Iain mac an Tailleir’s Gaelic Placenames – The 5 files

Here are the 5 PDF files for all the Gaelic placenames collected by Iain mac an Tailleir:


And this is their page at Pàrlamaid na h-Alba (The Scottish Parliament) that contains several other useful links:

I hope that having all 5 files in one uncluttered place is of use to someone!

Beetling Around

In Scottish Gaelic
The Sacred Beetle
Is a
Dung Beetle
Although it can mean a
Or a
I should have been a
Pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across
The floors of silent seas…
Beetling Around
Rocky Shores
At the Sound
Of Harris…

Refs: Am Faclair Beag – http://www.cairnwater.co.uk/faclair/index.aspx?Language=en

cearr-dubhan (AC) sm The sacred beetle
Original page here: http://www.archive.org/stream/faclairgidhl01dweluoft#page/183/mode/1up

ceàrd-dubhan -ain. sm Dung-beetle 2 Scarabaeus. 3 Hornet. 4 see cearr-dubhan
Original page here: http://www.archive.org/stream/faclairgidhl01dweluoft#page/182/mode/1up

The Love Song Of J Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot
(Which happens to be the only poem that I ever learnt by heart in order to impress a girlfriend…)

A vision of venison in a once-wooded place…

Somehow, when I was scanning through this document of Gaelic placenames
composed by Iain Mac an Tailleir I somehow missed the very one I was seeking:
Dieraclete (Harris) Diricleit, ‘Deer Cliff’, from Norse.
The ‘Deer Cliff’ is the nearer line of hills in this view taken from the Tarbert-Uig ferry.

Delighted as I am to have now  found this, at the time I was working on the idea that Direcleit might be a contraction of ‘Doire nam Cleit’ or Oak Grove (of the) Cliff.

Dirnanean in Perthshire apparently derives from Doire nam Eum, Oak Grove of the Birds, and Diriebught in Inverness from Doire nam Boc, Oak Grove of the Bucks!

As an aside, I recently came upon this interesting note on the flora of the area:

Coastline from Tarbert dock to Direcleit hosts a broad range of native tree species including Aspen, Downy Birch, Hazel, Grey willow, Sallow Willow, Rowan, Holly.

The name ‘Craobhag’ is given to the place that lies between Tarbert and Direcleit and means ‘Small Oak’. In fact these are stunted English Oaks, NOT Sessile Oaks,indicating that the site was recognised in the past for its woodland activity.

Ref: WI Native Woodland Restoration Survey Report
http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/woodlands/nativewoodlands.asp (Native Woodland Report PDF)

You can see how this helped fuel my ‘Oak Grove’ conjecture, but alas, I couldn’t see the wood for the trees.

Incidentally, the sequence of names from Tarbert round the coast runs as follows:

Diren – Another contraction of ‘Doire’?
Cadha – Pass/Cliff?
Craobhag – Small Oak
Direcleit – Deer Cliff
Ceann Dibig -Head of the Deep Bay?

Placenames Collected by Iain Mac an Tailleir – Harris

Harris, Na Hearadh ‘division’ or ‘portion’

In South Harris, the West side is known as a’ Mhachair, “machair land”,
contrasting with the East side which is na Bàigh, “bays”.

The hilly area inland from the east coast is Bràigh nam Bàgh, “upland of the bays”.

A Harris person is a Hearach or Tearach.
Ref: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/vli/language/gaelic/pdfs/placenamesF-J.pdf

The full list is here:
There are 5 pdf links at the bottom of the page that can be downloaded and searched which is extremely useful!