Glossary - Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts

Patrick Kennedy
1891 (2nd Edition)

ON looking through the work, the editor has found some words and passages not sufficiently explicit to the mere English reader. The deficiency is here made up.

Blue Cap, p. 217. Nickname of a woman among the old English settlers. Her people, ignorant of the custom just mentioned, buried her on the men's side of the churchyard: the coffin was raised and set upright against the church-door in the night. After two re-interments the Palatine family buried her on the other side of the stream, and there she was allowed to rest.

Bohyeen, p. 55. The reader anxious for the correct sound of the word must make one syllable out of hyeen, and give the hy the guttural sound of ch.

Bohyeen, p. 145, correctly Borán in the sense here given.

Booran, note, p. 149, should be Borrán.

Bowl Almanac, p. 16, an attempt at Bole Armeniae. The editor has throughout the whole collection carefully abstained from inventing any mistakes for his characters. Futhryom, p. 78, is another case in point.

Bullawn a Rinka, p. 216, Plain of the Dance, the locality being used by the fairies for that purpose. Some few words, such as Bullawn, will not be found in Irish dictionaries.

Carlow, p. 219. The city guessed at was probably Dinrigh (Dun Righ, Fortress of the King), on the west bank of the Barrow, the ancient capital of South Leinster.

Cead Millia Mollaghart, p. 220, Cead Mile Mollachd ort (100,000 curses on you).

Colpa, p. 291. Drogheda was anciently called Inver Colpa, Colpa's Harbour, a Milesian chief of that name having been drowned there.

Culdees, p. 259, worshippers of God as distinguished from Pagans.

Ditch, p. 162, the high clay mound commonly overgrown with furze bushes: the ditch proper is called the gripe of the ditch.

File or Fileadh, p. 174, Bard or Poet; Scealuidhe, Story-teller.

Fir and Fear, p. 180. Fear is the nominative case, Fir the genitive and vocative cases.

Gealach, p. 260, the Moon, bright, &c.

Gibbets, p. 183, probably a corruption of the Spenserian gobbets.

Gruné, p. 201. Correctly Grinneach, a young man, hairy.

Haed yeen, p. 93. The Dyeen (pronounced as one syllable) in this word (correctly cheadoin), is probably an equivalent to Odin.

Kilachdiarmid, p. 98, Cullach Diarmuid, Diarmuid's Boar, see p. 198. Besides these two hills—one in Wexford, the other in Sligo—the hero owns a hill in Argyllshire, Mac Callum Mhor claiming Brown Diarmaid as his ancestor.

Leprechaun, p. 116, Leath Bhrog, odd shoe. The Litrigadaun, or Lurikeen, is probably a relative of the old English Lurdane (Lord Dane), every cottage at one time of the Saxon rule being encumbered with a Danish soldier.

Lios, p. 254, Earthen Fort; Caisiol, Stone Fort. In proper names Lios is found as Lis.

Mac Tire, p. 238, Son of the Country (qu.). The wolf is furnished with five or six names in the Gaelic, one being Madrallamh, Wild Dog.

Mullaghmast, p. 155, Mullach Maiste, Mound of the Mastiff.

Ollamh (pronounced Ollav), p. 175, Councillor, Doctor of Laws.

Sheoge, p. 228, same as Sighe—so pronounced by the peasantry, Sighe is pronounced Sia or Shia.

Slaney, p. 269. This fine river derives its name, and deservedly so, from Slainte, health.

Sthra, p. 44, a Gaelification of Stray.

Vuya, p. 143, another form for Mhuire, Mary, the Blessed Virgin.

Wexford. This county, though partly settled by the early Anglo-Normans, is not to be reckoned as a portion of the Pale. This collection of legends would be more worthy of the attention of children and archaeologists had the editor chanced to be born in Kerney instead of Wexford. On their account (the children's, &c. to wit), not on his own (what Yellow Belly [1] was ever ashamed of his birth-place?), he regrets the circumstance.


[1] Queen Elizabeth once witnessed a hurling match, the conquering party being Wexfordians, distinguished by yellow silk kerchiefs tied round their bodies. "Oh!" cried her Majesty, rapping out an oath, "what brave boys these Yellow Bellies are!" The nickname has remained on us ever since. We rather like it.