Béal Átha Feorainne
genitive: Bhéal Átha Feorainne
(Irish)
Ballyforan
(English)

Glossary

English ford
English opening, approach, mouth

Explanatory note

  • English

    The anglicised place-name Ballyforan in Roscommon is first attested in Irish in the Annals of Connacht as ‘i mBeol Atha Feorainne’ (see here; see also) dated at 1236. The standard Irish form Béal Átha Feorainne “approach to the ford of (at) the grassy riverside” (see dil.ie feórann), has been the official Irish form of the name since the passing of a place-names order in 1975. This Béal Átha Feorainne is based on this particular attested Irish form and other historical evidence for the place-name. Many anglicised examples of the name such as ‘Balleforin’ from 1597 could be understood to reflected an initial baile “town(land)”, but in light of the fact that béal is often realised as bally in the anglicisation of Irish place-names, and the fact that this place-name is actually attested in béal, there can be no doubt about an underlying initial béal here. Indeed, Béal is also occasionally clearly refected in historical anglicised forms of the name such as ‘Bealaforen’ (c. 1610), which serve to confirm the Irish precursor. The later Irish form ‘Baile Áth Feórainn’ is also attested, but this is clearly based on a misunderstanding of an initial baile which, as reflected by the evidence, is not the case in the original. Indeed, in the Ordnance Survey Letters from 1837 it is called ‘Ath Fearainn or Beal-Ath-Fearainn’ (see here) which also reflects Béal Átha Feorainne – the loss of the final vowel as seen in ‘Fearainn’ is not uncommon in spoken forms. Indeed, this word, feorainn, originally an Old Irish ā stem (see dil.ie feórann) has a regular genitive singular form feorainne, but it actually also developed an alternative genitive singular feorann in Modern Irish (see teanglann.ie feorainn).

Centrepoint

53.4704, -8.27323latitude, longitude
Irish Grid (with letter)
Computing...
Irish Grid (without letter)
Computing...
Irish Transverse Mercator (ITM)
Computing...

Historical references

1336
i mBeol Atha Feorainne
AConn.
1828
Ballyforan
TAB
1837
Ballyforan
BS:AL Leathanach: RC075,4
1837
Ballyforan
CM:AL Leathanach: RC075,4
1837
Bel aith feorainn, 'mouth of the ford of the beach or strand'
OD:AL Leathanach: RC075,4
1837
Bealafeoren
Inq. J I:AL Leathanach: RC075,4
1837
Bella feoren
Inq. J I:AL Leathanach: RC075,4
1837
Bealeaforren
Inq. J I:AL Leathanach: RC075,4
1837
Bellaforan
OD:AL Leathanach: RC075,4
1837
Ballyforan
"now universally so-called" [dúch dearg];
OD (corr.):AL Leathanach: RC075,4
1837
Ballyfornen
S&V:AL Leathanach: RC075,4
1837
Ballyforan
Kelly, W.D.:AL Leathanach: RC075,4
1837
Ballyforan
Barlow:AL Leathanach: RC075,4
1837
Ballyforan
Co. Treas. List:AL Leathanach: RC075,4
1837
Ballyforran
HCER 1826:AL Leathanach: RC075,4
1837
Ballyforan
["Weld, p.100, 101"];
Weld:AL Leathanach: RC075,4

Please note: Some of the documentation from the archives of the Placenames Branch is available here. It indicates the range of research contributions undertaken by the Branch on this placename over the years. It may not constitute a complete record, and evidence may not be sequenced on the basis of validity. It is on this basis that this material is made available to the public.

Archival and research material provided on this site may be used, subject to acknowledgement. Issues regarding republication or other permissions or copyright should be addressed to logainm@dcu.ie.