In the name game
Recent pieces in this column about places in an around Oylegate and Ferns have prompted a response from the fount of all wisdom – that is Conchubhar Ó Crualaoich. He hails from Wexford but is one of the leading practical authorities on place names, especially Irish language place names.
Conchubhar points your correspondent and readers to www.archaeology.ie for a further insight into Saint David's well near Oylegate and the long gone church also named after the saint on the same site.
Follow the links for 'Archaeological Survey of Ireland', and you can find a map showing the monuments of Ireland that allows visitors to hone in on locations such as the well at Ballynaslaney.
In this case, strange to report, the well shows up as 'St. Rabid's Well', not David at all. Mad dogs and holy Welshmen!
The fount of all wisdom suggests that, in times gone by, the parish was centred in townland of Ballynaslaney, which is now a backwater, rather than Oylegate.
He is also stirred to comment on this column's review of the Bolgers of Ferns historical calendar which was issued recently.
He writes: 'In regard to Milltown near Ferns, the name is actually attested as early as the 16th century as 'Ballynmollin' which is clearly an anglicised form of Irish Baile an Mhuilinn (the vernacular here at that time), which was ultimately translated as Milltown.
'This of course shows that water power was long in use at this location.' So now we all know.
Conchubhar Ó Crualaoich has been employed by the 'Placenames Branch' of the civil service on a review of Wexford place names in the Irish language.
He reports that most of the work on his home county has been completed.
While waiting for others to approve the findings of the research, he has turned his scholarly attention to the townlands of Sligo.
What a wonderful job!