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Fionnmhach Loading...
genitive: Fhionnmhach
(Irish)
Fennagh Loading...
(English)
Explanatory note
  • Gaeilge

    fair, white plain
    < fionn + magh

    Ta an Comórtas Treabhdóireachta 2019 ar siúl sa bhaile fearainn Baile an Treathain (#3532) a bhfuil cuid de suite sa pharóiste dlí Fionnmhach. Tá sé d’ádh againn go dtagann tagairt chinnte don dara logainm seo anuas chugainn ó ré na Meán-Ghaeilge (1150c.Mo Macru mac Senain .i. abb Cluana hÉdnech i Láigis … & i Findmaig i Fothartaibh’ i bhFéilire Aonghasa), chomh maith le roinnt foirmeacha traslitrithe i gcáipéisí luatha Laidine (m.sh. 1305 ‘Fynmath’). Dá bhrí sin níl aon dabht faoi bhunús an logainm — comhfhocal den déantús fionn “fair, white” + magh “plain” atá ann. Mar sin féin níor mhiste an leagan oifigiúil Fionnmhach a mhíniú.

    Is é an fhoirm chaighdeánach Nua-Ghaeilge den fhocal Sean-Ghaeilge mag “plain”, ach i bhformhór glan na logainmneacha ina bhfuil an focal seo le fáil, is é an logthuiseal/tuiseal tabharthach maigh atá i gceist. Tugann an fhoirm infhillte sin leaganacha béarlaithe ar nós Moyacomb < Maigh Dhá Chonn (#358), ainm paróiste ar theorainn Cheatharlach le Cill Mhantáin, Maynooth (1837 ‘Mwee Nuadhat’) < Maigh Nuad (#1416489) i gCill Dara, Moira < Maigh Rath (#1411612) i gContae an Dúin, Mayo < Maigh Eo (#100023) i gCúige Chonnacht, Moynalty < Maigh nEalta (#1414676) i gContae na Mí, srl. Is minic freisin a fhuaimnítear maigh mar a bheadh ma’, go háirithe i Leath Mhogha, m.sh. Molahiffe < Maigh Fhlaithimh (#1115) i gContae Chiarraí, Macroom < Maigh Chromtha (#11513) i gContae Chorcaí. Féach an éagsúlacht fuaimnithe i gcanúintí an lae inniu ar an dobhriathar/réamhfhocal/aidiacht amuigh, a bhfuil an focal céanna ann ó cheart — tagann sé ó SG i mmuig (tuis. tabh.) “in the plain .i. outside”.

    Faightear corrshampla den tuiseal ainmneach/áinsíoch magh i logainmneacha chomh maith, agus tá éagsúlacht shuntasach i bhfuaimniú an fhocail sin freisin ar fud na tíre mar gheall ar an -gh leathan deiridh a bheith neamhchoitianta sa Nua-Ghaeilge. Leaganacha béarlaithe de (An) Magh iad na samplaí seo a leanas go léir, cuir i gcás: Muff i gContae an Chabháin (#3769), i gContae Dhún na nGall (#1416622) agus in áiteanna eile i gCúige Uladh; Maw (#18380) i gContae na Gaillimhe agus Maws (#25431) i gContae Chill Dara (1540 ‘The Mawe’); Moe (#7648) i gContae an Chláir; Maugh (#9866) i gContae Chorcaí; agus Mough (1836 ‘moch … guttural’) (#30274) i gContae Liatroma.

    Dála an scéil tá sampla eile den fhuaimniú deiridh seo Magh > *Mach le fáil i bhfocal atá in úsáid againn go laethúil. Luamar thuas an focal NG amuigh a thagann ó SG i mmuig (tuis. tabh.) “in the plain” — tagann an dobhriathar/aidiacht amach ó SG immach < i mmag (tuis. áins.) “into the plain”.

    Tá samplaí eile den logainm céanna seo idir chamáin le fáil ar fud na tíre .i. comhfhocail de fionn + ma(i)gh, agus tá éagsúlacht fuaimnithe le sonrú iontusan freisin. Mar shampla, feicimid an fhoirm infhillte maigh sa logainm Fionnmhaigh/Finvoy (#33568) i gContae Lú — gan mórán athrú ón tagairt is luaithe 1301 ‘Finwy’. Ach scéal eile atá ann i dtuaisceart Chontae Thiobraid Árann, mar ar fhorbair 1306 ‘Fynvach’, 1418 ‘findmach’ go 1615 ‘Finoa’, 1840 ‘fionnúdh’ — ainm an pharóiste Fionnú/Finnoe (#2177) atá i gceist, agus is é forbairt atá le tuiscint Fionnmhagh (> Fionnmhaigh?) > Fionnmha’ > Fionnamha’ le guta cúnta > Fionnú. (Díol spéise go bhfuil seanfhoirm den tuiseal ginideach Fionnú/Finnoe (#2177) le sonrú in ainm an bhaile fearainn Béal Átha Fionnmhaí/Ballyfinboy (#45932) sa pharóiste céanna: 1580 ‘Beala fynvoye’, 1675 ‘Ballyfinavoy’, srl.) An fhorbairt chéanna a thug an logainm Darú/Durrow (#1416674) i gContae Laoise, ar comhfhocal é de dar “oak” (SG daur) + magh: féach 1156 ‘Daurmagh Ua nDuach’, 1303 ‘Deruagh’, 1450 ‘Dyrwagh’ a fhorbairt go 1566 ‘Dorrow’, 1905 ‘dhroo’ srl. — is é sin, Darmhagh > Darmha’ > Daramha’ > Darú.

    I gContae Phort Láirge tá sampla againn de -ch a dhéanamh den -gh leathan deiridh: féach 1302 ‘Fynvach’ a fhorbairt go 1540 ‘ffynoghe’, 1840 ‘fionnúch’ in ainm an pharóiste Fionnúch/Fenoagh (#2381). Tháinig guta cúnta sa charn -nmh- agus rinne -ú- den -amha- ina dhiaidh sin .i. Fionnmhach > Fionnamhach > Fionnúch, díreach mar a tharla i gcás Fionnú/Finnoe i dTiobraid Árann.

    Bhí an scéal amhlaidh sa logainm seo Fionnmhach i gContae Cheatharlach ó thaobh -gh > -ch de, ach dhealródh sé gur cailleadh an -mh- as an gcarn -nmh- gan an fhorbairt chéanna go -amha- > -ú-: d’fhorbair 1302 ‘Fynfach’, 1305 ‘Fynmath’ go dtí 1507 ‘Fynnogh’, agus má bhí aon fhadú sa dara siolla is beag rian de atá fágtha inniu. D’fhéadfadh sé gur dhifríochtaí sa córas béime idir Ceatharlach agus Tiobraid Árann/Port Láirge faoi ndear an dá fhorbairt éagsúla seo, ach is deacair a bheith cinnte faoin bhfuaimniú déanach sa Ghaeilge toisc go bhfuil an t-ainm béarlaithe le guta gairid sa dara siolla seanbhunaithe ó thús an 16ú haois i leith. (Cuir i gcás Móin Alúine (#109015), Cnoc Alúine (#109003) i gContae Chill Dara: simplíodh an fuaimniú béarlaithe ó 1298 ‘Alewyne’ go dtí ‘Allon’ faoin 16ú haois agus daingníodh an leagan ‘Allen’ ón 17ú haois ar aghaidh — ach ba é *Alamhain/*Alúin a ghlaoigh Gaeilgeoirí Chill Dara air ar feadh an ama sin (1837 ‘the pronunciation … by the few who speak Irish in the County’, ‘called at present in Irish Cnoc Allowin’ LSO CD II 40, 46).) Ó thaobh an leagain oifigiúil de, cé gur ghá an t-athrú fuaime a léiriú i logainmneacha ar nós Darú, Fionnúch, srl., mholamar an litriú Fionnmhach sa logainm seo faoi chaibidil toisc nach bhfuil dóthain fianaise ar an bhforbairt chéanna sa chás seo.

    Mar scor, tabharfar faoi deara gurb ionann foirm an ainmnigh agus foirm an ghinidigh (.i. is é Fionnmhach ainm na háite féin, agus déarfaí Paróiste Fhionnmhach, muintir Fhionnmhach, srl.). Tá sé seo ar mhúnla na foirme ginidí ‘paraiste an úch’ [Paróiste Fhionnúch] a breacadh ó mhuintir na háite i bhFhionnúch (#2381) i bPort Láirge i 1840, a thaispeánann gur fhoirm chalctha í Fionnúch (< Fionnmhach) sa chanúint dhéanach, is é sin le rá nach n-infhilltí go gramadúil í a thuilleadh.

  • English

    fair, white plain
    < fionn + magh

    The Ploughing Championships 2019 are being held in Baile an Treathain/Ballintrane (#3532), part of which is located in the civil parish of Fionnmhach/Fenagh. We are fortunate to have a definite reference to this placename from the Middle Irish period (1150c.Mo Macru mac Senain .i. abb Cluana hÉdnech i Láigis … & i Findmaig i Fothartaibh’ in the Calendar of Oengus), as well as a number of transliterated forms in early documents written in Latin (e.g. 1305 ‘Fynmath’), and there is no question about its origin — it is a compound of fionn “fair, white” + magh “plain”. Nevertheless a word can be said about the official Irish version Fionnmhach.

    The standard Modern Irish form of the Old Irish word mag “plain” is , but the form found in the vast majority of the placenames in which the word occurs is the locative/dative case maigh. This inflected form produces anglicized versions such as Moyacomb < Maigh Dhá Chonn (#358), the name of a parish on the border of Carlow with Wicklow, Maynooth (1837 ‘Mwee Nuadhat’) < Maigh Nuad (#1416489) in County Kildare, Moira < Maigh Rath (#1411612) in County Down, Mayo < Maigh Eo (#100023) in Connacht, Moynalty < Maigh nEalta (#1414676) in County Meath, etc. Maigh is also often pronounced ma’, especially in the south of Ireland, e.g. Molahiffe < Maigh Fhlaithimh (#1115) in County Kerry, Macroom < Maigh Chromtha (#11513) in County Cork. Compare the modern variety of pronunciation of the adverb/preposition/adjective amuigh “outside”, which contains the same word (it derives from OIr. i mmuig (dat. case) “in the plain, i.e., outside”).

    A few examples of the nominative/accusative case magh are also found in placenames, and this word also displays great variety around the country owing to the unusual final broad -gh. The following examples are different anglicizations of (An) Magh: Muff in County Cavan (#3769), County Donegal (#1416622) and elsewhere in Ulster; Maw (#18380) in County Galway and Maws (#25431) in County Kildare (1540 ‘The Mawe’); Moe (#7648) in County Clare; Maugh (#9866) in County Cork; and Mough (1836 ‘moch … guttural’) (#30274) in County Leitrim.

    As it happens, the pronunciation of Magh as *Mach, as in the placename last mentioned, is also found in an Irish word which almost everybody is familiar with. We mentioned above that Mod. Ir. amuigh “(situated) outside” derives from OIr. i mmuig (dat. case) “in the plain” — the adverb/adjective amach “(going) out” comes from OIr. immach < i mmag (acc. case) “into the plain”.

    Other examples of the compound fionn + ma(i)gh as found in the placename under discussion occur throughout the country, and again there is much variety. For example, we see the inflected form maigh in the placename Fionnmhaigh/Finvoy (#33568) in County Louth — with no great change from the earliest reference 1301 ‘Finwy’. It is a different story in north County Tipperary, however, where 1306 ‘Fynvach’, 1418 ‘findmach’ developed to 1615 ‘Finoa’, 1840 ‘fionnúdh’ — this is the parish name Fionnú/Finnoe (#2177), and the development to be inferred is Fionnmhagh (> Fionnmhaigh?) > Fionnmha’ > Fionnamha’ with epenthetic vowel > Fionnú. (It is interesting to note that an older genitive form of Fionnú (#2177) can be seen in the name of the townland Béal Átha Fionnmhaí/Ballyfinboy (#45932) in the same parish: 1580 ‘Beala fynvoye’, 1675 ‘Ballyfinavoy’, etc.) The same development produced the placename Darú/Durrow (#1416674) in County Laois, which is a compound of dar “oak” (OIr. daur) + magh: see 1156 ‘Daurmagh Ua nDuach’, 1303 ‘Deruagh’, 1450 ‘Dyrwagh’ developing to 1566 ‘Dorrow’, 1905 ‘dhroo’, etc. — that is, Darmhagh > Darmha’ > Daramha’ > Darú.

    In County Waterford we have, again, an example of the broad final -gh becoming -ch: see 1302 ‘Fynvach’ developing to 1540 ‘ffynoghe’, 1840 ‘fionnúch’ in the parish name Fionnúch/Fenoagh (#2381). An epenthetic vowel developed in the cluster -nmh- and the resulting -amha- became -ú-, i.e., Fionnmhach > Fionnamhach > Fionnúch, just as in Fionnú/Finnoe in Tipperary.

    It was a similar situation in the present name Fionnmhach in County Carlow as far as -gh > -ch was concerned, but it would appear that the -mh- dropped out of the cluster -nmh- without the same development to -amha- > -ú-: 1302 ‘Fynfach’, 1305 ‘Fynmath’ developed to 1507 ‘Fynnogh’, and if there was any compensatory lengthening of the vowel in the second syllable there is little trace of it today. These divergent developments may be due to differences in the stress patterns in Carlow and Tipperary/Waterford, but it is difficult to be certain of the late Irish pronunciation because the modern anglicized version, with a short vowel in the second syllable, has been established since the first half of the 16th century. (Compare Móin Alúine/Bog of Allen (#109015), Cnoc Alúine/Hill of Allen (#109003) in County Kildare. The anglicized form of that name was simplified from 1298 ‘Alewyne’ to ‘Allon’ by the 16th century and the version ‘Allen’ was established from the 17th century onwards. However, the Irish speakers of Kildare were still pronouncing the name *Alamhain/*Alúin in the later period (1837 ‘the pronunciation … by the few who speak Irish in the County’, ‘called at present in Irish Cnoc Allowin’ OSL Kildare II 40, 46).) The official Irish name of Fenagh is spelled Fionnmhach because although it was necessary to show the sound change in the spelling of placenames like Darú/Durrow, Fionnúch/Fenoagh, etc., there was not enough evidence for the same development in this case.

    Finally, it will be noticed that the nominative and genitive forms of the name are identical (i.e., Fionnmhach is the name of the place itself, and Paróiste Fhionnmhach would be said for “the parish of Fenagh”, muintir Fhionnmhach for “the people of Fenagh”, etc.). This is modelled on the genitive form ‘paraiste an úch’ [Paróiste Fhionnúch] recorded from Irish speakers in Fionnúch/Fenoagh (#2381) in Waterford in 1840, which shows that the form Fionnúch (< Fionnmhach) had been fossilized in the later dialect, that is to say it was no longer grammatically inflected.

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