Townland Names and their meanings


A valley in its own right, Gleninchaquin is located at the top end of the larger arable inlet known as the Cloonee Lakes.  Gleninchaquin covers more than one townland, the names of which, when translated, often help us to understand more about the history of the place, of past uses for the land and sometimes a little about the people who once lived there.

For the first townland – Maulagowna – I have unearthed at least two possible translations.  One of these is ‘Hill of the Smith’ (from Kings History of Kerry) – it may that a blacksmith once worked there, (or tin-smith, silver-smith etc).  The second translation is the one that is accepted locally – that Maulagowna means the Cry of the Calf. While these may appear to be totally unconnected, it is not necessarily so.  It is possible that in past times, the local smith doubled as the local vet!   Maulagowna covers about 1200 acres, including hillside and water

The second townland is Rossard, which encompasses over 900 acres, of which 50 or 60 acres is water.   Ard means high and Ross could be interpreted as wood, meadow or promontory.  While the latter may appear the best suited translation, the accepted local meaning of Rossard  is ‘The High Wood.’  Looking across the valley today, it is difficult to imagine that, pre 1700, this entire area was heavily forested, and that trees grew right up to the top of the ridge. Successive timber clearances, however, totally denuded the region.  In 1634, the woods of Kerry were cut down to supply timber to the East India Company at Plymouth.  In 1657, Kerry timber was used to smelting ore, and for cask staves for Spain.  Way  back then, there were few if any, of the present roads.  Even if there had been, there would have been no easy method of transporting large timbers any distance.  In that time, the rivers and sea inlets of Kerry were the quickest and easiest mode of transport, of people and goods, in and out of the county.  The Kenmare estuary enabled easy access to valleys like Cloonee and Glaninchiquin.

The final and greatest  pillage of Kerry woodlands was undertaken by Sir William Petty in 1666, following the routing of the native Irish by the forces of Cromwell.  Petty cleared the baronies of Glanarought and Dunkerron of timber, sending some abroad and burning the remainder for charcoal for the smelting works.  The fields of this valley are full of Charcoal pits – evidence that the timber was burned on site, and the charcoal transported – probably by boat to the smelting works at Blackstones on the Caragh river and at Killarney.

Some of the other names in the Valley also make it evident that the area was once heavily wooded.   ‘Doire’ is the gaelic name for ‘wood’.   We see forms of this word in a number of the townlands, including:

Derrinknow:  Small oak wood of the nuts

Derrynabrack:  Wood of the trout

Derrinamucklagh:  Wood of the pigs (wild boar, perhaps?)

Derrylough:
  Wood beside the lake

The remaining townlands are:

Inchinlough:  Small meadow by the Lake.  (50/60 acres)

Cooryen:  Little angle of land

Uragh:  Coill Inbrec  – Yew Wood  (about 300 acres)

Cloonee:  Cluain eich – Horse