benchmark in Kilkieran
Benchmark at the entrance to Kilkieran Equestrian Farm

This is the best way to get to know your neighbours, even though this is really the country definition of neighbour. I went to Kilkieran (Ballyfoyle) to meet a farmer and his son or a farmer and his father, depending on your viewpoint. Anyway, they own the Kilkieran Equestrian Farm. I’m not sure how young the son was, but I was surprised and delighted to see someone so young interested in heritage and history. Always a good starting point for field names. They also have at least one benchmark on their property.

To cut a long story short, I got 33 fieldnames from him, some of them are very likely of Irish origin, some definitely are. Because we had to spell them phonetically, some of the names look quite funny. Please, if you have any idea what the Irish original was, let us know! I’ll give my ideas, but I’m far from being fluent as Gaeilge, I’ve only picked a few things up about field names that could be helpful

    • Money Moore’s (see on map) – I’ve talked to Gaeilgeorí and they think it’s Muine mór, the big thicket.
    • Top Polly’s (map) and Bottom Polly’s1 (map) – could it be something about a hole (“poll“)? They are on a slope
    • An Líonán (map) and Lilly Nowns – Could it have been one field once and Lilly Nown is the corrupted version of the Irish name – the owners think so. I tend to think líon-án = little flax field.
    • Gort Martha (map) – Probably nothing to do with the female name, but maybe the month?
    • The Hill of the Crochán’s
    • The Cummer (a forest) (show on map)- from Irish cumar
    • The Bachalls (show on map) from Irish bachall = shepheard’s staff, crozier; no idea why, the shape of the field does not resemble one
    • The Faha (map), translated by the informant as “the lawn”, which made me immediately think of ha-has (Wikipedia-Link) which usually was the ditch around a front lawn of a big house, but there is no big house nearby. But that’s what it is, faiche, a lawn, according to the dictionary. Pity there is no etymological dictionary for Irish to see if it is a French loan-word from hâ-hâ.

So Polly, Lilly and Martha are the three women mentioned in the fieldnames, but I bet none of them actually refers to a woman.

I am hoping that my informant will make audio recordings of the Irish names, so Irish scholars can get a better idea of how those names are called and maybe figure out the Irish spelling.

The father is very interested in wrought-iron gates, so I suggested he mapped those on OSM. That is an idea I have had for a while, actually.


1 Some of the genitive -s might actually be plural -s. I apologize sincerely for any wrong use of apostrophe -s. I’m only recording what I’m being told.

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