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pdtempan
2007-08-31 11:08:10
Sléibhte gan Ainm / Nameless Mountains
Davie, I take your point on board about some remote parts of Mayo being reasonably populated, so maybe I should try to explain my comments about the difficulties involved in finding a name for each summits. But first I would say, if you are often in the Sheeffry Hills, I encourage you by all means to have a go and ask the locals about the names of the hills and other landscape features. I would be delighted to get any place-name information as I can get there only very occasionally. I'm sure there are others who would be interested too. To give you an idea of the difficulties involved, one of the main sources for the southern half of Iveragh is the 4-volume series Toponomia Hiberniae by Breandán Ó Cíobháin. This is one of the most thorough place-name surveys available for any region of Ireland. On MV you will see the abbreviation [TH] where this is cited as the source for many summits in Iveragh. Using this source I was able to supply several names for MV which are not shown on the Discovery map, such as An Bheann Mhór, An Cnoc Riabhach. Nevertheless, there are plenty of substantial summits over 400m in the area covered for which no name is available from this survey. Consequently, there are still several names on the MV list which I would consider 'flags of convenience', such as Staigue Top, Staigue NE Top, Beann South Top, Beann SW Top, Beann Far SW Top, Beann NE Top, etc., pending the discovery of some other source which will provide authentic names in local use, now or formerly. I am not aware of any such survey covering the Sheeffry Hills. In the article by Breandán Mac Aodha, which I mentioned last time, there several substantial townlands for which only a single minor name is listed, such as Ben Creggan in Tievnabinnia townland (not Tievnabinnia the peak in the Sheeffry Hills). It would be great to find out what names the locals now have for the peaks, but we shouldn't expect them to have a name for every peak, because this is seeing things from a hill-walker's perspective. Farmers are much more interested in the features prominent from the valley and the crags that pose a danger to their livestock than the summits themselves, and this is why it is particularly hard to determine names in areas where the summits are less sharply defined. Furthermore, it has been shown time and time again that the preservation of the knowledge of minor place-names is bound up with the use of the Irish langauage, and once language shift has occurred from Irish to English, the stock of minor place-names which people can recall is massively reduced. I don't want to pour cold water on your optimism about finding lost/nearly lost names. There is nothing that would give me more satisfaction! I just want to point out some of the difficulties. Lastly, re the corrán / Carrauntoohil challenge, I would emphasise that the Scottish (or non-Irish) name does not have to apply to a mountain. Good luck, and I look forward to getting an answer! Paul
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