Place-names in Ireland

Element Glossary

There are 59 elements:

-ach 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: S

-ach adjectival suffix (also collective).

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? 1 place-name

Language: I ()

Uncertain what the element is.

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? 1 place-name

Language: I ()

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abhall 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender F

Old Gaelic aball (noun ā-stem, fem), 'apple-tree'. cf. Ga: úll (noun, masc), 'apple'.

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an 3 place-names

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: D

Definite article in modern Irish Gaelic. (note that na is used for genitive sg. fem., gen. pl., and nom. pl.)

 

Used for nom. masc sg. and nom. fem sg. (which lenites), genitive masc. sg. (which lenites). Adds t- to following vowel nom. sg. masc., and to s+vowel or l, n, r in nom. fem sg. and gen. masc. sg.

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ard 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

ard, masc. 'height, rise, high ground'

See also adjective ard, 'high, tall, loud'

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baile 4 place-names

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

Very common in place-names. 

 

DIL s.v. 1 baile (io stem) has various meanings, including 'place, piece or land', homestead, farmstead, town, city'.

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bruach 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

bruach, masculine, 'a brink, edge, a bank (of river), border, boundary, a shore, a coast' (Dinneen), but also locally in Antrim 'hill, slope or brae'.

DIL s.v. bruach, o-stem [neuter]  'edge, brink, margin, bank, shore, border' (refs to 3 brú 'edge, brink, bank, border')

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caiseal 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

'stone wall, rampart, stone fort' (Flanagan and Flanagan, Irish Place Names, 39).

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camán 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

camán, masc, 1st decl..: 'a bend; a stick with a crooked head; a hurley for ball-playing' (Dinneen)

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carn 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

carn, masc, 1st decl., 'cairn, heap, pile'

DIL s.v. carn o-stem, masc. 'heap, pile, cairn', also 'mound, hillock'.

(cf. Ulster Scots cairn)

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carraig 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender F

'rock, large prominent stone' (Flanagan and Flanagan, Irish Place Names, 44). Usually Anglicised as 'carrick' or 'carrig' (O'Connor, Atlas, 35). Plural carraigeacha or carrigeacha.

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castle 1 place-name

Language: I (IrE), Part of Speech: N

Referring to a fortification

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ceathrú 2 place-names

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender F

ceathrú (gen. sg. ceathrún, dat. sg. ceathrúin, pl. ceathrúna), 'quaterland' (also more generally 'quarter') (cf. also adjective ceathrú 'fourth')

DIL s.v. cethramthu, n-stem, fem. (cethramad), later cethraimthecethraimecethrama (sometimes uninflected) 'quarter, fourth part' ('part, district, quarter; a name of a measure of land') (cf. cethramad, adj. 'fourth').

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cill 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender F

fem, 2nd decl. 'church' (also 'graveyard, cemetery').

DIL: cell long-a stem, fem., from Latin cella. 'church' but also to the wider collection of buildings or foundation. Later also nom. sg. cill. Extended applications: 'churchyard, graveyard, sanctuary')

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cis 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender F

Variant form ceas. Fem, 2nd decl. gen pl. ceasanna. ''wicker container, basket, crate, plaited or crossed twigs as support for causeway'. 

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cloch 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender F

Fem., 2nd decl.

'stone; rocky shore; rocky island; (stone) castle' (Ó Donaill).

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cloigeann 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

cloigeann masc, 1st declension. 'the skull, the head; a headland; land lying on the borders of a swamp' (Dinneen) or 'round hill' (PNNI 7, p.57).

DIL s.v. cloicenn o-stem [neuter], later also long-a stem, fem. (cloc+cenn), 'skull'

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cluain 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender F

gen. sing. cluaine.  'Pasture-land, green field, meadow,

DIL, s.n. clúain states that this was originally i-stem masc. (with gen. singular forms clono, later cluana), before becoming feminine.

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cnoc 2 place-names

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

masc. 1st decl. 'hill, a height, a mountain'

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cnocán 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

Masc. (gs. & npl-áingpl~), 'a hillock, a height, a heap'. In the phrase Is airde cnoc  cnocán, 'a hill is higher than a hillock.' (Ó Donaill)

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corr 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: Aj

PNNI 7, 58: 'odd; tapering, pointed'

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creig 3 place-names

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender F

2nd declension. 'craig, rocky eminence, rock, stony, barren, ground, rocky shore' (Ó Donaill). Derived from the acc. or dat. form of creag (PNNI 7, p.59-60).

 

 

 

DIL s.v. crec (a-stem, fem.), creg, crag 'crag, rock'.

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crua 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: Aj

crua (older cruaidh), 'hard, difficult, harsh, hardy'. According to Joyce it was used in place-names for land with a hard surface, due to rocks or tough clay (PNNI 7, p.57).

DIL s.v. crúaid, 'hard(y), harsh, stern, strict' also 'hardened'

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cruach 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender F

fem, 2nd decl. 'a heap, a stack, a rick, a clamp (of turf), a rampart; a symmetrically shaped mountain' (Dinneen), and '(mountain) stack' (Ó Donaill).

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cúil 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender F

gen.sg. cúlach, pl. cúlacha. 'corner, recess, nook'

Difficult to distinguish from cúl (masc.) 'back, rear' (PNNI 7, 58)

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cúl 3 place-names

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

'back, rear' (pl. cúla). Often applied to the sides of hills in place-names (Joyce i 200).

 

 

 

Difficult to distinguish from cúil (fem. gen.sg. cúlach, pl. cúlacha. 'corner, recess, nook' (PNNI 7, 58)

 

 

 

 

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droim 2 place-names

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

masc. 3rd decl., 'hill, ridge' (Dinneen), hill-ridge (Joyce iii 313)

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dún 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

'fort, fortress' (plural is now dúnta)

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fia 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

4th declension. pl. fianna. '(roe) deer'

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fiach 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

1st decl. gen. fiaigh, nom. pl. fiacha, gen.pl. fiach, masc. 'raven'. Very similar to fiach, 'hunt(ing), chase'

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fiach 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

1st declension, gen.sg. fiaigh, 'hunt(ing), chase'. Very similar to fiach, 'raven'

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gaoth 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender F

fem, 2nd decl. 'wind'

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garbhanaí 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender F

From garbh, 'rough' plus the adjectival suffix (e)anach, 'rough place' (PNNI 7, p. 71).

? cf. DIL -ainech as a compound of garb?

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glais 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender F

Not in current Irish Gaelic, but in DIL, s.v. glais (fem, either long i-stem, as if dental stem, ia-stem, or long-a stem), 'a stream, streamlet, rivulet, current'.

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island 1 place-name

Language: I (IrE), Part of Speech: N

Likely to correspond to Irish Gaelic inis, and to mean 'hillock surrounded by bog', or an area of low or high ground, often close to rivers (eg. a river holm or meadow).

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leaba 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender F

fem. (Gen. sg. leapa (with variant leapan, earlier leapthan), pl. leapacha), 'a bed, couch, resting-place; a site, position or region' (Dinneen). Might also mean by extension 'grave' (Joyce i 102).

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leath 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender F

leath (dat. sg. leith, gen sg. leithe), fem. 2nd declension. Regarded as two words, one 'half' the other 'side, part'. 'lying, turned, to one side; lopsided, tilted; one-sided, partial; half-, hemi-, semi-; one of two, of a pair' (Ó Donaill sv. leath-) (from PNNI 7, p. 56).

DIL leth o and s stems, neuter. 'Freq. treated as two words, l. o. n. half and l. s. n. side', but often difficult to decide between the two meanings.

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leá 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

Mod. Ir. gen. sg. form leá, of lia, 'healer, physician' (older orthography liaigh (gen. leagha)

DIL s.v. líaig, i-stem, masculine (gen. sg. legolego). Earlier lieig, later also liag. 'leech, doctor, physician'. Also 'spiritual physician, adviser, healer'.

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lios 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

lios (gen. sg. leasa, pl. liosanna), meanings include 'enclosed ground of (ancient) dwelling house; enclosed space, garth; ring-fort; fairy mound (Ó Donaill, from PNNI 7, p.56, where a variant gen. sg. form lis is noted.).

DIL s.v. 2 les o-stem, masc. (gen. sg. lis), later also u-stem, masc. leas and gen. sg. leasa. Later also nom. sg. and acc. sg. lis. 'the space about a dwelling house or houses enclosed by a bank or rampart', sometimes the bank or rampart itself.

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lower 1 place-name

Language: I (IrE), Part of Speech: Aj

Often paired with Upper

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Mac Ailín 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: P

A surname, Anglicised as MacAllen

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Mac Cormaic 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: P, Gender M

A surname. Includes mac, 'son' (DIL s.v. mac (macc), gen. sg. maicc, meicc) and the personal name Cormac, int the gen. sg. form Cormaic.

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machaire 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

4th decl.. Meanings include 'a plain, a flat or low-lying country, a field, a riding or playing-field, a race-course, a battle-field' (Dinneen).

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Mochomóg 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: P, Gender M

Male name, pet-form. Earlier Mochommóc (possibly of Comán, earlier Commán, or Colmán) (PNNI 7, p.70)

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móin 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender F

fem, 3rd decl. (pl. móinte), 'peat, turf, bogland, moor'. Dat. sg. mónaidh.

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mór 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: Aj

'big, great, large', often twinned with beag, 'little, small'.

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na 5 place-names

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: D

This is the nom. pl., gen. sg. fem. and gen. pl. form of the definite article an.

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nua 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: Aj

gen. sg. fem and compar. forms: nuaí. 'new, new-found, fresh, recent'.

DIL s.v. núa (núae), io, ia, OIr. nōe, 'new, recent, fresh', also of things 'fresh, clear, bright, fair'.

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of 1 place-name

Language: I (IrE), Part of Speech: Pr

Usually indicating possession or an association

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Pátraic 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: P

'Patrick' (potentially referring to the saint)

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re 2 place-names

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: Pr

'in the direction of', 'before, in front of' (Plus dative case, formerly also sometimes accusative).

 

DIL: s.v. 6 ré and ría, prep. gov. dat. eclipses following initial letter. Mid. Ir. re, ré, ría. Generally, 'before, in front of'.

 

In later Mid.Ir.  sometimes confused with re (ri) < fri (prep. with acc., which had Mid. Ir. forms re, ri, ra, fria, ria. Fri largely gone as a form by end of Classical period, forms re, ri continue to end of E. Mod. period.; 'against', and seems to have meanings closer to 'in the direction of') 

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Rock 1 place-name

Language: I (IrE), Part of Speech: N

Can refer to an individual rock or, as at Cashel, to a rocky hill.

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seisceann 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

Also seascann, masc. 1st decl.. 'sedgy bog, marsh, swamp' (Ó Donaill, s.v. seascanngs. & npl. -ainngpl~)

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Sobhairce 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: P

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sochaí 2 place-names

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender F

DIL s.v. sochaide ia stem, fem. 'multitude, crowd, host', (in military sense) army, host'

 

Mod. Ir. sochaí, fem. 4th decl, 'many, host, multitude;, 'society, community'

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sráid 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender F

sráid, gen. sg. sráide, pl. sráideanna. PNNI 7, p. 54: 'street, level (surfaced) ground around a house) is most often translated 'village' in townland names.

DIL s.v. sráit fem (Lat. strata through OE or ON), 'street, road, path, way'. Gives compound -baile 'town, village', eg. an sráthbhaile 'the street-town' from ALC i 422.y. (directed to here from sráid). 

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teach 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

teach, gen. sg.. tí, pl. tithe, dat. sg. tigh, 'house, household'. DIL s.v. tech, teg, s-stem, neuter, later masc.

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túathach 1 place-name

Language: I (Ga), Part of Speech: N, Gender M

DIL s.v. túathach has it as a substantive noun, o-stem, masculine, 'lord, chief', but the word is primarily an adjective, meaning 'populous, lordly'. As a noun it presumably referred to a person associated with the túath.

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Place-name data

The place-name data featured in this resource is copyright of the University of Glasgow. Tables of data are available to download as csv files, or as JSON data from the project's API. All place-name data taken from this resource should be properly attributed. They are made available through a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence. This allows users to share and adapt the materials freely with the appropriate attribution. Please see further details of this licence here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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