THE study of place-names is an
interesting one—putting the fruits of one's study in print is a risky business.
Opinions differ and it is very dangerous to dogmatise.
In this, my humble effort to give the Irish forms of the townlands—with explanation where possible—I lay no claim to having the last word. If this effort gets others interested and leads to a lengthy Press controversy so much the better.
Ahamilla: Achadh-da-Mhaol—From Achadh, a field, land or plain; da, two, and maol: a summit, peak or hill. The ruins of the O'Hea castle are still standing.
Ashgrove: Cloch an. Easpaig—The bishop's stone or chair, from: cloch a stone, and easpoig: genitive of easpog: a bishop. In 17th century documents the name is given as "Cloghanaspug" and "Clowenasby."
Ballin and Bally (Baile) in place-names generally mean a town, homestead, townland or settlement.
Ballinglanna: Baile an Ghleanna—The townland of the glen.
Ballymacowen: Baile MMo Eodm—The town of MacEoin— probably some early chieftain or builder of a fort.
Ballyduvana: Baile Ui Dhubhain—The town of Dubhan (Devane).
Ballinroher: Baile an Ruathair—Ruathar: an attack, foray or invasion. Another possible form of the name is Baile an Urchair: from baile a town and urchar, a throw, a missile, a charge. There is no justification for the anglicised version Castleview—there is no townland of that name.
Ballintemple: Baile an Teampaill—-The townland of the temple or church.
Bean Hill— This is a direct translation of Irish name: Cnoc a' Phonra or Cnoc na bPonra: The Hill of the Beans— written Knockafonery.
Ballymacwilliam: Bale Mhic Liam—The town of Mac-William.
Ballincourcey: Baile an Chursaigh - Courcey's Town. Clash flugh: An Chlais Fhliuch—From clais: a hollow, trench, slough, and fliuch: wet. The wet hollow. An aptly named townland.
Cahergal: An Chathair Gheal—Cathair: a stone fort, and geal: white or bright.
Carhoo: Ail Cheathru—From ceathru: a division of land, a quarter of baile fearainn or townland. The word ceathru means a,quarter.
Carhoogariffe: An Cheathru Gharbh.—Garbh means rough or uneven: the rough division of land. Carrig: An Charraig, carraig is a rock and this townland has sufficient rocks to justify the name.
Cappeen: Caipin—A cap. The name may have come from the raised cap-like appearance of the place.
Casheliskey: Caiseal Loiscithc—Caiseal: a stone building or fort and loiscithe: burnt, scorched or parched.
Crohane: An Cruachan—A little hill or mound. Cruary: cruadhaire, cruaidh means hard and the place probably got its name from the hardness of the soil. Cruadhaire, hard ground.
Concambeg: Cuan Cam Beag—Cuan: a recess, a bend, or curved strand, cam: crooked, and beag: small.
Concamoree: Cuan Cam Mor—Mor: big. Carriganookery: Carraig an Ucaire—Ucaire a fuller or tucker of cloth: The Rock of the Fuller. This townland name has been almost ousted by "Shannonvale."
Clogheen: An Cloichin—The little stone or an clochan: stepping stones or stone buildings.
Cloughgriffin: Clogh Ui Ghrifin—Cloch, a stone, is quite common in parish place-names and Griffin may have been an old Irish dweller or one of the foreigners.
Dromgarriffe: An Drom Garbh-—Drom: a ridge, and garbh: rough.
Darrara.: Dairbhre—Dair: oak, and the word means a place of oaks, or an oak plantation. In similar place-names the ending —reach (abounding in) was added so an alternative form could be Dairbhreach, which has the same meaning: Oakwood.
Desert: Diseart—A hermitage, or a church built in a secluded place. We know that a few stones still remain of an old church. The name, of course, has no connection with the English word "desert.''
Farran: Fearann—A land measure, a ploughland. This is quite common in place-names.
Fourcuil—This seems to be Fuar Choill, but if so is a rather unusual name as rarely does the adjective precede the noun in Irish place-names Today, unfortunately, the Irish version has been replaced by Coldwood.
Gallane: An Gallan.—The pillar stone.
Garran: A grove, a plantation or thin wood has helped to name the next three:
Garranard: An Garran Ard—The high grove. Garranishal: An Garran Iseal—The low grove.
Garrancore: An Garran Coir—Coir means right, prcperly arranged or symmetrical.
Grillagh-: An Ghreallach—From greallach: clay, loam or mire.
Island: Inis an Duine or Inchydoney—This, as far back as 1199 was a separate parish, including much of Ardfield. The name means the Island of the Man or of the Person. Nobody has yet come forward with any clue to identify the "man."
Knockskagh: An Cnoc Sceach—From cnoc: a hill, and sceach: whitethorn. The original name may have been An Cnoc Sceachach: the hill abounding in whitethorns.
Kilgarriffe: An Chill Gharbh—Gill: a church, garbh, rough. "The church situated on rough ground" was probably the meaning—and a very appropriate name it was.
Kilnagros: Cill na gCros—The church of the crosses.
Kilbree: Cill Bri—The church of Bree.
Lackanalooha: Leaca na Luaithe—Leaca: a sloping field and luaithe genitive of luaith: ashes. It may have been so named from a custom of burning sods and scattering the ashes.
Lackenduff: Leicean Dubh—So called from leicean alterna¬tive of leaca a sloping field and dubh: black. The black sloping field.
Lisselane: Lios Oileain—The Fort of the Island or the Island Fort is the accepted present-day form in Irish. The pronunciation is more like Lios Eye-leain which may have come from An Lios Eidhneain. The fort of the Ivy. (The fort is still there but no trace of an island) or Lios Eidhleain—from. Eidhlean, a person's name.
Lackanagobadane: Leaca: na nGobadan—Leaca: a sloping-field and Gobadan: a bird that frequents strands.
Maul-—Meall in place-names means a knoll or a small hill. Maulnaskehy: Meall na Sceiche—The hillock of the sceach or whitethorn. Unfortunately this fine name has been changed to Bushmount.
Maulnageragh: Meall na gCaorach - The hillock of the sheep. Miles-—I can trace no original Irish name for this townland— it doesn't seem as if it were named because of its proximity to the town. I suggest Na Maoil (which took the English s in the plural and became Maoils: Miles). As already seen in Ahamilla: maol means a summit and Na Maoil would mean the summits. The configuration of the land supports this version.
Maulmacredmond: Meall Mhic Reamoinn—The hillock of Redmond. This too has been anglicised: Richfordstown.
Ring: An Rinn—The promontory, point or headland, apical point.
Reenroe: An Rinn Rua—The red point, probably so-named from the colour of the soil.
Scartagh: An Scartach—A shrubbery or thicket.
Shannonvale—There is no townland of this name. The cross or village is known as Ballyvahalig Cross Roads which in the original would have read: Beal an Mhaigh Shalaigh: The mouth of the dirty plain or field; or Beal an Bhui Shalaigh from bui a yellow colour. He, who bowed to the Earl of Shannon by naming the place Shannonvale may have done so not through any sense of loyalty to the English planter but through a dislike to the salaigh or dirty (gen. of salach) in the old name. Let's hope so.
Tawnies: Tamhnach—A cultivated or arable spot in a waste; a green field, common in place-names in the north and west.
Templebryan: Teampall mBrianach—Teampall: a church and Brianach: Brien. The church of the Briens.
Youghals: Eochaill—Eo a yew-tree and coill: a wood. The yew-tree wood.
Clonakilty—The Irish form as used by the Post Office is Clanna Chaoilte which would mean the "Clans of Caoilte," There is no reference in any documents—so far as is known— to a clan named Caoilte.
According to Mr. J. T. Collins (see "History of West Cork and the Diocese of Ross": Very Rev. W. Holland, P.P.) the original name was Tuath na gCoillte (the tuath or district of the woods) applied to the district from Ring to Enniskeane, and written Tuoghnagoilte. The word clochan. meaning stepping stones or stone buildings—stepping stones or a ford must have existed where the River Feale meets the tide, or stone building may have been there—was joined to coillte in the days of Sir Richard Boyle when he founded the town which he called: Cloughnekilty: Clochan na gCoillte. This was contracted to Cloch na gCoillte which many claim is the correct name.
Clonakilty District Past & Present - A Tourist guide to the area -[158 pages, forward dated 1959] The guide was published by the Southern Star Ltd for the Clonakilty C.Y.M.S.
My thanks to Henry McFadden for providing this information.
Conor O'Rourke also wrote the History of Clonakilty. He was a well liked and respected teacher in the Clonakilty Boys National School. He was the principal when I attended the school.