Dinnseanchas agus seanfhocal - an Irish place-name and a proverb


Tobernaveen – Tobar na bhFiann – Well of the Fianna

Tobernaveen in CO. Antrim is derived from Tobar na bhFiann ‘well of the Fianna’ in Irish. The well which has given it its name is a large spring which rises in the south of the townland and supplies the reservoir in the townland of Potterswalls, north of Antrim town. 

The Fianna are of great renown in Gaelic legend (both in Ireland and Scotland). Led by Fionn mac Cumhaill and his son Oisín, they served as the protectors of the high-king Cormac mac Airt in pre-Christian times. While no traditions of the Fianna survive in relation to Tobernaveen, the Ordnance Survey Memoir of 1838 notes the association of Oisín with the nearby valley of the Six Mile Water. Furthermore, John Colgan, writing in 1647, remarks that the Braid Valley, east of Ballymena, was in ancient times known by the name of Gleann Fada na Féinne ‘the long valley of the Fianna’.


Is fearr réal inniu ná scilling amárach.

It is better to have sixpence today than a shilling tomorrow.

One for all the pre-decimallers out there who will remember the old Irish sixpence (reul as it was spelt then) which featured an Irish wolfhound and the shilling (scilling) which had a bull on one of its sides.

Whether it is better to have a sixpence today than a shilling tomorrow is a moot point.

Your sixpence can be made up to a shilling if you use it wisely but there is also the law of delayed or deferred gratification. It has been shown in long-term experiments that children who can not eat a sweet because they will get two sweets later, ended up being the ones who did better in life than those who went right away for the sweety.