Irish language

Placenames and proverbs/Dinnseanchas agus seanfhocail

RATHLIN ISLAND: Irish was the main language until the start of the 20th century and was spoken on there until the 1960s
Robert McMillen


Rathlin - Reachlainn - place by water/rugged place?

Rathlin Island appears in early historical records. The presence of a church is noted on the island in AD 630 although its location is unknown. The earliest form of the name in Old Irish is Rechru which in certain grammatical contexts was modified to Rechrainn (the accusative and dative forms). 

In Modern Irish spelling, these are Reachra and Reachrainn; Reachra was known to older people from the island in the English version, Raghery. The alternative form of the name in Irish, Reachlainn, has given us Rathlin in English. Raghly in Sligo and Raffrey in Down share the same origin but the meaning of the word reachra is uncertain. It has been suggested that it may mean ‘place by water/rugged place’.

With thanks to The Place-Name Project, Queen’s University (@placenamesni)


Is domhain é poll an amhrais.

The hole of doubt is a deep one.

I like the way that doubt, and especially self-doubt, is described as a hole in this proverb because people can get deeper and deeper into its dark recesses the longer it goes on.

Whether it’s thinking that that babe or that hunk won’t want to go out with you or thinking you’re not good enough to get that job or that you’re not going to score that penalty, if you have negative thoughts about yourself, then the tend to be self-fulfilling prophesies.

However, once you’ve said “yes, I can” and gone and done something you were afraid of, then the results can be dramatic and life-changing – as the Bluffer knows from experience.


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Irish language