A Selection of Placenames
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Please note that these local place names are in some cases "best guesses". If you see any mistakes or would like to suggest a different interpretation, or wish to add more local place names, please email us firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Accony (Aghanny): the field of the deer. Frequently mis-translated as "ford of the deer". There was no river in the area large enough to need a ford. The official name is Aghany and it appears in maps as far back as the seventeenth century as Aghanny. The word "agha" (as in Aghamore and Aghagower) means field. "Átha" means ford (as in Baile Átha Cliath, Dublin and Átha Luain, Athlone) and has a different pronunciation.
Accony Here (Aghanny Thiair): the West field of the deer. An extension of the field from which the village of Accony was named.
Askelane (Ascailleán): The little arm - "ascail" is a person's arm. The name presumably refers to the way the village is located between the hill and the flat ground below it.
Blackrock: Not named after its Dublin counterpart, nor after the famous fifties western 'A Bad Day at Blackrock', but just because it's a large, black rock about 1 km west of Roonagh. Would love to hear from anyone who has ever heard of it being called by an Irish name.
Buneereen (Bun Thiairín): the little bottom (or end) of the West [field of the deer].
Carramore (An Ceathrú Mór): The big quarter. A quarter or "ceathrú" was an old Irish measure of land area.
Carrowniskey (Ceathrú an Uisce): the watery quarter.
Cúan Dá Róin: The bay of the two seals (between Roonagh Point and Emlagh Point). This must surely be the most beautiful name of any place in Ireland.
Dearg Aill - pronounced 'Jarragle': The red cliff. This is the highest cliff of boulder clay in Ireland, situated in the village of Pulgloss. It would have extended much further into Clew Bay in the past, but has been eroded by sea and rain.
Doughmakeon (Dúach Mhic Eóin): McKeown's sandy hill. The word "dúach" is commonly used throughout the west of Ireland to denote grass-covered sandy ground near a sandy beach, with little hills often full of rabbits.
Emlagh (Im Loch): A glacial lake. A common name throughout Ireland, wherever a glacial lake occurs.
Garraí an Bháid: The garden of the boat. A lovely sheltered spot beside the sea at the eastern end of Dearg Aill. A boat was kept there by a man named Arthur O'Malley from Askelane until it was taken by a big swell in the early part of the twentieth century. His house was close to where the "Three Arches" guest house is at present, and the field south of the road is known as "Under Arthur's".
Garraí Donnelly: Donnelly's garden. The name of a field north of the Askelane to Louisburgh road, just across from the old graveyard. Donnelly's name appear's on a Marquis of Sligo lease for land in Askelane around 1850. There has been no Donnelly family in Askelane in recent times.
Killeen (Cillín): The little church (now almost completely vanished) and graveyard on the side of Askelane hill, just under the old Louisburgh road. There was a blessed well in the same field known as "Tobar Bríde" (St. Bridget's Well).
Meelaun (Maol Oileáin): The bald islands. A pair of large rocks about 3 km west of Roonagh.
Meemore (Maoim Mór): The big breaking reef. This is a dangerous rock which is only ever seen at very low spring tides, and then only the very tip is visible. It is about 2 km west of Roonagh. A large sea breaks over it most days.
Pulgloss (Poll Glas): The green hollow or glen. Always translated by fellow pupils of Accony School as "the green hole", much to the annoyance of the very proud Pulgloss people! This is the same name as "Poleglass", a suburb of west Belfast, which often appeared on our TV screens during the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland.
Roonagh (Rua an Agha): the rough land of the field [of the deer]. "Rua" is commonly used in Irish placenames to denote poor or rough land (as in An Ceathrú Rua - Carraroe, Connemara, and Rua na Sionnach, between Askelane and Furmoyle).
Roonagh Point (Gob Rua an Agha): the point of the rough land of the field [of the deer].
Roonith (probably Rua an Átha): the rough land of the ford (referring to a ford or crossing-place near the mouth of the Carrowniskey river. Roonith was anglicised by the Ordnance Survey as "Roonah" and so gives rise to endless confusion when looking at old documents and records.
Sceilp: A large rock near the summit of Askelane hill. It looks as if a "sceilp" or lump has been taken out of the hill. It is used a marker when fishing near Meemore so as to keep out of danger.
Sickeen (Suicín): This is the area along the shore just west of Accony school. The meaning is not as clear as other names in the area! One theory is that it was named by a local person after the river Suck in Roscommon. Another possibility is that it came from an old Norse word "Sokk" which is roughly translated as "a flat place near a hill". The "Skye of Sickeen" is the point of land sticking out slightly into Clew Bay, higher up than the school and a couple of hundred metres northeast of it. "Bun na tSuicín" is the name of the beach stretching from the mouth of the Sickeen river eastwards towards Pulgloss. The name appears on older Ordnance Survey maps and was used up to the 1960's by Pat Durkan of Askelane.
1. Local people.
2. 'Connemara', Map & Gazeteer, Tim Robinson.
3. Placenames Database of Ireland http://www.logainm.ie/