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Sunday 21 September 2014

Irish placenames cause confusion

Published 13/11/2013 | 05:36

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The signposts at Shanahan's Cross are an example of County Council signpost mistakes.

SEEING is believing and it's hard to imagine how Kerry County Council could have got it so wrong with regard to some signpost directions at certain points in Valentia Island and outside.

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SEEING is believing and it's hard to imagine how Kerry County Council could have got it so wrong with regard to some signpost directions at certain points in Valentia Island and outside.

A faux-pas of classic nature can be observed at the Knightstown exit to Glanleam, situated at the Protestant Church grounds corner, and also at Shanahan's Cross and Gortgower Cross. Each of the three signposts contain directions to the Slate Quarry.

Written on them are the words 'Creach Fochla' and 'Grotto', an Irish language effort to indicate the Slate Quarry and Grotto. However, the Irish word for quarry is 'cairéal'. Unbelievably, and amusingly, the word, 'creach', used on the signpost has a different meaning altogether in that it really means 'quarry', in the sense of an animal pursued for prey.

Inscribed also in the signpost at Shanahan's Cross is the word, 'Kyle more', with the accompanying 'An Choill Mhór' to give it its Irish language title. This is a reference to the Valentia graveyard, which should have the spelling, 'Kilmore'. 'Kil' comes from 'cill', the old Irish for church, and 'Kilmore' as it is locally called down through the years probably comes from the Irish language form 'Cill Mhór,' which means the big church. 'Kylmore' is also to be seen on a signpost at the start of a secondary road leading from the main one towards the graveyard. Thus, to describe Kilmore, to use the proper local term, as 'An Choill Mhor' is totally inaccurate as, when translated this means, 'The big wood'.

Situated at the start of the road at right angles to the church at Chapel town (Caol) is the inscription 'Shore Road' in reference to the road which leaves Chapeltown and runs along by the sea to Knightstown. Little research or consultation seems to have been done here either, as the original name for this road was 'The New Line', a title going back to the origin of the road itself.

Situated on the main road between Cahirsiveen and Waterville is a big sign with directions for the village of Knightstown at the creamery junction in Renard. An apostrophe exists between the t and s, thus turning Knightstown into Knight'stown, which should not be.

And now on to the scenic village of Portmagee, and beyond, where the sign at Cum An Easpaig, on the upper slopes of the nearby mountain, reads 'Coomanaspic', which makes no sense at all as such a connotation is never used locally by word or print.

Tourists or locals using the Valentia Island car ferry will no doubt have noticed the sign 'Rinn Aird' in Irish at the top of the road leading to the ferry. Translated, it means Renard or the high point. 'Ard' is the Irish word for 'high', so 'Aird' is incorrect.

Let us leave Iveragh and go on to Farmer's Bridge in Tralee. It is described thus in the signpost but is also referred to in a mixture of English and Irish as 'Droichead Farmer', which is neither here nor there. If translated into Irish, it could either be called 'Droichead An Fheirmeora' or 'Droichead Na bhFeirmeoiri, meaning the bridge of the farmer or the bridge of the farmers.

Wake up Kerry Co. Council, it's your call.

Kerryman

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