Local Placenames

Here are a list of place names found in and around Maynooth, in County Kildare.

I’ve listed them in order of English name, Irish name and the supposed meaning, where I can. Naturally there are slight variations in some. I’ll go in depth in the future about place names in general. For now here are some places you might be interested in. If there’s something you’d like me to add, please let me know!

Castletown House – Baile an Chaisleáin – Townland of the Castle

Clane – Claonadh – Slope; Sloping Ford

Donadea – Domhnach Dheá – Dea’s Church

Donaghmore – Large Church

Kilcock – Cill Choca – St Coca’s Church

Kildare – Cill Dara – Church of the Oak

Leixlip – Léim an Bhradáin – Salmon Leap

Lucan – Leamhcán – Place of Elms

Maynooth – Maigh Nuad – Nua’s plain; Nuadu’s plain

Naas – An Nás – The Fair

Prosperous – An Chorrcoill -The odd or misplaced wood

Straffan – Teach Srafáin – Srafan’s church

Taghadoe – House of St. Tua


Sources: The Poolbeg Book of Irish Placenames by Sean McMahon,

Dictionary of Irish Place-names  by Adrian Room,

Irish Place Names by Deidre Flanagan and Laurence Flanagan

Image: http://www.maynoothcollege.ie


The Meaning of Irish Placenames by James O’ Connell


The Wonderful Barn

The Wonderful Barn in my opinion, is the most impressive monument I have come across so far in all my studies of Irish Archaeology. Why didn’t they flash this image anywhere in college,and why doesn’t Kildare tourism use this more? It’s pretty unique (aside from two other similar structures nearby) to say the least. Built in 1743 by Katherine Connolly, it was a relief project to provide local people with employment during a famine at the time. It was supposed to be a place to store grain from the local clans of the O’Byrnes and the O’Tooles who visited the area looking for food. It’s a conical shaped building with an outdoor staircase of 94 steps wrapping itself around the seven story high  building. Grain was pulled up through the centre of the room and was spread on the floors to dry. The windows are made of oak and are unglazed to provide ventilation to the Barn. It’s easy to access being near the N4, but you’ll have to go through a field or two (there are nearby allotments nearby), but once you’re there you should have the place to yourself.

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References : A History of Celbridge by Tony Doohan



Leixlip Spa

A lot of you may be wondering why I’ve been picking smaller sites than what is displayed ( or even why this site is in Leixlip). ‘Why not talk about Maynooth Castle or the College or the churches LITTERED around the place?’ Well truth be told, because they are more famous they require more work and research! Whether to tackle them in parts, or not is a question for the future, but while I think about it, you’ll have to make do with sights that are not as well-known, but that are famous nevertheless. I did mention that this blog would include outlying areas around Maynooth. …

Leixlip Spa is about 5 minutes walk from Louisa Bridge train station, near the Royal Canal, found here.

It was discovered accidentally in 1793 when there was excavation work going on, while building the aqueduct for the Canal, and a thermal spring was discovered. The Canal Company diverted some water into the hexagonal stone basin. It helped bring a lot of tourism to Leixlip, literally hundreds of people,  and there were rumours that it had curative properties – not unlike what Holy Wells are known for.

It doesn’t look quite as spectacular as the History books make it out to be these days however.

It rivaled Lucan Spa for a while, and Thomas Conolly had planned to build a hotel and pump-house nearby, but died before anything had begun. The Lucan Spa became more popular however and no doubt the Spa became neglected. It was renovated in 1975.

Go see it for yourself!

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Sources: A History of Leixlip, Co. Kildare by Gerald Nelson

Aspects of Leixlip- Four Historical Essays by Linda Curran, Valerie Twomey, Patricia Donohoe and Suzanne Pegley