Townlands of the Parish of Athenry and their possible meaning

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A townland or baile fearainn is a small geographical division of land used in Ireland. In the 1911 census the total number of inhabited townlands in Ireland was 60,679.

Townlands of the Parish of Athenry and their possible meaning:

Aghafadda – Achad Fada – Long Meadow (Acha means good land – Achreidh na Gaillimhe – a fertile plane and not to be confused with “Eachreidh or good land for horses).
Ballinloughane – Baile an Locháin – Townland of the lake or pond.
Ballybackagh — Baile Bachach – Townland of lame (soldiers?) or place of hindrance (Highway man) ,  stubborn or lame land.
Ballyboggan — Baile an Bhogáin – Soft place.
Ballydavid Middle – Baile Dhaithí Lár – from the landowner.
Ballydavid North — Baile Dhaithí Thuaigh.
Ballydavid South – Baile Dhaithí Theas.
Ballygurrane – Baile Ghurráin – Townland of the small field.

(Many townlands were named by the direction they are in relation to one another – i.e. Ballygurrane North, South, West (North = Thuaidh, East = Thoir, South = Theas, West = Thiar West)

Barretts’ Park – Páirc a’ Bhairéid – from the landowner
Bawnmore – Ban Mór – Big meadow (a Bawn is an open area of uncultivated grassland usually beside the keep of a castle).
Bingarra – Ben Gharraí – Gardens (small fields) on the crest of a hill (rise, height).
Blean – Bléin – Low strip of land.
Bottom – Bun –referring to good low lying land.
Boyhill – Cnoc Buí – Yellow (clay type soil) hill.

Caherbriskaun – Cathair Briascán – fort or settlement of the silver weed, tansey, skirret or stunted hay.
Caherfinsker – Cathair Fin Eiscir – Fair fort of the Esker/Eiscir Riada.
Cahertubber – Cathair Tobair – Fort of the well.
Cappaghmoyle – Ceapach Maol – The bare cutaway wood.
Caraunduff — Carán Dubh — Black, rocky place.
Carnaun – Carnán – A heap of stones or an area of high stony ground – a cairn (Called Cloghar Goill in ancient times the home of Goll Mac Mórna of mythological fame.
Carrowntober East – Cathair Tobair Thoir – Rounded hill or bend of the well (east – thoir) (west – thiar).
Cashla – Cois Sléibhte – Probably Caiseal – Stone Fort /beside the mountain or rough land.
Castle Ellen – Caisleán Éilíse – as for St. Ellens.
Castle Lambert – Caisleán Lambert – Called after landowner – old name was Aughrim – good hilltop land
Castleturvin – called after landowner.
Clamper Park – Páirc a ’Chlampair – The disputed field.
Cloonbrusk – Cluain Bhruasc — Meadow of the Sherds / Broken pottery.
Cloonkeenbeg – Cluain Chaoin Beag – A small smooth meadow.
Cloonkeen North – Cluain Chaoin Thuaigh.
Cloonkeen South – Cluain Chaoin Theas.
Clorane – Clórán – Meadow of the spring well.
Coldwood – Fuar Choill – Wood of the fresh cold spring.
Cormacuagh East – Corrmacuach Thoir – Corr the son of Cuach / Meadow field or the shoulder of land on the cuckoo plain.
Cormacuagh West – Corrmacuach Thiar.
Cuddoo East – Cuid Dubh Thoir – Portion of good black soil to the east.
Cullairbawn – Coiléar Bán – Shoulder or Collar of talamh bawn or uncultivated grazing land

(Cullairbawn extended from the town wall to Park taking in the R.C. Church, Parish Priest’s House, Presentation Nuns Convent, Scoil Croi Naofa primary school, Presentation College, Railway Station, V.E.C. Buildings (old Railway Hotel), Lambert Court, “Raheen” Sports Complex and Cullairbawn Estate)

Currantarmuid – Corrán Diarmuid – Rounded hill / bend of Dermot. Corrán Tearmainn – of the Sanctuary
Cussane – Casán – Path – path – through the sloe bushes (once called “Casán Liam Deois – The Path of Liam Joyce the Highwayman).
Derroogh – Doire – Oak Wood.
Derrydonnell Beg – Doire Domhnaill Beag – O’Donnell’s Oak Wood (Red Hugh O’Donnell is said to have camped here before attacking Athenry).
Derrydonnell More – Doire Domhnaill Mór.
Derrydonnell North – Doire Domhnaill Thuaidh.

Fahy’s Village – Baile Uí Fhathaigh – Called after Fahy landowners.
Farnablake West – Fearann de Blácha Thiar – The land of the Blakes to the west.
Farnablake East – Fearann de Blácha Thoir.
Furzy Park – Anglo Irish name – Park of the Furze or Gorse.

Glenagloghaun – Gleann a’ Chlocháin- Valley of the mound of stones or Stone houses.
Gloves Middle – Gluibhe Lár, Luibhe = Herbs.
Gloves West – Gluibhe Thiar
Gort na hAbhann – Field of the river.
Gorteenacre – Goirtin Acra –Small field of good tillage land (not to be confused with the acre measurement).
Gortroe – Gort Rua — Red field relating to the colour of the soil.
Graigabbey – Gráig na Mainistreach – Village of the Monastery.
Greethill – Cnocán Iomhair or Aoibhir – Hill of Granite (possibly from erratic rock) Associated with Raftery the Poet.

Kilcornan – Cill Cornán – The Church of Cornan.
Kingsland North – Talamh an Rí Thuaidh.
Kingsland South – Talamh an Rí Theas.
Knockaunglass – Cnocán Glas – Green hill.
Knockbaun – Cnoc Bán — Uncultivated hillside.
Knockbrack – Cnoc Breac – Dappled hill / Scabby land.

(There is a tendency to ignore some townlands in favour of others – Cullairbawn is one example. Another “Knockbrack” is often used for Caraun, Loughaunenaghaun, Knockbaun and Knockbrack)

Knocknacreeva – Cnoc na Creamha – The hill of wild garlic.
Lachtanora – Leacht an Óra — Heavy soil / flagstone on the edge (of the well or bog).
Lecarrow – …..carrow (rounded hill).
Lenamore – Léana mór – The big meadow.
Lisdoran – Lios Dobhrán – Fort of the otters.
Lisheenkyle East – Lisín na Coille Thoir – The Ringfort in the Wood to the east  (Lios, or Rath, was an earthen ringfortsoften afterwards used as children’s  burial ground  – a Lisheen.
Lisheenkyle West – Lisín na Coille Thiar.
Loobroe – Lúgh Brú – The Otherworld resting place of (The God) Lúgh (Lúghnasa – August).
Loughaunenaghaun – Lochán na hÉanacháin – The pond of the birds – the fowler’s lake (éanach – act of fowling).
Millpark – Páirc an Mhuilinn.
Moanbaun — Móin Ban – Meadow of white or uncultivated grazing land or perhaps referring to moor or boggy place.
Moorpark – Takes its name from “Moor Abbey” an early ecclesiastical settlement within a “múr” or fortificatiom – in this instance a ringfort.
Mountgarret – The mountain of Garrett (landowner).
Mountpelier – Placename taken from the French.
Mountain North – Sliabh Ó Thuaidh – Possible cartographer’s term also related to Mountain South and Mountain West. (In east Galway a patch of rough stony land was called a mountain. nowadays even though mush of this land is now reclaimed into good fertile arable land it is still called by its old name).
Mountain South – Sliabh Ó Dheas.
Mountain West – Sliabh an Iarthair.
Moyveela — Máigh Mhaola – The bare plain or also the forested plane – site of the Battle of Moyvilla c. 250 A.D.
Mulpit – No explanation found yet!
Newcastle – An Caisleán Nua – (While Newcastle R. C. Church is in “Shudane” and Newcastle Primary School is in Templemoyle their addresses are usually given as “Newcastle”).

Newford – English name – site of a British Army Barracks to the west of Athenry town.

Palmerstown – Baile Phamair — (Palmers were people who went on pilgrimage, often to the Holy Land, and brought back palms as souvenirs).
Park — Páirc – Enclosed field.
Peakroe – Péic Rua – The red hill top refers to the colour of the soil.
Pollagh – Pollach — Land full of pits or holes – Watering hole / place.
Pollacappul – Pall a ’Chapall – The watering hole of the horses or a hole in which a horse was killed
Pollagool — Pall a’ Ghuail – From a coal mine opened by the Lamberts in the 19th century.
Pollnagroagh – Pall na Grua – Water hole of the round hills/reeks.
Prospect – A good view or hope in the future!

Rahard – Rath Árd – Raised Rath or earthen ringfort.
Raheen – Raithín – Small Rath (earthen ringfort) This townland is between the town wall and Moanbaun to the west of the road to Carnaun. (Raheen Sports field is really in Cullairbawn townland).
Rathmorrisey — Ráth Mhuirgheasa – Morrissey’s fort.

Saint Ellens – Sidhe n’Eitlinn – the otherworld resting place of Eitleann the mother of the God Lúgh of Loobroe.
Shantallow – Sean Talamh – Old Ground.
Shudane – Siudán — Soden Race – Old Irish who lived there before the Celts.
Skeaghaderreen – Sceach a’ Doirín – The whitethom (fairy tree – rag bush for ritual) of the small oak wood.

Templemoyle – Teampall Maol – The Church of Maol  or MaolPól…. or the Roofless Church.
Tiaquin – Tigh Dá Conna – House of St. Dachan or House of Coinn or House of the two chimneys – The old Barony of Tiaquin stretched from Athenry to Dunmore.
Tobernaveen – Tobar na bhFiann – The well of the wild place or wild animals, probably deer / Well of the Fianna bordering Carnaun – Cloghar Goill.
Toorkeel – Túr Caol – slender tower
Tubberconnolly — Tobar Uí Chonghaile – Conall was king of Connaught
Tuberroe – Tobar Rua – The red well referring to the colour of the soil
Turloughalanger – Turloch a ……… Dry lake / Place of rapid seasonal flood
Tysaxon – Tigh an tSacsain – House of the Saxon (Abbot). Abbey founded in the 7th century by Balan who came from Mayo Abbey

ATHENRY TOWN

Athenry Town – Baile Atha ‘n Rí – pronounced “Bláth ‘n Rí – River Ford – Rí or Rye meaning river
Abbey Row – Sráid na Mainistreach – referring to the Dominican Priory
Ard Aoibhinn – Árd Aoibhinn – Pleasant height – place to live

Caheroyan – Cathair Uí Ríon (Banríon – Queen Meadhbh of The Táin Bó Cúailnge fame) – Fort of the Ryans/Quarter of the Hynes (Uí Eidhin) local Irish kings inthe Athenry area
Church St. – Sráid an tSéipéil
Clarke St. – Sráid Uí Chléirigh Called after Tom Clarke, Republican 1858 – 1916
Court Lane – Bóithrín na Cúirte – beside the old court / castle
Davis St. – Sráid Mhic Daibhis called after Thomas Osborne Davis 1814 – 1845 writer and organiser of “the Young Irelanders.
Mac Donald’s Lane – Lána Mhic Dhomhaill
North Gate St. – Sráid an Gheata Thuaidh
Old Church St. — Sráid an tSean Teampaill
Swangate – Geata Swan (Sergeant Swan had a pub at the gate) – Originally Geata Lárach shortened to Lorro gate

Cross Street – Sráid na Croise – the Street of the (Market) Cross (Not “Sráid Treasna”)

Bóithrín Árd – The High Road – Old road to Galway from Lorro Gate through the old fair green and Newford Army Barracks– the stiles for the soldiers to cross the railway can be still seen at the railway line (A pathway continued along the river to the Mass Rockin Coldwood)
Bóithrín Raithín – Raheen Lane connected Athenry Town house with Raheen house
The Mass Path – was a shortcut from the Ballygurrane / castle Lambert Road to the Carnaun Road at Raheen

SOME NEIGHBOURING TOWNLANDS

Bellville — From the French – Home of the Persse family
Cahercrin – Cathair Cruinn – the Round Fort or the fort directly (cruinn díreach) in the middle of an area – a “cahir” is a stoneringfort
Cahertymore – Cahair an Ti Mhóir – big house of the stone fort
Carnakelly – Cairn Uí Cheallaigh – (Burial) Mound of the O’Kellys
Colmanstown — Baile Colmán – Colmán was associated with Lindisfarne, Iona, Inisboffin and the Saxon monks of Tysaxon
Deerpark – Páirc na bhFiain – Land fenced for deer
Grange – Gráinseach – Place for storing grain
Kilskeagh – Cill Sceiche – Church of the white thorn bushes
Lisduff – Lios Dubh – Black fort
Monatigue – Muine Thaidhg — Small wood /copse of Tadhg
Mountbrown – English Name originally “Cnoc a’ tSíodhán” also “Ullord Mór”
Rockfield – Páirc na Cloiche – The field of the stones
Sheaun Park – Cnoc a’ tSíodhán – The field of the fairy mound/hill – An east west “cathedral” hill?
Slieveroe – Sliabh Rua – Hill with red soil
Tallowroe – Talamh Rua – Red ground

This article was originally compiled, for the Athenry Journal, November 1995, by Conrad O’Broin, Martin T. Kelly and Finbarr O’Regan with help from Tom Cloonan, Tom Coffey, Mairead Torpey and Sinéad Browne.

Revised by Finbarr O’Regan July 2010 and 2021

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Written by Finbarr O'Regan

Published here 09 Feb 2021 and originally published July 2010

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