Some Place Names from the Anglo-Irish War

The Anglo-Irish war, an Cogadh Angla-Éireannach or in better Irish Cogadh na Saoirse, has made certain place-names famous. I guess many people would like to know those names in Irish. This is my best attempt, using the website as my primary source.

To start with, Soloheadbeg. It should be written Sulchóid Bheag without the article, and the genitive form is Shulchóid Bheag (i.e. I guess I must stop writing *an tSulchóid Bheag, *na Sulchóide Bige).

Then Knocklong. That would be Cnoc Loinge.

Then Rinneen: An Rinnín.

Followed by Tooreen or Toureen: An Tuairín.

Ballinalee is in Irish Béal Átha na Lao.

Balbriggan is Baile Brigín.

Kilmichael – now that is a name you should know. In Irish, Cill Mhíchíl.

Kilbrittain is Cill Briotáin.

Pickardstown in County Waterford is Baile an Phiocardaigh.

Clonfin or Cloonfin is Cluain Fionn.

Dromkeen is Drom Caoin.

Upton in Co. Cork is Garraí Thancaird.

Clonmult is Cluain Molt.

Coolavokig is Cúil an Bhuacaigh – that -ig in the English name is due to the fact that a final -igh is an [ig] in Munster.

Sheemore in Co. Leitrim is an tSí Mhór, and the genitive case is na Sí Móire, if you ask me.

Cloonbannin is Cluain Báinín.

Selton Hill I cannot find. Probably it is connected with Sailtean, i.e. Seltan in Leitrim.

Burgery is Burgáiste, and Burgatia is the feminine an Bhuirgéiseach (genitive: na Buirgéisí).

Crossbarry is Crois an Bharraigh. (Note that Crois is here in a frozen dative case. For a similar reason, Corcaigh is Corcaigh and not Corcach.)

Headford or Headfort near Killarney is Lios na gCeann (some other Headfords are called Áth Cinn, but this one is Lios na gCeann).

Scramoge in Roscommon is Scramóg, genitive Scramóige.

Kilmeena in Mayo near Westport (Cathair na Mart) is Cill Mhíona.

Carrowkennedy (in Mayo too) is Ceathrú Chinnéide.

Coolacrease in Offaly is Cúil an Chraois.

Some placenames I haven’t been able to trace, because it still happens that a placename in history books or in the English-language Wikipedia is so garbled that does not recognize it. This is another sad consequence of Ireland’s anglicization. Let’s keep Irish alive together and see to it it will never again be threatened by extinction. Learn the language, read the books, teach yourself the folklore and stories.





Place-names, again


Adamstown – Baile Adaim

Artane – Ard Aidhin

Ashtown – Baile an Áisigh

Balbriggan – Baile Brigín

Blanchardstown – Baile Bhlainséir

Donabate – Domhnach Bat

Dublin – Baile Átha Cliath

Dún Laoghaire – Dún Laoghaire

Lusk – Lusca

Malahide – Mullach Íde

Portmarnock – Port Mearnóg

Rush – an Ros

Skerries – na Sceirí

Swords – Sord Cholm Cille

Tallaght – Tamhlacht


Some less obvious Irish place-names

Usually, Irish place names have just been adapted to English spelling, or translated. However, there are many that aren’t so obvious. Here are some examples:

Arklow – an tInbhear Mór, gen. an Inbhir Mhóir. This place-name is one of the relatively few occurrences of inbhear “river mouth” in Ireland (béal is more common). As everybody knows, Inver-this and Inver-that is typically Scottish, though.

Brookeborough – Achadh Lon. The Brooke family was granted the ownership of the village during the Ulster Plantations. Achadh Lon is what the place was called before. It means the same as Kosovo Polje, i.e. the field of blackbirds.

Carrick-on-Shannon – Cora Droma Rúisc. People often attempt to translate the English name back into Irish. as something like “an Charraig chois Sionann”. However, that is not the historical name of the place.

Dublin – Baile Átha Cliath (usually pronounced as “B’leá Cliath”), or in more literary language Áth Cliath (gen. Átha Cliath). The usual explanation is, that there were two towns to start with, Duibhlinn the harbour, and Baile Átha Cliath, which was the part further away from the sea. Thus, the English who came in from the sea called the place by the name of the old harbour, and the Irish-speakers who approached it from the interior called it Baile Átha Cliath.

Milltown Malbay – Sráid na Cathrach. This is a small place in Clare, near Spanishpoint (which is Rinn na Spáinneach in Irish, if you were curious). Milltown Malbay has been called Poll an Mhuilinn or Baile an Mhuilinn in Irish too.


Provinces and Counties in Ireland

Ulaidh – Cúige Uladh – Ulster

Ulaidh is the nominative, Uladh is the genitive. After simple prepositions, dative can be used: in Ultaibh, le hUltaibh.


Aontroim – Antrim (gen. Aontroma)

Ard Mhacha – Armagh

an Cabhán – Cavan (gen. an Chabháin)

Doire – Derry

an Dún – Down (gen. an Dúin)

Dún na nGall – Donegal (Tír Chonaill – Tyrconnell)

Fear Manach – Fermanagh

Muineachán – Monaghan (gen. Mhuineacháin)

Tír Eoghain – Tyrone

Laighin – Cúige Laighean – Leinster

Laighin is the nominative, Laighean is the genitive. After simple prepostions, you might see the dative form: i Laighnibh.


Áth Cliath – Dublin

Ceatharlach – Carlow (You’d expect this -ach to become -aigh or -aí in the genitive, but the recommended genitive form is Cheatharlach, i.e. with just the first consonant mutated.)

Cill Chainnigh – Kilkenny

Cill Dara – Kildare

Cill Mhantáin – Wicklow

an Iarmhí – Westmeath (gen. na hIarmhí)

Laois (gen. Laoise)

Loch Garman – Wexford. Actually, the form is etymologically speaking Loch gCarman, with an eclipsis that isn’t a regular feature of the language anymore (similar fossilized forms are found in an Muileann gCearr ‘Mullingar’, Loch nEathach ‘Lough Neagh’ etc.); Wexfordmen are called Carmanaigh in Irish.

an Longfort – Longford (gen. an Longfoirt; it would make more etymological sense to write it as an Longphort)

– Louth

an Mhí – Meath (gen. na Mí)

Uíbh Fhailí – Offaly

An Mhumhain – Cúige Mumhan (!) – Munster

an Mhumhain, gen. na Mumhan.


Ciarraí – Kerry

an Clár – Clare (gen. an Chláir)

Corcaigh – Cork (gen. Chorcaí)

Luimneach – Limerick (gen. Luimnigh)

Port Láirge – Waterford

Tiobraid Árann – Tipperary

Connachta – Cúige Chonnacht – Connacht

Connachta, gen. Chonnacht, dative Connachtaibh (i gConnachtaibh)


Gaillimh – Galway (genitive: na Gaillimhe; in Munster Irish, “in Galway” is “sa Ghaillimh” rather than “i nGaillimh“)

Liatroim – Leitrim (genitive: Liatroma)

Maigh Eo – Mayo

Ros Comáin – Roscommon

Sligeach – Sligo (genitive: Shligigh)