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Place names in Irish

From Academic Kids

Many place names in Ireland in the English language are either anglicisations of those in the Irish language, or completely different, such as the name for the capital of the Republic of Ireland, which in English is Dublin, but in Irish is Baile Átha Cliath. The former means black hole/pool (anglicised from dubh and linn) and the latter means town of the hurdle ford. After the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1922, some names were changed including Kingstown in County Dublin, which became Dún Laoghaire (pronounced 'dunleary' by English speakers, and 'doonlairah' by Irish speakers) and Queenstown in County Cork reverted to Cóbh (pronounced 'cove'). King's County and Queen's County were renamed County Laois and County Offaly in 1921.

In the Republic, both Irish and English names have equal status and are displayed on road and signs, although postmarks are only in Irish. In Northern Ireland, the new recognition of the status of the Irish language does not extend to bilingual roadsigns - it is down to individual district councils to decide to place them. At the moment, only Fermanagh has Irish language roadsigns, and is this case, it is only on indicative signs and not directional ones.

The name of Ireland itself comes from the Irish name, Éire, affixed to the Germanic root, '-land'. According to mythology, Éire was an ancient Celtic princess.

Contents

Etymology

Common words found in Irish place names include:

Ard- ard - 'high'
Bally- baile - 'town'
Bel- béal - 'mouth'
Kil- cill - church
Carry/Carrick- carraig - 'rock'
Dun- dún - 'fort'
Glas- glas - 'green'
Rath- rath - 'fort'
Knock- cnoc - 'hill'
Ath- átha - 'ford'

Names of Provinces

The four provinces (cúigí - singlar: cúige) are known as:

  • Connacht - Connacht(a) / Cúige Chonnacht - meaning "Conn's land"
  • Munster - An Mhumhain / Cúige Mumhan - meaning "Land of Mumha's men"
  • Leinster - Laighin / Cúige Laighean - meaning "Land of Broad Spears"
  • Ulster - Ulaidh / Cúige Uladh - meaning "Land of Ulaid's men"

The word cúige originally meant 'a fifth', as in one-fifth part of Ireland, and comes from the fact that Meath, as seat of the High King of Ireland, was once a province in its own right, incorporating modern counties Meath, Westmeath and parts of surrounding counties. Meath was later absorbed into Leinster.

Names of Counties

The 32 counties (contaetha - singular: contae) of Ireland are known as:

  • County Antrim - Aontroim / Co. Aontroma - meaning "Solitary Farm"
  • County Armagh - Ard Mhacha / Co. Ard Mhacha - meaning "Macha's Height"
  • County Carlow - Ceatharlach / Co. Cheatharlaigh - meaning "Four Lakes"
  • County Cavan - An Cabhán / Co. an Chabháin - meaning "The Hollow"
  • County Clare - An Clár / Co. an Chláir - meaning "Level Land"
  • County Cork - Corcaigh / Co. Chorcaí - meaning "Marsh"
  • County Derry - Doire / Co. Dhoire - meaning "Oak Wood"
  • County Donegal - Dún na nGall / Co. Dhún na nGall - meaning "Fort of the Foreigners"
  • County Down - An Dún / Co. an Dúin - meaning "The Fort"
  • County Dublin - Áth Cliath / Co. Átha Cliath - meaning "Town by the Hurdle ford"
  • County Fermanagh - Fear Manach / Co. Fhear Manach - meaning "Men of Monach"
  • County Galway - Gaillimh / Co. na Gaillimhe - named after Gailleamh
  • County Kerry - Ciarraí / Co. Chiarraí - named after Ciar
  • County Kildare - Cill Dara / Co. Chill Dara - meaning "Church by the Oak"
  • County Kilkenny - Cill Chainnigh / Co. Chill Chainnigh - meaning "Canice's Church"
  • County Laois - Laois / Co. Laoise - meaning "Church by the Oak"
  • County Leitrim - Liatroim / Co. Liatroma - meaning "Grey Ridge"
  • County Limerick - Luimneach / Co. Luimnigh - meaning "Bare Land"
  • County Longford - Longfort / Co. Longfoirt - meaning "Fortress"
  • County Louth - Lú / Co. Lú - meaning "Smallest"
  • County Mayo - Maigh Eo / Co. Mhaigh Eo - meaning "Plain of the Yews"
  • County Meath - An Mhí / Co. na Mí - meaning "Middle"
  • County Monaghan - Muineachán / Co. Mhuineacháin - meaning "Place of Thickets"
  • County Offaly - Uibh Fhailí / Co. Uibh Fhailí - meaning "Descendents of Ros of the Rings"
  • County Roscommon - Ros Comáin / Co. Ros Comáin - meaning "Corman's wood"
  • County Sligo - Sligeach / Co. Shligigh - meaning "Shell-river"
  • County Tipperary - Tiobraid Árainn / Co. Thiobraid Árainn - meaning "House of the Well of Ara"
  • County Tyrone - Tír Eoghain / Co. Thír Eoghain - meaning "Eoghan's Land"
  • County Waterford - Port Láirge / Co. Phort Láirge - "Waterford" comes from the Viking "Vadre fjord"
  • County Westmeath - An Iarmhí / Co. na hIarmhí - the western part of the old Meath
  • County Wexford - Loch Garman / Co. Loch Garman - "Wexford" comes from the Viking "Weiss fjord" meaning "white fjord"
  • County Wicklow - Cill Mhantáin / Co. Chill Mhantáin - meaning "Mantan's Church"

Names of Cities

Names of Towns

Names of Streets

  • Shankill Road - Bóthar na Seanchille
  • Falls Road - Bóthar na bhFál
  • O'Connell Street - Sráid Úi Chonaill
  • Grand Parade (Cork) - Sráid an Capaill Buí
  • Patrick Street - Sráid Páidraig

Names of Countries

External links

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