Celebrating Ulster's Townlands

 

 

Signpost: Townlands

  14. Birds in Place Names

Peregrine: RSPB

Peregrine: RSPB

 

Lark: RSPB

Lark: RSPB

 

Cormorant: RSPB

Cormorant: RSPB

 

Wagtail: MH, EHS

Wagtail: MH, EHS

 

Whaup or curlew: National Trust 

Whaup or curlew: National Trust 

 

 

Eagle design: from Pictish stone

Eagle design: from Pictish stone

 

Logo: Townlands

 

Many of the birds mentioned in place-names are predators not commonly found now, while the eagle no longer occurs in Ireland.

 

Eagle iolar  Drumiller Co. Down, Knockinelder Co. Down Knockiniller Tyrone "hill of the eagles" Hawk, Peregrine seabhac: Carrickatuke, Co. Armagh; Craignashoke Co. Derry "rock of hawk(s)" 

 

Cuckoo cuach Drumawhy "ridge of the cuckoo" Co. Down. Tullycoe "hillock of cuckoos" Co. Cavan. 

Lark,  fuiseóg: Kilnahushogue “wood of the lark” Tyrone, Carnwhissock “cairn of the lark” Co. Antrim (translated in the 17th century as larkes hill) Pigeon colmán Craignagolman  "rock of the pigeons" Co. Antrim Pollnagollum Fermanagh. “cave of pigeons”  

 

Pipit Riabhóg “little speckled bird” Culrevog  "corner of the pipits" Tyrone. Sparrow gealbhán: Lisnagelvin Co Derry "fort of sparrows"

Swallow  Fáinleóg  Aghnavalloge Dn “field of swallows”  

 

Two more birds from Rathlin Island, Roonivoolin, promontory of the seagulls, faoileán ; Ruenascarrive “of the cormorants”. Scarbh, a “cormorant” has been borrowed into Irish and Scottish Gaelic from Norse. 

 

Wagtail glasóg (" little green/grey bird") Terryglassog Tyrone "oakwood wagtails" Wren drean Drumdran Fermanagh/Tyrone "ridge of wrens"

 

A bird often referred to in Ulster Scots place-names but not in Irish is the curlew or whaup, so called from its call:  Whaup Hill Co. Antrim. Whaup Island Co. Down. The cuckoo or gowk sometimes appears, as in Gowks Hill also the crow or corby, as in Corby Knowe, Co. Antrim or the Crawtree, all in Co. Down.  

 

Raven  fiach  Mullynaveagh Tyrone; Carnanee Co. Antrim; Other members of the crow family are also named Crow  préachán: Binnafreaghan  "peak of the crows" Tyrone;  also feannóg “scaldcrow” Altnavannog Tyrone, Cornafannoge Fermanagh. “stream, hill of the crows”.

 

A few insects occur in place-names, such as Ant seangán: Knocknashane  Co. Armagh, Knocknashangan Fermanagh both meaning "hill of ants". Midge mioltóg: Pollnameeltogue "hollow of the midges" Co.Tyrone.  Lignameeltogue with the same meaning in Fermanagh.

Raven: RSPB

 

 

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