Celebrating Ulster's Townlands

 

 

Signpost: Townlands

  15. Animals in Place Names

Devenish Co. Fermanagh: EHS

Devenish Co. Fermanagh: EHS

 

Logo: Townlands

Although the wolf, breach, is now extinct it appears in place-names like Breagho breach-mhagh "wolf-plain", in Fermanagh. Another animal not now found is the feral cat, as in Carrignagat, "rock of the wildcats" Co. Antrim. The fox has two names. Madagh (rua) means "(red) dog", as in Killymaddy "wood of the dog", Clonavaddy "meadow of the dog" in Tyrone, and Legamaddy "hollow of the dog" Co. Down. The more precise term is sionnach, as in Crockatinny Co. Antrim "hill of the fox", or Coolatinny "corner of the fox" in Tyrone. 

 

The badger, broc, appears in Carnbrock Co. Antrim, Carrignabrock Fermanagh "cairn, rock of badgers" and in the common name Brockagh "badger den".

 

Names from deer fia can be hard to distinguish from those from the raven, fiach, while both stag and ox can be represented by the word damh. The name of the monastery of Devenish, Daimhinis, clearly means "ox island", since according to tradition the cattle belonging to St Conall of Clogher, which pulled St Patrick's body to its burial place, were kept there. Dunaff in Co. Donegal is "fort of oxen", Dún Damh. Cattle seem to be particularly associated with the sites of churches: Ardboe "height of the cow" in Tyrone, Drumbo "ridge of the cow" in Co. Down. Bulls appear in names like Reskatirrif "marsh of the bull", Tyrone, Stranadariff "flat river holm of the bulls", Fermanagh.

 

 

Pigs, muc, appear in Rossnamuck "wood of the pigs" Tyrone, Derrydrummuck "oakwood of the ridge of pigs", Knocknamuckly "hill of the piggery" Co. Down. Drumhorc is "ridge of the boars", Co. Down, Drumhirk "ridge of the boar" in Fermanagh. The horse, capall, is found in Drummanagapple "little ridge of the horses" Fermanagh, Lisnasharragh "fort of the foals (searrach)" Co. Down. Donaghanie "church of (St Patrick's) horse", Tyrone, includes the older word each. Lemnalary Co. Antrim is the "mare's leap". Goats, gobhar, appear in Tullaghgore Co. Down, Mulnagore Tyrone, both "hill of the goats"; Killygore "wood of the goats", Co. Antrim. The rabbit, coinín, is named in Knocknagoney "hill of the rabbits" Co. Down. An English language name often not recognised is Kinnegar Co. Down from Coneygarth, or "rabbit warren", deliberately established as a source of food.  

 

 

The seal, rón, sometimes appears in the name of rocks, as in Inisharoan "island of the seal" Co. Down. Fish may be mentioned in lake names, and one marshy townland in Co. Armagh is Aghyalloge "field of gealogs" or "white-bellied eels"
 

Fox

Fox

Badger

Badger

 

Deer: MH, EHS 

Deer: MH, EHS 

 

Danes Cast at Aghyalloge: EHS

Danes Cast at Aghyalloge: EHS

 

Cows: KM

Cows: KM

 

Seal: MH, EHS

 

Horse: Virginia Blankenhorn

Horse: Virginia Blankenhorn

Wolf: Book of Kells

Wolf: Book of Kells

 

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