its very site unknown, is re- 
peatedly mentioned in the Annals, and always called 
Poyt-na-dtri-namhad [PortnadreenaudJ, the 2}ort or 
bank of the three enemies ; who these three hostile 
persons were, history does not tell, though the people 
of Lifford have a legend about them. 

There is a place in the parish of Gartan, Donegal, 
called Bunnatreesruhan, the mouth of the three 
streamlets. A fort with three circumvallations is 
often called Lisuatreeclee, or more correctly Lisna- 
dreeglee, i. e. in Irish, Lios-na-dtfl-gchidJi, the lis of 
the three mounds. Ballytober in the Griens of An- 
trim is a shortened form of the correct Irish name, 
£((ile-na-diri-dtobar, the town of the three springs. 

We find occasionally other numbers also in names. 
At the year 872, the Four Masters mention a place 
called Rcdh-aen-ho, the fort of the one cow. There 

2G4 JlisiorUal (Did Lrgpndarrj Namcft. [part ii. 

is a ])laco of tins nrmio, now called llalioanLo, in tlio 
parish of C'hurchtown, Wostnicath, but Avliethcr it is 
the Itath-aon-ho of the anuals is uncertain. In the 
parish of !Magheross, ^[onaghan, is a townland called 
Oorrinenty, in Irish Coy-dJi-acn-l'ujJio, the round hill 
of the one house ; and Boleyncendorrish is the name 
of a place near Ardrahan, Galway, sifrnifying the 
hooli/ or dairy place of the one door. The island of 
Inchenagh in the north end of Lough Hee, near 
Lanesborough, is called by the Four Masters, Inia- 
endaimh, the island of the one ox. In the parish of 
Kathronan, Limerick, is a townland called Kerry- 
kjde, Ci'itJn-c-clioiU, four -svoods. A to^vnland 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 Tnlach- 
ocJit, the hill of the eight (persons). 





EFOEE the iutroduction of Chrisfcia- 
ildings of all the various kinds 
ted iu Ireland, whether domes- 
military, or sepulchral, were 
round, or nearly round, in 
shape. This is sufficiently 
proved by the numerous 
lorts and mounds that still re- 
main all over the country, and 
which are almost universally cir- 
cular. "We find, moreover, iu our 
old manuscripts, many passages 
in which the strongholds of the chiefs are described 
as of this shape ; and in the ancient Life of St. 
Patrick written by 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 would be intro- 
duced among other innovations by St. Patrick. 

2GG Artificial Structures. [paut iii. 

The domestic aud military structures in use among 
the ancient Irish were denoted by the words, liox, rat/i, 
(tun, cat/iair, brug/i, «?cc. ; and these terms are still in 
nse aud applied to the very same objects. A notion 
very generally prevails, though much less so now 
than formerl}', that the circular 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 towns where they were settled, such as 
Dublin, Limerick, AVaterford, Donegal, &e. In the 
" Wars of GG." (P- 41), we are told that they " spread 
themselves over Munster, and they built duns and 
(tainrjeans (strongholds) and caladJi-phorta'^ (landing 
ports) ; the Chronicon Scotorum at the year 845, 
records the erection of a dun at Lough Eee, by the 
Danish king Turgesius, from which he ])lundered 
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 Jisses are not of 
Danish origin would be proved by this fact alone, 
that they are found in every part of Ireland, 
and more plentiful in districts where the Danes 
never gained any footing, than where they had 

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- 
gular form ; the larger ratJts belonging to the better 
classes, and the great fortified duns to the princes 

GiiAP. I.] Hahitations and Fortresses. 267 

and eliieftaius. The remains still to be seen at the 
historic sites— Tara, The Navan, Eathcroglian, 
Bruree, &c. — places celebrated for ages as royal re- 
sidences — afford striking- testimony to the truth of 
this ; for here we find the finest and most character- 
istic 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 imder their various 
names of dun, 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 ofDun-na-nf/edh " (" Battle 
of Moyrath "), Congal Claen thus addresses his fos- 
ter father, king Domhnall : — "Thou didst place a 
woman of thine own tribe to nurse me in the garden 
of the tios in which thou dwelledst." On which 
O'Donovan remarks : — "The Irish kings and chieftains 
lived at this period (A.D. 637) in the great earthen 
rat/is or tisses 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 sufficient for a hundred was given to them " 
(p, 22) ; and in another place, king Domhnall says 
to Congal : — " Go to view the great feast which is in 
the dun " (p. 24). 

In the " Forbais Dromadamhghaire " (see p. 101, 
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 ofi'ered to relieve him by a gift of " a cow out 
of each tios in Munster;" and in the poem of Dubh- 
thach-ua-Lugair in tlie Book of Leinster, celebrating 
the triumphs of Enna Kinsellagh, king of Leinster, 

2G8 Ai'tlficial Sli'uclurcs. [paiit iii. 

it is stated tliat the tributo whioli was ]iai(l to Eima 
out of Muiislor, was " an uiiuje of gold from every 

la many cases, too, we find the building of rafhs or 
/mr.s recorded. Thus in tlie passage quoted from the 
Book of Loiuster (p. 89, supra), queen Maev sentences 
the five sons of Dihorbato " raise a rafh " around her, 
wliieh should be " the cliief city of Ulster for ever." 
In the ''Battle of Moylena" (p. 2), it is stated that 
Nuadliat, the foster father of Owen More (see p. I'S'i, 
SKpra), "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 
Avere building a rafh ; aud Jocelin, in relating the 
same circumstance, says that the work in wliich tliey 
were engaged was " lidijlh, i. e. miints." 

The houses in which the families lived wei-e 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- 
A'allatious of the rath served both for a shelter and 
a defence. I might adduce many passages to prove 
this, b^lt I will content myself with two — one from 
the MS. Harl. 5,280, Brit. Mus., quoted by O'Curry 
(Lect., p. 618) : — " They then went forward until 
they entered a beautiful plain. And they saw a 
kingly rat/i, and a golden tree at its door ; and they 
saw a splendid house in it, under a roof- tree of flnd- 
rnine ; thirty feet was its length," And the other from 
the tale of " The fate of the Children of Usuagh " 
(Atlantis, No. VI.), in which we find it stated that 
as Deirdre's mother " was passing over the floor of 
the house, the infant shrieked in lier womb, so that 
it wa,s heard all over the //s." 

CHAP, 1.] Ilahitaiions and Fortresses. 269 

Tlie circular form was not discontinued at the 
introduction of Christianity. The churches indeed 
were universally C[uadrangular, but this form was 
adopted onl}^ very sloM'ly 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 by that of the old fortresses 
of tlie country. Circular dims and raths, after the 
ancient pagan fashion, continued to be erected down 
to the twelfth or thirteenth century. It is recorded 
in the " AVars of GGr.," that Brian Borumha fortified 
or erected certain duns, fastnesses, and islands (i. e. 
crannogcs), which are enumerated ; and the remains 
of several of these are still to be seen, differing in 
no respect from the more ancient forts. Donagli 
Cairbreach O'Brien, the sixth in descent from Brian 
Borumha, erected, according to the " Cathreim 
Thoirdhealbhaigh " (compiled in 1459 by John 
M'Gfrath), " a princely palace of a circular form, at 
Clonroad" (near Ennis) ; and the same authority states 
that Conchobhair na SiudainP, the son of Donagh, 
built at the same place a longphort of earth, as a resi- 
dence for himself. 

It is highly j^robable that originally the words //os, 
rath, dun, &c., were 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 with 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 rtdhs ; but we often 
find, even in old authorities, two of these terms, and 
sometimes the whole three, applied to the very same 

270 Artificial Structures. [part in. 

In the following j^assago for insfanco, from llio 
annotations of Tircclian, in the Book of Armagli, 
the terms //o.s and dun appear to be applied synon}'- 
moiisly : — "Cummcn and Breath ;'in purchased OcJilcr- 
uAcliid (upper hold, supposed to ho Oughteragli, a 
parish in the county Leitrim;,Avith its appurtenances, 
both wood, and plain, and meadow, together with its 
lius and its garden. Half of tliis wood, and house and 
duu, was mortmain to Cummon " (Petrie, R. Towors, 
p. 218). And some other terms also are used in tlie 
same manner ; as for example, in case of the great en- 
closure at Tara, which is known by the two names, 
/iV/^//-na-riogli, and Ca//<r//V-Crofin7i. 

In another passage* from the Book of Ballymote, 
the word rath is used to denote the circular entrench- 
ment, and Icfi the space enclosed by the raths, while 
the whole quotation affords another proof that houses 
were built on the interior : — (a person who was making 
his way towards the j^alace) " leaped witli that shaft 
over the three raths, until he was on the floor of tlie 
Ics ; and from that until he was on the floor of the 

Lios. The word Jlos. [lis] and ratJt were applied 
to the circular mound or entrenchment, generally of 
earth, thrown up both as a fortification and a shelter 
round the level space on which the houses were 
erected ; and accordingly they are often translated 
atrium by Latin writers. But though this is the 
usual application of these terms, both — and especially 
rafh—Vi-ere, and are, not ^infrequently applied to the 
great high entrenched mounds which are commonly 

* Quoted by Mr. J. O'Beirne Crowe, in an article in tlie 
Journal of the Hist, and Arch. A«soc. of Ireland, January, 1869, 
p. 222. 

CHAP. I.] Ilahitations and Structures. 271 

designated by the word diDi. These forts are still 
very numerous through the country, and they are 
called Imcs and ratJia 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 townlands 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 Ussoi 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 their 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 J/r/y^scm/A (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 virgin 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 Scotic, 
Liassmor, or in Latin Atrhim-ijiaf/nion,''^ i. e. great 
tis or enclosure. There are altogether eleven places 
in Ireland called by this name Lismore ; all with the 
same meaning. 

Many local names are formed by the union of the 
term tios with a personal name ; the individual com- 

272 Artificial Struct HI es. [pakt iii. 

nicniorated being cither tlic builder of tlie //v, or ouo 
of its subsequent possessors. Listowol in Kerry is 
called by the Four Masters, Lios-2\(at/i((i/, Tuatlial's 
or Thoohal's fort ; Liscarroll in Cork, Carroll's or 
Cearbliall's ; Liscaliauo in the parish of Ardfert, 
Kerry, called in the Annals, Lios-Cathain, Cathan's 
or Kane's lis. The parish of Lissouulfy in lioscom- 
inon, took its name from an old church built by the 
O'DuHys ^Yithin the enclosure of a fort ; it is called 
by the I'our Masters Lios-O-nlJiihldhdifjh, the fort of 
the O'Dulfys, 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 lis ; Lisa- 
taggart in Cavan, of the priest ; Lisnabantry in 
the same county, the lis of the widow [Lios-na-lain- 
trcahliaifjhc, pron. Lisnabointry) ; Lissadill in the 
parish of DrumclifF, Sligo, which the Four Masters 
write Lios-an-doill, the fort of the blind man, the 
same name as Lissadoill in Galway ; Lissanearla 
near Tralee, the earl's fort. 

The old form of this word is les, genitive lis ; but 
in the modern language a corrupt genitive Icasa 
[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 : — 
l)rumlish, 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) ; Ballinlass, Ballinliss, Ballinlassa, and liallin- 
lassy, the town of the fort ; all widely-spread town- 
land names. 

CHAP. I.] Halitations and Fortresses. 273 

The two diminutives Iiosan aud luin [lissaun, lish- 
eeu], 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 
occui's in combination in Mellison in Tipperary, 
which is called in Irish, Magh-lmain, the plain of the 
little Us, and in Ballylesson in Down and Antrim, 
the town of the little fort. 

With the adjective dur prefixed, signifjdng 
"strong," the compound durlas is formed, which 
means, according to O'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 
Kilruan, Tipperary ; it is surrounded by three great 
entrenchments, and contains within it the ruins of a 
small ancient church. It is now called Rath-diirlais 
in Irish, and gives name to the townland of lia- 
thurles. Several places derive their names from this 
word durlas, the best known of which is the town 
of Thurles in Tipperary, which w^as often called 
Durlas- O'Fogarf//, from its situation in O'Fogarty's 
country ; but whether the fort remains or not, I can- 
not tell. Durless, another form, is the name of a 
townland in Mayo, and of two others in Tyrone. 

liafh. This term has been explained in conjunction 
with lias, at page 270 ; in the Book of Armagh, rafh 
is translated fossa. In a great number of cases this 


274 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

word is preserved iu the anglicised names exactly as 
it is spelled iu Irish ; namely, in the form of rath, 
which forms or begins the names of about 700 town- 
lands. The townlaud of liathurd near Limerick, is 
now called in Irish liatli-tSninl, but by the annalists 
llatti-arda-Suird, the fort of Sord's height, Sord being 
probably a man's name. The Four Masters record the 
erection of this r(dh by one of lleber's chieftains, in 
A.M. 3501 ; and its remains are still to be seen on 
the top of liathurd hill, near the old castle, llatli- 
new in Wicklow, is called in Irish authorities liatlt- 
Naoi, the latter part of which is a man's name, 
possibly the original possessor. Ilatlidrum, also in 
"Wiclilow, means the rath of the driini 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. In many of these the 
forts still remain, as at Hathmore, four miles east of 
Naas in Kildare. The great fortification that gave 
the name to Ixathmore near the town of Antrim, 
still exists, and is famous for its historical asso- 
ciations. It is the l{ath-))wr-Mui(jhe-LinS (great 
rath of Moylinny) of our historians ; Tigheruach 
notices it as existing iu the second century ; and 
in the seventh it was the residence of the princes 
of Dalaradia. It was burned in the year 1315 by 
Edward Bruce, which shows that even then it was an 
important residence (Reeves, Eccl. Ant. p. 280). 
McKjh-Line (plain of Line), from which this great fort 
took its name, was a district of the present county of 
Antrim, anciently very much celebrated, whose name 
is still retained by the townland of Moylinny near 
the town of Antrim. The old name is also partly 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 275 

retained by the parish of Ballyliuny (town of Line) 
lying a few miles eastward. 

Hath is in Irish pronounced raic, and in modern 
names it takes various phonetic forms, to correspond 
with this pronunciation, such as ra, ra/i, ra//, &c., 
which syllables, as representatives of rat//, begin the 
names of about 400 townlands. Eaheny near Dub- 
lin is called by the annalists Rath-Enna, the fort of 
Euna, a man's name formerly common in Ireland ; 
the circumvallations of tlie old fort are still distinctly 
traceable round tlie 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. Drumragh, a parish 
in Tyrone, containing the town of Omagli, is called 
in the Inquisitions, Dromrathe, pointing to the Irish, the ridge or hill of the rath. The word 
occurs singly as Raigh in Galway and Mayo ; Raw, 
with the plural Eaws, in several of the Ulster coun- 
ties ; and Ray in Donegal and Cavan. 

Other modern modifications and compounds are 
exhibited in the following names : — Belra in Sligo, 
Belragh near Carnteel in Tyrone, and Belraugh in 
Londonderry, al meaning the mouth or entrance of 
the fort ; Corray, m the parish of Kilmacteige, Sligo, 
Cor-raiih, the round hill of the rath. Roemore in 
the parish of Breaghwy, Ma^^o, is called llaliomore in 
an Inquisition of James I., which shows it to bo 
a corruption of Rathmore, great fort ; and there is 
another Roemore in the pai'ish 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 


276 Artificial Stnictiors, [part hi. 

Halioons, aro the names of about eighty townlands, 
and form part of many otliers. There are six town- 
hm (Is called lialieenroe, little red rath : tlio little fort 
which gave name to liaheenroo near l>allyorgan in 
the south of Limerick, has been levelled within my 
own memory. 

Dim. The primary meaning of the word (Inn is 
" strong" or "firm," and it is so interpreted in Zeuss, 
page 30 : — ^^ JD'iii, firmus, fortis." In this sense it 
forms a part of the old name of Dunluce castle, near 
the Giant's Causeway — Uiutlios as it is called in all 
Irish authorities. Dnnlios signifies strong Us or fort 
— the word is used by Keating, for instance, in this 
sense (see FourM., V. 1324f) — and this name shows 
that the rock on which the castle ruins stand w\as in 
old times occupied by a fortified lis. It has the same 
signification in Duncliladh [Dunclaw], i. e. fortified 
mound or dyke, the name of the ancient boundary 
rampart between Brefuy and Annaly, extending from 
Lough Gowna to Lough Kinelare in Longford ; a 
considerable part of this ancient entrenchment is still 
to be seen near Granard, and it is now well known 
by the anglicised name of Duncla. 

As a verb, the word ihoi 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, 
Corntd/iioita (change of dh to (/, page 56), i. e. closed 
or shut up weir. 

Dim, as a noun, signifies a citadel, a fortified royal 
residence ; in the Zeuss MSS. it glosses arj: and 
cast rum ; Adamnan translates it munitio; and it is 
rendered " pallace " by Mageoghegan in his transla- 
lation of the Annals of Clonmacnoise : — " lie builded 

CHAP, 1.] liahitations and Fortresses. 577 

seven downes or pallaces for himself." It is found in 
the Teutonic as well as in the Keltic languages — 
"Welsh, clin ; 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 cora- 
rnou in the old Latinised names of many of the cities 
of Great Britain and the Continent. 

This word was anciently, and is still, frequently 
applied to the great forts, with a high central mound, 
flat at top, and surrounded by several — very usually 
three — earthen circumvallations. These fortified duns, 
so many of which remain all over the country, were 
tlie residences of the kings and chiefs ; and they are 
constantly mentioned as such in the Irish authorities. 
Thus we read in tlie Feast of Dnn-na-nrjedh (Battle of 
Maghrath, p. 7), that Domhnall, son of Aedh, king 
of Ireland from A. D. 6-24 to 639, "first selected 
Dun-na-ncjcdh, on the banks of the Boyne, to be his 
liabitation, .... and he formed seven very great 
ramparts around this dun, after the model of the 
houses of Tara." And other passages to the same 
effect are cited at page 267 ct scq. 

In modern names, dnn generally assumes the forms 
dun, doon, or don ; and these syllables form tlie 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 from wliich the place received the 
name, still remains, and was anciently called Dnn- 
hlcsquc. Dunamon, now a parish in Galway, was so 
called from a castle of the same name on the Suck ; 
but the name, which the annalists write Dnn-Iomgain , 
Imgan's fort, was anciently applied to a dun, which 

278 Arfi/icidl SfnicfiD'cs. [i'AUT ill. 

is still in pad, preserved. Uundouiiell, i. c. iJonall's 
or Uonihnairs I'orlress, is tlie name of a ioAvnlaiid in 
lloscommon, and of another in Westmeatli ; and 
Doondonnell is a parisli in Ivinierick ; in Down it is 
modilied, under Scottish inlluence, to Dundonald, 
■which is the name of a parish, so called from a fort 
that stands not far from the churcli. 

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 Dun-I)calfjaii of the ancient histories 
and romances, the residence of Cuchnllin, chief of the 
lipd Branch Knights in the first century. In some 
of the tales of the Leabhar na hUidhre, it is called 
Duii-Dclea, but in later authorities, Dnn-Dcalgau, 
i.e. Delga's fort; and according to O'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 written CiU-DcUja, Delga's 

There is a townland near Lisburn, now called 
Duneight, but written Douiicd cjJt in an Inquisition of 
James I., which has been identified by Dr. Reeves 
with the place called in the " Circuit of Ireland " 
Dnn-Eaclidliach^ 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 tlie year Dll. There is a parish in 
Antrim, and also a townland, called Dunaghy, which 
is the same name more correctly anglicised. 

The celebrated Eock of Dunamase in Queen's 
County is now covered by the ruins of the OM'ores' 
castle, but it must have been previously occupied by 
a dun or calicr. In an Inquisition of Richard II. , it 

cHxVi'. I.] IJahitationa and FoHresses. 279 

is called Donciiiaskc, wliicli is a near approach to its 
Irish name as we find it in the Annals, viz., Dwi- 
Masg, the fortress of Masg, who was grandson of 
Sedna Sithbhaic (Sedna-Sheevick), one of the ances- 
tors of the Leinster people. 

A great number of these dims, 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 connection 
with these structures, were seized upon to form names. 
Doneraile in Cork, is called in the Book of Lismore, 
Dun-air-aiU, 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., Dunhill; it is called in Grace's Annals 
Donnoil, which very well represents the 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 write Bun-aillc, 
and which is also the name of several townlands in 
Sligo and Galway, 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- 
dronm, 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 Dundrum, near Dublin, was most probably 
situated on the height where the church of Taney 
now stands. 

280 A rtifiiial Structures. [part ni. 

Although tho word il'iii is not much liable to be 
disguised by modern corruption, yet in some cases it 
assumes forms diHorcut from tlioso I have mentioned. 
The town of Downpatrick takes its name from tho 
large entrenched diDi which lies near tho Cathedral. 
In tho first century this fortress was the residence of a 
warrior of the lied Branch Kniglits, called Celtchair, 
or Keltar of tho battles ; and from him it is variously 
called in Irisli authorities Diuikcl/nr, liailikeWtr, and 
A rashcUnr (aras, a habitation). By ecclesiastical wri- 
ters it is commonly called Dun-leth-glas, or Ilun- 
da-icth-cjlas; tliis last name is translated, the ditn of the 
two broken locks or fetters (r/ /«.<;, a fetter), which 
Jocelin accounts for by a legend — that the two sons 
of Dichu (see p. 112), having been confined as hos- 
tages by king Leaghaire, were removed from the place 
of their confinement, and the tico feiters by which 
they were bound were broken, by miraculous agency. 
"Afterwards, for brevity's sake, the latter part of this 
long name was dropped, and the simple word Dun 
retained, which has past into the Latin Bunuiii, 
and into the English Bonn " (Reeves Eccl. Ant., p. 
143). The name of St. Patrick was added, as a kind 
of distinctive term, and as commemorative of his con- 
nection with the place. 

Down is tho 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-ndnn, the glen of^the dum 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 

CHAP. I.] Hahikdions and Fortresses. 281 

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 townlands in Antrim, Donegal, and Ferma- 
nagh ; Doonane in Queen's County and Tipperary ; 
and Doonaus (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 towuland, near Dungarvan, 
called Shandon, in Irish Seaiuhm, old fort ; and 
there is little doubt that the 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 : — 

" The bells of Shandon, 

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. 
276), or it is a mere explanatory term, used synony- 
mously with the second. Or such a name might 

282 Arlifkidl Structures. [i'AUT ill. 

originafo in suoccssivo stiucfurop, like tlio old iiamo 
of Caher in Ti{)})craiy, lor which sec p. 284, iufra. Of 
the union of two terms, wo have a good illustration 
in Lisdoonvania 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 I Jail y- 
vaghan to Ennistymon. The proper name of this 
is Doonvarna (JDiai-b/icariKrch), gapped fort, from its 
shape ; and the word Lis was added as a generic 
term, somewhat in the same manner as " river," in 
the expression "the river Liifey ;" Lisdoonvarna, 
i. e. the lis (of) Doonvarna. In this way came also 
the name of Lisdown in Armagh, and Lisdoonan in 
Down and ]\[onaghan. The word hearnacli, gapped, 
is not unfroquently 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 Ilathbarna in llos- 
common, and Caherbarnagh in Clare, Cork, and Kerry. 

One of the most obvious means of fortifying a fort 
was to flood the external ditch, when the construc- 
tion admitted it, and the w^ater was at hand ; and 
whoever is accustomed to examine these ancient struc- 
tures, must be convinced that this plan was often 
adopted. In many cases the old channel many be 
traced, leading from an adjacent stream or spring ; 
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- 
ern half of Ireland — Lios-an-nisr/e, the fort of the 

CHAP. I.] llahitations and Fortresses. 283 

water. None of these are in Ulster, but the same 
name occurs as Lisauisk in Monaghan, Lisanisky in 
Cavan, and Lisnisk and Lisuisky in Antrim, Down, 
and Armagh. With the same signification we fincl 
Eathaniska, the name of a pLace in Westmeath ; Ea- 
heenaniska and Eaheenanisky in Queen's County ; 
Eahaniska and Ealianisky in Clare, Tipperary, and 
Cork ; and in the last-mentioned county there is a 
parish called Dunisky or Doonisky. 

Long after the lisses and ruths had been abandoned 
as dwellings, many of them were turned to different 
uses ; and we see some of the high duns and mounds 
crowned with modern buildings, such as those at 
Drogheda, Xaas, and Castletown near Dundalk. 
The peasantry have always felt the greatest reluctance 
to putting them imder tillage ; and in every part of 
Ireland, you will hear stories of the calamities that 
befel the families or the cattle of the foolhardy 
farmers, who outraged the fairies' dwellings, by re- 
moving the earth or tilling the enclosure. 

They were, however, often used as pens for cattle, 
for which some of them are admirably adapted ; and 
we have, consequentlv, many such names as Lisna- 
geeragh, Eathnageeragh, and Eakeeragh, the fort of 
the sheep ; Lisnagree and liisnagrj^ (Lios-na-ngroidh), 
of the cattle ; Lisnagowan, the lis of the calves, &c. 

CatJiair This word, which is pronounced caher, 
appears to have been originally applied to a city, for 
the old form cathir glosses ciritas in the Wb. MS. of 
Zftuss. It has been, however, from a very early 
period— perliaps 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 

284 Artificial Sh'ucho'cs. [pAur. iii. 

west, -wlioro tlio toriii was In most gonoral iiso ; and 
tlioy have given names to great numbers of places. 
In modern nomenclature the word usually takes one 
of the two forms, cahrr and cahir ; and there are more 
than '500 townlands and towns whoso names hogin 
with one or the other of these two words, all in 
Munster and Connaught, except three or four in 
Leinster — none in Ulster. 

Caller 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 
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 Caf/iaij'-dioia-iascnir/h [eesky], the 
circular stone fortress of the fish-abounding (inn, and 
this name is still used by the Irisli-spoaking.pcople; 
from which it is obvious, " that an earthen (inn had 
originally occupied the site on which a ca/icr or stone 
fort was erected subsequently" (Petrie, " Irish Penny 
Journal," p. 257). I think it equally evident that 
before the erection of the ca/wi- its name was Dn)i- 
iascaigh [Duneesky], the fish-abounding (inn, and 
indeed the Four Masters once (at 1581) give it this 
appellation. Dr. Petrie goes on to say : — " Tlie 
Book of Lecan records the destruction of the cciJicr 
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, Cailiair-SaicUiblun , tlie stone 
fort of SaidJiliJnn or Sabina. SaidhhJdn is a dimi- 
nutive of Sad/tbh [Sauv], a woman's name formerly 

CHAP, I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 285 

in very general use, wliicli in latter times has been 
commonly changed to Sarah. Caherconlish in Lime- 
rick must have received its name, like Caher in 
Tipperar}', from the erection of a stone fort near an 
older earthen one ; its Irish name being Cathair- 
cJtinn-Iis (Annals of Innisfalleu), the caher at the 
head of the Us. The ruins of the orignal stone fort 
that gave name to Cahermurphy in the parish of 
Kilmihil, Clare, still remain : the Four Masters call it 
CaiJtuir-Murchadha, Murrough's caJicr. The whitish 
colour of the stones has given the name of Cahergal 
{Cathair-fjeal, white caJwr) to many of these forts, 
from which again eleven townlands in Cork, "Water- 
ford, Galway, and Mayo, have derived their names. 
Cahereen, little ca/nr, 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 examj^le, there is a 
place near Dunmanway, and another near Kenmare, 
called Derrynacaheragh, the oak wood of the stone 

Caiscol. Cormac Mac Cullenan, in his glossary, 
conjectures that the name of Cashel in Tipperary, is 
derived from Cis-a/l, 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, 
derived from the Latin cmtcUum ; and it is found in 

28G Artificial Sfructures. [part hi. 

the most ancient Irish MSS., sucli as those of Zeiiss, 
Cormac's Ulossary, &c. 

Moreover, in tlio modern form, Casliol, it is tlie 
name of about fifty townlands, and Leo;ins the names 
of about fifty otliers, every one of whicli was so 
called from one of tliose 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 sig'nification, it is translated ma- 
ceria in a charter of A. 1). 1004, whicli is cntei'ed in 
the Book of Armagh {lleeves's Adamnan, p. 75). 
About the beginning of the fifth century, Core, king 
of Munster, took possession of Cashel, and there can 
be but little doubt that he 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 sidh- 
dltniim [Sheedrum : fairy 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 

Cashels, and places named from them, are scat- 
tered over the four provinces, but they prepondei'ate 
in the western and north western counties. Cashel- 
fean in Cork and Donegal, and Caslieluavean near 
Stranorlar in the latter county, both signify the stone 
fort of the Fianna or ancient Irish militia (see p. 90); 
Cashelfinoge near Boyle in Roscommon, the fort of 
the scald crows. Sometimes this word is corrupted 
to ccifitle, as we find in Ballycastle in Mayo, the 
correct name of which would be Balh/casJicl, for it is 
called in Irish, BaiJe-an-cJiaiaU, the town of the cashel; 
but the name of Ballycastle in Antrim is correct, 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 287 

for it was so called, not from a casheJ, but from a 
castle. Castledargan in the parish of Kilross, Sligo, is 
similarly corrupted, for the Four Masters call it Caiseal- 
Loclia-Deargain, tlie stone fort of Lough Dargan. 

Bnifjh and Bruif/Iieaii. Brngh [bru] signifies a 
palace or distinguished residence. This term was 
applied to many of the royal residences of Ireland ; 
and several of the places that have preserved the 
word in their names have also preserved the old 
brughs or raiJis themselves. Bruree on the river 
Maigue in Limerick, is a most characteristic example. 
Its proper name, as it is found in many Irish autho- 
rities, is Brugh-righ, the fort or palace of the king ; 
for it was the principal seat of Oilioll Olum, kiug of 
Munster in the second century (see p. 133), and 
afterwards of the O'Donovans, chiefs of Hy Carbery, 
i. e. of the level country round Bruree and Kilmal- 
lock. In the Book of Eights, it is mentioned first 
in the list of the kiug of Cashel's seats, and there are 
still remaining extensive earthen forts, the ruins of 
the ancient hrngh or palace of Oilioll Olum and his 
successors. According to an ancient MS. quoted by 
O'Curry (Battle of Moylena, p. 72), the most ancient 
name of this place was Dun-CohhtJi.aigJi. or Duncoffy, 
Coffagh's dun ; which proves that it was a fortified 
residence before its occupation by Oilioll Olum. 

The present name of Bruff in Limerick, is a cor- 
ruption oi Briigh (seep. 52). It is now called in 
Irish Bruhh-na-leise, in which both terms are cor- 
rupted, the correct name being Brugh-na-Deise [Bru- 
na-daishe], i. e. the hrngh or mansion of the ancient 
territory of i)f /i-beg ; and from the first part, Bruhh 
[bruvj, the modern form Bruff is derived. The 
tirugh that gave name to this place still exists ; it is 
an earthen fort near the town called at the present 

288 Avtificial Stnictures. [part tit. 

day by tho people, Lishi-n'-Bhvoghn, as in the old 
song, " liinii linin aeracJi a' Ji/iyo(//i(iy" "Tho melodious 
airy little /Av of Brufl'." There is a place called BridT 
in tho parish of Aughamoro, Sligo, which is also 
from tho same word bnujlt. 

Ill some parts of the country they use tho form 
bntyhas [bruas], which has originated the names of 
Bruis, now a parish in Tipperary ; Bruce, two town- 
lands in AVexford ; and Bruse, two others in Cavan. 
There is also a derivative hvuijhachuH [brughas], 
which, as well as hmyh itself, is used in several 
places to denote a farm-house, and tlio 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 
Fermanagh. (For the termination •<, see 2ud Series, 
chap. 1.) 

The diminutive hru'ujhean [breean] signifying also 
a royal mansion, or great house, is even more com- 
mon than its original. Both bnigh and hruiyhean 
were often used to signify a house of public hospi- 
tality, whence the term hniyJiaidh [broo-ey], tho 
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 Brnighcan- 
Da-Derrja; from Da-Derga, its owner. This mansion 
was destroyed by a baud of pirates, about the time 
of the Christian era, and they also slew the monarch, 
Conary-more, who was enjoying the hospitality of 
Da-Derga. Its destruction, and the death of the 
monarch, are mentioned in our oldest authorities, 
such as the Leabhar-na-hUidhre, &c. ; no remains of 
the old fort can now be discovered, but it has left its 

rilA)'. 1.] Habitations and Fortresses. 289 

name on the townland of Boliernabreena, wliicli is 
the phonetic representative of B6thar-na-Bruighne, 
the road of the hrxughca)i or mansion. 

Another mansion of the same kind, equally re- 
nowned, was Brnighcan-Da-Choga, 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. 125), 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 Bruighcan. 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 formerly surrounded by a circle of upright 

In more recent times, the word hruighean has been 
alwaj^s 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 briian is 
found in some other names besides those 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 Kilfinane, and another near 
Emly in Tipperary, called Ballinvreena, the town of 
the fairy mansion. The double diminutive Breenaun 
occurs in the parish of Ross, Gal way ; and we find 
Breenagh — a place abounding in fairy mansions — in 


290 Artificial Strucho'cs. [pakt iii. 

tho parish of Couwal, Donegal. Tlio diminutive in 
6<j occurs once in Sligo, giving name to Brceoge, in 
the parish of Xilmacowen — 2Sri(i(j/ie6(j, little bnirj/i or 

Mofa. The largo high mounds are often called 
mo fa in Irish, the same as the English word tnoaf. 
It is the opinion of the best Irish scholars, and among 
others, O'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 notliing more than the 
English word ))ioaf, or perhaps the Anglo-saxon mote, 
borrowed, like many others, into 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 Ross, 
once a residence of the Butlers ; and they call it 
Muta-Gaired^ Garret's moat, which shows that the 
place should have been called i!/br/ /garret. Ballymote 
in Sligo also occurs in the Four Masters, in the Irish 
form Baile-an-mJiota, the town of the moat. 

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 
conspicuous featui'e ; it is called Moategranoge ; and 
this name is derived, according to tradition, from 
Graine-og, young GrainG or Grace, a Munster lady 
who married one of the O'Melaghlins. She is prob- 
ably the person commemorated in the legend referred 
to by Caesar Otway ; — " a legend concerning a Mile- 
sian princess taking on herself the office of brehon, 
and from this moat adjudicating causes, and deliver- 
ing her oral laws to the people" (Tour in Connaught, 
p. 55) 

Grianan. — The word grianan [greenan] is ex- 

CHAP. T.] Hahilations and Fortresses. 291 

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 solan's. 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 writers ; and this is 
unquestionably its general meaning, when it occurs 
in topographical names. The most common English 
forms of the word are Greenan, Greenane, Greenaun, 
and Grenan, which are the names of about forty-five 
townlands distributed all over the four provinces. 

The (jrianans are generally the same kind of struc- 
tures as the cahcrs, brughs, &c., already explained; 
and many of them still remain in the places whose 
names contain the word. The most celebrated palace 
of the name in Ireland was Greenan-Ely, of Avhich I 
will speak under Aileach. Grenanstown in Tipperary, 
five miles from Nenagh, has got its present name by 
translation from Baile-an-glirianain, the town of the 
palace ; the grianan is evidently the great fort now 
called Lisrathdine, which 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. 282) ; 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 
situated on the Barrow, three miles below Carlow, 
must have been built on the site of a more ancient 


292 Artificial Slnictiircs. [pAiiT in. 

residence, as the name sufiiclently attests — Cloch- 
(jritouiin, the stouo castle of the grianan. 

It "will bo perceived that (jriaudu is a diminutive 
from firian ; the other diminutive in og sometimes 
occurs also, and is understood to mean a sunny little 
hill. AVo find Greenoge, a village and parish in 
Meath ; and this is also the name of a townland near 
Rathcoole, Dublin, and of another near Dromore in 
Down (see, for these diminutives, 2nd Ser., chap. ii.). 

Ailcttch. The circular stone fortresses already 
described under the words cafhair and, were 
often called by the name ai/cach [ellagh], a word 
which signifies literally a stone house or stone fort, 
being derived from ail, a stone. Michael O'Clery, 
in his Glossary of ancient Irish words, gives this 
meaning and derivation : — '^ A i leach or ailtlieaclt, i. e. 
a name for a habitation, which (name) was given 
fi-om stones." (See Second Series, chap, i.) 

Aileach is well known to readers of Irish history 
as the name of the palace of -the northern Hy Xeill 
kings, w^hich is celebrated in the most ancient Irish 
writing under various names, such as Aileach Neid, 
Aileach Frighrinn, &c. The ruins of this great fort- 
ress, which are situated on a hill, four miles north 
west from Deny, have been elaborately described in 
the Ordnance memoir of the parish of Templemore ; 
they consist of a circular cashel of cyclopean masonry, 
crowning the summit of the hill, surrounded by three 
concentric ramparts. It still retains its old name, 
being called Greenan-Ely, i. e. the palace oi Aileach, 
for JEl// represents the pronunciation of Ailigh, the 
genitive of Aileach ; and it gives name to the two 
adjacent townlands of Elaghmore and Elaghbeg. 

Elagh is also the name of two townlands in Tyrone, 
and there are several places in Galway and Mayo 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 293 

called Ellagli, all derived from, a stone fort. In 
Caherelly, the name of a parish, in Limerick, there is 
a union of two synonymous terms, the Irish name 
being CatJiair-ailigh, the caJter of the stone fort. So 
also in Caherually near the town of Headford in 
Galway, which is called Cathair-na-hailighi, the caher 
of the stone-fort, in an ancient document, quoted by 
Hardiman (lar C. 371) ; and the old stone-built 
fortress still remains there. A stone fort must have 
existed on a ridge in Dromanallig, a townland near 
Inchigeelagh in Cork ; and another on the promon- 
tory called Ardelly in Erris, which Mao Firbis, in 
" Hy Fiachrach," calls Ard-Ailigh. 

Teamhair. 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 Team/iair, 
and several of our old writers state that it was so 
called from Tea, the wife of Heremon, who was 
buried there: — Teanihair, i. e. the tmir or wall of 
Tea. But this derivation is legendary, for Teain/tair 
was, and is still, a common local name. 

Teamhair [Tawer] is a simple word, and has pretty 
much the same meaning as grianaiL (see p. 290) ; it 
signifies an elevated spot commanding an extensive 
prospect, and in this sense it is frequently used as a 
generic term in Irish MSS. In Cormac's Glossary 
it is stated that the teamJiair of a house is a grianan 
(i. e. balcony), and that the teamhair of a country is 
a hill commanding a wide view. This meaning ap- 
plies to every teamhair in Ireland, for they are all 
conspicuously situated ; and the great Tara in Meath, 
is a most characteristic example. Moreover, it must 
be remembered that a teamltair was a residence, and 

294 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

tliat all tho t('(i»i/iairs hail originally ono or moro 
forts, whifli iu caso of many of thorn remain to this 

The genitive of tenmliair is teamltrach [taragh or 
towraglij, and it is this form which has given its 
present name to Tara iu Meath, and to every other 
])lace whose name is similarly spelled (see p. 34). 
By the old inhabitants, however, all these places are 
called in Irish T'cainhdir. Our histories tell us that 
when the Firbolgs came to Tara, they called the hill 
Druim-caein [Drumkeeu], beautiful ridge ; and it was 
also called Licit Itdhriiim [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 Durrow, 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 Tcanihair-Liiachra, from the district of Sliabh 
Luachra or Slievelougher. Its exact situation is now 
unknown, though it is probable that the fort is still 
in existence ; but it must have been somewhere near 
Ballahautouragh, a ford giving name to a townland 
near Castleisland in Kerry, which is called in Irish 
Bel-atha-an-TeamJirach, the ford-mouth of the Teanih- 
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 ; and in the parish of 
Kiltoom in Roscommon, north west of Athlone, there 
is a place called Eatawragh, the rath of the conspi- 
cuous residence. 

There are many other places deriving their names 
from these tcamhairs, and to understand the follow- 

CHAP. I.] Hahitations and Fortresses. 295 

ing selection, it must be remembered that the word 
is pronounced tai'ver, tmver, and toiver, in different 
parts of the country. One form is found in Tower- 
beg and Towermore, two townlands in the parish of 
Devenish, Fermanagh ; and there is a Towermore 
near Castlelyons in Cork. Taur, another modifica- 
tion, gives name to two hills (-more and -beg), in 
the parish of Clonfert, same county. Tawran, little 
Teamhair {Tcamhrdn), occurs in the parish of Kill- 
araght, Sligo ; we find the same name in the slightly 
different form Tavraun, in the parish of Kilmovee, 
Mayo ; while the diminutive in in gives name to 
Tevrin 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 ^j/«^m in Cormac's Glossary ; and it is constantly 
used by ancient Irish writers, who very frequently 
mention the faithche in connection 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. 292, si(pra), where the king held his re- 
sidence at that time. The king came out upon the 
faithche, surrounded by a great concourse of the men 
of Erin ; and he was plaving chess amidst the host" 
(Battle of Moyrath, p. 36). 

The 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, whe- 
ther in connection 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, 

200 ■ Artificidl Struct HvcK. [i'ART hi. 

it is univorsally uudorstood to mean simply a level 
green field. 

The word enters pretty extensively into names, 
and it is generally made Fahy and Falia, the former 
being more usual in Connaught, and the latter in 
Munster ; both together constitute the names of 
about thirty townlands. It enters into several com- 
pounds, such as Fahanasoodry near Bally landers 
in Limerick, FaitJtchc-na-sudairc, the green of the 
tanners, where tanning must have been carried on ; 
Fahykeen in Donegal, beautiful green. 

The word takes various other forms, of which the 
following names will be a sufficient illustration. 
Faheeran in the parish of Kilcomreragh, King's 
County, is a contraction oi Faif/ic/ie-Chuirain [Faha- 
Kieran : Four Masters], Ciaran's green plot ; Faia- 
fannan near Killybegs, Donegal, Fannan's green. 
It is made Foy in several places, as, for instance, 
near Rathangan in Kildare ; in Armagh we find 
Foydufi", Foybeg, and Foymore (black, little, great), 
and in Donegal, Foyfin, fair or whitish faithche. 
Foygh occurs in Longford and Tyrone ; in Donegal 
we have Foyagh, and in Fermanagh, 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 Feigli, a name derived, no doubt, from the 
faithche of the ancient dun, which existed ages before 
the erection of the castle ; and we may conclude that 
the name of Rathfeigh 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 

CHAP. I.] Urihitafions and Fortresses. 297 

forms Ballynafeigli, 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 
faithc/ie. Faheens (little green plots), is found in 
Mayo ; and there is a lake not far from the town of 
Donegal, 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. This is its usual meaning in Clare ; but 
its proper signification is " a cluster of trees or 
bushes ;" and in other parts of Ireland, this is pro- 
bably the sense in which it should be interpreted 
when we find it in local names. On a cliff' near Hag's 
Head, on the western coast of Clare, there formerly 
stood, and perhaps still stands, an old caJier or stone 
fort called Moher O'Euan, O'Euan's ruined fort ; 
and this is the feature that gave name to the well- 
known Cliff's 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 (clusters or ruined forts), is the 
name of a townland near Castlelyons in Cork ; and 
we find the word in Moheracreevy in Leitrim, the 
ruin or cluster of or near the creeve or large tree. In 
Cork also, near Eathcormick, is a place called Mo- 

298 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

hereon, little mohcr ; and Molieraf^h, signifying a 
place abounding in mohera, occurs in the parish of 
Donohill, Tipporary. Moheranea in Fermanagh, 
signifies the mohcr of the horse; and Drummoher in 
Clare, and Drommolier in Limerick, the ridge of the 
ruined fort. 

Crannoy. The word crannog, a formation from 
crann, a tree, means literally a structure of wood. In 
former times the Anglo-Irish employed it very ge- 
nerally to signify a basket or hamper of a certain 
size for holding corn. In its topographical use — the 
only use that concerns us here — it is applied to 
wooden houses placed on artificial islands in lakes. 
These islands were formed in a shallow part, by driv- 
ing stakes into the bottom, which were made to sup- 
port 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 several families, lived in wooden 
houses, sufficiently protected from enemies by the 
surrounding lake, while communication with the 
land was carried on by means of a small boat. The 
word cranndg was very often, and is now generally 
understoood, 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 discovered, and have been examined and 
described by several arch geologists. 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 disappeared. 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 299 

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 Loughnahiuch (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 
Ballynahinch ; and the parish of Ballynahinch in 
Connemara, which gives name to a barony, was so 
called from a crannoge on an island in Ballynahinch 
Lake. The Four Masters mention eight crannoges 
in as many different parts of Ireland. 

Longphort. This term is in frequent use, and ge- 
nerally signifies a fortress, but sometimes an encamp- 
ment. The word was applied both to the old circular 
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 Long- 
ford is called in the annals Longford-OFarrell, 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 name from Longford 
castle in the parish of Tiranascragh. Longford 
demesne in the parish of Dromard, county Sligo, west 
of Ballysadare, now the property of the Crofton 
family, was formerly the seat of the O'Dowds, from 
whom it took the name of Longphort-O^ Don-da (" Hy 
Fiachrach "), O'Powd's fortress, 

300 Artificial Structures. [paut hi. 

lu 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 tlie name of a townland near Limerick, 
from Avhicli Athhnikard-street in the city derives its 
name ; the correct anglicised form would bo At/iloii(j- 
ford, the ford of tlie fortress or encampment. And 
it sometimes takes such forms as' Lonehort, Lone- 
hurt, &.C. 

2\'(tch. This word [pron. taalt'] 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 
anglicised form is tagh, which is of fi'equent occur- 
rence ; as in Tagheen, a parish in Mayo, which is 
called in "Hy Fiachrach," Teach-chaein, beautiful 
house; and Tagliboy, a parish in Meath, yellow 
house. Sometimes the final guttural was omitted, as 
in Taduff in Roscommon, black house. 

The form tigh [tee] is however in more general use 
in the formation of names than the nominative (see 
p. 34); and it usually appears as tee, ti, Siiidtg. Tee- 
bane and Teemore (white and great house), are the 
names of several townlands in the northern counties ; 
Tibradden near Dublin, and Tyone near Nenagh, 
Braddan's and John's house. 

When tig/i is joined with the genitive of the article, 
it almost always takes the form of tiii or tiiuia, 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 Tigli-na-Jiinnse, 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- 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 301 

ford, and Tinnascarty in Kilkenny, the liouse of the 
scart or cluster of bushes. 

The site on which a house stood is often denoted 
by the combination ait-tigJie [aut-tee], literally, " the 
place of a house ;" in modern names it is almost al- 
ways made atti or attu, 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-tighc-Mic-Cuirrin, 
the site of Mac Currin's house. 

Attidermot near Aughrim in Galway, 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-tscan-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 the old tent {both, a tent) ; Attavally, the name of 
three townlands in Mayo, the site of the ballij 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 Ivildare, takes its name 
from an old church, which, however, has wholly dis- 
appeared, though a portion of the round tower still 
stands in the churchyard ; the name is written by 
Irish authorities, Teach- Tiiae, St. Tua's church. Tia- 

302 Ariificiiil Structures. [part hi. 

quin was originally the name of a primitive cliiirch 
in Galway, and it is Avritten in Irish T'ujli-Duvhonna 
[Teacouua], St. Dachonna's honso, from ■which the 
present name was formed by contraction, and by the 
aspiration of the 1) (see p. 20). A castle was erected 
there long afterwards, from which the barony of Tia- 
quin has been so called. Timahoe in Queen's County, 
well known for its beautiful round tower, took its 
name [Tcch-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. G34, founded a monastery in Wexford, which 
was called from him Tcach-Muuna (Book of Leinsterj, 
St. Munna's house, now modernized to Taghmon ; 
and the parish of Taghmon 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. 

This word enters into various other combinations 
in local names. There is a townland in the parish of 
Lower Lodoney, Tyrone, called Crockatanty, whose 
Irish name is Cnoc-cC -t&ean-tkjhe (see pp. 51 and 23, 
mprci), the hill of the old house ; and we see the 
same form in Tullantanty [Tnlach, a hill) in Cavan, 
which has also the same meaning. Edentiroory near 
Dromore in Down, means the edan or hill brow of 
Rory's house. 

I have already mentioned (p. Qb) 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 Staholmog in Meath, St. Colmoc's 
or Mocholmoc's house ; and StamuUen in the same 
county, Maelan's house* 

CHAP. I.] JIahi fat ions and Fortresses. 303 

Both [boh]. This word signifies a tent, tjooth, 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 
exists also in the kindred Keltic dialects : — Welsh 
Jjod, Cornish I)od and Jjos. It occurs very often in 
our ancient authorities ; and the annals make men- 
tion of several places whose names were derived from 
these huts. 

Templeshanbo at the foot of Mount Leinster in 
Wexford, was anciently called Seanhoth [Shanboh], 
old tent or hut, the prefix Temple having been added 
in recent times. It was also called Seanhoth- SinS, 
and Scanboth-Colmain, from St. Colman O'Fiachra, 
who was venerated there. Seanboth-Sina 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 
County ; and Shanbogh is the name of a parish in 
Kilkenny — ail diff'erent forms of the same word. It 
also appears in Drumshanbo (the drum 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 popularly believed 
— in my opinion erroneously — to signify " the ridge 
of the old cow" (bo, a cow), from the resemblance of 
the outline of the hill at each place, to a cow's back. 

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 Bath-both, the fort of the huts. In the Tri- 
partite Life it is related that while St. Patrick was 

304 Arlijicial S/nicfinrs. [i-akt iii. 

at Dnj^art, in the tciTitory of Magdula, lio founded 
seven churches, of wliich Jiolli-DoniJnia'ujh (tlie tent 
of the churcli) was one; -wliich name is still retained 
in the parish of Bodoney in Tyrone. There is an 
old church near Dunp^iven in Londonderry, which 
in various Irish authorities is called Both-Mlmdhhhc 
[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 " Ily Fiachrach," Both-Thohi, St. Tola's 
tent ; and in the parish of Teraplenirj', Tipperary, 
there is a townland called Montanavoe, in Irish 
Moh)fcd)i-a'-b/ioif/i, the hoggy land of the tent. 

We have the plural (hof/ia) represented by Boho, 
a parish in Fermanagh, which is only a joart of its 
name as given by the Four Masters, viz., the BotJia 
or tents of Midntir Fia/aiii, this last being the name 
of the ancient tribe who inhabited the district : Boha- 
boy in Galway, yellow tents. 

Almost all local names in Ireland beginning with 
Boh (except the Bo/iers), and those also that end 
with -bo/ia and -ho/n/, are derived from this word. 
Thus Bohullion in Donegal, represents the Irish 
Bofh-c/iui7li)ni, the hut of the holly, i. e. surrounded 
with holly trees. Knockboha, a famous hill in the 
parish of Lackan, Mayo, is called in "Hy Fiach- 
rach," Cnoc-botha, the hill of the hut ; and Knock- 
naboha in Limerick and Tipperary, has the same 

There are two diminutives of this word, viz., 
Bothdn and Botliog [bohaun, bohoge], both of which 
are in very common use in the south and west of 
Ireland, even among speakers of English, to denote 
a cabin or hut of any kind. Bohaun is the name of 
four townlands in Galway and Mayo ; and we find 

CHAP. I.] Hahitations and Fortresses. 805 

Bohanboy (yellow little hut) in Donegal. The other, 
Bohoge, is the name of a townland in the parish of 
Manulla, Mayo. 

Ccdslen. The word caislen or caislean [cashlaun] 
is applied to a castle ; and like caisea/, it is evidently 
a loan word — a diminutive formation from the Latin 
castellum. Like the older dunSy cahers, &c., these 
more modern structures gave names to numerous 
places, and the word is almost always represented by 
the English word casfle. 

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 Roscommon, which 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 
Four Masters, Caislen-r-iahliach, grey castle. There 
is a barony in Down of the same name, which was 
so 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 different counties are called by 
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, CaisIen-an-Bharraigh (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 


300 Artificial Stntclnroi. [part hi. 

in Mayo, the castlo of tlie troos ; Ballycushlane in 
"Wexford, the town of the castlo. 

DaiiKjcan. The word daiiKjcan [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 modorn fortress or castle ; and it is obviously 
connected with the English words diDigcon 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 Meatli, once the 
residence of the Duke of Wellington. This was also 
the old name of Philipstown ; the erection of " the 
castle of Daingenn" 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. The name of Dundanion at Black- 
rock near Cork, is like that of Dunluce(p. 276, supra) ; 
for dun is here an adjective, and the name signifies 
strong dangan or fortress. 

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, Dingell, 
Dingle: seep. 48). It is called in the annals, Dain- 
gean-ui-C/iuis, now usually written Dingle-I-Coush, 
i. e. the fortress of O'Cush, the ancient proprietor 
before the English invasion. These people some- 
times call themselves Hussey in English, and this is 
the origin of the mistaken assertion made by some 
writers, 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, 

CHAP. I.] Habitations and Fortresses. 807 

•wliich as it is very faint, and quite incapable of be- 
ing represented bj English letters, is suppressed in 
modern spelling, thereby changing daingcan to dian 
or some such form. There are some townlands called 
Dian and Dyan in Tyrone and Monaghan ; two in 
Armagh and one in Down, called Lisadian, the lis 
of the stronghold. Even in Maj'-o, 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 Badhbhdhun [bawn]. Beside many of 
the old castles, there was a haini or large enclosure 
surrounded by a strong fence or wall, which was 
often protected by towers ; and into this enclosm'e 
the cattle were driven by night to protect them from 
wolves or robbers. It corresponds to the faifltche of 
the old pagan fortresses (see p. 295), 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 
castles, which places were used for dancing, goaling, 
and such diversions * * * and for keeping cattle 
at night." 

O'Donovan writing in the " Ulster Journal of Ar- 
chaeology," says : — " The term haicn, which frequently 
appears in documents relating to Irish history since 
the plantation of Ulster, is tlie anglicised form of the 
Irish badhun, 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 

21 * 

308 Artificial Stnidures. [part hi. 

Masters ' at 1547, viz., Badhun-Riaganach* From 
this forward it is met with in difforent parts of Ireland. 
In tlio most ancient Irish docnments, a cow fortress 
is more usually called bo-i/haiiK/raii, Lut ho-dJiun or l<a- 
d/iiin is equally correct. Sometimes written Badhhh- 
d/uoi, the fortress of Badhhh [Bauv], the Bellona of 
the ancient Irish, but this is |)rohably a fanciful writ- 
ing of it." Tliis latter form, however, and its pre- 
sumed derivation from the name of the old war god- 
dess, receive some support from the fact, that in 
Ulster it is pronounced hauvan, in which the v plainly 
points to a hh in the Irish original ; and this pronun- 
ciation is perpetuated in Bavan, the name of three 
townlands in Down, Cavan, and Louth. f 

The bawns 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 
tolerable preservation. Tke syllable hauii is of very 
usual occurrence in local names, but as this is also 
the anglicised form of han a green field, it is often 
difficult to tell from which of the two Irish words it 
is derived, for ladhnn and bun 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 remain yet in the town- 

• The word occurs however, in the form of lo-dhun in the 
Annals of Loch Ce at the years 1 199 and 1200. 

f Duald Mac.Firbis writes the word hadhhh-dhun in "Hy- 
Fiachraoh." Hoa Island, in Loiifjh P^rne, is called by the Four 
Masters, Bftdlihha. while the natives call it Inis-Badlihhin, i. e. 
the island of Budlthh. ]\lr. 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 bt:ing able to avail myself 
of it to illustrate more fully this interesting subject. 

CHAP. T.] Hahilations and Fortresses. 309 

Lathy ach. The site of anything is denoted by tlie 
word tathraeh [lauragli], hut 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 Lathracli in the JBook of Lecan, 
and the village of Laragh at the entrance to Grlenda- 
lougli is another well-known example. Laraghaleas 
in Londonderry means the site of the tis or fort ; 
Laraghshankill in Armagh, the site of the old church 
(see Siiankill) ; Laraghbryan near Leixlip in Kildare, 
JBryan's house site. Caherlarhig, the stone fort of 
the site, near Clonakilty in Cork, very probably de- 
rived its name from a caher, built on the site of a 
more ancient dun. 

Latliair [lauher], from which lathracli 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 town {Lathair-a-tscanbhaile) ; Lalier- 
tidaly in the same neighbourhood, the site of Daly's 
house. Laracor near Trim in Meath, once the 
residence of Dean Swift, is called in an Inq. of Jac. 
I., Laraghcorre, which points to the original Irish 
form Lathrach-cora, the site of the weir. We find 
the diminutive Lareen in Leitrim, and Lerhin in Gral- 
way ; Lislarheen (-more and -beg) in Clare, signifies 
the fort of the little site. 

Laragh in the parish of Kilcumreragh, Westmeath, 
takes its name from a castle of the Mageoghegans, 
whose ruins are yet there, and which the Four Mas- 
ters call Leath-rath [Lara], i. e. half rath ; and some 

310 Artificial Slructurcs. [pakt iii. 

of the otlicr Laraglis arc proLaLly derived from Ibis 
Irish compound, and not from lathrach. Lcalh-ralh 
is also the Irish name of Lara or Abbcylarain Long- 
ford, for so it is written in the annals. 

Snidhc [see]. This word means a scat or sitting- 
place, cognate with Lat. scdcs ; 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 
SI/, sc, 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 suid/ic in pronun- 
ciation, is the name of a townland in Cavan. On the 
south shore of Lough Derg in Donegal, is the town- 
land Seadavog, the seat of St. Davog, the patron of 
Terraoudavog, 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 
w'hich the saint was wont to sit. 

The parish of Seagoe in Armagh, is called in 
Irish Siiiilhc-Gobha [See-gow], the seat of St. Gobha 
(Gow) or Gobanus ; Colgan calls him " Gobanus 
of Teg-da-Goba, at the bank of the river Bann ;" 
from which expression it appears that the place was 
anciently called Tech- Da gobha, the house of St. Dago- 
bha, this last name being the same as Gobanus (p. 147, 
note, supra ; see Eeeves's Eccl. Ant.p. 107); and the 
parish of Seapatrick in Down, is called in Trias. 
Thaum. Suid/ie-Fadriiic, St. Patrick's sitting place. 

en A 1'. 1 1 .] Ecvle^iastical Edijices. o 1 1 

Shiurone in the King's County is mentioned by 
the Four Masters, who call it Suidhe-an-rdin [Seen- 
rone], the seat of the ran, 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 ; Syunchin near Clogher 
in Tyrone, the seat of the ash, i. e. abounding in 
ash trees. 

Smdheachdn [seehaun] is a diminutive formation 
on snidlie, which we also find occasionally in names. 
For instance, there is a hill called Seeghane (the seat) 
near Tallaght in Dublin ; Seehanes (seats) is the 
name of a place near Dromdaleague in Cork, so 
called because it was the seat of O'Donovan ; 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 
terms, which, in course of time, were more or less 
considerably modified according to the laws of Irish 
pronunciation. Those applied to buildings are no- 

.')l-2 Art ifh-ial Structures. [patit in. 

ticod in this cliapter ; but wo liavo bosicles, such 
words as easpor/, old Irish cpscop, a bishop, from epis- 
copus ; sagart or sacurt, a priost, from mcerdos ; bean- 
uac/it, old Irish bendacht, a blessing from, benedictio ; 
Ai^rioun or Aiffreiid, thoM.asB, from ojf'erenda ; and 
many others. (See Second Series, chap. vi. and xxvi.) 

We know from many ancient authorities that the 
early Irish churches were usually built of timber 
planks, or of wattles or hurdles, plastered over with 
clay ; and that this custom was so general as to be 
considered a national characteristic. Bede, for in- 
stance, mentions that when Finan, 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 effect 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 learning 
and holiness. 

These structures, often put up hastily to meet the 
wants of a newly formed religious community, or 
the recently converted natives of a district, we know 
were generally very small and simple ; and in some 
cases the names preserve the memory of the primi- 
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- 

CHAP, ii.j Ecclesiastical Edifices 313 

cleithc [clt'ha], the hurdle church {cliath a hurdle), 
from which the present form has been derived by the 
change of th to /(p. 52). The same name is found 
as Kilclay near Clogher in Tyrone ; and a parish in 
Westmeath, called Kilcleagh (Killcliathagh in Eeg. 
Clon.), 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 

CiU. The Irish words, c///, caglnis, teampulI,domh- 
nach, &c. — all originally Latin — signify a church. 
CiU [kill], also written cell and ceall, is the Latin 
cclla, and next to baile, it is the most prolific root in 
Irish names. Its most usual anglicised form is kill 
or kil, but it is also made kyle, keel, and cal ; there 
are about 3,400 names beginning with these syllables, 
and if we estimate that a fifth of them represent coill, 
a wood, there remain about 2,700 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 found 
scattered through the book. 

Colman was a favourite name among the Irish 
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- 

31 4 Artijlcial Striicturci^. [pakt ill. 

tribiited to voneration for tlie great St. Coluniba. 
Tlicro are in Ireland seven parishes, and more than 
twenty townlands (including Spenser's residence 
in Cork) called Kilcolman (Colman'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 County, where he 
had his principal church ; he is mentioned by Adam- 
nan in his Life of St. Columba ; he was born in A. D. 
517, and died in the year 600. He was a native 
of the territory of Keenaght in Derry, and he is 
much venerated in Scotland, where he is called 
Kenneth ; and several churches in Argyle and in the 
Western Islands, now called Kilkenneth and Kil- 
kenzie, were named from him. There are thirty-five 
townlands and parishes scattered through the four 
provinces, called Kilbride, in Irish Ciil-B/in'ghde, 
Brigid's or Bride's church, most of which were dedi- 
cated to St. Brigid of Kildare ; and Kilbreedy, the 
name of two parishes in Limerick, has the same origin. 
Kilmurry is the name of nearly fifty townlands, in 
most of which there must have been churches dedi- 
cated to the Blessed Virgin, for the usual Irish name 
is Cill-Mhnire, Mary's church ; but some may have 
been so called from persons named Muireadhach . 

Besides the names of saints, this term is combined 
with various other words, to form local names. Shan- 
kill, in Irish SeincheaJl, 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 KilcuUen, which was much cele- 
brated for its monastery ; it is called by Irish writers 
Cill-cuiUinn, the church of the holly ; and there are 

CHAP. II.] Ecclesiastical Edifices. 315 

several townlands in other counties of the same name. 
At Killeigh near Tullamore, there was once a great 
ecclesiastical establishment, under the patronage of 
St. Sincheall. Its original name, as used in Irish 
authorities, is CUl-achaidli [Killahy], tlie church of 
the field, which has been 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-acJiaidh-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 
proportion of these, however, probably half, are not 
chiu-ches but woods (coill). In some parts of the 
south, Kyle is used to denote a bm-ial place for chil- 
dren, and sometimes for unbaptized infants, but this 
is a modern ai^plication. 

The diminutive Killeen is the name of about eighty 
townlands, and its combinations are very numerous 
— 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 Kil- 
leeny, little churches, are also often met with. Mo- 
nagilleeny near Ardmore in Waterford, is in Irish 
Moin-na-gcilHnidhe, the bog of the little churches. 

Calluragh, or as it is written in Irisli, CeaUurach, 
whicli is a derivative from ciU, 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- 

310 Arlijiciitl ISInicl tires. [I'AiiT HI. 

tizcd infants, oven where tlierc never was a cliiircli ; 
as for exaniplo, in tlio ])arisli of Kilcrohane in Kerry, 
where the ukl forts or lissos are sometimes set apart 
for this purpose, and called CaUoorfKjhs. In the an- 
glicised form, Calluragh, this word has given name to 
several townlands. 

CcaUvacli [ealtrngh], which is also a derivative 
from cUJ, 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 tliere is a village in Gaiway 
called Caltra, another modification of the same word. 
We find Cloonacaltry in Sligo and Hoscommon, the 
cloon or meadow of the biu'ying ground. Ccaldrach 
[caldragh], another Irish form, gives name to eight 
townlands, now called Caldragh, which are confined 
to six counties, with Leitrim as centre ; in one case 
it is made Keeldra in the last county. 

Eacjlak. Another term for a church is eaglais 
[aglish], derived, in common with the Welsh eccluis, 
the Cornish cgloi^, and the Armorie ylis, from the 
Latin ccclesia. 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 
clogliann or row of stepping-stones ; another in Li- 
merick called Aglishcormick, St, Corraac's church ; 
and a third in Cork, called Aglishdrinagh, the church 
of the dreem or sloe bushes. Ballynahaglish, the 
town of the church, is the name of a parish in Mayo, 
and of another 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 

CHAP. II.] Eccksimtical Edifices. 317 

name of two townlands near Ballymoney in Antrim ; 
and in the same neighbourhood we find Drumaheglis, 
the ridge or long hill of the church. 

TeanipuIL From the Latin templiim is derived the 
Irish teampuU. Like ciU, 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 temple, 
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 
ieanipulls, there being no less than fifty parish names 
beginning with the word temple. 

There are four parishes in Cork, Longford, Tip- 
perary, and AYaterford, where the original churches 
must have been dedicated to the Archangel Michael, 
as they still bear the name of Templemichael ; Tem- 
plebredon in Tipperary, is called in Irish TcampuU- 
ui'Bhridedin, O'Bredon's church ; and Temple-etney 
in the same county, was so called from St. Eithne, 
whose memory is fast dying out there. The origi- 
nal church of Templecarn, not far from Pettigo in 
Donegal, must have been built near a pagan sepul- 
chre, for the name signifies the church of the cam 
or monument. Templetuohy in Tipperary signifies 
the church of the tuath or territory, and it received 
this name as having been the principal church of 
the tuath or district in which it was situated. A 
cathedral, or any large or important cliurch, 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 in- 

318 Artificial Structures. [part iii. 

eluding tlio city of Derry, and the last the town of 

DomhnacJt. The Irish word domJtnach [downagh], 
which signifies a chui'ch, and also Sunday, is from 
the Latin Dominica, the Lord's day. According 
to the Tripartite Life, Jocelin, Ussher, &c., all the 
churches that Lear the name of Domhuach, or in 
the anglicised form, Donagh, were originall}^ founded 
by St. Patrick ; and they were so called because he 
marked out their foundations on Sunday. For ex- 
ample, in the Tripartite Life we are told that the 
saints " having remained for seven Sundays in Cinn- 
achta, laid the foundations of seven sacred houses to 
the Lord; [each of ] which he therefore called Domi- 
nica" i. e. in Irish Domhach. Shanonagh in tlie 
parish of Templeoran in Westmeath, is called Sen- 
donagh, in Sir Robert Nugent's Patent, and ex- 
plained in it " Old Sonday," but it properly means 
"Old Church." 

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. 94, supra), 
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 Domh- 
vac/i-Sec/uiaiil [Donna-shaughnill : Leabhar Breac], 
the church of St. Sechnall, now shortened to Dun- 
shaughlin, 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 

CHAP. II. j Ecclesiastical Edijiees. 319 

places tliere must have been one of the primitive 
Bomiiiicas, and most of them have burial places and 
ruins to this day ; fourteen of the parishes are 
called Donaghmore, great church. Donaghanie near 
Clogherny in Tja-one, 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 Domhnacli-maigliin 
the church of the little plain ; and there is a 
place of the same name near Clogher in Tyrone. 
The Irish name of Donaghedy in Tyrone, is Domh- 
nach-Chaeide (O'C. Cal.) ; and it was so called from St. 
Caeide or Caidoc, a companion of St. Columbanus. 
The genitive form of the word (see p. 34) gives 
name to Donnycarney, Cearnach'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 oracnlmn ; 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 
parish 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 

320 Artificial Structuvcs. [part hi. 

once a very important cstablislimont ; it is often 
mentioned by the annalists, and called by them 
Aiveagcil-Bacliiarog, the church of St. Dachiaroj^. 
Errigal Trough in Monaghan, is called in Irish 
Aireagal-'Triuclia, the cliurch of (the barony of) 
Trough. Duarriglo is the name of a place on the 
Blackwater, near Millstreet in Cork, containing the 
ruins of a castle built by the O'Keeffes ; its Irish 
name is Diibh-aifcaf/a/, black habitation or oratory ; 
there is another place of the same name near Kanturk; 
and we have Coolnaharragill in the parish of Glan- 
behy, west of Killarney, the corner or angle of the 

Urnaidhe. This word which is variously written 
uriiaid/ie, or)iaid/ie,OT ernaidhe [urny, erny], signifies 
primarily a prayer, but in a secondary sense, it is 
applied to a prayer-house : Latin oratorium. 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 Urnoidhe. 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 Temple- 
nahurney in Tipperary, the church of the oratory. 

Serin. Serin [skreen], which comes directly from 
the Latin scriniicm, signifies a shrine, i. e. an orna- 
mented casket or box, containing the relics of a saint. 
These shrines were ver}'' usual in Ireland ; they were 
held in extraordinary veneration, and kept with the 
greatest care ; and several churches where they were 
y)reserved were known on this account by the Irish 
name Serin, or in English, Skreen or Skrine. The 

CHAP. II.] Ecclesiastical Edifices. 321 

most remarkable of these was Skreen iu Meath, 
which is called in the aniials Scrin-Choluimcille, St. 
Oolumkille'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 into Ireland at a verj 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-lann and lann-iotha [ihlan, lan-iha], both 
of which are used to signify a granary or barn, liter- 
ally house of corn {ifh, corn) ; the latter is often 
used by the English speaking people of some of the 
Munster counties, who call a barn a linne>/ ; and from 
the former we have Carrignahihilan, the name of a 
townland near Kenmare, the rock of the granary. 
Lann 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 
translated by O'Donovan. It is a word common to 
several languages, and its primary signification seems 
to be an enclosed piece of ground ; " Old Arm. lann ; 
Ital., Fr., Provencal landa, lande, Grothic (and Eng- 
lish) to^/" (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 usually anglicised lyn, hjnn, or lin, from the 
oblique form lainn [lin : see p. 34, supra], as in the 
word linne?/ quoted above. The celebrated St. Col- 
man-Elo, patron of Lynally 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 


322 Artificial Si/ uctures. [pakt hi. 

ncighbourliood about ilio year 500, Columba, who 
]iad como from the convention at J)rui)ii-cc({, to visit 
his monastery at Durrow, proposed that a spot of 
ground should be given to Cohnan, wliere he miglit 
estabhsli a monastery ; and Aodh Shiine, i)rince of 
Meath, afterwards king of Ireland, answered that 
there was a largo forest in his prineipalit}', called 
Fidh-Elo [Fee-Elo], i. e. the wood of Ela, where lie 
might settle if he wished. Colman accepted it, and 
said : — " ]\Iy 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-EIo or Land-Ealla (O'Clery's Cal.), i. e. the 
church of Ela, now anglicised Lynally (see Lanigan, 
Eccl. Hist. II. 304). 

Another place equally celebrated, was Lann-Ieire 
or Land-leri [Book of Leinster], i. e. the church of 
austerity, which until recently was supposed to be 
tlie old church of Lynn, on the east side of Lough 
Ennel in Westmeath. But Dr. Reeves has clearly 
identified it with Dunleer in Louth, the word dun 
being substituted for lanv, while thelatter part of the 
name has been preserved with little change (see 
Dr. Todd in " Wars of GG., introd., p. xl.). The 
old church of Lynn, which gives name to a parish in 
Westmeath, though it is not the Lann-kire of his- 
tory, derives its name from this word lann. 

The word appears in other, and more correct forma 
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-gclog, the church of the bells. In Landbrock 
in Fermanagh, Laim appears to mean simply habita^ 
tion, the name being applied to a badger warren-^ 

CHAP. II.] J^ccksiastical Edifices. 323 

Lann-bvoc, house of badgers. Belan in Kildare, is 
called, by the annalists Blothlann, which name it 
may have derived from a house of hospitality ; bioth, 
life or existence ; Biuthkum, refection iiouse ; similar 
in formation to itJilann corn house (see p. 3Jl). 

Glenavy 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 Visitation Book of 1661. 
In the taxation of 1306, it is called Lcnneicy, and 
in other early English documents, Lenavy, Lynavy, 
&c. (Reeves Eccl. Ant., p. 47), which very well re- 
present the pronunciation of the original Irish name, 
Lann-ahhakh [Lanavy], as given in the Calendar, 
signifying the church of the dwarf. Colgan states 
that when St. Patrick had built the church there, he 
left it in charge of his disciple Daniel, who from his 
low stature, was called abhac [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 Abington, 
Limerick, represents the Irish CeapacJi-an-ahhakh 
the garden plot of the dwarf. 

Baidcac. This is a loan word, little changed, from 
the Latin hcmlka, and bears 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 
Roscommon, which is often mentioned by the Four 
Masters, and which, in the Tripartite Life of St. 
Patrick, is called Baisk'ac-mor, great church. The 


324 Artificial Slructurcs. [part in. 

other placo lias for its iiamo tlio (liminutivo Bas- 
lickauo, and is a townlaiid iu the parish of Kilcro- 
haiie, Kerry. 

Disert. The word di^iot is borrowed from the Latin 
descrtum, and retains its original meaning iu 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 mbec 
aigi ann sin,'' and he (the saint) had a little desert 
(hermitage) there. It is generally used in an ecclesi- 
astical 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 are the names of a con- 
siderable number of parishes and townlands through- 
out Ireland, except only in the Connauglit 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, frist/e, &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 iJisert-NuadJian [Nooan], St. 
Nuadha's hermitage ; but the people now call it 
in Irish, Tirs-Nuadlian ; while in an Inquisition of 
Elizabeth, it is called in one place Issctnotvne, and 
in another place, Issertnouiie, which stand as inter- 
mediate forms between the ancient and present names. 

CHAP. II.] Ecclesiastical Edifices. 325 

Though written Estersnow on the Ordnance maps, it 
is really called by the people, when speaking English, 
Eastersnoiv, which form was evidently evolved under 
the corrupting influence noticed at page 38, supra, 
(IX). The patron saint is probably the Nuadha 
[Nooa] 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 
retains his name (see O'Donovan's Four Masters, 
Vol. III., p. 646, note p). 

This root word assumes another form in Isertkelly, 
an ancient church giving name to a parish in Gal- 
way, mentioned by tlie Four Masters, who call it 
Disert-Clieallaigh, Ceallach's or Kelly's hermitage; 
and in Isertkieran, a parish in Tipperary, which no 
doubt received its name from St. Ciaran of Ossory 
(see p. 148, supra). It is still further altered in 
Ishartmon, a parish in Wexford, St. Munna's desert, 
i. e. St. Munna of Taghmon (p. 302). 

In some of the Leinster counties there are several 
places whose names have been changed by the sub- 
stitution of the modern word castle for the ancient 
cUsert ; 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 old hermitage. 
Castledermot in Kildare, whose ancient importance 
is still attested by its round tower and crosses, is well 
known by the name of Disert Diarmada ; where 
Diarmad, son of Aedh Eoin, 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 Eiddlesford in the time of Stroug- 

The Irish name of Castledillon in Kildare, is 
Disert-IoIIadJian [Disertillan], i. e. lolladhan's hey- 

32G Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

mitngo. near Oklcastlo in Mcath, is 
another cxamplo. Tho ancient name of this place, as 
appears by tlio Four Masters, A.D. 8G8, was Bealavh- 
(iiiin [BalhighJoon], the road of the dun or fort ; but 
after the time of St. Ciarau tho Tious, who founded 
a monastery there in the eighth century, and died 
in tho year 770, it was generally called in the annals, 
Jjisert-Chiarain [Disert-Kieran], St. Kieran's her- 
mitage. The castle that originated the present form 
of the name belonged, as some think, to the Staffords, 
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 tho time 
of the introduction of Christianity into this country, 
crosses were erected in connection with churches and 
other religious foundations ; they were at first simple 
and unadorned, but became gradually more elegant 
in design, and more elaborate in ornamentation; and 
we have yet remaining, in many parts of the coun- 
try, crosses of the most beautiful workmanship, last- 
ing memorials of the piety and artistic skill of our 

These monuments 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 

CHAP. II.] Ecclesiastical Edifices, 327 

very general custom is attested not only by liistory, 
but also by the great number of places that have 
taken their names from crosses. 

Tlie word Cross itself is the name of about thirty 
towulands, and it forms the first sylhable 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, tlie Irish 
name being Cros-air-loc/i, the cross on or by the lake. 
Crossmolina in Mayo, is called by the Four Masters, 
Cros-tii-Mhaeilfliina [Crossyweeleena] , O'Mulleeny's 
cross ; the family of O'Maelfhina, whose descendants 
of the present day generally call themselves Mullany, 
had their seat here, and were chiefs of the surround- 
ing district. There are some townlands and a vil- 
lage in Down, called Crossgar, short cross ; Cross- 
farnoge, the name of a prominent cape near Carusore 
point, signifies the cross of the alder tree ; and Gort- 
nagross, the name of several places iu the northern 
and southern counties, is the field of the crosses — 
Gort-na-gcros. The parish of Aghaeross (the ford of 
the cross), near Kildorrery in Cork, took its name, 
no doubt, from a cross in connection with St. 
Molaga's establishment (see p. 151), 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. 34, supra) is pro- 
nounced crush, and has given the name Crosh to two 

3'28 Artificial S/rucinres. [part hi. 

townlands in Tyrone ; to Crushybracken in Antrim, 
O'Bracken's cross ; and to several other places. Wo 
find the genitive in Arduaeruslia, the name of a vil- 
lage near Ijinierick city, and of a townland in Cork, 
Anl-na-croise, the height of the cross ; the diminn- 
tive, Crusheon, little cross, is the name of a small 
town in Chare ; and there are townlands in Galway 
called Crosheen and Crusheeny, — the last meaning 
little crosses. Crossairc [crussera], which is a deri- 
vative from cros, is applied in the south of Ireland to 
cross-roads, and hence we liave Crossery and Crussera, 
two townlands in Waterford, the latter near Dungar- 
van. For the form croc//, see page 219. 



Before the introduction of Christianity, 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 history 
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. 

Occasionally the bodies of kings and chieftaing 

CHAP. III.] Mommienfs, Graves, and Cemeteries. 329 

were buried in a standing posture, arrayed in full 
battle costume, with the 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. 138, 139, supra) vf&s 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 Bath 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 Hill," p. 155). 
The same circumstance is related in a still older 
authority, with some additional interesting details — 
the "Annotations of Tirechau," in the Book of 
Armagh. King Leaghaire 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 their weapons 
ready, face to face [in which manner they remain] 
to the day of Erdathe, 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. 
Kellach, it is stated, that his father, Owen Bel, great 
grandson of Dathi, and king of Connaught (see pp. 
103 and 138, supra) was killed in the battle of Sligo, 
fought against the Ulstermen. And before his death 
h^ told his people " to bury him with his red javelin 

330 Artificiiil Structures. [part hi. 

in liis liaiul in the grave. * Placo my fnco towards 
the north, on tlio side of tlio hill by which tho 
northerns pass when Hying before tho army of Con- 
nanght ; let ray grave face them, and place myself 
iu it after this manner.' And this order was strictly 
complied with; and in everyplace where tho Olanna 
Neill and tho Connaciansmet in conllict, the Clanna 
Neill and the Northerns were routed, being panic- 
stricken by tho countenances of their foes ; so that 
the Clanna Neill and the people of tho north of Ire- 
land, therefore resolved to come with a numerous host 
ioRath-O^hhFiaclirach [Eathoveeragh] 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 
Aoiach Loc/ia Gilo, with the mouth down, that it 
might not be the means of causing them to fly be- 
fore the Connacians " (Translated by O'Donovan 
in " Hy Fiachrach," p. 472). 

It is very curious that, in some parts of the coun- 
try, the people still retain a dim traditional memory 
of this mode of sepulture, and of the superstition 
connected with it. There is a place in the parish of 
Errigal in Londonderry, called Slaghtaverty, but it 
ought to have been called Laghtdverti/, the Jdc/ht 
or sepulchral monument of the ahhnrtach [avartagh] 
or dwarf (see p. 66, supra). This dwarf was a ma- 
gician, and a dreadful tyrant, and after having 
perpetrated great cruelties on the people he was 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 haunt;', more cruel and vigo- 
rous than ever. And the chief slew him a second 
time and buried him as before, but again he escaped 

CHAP. III.] Monuments, Graves, and Cemeteries. 331 

from the grave, and spread terror through the whole 
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, n-ith his head 
doicnicards ; 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 (7tli 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 liis grave " (Yit. 
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 wlio 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 foi' 

332 Artificial Structures. [part iii. 

elevated situations as their final resting-place ; and 
accordingly wo find tliat great numbers of mountains 
through the country have one or more of these earns 
on their summit, under each of which sleeps some 
person important in his day. Tliey are sometimes 
very large, and form conspicuous objects when viewed 
from the neighbouring plains. 

Many mountains through every part of the country 
take their names from these earns, the name of the 
monument gradually extending itself to the hill. 
Carnlea, a high hill north of Cushendall in Antrim, 
is an example, its Irish name being Carn-Uatli, grey 
cam ; the great pile on the top of Carn Clanhugh in 
Longford (the carn of Clanhugh or Hugh's sons, a 
sept of the O'Farrells) 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 carn 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 its forms the 
middle or end ; and there are innumerable monu- 
ments of this kind all through the country, which 
have not given names to townlands. The place 
called Carn, in the parish of Conry, near the hill of 
TJshnagh in Westmeath, is the ancient Carn Fiachach 
(Four M.), Fiacha's monument, which was erected 
to commemorate Fiacha, son of Niall of the Nine 
Hostages (see p. 138, supra), the ancestor of the 
Mageoghegans. It is very probable that the persons 
who are commemorated in such names as the follow- 
ing, are those over whom the earns were originally 

Carnteel, now a village and parish in Tyrone, U 

CHAP. III.] Monuments, Graves, and Cemeteries. 333 

called by the Four Masters Carn-tSiacUiail, Siadhal's 
or Shiel's monument. There is a remarkable moun- 
tain, with a earn on its summit, called Cam Tierna, 
near Eathcormack in the county Cork. According 
to O'Curry (Lectures, p. 267), Tighernach [Tierna] 
Tetbaunach king of Munster in the time of Conor 
mac Nessa, in the first century, was buried in this, 
whence it was called Cam Tighcrnaigh, Tighernach's 
earn ; and the sound of the old name is preserved in 
the modern Carn Tierna. Carmavy (Grrange) in 
the parish of Killead, Antrim, Maev's carn ; Carn- 
kenny near Ardstraw in Tyrone, the carn of Cain- 
nech or Kenny ; Carnew in Wicklow probably 
contains the same personal name as Ilathnew — 
Carn-Naoi^ Naoi's earn ; Carnacally, the name of 
several places, the monument of the calliach 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 Caruagat, the carn of the cats, from having 
been resorts of wild cats ; and a similar remark ap- 
plies to Carnalughoge near Louth, the carn of the 
mice. Carney in Sligo is not formed from carn ; it 
is really a family name, the full designation being 
Farran-O'Carney, O'Carney's land. 

Other modifications of this word are seen in Carron, 
the name of several townlands in Waterford, Tip- 
perary, and Limerick ; and in Carronadavderg near 
Ardmore in AVaterford, the monument of the red ox, 
a singular name, no doubt connected with some le- 
gend: Carnane and Carnaun, little carn, are very 
often met with ; and the form Kernan is the name 

334 Artificial Structures. [i'Art iir. 

of a townland near Armagh, and of another in tho 
county Down. 

Tlio mounds or tumuli of eartli or stones, raised 
over a grave, were Rometimos designated by the word 
iuaim [toom]. Like tho cognate Latin word tumulus, 
it was primarily applied to a hillock or dyke, and in 
a secondary sense to a monumcnlal mound or tomb. 
These mounds, which were either of eartli or stones, 
are still found in all kinds of situations, and some- 
times they are oxocedingly large. It is often not 
easy to distinguish them from the r^/y^.s or residences ; 
but it is probable that these mounds that have no ap- 
pearance of circumvallations are generally sepulchral. 
The}' have given names to a great many places in 
every part of Ireland, in numbers of which tho 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 Bog, 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 Fcarsat Tnania, the farscf or ford of 
the tumulus ; but in the annals it is generally called 

Tomgraney in Clare is often mentioned by the 
annalists, who call it Taaim-GrcinS, the tomb of 
(man, a woman's name. The traditions of the place 
still preserve the memory of the lady Grian, but the 
people now call her Gillagraney — Gile-Greine, 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 Derrygraney ; 
and that she was buried at Tomgraney. All these 

CHAP. 111.] Ilomiments, Graves, and Cemeteries 335 

places retain her name, and lier 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 commenc- 
ing with the lowest at the north east and ascending 
gradually for the length of forty feet towards the 
south west" (Reeves's Eccl. Ant., p. G6). The pile 
is called Granny's Grave, which is a translation of 
Carn-Greine (see also Knockgrean in 2nd Series). 

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 Tiuiim-Fionnloclia, the tumulus 
of the bright lake. Toomona in the parish of Ogulla, 
same county, where are still to be seen the ruins of 
a remarkable old monastery, is called in the annals 
Ttiawi-niona, the tomb of the bog. Toomyvara in 
Tipperary, exactly represents the sound of the Irish 
Taaim-iii-Mheadhra, O'Mara's tomb; and Tomdeely, 
a townland giving name to a parish in Limerick, is 
probably the tumulus of or by the (river) Deel. 

On the summit of Toniies mountain, which rises 
over the lower lake of Killarney, there are two sepul- 
chral heaps of stones, not far from one another ; 
hence the Irish name Tuamaidlte [Toomy], i.e. monu- 
mental mounds ; and the present name, Avhich 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 Roscommon is Tuaim-mna (Four Mast.), 

336 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

tlio tumulus of tho woman {bean, a woman, gon. 
mna). Tooman and Toomog, little tombs, are the 
names of several townlands in diiferent counties. 

Dumha [dooa] is anotlior word for a sepulchral 
mound or tumulus ; it is very often used in Irish 
writings, 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 
Longford which gives name to a barony, is called by 
the Four Masters, Magh-dumha [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 dn})h, 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 dumhach. Knockadoo, the 
hill of the moimd, is the name of some townlands in 
Eoscommon, Sligo, and Londonderry ; and there are 
several places called Corradoo, Corradooa, and Corra- 
dooey, the round hill of the tumulus. 

A leacht [laght] is a sepulchre or monument, cog- 
nate with Lat. Icctus and Greek leclios ; for in many 
languages a grave is called a bed (see Icaha, further 
on) ; Groth. liga ; Eng. lie, lay; Manx, Ihiarjht. It is 
often applied, like earn, to a monumental heap of 
stones : in Cormac's Glossary it is explained lighcdh 
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 

CHAP. 111.] Monuments, Graves, and Cemeteries. 337 

some townlands in Mayo and Leitrim, and we find 
Laghtagalla, white sei^ulchres, 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 {Doireleachfa) ; Letfern in 
Tyrone, the laght of the /earns or alder trees ; and 
Corlat, the name of several places in the Ulster coun- 
ties, the round hill of the sepulchres. 

The word ntadh [ulla] originally meant a tomb 
or earn, as the following passages will show : — " oc 
denam uluidh cumdachta imat flaith,'" making a pro- 
tecting tomb over thy chief (O'Donovau, 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 Ollarba (Larne 
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 hiinne 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 


338 Art ijiiial Structures . [paut in. 

faithful. It wns usod in this sense at an early period, 
for in the "Battle of Aloyrath," it is said that "Domli- 
nall never went away from a cross without bow- 
ing, nor from an iihiidh without turning round, nor 
from an altar without praying" (p. 298). On which 
O'Donovan remarks : — " U/iiid/t, 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 
all over Ireland, in many of which, especially in the 
west and south, they may still be seen. 

Among several places in Cork, we have Glenna- 
hulla near Kildorrery, and Kilnahulla in the parish of 
Kilmeen, the glen and the church of the altar tomb ; 
the latter name beinj; the same as Killulla in Clare. 
In Ulusker near Castletown Bearhaven, the word 
seems to be used in its primary sense, as the name 
is understood to mean Oscar's earn ( Ul<(dk-(>-<riiir) ; 
and in this sense wh must no doubt understand it in 
TuUyullagh near Euniskillen, the hill of the tombs. 
Knockanully in Antrim signifies the hill of the tomb ; 
and Tomnahulla in Galway, would be written in 
Irish, Tufiim-na-Ji)iIaidJi, the mound of the altar 
tomb. We have the diminutive Ullauns near Kil- 
larney, and Ullanes near Macroom in Cork, both 
signifying little stone altars. 

" A cromlech, when perfect, consists of three or 
more stones unhewn, 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 its degree of inclina- 
tion does not appear to have been regulated by any 
design" (Wakeman's Handbook of Irish Anti(juities, 

CHAP. III.] Monuments, Graves, and Cemeteries. 339 

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 
offering sacrifices. It is now, however, well known 
that they are tomhs, 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 " Giants' graves," which is applied 
to them in many parts of the country, preserves, with 
sufficient correctness, the memory of their original 
purpose. They have other forms besides that de- 
scribed ; sometimes they are very large, consisting 
of a chamber thirty or forty feet long, covered by a 
series of flags laid horizontally, like Carn granny 
(p. 335) ; and not unfrequently the chamber is in 
the form of a cross. 

The word cromlech — crom-lcac, sloping stone {crow-, 
bending, sloping) — 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-speakiug peasantry. 

These sepulchres are sometimes called kaba or 
kabaidh, old Irish /f'^r//rf[labba,labbyJ,Manx Ihiabbce ; 
the word literally signifies a bed, but it is applied in 
a secondary sense to a grave, both in the present 
spoken language and in old writings. For example, 
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, 


340 Arlijicial Structures. [part hi. 

" was buried in the same Icahaid/i with Ua Suanaigh, 
for his groat lioiiDiir with God and man." There is 
a fine sepulchral monument of this kind, liitherto 
unnoticed, in a mountain glen over Mount llussell 
near Charlevillo, on the borders of the counties of 
Limerick and Cork, -which the peasantry call Labba- 
Jscur, Oscur's grave. O'Brien (Diet, voce Leaba) says, 
" Leaba is the name of several places in Ireland, 
which are by the common people called Lcabthacha- 
na-Uifcinnc [Labbaha-na-veanaJ, the monuments of 
the Fenii or old Irish champions ;" and it may be 
remarked that Oscur was one of the most renowned 
of these, being the son of Oisin, the son of Finn mao 
Cumhal (see ]). 90, aupra). 

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 
tlie 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 ancestral name is Sheedy, now call themselves 
Silk. In case of Labasheeda, the inhabitants believe 
that it was so called from the beautiful smooth strand 
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 
Leaba-Dhiarmada-agus-Grninne, the bed of Diarmaid 
and Grainne ; and this name is connected with the 
well-known legend, that Diarmaid O'Duibhne [Der- 
mod O'Deena], eloped with Grainne, the daughter 
of king Cormac mac Art, and Finn mac Cumhail's 
betrothed spouse. The pair eluded Finn's pursuit 

CHAP. III.] Monuments, Graves, and Cemeteries. 341 

for a year and a day, sleeping in a different place 
each night, under a lealja 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 leahaidh, whicli was understood 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 Clondrohid in Cork ; and 
to the term Labbacallee — Leaha-caiUighe, hag's bed — 
sometimes applied to these monuments. 

In some parts of Ulster a cromlech is called cloch- 
toghJiala [clogh-togla], i. e. raised or lifted stone, in 
reference to the covering flag ; from which Cloch- 
togle near Enniskillen, and Cloghogle (/ 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. It may 
be remarked that cromlechs are sometimes called 
"griddles" in other places ; thus Gabriel Berauger, 
who made a tour through Ireland in the last century, 
mentions one situated in a bog near Easky in Sligo, 
which was usually called " Finn Mac Cool's Griddle." 
" In many parts of Ireland, and particularly in dis- 
tricts where the stone circles occur, 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 maen-gwjT 
of Wales. Many theories have been promulgated 
relative to their origin. They are supposed to have 

312 Arlifu'lnl Structures. [paut lit. 

been itlol-stoncs — to have Loon stones oi' memorial — 
to have heon erocted as landmarks, boundaries, &c. — 
and, lastly, to be monumental stones" (AVakc^man's 
*' Handbook of Irish Antiquities," p. 17). We know 
that the erection of pillar stones as sepulchral monu- 
ments is often recorded in ancient Irish authorities, 
one example of which will be found in the passaf^o 
quoted from Leabhar na hUidhre at page "^VM ; but 
it is probable that some were erected for other pur- 

There are several words in Irish to signify a pillar 
stone ; one of which is coirihe or cnirthe [corha, 
carhaj. 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 Glen- 
car, on the borders of Leitrira and Sligo, is called in 
Irish, GIeann-(C-chairthe [GlenacarhaJ, the glen of 
the pillar stone ; but its ancient name, as used by 
the Four Masters, was Cairthe-Muilcheann [Carha- 
Mulkan]. 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 Cnoe-a-chairthc, the hill of 
the pillar stone ; and in Louth we find Drumnacarra, 
which has nearly the same meaning. 

These stones are also, as Mr. Wakeman remarks, 
called gatlnnns and Icaganns. The Irish form of the 
first is (/aUdii, which is sometimes corrupted in the 
modern language to dalldn ; it has given name to 
G-allan near Ardstraw in Tyrone ; and to Gallane 
and Gallanes in Cork. There are several low hills 
in Ulster, which, from a pillar stone standing on the 
top, were called Drumgallan, and some of them have 

CHAP. III.] 3fonumc)i(s, Gmvc><, and Cemeteries. 343 

given names to townlands. Aghagallon, the field of 
the galltnt, is the name of a townland in Tyrone, and 
of a pai'ish 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- 
gullane, the church of the pillar stone. 

The word gall, of which gallan is a diminutive, was 
applied to standing stones, according to Cormac mac 
Cullenan (see p. 93, supra), because they were first 
erected in Ireland by the Gauls. This word is also 
used in the formation of names ; as in Cangullia, a 
place near Castleisland in Kerry, the Irish name of 
which is Ceai)n-gail/e, the head or hill of the stand- 
ing stone. The adjective gallaeh, meaning a place 
abounding in standing stones, or large stones or rocks, 
has given name to several places now called Grallagh, 
scattered through all the provinces except Munster ; 
and Grallow, the name of a parish in Meath, is another 
form of the same word. 

The other term liagcin [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 plural, 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 Grlanworth 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. 

Ferf, plural, /ey/r^, signifies a grave or trench. The 
old name of Slane on the Boyne, was Ferta-fer-Feic, 

344 Arfljicia/ Strucliircs. [paiit ill. 

and tho account plvon Ity Colgan (Trias Tliaura., 
p. 20) of tho origin of tliis name, brings out very 
clearly the moaning oi /<rta : — "There is a place on 
the nortli margin of the river Boyno, now called 
Slaiue ; [but anciently] it was called Fcrfa-/<r-Feic, 
i. c. 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 Tirechan, of tho burial in the ferta, of 
Laeghaire's three daughters (see p. 179, supra), who 
bad 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 a ferta ; be- 
cause so the Scotic people and gentiles were used to 
do, but with us it is called Reliquio! (Irish lieleg), 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 
chiain and other words, it was often adopted by the 
early Irish saints (see Eeeves's " Ancient Churches of 
Armagh," p. 47). 

The names Farta, Ferta, and Fartha (i. e. graves), 
each of which is applied to a townland, exiiibit 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 Fcrfa-na-gcaerach, 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. (Four Masters, Vol. L, 

cttAP. III.] Monuments, Graves, and Cemeteries. 345 

p, 498), In the parish of Magheross, Monaghan, 
there is a townland called Nafartv, 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. 

Reilig, old Irish relcc, means a cemetery or grave- 
yard ; it is the Latin rctiqiiice, and was borrowed very 
early, for it occurs in the Zeuss MSS. The most ce- 
lebrated place in Ireland with this name was ReUig- 
nn-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. 
Relick 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. 
the cemetery. The parish of Relickmurry [and 
Athassel] in Tipperary, took its name from an old 
burial ground, whose church must have been dedi- 
cated to the Blessed Virgin, for the name signifies 
Mary's cemetery. One mile S. E. of Portstewart in 
Londonderry, there are two townlands called Rose- 
lick More and Roselick Beg. Roselick is a modern 
contraction for Rosrelick as we find it written in the 
Taxation of 1306 ; and the name signifies the ros or 
point of the cemetery. There is a spot in Roselick 
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 (Reeves : Eccl. 
Ant., p. 75). 

34G Artificial Sfrucfiiir/i. [pyVUT itt. 



" The most interosting word connoctGcI with topical 
nomonclaturo is ha////. As an existing element it is 
the most prevalent of all local terms in Ireland, there 
being 0,400 townlands, or above a tenth of the sura 
total, into [the beginning of "J whose names this word 
enters as an element. And tliis 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 tho northern counties, to prefix hal/// to 
almost every name whose meaning would admit of 
it " (" The "Townland Distribution of Ireland," by 
the Rev. TVm. Reeves, T>. D.: Proc. R.I. A., Vol. 
VII., p. 473, where this word baili^ is fully dis- 

The Irish word bailif is now understood to mean a 
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 Glossary, the 
Book of liccan, &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'Rourke, 
having been kept in prison by his brother, slew his 
keeper, " and ascending to the top of the bmle, 
cried out that the castle was in his power ;" in which 

CHAP. IV.] Towns and Villages. 347 

haile evidently means the fortress in wliicli lie was 
confined. lu the Yellow Eook of Lecan, an ancient 
gloss explains a rath (i. e. a fort or residence) by 
baile ; and in the story of "The fate of the children of 
Lir " we read : — " She [Aeife] went on to [the fairy 
residence called] Sidh Buidhhh Deirg [Shee-Boov- 
derg] ; and the nobles of the baile bade her welcome" 
(Atlantis, VII., p. 124). 

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 
Grreen Bailey. Our Annals relate that Criffan, 
monarch of Ireland in the first century, had his resi- 
dence, JDun-Cri/fft)/, at Ben Edar or Howth, where he 
died in A. D. 9, "after returning from the famous ex- 
pedition 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 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 err- 
ing shot was discharged ; and two greyhounds, with 
a silver chain between them, which chain was worth 
three hundred camhals ; with many other precious 
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 which 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 
lighthouse stood; but this does not invalidate the 

348 Artificial Sfrurtinrs. [pakt tit. 

dprivatioii of tlio iiaino. And so tlio memory of 
(^Jriifan's old ha////, wliicli has long boon lost in pojnilar 
tradition, still lives in the name of the Bailoy lii^ht- 
house. In the colloquial languaf»o of tho present 
day the word hcii/c is used to signify Jiome, Avhieh is 
obviousl}^ a relic of its more ancient application to a 

In modorn times this word is usually translated 
" town ; " but in this souse it is applied to the smallest 
village, even to a collection of only a couple of 
houses. It is also used to designate mere iowwlands, 
without any reference at all to liabitations. 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 
tlie forms, ba/i, halci/, IxdU, bale, &c. It is probable 
that in many old names which have descended to our 
own time the word balhj is used in the sense of " re- 
sidence," but it is difficult or impossible to distin- 
guish them ; and I have, for tlie sake of uniformity, 
throughout this book translated the word by " town" 
or " townland." 

The most common anglicised form of baile is hnlh/, 
which is found in a vast number of names ; such as 
Ballyorgan near Kilfinane in Limerick, which the 
people call in Irish Baile-Aragdin, the town of Ara- 
gcni, an ancient Irish personal name, the same as the 
modern Ilorgan or Organ. In Ballybofey (Donegal) 
the ball)/ is a modern addition ; and the place, if it 
had retained an anglicised form of the old name, 
Sraf/i-bo-F/aich (Four Masters), should have been 
called Sraf/ibqfei/. Some old chief or occupier named 
Fiach must have in past times kept his cows on the 

CHAP. IV.] Towns and ViUcges. 349 

beautiful holm along the river Finn near the town ; 
for the name signifies the srath or river holm of 
Fiach's cows, liallyheige in Kerry has its name 
from the family of O'Teige, its full Irish name being 
Baile-ui-Thad(j ; and Ballylanders is in like manner 
called from the English family of Landers. Indeed, 
a considerable proportion of these BuUys take their 
names from families, of which many are so plain as 
to tell their own story. 

When ballt/ is joined to the article followed by a 
noun in the genitive singular, if the noun be mascu- 
line, the Irish Bailc-cni- is generally contracted to 
Balli)i- ; as we find in Ballinrobe in Mayo, which the 
Four Masters write BaUe-an-Rodhba [liobaj, the 
town of the (river) Robe ; and in Ballincurry, Bal- 
lincurra, and Ballincurrig, all of which are in Irish 
Baile-an-churraigh, the town of tlie moor or marsh. 
But it is occasionally made BalUjn-, as in Ballyneety, 
the name of a dozen places, chiefly in Waterford, 
Tipperary, and Limerick, which represents the sound 
of the Irish Baile-an-Fliaeite, the town of White, a 
family name of English origin. If the following 
noun be feminine, or in the genitive plural, the Irish 
Baile-na- is made either Ballina- or Bcdii/na- ; as in 
the common townland names, Ballynahinch and Bal- 
linahinch, the town of the island ; Ballynaglogh, the 
town of the stones [cloch, a stone). 

In the counties on the eastern coast, halli/ is very 
often shortened to hal, of which there are numerous 
examples, such as Baldoyle near Lublin, which is 
written in the Registry of All Hallows, Balydowyl, 
and in other old Anglo-Irish authorities, Ballydub- 
gaill, Balydugil, Ballydowill, &c. — Irish, Baile-Dubh- 
(jhoill, the town of Dubhgliall or Loyle, a personal 
name meaning black Gall or foreigner. Balbriggan, 

350 Artijicinl Structures. [paut ni. 

the town of Breoan, a very usual personal name ; 
Bulrath is generally the town of the fort; but 15al- 
rath in tlie jiarish of Castletown-Kindalen in West- 
nieath, is lUlc-railia (Four M.), the bile or ancient 
tree of the rath. Baltrasna, cross-town, i. e. placed 
in a transverse direction, tlie same name as IJally- 
trasna, Ballytarsna, and Ballytarsney. 

The plural of Ixtile is hailte, which appears in names 
as it is pronounced, txtHy. There is a townland in 
Wicklow, near Hollywood, called Baltyboys, i. e. 
Boice's townlands ; and a furtlier step in the process 
of anglicisation appears in its alias name of Boystown, 
wliicli form has given name to the parish. Baltylum 
in Armagh, bare townlands, i. e. bare of trees; 
Baltydaniel in Cork, Donall's or Donihnall's town- 
lands. The diminutives Balleen and Balteen (little 
town) are the names of several places in Kilkenny 
and tlie Munster counties ; Balteenbrack in Cork, 
speckled little town. 

Baile is not much liable to changes of form furtlier 
than I have noticed ; yet in a few names we find it 
much disguised. For instance, Coolballow in the 
parish of Kerloge, AVexford, represents Cul-hhaile, 
back town, 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 JSoMviUe in Innishowen, Donegal, is Bo- 
hhaile, cowtown ; Lough(^o//ard near Clane, Kildare, 
the lake of the high-town ; Derry icillow in Leitrim 
represents Doire-hhailc, which, with the root words 
reversed, is the same name as Ballinderry, the town 
of the do'ry or 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-fhiona 

CHAP. IV.] Toivns and Villages. 351 

[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 sometimes made stracl, as 
in Stradreagh in Londonderry, grey-street ; Strad- 
avoher near Thurles, the street of the road : Strad- 
brook near Monkstown, Dublin, is very probably a 
translation of Snithan-na-sraidS [Sruhanasrauda], the 
brook of the street. 

A village consisting of one street, undefended by 
either walls or castle — a small unfortified hamlet — 
was often called Smdhhaile, i. e. 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 
of Leis.'' 

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 writings, but always as a part 
of local names. 

It is usually spelled in the present anglicised names 
Borris, Burris, and Burges, 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, were so called to dis- 
tinguish them from each other, and from other 
Borrises ; being situated in the ancient territories of 

352 Artificial Structures. [part hi. 

Carra, Ossory, Iloagh or Ui-Luighdlicnch, and Vmhall, 
or ''The Owles." Borrisnafarnoy, tlio name of a 
parisli in Tipperary, signifies tlio borougli of the 
alder-plain (see Faruoy) ; 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 
lormation of names, there being upwards of sixty 
places called Graigue, and a great many others of 
whose names it forms a part. It does not occur at 
all in Ulster. 

The name of Graiguenamanagh in Kilkenn}'-, bears 
testimony to its former ecclesiastical eminence, for it 
signifies the village of the monks ; Graiguealug and 
Graiguenaspiddogue, both in Carlovv, the village of 
the hollow, and of the robin-redbreasts ; Graiguefra- 
hane in Tipperary, the graig of the freagham or 
whortleberries. Gragane and Graigeen 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 Tipperary, 
the height of the village. 



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 

CHAP, v.] Fords, Weirs, and Bridges. iJ53 

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 everywhere, 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 enclosed 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., 0. VII., Sect. VII.). Very often also, 
when circumstances 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 structures. 

There are several Irish words for the different kinds 
of fords, of which the most common is af/i, cognate 
with Latin vadum. In the various forms ath, ah, 
augh, agh, a, &c., it forms a part of hundreds of names 


35-i Artificial S/nicttircs. [i'art hi. 

all over Ireland (see p. 44, supra). The Shannon 
must liavo been anciently fonlable at Athlono ; and 
thoro was a time when the site of the i)rosent busy 
town was a wild waste, relieved by a few solitary 
huts, and when the traveller— directed perhaps by a 
professional guide — struggled across the dangerous 
passage where the bridge now spans the stream. It 
appears from the "Battle of Moylena" (p. GO), that 
this place was first called Atkmore, great ford, which 
was afterwards changed to Ath-Luain, the ford of 
Luan, a man's name, formerly very common. I know 
nothing i'urther of this Luan, except that we learn 
his father's name from a })assage in the tale called 
" The fate of the children of Tuireann," in which the 
place is called Af/i-LHai)i-mic-Lui(jhd//ecich, the ioid of 
Luan the sou of Lewy. 

Athleague on the Suck in the county Roscommon, 
is called by the Eour Masters Ath-liar/, the ford of 
the stones, or more fully, Ath-Uag-Macnagain, 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-Uag on the Shannon, which is also very 
often mentioned in the Annals ; it crossed the river 
at the present village of Lanesborough, and it is now 
called in Irisli Baile-atJia-Uag, or in English Bally- 
league (the town of the ford of the stones), w^hich is 
the name of that part of Lanesborough 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 AtJi-Icacach, stony or jiaggy ford. And 
it will appear as I go on, that a great many other 

CHAP, v.] For (h, Weirs, and Br idijes. 355 

places derive their names from these stony fords. 
There Avas another ford higher up on the same river, 
which the Four Masters call Bi'1-atha-na'nDcise [Bel- 
lauaneasy], the ford- mouth of the Desii, from the 
old territory of Deis-beag, v^^hich lay round the hill of 
Knockany ; and in the shortened form of Ath-nDeise 
it gives name to the surrounding parish, now called 

Ath is represented by aa in Drumaa, the name of 
two townlands in Fermanagh, in Irish, Druim-atha, 
the ridge of the ford. A ford on tlie river Inny, for- 
merly surrounded with trees, gave name to the little 
village of Finnea in Westmeath, which the Four 
Mastez's call Fidh-an-atha [Fee-an-aha], the wood of 
the ford. Affane, a well-known place 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 tliey call it Ath-mheadh- 
on \_Ah-vane], middle ford. At the year 524, we read 
in the Four Masters, " the battle of Ath-Sidlie [Ah- 
shee] (was gained) by Muircheartach (king of Ireland) 
against the Leinstermen, where Sidhe,the son of Dian, 
was slain, from whom Af/i-Sid/ie [on the Boyne : 
the ford of Sidhe] is called ;" and the place has pre- 
served this name, now changed to Assey, which, from 
the original ford, has been extended to a parish. Tlie 
same authority states (A. D. 5"JG), that Sin [Sheen], 
the daughter of Sidhe, afterwards killed Muirchear- 
tach, by burning the house of Oletty over his head, 
in revenge of her father's death. 

Afh is very often combined with hai7e, forming the 
compound Baik-atha [Bally-aha], the town of the 
ford ; of which Ballyboy in the King's County, a 


35G Artificial Structures. [part itt. 

village giving name to n parish and barony, is an 
example, being called in various autlioritios, Bdilc- 
atha-huidJtc [Ballyaboy |, the town of the yellow ford. 
There are many townlunds in dilferent counties, of 
the same name, but it probably means yellow town 
[^Baile-huidlie] in some of these cases. Ballylahan in 
the parisli of Templemore, Mayo, is called in the 
annals Bailc-atha-lcathaiit, 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-atha (lleeves : Eccl. 
Ant., p. 41). _ 

The diminutive athdn [ahaun] is of frequent occur- 
rence ; in the forms of Ahane and Ahaun (little ford), 
it gives names to several townlands in tlie southern 
counties ; and there is a parish in Derry called Agh- 
anloo, or in Irish Atluin-Lugha, Lewy's little ford. 

The word hel or heal [bale] primarily signifies a 
mouth, but in a secondary sense it was used, like the 
Latin OS, to signify an entrance to any place. In 
this sense, it appears in Bellaugh, the name of a vil- 
lage lying west of Athlon e. Between this village 
and the town there was formerly a slough or miry 
place, called in Irish a lathach [lahagh], which the 
Four Masters mention by the name oi LatJiacli-Caich- 
tuthbil ; and the spot where the village stands was 
called Bcl-latJiaigh, the entrance to the latliach, which 
is now correctly enough anglicised Bellaugh. Bel- 
laghy, another and more correct form, is the name of 
a village in Londonderry, of another in Sligo, and of 
a towuland in Antrim. 

This word hel is very often united with ath, form- 
ing the compound hel-atlia [bellaha or bella], which 
signifies ford-entrance — an entrance by a lord — li- 
terally mouth of a ford ; it is applied to a ford, and 

CitAP. v.] Fords, Weirs, and Bridges. 357 

has in fact much tlie same signification as ath itself. 
It is so often used in this manner that the word hel 
alone sometimes denotes a ford. Belclare, now the 
name of a parish in Gralway, was more anciently ap- 
plied to a castle erected to defend a ford on the road 
leading to Tuam, which was called Bel-an-cJdair, the 
ford or entrance of the plank. There is also a town- 
land in jMayo, called Belclare, and another in Sligo, 
which the Four Masters call Bel-nn-chlair. Phale 
near Enniskeen in Cork, is called in the Annals of 
Inuisfallen, Inis-an-hheil [Innishanm/t^], the island or 
river holm of the mouth, the last syllable of which is 
preserved in the present name. 

The proper anglicised form of Icl-atha, is hclla., 
which is the beginning of a great many names. Bel- 
lanagare in Eoscommon, formerly the residence of 
Charles O'Conor the historian, is called in Irish Bel- 
atha-na-gcarr, the ford-mouth of the cars (see for cars 
2nd Ser., chap xi.) ; Lisbellaw in Fermanagh, Lios- 
hel-atha, the lis of the ford-mouth. Sometimes the 
article intervenes, making hcl-an-atha in the original, 
the correct modern representative of which is hellana, 
as we find in Bellanacargy in Cavan, the ford-mouth 
of the rock 

Bel-atha is often changed in modern names to halli 
or halhj, as if the original root were haile a town ; 
and hel-an-atha is made ballina. Both of these 
modern forms are very general, but they are so 
incorrect as to deserve the name of corruptions. 
Ballina is the name of about twenty-five townlands 
and villages in different parts of Ireland, several of 
which are written Bel-an-atha in the annals. Ballina 
in Tipperarj^, opposite Killaloe, was so called from 
the ford — now spanned by a bridge — called Atha^na- 
horamha, the ford of the cow tribute ; and here no 

358 Artificial St met una. [i-aktih. 

douLt tlio p:roat monarch Brian was aooustoniod to 
cross the Sliiinnoii wlion rotuniing' to liis ])alaco of 
Kincora, with the herds oi' catthM-xactc'd from tlu; 
Leinstormcu (sco Boro, holow). Balliiia in ^Mayo, on 
the Moy, is somewliat dilfereut, and represents a 
hunger name, for it is calU'd in an ancient i)oom in 
the Book of Locan, Bcl-afhu-a^-flicadliK [liellalianri], 
the ford-month of the wood. We find this compound 
also in Balhnafad in Slip^o, which the Four Masters 
call B('l-an-afha-f(i<hi [Bellanafachi], the moutli of tlie 
long ford ; and there is a viUage in Leitrim and 
several towulands in otlier counties, called Balhna- 
more, the mouth of the great ford. 

Bcl-aiha is reduced to hally and haUi in the fol- 
lowing names. The ford on the river Erne round 
whicli the town of Balljsliaunon rose, is called by 
the annalists, Af/i-Seanai(/h and Jkl-at/ia-Seannir/h 
[Bellaslianny] ; from the latter, tlie modern name 
is derived, and it means the moutli 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 Balhjshanny, wliich is nearer the 
original ; and in an Inquisition of James I., it is 
given witli perfect correctness, Bcalashnnni/. Bally- 
shannon in Kildare, west of Kilcullen Bridge, is also 
called in Irish Afh-Scauaigh (Four Masters), Sean- 
ach's ford ; and the present name was formed, as in 
case of the nortliern town, by prefixing Bel It appears 
from a record in the Annals of Ulster, that this place 
in Kildare was also called UcJiha. 

There is a ford on the river Boro in Wexford, 
called Bel-atha-Borumha, which preserves tlie me- 
mory of the well-known Boniiuha or cow tribute, 
long exacted from the kings of Leinster by the mo- 
narchs of Ireland (see p. 1 57). From the latter part 

CHAP, v.] Fords, Weirs, and Bridges. 359 

of the name, BorumJia [Boru],this river — so lovingly 
commemorated in Mr. Kennedy's interesting book, 
" The banks of the Boro " — derives its name. The 
ford is called Benlnboroice, in an inquisition of 
Charles I., and in the modern form Balljboro, it 
gives name to a townland. Ballylicky, on the road 
from GlengarrifF to Bantry in Cork, wliere the river 
Ouvane enters Bantry Bay, is called in Irish Bel- 
atha-Iice, 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 0'E,eilly spells it, 
scirhh. 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, 
Keny, and Galway. Near Newtownhamilton in 
Armagh, there are two adjoining townlands called 
Skerriff; and the same term is found shortened in 
Scarnageeragh in Monaghan, Scairhh-na-gcaerach, the 
shallow ford of the sheep. 

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 
a village in Down ; Scarvy in Monaghan ; and Scar- 
ragh in Tipperary and Cork. 

In the end of names, when the word occurs in the 
genitive, it is usually, though not always, anglicised 
scarnj, as in Ballynascarry 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 

3G0 Artificial Structures. [paut hi. 

river, gave name to Enniskorry in AVicklow. Tin's 
spot is truly described by tlio term scairb/i, being 
rugged and stony even now ; the natives call it An- 
naskcrri/, and its Irish name is obviously Afh-nn- 
scairhhe [Anascarry], the ford of the .Sf'an-///'or rough 
river-crossing. Other forms are seen in ]5ellana- 
scarrow and Bellauascarva in Sligo, the ford-mouth 
of the scarrif (see p. 357). 

The Viovdifcarsad [farsad] is applied to a sandbank 
formed near the mouth of a river, by the opposing 
currents of tide and stream, "svhich at low water often 
formed a firm, and comparatively safe passage across. 
The term is pretty common, especially in the west, 
where \.\\qsq farscts are of considerable importance, as 
in many places they serve the inhabitants instead 
of bridges. Colgan translates the word, '' vadnm vel 

A sandbank of this kind across the mouth of the 
Lagan gave name to Belfast, which is called in Irish 
authorities Bc/-/cirsde, the ford of the farsef; and the 
same name, in the uncontracted form 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 this 
name is quite forgotten, and the people call it Farsidc, 
and understand it to be an English word ; but the 
name of the adjacent towuland of Ballj'nafarsid 
j)roves, if jiroof were necessary, that it took its name 
from a famct. Callanafersy in Kerry, between the 
mouths of the rivers Maine and Laune, is somewhat 
softened down from the Irish name Cala-na-feirtae, 
the ferry of the fan^et. On the river Swilly where it 
narrows near Letterkenny, there was a/arsci which in 
old times was evidently an important pass, for the 
Four Masters record several battles fought near it : 

CHAP, v.] Fords, Weirs, and Bridges. 361 

it is now called Farsetmore, and it can still be crossed 
at low water. 

A kish or kcsli, in Irish ceis [kesli], 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 hish, which 
originally meant a large wicker basket. These wic- 
kerwork bridges or kisl/cs, were formerly very com- 
mon 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 
ceasaigh-droichet [cassy-drohet] or wicker bridge across 
the Blackwater in Tj-rone, 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 preserved in many places by the names. 

This word appears in its simple form in Ivesh, 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 Hoated 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 licsh of the canv'ga)i or little rock. 
There is a place not far from MalloAv, 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 

Sometimes cciseacli, or in English lashngh, is the 
form used, and this in fact is rather more common 
than kish : we find it as Kisha near Wexford ; and 

3G'2 Arfijiciii/ Slnicdiirs. [i'akt iii. 

the Bam3 form is preserved in Kishaboy {ho;/, yellow) 
in Armagh. Otlior modifications are seen in Casey 
(jrlebo in Donegal ; Cassagh in Kilkenny ; and in 
Cornakessagh in Fermanagh, tiie round hill of the 
wicker causeway. Kishoge, little ^'/.s7/, is the name 
of a place near Lucan in Dublin. 

Those wickerwork causeways were also often de- 
signated hy the word rliaf/i [cleo], which primarily 
means a hurdle ; the diminutive clcthnat glosses ti<iU- 
lion in the Sg. MS. of Zeuss (Gram. Celt., p. 282) ; 
and it is cognate witli T^at. clitclhe and Fr. cldic. An 
artificial ford of this kind was constructed across the 
Lilfey (see p. 45), in very early ages; and the city 
that subsequently sprung up around it was from this 
circumstance called AHi-cIiath [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 Ballj/ — Baile- 
afhn-clnifh (which they pronounce B/aa-cke), the town 
of the hurdle ford. 

The present name, Dublin, is written in the annals 
Dnihh-linn, which in the ancient Latin Life of St. 
Kevin, is translated nigra therma. i. e. black pool ; it 
was originally the name of that part of the Lilfey on 
which the city is built, and is sufficiently descriptive 
at the present day. Duihh-Iinn is sounded DiirHn or 
Bivlin, 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 written 
Biv/in, Djiflhi, &c., and even yet the Welsh call it 
Didhu The present name has been formed by the 
restoration of the aspired b (see p. 45, mpra). 

There are several other places through Ireland 

CHAP. V.J Forth, Wcir.'^, and Bridges. 36 


called Duibhlinn, but the aspiration of tlie h is ob- 
served in all, and consequently not one of tliem has 
taken the anglicised form Dublin. Devlin is the 
name of eight townlands in Donegal, Mayo, and 
Monaghan ; Dowling occurs near Fiddown in Kil- 
kenny, Doolin in Clare, and Ballindoolin, the town 
of the black pool, in Kildare. 

In several of these cases, the proper name was 
Ath-cliath, hurdle 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, alwaj's called the metro- 
polis, Baile-atha-cliathy and in English, Dublin, they 
ima2:iued 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 clackan 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 no,mes 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 name signifies the stepping 
stones of the shade or shadow ; Cloghanleagh, grey 
stepping stones, was the old name of Dunglow in 
Donegal; Cloghanenagleragh in Kerry, the stepping 
stones of the clergy ; Bally cloghan and Ballincloghan, 

36i Arlificial Stnicturcs. [tart lit. 

tlio (own of the cloghan, arc (lio names of several 

Clochan is sometimes apj^licd to a stone eastle, and 
in some of tlie names containing this root, it is to bo 
understood in this sense. And in Cork and Kerry it 
is also nscd to denote an ancient stone house of a 
beeliive sliape. 

AVlien 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 wore considered more suitable tlian others for 
swimming across, either because the stream was nar- 
rower there than elsewhere, or that it was less dan- 
gerous on account of tlie stillness of the water, or that 
the shape of the banks afforded peculiar facilities. 
Such spots were often designated b}^ the word siiaiiih 
[snauv], which literally means swimming ; a word 
often met with in our old historical w'ritings in the 
sense of a swimming ford, and whicli forms part of 
several of our present names. 

Lixnaw on the river Brick in Kerry, is called in 
the Four Masters Lic-snamha [Licksnawa], the flag- 
stone of the swimming ; the name probably indicat- 
ing that there was a large stone on the bank, from 
which the swimmers were accustomed to fling them- 
selves off; and Voxinmnnw near Enniskillen {port, a 
bank), is a name of similar origin. About midway 
between Glengarriff and Bantry, the traveller crosses 
Snave bridge, where before the erection of the bridge, 
the deep transparent creek at the mouth of the Coom- 
hola river must have been generally crossed by swim- 
ming. So with the Shannon at Drumsna in Leitrim ; 
the Erne at Drumsna, one mile south-east of Enniskil- 
len ; and the narrow part of the western arm of Lough 

CHAP, v.] Fords, Weirs, and Bridges. 365 

Corrib at Drumsnauv ; all of wliich names are from 
the Irish BrHim-siuiniJta [Drum-snauva], the hill of 
the swimmiDg-ford. 

Wlien the article is used with this word snamh the s 
is eclipsed by t, as we see in Carrigatna in Kilkenny, 
which is in Irish Carvaig-a'-tsnamJia, the rock of the 
swimming; and Glauatnaw 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 n of this construction is replaced by r 
(see p. 51, supra), as in Ardatrave on the shore of 
Lough Erne in Fermanagh, Ard-ci'-tsnan^ha [Ardat- 
nauva], the height of the swimming. Immediately 
after the Shannon issues from Lough Allen, it flows 
under a bridge now called Ballintra ; but Weld, 
in his " Surve}^ of Roscommon," calls it Balliiifrave, 
which points to the Irish Bel-an-tsuamha [Bellant- 
nauva], the ford of the swimming, 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 favourite spots on rivers or lakes, 
Vvhere they swam across in their wanderings from 
place to place. On the shore of the little lake of 
Muekno in Monaghan, where it narrows in the mid- 
dle, there was once a well-known religious establish- 
ment called in the annals Mucshnamh [Mucknauv], 
the swimming place of the pigs [muc, a pig), which 
has been softened to the present name Muekno. Some 
of our ecclesinstical 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 narrow part. Exactly the same remark 
applies to the Kenmare river, where it is now spanned 
by the suspension bridge at the town. It was nar- 

366 Arlifcial Stntdurcs. [i'AUT in. 

rowed at this point by a spit of land projecting: from 
the northern shore ; and here in past ages, wild pigs 
used to swim across so freqnently and in sncli num- 
bers, that the phaoe was caUed Mnoinamh or IMucksna, 
which is now well known as the name of a little ham- 
let 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 cor(( or coradli [curra]. 
]3rian Borumha's palace of Kincora was built on a 
hill in the present town of Killaloe, and it is repeat- 
edly mentioned in the annals, by the name of Ccann- 
coraiUi, 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 Masters, and called by 
the same Irish uam.e. And we find Tikincor in Wa- 
terford, the house at the head of the weir. 

Ballinacor in Glenmalure in AVicklow, Avhich gives 
name to two baronies, is called in the Leabhar 
Branach, Bailc-na-corra, the town of the weir. There 
are several other places of the same name in Wicklow 
and Westmeath ; and it is modified to Balliuacur 
in Wexford, and to Ballinacurra or Ballynacorra in 
several counties, the best known place of the name 
beino- Ballynacorra on Cork harbour. Corrofin in 
Clare is called by the Four Masters Coradh-Fhuie, the 
weir of Finua, a woman's name (see p. 173, supra) ; 
in the same authority we find Drumcar in Louth, 
written Bniim-caradh [Druracara], the ridge of the 
weir ; and here the people still retain the tradition 
of the ancient weir on the river Dee, and point out 
its site; Smith (Hist, of Cork, II., 254) states that 
there was formerly an eel- weir of considerable profit 

CHAP, v.] Fonh, Weirs, and Bridges. 367 

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 accurately ascertained ; but this much at least 
appears certain, that none of any importance were 
erected previous to the twelfth century" (Petrie, 
"Dub. Pen. Journal," L, 150). Droicliet, as it is 
given in Cormac's Glossary, 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 surnamed Droichteaeh, i. e. the bridge maker; 
and Fiachna, the son of Aedh Roin, king of Ulidia 
in the eighth century, was called Fiachna Dubli 
Droichtech, black Fiachna of the bridges, because "it 
was he that made Droichef-na-Feirsi (the bridge of 
i\\Qfarscf, see p. 360), and Droichet-Mona-daimh (the 
bridge of the bog of the ox), and others." It is almost 
certain, however, that these structures 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 their 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 retaining the 
previously existing roads, the point most easily ford- 
able was in general most suitable for a bridge. There 
are many places whose names preserve the memory 
of this, of which Drogheda is a good example. This 
place is repeatedly mentioned in old authorities, and 

3G8 Artificial St met it res. [paiit iii. 

always call Oil Droic/icdd-at/ui [Droliod-aha], tliobridj^o 
of the ford ; fnnu which tlio ])ros('nt iiaiiio was easily 
formed ; pointing- clearly to the lact, that the first 
bridge was built over the ford where the northern 
road along the coast crossed the 13oyno. 

There is a townland in ]viMare called Drehid, and 
another in Londonderry called Droghed ; Drehid- 
tarsna (cross-bridgej is a parish in Limerick ; Bally- 
drehid and Ballindrehid, the town of the bridge, are 
the names of some townlands, the same as 13allindrait 
in Donegal. The memory of the two modes of 
crossing is preserved in the name of Belladrihid near 
Ballysadare in Sligo, which the Four Masters write 
Bel-au-droic/iii, the ford of the bridge. Five miles 
east of Macroom, near a hriilge over the Lee, there is 
a rock in the river on which stands a castle, called 
Carrigadroliid, the rock of the bridge : according to 
a legend told in the neighbourhood, the castle was 
built by one of the Mac Carthys Avith the money ex- 
torted from a leprechaun (see p. 190, .supra). 

The word is obscured in Knockar/yvr/, tlie hill of 
the bridge, in Wicklow, which same name is correctly 
ano-licised Ivnockadrehid in Roscommon. A like 
difference is observable between Drumadrehid and 
Drxxmadricd, the ridge of the bridge, the former in 
Clare, and the latter in Antrim ; and between Ros- 
drehid in the south of King's County, and Rossdroit 
south west of Enniscorthy, both meaning the wood 
of the bridge. The parish of Kildrought in Kildare 
took its name from a bridge over the Liffey, the Irish 
form being Ci/i-droic/iid, the church of the bridge. 
Though the parish retains the old name, that of tlie 
original spot is changed by an incorrect translation ; 
the first part was altered to Cei, and the last part 

CH4P- vi.J Roads and Causeways. 369 

trartslated, forming Celbridge, the name of a well- 
known town. What renders this more certain is, 
that the place is called Kijkh'oghcf, in au Inquisition 
of William and Mary. 



"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 
Glossary, 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 
wei-e 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 
(see p. 128, supra). 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 different Irish words to denote a road, 
the most common and best known is hothar [boher] ; 
and its diminutive holicrccn 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 Cormac defines its breadth to be such that 


370 Artificial Slriic/inrs. [i'aki- iii. 

"two cows fit Tipon it, one lenp:tliwiso, tlio other 
nnnvart, mid their calves and yearlings fit on it along 
witli tliem." 

Tlio 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 
number of names, and they are tlicmsclvostho names 
of several places. There is a townland in Galway 
called Bohercuill, the road of ihe hazel (co/l); and 
tins same name becomes Boherkyle in Kilkenny, 
Bolierkill 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 Borderreenin King's Countj^ 
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 tliis case, we also sometimes find 
it contracted, as in Cartronbore near Granard, the 
quarter-land of the road. For the change of hothario 
hatter, see p. 44, aiipra. 

SUghc or Slighcadh [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 hrugh or mansion 
stood near the old road ; and Sleemanagh near Castle- 

CHAP. VI.] ii0(/(/6' and Causewaijs. '6li 

townroche in Cork, is middle road. Sleehaun, little 
road, is the name of some places in Longford and 
Donegal ; and in Roscommon we find Coruasleehan, 
the round liill of tlie little road. 

Bcalach [ballagh]. signifies a road or pass. It 
forms part of the well-known battle cry of the 88th 
Connanght Eangers, Fag-a -healach, 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 Cormac Mac Cullenan was killed, was 
fought in the year 903, is called in the Book of 
Leinster, Bcalach-Mughna, 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 Drda, is still remembered in the name of a 
townland in Queen'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 Avith such interesting associations as 

Several other well-known places retain the memory 
of those old healachs. Ballaghadereen iu Mayo, 
is called in Irish Bealach-a-doivi)i, the road of 
the little oak wood ; the village of Ballaghkeen in 
"Wexford, was originally called Bealach-cuein, beau- 
tiful road ; and Ballaghkeeran near Athlone, must 


372 Artificial Struct urcs. [paut hi. 

liavo boon formerly shaded with hcerans or quicken 

When lliis word occurs as a tcrniiuation, it is very 
often changed to vail;/ by the aspiration of the h, and 
the disappearance of the final guttural. Tliere are 
townlands scattered through tlie four provinces called 
Ballinvally and liallyvally, 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 Carlow, 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 Colerane, clear or open 
(reidh) road — so called, no doubt, to distinguish it 
from some other road difficult of passage. Fov the 
word rod, a road, see Second Series, chap. XIII. 

Casein 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 Gal way — 
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 towulands in 
Kilkenny. Ardnagassan near Donegal, and Ardna- 
gassane in Tipperary, are both called in the original 
Ard-na-gcasati, 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 
juuction of the Peale and the Brick ; and its usual 
name in the annals is Casan-Kcrry, 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 Casan-Linne (" Circuit 

CHAP. VII.] Mills and Kilns. 373 

of Ireland ") ; and the village of Annagassan partly 
preserves this old name — Ath-na-gcasan, the ford of 
the paths — probably in reference to the two rivers, 
Glyde and Dee, which join near the village (see 
Dr. Todd in " Wars of GG-.," Introd., p. Ixi., note /). 

In early ages, before the extension of cultivation 
and drainage, the roads through the country must 
have often been interrupted by bogs and morasses, 
which, 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 tochar. 

These iochars 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 townlauds and 
villages, several of them called Togher, and many 
others containing the word in combination. Ballin- 
togher, the town of the causewa}'', is a very usual 
name (but Ballintogher in Sligo appears to be a 
different name — see this in 2nd Series) ; and 
Templetogher (the church of the togher) in Gal way 
was so called from a celebrated causeway across a 
bog, whose situation is still well known to the 



Many authorities concur in showing that water mills 
were known in this country in very remote ages, and 

374 Artificial Structures. [part iii. 

tliat tlioy woro ovon more common in anciont than in 
modern times. Wo know fromtlio Ijivcs of tlio Irisli 
saints, that several of them erected mills where they 
settled, shortly alter the introduction of Christianity, 
as St. Senanus, St. Ciaran, St. Mochua, St. Feehin, 
&.C. ; and in some cases mills still exist on the ver}' 
sites selected by tlie original founders — as, for in- 
stance, at Fore in AVestmeath, where " St. Fechin's 
mill " works as busily to-day as it did twelve hundred 
years ago. AVe may infer, moreover, from several 
grants and charters of the eleventh and twelfth cen- 
turies, that, where circumstances permitted, a mill 
was a usual appendage to a ballj^betagh, or ancient 

It a]-)pGars 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 Ncamhuach [Navnagh] at Tara. "The ancient 
Irisli authorities all agree in stating that this was the 
first mill ever erected in Ireland ; and it is remarkable 
that this circumstance is still most vividly preserved 
by tradition, not only in the neighbourhood, 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 "* (see 
Mullenoran in 2nd Series). 

* From the Ordnance memoir of the parish of Templemore. 
See also O'Donovan's article on the antiquit)' of corn in Ireland 
in the Dublin Penny Journal, and Petrie's Essay on Tara. 

CHAP. VII.] Mills and Kilns. 375 

The Irish word for a mill is muilcnn [mullen], and 
this term exists in several of the Indo-European lan- 
guages : — Sansc. malana, the action of grinding ; Lat. 
molo to grind; Goth, malan ; Eug. mill. Avery 
considerable number of places in Ireland have taken 
their names from mills, and the most usual anglicised 
form of muilenn is Mullen or Mullin. 

Mulleunakill in Kilkenny, is in Irish, Muilenn-na- 
cille, the mill of the church ; and Mullinavat, in the 
same county is M.uilenn-(C -hliata, 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, Magh-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 Milltown. Cloona- 
willen 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 Aghawilliu, 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-cC-mhuilinn, the church of the 
mill; Killywillin, the name of a townland in Fer- 
managh, and of another in Cavan, is different, the 
latter place being called by the Four Masters, Coill- 
an-inhuilinn, the wood of the mill. 

A quern or hand mill is designated by the word 
hro, which is also applied to the mill stone used with 

376 Artijicial Structures. [part hi. 

water mills ; pfonitivo hrCn or hroin [brono], plural 
hroiidc [broanty]. AVo 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 Kil- 
kenny; 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, Galway, 
and Mayo. 

Before the potato came into general use it was 
customary for families — those especially who were 
not within easy reach of a mill — to grind their own 
corn for home consumption ; aud the quern was con- 
sequently an instrument of very general use. We 
may presume that there were professional quern 
inakers, and we know for a certainty, that some places 
received names from producing stones M^ell suited for 
querns. Such a place is Carrigeenamronety, a hill 
near Ballyorgan in Limerick, on whose side there is 
a ridge of rocks, formerly much resorted to by the 
the peasantry for cj[uern stones ; its Irish name is Car- 
raigin-na-mbrointe, 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. 
fem. 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 

CHAP. VII,] Mills and Kilns. 377 

Armagh, called Annaliaia and Annaliagh, all of 
•which are from the Irish, Ath-na-haithc, the ford 
of the kiln ; we find Ballynahaha in Limerick, and 
Ballynahaia in Cavan {Balh/, a town) ; in Antrim, 
Lisnahay {Lis, a fort) ; Grortnahey in London- 
derry, Gortnahaha in Clare and Tipperary, and 
Aughnalioy 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 liills. 
For hills, being the most conspicuous 
physical features, 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 cliffs ; and 
all without exception have impressed 
tliemselves 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 

CHAP I.] Mountains, Hills, and Rocks. 379 

enumerate them, and illustrate the manner in which 
names are formed from each. 

Sliahh [sleeve] signifies a mountain ; and a.ccording 
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 sliah, 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, SHevesnaght, the name 
of a mountain in Innishowen, and of several others 
in different parts of the country, represents the Irish 
Sliabh-sneacht, the mountain of the snow; SUeve 
Anierin in Leitrim, Sliuljlt-an-iarainn, the mountain 
of the iron, 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- 
shliahh (Four Mast.), speckled mountain, and the s 
has disappeared by aspiration. The same thing oc- 
curs in Finliff in Down, white mountain ; in Gortin- 
lieve in Donegal, the little field of the mountain : 
and in Beglieve in Cavan, small mountain. The 
parish of Killevy in Armagh took its name from an 
old church situated at the foot of Slieve Gullion, 
which the annalists usually call Cill-shleibhe, i. e. the 
church of the mountain ; the pronunciation of which 
is well preserved in the modern spelling. 

Sometimes the r sound is omitted altogether, and 
this often happens when the word comes in as a ter- 

380 riiijuical Features. [rAiiT iv 

mination. Sleamaino in Wicklow is aiif^Hciscd from 
IS/idb/i-iiicad/ioiii, middlo mountain ; lUaunsloa in 
Kerry, the island of tlie mountain. Sleniish in An- 
trim is well known as the mountain wliero St. Patrick 
passed his early days as a slave, herding swine ; the 
full Irish name is S/iab//-JIis, 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, " the Mountain of Mis, the daugh- 
ter of IMureda, son of Cared" (Four Masters). 

In other cases both the s and r are lost, as for ex- 
ample in Crotlie or Cratlie, the name of several hills, 
Croit-s/tliab/i yhum'p-hacked mountain — which in other 
places is made Cratlieve. In a great many cases the 
sound of s is changed to that of t by eclipse (p. 23;, 
as in Ballintlea, the name of about fifteen townlands 
in the Munster and Leinster coviniies,Baiic-an-tskibhe, 
the town of the mountain ; the same name as Bal- 
lintleva in Galway and Mayo, Ballintlevy in West- 
meath, and Ballintlieve in Meatli and Down ; Baun- 
atlea in the parish of Ballingaddy, Limerick, the 
bawn or green field of the mountain. 

The plural sknbJde [sleaty] appears in Sleaty, a 
celebrated church 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 Sleibhte by all Irish authorities ; and 
Colgan translates it Monies, i. e. mountains. Tlie 
name must have been originally given to the church 
from its contiguity to the hills of Slieve Margy, as 
Killevy was called so from its proximity to Slieve 

Sh'ibli'in [slayveen], a diminutive of sliabli, is ap- 
plied to a little hill ; in modern nomenclature it is 
"usually made Sleveen, which is the name of a hill 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, HiUti^andliochs. 381 

rising over Macroom in Cork, of a village in "Water- 
ford, and of nine townlands chiefly in the southern 
counties. Slevin in Roscommon, is the same word ; 
and Slievinagee in the same county, signifies the 
little mountain of the wind [gaeth). 

Choc signifies a hill ; its most common anglicised 
form is Knock, in which the k is usually silent, but in 
the original the first c, which the k represents, was 
sounded \_cnoc, pron. kiuviiick, the first « very short]. 
There is a conspicuous isolated hill near Ballingarry 
in Limerick, called Knockfierna, a noted fairy haunt. 
It serves as a u-eaf her 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 Ciioc-firinne, the hill of truth, i. e. of truthful 
prediction. Knockea is the name of a hill near Gle- 
nosheeu, three miles south from Kilfinane in Lime- 
rick, and of several townlands, all of which are called 
in Irish Cnoc-AedJia, Aedh's or Hugh's hill, proba- 
bly from some former proprietors. The well-known 
hill of Knocklayd in Antrim was so called from its 
shape, Cnoc-leithid [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 the places called Knockauneevin 
in Galway and Cork are truly described by the name, 
Cnocdn-aeihhinn beautifal little hill. 

Cnuic, the genitive of cnoc, is often made laiicJc and 
nick in the present names, as the diminutive cmiicm 
is sometimes represented by Knickeen ; and these 


Physical Features. 



modern forms give correctly the pronunciation of the 
originals — exfCjit of course tlie silent k. Thus ]3ally- 
knick in the parish of Grange, Armagh, Avliioli is the 
same as the very common name, liallyknock, the 
town of the hill ; Tinnick in Wexford, and Ticknick 
or Ticknock on the side of tlie Three Kock mountain 
in Dublin, Tigh-cnuic, tlie house of the hill, which 
under the forms Ticknock and Tiknock, is the name 
of several townlands in the eastern counties. 

The word is still further modified by the change of 
;/ to r, already noticed (p. 51), which prevails chiefly 
in the northern half of Ireland, and which converts 
knock into crock or cruck. Crockacapple in the parish 
of Kilbarron, Donegal, means the hill of the horse 
{capa/I), and Crocknagapple near Killybegs, same 
count}', the hill of the horses {Ciioc-na-()C(ipall) ; and 
these two names are the same respectively as Knock- 
acappul and Knocknagappul, which are found in 
other counties. Crockshane near Rathcoole in Dub- 
lin, John's hill; Crockanure near Kildare, the hill of 
the yew tree. The diminutives suffer this corrup- 
tion also, and we find many places called Crock- 
aun, Crickaun, Crockeen, Cruckeen and Criekeen, all 
meaning little hill. The sj'llable 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 pinna. In anglicised names, it is generally 
spelled hen or bin, each of which begins about thirty 
townland names ; but it undergoes various other 
modifications ; in Cork and Kerry, it is often angli- 
cised Beoun, to represent the southern pronunciation. 

Beann is not applied to great mountains so much 

CHAP. 1.] Muuntains, Hills, and Bochs. 383 

in Ireland as in Scotland, where they have Ben Lo- 
mond, Ben Nevis, Benledi, &c. ; hut as applied to 
middle and smaller eminences, it is used very exten- 
sively. There is a steep hill in "Westraeath, called 
the Ben (i. e. the peak) of Fore, from the village 
near its base ; the Irish name of Beng'ore Head in 
Antrim is Beann-gahhar, the peak of the goats. 
Benburb, 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-horb, which O'Sullivan 
Bear correctly translates Pinna supcrha, 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 ^m»j? occurs twice; for Bunna- 
beola is Bcnna-Bcola, 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, which is a townland south of the 
Twelve Pins, at the head of Ptoundstone 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-blicannach, hilly field, is the 
name of three townlands in Wicklow. The plural, 
beanna, is found in Banuamore and Benamore in 

384 Physical Features. [part iv., pront peaks; and in tho form Banna, it 
occurs several times in Kerry. Benbo, a conspicuous 
mountain near Mauorhamilton, is written by tlie 
Four Masters, Beaiinn-ho, the peaks or horns of the 
cow ; it is still so called in Irish, and it appears to 
liave got tlie 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 sulhcient illustration. The old name 
of Dunraanway in Cork, was Uuii-ua-Diheaiin [Dun- 
naman : Four Mast.], the fortress of the gables or 
l^innacles ; 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 Doir)ic»iaiivoi/, 
from which, as well indeed as from tlie tradition of 
the inhabitants, it appears that the last syllable, 
urii/ — which must be a modern addition, as it does 
not appear in the older documents — is a corruption 
of the Irish hiiid/ie, yellow {b changed to ?r by aspi- 
ration ; p. 19) : — Dunmanway, the fortress of the 
yellow pinnacles. Dunnaman, which is a correct 
anglicised form of Dioi-na-mbcann, is still the name 
of a townland in Down, and of another near Croom 
in Limerick. Ballyrr/^gour in Carlow, is in Irish, 
BaUe-hhcanna-rjahha)\ 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 hciniun [benneen], which gives 
name to several mountains now call Binnion or 
Bignion, i. e. small peak. Another diminutive, bean- 

CHAP. 1.] ]\lounfains, Hills, and Bocks. 385 

naclidn, appears in Meenavanaghan in Donegal, the 
meoi or mountain flat of the small peak. 

Beannchav or hcanncJwr [banagher] is a modifica- 
tion of beann, and signifies horns, or pointed hills or 
rocks, and sometimes simply peaked hill ; it is a 
word of frequent topographical use in different parts 
of Ireland, and it is generally anglicised banagher 
or bangor. Banagher in King's County {Bcannchor, 
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 

Bangor in Down is written Beannchar by A^arious 
authorities, and Keating and others account for the 
name by a legend ; but the circumstance that there 
are so many BcanncJiars 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 Whitechurch, a church giv- 
ing name to aparish in Queen's County, where Aengus 
the Culdee began his celebrated Felire (see p. 157), 
is written in Irish authorities, Cuil-bcannchab\ the 
angle or corner of the pinnacle. " There is a Lough 
Banagher (the lake of the pinnacles) in Donegal ; 
Drumbanagher in Armagh ; Movanagher on the 
Bann, parish of Kilrea, Derry {Magh-bhcaunchair, the 
plain of the pinnacles) ; and the ancient church of 
Boss-hennchuir {ross, a wood), placed by Archdall in 
the county of Clare " (Eeeves, Ecclesiastical Antiqui- 
ties, p. 199, where the word beannc/iar is exhaustively 

Ard is sometimes a noun meaning a height or hill, 
and sometimes an adjective, signifying high : cog- 
nate with Lat. ard If us. In both senses it enters 
extensively into Irish nomenclature ; it forms the 


38G P/ii/sical Features. [part iv. 

beginning of about GOO townland names ; and tlioro 
aro at least as many more that contain it otherwise 

There is a little town in Watorford, and about 
twenty-six townlands in difTercnt counties, called 
Ardmore, great height ; but only two bear the cor- 
relative name, Ardbeg, little height. Ardglass in 
Down, is called Ard-glass by the Four Masters, i. e. 
jrreen height : which is also a usual townland name ; 
and there are many places scattered over the country, 
called Ardkeen, that is, Ard-cacin, 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 tighe [tee], a house, the 
final d is usually omitted ; as in Artiferrall in An- 
trim, Ard-tighe-Fearghai/l, the height of Farrell's 
house ; Artimacormick near Ballintoy, same county, 
the height of MacCormack's house, &c. 

This word has two diminutives, airdhi 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 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, Hills, and Rocks. S87 

sloping emiuence ; and the anglicised form Laliard, 
and the diminutives Lahardan, Lahardane, and La- 
hardaun, are the names of many places, chiefly in 
Counaught and Munster. Derrylahard, the oak wood 
of the gentle hill, occurs 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. altus ; it occurs in Cormac's Glossary, 
where it is derived " ab altitudijie ;" 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 Don- 
egal ; and Alts (heights or glen sides) occurs in 
Monaghan. AltachuUion in Cavan is the cliff of 
the holly ; in Limerick and Queen's County we 
have Altavilla, AU-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 
Allans occurs in Sligo. Altanagh in Tyrone signi- 
fies a place abounding in cliffs and glens. In the end 
of names, this word is sometimes made alta, and 
sometimes ilt, representing two forms of the genitive, 
aha 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 cruacli 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 ; 


388 Physical Features. [paut iv. 

Welsh crag, a heap ; Cornish cruc. It is used pretty 
extensively as a local term, rronorally in the forms 
Croagli or Crogh ; and the diniinulive Cruaclain is 
still more common, giving names to numerous moun- 
tains, townlands, and parishes called Croaghan, 
Croaghaun, Croglian, and Crohane, all originally 
applied to a round- shaped hill. Cn«(cJiitii. was the 
original name of the village of Crookliaven on the 
south coast of Cork ; the presen! name signifying the 
haven of the cniach or round hill. 

Croghan hill in King's County, was anciently 
called Bri-Eilc, the hill of Eile, daughter of Eocliy 
Feileach, and sister of Meave, queen of Connaught in 
the first century (see p. 126, supra) ; it afterwards 
received the name of Cruachan, and in the annals it 
is sometimes called CruacJtan-Bri-Eile, which looks 
tautological, as CruacJian and Bri both signify a hill. 
Croaghan near Killashandra in Cavan, the inaugu- 
ration place of the O'Kourkes, is often mentioned in 
the Irish authoritiesby two names — Cniacluni O'Cup- 
roiii, O'Cupron's round hill, and Cruaclmn-Mic- 
Tighearnaiii, from the Mac Tighearnans or Mac- 
Kiernans, the ancient possessors of the barony of 
Tullyhunco, the chief of whom had his residence 
there. The word is somewhat disguised in Bally- 
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 Ballyorgan 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; often written iealach 
in old documents. It occurs in Cormac's Glossary, 

ciiAp. I.] Mountains, Ilills, and Rocks. 389 

wliere it is given as the equivalent of hvi. It is 
anglicised Tulla, Tullow, and Tullagh, but most 
commonly Tully (see p. 34). Tullanavert near 
Clogher in Tyrone represents Tulach-na-bJifeart, the 
hill of the graves ; Tullaghacullion near Killybegs, 
Tullaghcullion near Donegal, and Tullycullion in 
Tyrone, the hill of the holly. The parish of Tully 
near Kingstown in Dublin was anciently called 
Tulach-na-nesjmc, 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'Curry, Lect., p. 382). Tullymongan, the name 
of two townlands near Cavan, was originally applied 
to the hill over the town, now called Gallows Hill ; 
the Four Masters call it Tulach-Mongain, the hill of 
Mongan, a man's name. 

The parish of Kiltullagh in Eoscommon was so 
called from an old church, the name of which per- 
fectly describes its situation — CiU-fulnirjh, the church 
of the hill ; and the parish of Kiltullagh in Gal way, 
near Athenry, is called cill-tulach (church of the little 
hills) in " Hy Many." In the Munster counties, the g 
in tulaigh, 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, tuJdn and 
iulachdn. From the former comes Tullen in Ros- 
common, Tullin near Athlone, and Tullans 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 icalach [tallagh], which orthography 

390 riiysical Fcatuycs. [part iv. 

is often adopted by the Four Masters ; this form 
appears iu tlio name of Tallow, a town in "Watorford, 
which is called in Irish TeaJnch-cni-inrainn [Tallow- 
anierin], the hill of the iron, from the iron mines 
worked there by the great Earl of Cork. 

Bri [brce], signifies a liill or rising ground, the 
same as the Scotch word brae ; in Cormac's Glossary 
it is explained by tnJach ; Cornish and Breton Ire ; 
Gaulish hrer/a, briga. The word occurs frequently 
as a topographical term iu our ancient writings, of 
which Bri-Eile (p. 388), 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-gohliunu (Book 
of Lismore : cjohlta, a smith), the hill of the smith. 
In our present names this word does not occur very 
often ; it is found simply in the form of Bree, iu 
Donegal, Monaghan, and Wexford ; while in Tyrone 
it takes the form of Brigh. 

Bray which is the name of several places in Ire- 
land, is another form of the same word. Bray in 
Wicklow is called Brce in old church records and 
other documents ; and it evidently received its name 
from Bray head, which rises abruptly 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. 160). The steep pro- 
montory on the south-western extremity of Valentia 
island, is also called Bray head. At the head of 
Glencree in Wicklow, is a small mountain lake, well 
known to Dublin excurfcionists, called Lough Bray, 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, Hills, and Bocks. 391 

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. law, 
same meaning. It is not given in the dictionaries, 
but it undoubtedly exists in the Irish language, and 
lias 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 — Porf- 
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 "Wieklow, 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 ccide [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 
present day, wherever it is understood at all. The 
Four Masters write it ccideach, when mentioning 
Iveadydrinagh in Sligo, which they call Ceideach- 
droighneach, the flat-topped hill of the black-thorns. 
The word is not in very general use, and is almost 
confined to the northern and north-western coun- 
ties ; but in these it gives name to a considerable 
number of places now called Keadew and Iveady. 
It takes the forms of Keadagh, Cady, and Caddagh, 
in several counties ; the diminutive Keadeen is the 
name of a high hill east of Balting'lass in Wick- 
low, and another modification, Cadian, occurs in 

Jlullacli, in its primary meaning, signifies the top 

392 Physical Fealum. [part i v. 

or summit of .an3-tliing— such as the top of a house. 
Topographically it is generally used to denote smaller 
eminences, th(nigh -svo find it occasionally applied to 
hills of considerable elevation ; and as a root word, it 
enters very extensively into the fornialion of names, 
generally in the forms ]\Iulla, Mullagh, MuUy, and 
Mul, M-hich constitute of themselves, or form the he- 
ginning of, upwards of 400 names. 

Mulhi is well known as the name given by the 
poet Spenser to the little river Awbeg, which flows 
by Kilcolman castle, where he resided, near Buttevaut 
in Cork: — 

" Stronji Alio tombling from Slewlogher steep, 
And MuUamine whose waves I wliilom tauf;ht to weep." 
"Faerie Queene,"ljook IV., Canto xi. 

In another place he says that Kilnamulla (now 
Buttevant), took its name from the Mulla: — 

" It piveth name unto that ancient cittie, 
"Which Kilnemulhi clcppcd 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 different 
origin (see Bregoge in 2nd Series). 

The peasantry of the locality understand Kilna- 
mullagh to mean the church of the curse {mallacJit), 
in connection 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, iu recording the foundation of the 
monastery, call it CiU-na-muUach, which O'SuUivan, 
in his History of the Irish Catholics, translates ecclesia 
tumuloruiii, the church of the hillocks or summits. 

CHAP. I.] Moiin/ains, Hills, and Bods. 393 

and the name admits of no other interpretation. The 
present name Butte vant is said to have been de- 
rived from Boutez-en-avant, a French phrase mean- 
ing " Push forward ! " the motto of the Barrymore 

The village of Mullagh in Cavan got its name 
from the hill near it, which the Four Masters call 
MuUach-Laeighill, the hill of Laekjhell 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 ; Mullaghattin near Car- 
lingford, the hill of the furze ; Mullaghsillogagh near 
Enniskillen, the hill of the sallows ; Mullaghmeen, 
smooth summit. Mul, the shortened form, appears 
in Mulboy in Tyrone, yellow summit ; and in Mul- 
keeragli in Derry, the summit of the sheep. 

Mil /Ian, little summit, is a diminutive of mullach, 
and it is generally applied to the top of a low, gently 
sloping hill. In the forms Mullan, Mullaun, and in 
the plural Mullans and Mvillauns, it is the name of 
nearly forty townlands, and of course helps to form 
many others. Glassavullaun near Tallaght in Dub- 
lin, represents Glaise-a -mhullaiii, 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 change 
of meaning, the transition being sufficiently easy 
from a gentle green hill to a green field. Mulkaun 
in Leitrim, exhibits another diminutive, namely mid- 
cdn or miiUaclidn which also appears in Meenawul- 
laghan in the parish of Inver, Donegal, the meen or 

394 rinjsical Features. [part iv. 

mountain flat of tbe little summit ; and in Mcena- 
mullaghan, parish of Lower Fahan, same county, 
Min-iia-mti/Iac/ian, the mountain flat of the little 

lomaire [ummera] signifies a ridge or hill-back ; as 
a local term it is found in each of tlio four provinces, 
being, however, more common in Ulster and Con- 
naught than in the other provinces ; but in any part 
of Ireland it does not enter extensively into names. 
Its most common modern forms are Ummera, Um- 
mery, and Umry, which form or begin the names of 
more than twenty townlands. 

Ummeracam in Armagh, and Umrycam in Done- 
gal and Derry,are called in Irish /o;;?r/;>e-m/>;, crooked 
ridge ; Ummeraboy in Cork, yellow ridge : Ummera- 
free 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-iomaive, 
the church of the ridge, and the word is somewhat 
altered in Clonamery in Kilkenny, the meadow of 
the ridge. 

The primary meaning of mcnll [mrd] is a lump, 
mass, or heap of anj^thiug ; and it is applied 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 mnul, 
which begins the names of near sixty townlands, all 
in Cork and Kerry. Take for example, Maulanim- 
irish and Maulashangarry, both near Dunmanway, 
the first meaning the hillock of the contention {im- 
reas), and the second, of the old garden (.sm«, old; 
garrd/ia, a garden). Maulagh near Killarney signi- 
fies a place abounding in hillocks. 

MifJvi [milleen] is a diminutive of this word, 

CHAiM.] Mountains, mils, and Bochs. 395 

usually represented in the present names by Milleen, 
which forms tlie whole or the beginning of fifteen 
townland names, all except one in Cork ; Milleenna- 
horna has the same meaning as Maulnahorna, the 
hillock of the barley (coma). Near Rathcormack, 
there is a place called Maulane, the only example 1 
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 

Had [mwail or moyle] 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 mad or mweelken. It is also used synony- 
mously with giolla, 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 ori- 
ginated such surnames as Mulholland, Mulrony, 
Moloney, Mulreuin, 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, Galway, and Donegal ; there are five town- 
lands in Antrim and one in Longford called Kilmoyle 
which have the same meaning ; Kilmoyle near 
Ballymoney is in Latin records translated Ecdesia 
calva, which gives the exact sense. And Castlemoyle, 
bald castle, occurs in Galwa}^ Wexford, and Tip- 
perary. The word is used to designate a moat or 

390 ritysicnl Features. [part iv. 

mound flat on top, or dilapidated by having the ma- 
terials carted aAvay ; and lionco wo liave such names 
as liathmoylo, Lismoylo, and iJunnioyle. 

Mud is applied to hills and promontories, and in 
this sens© it is very often employed to form local 
names. Moyle, one of its usual forms, and the plural 
Moyles, gives 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 vnrecl, which preserves the pro- 
nunciation more nearly than vioyle : thus Mweela- 
horua 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 nicel, as in Meelshane in Cork, John's 
bald hill ; Meelgarrow in Wexford, rougli hill {garhJi, 
rough) ; Meeldrum near Kilbeggan in Westmeath, 
bare rids^e. 

There are two diminutives m pretty common use, 
macldn and macilhi [mweelaun, mweeleen] ; the for- 
mer is often applied to round-backed islands in the 
sea, or to round bare rocks ; and we find accordingly 
several little islands off tlie south and west coast, 
called Moylaun, IMoylan, and Mweelaun. The same 
word is seen in Meelon near Bandon, and Milane, 
near Dunmanway, both in Cork ; and in Mellon near 
where the Maigue joins the Shannon in Limerick. 
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 County (little 
bare hills), exhibits another diminutive, Maelachdn; 
and we have still another in Milligan in Monaghan, 

( HAr. I.] Jfoiintains, Ililis, and lioclcs. 397 

and Milligans in Fermanagli, little hills, Mealough 
is the name of a towuland 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 Galloway 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- 
ing the compound fonnaeJ, which is used to signify 
a round hill ; and which, in the forms Formoyle, Fer- 
moyle, and Formil, constitutes the names of twenty- 
nine townlauds, scattered through the four provinces ; 
in Meath it is made Formal, and in Galway 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 liathbeg, 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 Roscommon. 

The word cor, 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- 

398 ThysU'ol Featnrcs. [taut iv. 

claturo ; and in its various senses, it forms tlio first 
syllable of raoro than 1000 townland names, in tiio 
_c;reator number of which it means a round hill. Cor- 
boagh in I^ongford and Cavan, is in Irish, Cor-hcith- 
cacli, the round hill of tlie birch ; Corkeeran in 
Monaghan, of the kccmns or rowan-trees ; Cornageo 
and Cornagoelia, the hill of the wind ; Cornaveagh, 
of the ravens (fiac/i). The diminutives Corrog and 
Corrogp, give names to some places in Down and 
Tippcrary ; and we find Correen in several of the 
north western counties; CorreenfeeraddanearKnock- 
ainy in Limerick, is called in Irish, Coinn-feir-fhada, 
the round hill of the long grass. 

Cruif means a hump on the back ; from this it is 
applied to round humpy-Ioolanci hills; and it is com- 
monly represented by Crott, Orut, 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 Boscommon 
are called by the same name. The plural Crotta, or 
Crutta, humps, and tlie English plural Crottees, give 
names to some places in Kerry, Tipperary, and Cork; 
and Crottan, little hump, occurs in Fermanagh. 

The word is variously combined to form other 
names ; such as Kilcruit in Carlo w, the wood of the 
hump-backed hill; Loughcrot near Dromdaleague 
in Cork, the lake of the hillocks ; Drumacruttan iu 
Monaghan, and Drumacrittin iu Fermanagh, the 
ridge of the little hump ; Barnagrotty in King's 
County, £arr-na-gcrotta, the hill-top of the hum- 

Cnrq) [knap, c pronounced as in cnoc, p. 381] is a 
button, a knob, a lump of anything, a knot in timber, 
&.C.', and it is cognate with Ang.-Sax. cnacp, Ger. 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, Hills, and Roch. 399 

hwpf, Eng. hioh. In a secondary sense it is applied 
to small round hillocks, and gives names to a consider- 
able number of places. In anglicised names it takes 
various forms, such as knap, nap, &c. ; and in the 
northern counties, it becomes crap and crup, just as 
knock becomes crock (see p. 51). 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 northern and north 
western counties, called Knappagh, which represents 
the Irish cnapacJi, hilly land — a place full of knobs or 
hillocks ; Nappagh near Ardagh in Longford, is the 
same name, but it has lost the k ; 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 Eeeves, 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 Gralway, 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 Latin 
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 artifi" 
cial structure- It is pretty common as forming part 
of names, and its derivatives occur oftener than the 
original. Toralt in Fermanagh, signifies the tower 

400 V/ii/sicalFcaiurcs. [i'aut iv. 

of tlie alt or clifT; Tormoro, great tower, is the name 
of several islands, of one for iiiRtance off the coast of 
Donegal; Tornnroy in Antrim is the kings' tower; 
and in the parish of Culleightrin, same connty, there 
are five townlands whose names begin with 'Tor. In 
some few cases, especially in the central counties, 
the syllable lor may have been corrupted from fiiar, 
a bleach green ; but the physical aspect of the place 
will generally determine which is the correct root. 

Torj Island off the coast of Donegal, is known in 
ancient writings by two distinct names, Toirim'sand 
Torach^ quite different in meaning, but both derived 
from tor. This island is mentioned in our bardic 
histories as the stronghold of the Fomorian pirates 
(see p. 161), and called in these documents, Jb/;--////.s', 
the island of the tower ; and according to all our 
traditional accounts, it received this name from 7b/'- 
Conainrj or Conang's tower, a fortress famous in 
Irish legend, and called after Conang, 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 {Toraicjh, pron. 
Torry : see p. 34, supra). The island abounds in 
lofty isolated rocks which are called tors or towers ; 
and the name Torach means simply towery — abound- 
ing:^ in tors or tower-like rocks. The intellio'ent 
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 appearance. 

Tor tan, 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 

CHAP. 1.] Mountains, Hilh^ and Hocks. 401 

Turtane in Carlow, to Toortane in Queen's County, 
"Waterford, and Kilkenny, and to Tartan in lios- 

FornocJtt 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 townlauds called Fornaglit in Cork and Water- 
ford ; and Farnaght, another modern form, is the 
name of some places in Fermanagh and theConnaught 

Cahlidn [cavan] means a hollow or cavity, a hollow 
place, a hollow field ; and this is undoubtedly its pri- 
mary meaning, for it is evidently cognate with Lat. 
cavea, Fr. caban, Welsh cabane, and Eng. cabin. 
Yet in some parts of Ulster it is understood to mean 
the very reverse, viz., a round dry hill; and this is 
the meaning given to it by O'Donnell in his Life of St. 
Columba, who translates it cvl/is (Reeves, Colt. Vis. 
133). This curious discrepancy is probably owing 
to a gradual change of meaning, similar to the change 
in the words /(((/, midlan, &c. Which of the two 
meanings it bears in each particular case, depends 
of course on the physical confirmation of the place. 
In its topographical application this word is confined 
to the northern half of Ireland, and is more frequent 
in the Ulster counties than elsewhere ; its universal 
anglicised form is cavan. 

The town of Cavan is well described by its name, 
for it stands in a remarkable hollow ; Eacavan, the 
name of a parish in Antrim, is Ilatli-cahhain, the 
fort of the hollow. There are more than twenty 
townlands called Cavan, and the word begins the 
name of about seventy others. In the counties of 


40.2 Phijuical Features. [i'aht iv. 

Tyrone, Douogul. aiul Armagli, there are several places 
called Cavaimcaw, wliicli represents the Irish Cablian- 
a^-chdtha, the round hill of the chalf, from the custom 
of •winnowing corn on the top ; Cavanaleck near 
Enniskilleu, the hill of the flagstone or stony surface. 
The word caJihauarli is an adjective formation from 
cab/ian, 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 word 
occurs under the form Cavany. 

JSi-icir [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 towulands, and com- 
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 e-sker in Ireland is Eslei'-Eiada, 
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 Conn of the Hundred Battles 
(see p. 133). 

As a termination, this word assumes other forms, 
all derived from the genitive eiscreach [eskera]. 
Clashaniskera in Tipperary is called in Irish Clais- 
an-eificreach, the trench or pit of the sandhill. Ahas- 
cragh in Galway signifies the ford of the esker ; but 
its full name as given by the Four Masters is Ath- 
emcrach Ciiain [Ahascra Cuan], theford of St. Cuan's 

CHAP. 1.] Mountains, Hills, and Roch, 403 

sand-hill ; and they still retain the memory of St. 
Cuan, the patron, who is commemorated in O'Clery's 
Calendar at the loth of October; Tiranascragh, the 
name of a townland and parish in Galway, 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 modernised accordingly ; 
the former being the name of a place in the parish of 
Layd, Antrim, and the latter of another in Eos- 
coniDion. In the townland of Eeanadimpaun, 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 rea or mountain-flat of the standing stones. The 
word is slightly varied in Tempanroe {roe, red) in 
Tyrone ; and Timpany in the same county is from 
Tiompanach, a place full of timpans or hillocks. Craig- 
atempin near Ballymoney, Antrim, is the rock of the 
hillock ; and Curraghnadimpaun in Kilkenny, the 
curragh or 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 
leargaidh [largy], a derivative from it, with the same 
meaning. Largy, the most usual modernised 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- 


404 riiijsical Fcatiivcs. [paut iv. 

pysillagli and Largynagrcana aro tliG names of two 
places near XillyLogs in Donegal, the former Bigni- 
fving the hill-sido of the sallows, and the latter, 
sinmy liill-sloiio, I'roin its southorn aspect. The di- 
minutive Ijargan, 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 cliff; and O'Donovan translates it " hill- 
side," "wet or spewy hill-side," "hill side with the 
tricklings of water," &c. It is still xmderstood in this 
sense in the west of Connaught ; and that this is its 
real meaning is further shown by the Welsh llethr, 
which signifies a slope. In Cormao's Glossary it is 
thus explained : — " Leitir, i. e. leth tirim agiis leth 
■flinch ;" " leitir, i. e. half dry and half wet ; " from 
which it appears that Cormac considered it derived 
from k'th-tirim, half-dry. This corresponds so far as 
it goes, with present use. 

This word is often found in ancient authorities, as 
forming the names of ]')laces. At 1584, the Four 
Masters mention an island called Leitir-McaUain, 
Meallan's letter or hill side, which lies off the Con- 
nemara coast, and is still called Lettermullen. Lat- 
teragh in Tipperary is very often mentioned in the 
annals and Calendars, and always called Letreeha- 
Odhrain (Latraha-Oran : O'Cler. Cal.), Odhraii's 
wet hill-slopes. St. Odiiran [Gran], the patron, who 
is commemorated in the Calendar at the 26th of 
November, died, according to the Four Masters, in 
the year 548. Gther modifications of the plural {lea- 
trarha, Tpron- h(traha) are seen in Lettera and Lotter- 
agh, the names of places in various counties ; Lattery 

CHAP. I.] Motintnim, Hills, and Bocks. 405 

in Armagh ; and Lettery in Gal way and Tyrone ; 
all meaning " wet hill-slopes." Lettreen, little letter, 
occurs in Iloscommon ; and another diminutive Let- 
teran, in Londonderry. 

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-bndc, 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; 
Letterlicky in Cork, the hill side of the flag-stone or 
flag-surfaced land ; Lettergeeragh in Longford, of 
the sheep ; and Lettermacaward in Donegal, the hill- 
slope of Mac Ward or the son of the bard. 

liinit means the point of anything, such as the 
point of a spear, e^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 
liinn." It is found pretty extensively in names 
in the forms Rin, Binn, Reen, 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 ; 

406 Physical Features. [i'Aut iv. 

tlioro must havo been originally a ditn on the point, 
for tho anoifnl name as {^ivon in the annals is Jiiini- 
f/»/^/, the peninsula of tho dim or fortress. Tho an- 
cient name of Island !Mageo, aponinsulanear Larne, 
■\vas Jiinii-Scini/iiic [liin-Sevnc], from tho territory in 
Avhicli it was situated, which was called Sciinlnio ; in 
tho Taxation of l^iOG it is called by its old name, in 
the anglicised form liaiisi'ii/u. 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, 

In the parish of Kilconry, Clare, is a point of land 
jutting into the Shannon, called Hineanna, which 
the Four Masters call Jli)in-ca)iair/h, the point of the 
marsh ; there is an island in Lough llee called 
Rinanny, and a townland in Maj'o, called liinanagh, 
both of which are different forms 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 O'Sullivan Beare correctly translates, 
ci(.y)isfa/cis, 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 Courcj-s ; the name, which properly belongs to 
the little peninsula on which tlie 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 Reenadisert, the point of the wil- 
derness or hermitage, a name which is now applied 

CHAP. 1.] Afounfaius, mils, and Iiorks. 407 

to a ruined castle, a strongliold of tlie O'Sullivans, 
The next peninsula, lying a mile southward, is called 
Eeenydonagan, O'Donagan's point. 

Eing stands alone as the name of many places in 
different counties, in all cases meaning a point of 
land ; Eingaskiddy 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 Eingsend near Dublin, 
the second syllable being English : — Eingsend, i. e. 
the end of the Einu or point. There is a parish 
forming a peninsula near Dungarvan in Waterford, 
called Eingagonagh in Irish, Ruin-0-gCua)ia, the 
point of the O'Cooneys. 

Eingville in Waterford, though it looks English, 
is an Irish name, Ixinn-hJiile, the point of the hile or 
ancient tree ; this is also the name of two townlands 
in Cork and Kilkenny ; and Eingvilla in Fermanagh, 
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 village on it, pro- 
jecting into Galway 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 Firbolg chief. " Einghaddy 
is a part of Killinchy parish in Down, lying in 
Strangford Lough. It was originally an island ; but 
having been from time immemorial united 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 Rinn-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. 

408 riiyfiival Features. [part iv. 

Ivecu is anothor form of tliis wonl, wliich is con- 
fined to Cork, Kerry, and Ijimorick, but iu lliose 
counties it occurs very often, especially on tlio coasts. 
liinn and Iviu are more common in the western and 
north- western counties than elsewhere ; as in liin- 
rainy island near J)un<^low in Donegal, the ])()int of 
the ferns. Iu Clare the word is pronounced llino, 
and anglicised accordingly; liinecaha in the ]iarish of 
Kilkeedy, signifies the point of the chaif or winnow- 
ing. The diminutive Uinneon, little point, is the name 
of several townlands in Cahvay, Clare, and Kerry. 

Stitaic [stook] is applied to a pointed pinnacle, or 
a projecting point of rock. Altliongli the word is 
often used to designate projecting rocky points, espe- 
cially on parts of the coast of Donegal, it has not 
given names to many townlands. Its usual English 
form is stook, which, in Ireland at least, has taken 
its place as an English word, for the expression, " a 
stook of corn " is used all over the counUy, meaning 
the same as the English word shock. 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 Stookeeus, the same word, in Limerick, and the 
singular, Stookeen, occurs in Cork. Near Loughrea 
in Galway, is a townland called Clogliastookeen, the 
stone fortress of the little ])innacle, which received its 
name from a castle of the Burkes, the ruins of which 
still remain ; Baurstookeen iu Tipperary, the summit 
of the pinnacle. 

CHAt. I.] Mounfaim, Hills, and Roch^. 409 

The words aill and faill [oil, foil], mean a rock, a 
clilf, or a precipice ; both words are radically the 
same, the latter being derived from the former by 
prefixing / (see p. 27). I have already observed 
that this practice of prefixing / is chiefly found in 
the south, and accordingly it is only in this part of 
Ireland that names occur derived from faill. 

Faill is generally made foil and foyle in the pre- 
sent names, and there are great numbers of clifis 
round the Munster coasts, esjDecially on those of Cork 
and Kerry, whose names begin with these syllables ; 
they also begin the names of about twenty-five town- 
lands, inland as well as on the coast. Foilycleara in 
Limerick and Tipperary, signifies O'Clery's clifi"; 
Foilnaman in the latter county Faill-na-mban, the 
cliff of the women. The diminutive is seen in Fal- 
leenadatha in the parish of Doon, Limerick, Faillin- 
a^-dcata, the little cliff of the smoke. When foijle 
comes in as a termination, it is commonly derived, 
however, not from faill, but from |;o//, a hole ; for 
instance, Ballyfoyle and Ballyfoile, the names of 
several townlands, represent the Irish Baile-phoill, 
the town of the hole. 

While /a?'// 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 Conuaught ; Al- 
lagower near Tallaglit, Dublin, is the cliff of the 
goat. Lisnahall in Tyrone, signifies the fort of the 
cliff"; and Aghnahily in Queen's County, the field 
of the clifi'. The diminutive Alleen is found in Tip- 
perary and Galway ; in the former county there are 
four townlands, two of them called Alleen Hogan, 
and two, Alleen Eyan, Hogan's and Eyan's little 

410 P/it/sicnl Features. [part iV. 

Carralf) or carraic [carrig, carrick], signifies a rock ; 
it is usually applied to a largo natural rock, not 
Ij'ing fiat on the surface of the ground like /eac, but 
more or loss elevated. Tliere are two other forms of 
this word, erai(j and ereag, which, though not so 
common as carrair/, are yet found in considerable 
numhors of names, and are used in Irish documents 
of authority. Cdvraig 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 crcag are repre- 
sented by the various forms, 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. 

Carrigafoyle, an island in the Shannon, near Bally- 
longford, Kerry, with the remains of Carrigafoyle 
castle near the shore, the chief seat of the O'Conors 
Kerry, is called in the annals, Carraig-an-phoiU, the 
rock of the hole ; and it took its name from a deep 
hole in the river immediately under the castle. Bally- 
nagarrick in Down, represents the Irish BaUe-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-dhiinn, beautiful rock. In luishargy in 
Down, the initial e has dropped out by aspiration ; in 
the Taxation of 1306 it is called /////-srr/r///, which well 
represents Iiiis-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 converted into 
cultivated fields (see Beeves, Eccl. Ant., p. 19). 

CHAP. I.] Mounfdiiis, ililk, and Rochs. 411 

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 Hath, Clare ; they also 
mention Craig-ui- Chiardubhain, O^J\.irwa.n^s rock, now 
Craggykerrivan 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''- 
hhnid, 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 
Carrigaun, 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 crcag, and are generally 
applied to rocky land ; Cargagh and Carrigagh, 
meaning a place full of rocks, are the names of 
several townlands. 

Clock signifies a stone — any stone either large or 
small, as, for instance, cloch-sJineachfa, a hail-stone, 
literally snow-stone ; cloch-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 

412 Pln/sical Features. [taut i v. 

liistorical occurrouco. This word is also, in a,n ex- 
tended senso, often applied to a stono buildinLr, sucli 
as a castle ; for exanijile, the castle of Gliu (ni the 
(Shannon in Limerick, the seat of the Knight of Ulin, 
is called in Irish documents, Cloch-gkanud, tlie stone 
castle of the glen or valley. It is often diificult to 
determine with certainty Avhicli of these two mean- 
ings it bears in local names. 

Clock is one of our commonest topographical roots; 
in the English forms Clogli and Clough, it constitutes 
or begins more than 400 townland names ; and it helps 
to form innumerable others in various combinations. 
Cloglibally and Cloghvally, which are common town- 
land names, represent the Irish Cloch-hhaile, stony- 
town; scattered over Munster,Connaught, and Ulster, 
are many places called Cloghboley and C'loghboola, 
stony hoolo\i or dairy place ; and Cloghvoley, Clogh- 
voola, and Cloghvoula, are varied forms of the same 
name ; Shauaclogh and Shanclogli in Muuster and 
Connaught, old stone or stone castle. 

Sometimes the final guttural drops out and the 
w^ord is reduced to eh; as in Cloraantagh in Kilkenny, 
in which no guttural appears, though there is one in 
the original (Jloeli-Manta'Kjh^ the stone or stone-castle 
of Mantacli, a man's name signifying tootliless (see 
p. 108), said to have taken its name from a stone 
circle on the hill ; Clonmoney and Clorusk in Car- 
low, the former signifying the stone of the shrubbery, 
and the latter, of the ruak or marsh. And very often 
the first c becomes g by eclipse (see p. 22), as in 
Carrownaglogh, which conveys the sound of Ceuth- 
ram]iadli-na-gclogh (Book of Lecan), the quarter-land 
of the stones. 

Names formed from this word, variously combined, 
are found in every part of Ireland : when it comes in 

CHAr. I.] Mountains, Hills, and JRoch. 413 

as a termination, it is usually in the genitive {cloiche, 
pron. clohy), and in this case it takes several modern 
forms, wliieh will be illustrated in the following 
names : — Ballyclogh, Ballyclohy, Ballinaelogh, 
Ballynaclogh, and Ballynacloghy, all names of fre- 
quent occurrence, mean stone town, or the town of 
the stones. Kilnacloghy, in the parish of Cloon- 
tuskert, in Roscommon, is oalledCoill-na-cloiche in the 
Four Masters, the wood of the stone. Aughnacloy is 
a little town in Tyrone ; and there are several town- 
lands in other counties of the same name, all called 
in Irish Achadh-na-cloiclie [Ahanaclohy], the field of 
the stone. 

There are three diminutives of this word in com- 
mon use — cloichin, cloclwg, and clogJidn — of which the 
third has been already dealt with (p. 363). The first 
is generally anglicised Cloheen or Clogheen, which is 
the name of a town in Tipperary, 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 
name of about twenty townlands, chiefiy in Ulster — 
a few, however, being found in Sligo and in the 
Leinster counties. 

There nxe several derivative forms from this word 
clocJi. The most common is cloc/iar, which is gene- 
rally applied to stony land — a place abounding in 
stones, or having a stony surface ; but it occasionally 
means a rock. Its most usual anglicised form is 
Clogher, which is the name of a well-known town in 
Tyrone, of a village, and a remarkable headland in 
Louth, and of nearly sixty townlands scattered over 
Ireland ; and, compounded with various words, it 
helps to form the names of numerous other places. 

414 Physical Features. [part i v. 

For Cloglior in Tyrone, liowovor, a difTercnt origin 
has beou assigned. It is stated that tliero existed, 
anciently at tiiis place a stone covered with gold, 
whiih was worshipped as Kermanu Kclstach, the 
principal idol of the northern Irish; and this stone, it 
is said, was preserved in the church of Ologhcr down 
to a late period : hence the place was called C/ocA-o;>, 
golden stone. O'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 1 495 ; 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 of Apollo P/jlhius, 
as is said in the Register 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 
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. Reeves 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 ClocJiur 
Filiorum Dahneni (this being Adamnan's transla- 
tion of the proper Irish name, Clochur-mnc-Daimhin, 
Clochur of the sous of Daimhin) ; in which the final 
s^'llable ur shows no trace of the genitive of or, gold 
{or, gen. oir); and, besides, the manner in which 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, I£illf>, and Bocks. 415 

Clochur is connected with mac-DaimJiin goes far to 
sliow that it is a generic term, the construction being 
exactly analogous to Inis-mac-Nessan (p. 108). 

But farther, there is a direct statement of the 
origin of the name in a passage of the Tain-ho- 
Chuailnge in Leabhar na Uidhre, quoted by Mr. J. 
O'Beirne Crowe in an article in the Kilkenny Archa3- 
ological Journal (April, 1869, p. 311). In this pas- 
sage we are told that a certain place 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 j the form clochar 
from cloch, a stone, is like that oisruthar from srutlt, 
a stream, and other nouns of this class with a cumu- 
lative signification." 

This place retains its ancient name in the latest 
Irish authorities. Daimhiu, whose sons are comme- 
morated in the name, was eighth in descent from 
Colla-da-Chrich (p. 136), and lived in the sixth 
century. His descendants were in latter times called 
Clann-Daimhin [Clan Davin] ; and they were repre- 
sented so late as the fourteenth 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 Kiliarney. CloicJiredn, or cloithredn 
[cloherawn], another diminutive, signifies also a 
stony place, and is found in every part of Ireland in 
different modern forms. It is Cloghrane 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 Galway ; Clo- 
rane and Clorhane in Limerick, King's and Queen's 

41(5 Phijaival Features. [part iv. 

County. It undergoes vnrions other alterations — 
as for instance, C'lerran in ^lonnglum : Cleighnm in 
Leitrim ; Cleraun in Longford; and Clurluiuu in 
Mayo and Gal way. 

Clochnr has other developments, one of which, 
cJochdracli or cluif/irrac/i, meaning mnch the panio as 
e/oc/uir itself — a stony place — is found pretty widely 
spread in various modtn-n forms ; such as Cloghera 
in Clare and Kerry ; and Clerragh in lloscommon. 
Another offshoot is eIoic//r(iniac/i, with still the same 
meaning; this is anglicised Cloghernagh in Donegal 
and Monaghan; CLahernnghin Fermanagli ; (Jlolier- 
nagh in Wicklow and Tipperary ; while in Tyrone 
it gives the name of Clogherny to a parish and four 

The word /eac, /ie, or liar/ [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 Icac-oidlire [lack-Ira], 
literally snow-flag. The most ancient form is liac or 
liacc, which is used to translate lapis in the Wb. and 
Sg. MSS of Zeuss ; and it is cognate with the Welsh 
llecli ; Lat. 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 di- 
minutives Lackeen and Lickeen, little rock. The form 
Hag is represented by Leeg and Leek in Monaghan, 
and by Leeke in Antrim and Londonderry. 

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, 

CilAP. I.] Moniitaiii.s, nuts, (nut Roeh. 417 

is covered on the surface with level flag-like rocks, 
Legvoy, a place in Roscommon, west of Carriek-on- 
Sliannou, is called by the Four Masters Leagmliagh 
[Legvah], the flag-surfaced plain. The celebrated 
mountain Slieve League in Donegal, is correctly 
j 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 white 

colour And here observe how much there is 

in a name; for Slieve League means the mountain of 

I have already observed (p. 355) that stony fords 
are very often designated by names indicating their 
character; and I will give a few additional illustra- 
tions here. Belleek in Fermanagh, on the Erne, east of 
Ballyshannon, is called in Irish authorities, Bel-leice 
[Bellecka] " translated os rupis by Philip O'SuUivan 
Beare in his history of the Irish Catholics. The name 
signifies ford-mouth of the flag-stone, and the place 
was so called from the flat-surfaced rock in the ford, 
which, when the water decreases in summer, appears 
as level as a marble floor" (O'Donovan, Four Mast.V., 
p. 134). Belleek is also the name of a place near Bal- 
lina in Mayo, which was so called from a rocky ford 
on the Moy ; there is a village of the same name near 
Newtown Hamilton, Armagh, and also two town- 
lands in Galway and Meath. Ballinalack is the name 
of a village 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-aiha-na-kac [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, 

* From '• The Donegal Highlands," Murray and Co., Dublin. 


4 IS Plii/siial Pe<t{ures. [paiit iv. 

liowevcr, Ballinaluck is derived from Baile-tin-Icac 
the town of the Hag-stones. 

Several derivative forms from Icnc are perpetuated 
in local names ; one of these, IcacacJi, signifying stony, 
is applied topogra[)liically to a plaee full of stones or 
flags, and lias given the name of Lackagh to many 
towulauds in ditferent parts of Ireland. Several places 
of this name are mentioned in the annals ; for in- 
stance, Lackagh in the parish of Innishkeel, Donegal, 
and the river Lackagh, falling into Sheephaven, same 
county, both of which are noticed in the Four 

Lcacan is one of the most widely extended of all 
derivatives from kac^ 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 Lackendarragh, all sig- 
nify the hill-side of the oak ; Ballynalackan and 
Ballynalacken, the town of the hill-side. Lackan in 
the parish of Kilglass in Sligo was formerly the 
residence of the Mac Firbises, where their castle, now 
called Castle Forbes (i. e. Fii'bis), 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. 

The two words, leaca and Icacd)i, also signify the 
cheek ; it may be that this is the sense in which they 
are applied to a hill-side, and that in this application 
no reference to leac, a stone was intended. 

" Boireann (burren), a large rock ; a stony, rocky 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, Hills, and lioch. 419 

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). In a passage from an ancient 
MS. quoted by O'Donovan, it is fancifully derived 
from borr, 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 
Burreureagh in Down, both meaning grey burren. 
Cloonburren on the west bank of the Shannon, nearly 
opposite Clonmacnoise, is frequently mentioned in the 
annals, its Irish name being Cluain-boircann, rocky 
meadow. Eathborney, a parish in Clare, received 
its name — Rath-Boivne, the fort of Burren — from 
the district in which it is situated. The plural, hoirne 
(bourny), is modernized into Burnew, i. e. rocky 
lands in the parish of Killinkere, Cavan ; in the form 
Bourney, it is the name of a parish in Tipperary ; 
and near Aghada in Cork, is a place called Knock- 
anemorney, in Irish Cnocan-na-mhoirne, tb e little hill 
of the rocks. 

The word cavvy 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- 


420 PhysUal Fcalurea. frAur iv. 

bablo tLiit camiiij, a rook, cdni, a munumuulal heap 
of stones, and cairllic, a pillar-stone, are all etymolo- 
gically connected Avitli tliis Avord. 

Carr is the name of thrco townlands in Down, 
Fermanagh, and Tyrone ; and it forms part of several 
names ; such as Carcullion in tlie parish of Clonduff, 
Down, the rock or rocky land of the holly ; Gortahar 
in Antrim, Gorf-a'-c/iairr, tlio field of the rock. In 
the parish of Clonallan, Down, is a place called 
Carrogs, little rocks. There i^ another diminutive 
common in the west of Ireland, namely, caiii/iin, 
which is anglicised as it is pronounced, Carheen ; it 
generally means rock}^ land, but in some places it is 
understood to mean a ca hereon, that is, a little ca/ie?- 
or stone fort, and occasionally a little cairtlie, or 
pillar-stone (see pp. 283, 342) ; the English plural 
Oarheeus, and the Irish Carheeny, both meaning 
little rocks or little stone forts, are the names of 
several places in Galway, Mayo, and Limerick. 

The third diminutive, canroi, 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 generally signify rocky land, but 
they are occasionally understood to mean a reaping 
hook, applied in this sense, from some peculiarity of 
sliape ; and Caran and Carran are sometimes varied 
forms of cam. Craan, Craane, and Crane, which 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- 

CHAP. I.] Mountains, HiUs, and Rod's. 421 

vian sher, a reef, shere, 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 Scar, 
Skerry, or the plural Skerries, which are the names 
of several well-known places. 

8ceilig [skellig], according to O'Reilly, means a 
rock ; the form scillic occurs in Cormac's Grlossary in 
the sense of a splinter of stone ; and O'Donovan, in 
the Four Masters, translates SceilUc, 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, Mi- 
chael's slccllig 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 moun- 
tain, is called Templenaskellig, the church of the 
rock, and this sliellig 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 Skel- 
gagh, an adjective formation from sceilig, signifying 
rocky land. 

Spcilic is used in Louth in the sense of a splintery 

422 P/ii/.sical Features. [pakt iv. 

rock, but it is very probaLly a corruption of .sTr/Z/c/; 
it lias given name to Spcllickaneo in the parish of 
Ballynmscanlan, •wliicli is in Irisli, Sppilic-an-f/iiaich, 
tlie rock of the raven. Among tlio Mourno moun- 
tains it is pronounced spefli;/ ; and llio adjective form 
spcihjcacJi [spcUigagli], is understood there to denote 
a place full of pointed rocks. 

Spine [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 Hplnk or pinnacle. 

There are other terms for hills, such as druim, eudan, 
eeann, &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 in a. It is generally 
translated campus by Latin writers, and it is ren- 
dered j^tonY/fs in the Annals of Tighernach. It is a 
word of great antiquity, and in the Latinized form 
magus — which corresponds with the old Irish ortho- 
graphy mag — it is frequently used in ancient Gaulish 
names of places, such as Ciesaromagus, Drusomagus, 
Noviomagus, Ligomagus, &c. (Gram. Celt., p. 9). It 
occurs also in the Zeuss MSS., where it is given as 

CHAP. II. J Plains, Valleys, HoUoics, (aid Caves. 423 

the equivalent of campus. The word appears under 
various forms in anglicised names, such as magJt^moij, 
ma, mo, &.Q. 

I Several of the great plains celebrated in former 
ages, and constantly mentioned in Irish autliorities, 
have lost their names, though the positions of most of 
them are known. Magh-breagh [Moy-bra], 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 hraw ; Magh- 
Ireagli 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 hill between Slane and Collon, signifying 
the hill of Magh-breag/i. 

Many of the celebrated old plains still either partly 
or wholly retain their original names, and of these I 

* Notwithstanding the authority of Tighernach, T fear this 
translation is incorrect. Any one who examines the way in 
which the name Breg (in all its inflections) is used in old Irish 
writings, will see at once that it is not an adjective, but a 
plural noun ; that it is never used in the singular ; and further, 
that it was the name of a people : Brer/a (the nom. plural form) 
being a term exactly corresponding with Aiu/li, Germmn, 
Celtic &c. According to this, Mag-Breg, or in later Irish, 
Magh-Breagh, signifies, not delightful plain, but the plain of 
the Brega, who were I suppose the original inhabitants. As a 
further confirmation of this, and as a kind of set-otf against the 
authority of Tighernach, we find Hlidhh-Breagh translated in 
the Lives of SS. Fanchea and Columbkille, Mons-Bregarum, 
the mountain of the Bregians. See J. O'Beirne Crowe's note 
in Kilk. Arch. Jour., 1872, p. 181. 

42-1 P/i>/-si((il Fcafiin.s. [part iv. 

will montion a few. Macosquin, now a parish in 
Loudoiulcrrv, is called in the annals, Maf/h-Cosf/niiii, 
tlie plain oi' Cosgran, a man's nanio, very common 
both in ancient and modern times. Tliere is a village 
called Movilla near Newtownards in Down, where a 
great monastery was founded by St. Finnian in tlio 
sixth century ; its Irish name is Mayli-hilc (O'Cler. 
Cal.), the plain of the ancient tree ; and there is 
another place with the same Irish name in the east 
of Inishowen in Donegal, now called Moville, which 
was also a religious establishment, though not equally 
ancient or important. 

Mallow in Cork is called in Irish Marjh-EaUa, 
[Moyalla : Four Mast.], the plain of the river Ealla 
or Allow. The stream now called the Allow is a small 
river flowing into the Blackwater through Kanturk, 
ten or eleven miles from Mallow ; but the Blackwater 
itself, for at least a part of its course, was anciently 
called Allow ;* from this the district between Mallow 
and Kanturk was called MagJi-Ealla, which ulti- 
mately settled down as the name of the town of 
Mallow. The river also gave name to the territory 
lying on its north bank, west of Kanturk, which is 
called in Irish authorities, Dnthaigh EalJa [Doohy- 
alla], i.e. the district of the Allow, now shortened to 

Magunihy, now a barony in Kerry, is called by 
the Four Masters, in some places, Magh-gCoiucinno, 
[Maguukinny], and in others, Ilagh-O-gCoinchinn, 
i. e. the plain of. the O'Coincinns ; from the former 
of which the present name is derived. The territory, 
however, belonged 250 years ago to the O'Donohoes, 

* See a Paper bv the author, on " Spenser's Irisli Rivers," 
P.-oc. U. J. A., YorX.. p 1. 

CHAP. II.] PIa'ni><, Valley!^, Hollon-fi, aiul Cares. 425 

and, accordinfj 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 record. 

The form Moy is the most common of any. It is 
itself, as well as the plural Moys (i. e. plains), the 
name of several places, and forms part of a large 
number. Moynalty in Meath represents the Irish 
Magh-ncalta, the plain of the flocks ; this was also the 
ancient name of the level country lying between Dub- 
lin and Howth (see p. 160) ; 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 between the rivers Erne and Drowes is now 
always called the Moy, which partly preserves a name 
of great antiquity. It is the celebrated plain of Magh- 
gCedne [genne], so frequently mentioned in the ac- 
counts of the earliest colonists ; and it was here the 
Fomorian pirates of Tory (p. 162), exacted their op- 
pressive yearly tribute from the Nemedians. 

This word assumes other forms in several counties, 
such as Maw, Maws, Moigh, and Muff. In accord- 
ance with the Munster custom of restoring the final 
g (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 3Iagh-IIe, the plain of He or Eile, a man's name. 
There is a parish in Cork, east of Macroom, called 
Cannaway, or in Irish Ceann-ci' -mhaighe [Cannawee], 
the head of the plain ; the same name is anglicised 
Cannawee 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 church at the 
head of the plain. 

42G Thij'iical Fcalurcs. [vart iv. 

Tliere is ono dimiiuilivc, maifjhin [moyno], wliioli 
is very common, botli in ancient and modern names; 
it occurs in the Zcuss M!S»S. in the form vmgcn, where it 
is used in the sense of lucm; and we find it in the Four 
Masters, wlien they record tlie erection, in 1460, by 
Mac William Burke, of the celebrated abbey oiMaigh- 
iu or Moyne in Mayo. The ruins of this abbey still 
remain near the river Moy, in the parish of Killala, 
county Mayo. This, as well as the village of Moyne 
in Tipperary, and about a dozen places of the same 
name in the three southern provinces, were all so 
called from maighin or little plain. Maine and Mayne, 
which are the names of several places from Derry to 
Cork, are referable to the same root, though a few 
of them may be from mead/ion [maan], middle. 

Machaire [maghera], a derivative from magh, and 
meaning the same thing, is very extensively used 
in our local nomenclature. It generally appears 
in the anglicised forms of Maghera and Maghery, 
which are the names of several villages and town- 
lands; Maghera 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 Reg. Prene, Machanj-edar- 
goical, which represents the Irish, Machaire-cadar- 
ghahltal [Maghera-addrool], the plain between the 
(river) forks. (Eeeves, Eccl. Ant., p. 316. See Ad- 

Reidh [ray] signifies a plain, a level field ; it is more 
commonly employed in the south of Ireland than else- 
where, and it is usually applied to a mountain flat, or 
a coarse, moory, level piece of land among hills. 
Its most general anglicised forms are rea, re, and 

CHAP. II.] Plains, Valleys, Hollows, and Caves. 427 

In the parish of Eingagonagh, "Waterford, there is 
a townland called Eeadoty, which is modernized from 
Ev'uUi-cloiyJitc, burnt mountain-plain: Reanagishagh 
in Clare, the mountain flat of the liislics or wicker 
causeways ; Eemeen in Kilkenny, smooth plain ; 
Ballynarea, near Newtown Hamilton, Armagh, the 
town of the mountain-flat. The plural Eehy, i. e. 
mountain-flats, is the name of a place in Clare. 
Reidhleach [Eelagh], a derivative from reidh^ and 
meaning the same thing, gives names to some places 
in Tyrone, Fermanagh, and Cavan, in the modernized 
form, Eelagh. 

Reidh is also used as an adjective, signifying ready 
or prepared ; and from this, by an easy transition, 
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 plain 
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-reidli, 
smooth flat mountain {see Ma el, p. 395). Eehill is 
the name of some places in Kerry and Tipperary, 
which are called in Irish, Eeidh-choill, 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 pass through, than others in 
the same neighbourhood. 

Clar is literally a board, and occurs in this sense in 
the Zeuss MSS. in the old form claar, which 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 Eoscojnmon 

428 riii/.sival Features. [paut iv. 

and the Leinster counties, Bignifying tlio town of 
the plain. Ijallinclare is often met with in Leinster 
and ^lunsfor, and generally means the same thing; 
but it may signify in some ])lacos the ford of the 
plank, as it does in case of Ballinclare in the parish 
of Kilmacteige in Sligo, which is written Bd-an- 
chJdir by the Four Masters (see for plank bridges, 
2nd. Ser., chap, xiii.) There is a place in Galway 
which was formerly called by this name, where a great 
abbey was founded in the thirteenth century, and a 
castle in the sixteenth, both of which are still to be 
seen in ruins ; the place is mentioned by the Four 
Masters, who call it Baile-an-cltlair, but it retains only 
a part of this old name, being now called Clare-Gal- 
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 people is, that it 
was called Clare from a board formerly placed across 
the river Fergus to serve as a bridge. Very oftea 
the Irish form clar is preserved unchanged-: as in 
Clarcarrieknagun near Donegal, the point of the rock 
of the hounds ; Clarbane in Armagh, white plain ; 
Clarderry in Monaghan, level oak wood. Clarkill in 
Armagh, Down, and Tipperary, and Clarehill in 
Derr}^, are not much chauged from the original, 
Clnrchoill, level wood. In the three last names chir 
is used as an adjective. 

The form Claragh, signifying the same as clar itself 
— a level place— is much used as a townland name ; 
Claraghatlea in the parish of Drishane in Cork, Clar- 
acli-cC -tshihhe, the plain of (i. e. near) the mountain. 
Sometimes this is smoothed down to Clara, which is 
the name of a village in King's County, and of 

CHAP. 11,] Plains, Vai/ci/S) Ho/loirs, and Cai-cs. 429 

several other places ; Clarashinuagli near Mohill in 
Leitrim, the plain of the foxes. And lastly, there 
are several places called Clareen, little plain. 

The word (jleann [pron. gloun in the south, ///ay?, else- 
where], has exactly the same signification as the Eng- 
lish word glen. Though they are nearly identical in 
form, one has not been derived from the other, for 
the English word exists in the Ang.-Saxon, and on 
the other hand, glcann is used in Irish MSS. much 
older than the Anglo-Norman invasion, as for in- 
stance in Lcho)--na-]iUidhre. 

The two words Grlen and Glan form or begin the 
names of more than 600 places, all of them, with 
an occasional exception, purely Irish ; and they are 
sprinkled through every county in Ireland. The 
most important of these are explained in other parts 
of this book, and a very few illustrations will be 
sufficient here. Glennamaddy, the name of a village 
in Galway, is called in Irish, Gleann-na-madaighe, 
the valley of the dogs ; Glennagross near Limerick, 
of the crosses; Glenmullion near the town of Antrim, 
the glen of the mill ; Glendine and Glandine, the 
names of several places in the Munster and Leinster 
counties, Gleann-doimhin, deep glen ; and the same 
name, in the form of Glendowan, is now applied to 
a fine range of mountains in Donegal, which must 
have been so called from one of the " deep valleys " 
they enclose. 

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 Gleann- 
Corhruxghe [Corbry], Corbrach's or Corbry's Valley. 
And occasionally we find it Glyn or Glynn, of which 

430 P////.si('(il Fi-nfiirra. [i'.\ur iv. 

wo havo a oliaractcristic example in tlie village and 
parish of Glynn in Antrim, anciently Gleann-fliin- 
neachta. The genitive oi fihcnni is (/hrnnin [glanna], 
and sometimes (j/iini, tlio former of which is repre- 
sented by ghnina in the end of names; as in Ballin- 
glauna in Cork, Kerry, and Tipperary, the town of 
the glen ; the same as Ballingleu and Ballyglan in 
other counties. 

There are two diminutives in common use; the 
one, gkanndn, is found in the northern counties in 
the form of Glennan, while in Galway it is made 
Glennaun. The other, glcaimfdn, is very much used 
in the south and west, and gives names to several 
places now called Glantane, Glantaun, Glentane, and 
Grlentaun — all from a " little glen." 

The plural of glcnnn is glcannta or glranntahlhe 
[glanta, glenty], the latter of which, with the Eng- 
lish plural superadded to the Irish (p. 32), gives 
name to the village of Glenties in Donegal : 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 cashcl or stone fort), and Glcnfadn-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-ghlionn [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 Fermanagh, and Cromlin in Leitrim. In every 

CHAP. II.] Plains, Valleys, HoUoics, and Caves. 431 

one of these places there is a winding glen, and in the 
Antrim Crumlin, the glen is traversed by a river, 
whose name corresponds with that of the glen, viz., 
Camline, which literally signifies crooked Hue. Crum- 
lin near Dublin takes its name from a pretty glen 
traversed by a little stream passing by Inchicore and 
under the canal into the Liffey. The Four Masters, 
in mentioning this Crumlin, give the true Irish form 
of the names of all those places, Cruimghlinn, curved 
glen, the sound of which is exactly conveyed by 
Crumlin. Sometimes in pronouncing this compound, 
a short vowel sound is inserted between the two root 
words, which preserves the g from aspiration ; and in 
this manner was formed Cromaglan, the name of the 
semicircularly curved glen traversed 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 neces- 
sary to add that this name does not mean " drooping 
mountain," as the guide books absurdly translate it. 
There is a townland of the same name in the parish 
of Tully lease in Cork, now called Cromagloun. 

Lug or lag signifies a hollow ; when used topogra- 
phically, it is almost always applied to a hollow in a 
hill ; and lag, lig, leg, and lug are its most common 
forms, the first three 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 Balla in Mayo called Lag- 
namuck, the hollow of the pigs ; Lagnaviddoge in 
the same county signifies the hollow of the plovers. 
Leg begins the names of about 100 townlands, almost 
all of them in the northern half of Ireland. The 
places called Legaourry, Legachory, and Lagacurry, 

432 Physical Features. [i-art iv. 

of ^Ylucll thcro arc about a dozen, are all so called 
fi'om a ealdron-like pit or liollow, the name being in 
Irish, Lfif/-a'-c/i()ire, the hollow of the voire or cal- 
dron. AVlicu the word terminates names it takes 
several forms, none differing much from /itg; such as 
Balliiilig, ]>alliulug, Ballinluig, Ballylig, and Bally- 
lug, all common townland names, signifying the town 
of the lug or hollow. 

As this word was applied to a liollow in a mountain, 
it occasionally happened that the name of the hollow 
was extended to the mountain itself, as in case of 
Lugduff over Glendalough in Y/icklow, black hollow; 
and Lugnaquillia, the higliest of the Wicklow moun- 
tains, which the few old people who still retain 
the Irish pronunciation in that district, call Lug-na- 
gcoillcach, the hollow of the cocks, i. e. grouse. 

The diminutives Lagan and Legan occur very often 
as townland names, but it is sometimes difficult to 
separate the latter from liagan, 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-dorclia, 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 
ciinif 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 

CHAP. II.] PlaiuSy Valleys, IIolloics, (uul Caiea. 433 

under Mangerton, whose name originated in the 
practice of sending horses to graze in it at certain 
seasons — Ciun-na-(jcapall, the glen of the horses; 
and there is another place of the same name in 

The most usual forms are coom and coiim^ which 
form part of many names in the Muuster counties, 
especially in Cork and Kerry ; thus Coomacheo in 
Cork, the valley of the fog ; Coomnahorna in Kerry, 
the valley of the barley ; Coomuagun 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 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 obtainitng some 
knowledge of the particular case. Sometimes the 
initial c is eclipsed, as in case of Baurtrigoum, the 
name of the highest summit of the Slieve Mish 
mountains near Tralee, which signifies the harr or 
summit of the three coma or hollows ; and the moun- 
tain was so called because there are on its northern 
face three glens from summit to base, each traversed 
by a stream. 

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 Bally- 
organ in Limerick, is called Baruageeha, from a pass 

t31 Physic d Features. [pautiv. 

of this kind on its western side. Very often it is 
translated Windygap and Wiudgate : there is, for 
instance, a reraarkahlo gap with the former name in 
the parish of A«Ulergoole, Mayo, which tlie Four 
Masters call by its proper Irish name, Bcarna-na' 
gaoithc Ballinabarnj', liallybarney, Ballynabarna, 
Ballynabarny, Ballynaboarna, and Ijallynaberuy, all 
signify the town of the gap- 
There are several places in different counties, called 
by the Irish name, Bearna-dhearg [Barna-yarrig], 
red gap, and anglicised Barnadarrig and Barnaderg. 
The most remarkable of these for its historic associa- 
tions is Bearna-dhoarcj between the two hills of 
Knockea and Carrigeenamronety, on the road from 
Kilmallock in Limerick to Kildorrery in Cork. It 
is now called in English lledchair or Bichchair, 
which is an incorrect form of the old Anglo-Irish 
name Bedsherd, as we find it in Dymmok's "Treatise 
of Ireland," written about the year IGOO (Tracts re- 
lating to Ireland, Vol. II., p. 18 : Irish Arch. Soc), 
i. e. red gap, a translation of the Irish ; slicdrd, being 
a "West-English term for a gap. There is a gap in 
the mountain of Forth in Wexford, which, according 
to the Glossary quoted at page 44, supra, is also called 
Recd-shcard or Bed-gap, by the inhabitants of Forth 
and Bargy. 

This word takes other forms, especially in the 
northern counties, where it is pretty common ; it is 
made hnrnct in several cases, as in Drumbarnet, the 
ridge of the gap, the name of some places in Donegal 
and Monaghan ; Lisbaruet in Down, the fort of the 
gap. There is another Irish form used in the north, 
namely, hcarnm ; 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 

CHAP. II.] Plains, Valleys, Hollows, and Caves. 436 

forms Baj'nes and Barnish, it gives name to several 
places in Antrim, Donegal, and Tyrone. All the pre- 
ceding modifications are liable to liave 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 (Bally- 
vernock: Inq., 1623), the town of the gap. 

The diminutive Bearnan is the real name of the 
remarkable gap in the mountain now called the 
Devil's Bit in Tipperary, whose contour is so familiar 
to travellers on the Great Southern and Western 
Eailway; and it gives name to the parish of Bar- 
nane-Ely, i. e. the little gap of Eile, the ancient ter- 
ritory in wliich it was situated. 

A scealp [scalp] is a cleft or chasm ; the word is 
much in use among the English-speaking peasantry 
of the south, who call a piece of anything cut off bv 
a knife or liatchet, a skelp. The well-known moun- 
tain chasm called the Scalp south of Dublin near 
Enniskerry, affords the best known and the most 
chai'acteristic application of the term ; and there are 
other places of the same name in the counties of 
Clare, Galway, Dublin, and Wicklow. Scalpnagouu 
in Clare is the cleft of the calves ; Moneyscalp in 
Down, the shrubbery of the chasm. 

Foil, a hole of any kind ; "Welsh picll ; Manx powll ; 
'Breton poull ; Cornish ;;o/; Old High German 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 begin- 
ning of anglicised names it is always made poll, 
poul or pull ; and as a termination it is commonlv 
changed to foyle, phuill, or 'phull, by the aspiration 
of the p (p. 20), and by the genitive inflexion ; all 
which forms are exhibited in Ballinfoyle, Ballin- 


A^G P/it/nical Features. [part iv. 

pluiill and Ballinphull, tlio town of the hole, which 
are the names of many places all over the country. 
Often tlie p is eeliiiseJ by b (p. 22) as in Ballyna- 
boU and BuUyuaboul, Baile-na-bpoll, the town of the 

The origin of the name Poolbeg, now applied to 
the lighthouse at the extremity of the South Wall iu 
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 Eiugs-end as above it, 
so as you may go dry foot round about the ships 
which lye at an anchor there, except in two places, 
one at tlie 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 Clontarf, and the other 
Poolbeg) it never falleth dry, but the ships which 
ride at an anchor remain ever afloat" (Chap. III., 
Sect. II.). The "Bool of Clontarf " is still called " The 
Pool;" and the other (near which the lighthouse was 
built), as being the smaller of the two, was called Foll- 
hccg, little pool. 

There is a place near Arklow called Pollahoney, 
or in Irish, Foll-iC-chonaidJt the hole of the firewood ; 
Pollnaranny in Donegal, PoUrane in Wexford, and 
Pollranny in Eoscommon and Mayo, all signify the 
hole of the ferns; Polldorragha near Tuam, dark 
hoe; Pollaginnive in Fermanagh, sandpit ; Polfore 
near Dromore, Tj'rone, cold hole. So also Pouldine 
in Tipperary, deep hole ; Poulaculleare near White- 
church, same county, and Pollacullaii-e in Galway, 
the quarry hole. 

The diminutive in various forms is also pretty ge- 

cn\P. II.] Plains, Vallcijx, JloUoirx, mid Caves. 437 

iieral. The P aliens (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. G8). Inhere are some very fine sea caves a little 
west of Castletown Bearhaven in Cork, which, as well 
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 Cloutibret, Monaghan ; Pollans in Donegal ; 
and Polleens and Polleeny in Gralway, all signifying 
little holes or caverns. The adjective form 'pollach is 
applied to laud 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 Pullagh. 

We have several words in Irish for a cave. Some- 
times, as we have seen, the term jioll was used, and 
the combination 2)on-taljnJtan [Poultalloon : hole of 
the earth] was occasionally employed as a distinctive 
term for a cavern, giving name, in this sense, toPoll- 
talloon in Gal way, and to Poultalloon near Fedamore 
in Limerick. 

Lcarc or derc [derk] signifies a cave or grotto, and 
also the eye. The latter is the primary meaning, 
corresponding with Grr. dcrko, I see, and its applica- 
tion to a cave is figurative and secondary. The word 
is often found in the old MSS. ; as, for instance, in 
case of Derc-ferna (cave of alders), which was the 
ai;c:ent name of the Cave of Dunraore near Kilkenny, 
and which is still applied to it by those speaking Irish. 
In the parish of Eathkenny in Meath, is a place 

138 P/ii/.sira/ l\i(lnr($. [i'AKI iv. 

called Dundork, (ho fbrfross of" the cave; so iiaiuod, 
probably, from an artificial cavo in coiniectiou with 
tho dun ; there are several places called Derk and 
Dirk, both meaiiino' simply a cave ; and Aghadark in 
Leitrim, is the field of the cavern. 

Cnas 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 Galway ; there is a remarkable cavern 
near Cong called Cooslughoga, the cavo of mice ; 
and it is very likely that Cozies in tho parish of Billy, 
Antrim, is merely the Englisli plural of Cuas, mean- 
ing "caves." Clooncooso, Clooncose, Cloncose, and 
Cloucouse, are the names of fourteen townlands spread 
over the four provinces; the Irish form is Cluain-aias 
(Four Masters), the meadow of the caves. Sometimes 
the c is changed to h by aspiration, as in Corrahoo-sh 
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 
Druim-ycuas, cave ridge. There are several places 
called Coosan, Coosane, Coosaun, and Coosheen, all 
signifying little cave. Round the coasts of Cork and 
Kerr}^ 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 different ways, ^tagh, uai)nh, and ?/r//A [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 eaves ; sometimes the taking of a cave, 
when the place has been used as a place of refuge or 

CHAP. II.] PUtiitx, Valleys, llollotc^, and Caves. 439 

habitation ; sometimes the nnrrative of some adven- 
ture in a cave ; sometimes of a plunder of a cave ; 
and so on " (O'Curry, Lect., p. 283). A tale of this 
kind was called uath, i. e. cave. 

The second form uaimh is the one in most general 
use, and its genitive is either uamha or uamhain [ooa, 
ooan], both of which we find in the annals. Cloyne 
in Cork, has retained only 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 St. Colman 
Mac Lenin adopted when he founded his monastery 
there in the beginning of the seventh century ; 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 erection by Emh- 
ear, of liafh-uam/iaiii, i. e. the fort of the cave 
(O'Donovan's Four Masters, I., 27), which exhibits 
the second form of the genitive. 

Both of these genitives are represented in our pre- 
sent names. The first very often forms the termina- 
tion oe or 00, or with the article, nahoe, or nahoo ; as 
Drumnahoe in Antrim and Tyrone, and Drumahoo 
in Derry, \.e.Di'uim-na-huamha,i\\Q ridge of the cave; 
Farnahoe near Inishannon in Cork [Farran, land) ; 
Glennoo near Clogher in Tyrone, and Glennahoo in 
Kerry, the glen of the cave. And occasionally the v 
sound of the aspirated m comes clearly out, as in 
Cornahoova in Meath, and Corn above in Armagh, 
the round hill of the cave ; the same as Coruahoe in 
Monaghan and Longford. 

The other genitive, uamhain [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 Mullennahone in 

440 P/ii/.siail Feafinrs. [paut iv. 

Kilkenny, and !Nrulllnaliono in Tipperary, Mi(iIo)ni- 
7ia-/iiia»i/iai)i, tlio mill of the cave, tlio latter so called 
from a cave near the village throngh which the little 
river runs : Knockeennahone in Kerry (little hill) ; 
and Lisnahoon in lloscommon, so called, no douht, 
from the artificial eave in the //s or fort. Both forms 
are represented in Gortuahoo in Tipperary, and Gor- 
nalioon in Galway, the field of the cave ; and in 
Knocknahoe in Kerry and Sligo, and Knocknahooan 
in Clare, cave hill. 

Occasionally we find this last genitive form used 
as a nominative (p. 34), for, according to O'Donovan 
(App. to O'Eeilly's Diet.), " UamJuiinn is used in 
Thomond to express a natural or artificial cave." 
Nooaff and Nooan are the names of some places in 
Clare ; they are formed by the attraction of the article 
(p. 23), the former representing n'liaimh, and the 
latter n^uamhainn, and both signifying " the cave." 
The Irish name of Owenbristy near Ardrahan in 
Galway is Vamhainn-hrmlc, broken cave. 

Uamhainn with the mh sounded, would be pro- 
nounced oovan ; and this by a slight change, effected 
under the corrupting influence noticed at page 38, 
has given name to " The Ovens," a small village on 
the river Bride, two miles west of Ballincollig 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 ooraiis into ovens ! The ford at 
tlie village was anciently called Afh-'n-nr/ni/tain 
[Athnooan], the ford of the eave, and this with the 
V sound suppressed has given the name of Athnowen 
to the parish. 


CHAP. III.] Islands, Peninsulas, and Strands. 441 



The most common word for an island is inis, cognate 
with Welsh ynys. Arm. ones, 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- 
speaking people, especially in the 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 character of islands, they retained the name. 
It is not difficult to understand how, in the course of 
ages, the word inis 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. 41Uj. 

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 inch, to river meadows There 
is an island in Lough Erne, containing the ruins of 

442 Physical l<\'(iti(i(>i. [i-aimin. 

an ancient clmrcli, wliicli the annalists often montiou 
by the nnnio of I)ii,'i-?)ii(i)//ir-sa»/h [nioy-sauv], tho 
island of tho plain of tlio sorrel ; tliis island is 
now, by a very gross mispronnuciatiou, called Inish- 
macsaint, and has given name to the parish on the 

Near tho town of Ennis in Clare, is a townland 
called Clonroad, which preserves pretty well the 
sound of tho name as we find it in the annals, 
C/iiain-raf)i/ij7iO(la, usually translated tho meadow 
of the long rowing : tho spot where Ennis now 
stands must liave been originally connected in some 
way with this townland, for the annals usually 
mention it by the name of Inia-Clufoia-ranifhoda, 
i. e. tlie river meadow of Clonroad. 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 Irish Inis-caeiii 
(Eour Mnst.), beautiful island or river holm. Inis- 
tioge in Kilkenny is written Iitis-Teoc in the Book 
of Leinster, Teoc's island ; and Ennistimon in Clare 
is called by the Four Masters Inis-Diomaiii, Diman's 
river meadow. 

This word very often occurs in the end of names, 
usually forming with the article the termination na- 
hinch, 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 parish, which ought to have been 
called Ckeninish ; 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 

CHAP. III.] I.shnuf-^, Pou'iisiih!.'!, and Sf rands. 443 

lllau and Illaim, and tliese words give names to 
places all over the country, but far more numerously 
in Connaudit than elsewhere. Thus lUananummera 
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 Eoeillaun, red island. 

A peninsula is designated by the compound leith- 
insi [lehinshi] literally half-island ; and this word 
gives name to all places now called Lehinch or La- 
hinch, of which, besides a village in Clare (which is 
mentioned by the Four Masters), there are several in 
other parts of Ireland. T]\e word is shortened in 
Loughlynch in the parish v,i Billy, Antrim, which 
ouglit to have been called Lour/Idc/iuic/i, as it is writ- 
ten in the Four Masters Loch-leifhinusi, the lake of 
the peninsula ; for a lake existed there down to a re- 
cent period. 

The word ros signifies, first, a promontary or pen- 
insula ; secondly, a wood ; and it has other signifi- 
cations which need not be noticed here. Colgan 
translates it ncmus in Act. SS., p. 791 h, n. 15 ; and 
in Tr. Th., p. 383 a, n. 17, it is rendered j^cninsnla. 
'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 of wood, while in the north, this appli- 
cation 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 Ptoss castle on the lower lake of Killarney, 
so called from the little ros or point on which it was 

'i44 P/ii/.siciil Fcafiircs. [pAirr iv. 

built. Botwoon tlio niiddlo and lower lakes is the 
peninsula of ^Euckrops, so celebrated for the beauty 
of its scenery, and for its abbe^^ ; its Irisli name is 
Mt(C.-rox, 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 
Killarne}^, near the head of Dingle bay, is a remark- 
able peninsula called liossbchy or Ilossbegh, the 
1 atter part of which indicates that it was formerly 
covered with birch trees : — birchy point. 

There is a parish in Leitrim called Rossinver, which 
takes its name from a point of land running into the 
south part of Lough Melvin — Eosiiih/iir, the Penin- 
sula of the inirr or river mouth ; and Rossorry near 
Euniskillen is called in the Four Masters, llos-airf/iir 
[Rossarher], eastern peninsula, of which the modern 
name is a corruption. Portrush in Antrim affords an 
excellent illustration of the use of this word ; it takes 
its name from the well-known point of basaltic rock 
which juts into the sea : — Post-mis, the landing place 
of the peninsula. The district between the bays of 
Gweebarra and Grweedore in Donegal is called by 
the truly descriptive name, The Posses, i. e. the 

While it is often difficult to know which of the 
two meanings we should assign to ros, the nature of 
the place not unfrequently determines the matter. 
Push north of Dublin, is called in Irish authorities 
lios-eo [Push-o], 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 
tlie first syllable : the whole name therefore signifies 
the peninsula of the yew-trees. 

TraicjU or trachi [tra, traght] signifies a strand ; 

CHAP. III.] Islands, Peninsulas, and Strands. 445 

it is found in the Zeuss MSS., and corresponds with 
Lat. tract as, "Welsh traeth, and Cornish trait. The first 
form is that always adopted in modern names, and it 
is generally represented by tra, traic, or tra//. 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, which is generally taken to mean the shore or 
strand of the Lee, a little river which runs into the 
sea there, but which is now covered over. In the 
Annals of Connaught, however, the place is called 
*' Traigh Li mic Dedad," the strand of Li the son 
of Dedad ; from which it would appear that it took 
its name from a man named Li (which is consistent 
with the translation in the Life of St. Brendan) ; and 
this is probably the true origin of the name. Tralee 
in the parish of Ardtrea, Derry, has a different 
origin, the Irish name being Traigh-Iiath, grey 
strand. Tramore near Waterford, great strand ; 
Trawnamaddree in Cork, the strand of the dogs. 
Baltray, strand-town, is the name of a village near 
the mouth of the Boyne ; there is a place called 
Ballynatray, a name having the same meaning, on 
the Blackwater, a little above Youghal ; and near the 
same town, on the opposite shore of the river, 
is Monatray, the bog of the strand. There is a 
beautiful white strand at Ventry in Kerry, from 
which the place got the name of Fionn-traigh [Fin- 
tra : Fionn, white] ; Hanmer calls it rentra, which 
is an intermediate step between the ancient and 
modern forms. This same name is more correctly 
modernised Fintra in Clare, and Fintragh near 
Killybegs in Donegal. 

446 P/ii/sical Fcafiire.^. [part iv. 



The common Irish word for water is uiscc [iska] ; it 
occurs iu the Zeuss MSS., where it g-losses aqua, and 
it is cognate with Lat. unda, and Ur. hudur. It is 
pretty extensively used in local names, and it has 
some derivatives, which give it a wider circulation. 
It occurs occasionally in the beginning of names, hat 
generally in the end, and its usual forms are i>ika, 
iski/, and ink. AVhiskey is called in Irish uisce-heaiha 
[iska-baha], or as it is often anglicised, iisqucbaiigh, 
which has exactly the same meaning as the Latin 
oqiia riUr, and the French cau-dc-vie, water of life ; 
and the first part of the compound, slightly altered, 
now passes current as an English word — whiskey. 

At A.D. 4G5, the Four Masters record that Owen, 
son of Niall of the Nine Hostages (seep. 138, supra), 
died of grief for his brother Conall Gulban, and that 
he was buried at TJkce-ckaem, 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., 14G). 

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 Killisk, and in King's County 

CTiAP. TV.] IFafer, Lakes, and Springs. 447 

it is made Killiskea. Balliuiska and Ballynisky are 
the names of two townlands in Limerick, both 
signifying the town of the water ; and the village of 
Ballisk near Donabate in Dublin, has the same name, 
only without the article. Ballyhisky in Tipperary 
is a different name, viz., Bealach-idsce, the road of 
the water, the h in the present name representing 
the ch of bealach. 

According to Cormac's Glossory, esc is another an- 
cient Irish word for water—" esc, i. e. iiisce : " its 
original application is lost, but in some parts of Ire- 
land, 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 Esknamueky, the stream-track of the pig ; 
and this is also the name of a townland in Cork. 
The name of Lough Eask near Donegal may be 
formed from this word (the lake of the channel) ; but 
more probably it is from iasc, fish — Loch-eisc, the lake 
of the fish. 

Loch signifies a lake, cognate with Lat. laciis, Eng- 
lish, lake, &o. 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 word 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 

448 Phijuical features. [I'Airr iv. 

a man's name, an adjective, &c. Thus the lakes of 
Killarney were aiieiciitly, 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 tlie shore. Lough Conn in Mayo is called 
in the Book of Ballymote and other authorities, ZocA- 
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 
Galway is called in the annals, LocJi-riahhavh, qvqj 

Great numbers of townlands, villages, and parishes, 
take their names from small lakes, as in the widely- 
extended names Ballinlough and 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, 
Cetherloch, quadruple lake ; and the tradition is that 
the Barrow anciently formed four lakes there, of 
which, however, there is now no trace. The Irish 
name is pronounced Caherlough, \\hich 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," showing that 
in his time the present form was beginning to be de- 

The diminutive lochan is of very general occur- 
rence in the anglicised forms Loughan, Loughane, 
and Loughaun, all names of places, which were so 
called from " small lakes." There is a place in "West- 
meath, near Athlone, called Loughanaskin, whose 

CHAP. IV.] Wafer, Lakes, aud Springs. 449 

Irish name is Lochdn-easgann, the Jittle lake of ;the 
eels ; in the county Clare is a townlandcalled Lough- 
aunaweeLaun, Lochdn-na-hhfaeUcdn, the little lake of 
the seagulls ; Loughanreagh near Coleraine in Lon- 
donderry, grey lakelet; and Loughanstown, the name 
of several places in Limerick, Meath, and Westmeath, 
is a translation from Baile-an-Ioclidin, the town of 
the little lake ; which is retained in the untranslated 
forms Balliuloughan, Ballyloughan, and Ballylough- 
aun, in other counties. But Ballinloughane in the 
parish of Dunmoylan, near Shanagolden in Limerick, 
is a different name; for it is corrupted from ^r/j/e- 
Ui- Gheileachain [Ballygeelah an] , as the Four Masters 
write it, which signifies O'Geelahan's town (see 2nd 
Series, Chap. viii). 

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 surface, which is often used for 
pasture. It gives names to several places in the 
counties west of the Shannon (including Clare), a few 
of which are mentioned by the Four Masters, who 
write the word tarlach. There are two townlands 
in Eoscommon called Ballinturly, the town of the 
turlach. The root of this Avord is tur, which, ac- 
cording to Cormac's Glossary, signifies dry ; but 
the lack, in the end is a mere suffix (see this sufiix 
in 2nd Ser., Chap, i), and not loch, a lake, as might 
naturally be thought: — turlach, a dried up spot 
(which had formerly been wet). This appears evi- 
dent from the fact that the Four Masters write its 
genitive, turlaigh, in which laigh is the proper geni- 
tive of the postfix lach, and not of loch, a lake, which 
makes locha in the genitive. 

Wells have been at all times held in veneration in 


450 Phi/Hical Fcnfiircfi. [taut iv. 

Ireland. It appoars from the most ancient Lives of 
8t. rutrick,. and IVoni otlior antlioritios, that boforo 
the inlroductiou of ( Jhristianity, they were not only 
venerated, but actually worshipped, both in Ireland 
and Scotland. Thus in Adamnan's Life of St. Co- 
himba we read : — "Another time, remaining for some 
days in the country of tlio Picts, the holy man (Co- 
himba) heard of a fountain famous amongst this hea- 
then people, 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). And Tirechan relates 
in the Book of Armagh, that St. Patrick, in his pro- 
gress through Ireland, came to a fountain called 
^/an [Slaun], which the druids worsliipped as a God, 
and to which they used to offer sacrifices. Some of 
the well customs that have descended even to our 
own day, seem to be undoubted vestiges of this pagan 
adoration (see 2nd Series, Chap. v.). 

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 Gospel 
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 our 
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 Irish name for a well is tobar ; 
it enters into names all over Ireland, and it is sub- 
ject to very little alteration from its original form. 

CHAP. IV.] Wafcr^ Lahes^ and Springs. 451 

Tober is the name of about a dozen townlands, and 
beg-ins 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 S tingle, 
which was blessed by St. Patrick ; and the place was 
therefore called Ballintober Patrick, the town of St. 
Patrick's well, which is its general name in the an- 
nals. It was also called Baile-na-craibhi [Ballyna- 
creeva : Book of Lecan], the town of the branchy 
tree, which is still 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 tlie fine ruins 
of the abbey erected by Catlial 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. 263, supra). 

Tobercurry in Sligo is called in Irish, and written 
by Mac Firbis, Tobar-an-cltoire, the well of the cal- 
dron, from its shape. Carrowntober, the name of 
many townlands, signifies the quarter-land of the 
well. Toberbunny near Cloughran in Dublin signi- 
fies the well of the milk (Tobar-haiiine), and Tober- 
lowuagh in Wicklow has nearly the same meaning 
[Tobdr-leamlinacltta : leamJnvicIit [lownaght], new 
milk) ; both being so called probably from the soft- 
ness of their waters. Some wells take their names 
from the picturesque old trees that overshadow them, 
and which are preserved by the people with great 
veneration ; such as Toberbilly in Antrim, Tobar- 


452 Physical Features. [part iv. 

bile, the well of the ancient tree ; the same name as 
Toboravilla nortli-east of Moate in Wcstmeatli. 

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 Fri- 
day. A great many wells in different parts of the 
country are called Tohar-righ-an-rlomhnaigh [Tober- 
reendowney: see p. 318], literally the well of the 
King of Sunday (i. e. of God) ; one of which gave 
name to the village of Toberreendoney in Galwa3^ 
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 
Tiobraid-Favhtna [Tibbradaghna], St. Faghna's well. 
Occasionally the t is changed to h by aspiration, 
as in Mohober in the parish of Lismalin in Tipperary, 
which Clyn, in his annals, writes Moytobyr, the field 
or plain of the well. 

In Cormac's Glossary and other ancient documents, 
we find another form of this word, namely, tipra^ 
whose genitive is tiprat, and dative tipraif. In ac- 
cordance with the principle noticed at p. 34, ,wpra, 
the dative Hprait, or as it is written in the later 
Irish writings, tiohraid [tubbrid], gives name to 
sixteen townlands scattered through the four pro- 
vinces, now called Tubbrid. Geofirey Keating the 

CHAP. IV.] Wafer, Lakes, and Springs. 453 

hisforian was pai-ish priest of Tubbrid near Cahir 
in Tipperary, where he died about tlie year 1650, 
and was buried in the churchyard. Tlie word takes 
other modern forms, as we find in Clontibret in 
Monaghan, which the annalists write Claa'ui-tlobrat, 
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 authorities, 
Tiobmkl-Araiui [Tubrid-Auran] the well of Ara 
{Ara, gen. Arann), the ancient territory in which it 
was situated. Other forms are exhibited in Aghatub- 
rid in Donegal, Cork and Kerry, the field of the 
well ; in Ballintubbert and Ballintubbrid, the same 
as Ballintober ; and in Kiltubbrid, the same name as 
Kiltober, the church of the well. 

Uaran ovfiiaraii is explained by Colgan, " a living 
fountain of 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 derived 
from fua); cold ; if not, it comes from ur, fresh ; and 
Colgan's explanation leaves the question undecided. 

This word gives name to Oranmore in Galway, 
which the Four Masters call Uaran-mdr, 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 uaran 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 {knock, a hill), in Queen's County and Cork 
Ballinoran audBallynoran {Bally, a town), the names 
of many townlands through the four provinces ; Tin- 
oran in "Wieklow, TigJi-an-uarain, the house of the 

454 Pliijsical l^catitrcs. [pakt iv. 

spring; Carrickanoran in Kilkenny nnd Monaglian 
(Carrick, a rock) ; and Lickoran, the name of a parish 
ill Waterford, the flag-stone of the cold sj)ring. 



The Irisli language has two principal words for a 
river — ahh or abha [aw or owj and ahhainn, which 
are identified in moaning in Corrnac's Glossar}', in 
tlie following short passage: — ''Ahh, i.e. ab/iaiini." 
There are many streamlets in Ireland designated by 
ahh ; and it also enters into the names of numerous 
townlands and villages, which have a stream flowing 
through or by them. So far as I have yet observed, 
I find that ahh is used only in the southern half of 

_ The word is used simply as the name of a small 
river in Wicklow, the 0\v, i. e. the river, rising on the 
south-eastern slope of Lugnaquillia; Awbeg, Owbeg, 
or Owveg, little river, is the name of many streams, 
so called to distinguish them from larger rivers near 
them, or to which tliey are tributary. The Ounageer- 
agli, the river of the sheep ^AUt-na-gracrach), is a 
tributary of tlie Funeheon 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, tlie stone fort of 
the old tree {hile) of the river ; and Ballynahow, the 
town of the river, is a townland name of frequent 
occurrence in Munster, but not found elsewhere. 

ciiAi'. v.] Rivers, Streamlets, ami Waterfalls. 455 

AhJminn [owen J, wHdi corresponds with the San- 
scrit ai-ani, 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 ami or owen, 
and there are great numbers of river names through 
the country formed from these words. A hhainn-mor, 
great river, is the name of many rivers m Ireland, 
now generally called Avonmore or Owenmore ; this 
was and is still, the Irish name of the Blackwaterin 
Cork (often called Broadwater by early Anglo-Irish 
writers), and also of the Blackwater in Ulster, flowing 
into Lough Neagh by Charlemont. _ 

The word ahhainn has three different forms m the 
genitive, viz. ahhann, ahhanna, audi aihhne [oun, ouna, 
ivne], which are illustrated in the very common 
names Ballynahown, Ballynahone, Ballynahowna, 
and Ballynahivnia, all signifying the town of the 

river. . . „ ,• r 

JbhnacJi [ounagh] is an adjective formation Irom 
ab/udiw, signifying literally " abounding m rivers, 
but applied to a marshy or watery place ; and it gives 
name to Ounagh in Sligo ; and to Onagh m Wicklow. 
The name of Glan worth in Cork is written m the Book 
of Eights, Gleann-amhnach [Glanounagh], i. e. the 
watery or marshy glen ; but its present Irish name is 
Gleann-iuhhair [Glanoor], the glen of the yew tree ; 
and I believe that it is from this, and not from Gleami- 
amhmch, the anglicised form has been derived, ilie 
parish of Boy ounagh in Galway takes its name irom 
the original cliurch, which is situated m a bog, and 
which the Four Masters call Buiclheamhnach |_Bwee- 
ounagh], i. e. yellow marsh, probably from the 
yellowish colour of the grass or flowers. Boyanagh 
and Boyannagh, the names of places m Eoscommon, 
Leitrim, and Westmeath, are slightly different in 

456 Pliysical Features. [paut iv. 

form though iJoiilieal in moaning, tlio latter part 
being euiuicli, another name for a marsh (see p. 
461 iufra) ; and Boynagh in Meath may be either 
the one or the other. 

G/iiisr or f//(iis or gltn^ [ghasha, glash, ghis], 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 glasha, 
glash, and ghis/i. Glashawee and Glashaboy, yellow 
streamlet, are the names of several little rivers and 
townlands in Cork ; and there is a place near Ard- 
straw in Tyrone, called Glenglush, the glen of the 
streamlet. The little stream flowing into the sea 
at Glasthule near Kingstown in Dublin, has given 
the village the name : — Glas-l)(a/hail, Thoohal's or 
Toole's streamlet. Douglas is very common both as 
a river and towuland designation all over the coun- 
try, and it is also well known in Scotland ; its Irish 
form is Dub/ig/tlaisc, black stream; and in several parts 
of the country it assumes the forms of Douglasha and 
Dooglasha, which are the names of many streams. 

There is a little streamlet at Glasnevin near Dub- 
lin, which winds in a pretty glen through the classic 
grounds of Delville, and joins the Tolka at the bridge. 
In far remote ages, bej^ond the view of history, long 
before St. Mobhi established his monastery there in 
the sixth century, some old pagan chief named 
Naeidhe [Nee] must have resided on its banks ; from 
him it was called Gias-N'aeidhen [Glasneean : 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 Glasnevin by the change of d/i to v 
(see p. 54, supra). 

The diminutive Glasheen is also in frequent use as 

CHAP, v.] Hirers, Sircamlefs, and Waterfalls. 457 

a territorial designation ; Glaslieenaulin near Cas- 
tlehaven in Cork, signifies literally beautiful little 
streamlet ; Glasheena or Grlashina is "a place abound- 
ing in little streams;" and Ardglushin iu Cavan, 
signifies the height of the little rivulet. 

Sriith [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 iu Irish, being found 
in the Wb. MS. of Zeuss, where it glosses Jlianen, 
rivKS ; it is almost identical with Sansc. sroia, a river ; 
and its cognates exist in several other languages, 
such as 'Welsh, friif, Cornish /ro/, Slavonic struja, Old 
High Grerman sfroum, Kng. stream (Ebel). 

Sruth occurs pretty often in names, and its various 
derivatives, especially the diminutives, have also im- 
pressed themselves extensively on the nomenclature 
of the country. In its simple form it gives names 
to Srue in Gralway ; 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 iu 
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. 
48). Abbeyshrule in Longford was anciently called 
Snit/iair, i. e. the stream, and it took its present name 
from a monastery founded there by one of the OTar- 
rells. Abbeystrowry in Cork is the same name, and 
it was so called from the stream that also gives name 
to Bealnashrura (ford-mouth of the stream), a village 
situated at an ancient ford. Struell near Down- 
patrick is written Strohill in the Taxation of 1306, 
showing that the change from r to / took place before 
that early period ; but the ;• is retained in a grant of 
about the year of 1178, in which the place is called 

458 riii/s'ictd Frafiiirs. [part iv. 

Tiresfruf/irr, tlio land of the Btroamlct The cele- 
brated wells of St. Patnolc are situated here, wliicli 
in former times were f'roqnentod hy persons from all 
quarters ; and the stream llowiug from them must 
have given the place its name (see lleeves's Eccl. 
Ant., pp. 42, 43). The change of r to / appears also 
in Sroolane and Srooleen, whicli are often applied to 
little streams in the south, and which are the names 
of some townlands. 

Srut/tan [sruhaun], the diminutive oi srufli, enters 
very often into local names in every part of Ireland; 
and it is peculiarly liable to alteration, botli by cor- 
ruption and by grammatical inflexion, so that it is 
often comj)letely disguised in modern names. In its 
simple form it gives name to Sroughan in Wiclclow ; 
and with a ;* inserted (p. GO), and the aspirate omitted, 
to Stroan in Antrim, Kilkenny, and Cavan. The 
sound of th in tliis word is often changed to that of/' 
(p. 52), converimg it to sniffan or sriijfau)i, a term in 
common use in some parts of Ireland, especially in 
Galway, for a small stream. And lastly, the sub- 
stitution of t for s by eclipse (p. 22), leads to still 
further alteration, wliich is exemplified in Killeena- 
truan in Longford, C/l/in-a^-tsriifhain, the little church 
of the stream ; Carntrone in Fermanagh, the cam or 
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 oifcad [fadj, and the literal meaning of both 
is a pipe, tube, or whistle ; whence in a secondary 
sense, they came to be applied to those little brooks 
whose channels are narrow and deep, like a tube. 

From this word we get such names as Faddan, 
Feddan, Fiddan, Fiddane, &c. ; Fiddaunnageeroge 
near Crossmoliua in Mayo, is the little brook of the 

ciiAi'. v.] Hirers, Streamlets, and Wafer/alls. 459 

keeroges or chafers. With the ./" soimd suppressed 
under the influenee of the article (p. 27), we have 
Ballyneddan in Down and Ballineddan in Wicklow, 
Baitc-aii-fliead<ii)t, the town of the streamlet. Fedany 
in Down, is from the Irish Fcadanach, which signifies 
a streamy place. 

Inhhcar [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 
inrcr, but it is occasionally obscured by modern con- 
traction. At A.D. 639, the Four Masters record the 
death of St. Dagan of Inhhear-Dacile [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 Pennycomequick. 
The townland of Dromineer in Tipperary, which 
gives name to a parish, is situated where the 
Nenagli river enters Lough Derg ; and hence it is 
called in Irish Druim-inbliir, the ridge of the river 

It Avould 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 ^ilace in which it is situated. The 
most common Irish word for a waterfall is eas [ass] 
or csH, gen. cam [assa] ; and the usual modern 
forms are, for the nominative, ass and ess, and often 
for the genitive, assa and assy, but sometimes ass 
or CSS. 

Doonass near Castleconnell was so called from the 
great rapid on the Shannon, the Irish name being 

460 P/ii/sical Features. [part iv. 

Dun-rasa, flio fortress of (lio rafaraot ; bui ils ancient 
name was Juis-lJaiiaiinir [ Ass-lJanniny ; Four Mast. J, 
the cataract of tlio Lady Dananu (for whom see p. 
IGSySKpra). The old name of the fall at Caherass 
near Croom in Limerick, was Ess-Maighc [Ass-Ma : 
]3ook of Leinstcr], i. e. the waterfall of the river 
Maigue ; and the name Caherass was derived, like 
Doouass, from a fort built on its margin. There is a 
fall on the river that flows through Mountmelliek in 
Queen's County, which has given to the stream the 
name of Owenass ; in Glendalough is a well-known 
dell Avhere a rivulet falls from a rock into a deep 
clear pool, hence called Pollanass, the pool of the 
waterfall ; and the same name in another form, 
Poulanassy, occurs in the parish of Kilmacow, Kil- 

The Avonbeg forms the Ess fall, at the head of 
Gienmalure in Wicklow; and the Yartry as it enters 
the Devil's Glen, is precipitated over a series of rocky 
ledges, from which the place is called Bonanass, a 
local corruption of Bellananass, the ford of the cata- 
racts (as Ijallinalee in the same county, properly 
Bellanalee, is locally called Bonalee : (see p. 470, 
infra). Ballyness, the town (or perhaps in some 
cases the ford) of the waterfall, is the name of seven 
townlands in the northern counties ; and the dimi- 
nutive Assan, Assaun, Essan, and Essaun, 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 Eaadara [Assdara], 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. 161, 201). It afterwards took the name of Baile- 

CHAP. VI.] Marshes and Bogs. 461 

easa-Dara [Ballyassadarra : Four Mast.], tlie 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 ; hut 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, eanacli [annagh], signifies lite- 
rally a watery place, and is derived from can., 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, 
Eanagh-duhh, black marsh; Annabella near Mallow 
has an English look ; but it is the Irish Eanach-hile, 
the marsh of tlie hile or old tree : Annaghaskin in 
Dublin, near Bray, the morass of the eels [easgan, an 
eel). As a termination this word generally becomes 
-anny or -enng, in accordance with the sound of the 
genitive eanaigh ; as in Gortananny in Galway, the 
field of the marsh ; Inchenny in Tyrone, which the 
Four Masters call Inis-eanaigh, the island or river 
holm of the marsh. There are several places in 
Munster called Eathanny, the fort of the marsh ; 
and Legananny the lug or hollow of the marsh, is 
the name of two townlands in Down. In some of 

402 P/ii/ftical Fen fares. [pakt iv. 

the nortliorii counties, this form is adopted in the 
bof^inning of names (ji. 34), as in Annyalty in 
Monaglian, tlie marsh of tho tlocks [raJfa), 

Caraicli, a marsli — low swampy ground : it is used 
in every part of IrcLmd, and assumes various forms, 
Avhicli will 1)0 Lest understood from tlio following 

After St. Finhar. in tho sixtli century, had spent 
some years in tho wild solitude oi LocJt Ire, now Goug- 
ano Barra, St. ]jarra's or Finhar's rock-cloft, 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-nwr-^Iumlian [Mooan], the 
great marsh of Munster; of wliich only the first part 
has been retained, and even that shortened to one 
syllable in the present name of Cork. The city 
is still, however, universally called Cor each by those 
who speak Irish ; and the memory of the old swamp 
is perpetuated in the name of The Marsh, which is still 
applied to a part of the city. 

Corkagh is the name of several places in other 
counties ; while in the form of Corkey it is found in 
Antrim and Donegal. And we often meet with the 
diminutives, Curkeen, Curkin, and Corcaghan, little 
marsh. Corcffs, another form of the word, is also very 
common, and early English to[iographical 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. 

Cuirrcach, or as it is written in modern Irish, ciii-- 
rach, has two meanings, a race course, and a morass. 

CHAP. VI.] Marshes and Bogs. 463 

In its first sense it gives name to the Curragli of Kil- 
dare, wliicli has Lean used as a racecourse 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 over 
the country ; Currabaha and Curraheha, the marsh of 
the birch 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 Glossary, where it is 
given as the equivalent of cidr reach. 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, Sesccnn-a'-tsamhaidh, 
the marsh of the sorrel. When it comes in as a termi- 
nation, the initial s is often eclipsed by t (p. 23) ; as 
we see in Ballinteskin, the name of several places in 
Leinster, in Irish Baile-an-tsescinn, the town of the 

Riasg or riasc [reesk] signifies a moor, marsh, or 
fen. There are twenty-two townlands scattered 
through the four provinces, called Riesk, Eeisk, 
Risk, and Reask ; and near Finglas in Dublin, is a 
place called Kilreisk, the church of the morass. Rusg 
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 Roosk and Rusk. 
The old church that gave name to the parish of Tul- 

• See Mr. Ilennessy's interesting paper " On the Curragh of 
Kildare," rroc. 11. 1. A. 

464 P/njsical Feafurea. [pari iv. 

lyrusk in Antrim, stood in the prosont p:ravGyarfl, 
which occui)ios the summit of a gentle hill, rising from 
marshy ground : hence the name, which Colgan writes 
I'lilach-ruisc, the liill of the morass (Reeves, Eccl. 
Ant., p. 6). The adjective forms ruxgach and rus- 
goidh [roosky], are in still more general use ; they 
give names to all those places called lloosky, 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. 

Gala 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 flooded 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 expression ; and it forms part of the names 
of a great many places. 

There is a parish in Tipperary called Templea- 
chally, the church 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 Irish 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 calloio or landing 

Maethail [mwayhill] signifies soft or spongy land, 
from the root maetk [mway] soft. The best known 
example of its use is Mohill in the county Leitrim, 

CHAi'. VI.] Marshes caul Boys. 465 

which is called in Irish authorities, Maethail-Manchain, 
from St. Manchau 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 Mocthail-Blu-ogain in O'Clery's Calen- 
dar, from St. Brogan, the patron, who founded a 
monastery tliere ; and there is another parish in Kil- 
kenny called Mothell ; in both of which the aspirated 
t is restored (see p. 43). The term is very correctly 
represented by Moyhill in Clare and Meath ; and we 
find it also in other names, such as Cahermohill or 
Cahermoyle in Limerick, the stone fort of the soft 
land ; Knockmehill in Tipperary, the soft surfaced 
hill ; and Corraweeliill in Leitrim, the round hill of 
the wet land (see Dr. Eeeves's learned essay " On the 
Culdees," Trans. E. I. A., XXIV., 175). 

Imleach [imlagh] denotes land bordering on a lake, 
and hence a marshy or swampy place ; the root ap- 
pears to be imeal, 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 
authorities, it is called Imleacli-iuhhair, 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, but it is only a few years since 
the last vestige of it was drained. 

Miliuc [meelick], is applied to low marshy ground, 
or to land bordering on a lake or river, and seems 
synonymous with iviJcach. It occurs in Leinster, 
Munster, and Ulster, but it is much more general in 
Connaught than in the other provinces ; and in the 


466 Physical Features. [part iv. 

form Mecliok, it is the name of about 30 towulands. 
The ohl anglicised name of MountmoUick in Queen's 
Count}', wliieli is even still occasionally heard among 
the people, is JIoii(i(ir//u)icc/ick, i. e. the bogs or boggy 
land of the mcolick or marsh ; and the latter part of 
the name is still retained by the neighbouring town- 
land of Meelick. 

Mnrhhach [Murvagh], a Hat piece of land extend- 
ing along the sea ; a salt marsh. The word occurs 
as a general term in Cormac's Glossary [voce *'tond"), 
where the sea waves are said to " share the grass 
from off the murbhach." In the Book of Rights it is 
spelled murmhagh, which points to the etymology : — 
muir, the sea, and magh, a plain — murmhagh, sea 

The name occurs once in the Four Masters, when 
they mention Murhhach in Donegal, which is situated 
near Ballyshannon, 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, Murragh, Murroogh, 
and Murreagh ; and it is still further 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- 
hhach, in the north-west end of the great island of 
Aran, from which the island itself is called in " Hy 
Fiachrach," ^ra of the plain oi Murhhach ; and the 
name still lives as part of the compound Cill-Mur- 
hhaigh, the church of the sea-plain, now anglicised 

Muirisc [murrisk] is a sea-shore marsh, and is 
nearly synonymous with murhhach. Two places in 
Connaught of this name are mentioned in the an- 
nals : — one is a district in the north of Sligo, lying 

CHAP. VI. J JIarshcs and Hogs. 467 

to the east of the river Easky ; aud the other a nar- 
row plain between Croagh Patrick and the sea, where 
an abbey was erected on the margin of the bay, 
which was called the abbey of Murrisk, and which in 
its turn gave name to the barony. 

M6in [mone] a bog, corresponds with Lat. mons, 
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 iuou, 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-mhrathar, the bog of the friars ; and 
there are two townlands in Cork, one in Galway, and 
another in Waterford, of the same name, but spelled 
a little differently ; the two latter, Monambraher and 
Monamraher, respectively. MonalournearLismore, 
signifies the bog of the lepers ; Monamintra, a parish 
in "Waterford, is anglicised from Moin-na-mbaintreahh- 
airjh [Monamointree], the bog of the widows ; Mon- 
anearla 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 Ballinamona, 
the town of the bog, the names of a great many 
places in Leinster, Connaught, and Munster; Knock- 
namona, the hill of the bog. Sometimes the m of 
this termination is aspirated (p. 19), as in Ardvone 
near Ardagh in Limerick, which is in Irish Ard 
mhoin, high bog. 


468 P/ii/sicaiFcniurcs. [part iV. 

The diminutivo ]^[oncen is also very much used, 
ho'mp; tho name of more than twenty townlands in 
all the four provinces. Moneenagunnel in King's 
County, is tlio little Log of the candles ; Monccna- 
brone in Cavan, the little bog of the quern ; Bally- 
moneon, the town of the little bog. Tliero are two 
otlior diminutives, Moiniin, and Mointcuii. The first 
is the most common, and takes the anglicised forms 
IMoantccu, Moueteen, and Monteen : Monteena- 
sudder in Cork, the little bog of tho tanner (see for 
tanners, 2nd Series, ehaj:). vi.). 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 eff'ects 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- 
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 familiar- 

CHAP. VII.] Animals. 469 

ised witli sucli terms as "bovine cultus," "porcine 
cultus," c^c. ; and the main argument advanced is, 
that the names of tliose 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 tliis, not so 
much to illustrate the subject I have in hands, as to 
show to w^hat use the study of local names may be 
turned, when not ballasted by sufficient knowledge, 
and directed by sound philosophy. 

TJie cow. From the most remote ages, cows formed 
one of the principal articles of wealth of the inhabit- 
ants 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. 

The most general Irish word for a cow is 5o, not 
only at the present day, but in the oldest MSS. : in 
the Sg. MS. of Zeuss it glosses hoa, with which it is 
also cognate. It is most commonly found in our 
present names in the simple form 60, which, when it 
is a termination, is usually translated " of the cow," 
though it might be also " of the cows." 

* We liave many names from all these : — Coumshingaun, a 
well-known valley and lake in the Cumraeragh mountains, south 
east of Clonmil, the glen of the pismires ; Cloonnameeltoge in 
the parish of Kilinaiiimore, Mayo, the meadow of the midges; 
and in the parish of Rath, county Clare, is a hill called Knock- 
aunnadrankady, the little hill of the fleas. See 2nd Ser, chap. 

470 Physical Features. [part iv. 

AgliaLoo in Queen's County, whero St. Canice of 
Tvilkcnny had lii.s princij^al oluiroh, is mentioned by 
many Irish authorities, tho most ancient of whom is 
Adamnan, who lias tlic following passage in Vit. Col., 
II. 13, which settles the meaning : — " St. Canice being 
in the monastery which is called in Latin Cainpnlnn 
boris (i. 0. the field of the cow), but in Irish AcJiad- 
bou." 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 Druimbo 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 ni (p. 22), 
forming the termination -luniioe, of the cows ; as in 
Annamoe in Wicklow, which would be written in 
Irish Ath-na-mbo, 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. 

LacfjJi [lea] means a calf; it enters into names 
generally in the form of lee ; and this, and the articled 
terminations, -nalee and -nalea, are of frequent occur- 
rence, signifying " of the calves." Ballinalee in 
Longford and Wicklow, is properly written in Irish, 
Bel-atha-na-Iaegh ,ih.Q ford-mouth of the calves, a name 
derived like Annamoe ; Clonleigh near Lifford is 
called by the four Masters, Cluuin-Iaegh, 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 [gowan], 

CHAP. YiT.] Animals. 471 

or in old Irish gamnin (Cor. Gl.), which is also much 
used in the formation of names, as in Clonvgowan in 
King's County, wliich the annalists write Cluain-na- 
ngamhan, the meadow of the calves. This word must 
not be confounded with its derivative, gamhnach 
[gownah], which, according to Cormac's Glossar}^ 
means " a milking cow with a calf a year old ; " but 
which in modern Irish is used to signify simply a 
stripper, i. e. a milk-giving cow in the second year 
after calving. Moygawnagh is the name of a parish 
in Mayo ; we find it written in an old poem in the 
Book of Lecan, Magh-gamhnach, which Colgan trans- 
lates " Campus feet a rum sive lactescentiiun vaccarwn,^' 
the plain of the milch cows. Cloongownagh in the 
parish of Tumna in Roscommon, is written Cluain- 
gamhnach by the Four Masters, the meadow of the 
strippers ; and there is a place of the same name 
near Adare in Limerick. In anglicised names it is 
hard to distinguish between gamhan and gamhnacJi, 
when no authoritative orthography of the name is 

A bull is called in Irish tarhh, a word which exists 
in cognate forms in many languages ; in the three 
Celtic families — Old Irish, "Welsh, and Cornish — it is 
found in the respective forms of tarb, tarn, and taroic, 
while the old Gaulish is tarvos ; and all these are 
little different from the Gr. tauros and Lat. tanrus. 
A great number of places in every part of Ireland 
have taken their names from bulls, and the word 
tarbh is in general easily recognised in all its modern 

There are several mountains in different counties 
called Knockaterriff, Knockatarriv, and Knockatarry, 
all signifying the hill of the bull. Monatarriv near 
Lismore in Waterford, the bull's bog. Sometimes 

472 P/ii/sical Features. [part iv. 

the / is aspirated to Ii {\\ 21), as in DrumlierrifT and 
Drumliarriir, a townland name common in the Ulster 
ooimties and in Leitrim, the ridge of the bull. Clon- 
tarfnear Dublin, the scene of the great battle fought 
by Brian Borumha against the Danes in 1014, is 
called in all the Irish authorities Cluain-tarhh, the 
meadow of the bulls ; and there are several similar 
names through the country, such as Cloontariff in 
Mayo, and Cloontarriv in Kerry. Loughaterriff and 
Loughatarrilf are the names of many small lakes 
through the country, the original form of which is 
Loch-an-tairhh (Four M.), the lake of the bull. 

Damh [dauv], an ox; evidently cognate with Lat. 
(lama, a deer. How it came to pass that the same 
word signifies in Irish an ox, and in Latin a deer, it 
is not easy to explain.* Devenish island near Ennis- 
killen, celebrated in ancient times for St. Molaise's 
great establisliment, and at present for its round 
tower and other ecclesiastical ruins, is called in all 
the Irish authorities BaunJi-inia [Davinish], 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, Roscommon, and Gralway. 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 Galway, Sligo, and Kerry. We 
find the word also in such names as Dooghcloon, 

* The transfer of a name from one species of animals or 
plants to another, is a curious plienomenon, and not unf'requently 
met with. Tlie GiYetk plil-gos signifies an oak, while the corre- 
sponding Latin, Gothic, and English terms — -faijus, hvlut, 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, 2n(l Series, p. 222. 

CHAP, vir.] Animals. 473 

DoiiglicIo3me, and Dougliloon, wliich are modern 
forms oi DcDiiJi-cJiInain (lly Fiacliracli), ox-meadow. 

In the end of names this word undergoes a variety 
of transformations. It is often changed to -duff, or 
some such form, as in Clonduff in Down, which is 
called in O'Clery's Calendar CIuain-Daimh^ the mea- 
dow of the ox (see Reeves, Eccles. Ant., p. 115) ; 
Legaduff 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 fp. 20) as in CloonafF, Clonuff, Cloniff, and 
Cloonitf, all the same names as Clonduff. And often 
the d is eclipsed by n (p. 22), as in Coolnanav near 
Dungarvan in Waterford, Cidl-na-ndamh, the corner 
of the oxen ; Derrynanaff in Mayo, and Derrynan- 
amph in Monaghan, the oak grove of the oxen. 

The sheep. A sheep is called in Irish caera [kaira], 
gen. eaerach, which are the forms given in the Zeuss 
MSS. The word seems to have been originally applied 
to cattle in general, for we find that Irish caerachd 
denotes cattle, and in Sanscrit, caratha signifies^jf c?6S. 
It is found most commonly in the end of names, 
forming the termination -nageeragh, or without the 
article, -keeragh, " of the sheep," as in Ballyna- 
geeragh, the town of the sheep ; Meenkeeragh, the 
meen or mountain pasture of the sheep. The village 
of Glenagarey near Kingstown in L)ublin, took its 
name from a little dell, which was called in Irish, 
Gleanii-iui-gcaerach, the glen of the sheep ; and Grlen- 
nageeragh 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 

474 Physical Features. [part iv. 

Bending over slioep to graze on them in spring and 


T/ie horse. AVe have several Irish words for a 
horse, the most common of which are each and capall. 
Each '[agh] is found in several families of languages; 
the old Irish form is ech ; and it is the same name as 
the Sansc. a^va, Gr. hippos (Eol. ikkos), Lat. equus, 
and old Saxon ehu. 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 aufjh. 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 from 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 Glandore, " 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 
-ar/h; as in Eussagh in Westmeath, which the Four 
Masters write Ros-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 

CHAP. VII.] Animals. 475 

Kineigli in Kerry, Kineagli near Kilcullen in Kil- 
dare, and Ivinnea in Cavan and Donegal. 

Capall, the other word for a liorse, is the same as 
Gr. luihcdies, Lat. cahaHus, and Eus. lohyla. It is 
pretty common in the end of names in the form of 
capple, or with the article, -nagappul or -nagapple, as 
in Gortnagappul in Cork and Kerry, the field of the 
horses ; Pollacappul and Poulacappul, the hole of 
the horse. 

Ldmch [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 Counaught and Munster ; 
Gortnalaragh, the field of the mares. 

The goat. The word gahhav [gower], a goat, is 
common to the Celtic, Latin, and Teutonic lan- 
guages ; the old Irish form is gahar, which corre- 
sponds with "Welsh gafar, Corn, garar, Lat. ccq^er, 
Ang.-Sax. haefer. This word very often takes the 
form of goKC)\ gour, or gore in anglicised names, as 
in Glenagower in Limerick, Gleann-na-ngah/iar, the 
glen of the goats ; Balljmagcre, 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 Glossary it is stated that ^rti?^r is a goat, 
and gohu)\ a horse; but the distinction was not kept 
up, for we find gahur applied to a horse in several 
very ancient authorities, such as tlie Leabhar na 
hUidhre, the Book of Eights, &c. Colgan remarks 
that gahhur is an ancient Irish and British word for 
a horse; and accordingly the name Loch-gabhra, 
which occurs in the Life of St. Aidus, published by 
him, is translated Stag)nim-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 

476 Physical Features. [taut i v. 

dried up, and many cui'ious antiquities have been 
found in its bed. 

21ie deer. Ireland formerly abounded in deer ; 
they were chased with greyhounds, and struck down 
by spears and arrows ; and in our ancient writings — 
in poems, tales, and romances — deer, stags, does, and 
fawns, figure conspicuously. They are, as might bo 
expected, commemorated in great numbers of local 
names, and in every part of the country. The word 
^fiad/i [fee] originally meant any wild animal, and 
hence we have the adjective JiadJian [feean], wild ; 
but its meaning has been gradually narrowed, and in 
Irish writings it is almost universally applied to a 
deer. It is generally much disguised in local names, 
BO that it is often not easy to distinguish its modern 
forms from those oifiach, a raven, and each^ a horse. 
The / often disappears under the influence of the 
article (p. 27), and sometimes without the article, as 
will be seen in the following examples : — 

The well-known pass of Keimaneigh, on the road 
from luchigeelagh to Glengarriff in Cork, is called 
in Irish, Ccim-an-fhiaidh, the keim or pass of the deer, 
which shows that it was in former days the route 
chosen by wild deer when passing from pasture to 
pasture between the two valleys of the Lee and the 
Ouvane ; Drumanee in Derrj^ and Knockanee in Li- 
merick and Westmeath, both signify the deer's hill. 
There is a parish in Waterford, and also a townland, 
called Clonea, which very well represents the correct 
Irish name, Cluain-fluadh, the meadow of the deer. 
In some parts of the south the final g is sounded, 
as in Knockaneag in Cork, the same as Knockanee. 
When the ./'is eclipsed in the genitive plural (see p. 
22), it usually forms some such termination as na- 
veic/Jt : Grortnaveigh in Tipperary, and Gortnavea in 

CHAP. VII.] Aniniak. 477 

Gralway, both represent the sound of the Irish, Gort- 
na-bhfiadh, the field of the deer ; Anuaveagh in Mo- 
nagliau, Ath-na-hhjiad'i, deer ford. 

Os signifies a fawn. The celebrated Irish bard and 
warrior, who lived in the third century of the Christian 
era, and whose name has been changed to Ossian by 
Macpherson, is called in Irish MSS., Oisiii [Osheen], 
which signifies a little fawn ; and the name is ex- 
plained by a Fenian legend. 

In the end of names, when the word occurs in the 
genitive plural, it is usually made -nanuss, while in 
the singular, it is anglicised ish, or with the article, 
-anish. Glenish in the parish of Currin, Monaghan, 
is written in Irish Glenois, 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-na-nos, the hill of the 
fawns — where a bloody battle was fought in No- 
vember, 1 647 : in this battle was slain the celebrated 
Mac-Colkitto, Alasdrum More, or Alexander Mac- 
donnell, the ancestor of the Macdounells of the Glens 
of Antrim, whose chief was the late Kight Ho- 
nourable Sir Alexander Macdonnell, of the board of 

J^ilii, gen. eilfe [ellit, elto] is a doe ; Gr. ellos, a 
fawn; 0. H. Ger. elah ; Ang. Sax. eic/i. The word 
occurs in Irish names generally in the forms c////, ill//, 
eU, or ilt ; Clonelty in Limerick and Fermanagh, 
and Cloonelt in Roscommon, the meadow of the doe : 
Eahelty in Kilkenny and Tipperary {rath, a fort) ; 
Annahilt in Down, Eanach-cilte, 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- 

478 Physical Features. \ part iv. 

niemorated show tliat tlioy abounded no less in the 
days of our ancestors. The Irish hiuguago lias se- 
veral words for a i)ig, but. the most usual is mnCy 
which corresponds with tlie Welch modi, and Cornish 
7}wh. The general anglicised form of the word is 
muck; and -nancuck is a termination of frequent oc- 
currence, signifying " of the pigs." There is a well- 
known hill near the Galties in Tipperary, called 
Slievenamuclv, the mountain of tlie pigs. Ballyna- 
muck, a usual townland name, signifies pig-town ; 
Tinamuck in King's County, a house (J'kjJi) for pigs. 
In Lough Derg on the Shannon, is a small island, 
much celebrated for an ecclesiastical establishment ; 
it is called in the annals, Muic-tiiis, hog island, or 
Muic-inis-liiagail, from St. Riagal or Regulus, a con- 
temporary 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 nu- 
merous examples might be quoted from our ancient 
histories, romances, and poems, to show the prevalence 
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 nmclach, which is much 
used in the formation of names. Mucklagh, its most 
usual form, is the name of many places in Leinster, 
Ulster, and Connaiight ; and scattered over the same 
provinces, there are about twenty-eight townlands 
called Cornamucklagh, the round hill of the piggeries. 

CHAP. VII.] Animal.'!. 479 

Muiccannach [muckanagli] 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 an aper. 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, 
the usual modern form of fore, is found in great num- 
bers of names. Kanturk in Cork is written by the 
Four Masters, Ccann-tiiirc, the head or hill of the 
boar ; the name shows 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 Fiachrach" Inis-tuirc, 
the boar's island, a name which also belongs to several 
other islands. 

By the aspiration of the t, the genitive form, tinrc 
becomes hirk ; as in Drumhirk, a name of frequent 
occurrence in Ulster, which represents the Irish, 
Druimthuirc, the boar's ridge. And when the t is 
changed to d by eclipse (p. 23), the termination 
(lurk or nadurk is formed ; as in Edendurk in Ty- 
rone the hill-brow of the boars. 

The dog. There are two words in common use for 
a dog, cu 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 

480 Physical Features. [paut iv. 

form the terminations -nanta<hhi,-i)ama(h{ao,\im\ -ita- 
wachlra, of tlio dop;s ; as in Ball ynamaddoo in Cavan, 
Bull^-iiamadiliTO in Cork, and iJallynamaddy in An- 
trim, the town of the dogs : or if in the genitive sin- 
gular, -avaddi/, -araddoo, and -avaddra, of the dog ; 
us in Knockavaddra, Knockavaddy, Knockawaddra, 
and Knockawaddy, the dog's liill. 

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 langunges as well as Irish, as 
for example, in Greek, kuOn ; Latin, canis ; Welsh, ci; 
Gothic, hands; English, //o/f?u/; all difl'erent 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 sub- 
stitution of modern nn for the ancient nd (see p. 64), 
changed the name to Conneiye and C^onnor. In a 
marginal gloss in the Marfcyrology of Aengus, at the 
3rd Sept., the name is explained as '^ Doire-ua-con, the 
oak-wood in which were wild dogs formerly, and she 
wolves used to dwell 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 
CoH-mhafjh, 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 rahhit. 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. Co'tnin [cunneen], the 

cHAi'. VII.] An'uuai'i- 481 

Irish word for a rabbit, is a diminutive of cu, and 
means literally a little hound ; the corresj^ondiug 
Latin word, cuuiciiius, is also a diminutive ; and the 
Scandinavian hanina, Danish kaiiin, and English 
conoi/, all belong to the same family. 

The word cobtin is in general easily recognised in 
names ; for it commonly forms one of the termina- 
tions, -conccn, -narjoncen, or -nagonceny, as in Kyle- 
nagoneeny in Limerick, CoiU-na-gcoininidhe, the wood 
of the rabbits; Carrickconeen in Tipperary, rabbit 
rock. The termination is varied in Lisnagunnion in 
Monaghan, the fort of the rabbits. 

A rabbit warren is denoted by col nicer [cunniekere], 
which occurs in all the provinces under several forms 
— generally, however, easily recognised. In Carlow 
it is made Coneykeare ; in Gralway, Conicar ; in 
Limerick, Conigar ; and in King's County, Oonicker. 
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. 381), 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 (rab- 
bit warrens) in Tij)perary, afford characteristic ex- 

The wolf. This island, like Great 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 tliem : 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 century, wolves increased to such an extent, 


482 Physical Features. [part iv. 

and tlioir ravages Lccarae so great, as to call for state 
iuterfcrcnco, and wolf-hnnters 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, /<te! and breach. Fad, though often found in 
old writings, is not used by itself in the modern lan- 
guage, the general word for a wolf now being //r/c/^^, 
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 
the Felire of Aengus, it is written Facklmim [Fail- 
drum], i. e. wolf-hill. 

The other term breach is more frequently found in 
local names, especially in one particular compound, 
written by the Four Masters Breach-nihagh [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 anglicised 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 -wvitten Brer/hmar/h. The worst 
corruption of all however is Brackley, now the name 
of a lake in the north of the parish of Templeport in 
Cavan. It contains a little island on which the cele- 
brated St. Maidoc of Ferns was born, called in old 
authorities Inis-breachnihair/hc [Inish-breaghwy] , the 
island of the wolf-field ; and the latter part of this 
was made Brackley, which is now the name of both 
island and lake. Caherbreagh in the parish of Bally- 

CHAP. VII.] Animals. 483 

macelligot, east of Tralee, took its name from a stone 
fort which must have been at one time a haunt of 
these animals : — Cathair-hrcavh, the calier of wolves. 

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 poem 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 
commemorated 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 hunts- 
man's spear and the wolfdog's fang. There is a lake 
in the parish of Dromod in Kerry, about four miles 
nearly east of Lough Curraun or Waterville Lake, 
called Iskanamacteera, the water (uisce) of the wolves. 

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 -shinnij and -sJiin- 
narjh ; as in Monashinnagh in Limerick, the bog of 
the foxes ; Coolnashinnagh in Tipperary, and Cool- 
nashinny in Cavan, the foxes' corner. 

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 
is hroc [bruck] ; it is usually anglicised brock, and it 
is very often found as a termination in the forms 
-brock, -nabrock, and -namrock, all signifying " of the 
badgers." Clonbrock in Gralway, the seat of Lord 
Clonbrock, is called in Irish, Cluain-hroc, 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 meen or mountain meadow of the badgers. 


4S4: PJiysical Fcahii'cs. [part iv. 

Brocach signifies a liaunt of Ladgcrs — a badger 
warren, and gives names to a great many townlands 
in tlie four provinces, now called Brockagli, Jn'ocka, 
and Brockey. In Cormac's Glossary the form used 
is hroiccaniutcJi, 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 ; Brockra and Brockry in 
Queen's County ; all meaning a badger warren. 

Birds. Among the animals whose names are found 
impressed on our local nomenclature, bii-ds 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 -nancane, of the birds; as in 
Rathnaneane and Ardnaneane in Limerick, the fort, 
and the height, of the birds. 

T/ie cagk. In several wild mountainous districts, 
formerly the haunts of eagles, these birds are remem- 
bered in local names. lolar [iller] is the common 
Irish word for an eagle, o.nd in anglicised names it 
usually forms the terminations, -ilkv, -i/ra, and -ulra ; 
as in Slieveanilra, 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 
rids^e of the eacle. There is a hill on the borders of 

CHAP. Yii.] Animals. 485 

Tyrone and Derry called Craiganuller, the eagle's 

Scahhac [sliouk or slioke], old Irish sehoc, means a 
hawk, and is cognate with the Welsh hchaiccj, Ang.- 
Sax. hafoh, and Eng. hawl;. It forms part of the 
name of Carrickshock, a well-known place near 
Knocktopher in Kilkenny, which is called in Irish, 
Carraig-scahhaic, the hawk's rock, nearly the same 
name as Carricknashoke in Cavan. The initial s is 
often eclipsed by t, as in Craigatuke in Tyrone, and 
Carrigatukenear Keady in Armagh, C raig-a -tseahhaic 
and Carraig-a -tseahhaic, both the same name as 

Civics. 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 lj\m.exic\,Ard-na-hpreach- 
aii, the hill of the crows ; Ivnockaphreaghaun in 
Cork, Clare, and Galway, the crow's hill. 

FeaniDiog [fannoge], signifies a royston or scald 
crow : we find it in Tirfiuuog 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 is the scald crows' well. Buffanoky in 
Limerick represents the Irish Both-fionnoice, the hut 
or tent of the royston crow. Very often the / is 
eclipsed (p. 22), as in Mullanavannog in Monaghan, 
Mullac]i-)ia-hhfeannog^ the scald crows' hill. 

A raven is designated by tlie v^ordjiach [feeagh], 
whichj in anglicised names, it is often difficult to dis- 

486 PJnjKical Features. [part iv. 

tinfifuish from fiadh, a deer. There is a remarkable 
rock over the Barrow, near Graiguonamanngh, called 
Bonaneha, or in Irisli Bccnni-an-fhvicJie, the clilf of 
the raven ; Lissaneigh in Sligo is the raven's fort ; 
Carrickaneagh in Tii)perary, and Carrickaneo in Do- 
negal, the raven's rock. The genitive plural with 
an eclipse (p. 2'1) is seen in Mulnaveagh near Lifford, 
and Mullynaveagh in Tyrone, the hill of the ravens. 
Bran is another word for a raven : it is given in 
Zeuss (Gram. Celt., p. 46) as the equivalent of cor- 
VHS, and it is explained fiach in Cormac's Glossary. 
Brankill, the name of some places in Cavan, signifies 
raven wood ; Brannish in Fermanagh, a contraction 
for Bran-iiu's, raven island ; and Ilathbranagh near 
Groom in Limerick, the fort of the ravens. 

The seagit/l. This bird is denoted by the two 
diminutives, facihdn and facikvg [feelaun, feeloge] ; 
and both are reproduced in modernized names, often 
forming the terminations -nawcclaun -naivcelocjc, and 
-eelan. Carrownaweelaun in Clare represents the 
sound of the Irish Ceathramhadh-na-hlifaeiledn, 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 plover. Fcadog [faddoge], a plover; derived I 
suppose from fcad, a whistle, from the peculiar note 
uttered by the bird. Fcadog generally occurs in the 
end of names in the forms -riddoge, -i-addoge,-faddocl; 
&c. ; as in Ballynavaddog in Meath, and Balfeddock 
in Louth, the townland of the plovers ; Barranafad- 
dock near Lismore, the plovers' hill-top ; Moanavid- 
doo^e near Cola in Limerick, the bog of the plovers. 

CHAP. VII.] Animals. 487 

The crane. Corv means any bird of the crane 
kind, tlie 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, f/or, and gore. 
Loughanagore near Kilbeggan in Westmeath, in 
Irish Loclian-na-gcorr, 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 ; and the little ros or 
peninsula that juts into Lough Erne at its western 
extremity, must have been a favorite haunt of these 
birds, since it got the name of Rosscor. 

The corncrake. Tradhnach or ircanacli 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. In the west and north west the word 
is often made tradJilach, as we see in Carrowntreila 
in Mayo, and Carrowntryla in Galway and Roscom- 
mon, the quarter-land of the corncrake. 

The goose. The Irish word gedh [gay] a goose, 
has its cognates in many languages : — Sanscr. hansa ; 
Gv.chen; Lat. ««.srr ; 0. II. Grer. Jeans; Ang-Sax. 
gos and gandra ; Eng. goose and gander. It occurs in 
names almost always in the form gag ; as in Monagay, 
a parish in Limerick, which is called in Irish Moin- 
cC-ghedh, 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, 

488 P/ii/fiica/ Features. [part iv. 

Ballingayrour, i, e. Baile-an-ghedh-reamhair, the town 
of the fat gooso, wliich wo meet witli in tho samo 
county, but it might havo been from tho fact, that the 
place was considered a good pasture for fattening 
geese. Gay IsLand in Fermanagh is not an English 
name, as it looks ; it is a lialf translation from Inin- 
na-ngedh, i. e. goose island. 

The diiek. The word lacha, gen. lachan, a duck, is 
occasionally, thougli not often, found in names ; tho 
townland of Loughloughan in the parish of Skerry, 
Antrim, took its name from a little lake called LocJi- 
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 ; and it is 
a word long in use, for it occurs in old documents, 
such as Cormac's Glossary, &c. We find it in Gort- 
nagoyne, i. e. Gort-na-gcadhan, the name of a town- 
land in Galway, and of another in Eoscommou ; 
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 cuclxoo — 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 Doire-cuach, the oak-grove of 
the cuckoos ; Cloncough in Queen's County, the 
cuckoos' meadow. The word occurs 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 

CHAP. viT.] AnimaU. 489 

eclipsG (p. 22) in Knocknagoogli iu Tipperaiy, and 
Boleynagoagh in Gal way, the hill, and the dairy place, 
of the cnckoos. And it is still further softened down 
in Clontjcoe in Queen's County, and Clontyooo in 
Cavan, the cuckoo's meadows ; and in Ballynacoy in 
Antrim, the town of the cuckoo. 

TJic ivoodcock. CreahJiar [crour] means a woodcock, 
and is in general easy to be distinguished in names, as 
it is usually made either -crour or -grow, the g taking 
the place of c in the latter, by eclipse (p. 22), Lacka- 
nagrour near Bruree in Limerick, is written in Irish 
Lcaca-na-gcreahhar, the hill-side of the woodcocks ; 
Gortnagrour in Limerick (Gorf, a field) ; Coolna- 
grower in King's County and Tipperary, the wood- 
cock's corner. 

T/ie blackbird. The Irish word for a blackbird is 
Ion or londubh, and the former is found,- though not 
often, in names. The Four Masters mention a place 
in Tyrone, called Coill-na-Ion, the wood of the black- 
birds; and this same name occurs in Meath in the 
modernized form, Kilnalun. 

Tlu: thrush. Sinol or smolach [smole, smulagh] is 
a thrush. The best known name containing the word 
is Glcahn-na-smol, the valley of the thrushes, the scene 
of a celebrated Irish poem, which is believed to be the 
same place as Glenasmole, a fine valley near Tallaght, 
Dublin, where the river Dodder rises. Near Lifford 
in Donegal, is a townland called Glensmoil, which 
represents the Irish Gkann-a-smoil, the thrush's glen. 

The aJcijIark. Finseog [fwishoge] is a lark. It 
occurs in Eathnafushogue 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' vests. The word nead [nad] signifies a 

490 riiysical Features. [part iv. 

nest ; in Cormac's Glossary it is given in tlie old Irish 
form net ; Welsh, nutli ; Cornish, neid ; Breton, nciz ; 
Manx, edd. It is of very frequent occurrence in 
names, generally in the forms nad, nrd, and nid. 
There are three townlands in Cavan, Fermanagh, 
and Derry, called Ned ; Nedeen, little nest, is the 
name of tlie spot on which Kenmaro stands, and the 
town itself is often called by that name. There are 
many high cliffs in mountainous districts, the resorts 
of eagles in times gone by, which still retain the name 
of Nadanuller, the eagle's nest ; and they have in 
some cases given names to townlands. Nadnaveagh 
in Roscommon, and Nadneagh in King's County, 
signify — the first, the nest of the ravens ; the second, 
of the raven ; Nadaphreaghane, a hill six miles north 
of Derry, the crow's nest. Athnid, the ford of the 
nest, is a parish in Tipperary ; Drumnid is a town- 
land nearMohill in Leitrim; and there is another in 
the parish of Magherally, Down, called Drumneth, 
both meaning the ridge of the nests ; Derrynaned 
in Mayo, the oakwood 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 cultiva- 
tion has not interfered with the course of nature, 
there are still to be found many places, that to this 
day produce in great abundance the very species 
that gave them names many hundreds of years ago. 

cHAr. Yiii,] Plants. 491 

Woods. All our histories, both native and Eng- 
lish, concur instating that Ireland formerly abounded 
in woods, which covered the country down to a com- 
paratively recent period ; and this statement is fully 
borne out bv the vast numbers of names that are 
formed from words signifying woods and trees of 
various kinds. According to our historians, one of 
the bardic names of Ireland was Inis-na-bhfiodh- 
hJtaidh [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 and fd/i. Colli is repre- 
sented by various modern forms, the most common 
being kil and Ici/Ie ; and as these also are the usual 
anglicised representatives of cill, a church, it is often 
difficult, and not unfrequently impossible, to distin- 
guish them. Whether the syllables Idl and hjle 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 already conjectured (p. 313) that about a 
fifth of the kils and Jcilh 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 Cill-mor, great church. O'Meyey, 

492 Phijfiicnl Fcn/iirrs. [paut iv. 

Avho killed Hugh do Lacy atDurrow, fled, according 
to the Four blasters, "to tlio wood of Coill-an-clihiir" 
(tho wood of tlio ])lain) ; tliis wood is gone, but it 
was situated near Tullamore, and tho place is still 
known by the name of Kilclaro. Tho word Kyle, 
which very often stands for cill, in many cases also 
means a wood ; as iu Kylemoro (lake), great wood, 
near tho Twelve Pins in Connemara. 

Coil! assumes other forms, however, in which it is 
quite distinguishable from cill : as in BarnacuUia, a 
liamlet on the eastern face of the Three Kock moun- 
tain near Dublin, Barr-na-coillc, the top of the wood ; 
and this wood is still in existence ; liarnakillew in 
Mayo, and Barnakilly in Derry, same meaning ; Lis- 
iiacullia in Limerick, wood fort ; Ballynakillew, the 
town of the wood. The diminutive coiUln gives names 
to several places, now often called either in whole or 
part, Culleen ; Ardakillen in the parish of Killukin, 
Roscommon, is called by the Four Masters, Ard-an- 
clioiUin, the height of the little wood ; and coUltcnn 
[kyle-tawn], which is sometimes applied to a growth 
of underwood, sometimes to a "little wood," is repre- 
sented by Kyletaun near Eathkeale in Limerick. 

The plural of coUl is coUlte [coiltha], which is often 
found in some of the Conn aught counties in the forms 
oicuilfy, cuiltia and cultia ; as in Cuiltybo in Mayo 
and Eoscommon, the woods of the cows. In Clare 
there are some places called Quiltj^ which is the same 
word ; and we also find Keelty and Keelties, as the 
names of several townlands. But its most common 
form is /.-//;'//, except in Munster, where it is not much 
used ; this begins the names of about forty townlands, 
chiefly in the western and north western coimties, 
several, however, occurringin Longford ; Kiltyclogher 
and Kilty clogh in Leitrim, Longford, and Tyrone, 

CHAP. Yiii.] Plaiilti. 493 

signify stony woods ; KilLybegs in Longford and 
Monaghau, little woods ; Kiltynasliinnagli in Leitrim, 
the woods of the shinuarjhs or foxes. Coillidh [quill v] 
is a derivative of coill in 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. 

Fldh or fiodh [fih], the other term for wood, is 
found in both the Celtic and Teutonic languages. 
The old Irish form is fid, which glosses arbor in Sg. 
(Zeuss, p, 65) ; and it corresponds with the Graulish 
■vidu, Welsh guid, 0. H. German witu, Ang.-Saxon 
ri(di(, English wood. Its most usual modern forms 
are fee, fi, and feir/h ; thus Feebane, white wood, near 
Monaghan ; Feebeg and Feemore (little and great) 
near Borrisokane ; and it is occasionall}^ made fo//, 
but this may be also a modern form of faithche, a 
play-green (see p. 295). At the mouth of the river 
Fergus in Clare, there is an island called Feenish, a 
name shortened from Fidh-iiiis, woody island ; we find 
the same name in the form of Finish in Galway, while 
it is made Finnis in Cork and Down. The parish 
of Feighcullen in Kildare is mentioned by the Four 
Masters, who call it Fiodh-ChuUinn, Cullen's Wood; 
and Fiddown in Kilkenny, they write Fidh-dain, the 
wood of the fortress. 

Sometimes the aspirated (/ in the end is restored 
(p. 42), as we find in Fethard, a small town in Tip- 
perary, which the annalists write Fiodh-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 

404 r/ii/sical Features. [rAux iv. 

latter part (fitliniouo) ropresonts tho anoiont Irisli 
name, Fio<///-3Iii(//i(iiiie, llio wood of Miu/haiii (a wo- 
man) : — Kilflthinono, the churcli of Mugania's wood. 

There are two baronies in Armag-li called Fews, 
wliic'h are mentioned in the Four Masters at A. D. 
14'j2, hy the name of Fead/ia [Fa], i. o. woods ; wliich 
is modernized by the adoption of the English plural 
form (p. 32) ; and Fews, the name of a parish in 
AVaterford, has the same origin. There was a dis- 
trict in Roscommon, west of Atlilone, which in tlio 
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. Fiodhaeh [feeagh] 
signifies a woody place, and all those townlands now 
called Feagh and Feeagh, which are found distri- 
buted over the four provinces, derive their names 
from it. Fiodhnaeh [Feenagh], which has exactly 
the same meaning, was the old name of Fenagh in 
Leitrim (Four Masters) ; and though now bare of 
trees, it was wooded so late as the seventeenth cen- 
tury. 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. 

Bos, 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. 138, supra), 
who blessed the village and the wood which is at the 
mouth of the river Moy." The original church 

CHAP. VIII.] Plants. 495 

founded by the virgin saint Searc in the sixth cen- 
tury, has long since disappeared ; but the place con- 
tains the ruins of a beautiful little abbey. Roscrea 
in Tipperary is written in the Book of Leinster, lios- 
Cre, Ore's wood. Eoskeen, the name of several 
places, represents the Irish Ros-caein, beautiful wood ; 
Rossnamanniif near Templemore in Tipperary, the 
wood of the bonnices or young pigs (h eclipsed, see 
p. 22). 

New Eoss in Wexford, notwithstanding its name, 
is an old place ; for Dermot Mac Murrough built a 
city there in the twelfth century, the ruins of which 
yet remain. It is called in the annals, Eos-mic- 
Treoin [Eosmicrone], 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 Eose Macrone, about 
whom they tell a nonsensical story. St. Coman, from 
whom was named Eoscommon (Coman's wood), 
founded a monastery there, and died, according to 
the Four Masters, in 74G or 747, but other author- 
ities place him much earlier. Ross Carbery in Cork, 
was formerly a place of great ecclesiastical eminence ; 
audit was "so famous for the crowds of students and 
monks flocking to it, that it was distinguished by the 
name oi Ros-aiVithir" [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 Connaught ; the word is 
often applied to a growth of small bushy trees or 
underwood, as well as to a wood small in extent. 
The word ros is often written with a instead of o, 
both in old records and in anglicised names ; as in 
Easheen "Wood, near the Dundrum station of the 
Great Southern and Western railway. 

•190 riii/tiical Fcaturoi. [I'AiiT iv. 

Fdsach [faussagli], a very expressive word, derived 
frnni/r/.s", growtli, signifies a wilderness or an unculti- 
vated ])lace. It gives names to some townlands now 
called Fasagli and I'assagli ; the territory along the 
river Dinin in Kilkenny, which now forms a barony, 
is called Fassadinin, the wilderness of the Diniu : 
Fassaroe in AVieklow, rod wilderness. 

IScalii [scart] denotes a cluster of bushes, a thicket, 
a scrubby place. In the form Scart, with the dimi- 
nutive Scarteen, it gives names to numerous places, 
but only in the Munster counties and Kilkenny. 
Scartlea, 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. 

Miiiiie [munny], a brake or shrubbery. It occurs 
frequently in names, generally in the form of monei/, 
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. It is probably to be under- 
stood in the former sense in the name of Monaghan, 
which is called in Irish Muineachdji (Four Mast.), a 
diminutive of undue, signifying little shrubbery. 
There are three townlands in Down called Money- 
dorragh, i. e. Muine-dorcha, dark shrubbery ; Bally- 
money, the town of the shrubbery, is the name of 
many places through the country; Magheraculmoney 
in Fermanagh, the plain of the back of the shrub- 
bery; Monivea in Gal way is called in Irish author- 
ities, J/«/;?e-r/yj-;;?//cr/f//<a [Money-an-va.: Four Mast.], 
the shrubbery of the mead, very probably because 
the drink was brewed there. 

The compound Lkdhmhmnc [Leewinny], grey 

CHAP. VIII.] Plants. 497 

shrubbery, is often used to form names, and is va- 
riously modified ; such as we see in Leaffouy in Sligo, 
Leafin in Meath, Liafin and Lefinn in Donegal, and 
Leighmoney in Cork ; Cloghleafin, near Mitchels- 
town in Cork, the castle of the grey thicket. 

GaertJia [gairha], is used in the south to denote a 
woodland along a river, overgrown with small trees, 
bushes, or underwood ; it is almost confined to Cork 
and Kerr}^, and generally appears in the forms of 
Grearha and Gearagh ; and occasionally Gfeeragh and 
Gairha. There is a well-known place of this kind 
near Macroom, where a dense growth of underwood 
extends for three or four miles along the Lee, and it is 
universally known by the name of Grearha. Tourists 
who have seen Coomiduff near Killarney, will re- 
member the Gearhameen river which flows through 
it into the upper lake of Killarney; the postfix incen, 
Irish min, signifies literally smooth, fine, or small, 
indicating that this gcarha was composed of a growth 
of small delicate bushes. There is also a Gearhameen 
west of Bantry in Cork. 

Garrdn is a shrubbery'-. There are a great many 
places in Munster and Connaught called Garran, 
Garrane, and Garraun, all derived from this word. It 
is also found in Leinster, but not often, except in 
Kilkenny ; and it occurs half a dozen times in Mon- 
aghan, but I have not found it elsewhere in Ulster. 
Garranamanagh, the name of a parish in Kilkenny, 
signifies the shrubbery of the monks ; and there is 
another parish in Cork called Garranekinnefeake, the 
shrubbery of Kinnef'eake, a family name. Ballin- 
garrane, Ballygarran, Ballygarrane, arid Ballygar- 
raun, all townland names, signify the town of the 

A tree. The common word for a tree is crann, and 


498 Phydcal Features. [paiit iv. 

it 1ms retained lliis form unolmnf^ed from the earliest 
ages, for cr(nni occurs in the Zeuss MfciS. as a^ gloss 
on arbor : AVelsli pren ; Armoric prcnn. This word 
forms part of the names of many places, in every one 
of which there must have once stood aremarkahletree, 
and for a time sulHciently long to impress the name. 

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 
AVaterford, Daniel's tree ; Crancam in lloscommon 
and Longford, crooked tree ; Cranlome in Tyrone, 
bare tree ; Cranacrower in AVexford, the woodcocks' 

The genitive case, crainn, is usually pronounced 
crin or creen, and the form is modified accordingly 
when it occurs as a termination : Crossmacrin in 
Gahvay is written in Irish, Cros^i-maighc-crainn, the 
cross of the plain of the tree. Drominacreen in Lime- 
rick, the little hill of the tree ; Corcrain in Armagh 
{Cor, 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 townland name, Baile-na- 
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 [billaj signifies a large tree ; it seems con- 
nected with Sansc. hala, a leaf, the more so as hileug, 
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 instance, one under which their chiefs used to be 
inaugurated, or periodical games celebrated. 

CHAP. VIII.] Plants. 499 

Trees of this kind were regarded with intense 
reverence and affection ; one of the greatest triumi^hs 
that a tribe could achieve over their enemies, was to 
cut down their inauguration tree, and no outrage was 
more keenly resented, or when possible, visited with 
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-adJiar [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 
Ireland ; and at 1111, that the Ulidians led an array 
to Tullahogue, 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 
bile. In most cases, however, they have long since 
disappeared, but their names remain on many places 
to attest their former existence. The word bile 
would be coiTcctly anglicised billa, 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. 518). It is very often made 
-villa, in which case it is likely to be mistaken for the 
English word cilia. The well-known song "Lovely 
Kate of Garnavilla," 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-a^-bhile, the shrubbery of the ancient 
tree. Gortavella and Gortavilly are the names of two 
townlands in Cork and Tyrone (Gorl, a field); 
Knockavilla in several counties {knock, a hill) ; and 


500 Phym-dl Fcafiors. [part iv. 

there are many places called Agliavilla, Aghavillo, 
and Ap:liaYil]y, the Held {(ichadh) of the old tree. At 
llathvilly in Carlow, one of these trees must have, at 
some former time, flourished on or near an ancient 
fort, for it is written by the annalists llath-hile ; and 
in the King's County, there is a place of the same 
name, hut spelled Ivathvilla. 

In some parts of Ireland, especially in the south, 
the word is pronounced hcUa, as if spelled beile, and 
this form is perpetuated in the names of many places, 
for instance Bellia, a village in Clare, and Bellew 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 Ringabella, the 
rinn or point of the ancient tree, which has given 
name to the little bay near it. 

Cvachh [crave] signifies either a branch or a large 
wide-spreading tree. The name, like hilc, was given 
to large trees, under whose shadows 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. In several eases, the hh is re- 
presented by n\ changing 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 Craebh-choilJ^ branchy wood, or a 
wood of branchy trees ; Loughcrew, a small lake in 
Meath, giving name to a parish, is called in Irish, 
Loch-craeibhe, the lake of the branchy tree ; and the 
village of Mullacrew in Louth is Mullach-craeihhe, 
the hill.' of the tree. There are more than thirty 
townlands called Creevagh, i, e. branchy or bushy 

CHAP. VIII.] Plants. 501 

land. The name of the parish of Cruagh at the base 
of the mountains south of Dublin city, has the same 
original form, for we find it written " Creuaghe " and 
" Crevaghe " in several old documents ; 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 signi- 
.fies branchy dern/ or oak wood. Near the town of 
Antrim, is a townland called Creevery, and another 
in Donegal called Crevary ; both of which are from 
the Irish Crachhaire, a branchy place. 

T/ie 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 comme- 
morated 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-European languages ; the 
Sansc. dru is a tree in general, which is probably the 
j)rimary meaning, whence it came to signify " oak," 
which is the meaning of the Greek drtts ; Welsh dar; 
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 purity in the name of the Daar, a little river flow- 
ing by Newcastle in Limerick, which the people call 
Ahhainn-na-darach, the river of the oak. There is a 
place near Foynes in the Shannon, called Durnish ; 
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 find 
it written in "Wars of GGr.," signifying oak island. 
The genitive of dair is darach or dara^ which is 

502 Physical Features. [part iv. 

very common in tlio end of names, in tlie forms of 
-daragh, -dara, and -dure. Adare in Limorick is 
always called in Irish documents, Ath-dara, the ford 
of the oak tree, a name which sliows tliat a great oak 
must have for many generations shaded the ford 
which in ancient times crossed the Maigue. There 
is a place of tlie same Irish name near IJromore in 
Tyrone, but now called Aghadarragh ; and we have 
Clondarragh in Wexford, the meadow of the oak ; 
Lisnadarragh, the fort of the oak. Darach, an ad- 
jective formation, signifies a place full of oaks; the 
ancient form is diiurauch, which in the Zuess MSS., 
glosses quei'cetHin, 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. 

Loire 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 ofDerrybawn {ban, whitish), and this is 
also the name of other places ; Derry keighan, a 
parish in Antrim, is called in Irish, Boire-Chaechaxn 
(Four Mast.), Caechan's, or Keeghan's grove. When 
doire is joined with the gen. masc. of the article, it 
becomes in English f/^rm, 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-hnr, middle derry. And sometimes it is 
contracted to der, as in Dernagree in Cork, the same 
as Derrynagree in other places, the wood of the cat- 
tle ; Derradd in Westmeath, and Derrada in the 
Conaaught counties, which are the same as Derryadd 

CHAi'. VIII.] Planb. 503 

in the middle and north of Ireland, Derrjadda in 
Mayo, and Derryfadda in the south and west — all 
from Doirc-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 Roborecnm-Calgachi, 
the oak wood of Calofach. Caljcach was a man's name 
common among the ancient Irish, signifying " fierce 
warrior;" and in the Latinized form of Galgacus, 
readers of Tacitus will recognise it, as the name of 
the hero who led the Caledonians at the battle of the 

Daire-Ca/f/aich 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 
down till the time of James I., whose charter, granted 
to a company of London merchants, imposed the 
name " Xo;H/o;iderry." 

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 wind-storm occurred this year; it caused 
a great destruction of trees. It prostrated 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- 
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 

504 Physical Features. [partiV. 

various forms, and tlicro arc innumeraWo places 
^yhosG namos oontain it as a termination. Derreen, 
little oak wood, is also of very frequent occurroneo, 
chiefly in Alunster and Connauglit, and occasionally 
in Leinster and Ulster ; Derreenataggart in Cork, the 
little oak grove of tlie !<agar( or priest. We liavo at 
least one example of the diminutive in (U), in IJerrano 
in Roscommon, which is mentioned by tlie Four 
Masters under the name oi Doircan. 

There is yet another derivative of dair in pretty 
common use, namely dairb/n-e, wliich is now univer- 
sally pronounced Janrri/, the aspirated 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. Valentia island is well 
known in our ancient literature by the name of Dair- 
bhre, as the principality of the great druid Mogh- 
Ruith, who played so important a part at the siege 
of Knocklong (see p. 101). The island is now always 
called Darrcry in Irish, by the people of Munster — 
a conclusive proof that the word darrery in the mo- 
dern 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 Galway ; 
Dorrery occurs near Carrick-on-Shannon ; and this 
same form is preserved in Ivildorrery, 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 ; 
written Kill-darire in the Registry of Clonmacnoise. 
Carrigdarrery in the parish of Kilmurry in Cork, 
the rock of the oaks. We have one notable example 
of tlie preservation of the full ancient pronunciation 
in Lough Derravara in Westmeath, whose Irish 

CHAP. VIII. J Plants. 

name, as used in the annals is Loch Dairhltreac 
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, Z^nw'w- 
rdlacJi, 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 
(meadowj ; and a third in Cork, called Ardraly 
(height). Ralaghan, 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 Gralway side of the 
Shannon, which the Four Masters write Fort-omna^ 
the iiort or landing place of the oak ; it is also seen 
in near Castlemartyr in Cork, the field 
of the oak ; and in Drumumna in Clare, oak ridge. 

Tlip anil. In the south and west of Ireland there 
a re three names for the common ash — all modifica- 
tions of the same original, y\z.:~fuinnsc, fuinnscan)), 
and f II inmcocf [funsha, funshan, funshoge] ; the last, 
wliich 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 ninnseann [unshan]. 

The name of the river Funcheon in Cork— the ash- 
producing river — preserves one of tlie old forms ; and 
we find it also in Funshin and Funshinagh, the names 

506 Physical Feat urcii. [part iv. 

of several places in Connaught ; whilo the northern 
form appears in Uuslunagh aiul Insliinagli, wliich 
are common townland names : — all those mean land 
ahounding in ash trees. Funchoge, wliich has the 
same signification, occurs in AVexford, and we find 
this form as far north as Louth ; wliile without the/, 
it becomes Unshog in the parisli of Tynan, Armagh, 
and Hinchoge near Raheny in Dublin. 

The birch. Beith [beh], the birch tree ; cognate witli 
the first syllable of the Latin hctu/a, which is a dimi- 
nutive. Great numbers of places have received tlieir 
names from this tree : and some of the most common 
derivatives are Beagh, Eehagh, Bahagh, Behy, and 
Beaghy ; which are all modifications oi Beitheach and 
Beit high, birch land, and are found in every part of 
Ireland. "We find several other places called Bahana, 
Behauagh, Beheenagh, and Behernagli — all meaning 
a place abounding in birch. The village of Kilbe- 
heny in Tipperary, near Mitchelstown, is called in the 
Four Masters, Coill-heithnc, birch-wood ; and this in- 
terpretation is corroborated by the fact, that tlie place 
is situated at the point where the little river Behanagh 
(birch-producing river) joins the Funcheon. 

In the end of names, the word takes various forms, 
the most common of which is bchy ; as we find 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 Moua- 
ghan, is Bel-atha-hcithe [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-beithe (Four Masters), 
birch-field, the same name as Aghaveagh in Donegal 
and Tyrone. Coolavehy near Ballyorgan in Limerick, 

CHAP, viii.] Plants. 507 

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 idinus, Ang-Sax. elhn, Eng. elm, &c. The 
simple Irish form is hardly ever heard in the present 
spoken language, the diminutive leamhan [lavaun] 
being used in the south, and slcamhnn [slavan] in the 
north. These words enter largely into names, and 
are subject to some curious transformations ; but the 
most general recognisable forms are levauy leevan, and 
lerauii, which are generally terminations, and signify 
abounding in elms. 

In the parish of Inishmacsaint in Fermanagh, there 
is a place called Glenlevan, elm glen ; Ballylevin, the 
town of elms, in King's County and Donegal ; Lis- 
levane, elm fort, in the parish of Abbeymahon, Cork; 
Drumleevan in Leitrim, and Dromalivaun 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 ; 
Mullantlavan in the parish of Magheracloone, Mona- 
ghan, elm hill, the s being eclipsed — MuV -an-tsleamh- 
ain (see p. 23). 

The river Laune, flowing from the lower lake of 
Killarney, is called Leamludn 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 written 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 (Reeves' Adamnan, p. 379). 

508 Pli^skal Features. [pari' iv. 

As a terminalion, tlio simple form Icamh is seen in 
Pnmiliuiipli, olm ridge, near Maghera in Derry. 
There is a derivative term, Icaniln-fiidltc [lavree], 
signifying a place of elms, which is anglicised Lowery 
in Formanagli and Donegal, and which also gives 
name to Mullanalam])hry, a townland near Donegal 
town, tlie little hill of the elms. Lavagh, the English 
form of Le(n)ih(icJi, a place of elms, is the name of 
some townlands in the midland and western counties. 
The oblique form Leaui/iaidh [Lavy : see p. 34], is 
very correctly anglicised Lavey, the name of a parish 
in Cavan ; and with the aspirated ni restored (see p. 
44), we see the same word in Lammy, the name of 
some townlands in Tyrone and Fermanagh. 

An elm wood was called Lcaiulichoill [lavwhill], 
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. 40) ; in 
Tyrone, near Lough Neagh, occurs a kind of meta- 
morphic form in Magheralamfield the plain of the 
elm wood. 

The yeio. Of all European trees the yew is be- 
lieved to attain the greatest age ; there are several 
individual yews in England which are undoubtedly 
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 Aughnanure (field of the 
yews) near Oughterard in Galway, there is yet to be 

CHAP. VIII.] Plants. 509 

seen one venerable solitary yew, the sole survivor of 
those that gave name to the place, which cannot be 
less than lUOO years old. 

We have two words for the yew tree, evidently of 
the same origin, and both very common in names, 
viz. €0 [o or yo] and iuhhar [oor or yure]. E6 is 
common to the Celtic, Teutonic, and Classical lan- 
guages : — Low Lat. ivus, Fr. if, Welsh yic, Arm. ivin ; 
Ang.-Sax. iv, Eng. yew. "As the yew is distin- 
guished by its remarkable longevity, one may con- 
jecture a connection of the 0. H. Grerman lica with 
eica eternity, Gr. atOn, Lat. cevttin, Goth a/r.s"[Eng. 
age and ever] (Pictet, " Origines "). Cormac mac 
Cullenan made the same observation a thousand years 
ago in his Glossary, when he derived iuhhar from eo, 
ever, and harr, top, " because it never loses its top ; 
i, e. it is ever-green." 

In the seventh century, St. Colman, an L^ish 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 (Bade), 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-Saxan 
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 church, called in the 
annals Magh-neo, now Moyuoe, which is the same 
name as Mayo, only with the addition of the n of the 
old genitive pliu'al. The word c6 is very often re- 

610 Physical Features. [part iv. 

presented by o or oo as a termination, as in Killoo in 
Longford, ^Cill-c6 (O'Cl. Cal), the church of the 
yews : Gleno and Glenoe, yew glen. 

The compound eocliaill [ohill], signifying yew wood, 
in various modern forms gives names to a great many 
places. The best known is Youglial at tlie mouth of 
the Bhack water {Eochaill ; 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 
Bome of the old yews remain there. The term is 
more common, however, in the form Oghill, which is 
tlie name of about twenty townlands in various coun- 
ties. It occurs in Tipperary as Aughall, and in Derry 
as Aughil ; the plural forms, Oghilly, Oghly, and 
Aghilly (yew woods), are found in Gal way and Do- 
negal ; and the English plural, Aughils and Aghills, 
in Kerry and Cork. Donohill in Tipperary, the for- 
tress of the yew wood ; the parish of Cloonoghill in 
Sligo is called in " Hy Fiachrach " Cluain-cocliaiUe 
the meadow of the yew wood ; and there is another 
place of the same name in Eoscommon ; while the 
form Clonoghill is found in King's and Queen's 

The other term, iuhhar, is the word now used in 
the spoken language, and it is still more common in 
local nomenclature than eo. As a termination it oc- 
curs in the form of -ure, or with the article -nnt'p, 
in great numbers of names all over the country. 
Terenure is a place near Dublin whose name signi- 
fies the land of the yew [Tir-an-iuhhair), and the 
demesne contains, or contained until lately, some 
very large yew trees. The village — now a suburb 
of Dublin — that was built on this townland, was 
called from its shape, Eoundtown ; but the good 
taste of the present proprietor has restored the old 

CHAP, viii.] Plants. oil 

name Terenure, and " Eoundtown" is now fast falling 
into disuse. Balljnure and Ballinure, the name of 
a great many places, yew-town ; Ahanure, the ford 
of the yew. In the parish of Killelagh, London- 
derry, there is a townland called Grortinure, which 
the Four Masters call Gort-an-iuhhair, the field of 
the yew ; and this is also the name of several other 
townlands. There are many old churches giving 
names to townlands and parishes, called Killure and 
Killanure, 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 lulhar-ghearr [Yure-yar], 
short yew. 

Newry in Down, was anciently called Ji(bhar-ciim- 
tragha [Yure-kintraw], the yew tree at the head of 
the strand, of which the oldest form is found in the 
Leabharna \\\J\^\ire,\\z.i Ihur-ciitd-traclda. 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 j^ears after 
him : — " A.IJ. 1162. The monastery of the monks at 
Inhhar-dnn-trogha 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-iragha, strand-head, denotes. 
In after ages, the full name was shortened to lubhar, 
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- 

512 P/ii/si'cal Feufiiirft. [part iv. 

times met with, aiul tlio same name, by the attraction 
of the nrticlo (p. 2'-i), becomes Nowragli, wliicli in 
many cases, especially in tlio Leinster conntics, is 
corrupted to Newratli. 

T/ie quicken tree. Caorthainu [koeran or caurhan], 
is the Irisli word for the quicken tree, mountain ash, 
or rosvan tree. It enters into names very often, in 
the form of Keeran, which is the name of several town- 
lands ; but it underf^oes many other modifications, 
such as Keerhan in Louth ; Carhan in Kerry, as in 
case of the river Carhan (quicken-tree river), at 
Cahersiveen ; 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 townlandsin the north- 
ern counties. 

The holhj. This tree is denoted by CailUon [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 Ulster 
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, 
Ci(Ulcann-0-(jCuanach [0-goonagh], from the old ter- 
ritory 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, Druini-cuillinn (Four Mast.), 
holly ridge; Moy cullen in Galway, the plain of holly; 
Knockacullen, holly hill. Many have believed that 
Slieve Gullion in Armagh took its name from the 
great artificer Culann, who had his forge on it (see 

CHAP, vni.] * Pla)i/s. 513 

2nd Sep., c. viii). But if this were the case, the 
ancient name should he written Sliabh-Culainn ; 
whereas we know that in the oldest and hest autho- 
rities, it is Sliahh-CniUinn, which admits of only one 
interpretation, the mountain of holly. There are two 
derivatives of this word, Cullenagh and Cullentragh 
or Cullentra, which gives names to ahout sixty town- 
lands and villages ; 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 
record, as they frequently do, tliat 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 foun- 
tains, became a "salmon of knowledge ; " for whoever 
took and ate one of these fish, became immediately 
inspired with the spirit of poetry. 

CoH 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 Cullaun are the names of some town- 
lands in Kilkenny and the Munster counties ; Cullan 
occurs in Mayo ; and Collon is a village and parish 
in Louth : all these signify a p)lace where hazels 
grow. The name of the celebrated Slieve Callan in 

514 Physical Features. [hakt iv. 

Clare has the same signification ; for it is written 
Co//an iu the old autlioritios. CoUrhoill [culliill], 
hazel wood, like leawh-choill (p. 5()S) is subject to 
considerahlo variations of form : as Cullaliill, wo find 
it in Tipperary and (iueen's County ; Colehill in 
Donegal, King's County, Longford, and Meath ; 
and Callowliill in Fermanagh, Leitrim, Monaghan, 
and Wicklow. 

As a termination, the word coU takes the different 
forms, -hyle, -quill, and -coyle, all representing^ the 
genitive, cuiJI ; Barnakyle near Mungrct in Lime- 
rick, and Barnacoyle in AVieklow, hazel gap ; Mona- 
quill in Tipperary, Carnqnill in Monaghan, and 
Lisaquill iu Longford and Monaghan, the bog, the 
cam, and the fort, of the hazel. 

The alder. This tree is called fcarn [farn] in 
Irish ; but in the present spoken language the dimi- 
nutive fcanwg (farnoge) is always used. The syl- 
lables farn 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, 
Fernagh, and Ferney, denoting a place producing 
alders ; and Farnane and Farnoge are used in the 
same sense. Ferns in Wexford is well known in 
ecclesiastical and other records by the name oiFearna 
— i. e. alders, or a place abounding in alders. _ Glen- 
farne, a beautiful valley near Manorhamilton, is called 
by the Four Masters Glcann-fearna, the alder glen. 
When the / is eclipsed (p. 22), the terminations, 
-navarn, -navern, -nararna, &c., are formed :^ Gortna- 
vern in Donegal and Gortnavarnoge in Tipperary, 
alder field ; Lecknavarna in Galway, the flagstone of 
the alders. 

The celebrated territory of Farney in Monaghan 
is caMedFearnmharfh [Farnvah] in the Book of Eights 

ciiAr. VIII.] Plants. 515 

and other Irish documents, which was softened down 
to the present form by the aspiration of the m and g. 
This name signifies akler plain ; and even so late as 
the seventeenth century, the alder woods remained 
in considerable abundance (see Mr. E. P, Shirley's 
account of the barony of Earney, page 1). 

The apple tree. Ahliall or uhliall signifies both an 
apple and an apple tree :— pronounced oid or oo/, and 
sometimes avel. The ancient Irish form, as found in 
the Zeuss MSS., is ahall, which corresponds with the 
Ang.-Sax. appel, Eng. apple. 

This word enters largely into local names, and 
very often assumes the forms owl, ool, oivle, &c. 
Aghowle in Wieklow is called in Irish documents 
Achadh-ahhla, the field of the apple trees ; the same 
name is found in Fermanagh, in the slightly different 
form Aghyowle ; and in Leitrim Aghyowla. Bally- 
hooly on the Biackwater, below Mallow, is called in 
the Book of Lismore, Ath-nbhla [Ahoola], the ford 
of the apples ; and the present name was formed by 
prefixing Balli/: — 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 ahliall is used in the sense of 
" orchard ; " as, for instance, in Avalreagh in Mo- 
naghan, gray orchard ; Annahavil in Londonderry 
and Tyrone, the marsh of the orchard. Yery much 
the same meaning has Oola on the Limerick and 
Waterford railway, which preserves exactly the sound 
of the Irish name, TJhhla, i. e. apple trees, or a place 
of apples. 

The proper and usual word for an orchard, how- 
ever, is abhalghoH [oulart], literally apple-garden, 
which is of pretty frec^uent occurrence, subject to 
some variations of spelling. The most common form 


516 Physical Features. [part i v. 

is Oulart, the name of several places in Wexford ; 
Ballinoulart in AVexford and King's County, and 
IJallywliollart in Down, Lotli signify tlio town of tlie 
orchard. Anotlier form a]^pfears in Knockullard in 
Carlow, orcliard hill ; but Ullard in Kilkenny has a 
different origin. 

21tc elder tree. The elder or boortree is called fromm 
or fro?n, gen. truiin [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 Vaduiti-Truimui, a half translation of its 
Irish name, Afh-l'ruim, 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 ; Gal- 
trim in Meath, once a place of some importance, is 
called in the annals, Cala-tniim, the calloie or holm 
of the elder ; Gortvunatrime near Emly in Tipperary, 
the gort or field of the bottom laud {bun) of the 
elder. The old name of the mountain now called 
Bessy Bell, near Newtownstewart, was Sliabh-fruim 
(Four M.), the mountain 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. 
Tronidn, a diminutive of tromm, meaning either the 
elder tree or a place producing elder, has given name 
to Tromaun in Eoscommon, to Tromman in Meath, 
and to Trumman in Donegal. 

The blackthorn. Draeiyhcan [dreean] is the black- 
thorn or sloe-bush ; the old Irish form as given in 
Cormac's Glossary is droigen ; Welsh draen ; Cornish 

CHAP, viii.] Planis. 5l7 

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 Dmighncn 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 
aware, any written authority ; but I see no reason 
to question the opinion already advanced 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 Killarney 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 ; Clonarney 
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 buslies, so plentifully diffused over 
the whole country, a vast number of places have re- 
ceived their names. There are numerous townlands 

518 rinjskal Features. [part iv. 

called Skngh, Skca, aud Skcagli, i. c simply a thorn 
bush ; and these, alon<^ with the shorter form, Ske, 
begin the names of many others, such as Skcagh- 
anore in Cork, tlie busli of the gold, and Skenarget 
in Tyrone, of tlie 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 -ske, -shcJia, 
-slie/i>/, &c. ; as in Gortnaskeagh, 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; Aghnaskeha, Aghnaskeagh, and Aghna- 
skew, bushy field {achadh) ; Clonskeagh in Dublin, 
and Cloonskeagh in Mayo, the clooii or meadow of the 
white-thorn bushes. Lisnaskea in Fermanagh (the 
fort of the bush), took its name from the celebrated 
tree called Sccat/i-g/iab/ira, under which the Maguire 
used to be inaugurated. There are some places in 
Donegal, Fermanagh, . 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. Skehanagli and Skahanagh, a 
bushy place, are the names of townlands in every 
part of Ireland, except Ulster. 

T/ie furze. Aiteann [attan] is our word for the 
furze; old Ivi&h., aitten (Cor. GL), Welsh cifhin ; and 
it is found chiefly as a termination in two difl'erent 
forms, -attin, and -attina. 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 Galvvay, 
the same as Ballynahatten in Down and Louth, and 

CHAP. viii.J Plants. 519 

Ballinattin in Waterford and Tipperaiy, 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 tlie 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 
Westmeath, and Freughmore in Tyrone, great 
heath. We find, however, Freeduff — black heath — 
in Armagh and Cavan, the same as Freaghduff in 

As a termination it takes the form -free, which 
exactly represents the pronunciation of the genitive, 
fraeigh. Inishfree, a little island in Lough Grill, is 
called by the Four Masters, Tnisfracich, 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 Ballyorgan in Limerick. 
When the article is used, the _/' disappears by aspira- 
tion (p. 20), and the word becomes -rcc ; 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- 
righ, the town of the king, or Baile-an-fhraeiglt, of the 

The diminutives /r«<?c/i aw and fraechog — but prin- 

t)20 P/ii/siciil Features. [i'aiit iV. 

cipally tlio f'ormor — arc used to donoto tlio bilberry, 
or whorilcborry, or " hurt," as it is called over a 
groat part of Minister, a contraction of " hurtle " or 
" whortlo." In otlier parts of Ireland, these berries 
<7et tlieir proper Irisli 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 lioss Carberry, the other in Tipperary ; and by 
a change of ch to / (p. 52), it becomes Freffans in 
Meath. On the Northern side of Seefin mountain 
over Glenosheen in Limerick, there is a deep glen 
called Lyrenafreagliaun, whicli repros(mts the Irish 
LacUiar-na-bhfraccluhi, the 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 ivy. The different kinds of ivy are denoted by 
the term eidhnedn [ine-aun], which is a diminutive of 
the older form cclen, as given in Cormac's Glossary ; 
Welsh ekldew. 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 eidhnach [inagh], abounding in ivy, 
is, however, much more common, and it occurs in 
MSS. of authority. There is a river in Clare called 
Inagh, from which a parish takes name, and also a 
river in Donegal, flowing into Inver Bay, called 
Eany (which gives name to Gleneany, through 
which it flows), both of which the Four Masters 
mention by the name of Eidhneacli, i. e. the ivy-pro- 
ducing river. 

CHAP. IX.] Shape and Position. 52 1 

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, Clnain-cidhncch, 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 different 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 
this 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 Jiighest 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-faithcJie, 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. 

522 Physical Pent arcs. [part iv. 

Tho liiglicst point roachcd by the tide in a river, 
was sometimes designated by the term ccioin-viara, 
i. e. the head of tlie sea ; from a spot of this kind on 
the river Roughty, tlie town of Kenmaro in Kerry 
received its name ; and Kinvarra in Galway origi- 
nated in the same wa}', for the Four ^Masters call it 
Ccannmhara. Another compound, ccannsailc [can- 
sauly], also used to express the same idea, means 
literally the head of the brine, and from this we have 
the name of KinsoJe in Cork, of Kinsalebeg in 
Waterford (br;/, little, to distinguish it from the pre- 
ceding), of Kinsaley, a parish north of Dublin ; and 
of Kintale in the parish of Killygarvan in Donegal, 
in which last the s is eclipsed by t. 

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, called Edenderry; all of which are 
from the Irish Eudan-doire, the hill brow of the oak 
wood. This word, Eden — always with the same 
meaning — is much used in the nortliern and north- 
western counties in local nomenclature ; it is itself 
the 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 {leach t). 

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 

CHAi*. IX.] Shape and Poaitioi). o23 

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 ex- 
ample. The diminutive Bradoge, little gorge, is the 
name of a small stream flowing by Grrangegormau 
into the Liffey on the north side of Dublin, and of 
another flowing into the sea at Bundoran in Donegal ; 
and the same word gives name to a townland in 
Monaghan now called Braddocks. Scornach is an- 
other term for the windpipe ; it is applied to a re- 
markable glen cut through the hills near Tallaght 
in Dublin, now called the gap of Ballinascorney, i.e. 
the town of the gorge ; and there is a place called 
Scornagh on the Lee, three miles above Ballincollig. 

T/ie sJtouIdcr. Guala or gualann [goola, goolan] 
signifies the shoulder, and was often applied to a hill. 
The village of Shanagolden in Limerick is called in 
Irish authorities, Scangualann, old shoulder or hill, 
and this is also the Irish name still in use. 

The back. 'The literal meaning of the word druim 
[di'um] 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 dorsum. 
It is one of the most common of all root words in 
Irish names ; its most usual anglicised forms are 
drum, drom, and di'im -; 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 f/ro»/>?,and in many names 
it is modernized accordingly. 

There are several places in the southern and west- 
ern counties, called Dromada and Dromadda, the 
Irish name of which is Druim-fhada, long ridge, the 

52t PIii/Hical Features. [part IV. 

sound of/ boiiig wliollysunk by aspiration (p. 20) ; 
in somo of tho nortliorn oounties the./' is retained, 
and the name becomes iJrumfad. Drnraagh in 
Queen's County, Drimagh in Wexford, and Dromagli 
in Cork, signify ridged land, a place full of drums or 

hi many combinations of this word, the d sound 
is lost by aspiration. Aughrim near liallinasloe in 
Galway, the scene of the battle of IGOl, has its name 
formed in tliis way ; it is called in Irish authorities, 
Eacli-dhndin, which Colgan translates equi-mons, 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 f, as in Leitrim, tlie 
name of one of the counties, and of more than forty 
townlands scattered over Ireland : — Liath-dhraim 
(Four Mast.), grey ridge (see Sheetrim, p. 184). 

The diminutive Druimin [Drimmeen], has given 
names to various places now called Drimeen, Dro- 
meen, and Drummeen. Droinainn [drumin], which 
is perhaps a diminutive, also means a ridge, much 
the same as druim itself, and this word originated 
the names of all those places called Dromin, Drum- 
min, and Drummans ; in the northern counties it is 
often corrupted to Drummond (p. 62), which is the 
name of about twenty townlands. Another develop- 
ment of druim is druimncach or druimnc, 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. 


IX.] Sliaije and Position. 525 

The Irish word tdn [thone] signifies the bachide, 
exactly the same as the Latin pode.r. It was very 
often used to designate hills, and also low-lying or 
huttom lands ; and it usually retains the original 
form, ton ; as we see in Tonduff, Tonhaun, and Ton- 
roe, 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 Ic — both having the same mean- 
ing — and the name in this case becomes Tonregee. 
In this last, a d is often inserted after the n (p. 62), 
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 taebh [teev]. This, like the cor- 
responding English word, is applied to the side of a 
hill ; and its usual anglicised forms are tiers and teev. 
Tievenavarnog in Fermanagh represents the Irish, 
Taehh-na-b/ifearnog, the hill side of the alders; Teev- 
nabinnia in Mayo, the side of the pinnacle. 

The thigh. The word nu'is [mauce] the thigh, is 
locally applied to a long low hill. 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. Mausrower 
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 

526 Physical Features. [pari' iv. 

1500 by one of tho O'Noills, is written in O'Melkn's 
Journal of riiolini O'Neill, Maxarrr/hna, wliich is 
little dilTorcnt from tlio correct Irish form, Jlds-a'- 
rioghnn, the queen's hill (Reeves, Eccl. Ant., p. 389). 

The f!hi)i. Irish, liirr/a or hivgnn. This word, like 
the last, was often applied ib a long low ridge, or to 
a long stripe of land. From tho first form, some 
towulands, chioilj 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 name 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 cush, which represents, not the nominative 
but the dative (co/s, pron. cu.'ili), of the original word 
(p. 34). 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, 
BiDi-ahhcnm-Biiine, the end, i. e. the mouth of the 
river Dun ; this was afterwards changed to Cois- 
abhann-Duine [Cush-oun-dunny], which has the same 
meaning, and which has been gradually compressed 
into the present name. Cushendall was in like man- 
ner contracted from Cois-ahhann-Dhalla, the foot or 
termination of the river Dall (Beeves, Eccl. Ant., 
pp. 83, 283). In the Ordnance Memoir of the 
parish of Templemoro (p. 213), it is conjectured that 
the stream which flows by Coshquin near London- 
derry, was ancientl}^ called Caein [keen], i. e. beau- 
tiful; whence the place got the name of Coia-Caeine, 
the end of the river Caciii, now shortened to Cosh- 

The barony of Coshlea in Limerick, was so called 

CHAP. IX.] Shape and Position. 527 

from its position with respect to the Galty mountains ; 
its Irish name being Cois-slcibhc [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)y 
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 will be a sufiicient specimen. 

Bun means the bottom or end of anything ; Bun- 
lahy in Longford, the end of the lahagJt or slough. 
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 Bun- 
crana in Donegal, the mouth of the river Crana ; 
Bunratty in Clare, the mouth of the river formerly 
called the Ratty, but now the Owen Ogarney, be- 
cause it flows through the ancient territory of the 
O'Carneys. Bonamargy in the parish of (Julfeigh- 
trin, Antrim, the mouth of the Margy or Carey 
river ; Bunmahon in "Waterford, the mouth of the 
river Mahon. 

Bdrr [baur] is the toj) of anything. Barmona in 
Wexford, the top of the bog ; Barravore in Wicklow, 
great top ; Barmeen in Antrim, smooth top ; Barre- 
ragh in Cork, western top. In some of the northern 

528 riiijaical Features. [part, vi 

counties, tlie harr of a townland means tlio high or 
hilly part ; and I'rnni ihis wo derive such names as 
the Barr of yiawiu in Fermanagli, i. o. the top or 
highest part of tho towuland of ISlawin. 

Gahhal [goul, gowal, and gole], a fork, old Irish, 
gahul, from tho verb gdh, 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 Gole, Gowel, and Goul ; and 
the plural Gola (forks) is pretty common in the 
northern counties. At Lisgoole near Enniskillen, 
there was formerly a monastery of some note, which 
the Foiu' Masters call Lk-gahhaU^ the fort of the 
fork. There is a remarkable valley between tho 
mountains of Slieve-an-ierin and Quilcagh, near 
the source of the Shannon, now called Glengavlin ; 
but the Four Masters give the true name at A. D. 
1300, Gkann-gaibJtlc [gavla], the glen of the fork. 

The laud enclosed by two branches of a river was 
often designated by the compound Eadar-dha-ghahhal 
[Adragoul], or Eadar-ghahltal [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 
called Golan, Goleen, Goulaun, Gowlan, Gowlane, 
and Gowlaun, all signifying a little fork, commonly 
a fork formed by rivers. At the village of Golden 
in Tipperary, the river Suir divides for a short dis- 
tance, and encloses a small island ; this small bifur- 
cation was, and is still, called in Irish, Gabhailin 

cHap. IX.] Shape and Position. 529 

[gouleen], which has been corrupted to the present 
name of the village, Golden. 

In some parts of the south, this word is pronounced 
gijle^ and hence we have Gyleen, the name of a village 
near Trabolgan, just outside Cork harbour. There 
are two conical mountains a little west of Glengariff 
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 Sliabh-na-gail), the mountain of the fork, 
which is pronounced Slicrc-na-r/oila ; and many peo- 
ple now believe that this signifies the mountain of the 
wild men ! 

Another word for a fork is ladhar [pron. l//re in 
the south, kar in the north], which is also much used 
in forming names, and like c/abhal, is applied to a 
fork formed by streams or glens. There are many 
rivers and places in the south called Lyre, and otliers 
in the north called Lear, both of which are anglicised 
forms of this word; and the diminutives Lyreen, 
Lyrane, and L3'ranes (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 .Kilfinane in Lime- 
rick, is a bright little valley traversed by a sparkling 
streamlet ; which, from its warm, sunny aspect, is 
colled Lyrenagreana, in Irish LadJiar-na-gveine, the 
river-branch of the sun . 

Cuil [cooil], secessus (Colgan) — a corner or angle ; 


530 Physical Features. [vwvv i\*. 

it is very extensively used in forming local names, 
generally in the forms of cool and cole, but it is often 
difficult to tell wlictlier these syllables, especially the 
first, represent cnil, a corner, or cnl [cool], a back. 
The barony of Coole in Fermanagh received its name 
from a point of land extending into Upper Lough 
Erne, which was anciently called Ci'iil-na-noircar 
(Four M.), the angle of the coasts or harbours. There 
is a place in King's County called Coleraine ; Cool- 
rain is the name of a village and of some townlands 
in Queen's County ; and we find Coolrainey in 
"Wexford, Coolrahnee near Askeaton, and Coolraine 
near Limerick city. All these names are originally 
the same as that of Coleraine in Londonderry, which 
is explained in an interesting passage in the Tri- 
partite Life of St. Patrick. When the saint, in his 
journey through the north, arrived in this neigh- 
bourhood, he was received with great honour, and 
hospitably entertained by a chieftain named Nadslua, 
who also offered 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 cir- 
cumstance the place received the name of Ciiil-mthain 
[Coolrahen], translated by Colgan, Secessiis 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 body of the work arc explained in 

this Index. 


Abbeyfeale, 106 

Abbejgormacaii, the abbey 

of the O'Cormacans. 

Abbeylara, 310 

Abbeyleix, 128 

Abbeyshrule, 457 

Abbeystrowry, .... 4.57 

Achonry, 232 

Adare, 502 

Addergoole, Addragool, . 528 

Aderavoher, 251 

Adrigole, Adrigoole, . . 628 

Adrivale, .54 

Affane, 355 

Agha 232 

Aghabeg; little field: p. 231. 

Aghaboe, 470 

Aghaboy ; yellow field : p. 231. 
Aghabrack ; speckled field : 

p. 231. 
Aghacrew ; Ath-cH-cm, the 

ford of the blood ; p. 353. 

Aghacross, 327 

Aghada near Cork; Ath- 

fhada, loug ford, . . 353 

Aghadachor, 257 

Aghadark 438 



Aghadarragh, .... 502 

Agliadaiigh 258 

Aghadavoyle, . . . . 258 
Aghaderry ; the field of the 

oak wood: pp. 231, 502. 

Aghadoe, 252 

Aghadowey in Derry ; 


Cal.), Duffy's field : p. 

Aghadown ; the field of the 

dun or fort : pp. 231 , 276. 

Aghadreen, 517 

Aghadreenagh, .... 617 
Aghadreenan, .... 517 
Aghadrinagh, .... 517 

AghagaUon, 343 

Aghagower, 76 

Aghalough, Aghaloughan ; 

field of the lake : 231, 447- 

Aghamacart 232 

Aghamore ; great field : p. 231 

Aghanloo, 356 

Aghamire ; yew field : pp. 

231, 510. 

Aghatubrid, 4,53 

Aghavaunagh, .... 383 


Index of jYanirH. 


Aplmvon, AE;Ii:ivonf;li. . . TiOC) 

Aphavilla, Aghavillf, . . fiHO 

Aglmvilly, f)!!!) 

Agliavillor 4S 

Aghawaramhill, . ... 117 

Aghawillin ',\~'} 

Agliawoncv, '2^2 

Agbills, ' r>l() 

Aghilly, r)10 

Agliinagli ; field ol' ivy : jip. 

Aghindaiagli, 2.')(j 

Aghindarragl], .... 232 

Aghiiitain, 187 

Aghinver, 2."2 

Aglimacart 2.'}2 

Aghnahily 409 

Aghnamullen S7i^ 

Aghnaskea, Aghnaskeagh, .^IS 

Aghnaskew, filS 

Aghowle, olo 

Aghyogbill,Agliyobill; field 
of the yew- wood: pp.231, 

Aghyowla, Agbyowle, . . r)15 

Aglish, . . / . . . . 316 

Aglisbclogbane, . . . . 316 

Aglisheormick, .... 316 

Aglisbdrinagb, .... 316 

Agolagh, 44 

Ahabeg 28 

Abagaltaun, 172 

Abane, Ahaun, .... 3.56 

Abanure, .511 

Abapbuca, 188 

Abascragb, 402 

Aille, 409 

Aillenaveagh 28 

Allagower, 409 

Alleen, Alleen Hogaii, Al- 

leen Evan, 409 

Allen, Hill of, ... . 90 

Allow Eiver 424 

Alt, 387 

Altachullion, 387 

Allan, Allans, .... 387 


Allanagb, aS7 

Altai urk : boar's cliff: pp. 
3S7, 479. 

Altavilla, 387 

Alt inure, 387 

Altniore ; great glcn-sido. 
Altnapaste; serpcnt'shill: p. 198 

Altnaveagb, 22 

Allore, 119 

Alts 387 

Anii.i, 461 

AiuKibella, 461 

Annaclone ; J'M)iarh-cIuana, 
marsh of tbe meadow: pp. 
Annacloy ; stone ford : p. 411 . 

Annacotiy 226 

Annacrainpli, 6.5 

Annaduff, 461 

Annagassan 373 

Annagb, 461 

Annagbaskin 461 

Annaghbeg; littleniarsh : p. 461 
Annagbdown ; Eanach-dnin 
(4 M.), marsh of tbe fort : 
pp. 276, 461. 
Annaghmore ; great marsh : 446 

Annagor, 487 

Annahagli, Annabaia, . . .377 

Annabavil, .51,5 

Annabilt, 477 

Annabunsbigo ; asli ford: 
pi^. 353, 5Uo. 

Annakisha, 361 

Annalong in Down, . . 225 

Annamoe, 470 

Annaveagh, 477 

Annayalla 20 

Anny, 460 

Annyalty, 462 

Anveyerg, 23 

Arboe, 470 

Ardagh, Ardagliy, . . . 232 
Ardakillen, . '. . . . 492 
Ardan, Ardane, .... 386 
Ardanaffrin, 118 

Index of Names. 



Ardaneanig, 205 

Ardanreagh, 3SG 

Ardara, 275 

Ardataggle, Ardateggle ; the 

height of the rye. 

Ardatrave 365 

Ardaun 380 

Ardavagga, 210 

Ardbane, Ardbaun ; whitish 


Ardbeg, 3SG 

Ardbraccan, 14G 

Ardcaru ; the height of the 

cam: pp. 331, 385. 
Ardcath, ...... 115 

ArdciiUen; holly height: p. 512 

Ardee 127 

Ardee river, 372 

Ardeelan 486 

Ardeen, 386 

Ardeevin ; Ard-acihhinn 

beautiful height. 

Ardelly, 293 

Arderin, 386 

Arderry; high oak wood. 

Ardfert 148 

Ardflniian, 154 

Ardfry; heathy hill: p. 519. 
Ardgeeha; windy height. 

Ardgivna, 222 

Ardglass, 386 

Ardglushin, 457 

Ardgoul; high fork: pp. 385, 528 

Ardgraigue, 352 

Ardgregane, 352 

Ardiiigary, 210 

Ardkeen, 386 

Ardkeenagh; mossy hill. 
Ardkill ; high church or wood. 
Ardlougher ; rushy height. 
Ardiiiaylo in Tipperary ; 

A rd-Maillc (Four Jfas t . ) , 

Malley's height. 
Ardmeen; smooth height. 
Ardinore, 386 





Ardmulchan; Ard-Maclchon 

(Four Mast.), Maelchon's 


Ardnacrohy, 220 

Ai-dnacrusha, Ardnacrushy, 328 
Ardnagassan, Ardnagassane, 372 
Ardnageeha, Ardnageehy ; 

the height of the wind 
Ardnagroghery, . . . 
Ardnamoghill, . . . 
Ardnaneane, .... 


Ardnurcher, . . . 167, 
Ardpatrick; St. Patrick's 



ArdsoUus, 217 

Ardstraw, 61, 62 

ArdtuUy; high hill: p. 388. 

ArdvaUy 19 

Ardvarna, Ardvarness, . . 435 

Ardvarney, 435 

Ardvone, 467 

Argyle, 86 

Arklow, ...... 105 

Arless in Queen's County; 

Ard-Uos, high fort : pp.270, 385 

Armagh, 71, 77 

Armoy in Antrim; Airthir- 

il/rt«7/;c[Arhir-moy; Four 

Mast.], eastern plain : 422. 

Artiferrall, 386 

Artimacormick, .... 386 
Artrea in Derry ; Ard-Trea 

(Mart. Taml.), Trea's 

height. The virgin St. 

Trea, 5th cent. 
Aske ; a stream-track : p. 447 

Askeaton, 74 

Assan, Assaun, .... 460 
Assaroe at Ballyshannon, 183 

Assey, 35,5 

Assolus 218 

Athenrv, ...... 44 


Index of Names. 


AtliROP, 2-22 

Athliuva, n.")!: 

Atlilongue, i]^A 

Atliluiio 354 

Atliluimicv, ;")() 

Atliliiukanl 3(,K) 

Atliiioaav ill Liiuorick, . . 3r)5 

Atliiiiil,' 4<,)() 

Atliiiowoii, 44(J 

AthsoUis, 2J8 

Athv 128 

Atsl'ianbo 301 

Attaeotti, U)0 

Attanagh ; a f urzy place : p. 518 

Attatantee 301 

AttavaUy 301 

Attidavock, 2r)8 

Attidermot 301 

Attiduff 301 

Attykit, 301 

Augliadauove, .... 2r>7 

AughaU, .^)10 

Aughil, Aughils, .... 510 

Augliinish 474 

Aughnacloy, Aghnacloy, . 413 

Aughnagomaun, . . . . 213 

Aughnahoy, 377 

Aughnanure, 508 

Aughnish, 474 

Aughrim, 524 

Aughris, 474 

Aughrua, 474 

Aughgullisli stream, . . 218 

Aiighvolysbane, .... 239 

Avalbane, 31 

Avalreagh, 515 

Avonmore Eiver, . . . 455 

AwbegEiver .392,454 

Ayle, 409 

Ayleacotty, 226 

Babagh, 506 

Babana, .506 

Bailey ligbtliouse, . . . 347 

Balbriggan, 349 

Baldoyle 349 


Balfeddock, 486 

Balgeetli, 44 

Baliel" .54 

Balla 75 

Balladiaii, 256 

Ballagb 371 

Ballagbaderreeii, . . . .371 

Ballaglibeliy .50(5 

EaUagbboy', 371 

Ballagbkcen .371 

Ballagbkeeraii, .... 371 

Ballagbniooiie 371 

Ballagbmore, 371 

BaUagbnabebv, .... 506 

Ballagboge, ' 210 

Ballabanatouragli, . . . 294 
Ballard ; bigb town : jip. 
346, 385. 

Bailee 356 

Ealleen, 350 

BalUua, . . . 103, 357, 358 

Ballinabarny, .... 434 
Ballinaboy ; Bel-an-atha- 
huidhe, iiioutb of tbe yel- 
low ford: p. 356. 

Ballinaclogb 413 

Ballinacor 366 

Ballinacur, 3()6 

Ballinacurra 366 

Ballinafad, 3.58 

Ballinabinch, 349 

BalLinakill ; town of tbe 
eburcb or wood : pji. 313, 491. 

BalUnalaek, 417 

Ballinalee, 470 

Ballinamara, 115 

Ballinamona 467 

Ballinamore 358 

Ballinainoiigbt near Cork ; 
town of tbe poor^Jeople ; 
p. 16. 
Ballinapark ; town of tbe 

Ballinard ; tbe town of tlie 

beigbt : p. 385. 

Ballinascartv 496 

Index of Names. 



Ballinagcorney, .... 623 
Balliiiashinnagli ; town of 

the foxes : p. 483. 
Ballinaskea ; town of the 

bushes: p. 517' 

Ballinasloe, 207 

Ballinaspick, Ballinaspig ; 

the tovra of the bishop. 
Ballinatray ; see Ballyua- 


Ballinattin, 519 

Ballinchalla 464 

Ballinclare, 428 

Ballincloghan 3G3 

Ballincollig, 32 

Ballincurra, 349 

Ballincurrig, 349 

Balliucurry, 349 

Ballindaggan, 307 

Ballindagny, 307 

Ballindangan, .... 307 

town of the oak. 
Ballinderreen, Ballinder- 

rin ; town of the little 

oak wood. 

Balliuderry 350 

Balliudine, 307 

Ballindollaghan, . ... 193 

Ballindoolin, 363 

Ballindoon, Ballindown ; 

town of the diui : p, 276. 
Ballindrait, .... 155, 368 

Ballindrehid, 368 

Balliueanig, 205 

Ballineddan, 459 

Ballinenagh, 205 

Ballinfoyle, ... 21, 435 

Ballingarrane, .... 497 

Ballingan-y, 229 

Ballingayrour, .... 488 

BalHnglanna, Ballinglen, . 430 

Balliugowan, 222 

Ballinguile, .... 97 

Balliniska, 447 

Ballina, Ballinlaw, ... 391 


BaUinlass, Balliulassa, Bal- 

linlassy, 272 

BaUinlaur ; middle town. 

Ballinlig, 432 

Ballinhss 272 

Ballinlough, 448 

Ballinloughan, .... 44* 

Ballinloughane, .... 449 

Ballinlug, Balliuluig, . . 432 

Ballinoran, 453 

Ballinoulart, 516 

Ballinphuill, Ballinphull, 

435, 436 

Ballinrally, 505 

Ballinree, 519 

Ballinriuk, 212 

Ballinrobe, 349 

Ballinrostig ; Roche's town. 

BaUinskelligs bay, . . . 421 
Ballinspittle ; the town of 

the sj^ital or hospital. 

Ballintaggart, .... 23 

Ballintannig, ..... 32 
Ballintarsna ; cross town. 

Ballinteean, 187 

Balliuteer, 223 

Ballintemple, 156 

Ballinteosig ; Joyce's town. 

Ballinteskin, 463 

Ballintine 157 

Ballintlea, 380 

Balliutleva, Ballintlevy, . 380 

BallintheFe, 380 

Ballintober, 451 

Balhntogher, 373 

Ballintoy in Antrim, . . 20 

Ballintra bridge 365 

Ballintrofaun 55 

Ballintruer, 263 

Ballintry, 262 

Ballintubbert, Ballintub- 

rid, 453 

Ballintm-ly, 449 

Ballinure, 511 

Ballinvallig, Ballinvally, . 372 

Ballinvana 19 


Lulcr of Names. 


Ballinvarrig, Ballinvarry ; 

Barry's Idwii. 
Balliiivolla, 15,illinvill:i, . .'.OO 

Ballinvuhor '}7<l 

Balliuvi-ooiia L>S!) 

Ballinwillin ;37-'> 

BallinwuUv 20 

Balli.-^k, . ■ 447 

Ballitore 2^\\ 

Ballyagran 18 

Ballyard ; high town : p. 385. 
Balljbane, I3aUybaun ; 

white town. 

Ballybarney, 434 

BallVbatter, 4.'i 

BaUybay, 500 

Ballybeg; smalltown. 
Ballyblagb, Ballyblaugh ; 

the town of the flowers. 

Ballvboe 244 

BallVbofey 348 

Ballybolev, . . . 230, 240 

Ballyboro, S.")!) 

Ballybough, Ki 

Ballyboughlin Ifi 

Ballybought, 10 

Ballyboy, 355 

Ballybrack ; speekled town. 
Ballybranagb, Bally bran- 

nagb; Walsh's town. 
Ballybunnion ; Bunnion's 

Bally cahan, Bally cahane ; 

O'Cahan's town. 
Ballycahill ; Cabill's town. 
Ballycarra, Ballycarry ; 

town or ford of the weir : 

p. 306. 

Ballycarton, 223 

Ballycastle, 280 

Ballyelare, 427 

Ballycleraban ; O'Clera- 

han's town. 

BaUyclogh 413 

Ballyeloghan .30.3 

Ballyclohy 413 


Ballycliig ; town ol' the 

BallvcoUa ; Colla's town. 

Jiallyconnoll 1.50 

Ballycorinick ; Cormac'sor 

O'Corinac's town. 

Ballycroglian 388 

Ballyt-roguo, . . • . . 388 
Ballyeullane ; O'Coll ins's 

Ballycunibcr; town of the 

ciiiamcr or confluence. 
Ballycurry ; town of the 

moor : p. 402. 
Ballypushlano, .... 300 

Ballydayork 258 

Ballydehob, 2.52 

Bally doo ; black town. 

Ballydrehid, 308 

Ballydui'f ; black town. 
Bally ea ; O' Ilea's town. 
Ballyederown, .... 2.50 
Ballyeightcr, Ballycight- 

ragh ; lower-down. 
Ballyfoile, Ballyfovle, . . 409 
Ballygall, . . .\ . . 97 
Ballygamnion, .... 213 
Ballygarran, Ballygarrane, 497 
Ballygarraun, .... 497 

Ballygassoon, 210 

Ballyglan, 430 

Ballyglass ; green town. 

Ballygow, 222 

BaUygowan, 222 

Ballyguile, 97 

Ballyheige 349 

Ballyhiskey, 447 

BaUyhooly, 515 

Ballyhoos 8 

Ballykeel ; narrow town. 
Ballyknick, Bailyknock, . 382 
BaUyknockan, . . .93, 381 
Ballyknockane, .... 381 
Bally knockan moat, . . 93 

Ballvlahan, 3.50 

Ballylandcrs 349 

Index of Names. 



Ballyleague, 354 

BaUylegan, 343 

Ballylesson, 273 

Ball vie vin, ...'.. 507 

BallVlickev 359 

Ball'ylig, ' 432 

Ballylinny, 275 

Ballylongrord, .... 4 

Ballyloskj, 238 

Ballylough, 448 

BaUyloughan, 449 

Ballyloughaun, .... 449 

BallVlug, 432 

Ballylusk, Ballylusky, . . 238 

Ballyiiiagowan, .... 10 

Ballymena, Ballyuienagh, 53 

Ballymoneen, .... 408 
Ballynioney, ... .59, 496 
BaUymore ; great to\vn, 

sometimes the mouth of 

the great ford (Bel-atha- 

vioir) : 356. 

BaUymote, 290 

Ballynaas, 207 

Ballynabarna, Balljniabar- 

ny, Ballynabearna, . . 434 

Ballynaboley, .... 239 

BallvnaboU, Ballynaboul, 43(> 

Ballynaboola, . ' . . . 239 

Ballynabooley, .... 239 
Ballynacaberagh ; the town 

of the stone fort: 285. 

Ballynaeaird, 223 

Ballynaeally ; the town of 

the calliagh or hag. 

Ballynaeard, 222 

Ballynaearrick, Ballynaear- 

rig, Ballynaearriga, Bal- 

Ivnacarrigv ; the town of 

the rock, ' 410 

Ballynaclogh 413 

Ballynacloghy, . . . . 413 

Ballynacorra, .... 366 
BaUynacourty ; the town 

of the court or mansion. 

Ballynacoy, 489 

Ballynacragga, Ballyna- 
craig, Ballynaeraigy, 
Ballynacregga, Ballyna- 
cregg; town of the rock, 

Ballynacross ; town of the 
cross, . . . 


BaUynafagh, . . 



Ballynafey, . . 

Ballynafie, . . 

Ballynafoy, . . 

Ballynaf mishin, Ballinaf un- 
shoge, BaUynafineshoge ; 
town of the ash, 

Ballynagall, . . 


Ballynagarrick, . 

Ballynagaul, . . 

Ballynagee, . 


Ballynageeragh, . 


Ballynagore, . . 

Ballynagowan, . 

BaUynagi-an, Ballinagi 

BaUynagross ; town of 
crosses, .... 

Ballynahaglish, . 

Ballpiahaha, . . 

Ballynahaia, . . 

Ballynahatten, . 

Ballynahattina, . 



Ballynahone, . . 

Ballynahow, . . 

Ballynahown, Ballyna- 
howna, .... 30, 

Ballynakill, BaUynakilla, 
Balljniakilly ; town of 
the church or wood, 313, 

Ballynakillew, .... 

Ballynalackan, .... 

Ballynalahessery, . . . 























Index of Names. 

Ballyiinmacldoo, . . . 
BallviiaiiKuldroo, . . 
IJallvnaiiiadilv, . . . 
IJallvnaiiKumlain, . 
Ballynamuck, . . . 
Ballyiumass, .... 
Ijnllvnaraba ; the town of 

tlio rath or fort, . 
Ballviiarea, .... 
Ballyuarooga, . . . 
Ballynascarry, . . . 
Ballynascreen, Ballyna- 
skreena; town of the 
shrine: 320. 





Ballynatona, Ballynatone ; 
town of the backside or 


Ballynavaddog, .... 





Ballynew ; new town. 


Lallyuoe ; new town. 



Bally organ, 

Ballyiihilip ; Philip's town. 

Ballyragget in Kilk. ; Bel 
atha-kaghat (Four Mas 
ter8),Ragat's ford-mouth 

Ballyroe : red town. 


Ballysadare, . . . ■. . 


Ballysakeery, .... 

Ballysallagh ; dirty town. 

Ballyshane ; John's town. 















Ballyshannon, . . 182, 358 

Ballysoilshaun 219 

Ballvstrew, 457 

Ballysugagh, .... 210 

Ballytarsna, Ballytarsney, 3.50 
Ballvteige; O'Teigc's town. 

Balivtober 203, 451 

Bally trasna 3.50 

Bally turin, Bel-a-tuirin, 
tli'o U)vA of the little 

bleacli-groiMi, . . . 23i), 350 
Bally vagban in Clare; 
Baile - ui - Bhcackain, 
O'Belian's town. 

Ballyrally, 372 

Ballvvangour, .... 384 

Ballyvarnet, 435 

Ballyvool, Ballyvooley, . 239 

Ballywater, ...'.. 40 

Ballywatermov, .... 40 

BallywlioUart, .... 516 

BallywiUen, 375 

Balor's Castle and Prison, 162 

Balrath, 350 

Balrathboyne, .... 151 

Balrotbery, 18 

Balscaddan at Howth ; the 

town of the herrings. 

Balteagh, . . . . " . . 2.50 

Balteen, 350 

Balteenbrack 350 

Baltinglass, 76 

Baltrasna 350 

Baltray, 445 

Baltybovs, 350 

Baltydauiel, 3.50 

Baltylum 350 

Banagb, barony of, . . . 140 

Banagher 58, 385 

Bangor, 385 

Banna, 384 

Bannady, 59 

Bannagh, 383 

Bannaghbane, .... 383 

Bannaghroe, 383 

Bannamore, 383 

Index of Names. 



Bannow, 107 

Banteer ; Bdn-tir, lea land, 

Bantry, 125 

Barbalia ; birchy top : 50G, 527 

Barmeen, 527 

Barmona, 527 

Baraa, 433 

Baruaboy ; yellow gap. 

Bamiacoyle 514 

Barnaciillia 492 

Barnadarrig, Barnaderg, . 434 

Barnageeba, Barnageeby, . 433 

Barnagrotty 398 

Barnakillew, Barnakilly, . 492 

Baniakyle, 514 

Barnauageeby, .... 433 

Barnane-Ely, 435 

Barnes, Barnisb, .... 435 

Barnismore, 434 

BavnycarroU, 41 

Ban-, .527 

Barraduff ; black top : . . 527 

Barrauafaddock 486 

Barravore, 527 

Barreragb 527 

Barroe; red top: 527. 

BarrofSlawin 528 

Barrow river, .... 79 

BasUck, 323 

Baslickane, 324 

Batterjobn; Jobn's road, . 45 

Batterstown, 45 

Baunatlea, 380 

Baiinraore ; great green 

Baunoge; little green field. 
Baunreagh; grey field. 

Baunskeha, 518 

Bauraneag, 20 

Baurroe; red top: 527. 

Baurstookeen, .... 408 

Baurtrigoum, 433 

Bauville, 350 

BaTan 308 

Bawn 308 

Bawnboy; yellow field. 


Bawnfoun, 30 

Bawnfune, 30 

Bawnmore; great field. 

Bawnoges, 33 

Beagb, 500 

Beaghroe; redbii'cb: 500. 

Beagby, 500 

Bealnasbrura, .... 457 

Bear, barony, .... 133 

Bearbaven 133 

Bear Island, 133 

Beginisb; little island : 441. 

Beglieve, 379 

Bebagb, 500 

Bebanagb, 500 

Bebeenagb, .WO 

Bebernagb, 506 

Beby, 500 

Belan, 323 

Belc4are, 350 

Belderg ; red ford luoutb. 

Belfarsad, 360 

Belfast .360 

Belladribid, 368 

BeUagby, 357 

Bellanacargy, .... 357 

Bellanagare 357 

Bellanalack, 359 

Bellananagb, 474 

Bellanascarrow, Bellana- 

searvy, 360 

Bellaiig'b 356 

BeUeek, 417 

BeUew, Bellia 500 

BeUow-tree, Bell-tree, . . 499 

Belra, Belragb, .... 275 

Belraugb, 275 

Beltany, ...... 201 

Beltra; strand-moutb. 

Ben, 382 

Benagb, 3S3 

Benamore, 383 

Benaneba, 486 

Benbo, 384 

Benburb, 383 

Ben Edar or Ilowtb, . . 80 


Lidex of Names. 


Bcngoro, saino as IJongour 

and Jienguwor, . . . JV^.'} 
Eeuiuoro, great peak : p. .'!82. 

BenofForo 383 

Benraw; )>i>ali of the fort. 

Beouii 3.^2 

Bessy Bell iiioiintaiii, . . 7t\(\ 

Big bug L*.J7 

Bigiuon 384 

Billy 41 

Billvwood, 21(1 

Binbulbin 13'J 

Bincluft', Bindoo, Bendiiff, 

blaek peak: p. 382. 

Biunafreaghan, .... .')20 

Binnion 384 

Blackvalley, 72 

Blaekwater River, . . . 455 

Boa Island, . . . 308, note. 

Bodouey 304 

Bohabov 304 

Bohanbov, 305 

Bohaim,' 304 

Bolier, 370 

Boheraphuca, .... 188 
Boberard; Ligh road. 

Boherboy 3 

Bohercuill, 370 

BoberdutT 20 

Bobereen 370 

BobereenkTle, .... 370 

Boberkill, Boberkyle, . . 370 
Bobermeen ; smootb road. 
Bobermore; great road. 

Bobernabreena, .... 289 

Bobernaglogb, .... 46 

Boberqiiill, 370 

Boberroe; red road. 

Bobo 304 

Boboge, 304,305 

Bobola 304 

Bobullion, 304 

Boleybeg; small dairy-place. 

Bolev, Bola 2,39 

Boleyliig, 239 

Bolpynagoagli, .... 4^9 


Boleyneendurrisli, . . 2(54 

lioiianiargy, .527 

Boiianass 400 

lioobi, 239 

ISooladiirraglia, .... 2.39 
]! ; see Boolyglass. 
Jioolaroe; red booley. 
Boolavauii; white booley. 

Uooldurragb, 239 

Booley 239 

Boolteens, Boolteeny, . . 240 

]5oolyglass, ..'... 239 

]iootersto\vn, 4(3 

]5orderreen, 370 

Borbeen, 370 

Borleagb 370 

Bornacourria 370 

ISoro river, 358 

Borris 351 

Borris-in-Ossory, . . . 351 

Borrisnafarney, .... 352 

Borrisokane, 3.52 

Borrisoleigh, ..... 351 

Bougb 303 

Boula, 2.30 

Boulabally 239 

Boiiltyijatric-k 240 

Bourney, 419 

Bovevagb . 304 

Boviel ; Both-mhael, flat hut : 

pp. 303, 395. 

Boyanagb, Boyannagb, . 45.5 

Boybill 40 

Boylagb, barony of, . . 140 

Boynagb, .;.... 456 

Boyounagb, 455 

Boyne river, 79 

Boystown, 350 

Bnxade ; see Braid. 

Brackley, 482 

Braekliu, 2.35 

Brackloon, Braekloonagb, 235 

Braddocks, 523 

Bradoge stream, . . . .52.3 

Braid, The, 523 

Brandon bill, 148 

Index of Names. 



33rankill, -4X0 

Branuish, 4S() 

Braniiock island, . . . 'l^u 

Bray, Bray head, . . . 3U0 

Breaffy, 482 

Breagho, 482 

Breagliva, ...... 482 

Breaghwy, 482 

Breaghy, 482 

Breabig, 482 

Bree, ?y'd() 

Breen, 289 

Breenagb, 289 

Breenaun 289 

Breeoge, 289 

Bremore ceuieterv. . . . l.'>2 

Bricklieve,. .".... .379 

Brigh 390 

Brigown, 390 

Britway, 482 

Brockagh, Brocka, . . . 484 

Brockernagb, .... 484 

Brockev, 484 

Brocklagb, Brockly, . . 484 

Brockna, 484 

Brockra, Brockry, . . . 484 

Bronagb, 37(5 

Bruce, 288 

Briickana, 484 

Bruff, 287,288 

Brugbas, 288 

Bruis, 288 

Bruree, 287 

Bruse, 288 

Bruslee, 370 

Bryanbeg, Brvaiimore, . 289 

Buffaiioky, ' 485 

Bullaun; a well in a rock. 

Bull, Cow, and Calf, . . 1(;4 
Buncarrick, Buncraggy ; 

end of tbe rock: pp. 410, .")27 

Buncrana, 527 

Bunglass, green bottom, . 527 

Bunlaby, 527 

Bunmabon, 527 

Buuuabeola, 383 

Bunnafedia (JO 

Bunnabone, Bunnabow, 

Bunow, Bunaw, Bunna- 

bown, Bunnabowna ; 

moutb of tbe river : pp.455, 527 

Bunnatreesruban, . . . 2()3 

Bunnyconnellan,. ... (50 
B uno wen, 13 uiiown, B unaran ; 

same as Bunnabone. 

Bunratty, 527 

Bunskellig 421 

B urges, 351 

Burnew, 419 

Barren, 419 

Burrenrea, Burrenreagb, . 419 

Burris 351 

Burriscarra, 351 

Burrisboole, 351 

Bultevant, 392 

Cabrngb; bad land. 

Caddagb, .391 

Cadian, 391 

Cady, 391 

Caber 284 

Caberagb, fidl of cabers or 

stone forts: 283. 

Caberass 460 

Caberbarnagb, .... 282 

Caberbreagb, 482 

Caherconlisb, 285 

Cabercorcaim, . . . . 411 
Caberduggan ; Diiggan's 

stone fort: p. 283. 

Cabereen, 285 

Caberelly, 293 

Cabergal, 285 

Caberkeen ; beautiful stone 

fort: p. 283. 

Caberlarbig, 309 

Caberlustraun, . . 237 

Cabermore; gi-eatcaber p. 283 

Caliermoyle, . . . 465 

Cabermurpbv, . . • 286 

Cabernally, ' 293 

Calicrsiveen, 284 


Index of Names. 


Caliiracou in Clare, 

Calicroonrec in Kern- ; 
Curoi's fort, i. e. tlic 
prcat chief, Curoi-niac- 
Daire — 1st cent. 


I'Af! K 


Callanafersy, . 
Callan Mountain, . 


Callowhill, . . . 
Calluragli, . . , 
Calry, . . . . , 
Calt'ragh, Caltra, . . . 
Canulerry; crooked wood: p. 





Cannawny, C'amiawee, , . 
Cape Clear island, . 1-48, 


Cai^padavock, .... 

Cappagh, _. 

Cappaghcon; the hound's 

plot : 228, 479. 
Cappaghcreen, .... 
Cappaghmore, Cappamore, 
Cappaghwhite, . 
Cappanaboe ; cows' plot 
Cajipanacreha, . . . 
Cappanageeragh, . . 
Cappanalarabaun, . . 
Cappancur, .... 


Cappard; high plot: 228, 
Capparoe; red plot: 228. 
Cappateemore, . . 
Cappog, Cappoge, . 
Cappoquin, . . . 
Cappy, Cappydonnell 
Caran, Caraun, . . 
Carbery, baronies of, 
Carbury barony, . . 
Carculhon, . . . 

. 12.') 

. r,u\ 
. ?,m 
. r)i3 

. 41 54 

. .^)14 

. 31;') 

124, 12.'} 

. .31('. 














Cargagh 411 

Cargan, Cargin, . . . . til 

Cargygray, 38 

Carha 342 

Carlian, 612 

Carheen 420 

Carheens, Carheeny, . . 420 

Carboo, ...'... 243 

Carhoon, 34 

Carlingford 105, 106 

Carlow '148 

Carmavy, 333 

Carn 3.32 

Carnacallv, 3.33 

Carnagat," 3.33 

Carnalughoge, .... 333 

Carn-Amhalgaidli, . . . 204 

Carnane, Carnaun, . . . 333 

Carnbane; white earn: . 331 

Carn Clanhugh, .... 332 

Carndonagh, 333 

Carneurny, 109 

Carnew .333 

Carney 3-33 

Carnf unnock, 485 

Carnfyan, 92 

Carngaver; goat's cam: 331,475 
Carnglass; green carn. 

Caiiigranny, 335 

Carnkenny, 333 

Carnlea, 3.32 

Carnmore; great carn, . 331 

Carnqiiill, 514 

Carnsore Point, . . . 105. 10(5 

Carnteel 3.32 

Carn Tierna, 333 

Carntrone 4.58 

Carntroor hill, .... 263 

Carr, 420 

Carra, 342 

Carrachor; odd quarter: . 243 

Carragh; rocky land: . . 419 

Carran, ..'.... 420 

Carrantuohill 6 

Carraun, 420 

Carrick, .... 410, 411 

Index of Names. 


Carrickaness, . 







Cai-rickbeg; little rock: 410. 
Carrickcoueen, .... 
Can-ickcroppan, .... 
Carrickduft' ; black i-ock : . 
Carrickfergus ; Fergus's 

rock: 410 
Carrickglass ; green rock : 
Carricthawna, .... 
Carrickmore ; gi'eat rock : 
Carrickiiadarriff, , . 
Carricknamaddry, Carrig- 

namaddy, Craignaraad- 

dy ; the rock of the dogs : 

pp. 410, 479. 

Carrig, 410, 




Carrigabolt, . 


Carrigaline in Cork ; tbe 

roct of O'Lehane : 410. 
Carrigallen, . 
Carrigan, . . 
Carriganass, . 
Carrigans, . . 
Carrigatuke, . 
Carrigcleena, . 
Carrigdownane, Downan's 

or Downing's rock 










Carrigeen, .... 




Carriglass: gi*een rock. 
Carrignacurra, .... 
Carrignabibilan, .... 
Carrignaniuck : the rock of 

tbe pigs: 410, 478. 
Carrignagower, Carrickna- 
gore; rock of tbe 
goats: 410, 475. 


Carrigogunnell, .... 




Carron hill, 

Carrouadavderg, .... 


Can-oward; high qtiarter. 
Carrowbane, Carrowbaim, 


Carrowblagb; the quarter 

land of the flowers. 
Carrowcor; odd quarter. 


Carrowduff ; black quarter. 
Carrowgarriff, .... 



Carrowmanagh ; middle 


Carrownacon ; hound's 

quarter : pp. 243, 479. 
Carrownaglogb, . 
Carrownaltore, . 
Carro wnaweelaun , 
Carrowntreila, . 















Judex of Kamcs, 



CariMwiiurc : vow-tjuarlcr 

pp. 213, ;")!(). 
Carro\vri>;\f;li, Carrowrov 

ngli: groy quart pr-limd. 
Cari'owroo ; roil (-[iiartor. 
Carsaii, . . . 
Cart roil, . . 
Cartrimhoro, . 
Casev glebo, . 
Cashel, . . . 
CaslioKinogo, . 
Casben river, . 
Casblan, Casblancran, 
Cassagb, . 


Castlebane, Castlcbaun 

wbite castle. 
Castlebar in Mayo, . . 
Castlcrlargari, . 
Castlcdillon, . 
Castlegarde, . 
Castle Hill, 

CastleboUis, . 
Castlekeeran, . 
Castlelyons, . 
Castlemoyle, . 
Castlerahan ; the castle of 

the little rath or fort 
Castlereagb, .... 
Castleterra, .... 
Castleventry, .... 


Cavanacaw, .... 

4, 285 


36, 37 

CavauacdT ; rdund liill (j 

tlu" francs: pp. 401, 487 

Cavanaleck, . . 


Cavanroagh ; groy hill : 401 
Cavaiitrecdul'l', . 

Cave of Duninorc, 
Celbridgo, . . . 
CharloiiKiiit, . 
Cheek Toiiit, . . 
Church Island, . 
Cill-uiBian, . . 
Cladowon, . 
Clahcrnngh, . 
Clanhugh Dciiiesii 
Clankee, barony of 
Clanmaurice, barony o 
Clanwilliani, barony 


Claragh, . . . 
C'laraghatlea, . . 
Clarashinnagh, . 
Clarbane, . . . 
Clarcarrieknngun , 
Clarderry, . . 
Clare, .... 
Clareen, . . . 
Claregalway, . . 
Clarehill, . . . 
ClarkiU, ... 
Clash ; Clais, a trench 
Clash anaffrin, 
Clasharinka, . 
Clashduff ; black trench. 
Clashganniff, Clashgannir, 

Clashganny; sandpit. 
Clashraore ; great trcncji. 



Cleggan; see Claggan. 



Cleraun, Clerhaun, . . . 







Index of Xames. 





Cliffs of Moher 

Clintv, Clintycnicken, . . 



Cloghautiskaw, .... 


Cloghanenagleragb, . 
Cloghanleagh, .... 


■Cloghastookeen, .... 


CloghbaUy, .'.... 



Cloghbrack ; s]iecklecl stone. 
•Clogbcor ; rough stone. 


Clogher, 41.3, 



Cloglierbrien ; Eraen's 

stony place. 


Cloghermore ; great stony 




Cloghfin, Cloglifune; white 

stone or stone castle. 



Cloghmore ; great stone. 












Cloghpook, .... 
Cloghrau, Cloghrane, . 
Cloghtogle, .... 
Cloghyally, .... 
Cloghvoley, .... 
Cloghvoola, Cloghvoolia, 
Cloghyoula, .... 





Cloghy; a stony place. 

Clogrennan, 291 

Cloheen, 4-13 

Cloliernagli, 416 

Clohoge, 4!3 

Cloniantagh, 412 

Clonioney, 112 

Clonad ; long meadow. 

Clonagh, 474: 

Clonallan 234 

Olonalvy, 251 

Clonaniery, 394 

Clonard, 233, 234 

Clonarney, .517 

Clonaslee, 370 

Clonbeg ; little meadow. 

Clonbrock, 483 

Clonbrone, 376 

Cloncon, 480 

Cloncoohy, 488 

Cloncose, 438 

Cloncough, . . . . . 488 

Cloucouse, 438 

Cloncrew in Limerick ; 

Cluain-cnamha, wild 

garlick meadow. 
CloncuUen ; hoUy meadow. 

Cloncurry, 10 

Clondagad, 258 

Clondalee, 258 

Clondalkin ; C'lniin-Dolcain, 

Dolcan's meadow. 

Clondallow, 193 

Clondarragh .502 

Clondelara, 258 

Clonderalaw, .... 391 
Clondouglas; meadow of the 

black stream, 232, 450. 

Clonduff 473 

Clone; Cliiain, n meadow, 232 

Clonea, 476 

Cloneen ; little meadow, . 232 

ClonegaU, 97 

Clonelty, 477 

Clonenagh 521 

Clones, 233 



Index of Names. 


Clonfad, ClonfiKlda; long 

meadow : 'I'.Vl. 

ClontVrt 117. lis 

Cloii!,'.ill <»7 

Clongill 1)7 

Clongowos, 222 

Cloniir 473 

Clonkocn, 235 

Clonlca 470 

Clonleigh 470 

Cloiilost ; burnl inoadow: 23S 
Clonmacnoise, .... 73 
Clonuieen ; smooth meadow. 

rionnu'l 234 

C'loniiu'Uon 234 

Cloniiioney, Clooniiioncy ; 

meadow of the shrub- 
bery: pp. 1^32, 4iH). 
Clonmore; great meadow, 

Ch^nmullin, 375 

Cloumult, 234 

Clonoghil, •. • ,- • • 510 
Clononey in King's Co. ; 

CIuain-jDaiiiltna (Four 

Mast.), Damhan's or 

Davins meadow. 
Clonoulty in Tipperary ; 

the Ulsterman's meadow. 
Clonroad, .... 2(iO, 442 
C'lonroosk; the Tueadow of 

the marsh : 232, 4C)3. 
Clonsilla ; Cluain-sa'dcarh, 

the meadow of sallows. 

Clonskeagh 518 

Clontanagullion ; meadows 

of the hollies: }>]>. 

232, 512. 

Clontarf 472 

Clontibret, 453 

Clontinteen, 216 

Clontinty 216 

Clonturk: the boar's 


Clonty 235 

Clontvcoe, Clontyeoo, . . 489 
Clonuff. ..'.... 473 


Clonygowan, 47 1 

Clonvhurk 25S 

C'looii 232 

C'loouacaltry, .... 316 

Cloonal'f, 473 

Cloonagh, 474 

Cloonard 234 

Chxmasc'ort'agli 55- 

Cloonalreane, .... 4K7 

Cloonawillen 375 

Cloonbeg ; little meadow: 232 

Cloonbroek, 483 

Cloonbrone, 37<> 

Cloonburren 41U 

Clooncaii; battle inoadow: 114 

Clooneon, 480 

Clooncoose, Clooncose, . 4.38 

Clooncous, 438 

Cloondaearra, .... 254 

Cloondaeon, 257 

Cloondadauv, .... 257 

Cloondaff, 2(> 

Cloondanagh, .... 2.58 

Cloondara, 252 

Cloonderavalley, . . . 251 

Cloonederowen, .... 250 

Clooneen 23.5 

Cloonelt 477 

Cloonfad ; long meadow. 

Cloonfin ; white meadow, 232 
Cloonfinlough ; the mea- 
dow of the clear lake. 

Cloonfree ; heathy meadow: 519. 

Cloongown, 222 

C'loongowniagh, ... .471 

Clooniff, 473 

Cloonkeen, 235 

Cloonlara, 475 

Cloonlaughil, 508 

Cloonlee; see t'lonlea. 

Cloonlogher 235 

Cloonluinney, .... .5(^ 

Cloonmore; great meadow, 232 

Cloonmullin, 375 

Cloonnafinneela, . . . . 116 

C'loonnagashel, .... 22 

Index of Namea. 



Cloonnameeltogue, . . . 469 

CloonoghiU olO 

Cloonrollagh, bi^b 

Cloonshannagb, Cloonsbin- 

nagh ; fox-meadow : -.32, 483 

Cloonsbee, 185 

Cloonsillagli ; the meadow 

of the sallows: 1'32. 

Clooiiskea, 518 

Oloontabonniv, .... 23.5 

Cloontakilla, 235 

Cloontakillew, .... 235 

Cloontarrif, Cloontarriv, . 472 

Clonteen, 235 

Cloonties 33, 235 

Cloontubbrid; tbe meadow 

of tbe well : 232, 4,50. 

Cloonturk ; boar's meadow : 479 

Cloontuskei-t, .... 235 

CloontT, 33,235 

Cloontycommade, . . . 214 

C'lovan, Clorane, . . . 415 

Clorbane, Clorbaun, . . 415 

Clorusk, 412 

Cloiigb 412 

Cloverbill 36 

Clojne, 439 

Cluain-da-en, 256 

Clyduff 31 

Co'lebill, 514 

Coleraine, Colerain, . . 530 

CoUon, 513 

Colp 164 

Comber, 63 

Comer, 64 

Coramami, Coinmeen, . . 433 

Coneykeare 481 

Conicar, Conicker, ... 481 

Conigar, 481 

Conlig, 480 

Comiaugbt 79 

Connello baronies, . . . 136 

Comiemara, 126 

Connigar, Coiinigare, . .481 

Connor, 480 


Conva 480 

Conv(JV 480 

Conwall 25 

Cooga 244 

Coogaquid, 244 

Coogue, 244 

Coolattin, 518 

Coolaveby ,506 

Coolavin, 127 

Coolballow, 3.')0 

Coolbally 350 

Coolballyogan, .... 350 

Coolballysbane 3.50 

Coolbanagber, .... 385 
Coolbane, Coolbaun; wbite 

back or white corner : 530. 
Coolboy ; yellow back or 

corner: 530. 
Coolcasbin : CuU-caissi)i 

(F. M.), Caslien's corner, 530 

Coolcronoge, 299 

Cooldao, 252 

Coolderry; back oak wood, ,502 
Coole barony, .... 
Cooleen ; little corner, . . 
Cooleeshal, Coolishal; low 


Cooler Hills 

Coolfree, 519 

Coolgreany ; smmv corner 

or back: 530. 
Coolhill, . . . 
Coolkill ; backwood 
Coolmountain, . 
Coolnabrone, . . 
Coolnagun, . . 
Coolnabarragill, . 
Coolnahinch, . . 
Coolnamuck; the cool 

corner of the pigs 




. 40 

. 134 

. 40 

. 376 

. 223 

. 223 

. 489 

. 480 

. 320 

. 442 

478, 530 

Coolnanar 473 

a * 


Index of NaineH. 


Coolnniiopliif,'! lilO 

Co()hla^^llillllagll, .... -IS;} 

Ctxihiasliinny, .... •i.'^S 
Coohiiisi near; the corner of 

the bliu'kberries: W.\0. 
Coohn'k.Coohijje, C'lilhi^e ; 

ciilnt/, little eonior. 

Cooh'ahnee, .">'^0 

Coolrain, Coolraine, . . .">."}(( 

Coolrainey, .").30 

Coolroe; red corner or 

back r)29 

Coohire: vew corner: .")2'.l. 

Cooni, . ' 4;52 

Cooniacheo 4.'i3 

Cooniadavallig lake, . . '2~)i 

Coonibe in ])iiblin, . . . 432 

Coonuleeween 211 

Coonuiagoppulat Killarnev, 4.32 

Coonmagun, 4.33 

Coonmahorna, .... 433 

Cooniyduti' near Killarnev, 73 

Coos, '. 438 

Coosan, Coosane, Coosaun, 438 

Coose, 438 

Coosheen, ...... 4.38 

Cooslughoga, 438 

Cor, Corr, 397 

Coracow, 2.51 

Corballis; odd-to\ni. 
Corballv; odd-town. 

Corbeagb, 398 

Corcaghan, 4(i2 

Corcashy, 4()2 

Corcobaskin, 131 

Corcomohide, 122 

Corcomroe, barony of, . . 127 

Corcrain, 498 

Corcreevv; branchy hill: 

397, noo. 

Cordalea, 2.59 

"Cordangan; fortified hill,. 306 

Cordarragh : hill of the oak, .501 

Corduff; black round hill, 397 

Corgarve ; rough round hill, 397 

Corglass ; green round hill, 397 


Corliaw MNgli, 2.31 

("(irhawnv 231 

CorheWiinagh 217 

Cork, . 4(>2 

Corkagh. 4(;2 

Corkaguiiiy, b;irony of, . 1,31 

''orkaroe. barony of, . . 129 

Corkashy 4(>2 

Corkeeran, 398 

Corkey, 4(12 

Corkisii, 4(52 

Corlat, .337 

Corlea; grey r.)und hill: 


Corlough, 487 

Cornieen; snioolli hill: 397. 

Cornabaste 23 

Carnacreeve; round hill of 

the branch V tree: 397, 


Cornadarum, 2.5.3 

Cornagee, L'ernageeha, . . 398 

Cornohoe, 439 

Cornohoova, Cornahove, . 439 

Cornakessagh, .... 3()2 

Cornann-amurry, . . . 117 

Cornaniucklagh, .... 478 

Cornasleehan, .... 371 

Cornaveagh, .398 

Corrobofin, 1(>7 

Corracraniph ; tlie round 

hill of the wild garlick. 

Corradeverrid 2.53 

Corradoo, Corradooa, . . 33() 

Corradooev, 336 

Corraffrin,' 118 

Corragunt 27(> 

Corrahoash 438 

Corrakeeran ; round hill of 

the quickentrees: 512. 
Corratcber; round hill of 
the well: 397, 4.50. 

Corraweehill, 4(55 

Corray, 275 

Correen, 398 

Correenfeeradda, . . . 398 

Judex of Names. 



Corrinenty, 264 

Corrinsbigo, Corrinslngagh, 
hill of the ash trees : 31)7, .Wf) 

Corrofin, 3(56 

Corrog, Corroge, . . . 398 
Corskeagh; round hill of 

the whitethorns: 397, •'>18. 
Coshbride barony, . . . 527 

Coshlea barony 526 

Coshnm barony, .... 527 

Coshquin, 52(5 

Cossaun, 372 

Coumanare, 11 (> 

Coumaniller on Keeper-hill, 484 
Conmshingane, 469, note. 

Cozies, 438 

Craan, Craane, .... 420 

Crag, 410 

Craggvkerrivan, .... 411 

Craglea, 196 

Craig, 410,411 

Craiganuller, 485 

Craigateinpin, .... 403 

Craigatuke, 485 

Craigtivad, 411 

Craigmore; great rock: . 410 

Cran 498 

Cranaerower, 498 

Crancam 498 

Crandaniel, 498 

Crane 420 

Cranfield 40, 63 

Cranlome 498 

Crann, Crannagh, . . . 498 
Crannaghtown, .... 37 

Crannoge, 299 

Crannogeboy, .... 299 
Crannoge island, , . . 299 
Cranny ; same as Crannagh. 

Crapi)agh, 399 

Cratlie, Cratlieve, . . . 380 

Creevagh, 45],.")(M) 

Creeve, 216, 500 

Creeveroe 90 

Creeverej, 501 

Creevy, 501 


Creg, 410,411 

Cregboy; yellow roek. 
Cregduff; black roek : p. 410. 

Cregg 411 

Creggan, 411 

Creggane. Creggaun, • .411 
Cregmore; great rotk. 
Cremorne barony, . . . 137 

Crevary, 501 

Crew, ' .500 

Crewhill 5(M) 

Crickaun, Crickeen, . . . 382 

Crinilin 430 

Crippaun, 399 

Crit 398 

Croagh, 388 

Croaghan, Croghaun, . 388 
Croaghjiatrick, .... 197 
Croaghrim ; Cruach-dhruhn, 
round ridge: pp. 3S7, 524. 

Crock, 51,382 

Crockaeapple, .... 382 
Croekada, . . .... 251 

Crockanure, 382 

Crockatanty, 302 

Crockaun, Crockeen, . . 382 
Crockglass; green iiiU: p. 382. 
Crocknacreevy ; hill of the 

branchy tree: pp. 382, 501. 
Crocknagapple, .... 382 

Crockshane, 382 

Crogh, 388 

Croghan, Croghan Kill, . 3S8 

Crohane, 53, 388 

Cromaglan, Croniagloun, . 431 
Cronikill; stooping wood: p. 491 

Croinlin 430 

Cromwell, 41 

Cronoge, 299 

Crookhaven 388 

Crosli 327 

Crosheen 328 

Cross 327 

Crossabeg ; Cros.m-hcaga, 

little crosses : p. 327. 
Crossakeel ; slender crosses, 327 


Index of Names. 

Crossan.Crossano, Crossiun. 'Vll 
Crossard ; liigh cross, . . n27 

Crossboyiie, 151 

Crossderrv ; cross or trans- 
verso oak wood: 327, r)(l2. 
Crosserlough, .... 327 

Crossery, 328 

Crossfarnoge 327 

Crossgar 327 

Crossmacrin, .... 498 

Crossuiolina, 327 

Crossinore ; great cross : 327. 
Crossoge, ...... 327 

Crossreagh ; grev cross : 327. 
Crotlie, . . \ . . . 3S0 
Crott, Crotta, .... 308 

Crottan 398 

Crottees, 398 

Cruagb 501 

Cruckeen 3S2 

Cruit 398 

Crumlin 430,431 

Crusbeen, Crusheeny, . . 328 
Crusbybracken, .... 328 

Crussera, 328 

Crutt, Crutta, . ... 398 
Cuilbeg; little wood : 491.