There are certainly strange and wonderful place names around the county, from exotic to the unpronounceable with some strange spellings thrown in for fun – non locals can struggle with some Leitrim placenames. Usually if you do some research you will find the true meaning of the name and if you are truly lucky you will head a story about the name’s origins.
In the parish of Killargue about four miles from Manorhamilton is a town land called Leimaskally. Here is the story of how it got its name:
Dromahair was the capital of Breffni and their Chieftain O’Rourke lived there. The chieftain had a dispute with his eldest son who was to succeed him as chief. The son fled away from home. The father was very much grieved at this and sent out a notice that if anyone would bring an Ceann Ui Rurairc to Dromahair they would receive a reward.
The son was hiding in the mountains of Slieve Aneruin. The Mulvies were chieftains of this district. They captured young O’Rourke and beheaded him and four of them brought the head to Dromahair.
They placed the head before the father and demanded the reward. O’Rourke was full of grief, but he still was the proud O’Rourke and would not break his word. He paid the reward but he told them it would only be the lord who could save them if his guards should return.
Having got the reward they set out with all haste.
Meanwhile O’Rourke guards returned and set out in pursuit of them. They were closing up on them in the parish of Killargue. Here they came to a tributary of the Bonet that was very wide. One of the guards cleared the river in a jump – none of the others were able to do so. The place is known ever since as Leimaskally which means “Kelly’s jump.”
Collected from Scoil Chluainín, Boys NS Manorhamilton by Joe McKenna, Main St, Manorhamilton.
Manorhamilton so worded, After Hamilton who lorded,
Near and Far as he might own it, All the country near the Bonet,
Old romances tell the story, Ruined walls and legends hoary,
How Sir Fredrick from his Castle, As the burning stronghold fell,
Made a rush and seized his black steed,In the darkness rode pell mell
Louder yelled the Irish raiders, Tower and battlement gave way
Of that structure; those invaders, Noble ruins speak today.
Collected from Scoil Whiterock, Cluain Chláir, The late Miss Elliott of Moneenlum spent all her spare time writing poetry. She was dead about 15 years in 1938.
How Glenade got it’s name
One day two chieftains named Glancy came to Glenade from Dartry. When they came to the boundary between Carraduff and Maugheramore, a small stream attracted their notice.
This stream ran down from the mountains and when it reached the mearing between Carraduff and Maugheramore it formed two smaller streams.
One half of it ran down the hill and the other upwards until it lost itself in Glenade Lake.
The men named then named this valley “Glenade” because they concluded that the two streams quaralled and then parted from each other in a fit of jealousy!
Collected from Glenade NS by from Pat McNulty (83) farmer from Carraduff, Glenade
How Ballintrillick for it’s name
The word Ballintrillick means ‘the way of the three stones.’
In the townland of Shancruck there are three large stones. These were thrown down from the mountain by Fionn Mac Cool long ago and it is from these it derives it’s name.
Not far from where these stones are situated there is a large cave in the mountain. It is said that a man named Diarmuid lived here for some time until he was killed by a wild boar.
Collected from Cloonty NS, Rossinver, author unknown.
Leitrim School’s Folklore archive (1937-38) is available in Leitrim County Library and is the property of the National Folklore Collection UCD.