Placenames & Maps

Placenames are a vital part of our heritage. They preserve folklore, geography, history and tradition. The vast majority of the placenames of our parish are Gaelic in origin and were given to the various localities by our ancestors in the dim and distant past. Each place name had a special meaning and their roots often go deep in history. It is an absorbing and rewarding task to study and explain them and even the name of the smallest patch of ground or boreen or hill or stream is worth preserving and recording not alone for ourselves but for the benefit and enlightenment of generations to come. Some of the words in Gaeilge have become grossly corrupted in the course of time by Anglicisation, by erroneous spelling and by faulty pronunciation while many of them were never written down but passed from mouth to ear down the generations. The old townlands were often divided into quarters which were generally distinguished from one another by adjectives describing size, position, shape or quality of the land or by adding the names of the occupiers (PW Joyce Irish names of Places, Vol. 1 Page 244 published Dublin 1869).

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There is evidence of this in our parish where there are 36 townlands in all – 34 distinct townlands with Clonee divided into Clonee East and West while Ullard is divided into Ullard More and Ullard Beg. The reader will also notice from the table below how the occupiers of various portions of land may have given the townsland its name e.g. ‘Cappawater’ – ‘Walton’s plot of land’ or ‘Clonee’ – ‘Hugh’s meadow’. Depending on the date and circumstances in some cases the landowners had sufficient influence with Government officials to have their own names substituted for the ancient ones. Some townlands have been submerged into adjoining townlands and examples of these in our parish are Tinnmogney (House of Mogney) which has been absorbed into Myshall itself and Killeavy (Church of the Mountain View) which is situated in Shangarry though that name is still attached to a field and sometimes the crossroads otherwise known as ‘Doyle’s Cross’.

The meanings and Irish translations given in this article are all taken from a book called ‘Place Names of County Carlow’ written by Edward O’Toole 1937. The extra meanings denoted by an asterisk are ones that have been used by locals and have come to the attention of the Magazine committee.


Edward O’Toole was from Rathvilly and in the course of historical research he studied ‘Name Books’ which were preserved in the Ordnance Survey Department in the Phoenix Park. This list is not exhaustible and inevitably there has to be a measure of conjecture but everyone interested has a right to be heard. Hopefully this article will lead to discussion and perhaps the recording not only of the townlands but also of the various field names, bridges, gaps, hillocks, streams etc. before they are lost forever.

The study of ancient maps also provide a wealth of knowledge on the names of places and how they have changed over the years. Myshall village itself does not exist on the map prepared in the year 1570 for Sir Peter Carew though Drumphea that is now part of the parish is marked spelled ‘Drumffey’. Myshall is clearly marked on the map of Sir William Petty of 1685 as are many other of the townslands as we know them today though the spelling is somewhat corrupt e.g. Turtane is spelled Thorton, Kilmaglush - Killengglis, Clonee - Clony, Bealalaw - Ballilah, Rathnageeragh - Rangeragh, etc.


Townsland Irish Translation Meaning
Aclare Ath Cláir Ford of the Board or Plank
Ballaghmore Bealach Mór Great Road or Pass
Ballinacrea Baile na Cré Town of the Clay *home of the Trees*
Ballinree Baile an Rí Home of the King 
Ballinrush Baile an Ruis Town of the Wood
Bealalaw Béal a Lagha Mouth or gorge of the Hill *Ford of the Round Hill*
Booldurragh Buaile Dorcha  Dark Booley (Milking Place) or Mountain Dairy *Black Marsh*
Cappawater CeapaBhaiteir Walton's Plot of Land
Carrignafecka Carraig na Feice Rock of the Fack *Rock of the Raven/Tooth shaped rock*
Clashganny Clais Gainimhe Sand Pit
Clonee (East) (West) Cluain Aodha Hugh's Meadow or Lawn
Coolasnaughta Cúl a tSneachta Back of the Snow *Hill back of the Snow*
Coolnasheegan Cúl na Siogan Corner of Crows/ frequented by birds *Back of the Fairy Mounds*
Croanruss Crón Ros Brown Wood
Drumphea Droim Feidh Ridge of the Wood  *Steep Ridge of the Ravens*/*Deer*
Kilmaglush Cill Maige Glaise Church of the Green Plain *Wood of the Stream*
Knockbrack Cnoc Breac Speckled Hill
Knockdrumagh Cnoc Druimeach Hill of the Ridges or Backs *Hill of the thieves*
Knockindrane Cnocán Draoighin Hill of the Blackthorns or Sloe Bushes
Knocklonogad Cnoc Cluana Gad Hill of the Lawn of Gads or witches *Hill of the Marsh of witches/robbers*
Lismaconly Leas Nic Conghaile McConly's Fort *Fort of Connolly*
Milltown  Baile a Miuilin Town of the Mill
Myshall  Maigh Íseal Low Plain
Raheenleigh Raitín Liath Grey Little Rath *Little Grey Forts/ Little Grey Wood*
Raheenwood Coill Raitín Wood of the Raheen or Small Earthen Fort *Little Fort of Wood*
Rathnageeragh Rath na gCaorac Fort of the Sheep
Rossacurra Ros a Cuiraigh  Wood of the Moor *Wood of the Weir/Barony of Faith*
Roslee Ros Liath Grey Little Fort *Grey Peninsula*
Seskinamadra Seiscin na Madra Sedgy Marsh of the dogs or foxes
Shangarry Sean-garraidh Old Garden
Shean Siodhan A Fairy Mount
Straduff  Srath Dubh Black Strath or Holm *Black Meadow Land (with turf)*
Turtane Tuartán A hillock/isolated bank *High Bank*
Ullard More Abhall Gort Big Apple Garden/Orchard
Ullard Beg Abhall Gort Small Apple Garden/Orchard


1685 Map Of Myshall: