Killearnan Place Names
Attribution: not recorded or unknown
G. Cill-iùrnain; there is also Càrn-iùrnain in this parish.
In Kildonan, Sutherland, is another Killearnan, the Gaelic form of which is exactly the same. Iurnan is, of course, the name of the saint who founded the ‘cill,’ or to whom it was dedicated. Ernan, St columba’s nephew, does not suit the Gaelic phonetics, but we find exactly what we want in Iturnan, of whom the Chronicle of the Scots records, under date 665, Iturnan et Corinda apud pictones defuncti sunt.’ A fragment of tighernac’s Annals reads——-‘668 Itharnan et Corindu apud Pictures defuincti sunt.’ The name of Iturnan, who died among the Picts circ. 665, will, with the regular aspiration of intervocalic t, become I(th)urnan.
Iurnan’s cairn, suggests the possibility of the saint having been buried there. Local tradition, as recorded in the new Stat. Acc., connects the name with Irenan, a supposed ‘Danish prince.’
G. an Caisteal ruadh. It is now agreed that the modern Redcastle of Edirdovar, founded by Wlliam the Lion in 1179.1 Edirdovar is from eadder, between, and O.G. dobur, water, between the waters, from its position between the Beauly and Cronarty Firths.
1 Or.par. Scot.II.
Culcolly 1294 and 1456,
Culcowy 1479 and 1511;
Cul is perhaps cùil, nook, rather than cùl, back; callaidh is to be compared with Bealach Collaidh, between Wyvis and Inchbae, both being based on coll, Welsh and O.I. for hazel, with -ach suffix, representing a primitive Coslacon. Kilcoy thus means nook(possibly back) 0f the hazel wood. ‘The wood (bosco) of Culcolly’ appears in record in 1294.
G. Pairce Dhroighnidh, park of the thorn-place.
G. a’ Mhucarnaich, the swine-place,common.
G. an Todhar, the bleaching spot; ef. Balintore; at Tore is Cnoc-an-acrais, Hunger-Hill, where a market used to be held called Fèill Cnoc-an-acrais.
G. reit a’ Chrùnaidh;
can hardly mean Crowner’s crft, though such appears on record somewhere between this and Avoch; perhaps a Pictish word based on root seen in W. crwn, round, Ir. cròn, a circular hollow. What appears to be the article a’ may be only the common ‘sporadic vowel,’ as in Cill(e) Mhoire.
G. Druim-nam-marg, merk-ridge, or ridge of mer-lands.
G. Tigh na h-ùige, House of the nook, a term often applied on the west coast to a small inn or shebeen.
G. Ach an t-seagail.
G. Baile Chailein, after Sir Colin Mackenzie.
G. am Fuaran bàn, includes the small farm of Allt-an-digeadair, Dyker’s burn.
G. Spiteil, from hospital, a place of entertainment.
The form Gargastoun points to a personal name, or rather nickname, garg, fierce; garg, however, seems to occur in genuine place-names; cf. Lùb a’ ghargain in Contin.
G. am Blàr dubh, the black moor,
G. Bail a’ mhuilinn.
Called after Sir William Fettes; includes An Clàran, the little flat; Am Baile Nodha, Newtown; A’Cheapaich, the tillage plot; Burntown, Burnchairn, Barntown, and Drumore, most of them holdings of fair size. Near it is na Peit’chan, an interesting formation from the Pictish pett, a stead, formed on the same principle as na Bothaclan, Boath. The formation shows how thoroughly the Pictish pett became a Gaelic word.
G. Bail’an t-seipeil, now part of Fettes.
G. Baile na pàirce.
G. A’ Chùil-mhòr, the big nook, which describes it.
G. Baile gun iarraidh,
town without asking; perhaps to be compared with the English Unthank, the name of three places in Cumberland and two in Northamberland, which, Canon Taylor says, denotes a piece of ground on which some squatter had settled ‘without leave’ of the lord.
G. baile gun lionn, town without beer; perhaps modelled humorously on the preceding. There are local tales, too pointless to relate, as to the origin of both names.
G. Blàr nam feadag.
Westir and Estir haldach 1527,
half the lands of dawaucht 1530,
lands of haldacht with the kiln of the same called Toldegormok 1580,
Wester half daokis 1586;
Haddoch and Torgarnoche 1611,
Leadanach and Torgormack 1639;
G. An Leithda’ch, the half-davach.
The record forms quoted show clearly the transition from the gaelic Leith-dabhach to the hybrid haddo. Part of Lettoch is Bog na h-eileig and Loch na h-eileig; eileag is doubtful, but may, perhaps, be a formation from ail, rock, used in the sense of eileach, a contrivance for catching fish; cf. Allt Eileag. Seawards of this loch is Torgorm, green knoll, referred to in the record as Toldegormok, Torgarnoche, and Torgormack.
G. Coir’ a’ ghràin.
G. Tigh an Fhuarain
G. An linne, the pool; also Linn’ a’ bhuic Bhàin, pool of the white buck. Linne MacVain in old rental.
G. Cnoc na croiche.
Cnoc-an-eireach-Hill of the assemblies or meetings (eireached).
From the old spellings and the t of Airt in Gaelic it appears that a word ending in r and begining with d. or better t, has been curtailed to a in the middle of the name, thus giving Ard-tir-fàillidh or Ard-dor-fàillidh. Fàillidh is probably genitive of fàlach, place of sods, falaigh, with regressive assimilation. The whole word would thus mean ‘High water of ,’ &c., does not suit the place. With Fàillidh of Drochaid Fàillidh, Faillie Bridge and farm of Faillie in Daviot, and for meaning Fadoch in Kintail.
In 1456 appear on record the Smithy croft, the Forestercroft, the Crownarecroft; and in 1479 the Currourecroft-probably connected with Redcastle.
Place Names of Killearnan Parish
This extract was taken, with the permission of the Trustees, from Prof. W.J. Watson’s – ‘Place Names of Ross and Cromarty’. The most recent edition of this work was published by HIGHLAND HERITAGE BOOKS Tir nan Oran, 8 Culcairn Road, Evanton IV16 9YT
Place Names of Ross and Cromarty p142 onwards