Irish Place Names: R-T

Names beginning with Ros- or Ross-

Ros means a wood or headland. Which it means in any location can be inferred from the locality.

  • Roscommon Ros Comáin
    Comáin or Coman is a name, in this case the name of a saint and we are miles from the sea so it means “St Coman’s Wood”
  • Rosslare Ros Láir
    Lár or láir means middle and this is a coastal area so the name means “The middle headland”

Visitors using Dublin’s bus system are often puzzled by the numerous busses whose signs declare that they are headed for An Lár, a destination that appears on no map. Take any of those and you will be safely delivered to the city centre.

Names beginning with Sleive-

This is pronounced like ‘sleeve’, as is its Irish root, slaibh, and means mountain.

  • Sleiverue Slaibh Rua
    Rua means red, so “the Red Mountain”
  • Sleivenamon Slaibh na mBan
    Ban means women, and na mBan means the women so this is “the Mountain of the women”

According to legend Sleivenamon is so named because of a race to its summit undertaken by a band of doughty women in an effort to win the hand in marriage of Fionn Mac Cumaill (Finn McCool), a sort of early Irish superhero.

Names beginning with Tubber- or Tober-

A tober is a well, quite often a Holy well. It’s always a natural well or spring – not the sort into which nursery rhyme villain little Tommy Thin deposited his feline friend.

  • Tubberclare Tobar Chláir
    This could be from Clar, meaning board or plain and thus “the well of the plain” or from the name, Clair, making it possibly “The well of St Claire”. The latter is generally believed to be correct.
  • Tobercurry Tobar an Choire
    Coire means cauldren or pot. In conjunction with the word well it could mean a ‘river pot’ or the source of a river. In any case this means “The well of the pot”.

Names beginning with Tulla- or Tully-

These come from tullach meaning ‘little hill’ and to be even more exact a hill that was a landmark or was used as a meeting place or a location for fairs.

  • Tullaherin Tullach Iarainn
    Iarainn means iron, so this is “The little iron hill”, possibly because of its minerals.
  • Tullylease Tullach Léis
    Léis means huts giving “Little hill of the huts”

Article updated: March 31, 2017 | Image Credits

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