Irish language

Dinnseanchas and Seanfhocal - A proverb and an Irish placeiname

DUNLUCE CASTLE: This is a diagram of how the castle and its surroundings looked at the peak of its importance. It was built by the MacQuillan family in about 1500.


Bootown - Baile na Lorgan - townland of the long low ridge

Bootown, in the parish of Dunluce Co. Antrim, has been explained as a Scots name meaning ‘town of cattle’ and there are three other townlands so named elsewhere in Antrim and Down. 

The Scots element boo refers to ‘a stock or herd of cattle, especially of cows’, and has its origins in Old Norse  ‘a homestead’, with the extended meaning of ‘livestock’. 

Historical forms of the name of the townland in Dunluce such as Ballylurgann (1657), Ballynalurgan (1659) and Ballylurgan (1669) indicate that it was previously named Baile na Lorgan ‘townland of the long low ridge’ in Irish.

There are two townlands called Ballylurgan in other parts of Antrim in the parishes of Drummaul and Duneane.

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

Is í an eorna nua tú a fheiceáil.

It’s new barley to me to see you.

Each year in rural Ireland, it would a time of great joy and celebration when the new harvest of barley would be ready.

You would use the phrase “Is í an eorna nua tú a fheiceáil” when you would meet a good friend you hadn’t seen for a long while or you could probably say it to the cheque your business had been waiting for to tide you over the various waves of coronavirus.

In the past, Irish farmers would have made bread from the barley – bad news if you are gluten-intolerant – and might have put some aside for the making of poitín. I haven’t seen it for a long while, but there used to be a Scotch whiskey called Cream of the Barley.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access



Irish language