Friday, 16 November 2012


Glaisín is the Irish word for little stream, in English it could be pronounced as Glasheen, and it is this spelling which is often used in Anglicised Irish place names. Glaisín comes from Glais, which means stream, in Irish an 'een' sound (spelt 'ín') is added to make something smaller, many Hiberno English words with 'een' in the end come from this.  Rivers are the most glorified of water systems, but even the widest once started as small streams, in Ireland 135 millions years ago, chalk deposits were laid down while Ireland was submerged in warm water, after Ireland rose out of the sea it was weathered and eroded, this is when the first streams were formed, which later still, became the rivers we know today. These days streams are formed up high, in mountains and hills, mostly in Ireland they start, from what else, but rain (sometimes melt from snow and ice as well but thats not as fun to complain about), as it rains the water is absorbed into the ground via cracks, eventually this water builds up over time until it then pours out forming a spring. Next gravity kicks in forcing the water down towards sea level, causing the water to trickle down forming streams, over many years these streams then erode their beds, forming rivers.

Landscape art and placenames have alot in common, one represents a selection of an area of land in a visual form, another in a verbal and literary form. To make land into landscape we have to focus on a particular part, land can cover many kilometres, too much for one viewing. So when an artist decides what is good in a land, what to turn into landscape, we are focusing on one aspect of the countryside which we think is more interesting than others. Placenames perform a similar function, showing what was and is worth focusing on, marking an area out, and drawing attention to it in order to show a landscape.  Exactly like with Glaisín, the people who made the placename were right, as this little stream, even after all the human additions around it, it is still the nicest part of the area, and the place most worth focusing on.


1. Joyce, P. W. The origin and history of Irish names of places. Volume 3, 1920.
2. Joyce, P. W. The origin and history of Irish names of places. Volume 1, 1920.
4. Irish Place Names- Deirdre Flanagan & Laurence Flanagan- Gill&MacMillan- 2002
5. Folclóir Gaedhilge agus Béarla - An Irish-English dictionary, being a thesaurus of the words, phrases and idioms of the modern Irish with explanations in English (1904)
6. Cork and Kerry Townlands Names in Irish and English- An tOrdú Logainmneacha (Contae Chorcaí seachas ceantair Ghaeltachta) 2012
7. Planet & People- leaving certificate geography- Sue Honan & Sue Mulholland
8. The World Book Encyclopedia of Science- The Planet Earth
9. The Kingfisher Geography Encyclopedia
10. Reading the Irish Landscape- Frank Mitchell & Michael Ryan

No comments: