06 Dec 2021

What's in a name?

Local History

What's in a name?

An astute reader has pointed out to me that I seem to have used the incorrect Gaelic name for Distillery Lane in my article a couple of week's ago about the old Malcolm Brewery at Roden Place.

I named it 'Lana na Drioglan' which I believed was the Irish word for distillery but my reader has pointed out to me that the name plate at the Jocelyn Street end reads 'Lana na Grúidlainne' (the genitive case of Grúidlann – meaning brewery).

This blue plate has only been erected in fairly recent times, presumably by the Town Council but, as far as I can ascertain, there was never any brewery near here, while the Roden Place Distillery dates back to 1799.

Nobody can tell me when exactly Irish names for streets and roads in town started appearing first but some of the old brass name plates go back, at least, to the 1930s.

This practice must have begun shortly after the Dundalk Urban District Council was established in 1899.

English forms of some place names are clearly older and it might make an interesting study if someone were to organise an investigation of Dundalk place names; something like the work that was done on the 'Fields of County Louth' study published in 2014.

The first mention of Irish forms of Dundalk street names I have come across appears in the 1915 edition of Tempest's Annual.

This appears on the page before a Dundalk Street Directory which, I believe, was the first such a list was published in the Annual which continued until 1939.

Who compiled the Irish names list is not given but it is likely to have been the work of William Tempest himself.

It only gives 36 'principle streets' and does not include Distillery Lane.

Some of those names differ considerably for those erected at a later date by the Town Council ---

for instance Crowe Street is named as 'Sráid an Halla Mhóir',which I suppose means 'The Street of the Big Hall (Town Hall?)'; 'Bothar Dhealgan' for Castletown Road and 'An Corran' for the Crescent.

Cleaning our monuments

I read somewhere recently that there is money available for the restoration of our town monuments.

The two mentioned for such work are the 'Maid of Erin' at Courthouse Square and the Kelly Monument at Roden Place.

If one of those two have to be chosen, I would suggest that it should be the Kelly Monument as it appears to me to be in a worse condition.

Not much could be done for the 'Maid', (which was always spelled 'of Erin' not 'Eireann' as appeared in the article).

This sculpture was never properly completed as the committee who paid for it ran out of funds before it was finished and the artist refused to do any more work on it.

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