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A study of the names of the townlands in the Athenry area can tell us a lot about its history. For example the hill from which Carnaun gets its name was once a “cairn” grave but before that it was the “Clogher” or stone dwelling of a noble man called Goll Mac Mórna a leader of the Fianna. The townland next to it is called Tobar na bhFiann or the Well of the Fianna. The townland on the other side of Carnaun now called “St. Ellens” was once called “Sídhe nEthlenn” or the other world place of Ethliú who was the mother of the god “Lúgh” and who gives “Lugh Brú” (Loobroe) a townland near Athenry its name.
Goll Mac Mórna had a brother called “Conán Maol Mallachtach Mac Mórna” ( Bald Conán of the blasphemus tongue) who is now called “Conan the Barbarian in modern TV films. With names like “Clais a’ Lisín”, “Cnoc a’ tSíodhán”, “Tinneadh” about is is easy to realise that this area was once the hunting ground for heroes of old. If fact the land of east County Galway around Athenry – Achréidh na Gaillimhe” was called “Maigh Mucdreimme” or the “Plain of the Counting of the Pigs” and featured in the epic tale of Meadhbh and Allill called “The Táin Bó Cullaighne” or the “Cattle Raid of Cooley”. So as you walk the local fields you may remember that Meadhbh and Allill, Goll and Conán, Fionn and Oisín and Oscar, Caoilte Mac Rónán, Diarmad Ó Duibhne and his lover Gráinne and many more of these great warriors walked these fields thousands of years before us!
Over the years these stories were handed on by the teachers to the pupils of Carnaun National School, Athenry, Ireland.
Image: Queen Meadbh counting her animals
Written by Finbarr O'Regan
Published here 05 Feb 2021 and originally published 2012
Page 002 of Athenry Mythology
More on this subject:
Where do we get these legends? The books of Dun Cow, Leinster and Lismore (Record)
Athenry in Mythology (Record)
Athenry has a place in Irish mythology! Pictures used in this “Irish Mythology”… Here some recent records:
Where do we get these legends? The books of Dun Cow, Leinster and Lismore
Tóraíocht Dhiarmada agus Ghráinne: The Tale of Diarmad and of Gráinne
Jottings of my Life in Tyrone, Ireland – Nostalgic Memories
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