Where Are You From?



Painted Clans writes:

You have grown up in Ireland all your life. You have wore your county crest with pride. You have navigated this small island with the help of old road signs but have you ever wondered what the Irish language of the county names actually mean?

Ireland’s long rich history of ancient kingdoms, which were imported by Viking and Norman invaders has had a profound effect on the country’s place names. We’ve put together a list of english translations of Irish county names.

Antrim / Aontroim
Ulster – Established c. 1400, the name translates to “lone ridge” or “lone dwelling.”

Armagh / Ard Mhacha
Ulster – Established c. 1584, the name means “Macha’s height.” Macha was a Celtic goddess said to have given birth to twins after racing a horse.

Carlow / Ceatharlach
Leinster — Established c. 1306, the name translates to “place of cattle.”

Cavan / An Cabhán
Ulster – Established in 1584, the name translates to “the hollow.”

Clare / An Clár
Munster – Established in 1565, the name translates to “plain.” The county may have been named after the Norman de Clare family. Before 1565, Clare was known as Thomond, which means “North Munster.”

Cork / Corcaigh
Munster – Established c. 1200, the name means “swamp” or “marsh.” (But don’t tell anyone from Corcaigh.)

Derry / Doire
Ulster – Established in 1585, the name “Doire” means “oak wood.”

Donegal / Dún na nGall
Ulster – Established in 1584, it means “stronghold of the foreigners” (Vikings). It was also known by some as Tir Chonaill, which means “the land of Conall.”

Down / An Dún
Ulster – Established c. 1520, the name means “the fort.”

Dublin / Áth Cliath / Dubhlinn
Leinster — Established in 1185, the “Áth Cliath” part means “hurdled fort” and the “Dubhlinn” part means black pool.”

What do Ireland’s county names mean? (Painted Clans)

Thanks Brendan McCarey

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13 thoughts on “Where Are You From?

  1. Lurker

    logainm.ie has this covered all the way down to townlands, forget this painted clans crew! (But they are right about Carlow)

    1. Kolmo

      I would have thought most people with even the most basic grasp of Irish know what the Irish meaning of their local ‘English’ placenames are, maybe I’m wrong….it would be disappointing if I was

      1. Fr Dick Byrne

        The board or the plank which was the forerunner for the bridge in clarecastle, or so I believe, original irish name for clarecastle is droichead an clár

  2. Eamonn Clancy

    Welcome to planet earth Brendan, most of us went through all this in a thing we have here called primary school.

  3. Turgenev

    Dublin means The Ford (not fort) of the Hurdles; hurdles (basketwork slabs) were used to make a ford in the then wide marshy river around Church Street; I seem to remember that some hurdles were actually found there recently.

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