As you may have gathered I’m fascinated by names, all sorts of names, people places, days, months… I just find it so interesting to delve into the origins of named things. So, I was particularity interested to find some information about a place I know well, and love a lot, the Causeway Coast and Glens of Northern Ireland. I was even more particularity interested because it includes among the excellent photos, old and new, an areal shot of a mystical and magical place, Lisanduff. Lisanduff which means dark fort, or dark enclosed space, is a little known but very important earthwork right on the edge of the sea.
The information I was looking at was about the place names of this beautiful, stunning area;the names of places have a variety of origins, some are simply named after a person who lived/worked/owned the area, a person who may be remembered, maybe long forgotten apart from the name tagged to a location, or connected with an ancient myth.
This coastline has been settled, attacked, plundered and defended by many different people over the thousands of years it has been inhabited, and those people leave their traces in names derived from their languages, ancient Celtic tongues, Gaelic, Scots, Viking, Anglo-Norman.
Events too can leave their mark, battles or just little local skirmishes between tribes folk, may leave their memory in a name. Something which was once in a place but has now vanished in a physical sense, may live on in a name, a sacred place, a palace, a fort, a castle, a town or church… Maybe a trade was carried out in that place, mining, farming, fishing, maybe there was a ford where people crossed a river. Perhaps there once was a spring or well, a holy pool which people visited and made offerings or sort healing watery places and the memory of what happened as well as the water has been culverted, lost and forgotten except for the name. Sometimes these events may not have actually happened, sometimes they are merely myths, old legends and tales handed down from a distant story-teller.
Find out more about the townlands, fieldnames and feature names of the Causeway Coast here: