Dear Bitesize: How to Pronounce and Make Sense of Irish Place Names

How to pronounce and make sense of Irish place names

I have recently moved to Ireland and would like to be able to pronounce place names in Irish and make some sense of them.

Thanks to the internet, you can hear most Irish place names being pronounced by a local in both Irish and English on the website logainm.ie.

There are many words that commonly appear in Irish place names. Here are a few. Click on the word to hear it. 

Ard

Meaning: a high place

Anglicised : Ard

It usually means a place which is physically high but may also mean a place of high importance.

Áth

Meaning: ford.

Anglicised: Ah, Ath

Baile

Meaning: town, home.

Anglicised: Bally, Balli

Beag

Meaning: small

Anglicised: Beg

Carraig

Meaning: rock.

Anglicised: Carrick

Cill

Meaning: church, churchyard.

Anglicised: Kill, Kil

It is often followed by a saint’s name.

Coill

Meaning: Forest.

Anglicised: Kyle, Kill

Cloch

Meaning: stone, stone building

Anglicised: Clogh

Cluain

Meaning: meadow, pasture

Anglicised: Cloon, Clon, Cloyne

Cnoc

Meaning: hill

Anglicised: Knock

Drom

Meaning: ridge

Anglicised: Drom, Drum

Loch

Meaning: lake

Anglicised: Lough

Teampall

Meaning: temple, church

Anglicised: Temple

You can learn even more about Irish pronunciation by participating in Eoin’s course Crack Irish Gaelic Pronunciation on Udemy. 

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That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for reading!

If you’ve ever got any grammar questions, don’t hesitate to email info@bitesize.irish.

Le gach dea-ghuí, (Kind regards)

Siobhán

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Comments

  1. Nancy says:

    This is very interesting! I’m going to visit Bhaile Eachaidh next month, the birthplace of my great-grandfather. I’m grateful that I got to learn the Gaeilge spelling and pronunciation before my trip. Go raibh maith agat!

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