Dublin

Irish Local Names Explained

Dublin. The name is written in the annals Duibh-linn [Duvlin], which, in some of the Latin Lives of the saints, is translated Nigra therma, black pool; it was originally the name of that part of the Liffey on which the city is built, and is sufficiently descriptive at the present day. In very early ages an artificial ford of hurdles was constructed across the Liffey, where the main road from Tara to Wicklow crossed the river; and the city that subsequently sprung up around it was called from this circumstance Ath-cliath [Ah-clee], Four Masters, the ford of hurdles, which was the ancient name of Dublin. This name is still used by speakers of Irish in every part of Ireland; but they join it to Bally — Baile-atha-cliath (which they pronounce Blaa-clee), the town of the hurdle ford.

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