Mar le Woodford de, ní fíor gur sine Gráig na Muilte Iarainn ná An Ghráig, ach a mhalairt!
Is é an tagairt is sine do bhaile fearainn An Ghráig / Woodford, ina bhfuil an sráidbhaile den ainm céanna suite, ná Graige (bliain 1667, Acts of Settlement and Explanation). Tá tagairt shuimiúil don sráidbhaile i ndialann a scríobhadh i ndeireadh an 17ú haois dar teideal, The journal of John Stevens, containing a brief account of the war in Ireland, 1689–1691:
"At length having passed what was left of the solitude we came to a small place the English call Woodford and the Irish Graig, where it being St. James's Day we halted and heard mass." lch.154 (http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/E680002-001/index.html).
Sa dialann réamhráite, luaitear na muilte iarainn a bhí san áit sin: "At Woodford there is an iron work in the bottom upon a small river that falls into the Shannon: the town stands on the hill above it." Tá a thuilleadh eolais i dtaobh na muilte iarainn i saothar Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837), faoi Woodford: 'about 60 years since an extensive iron-foundry was carried on here' (féach Acmhainní Eolais, logainm.ie). In Ainmleabhar Paróiste na Suirbhéireachta Ordanáis (bliain 1837) scríobhadh Woodford i mBéarla agus Gráig i nGaeilge. Is iad na leaganacha Gaeilge a bhailigh Heinrich Wagner sa bhliain 1955 dá Linguistic Atlas and Survey of Irish Dialects ó chainteoirí Gaeilge in oirthear na Gaillimhe ná 'P(a)ráiste na Gráige' agus an sampla seo, 'bhí me ar an nGráig inné'. Nuair a bhí ball dar bhfoireann-na ag bailiú eolais faoi bhailte poist an cheantair sa bhliain 1958, d'airigh sé Gráig ó cheathrar cainteoirí agus Gráig na Muilte Iarainn ó bheirt (bhí an leagan gearr agus an leagan fada den ainm ag cainteoir eile fós).
Cuireadh Gráig na Muilte Iarainn i gcló in Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge, imleabhar XII agus XV. Bhí Seosamh Laoide ina eagarthóir ar na Irisleabhar ar feadh tréimhse agus thug seisean aitheantas do Gráig na Muilte Iarainn ina leabhar Post-Sheanchas (1905), mar a bhfaightear foirmeacha Gaeilge bhaile poist na hÉireann. Ní mór a rá go raibh luí ag an Laoideach le leaganacha fada logainmneacha. Ghlac Risteárd Ó Foghludha leis an bhfoirm chéanna i leabhar dar teideal Log-ainmneacha (1935). Bhí an-tionchar ag an dá leabhar réamhluaite ar litriú ainmneacha na mbailte poist i nGaeilge.
An Ghráig an t-ainm oifigiúil Gaeilge atá ar an mbaile ó 1969 i leith. Tá an leagan (gearr) sin ar taifead ón 17ú haois agus bhí sé fós ar bhéalaibh Gaeilgeoirí sa bhfichiú haois.
An Ghráig is earlier than Gráig na Muilte Iarainn as the Irish name of Woodford.
The following is the earliest extant reference to the townland of Woodford / An Ghráig in which the village of the same name is situated: Graige (dated 1667, Acts of Settlement and Explanation). There is an interesting reference to the village in a diary which was written towards the end of the 17th century entitled, The journal of John Stevens, containing a brief account of the war in Ireland, 1689–1691:
"At length having passed what was left of the solitude we came to a small place the English call Woodford and the Irish Graig, where it being St. James's Day we halted and heard mass." page 154 (http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/E680002-001/index.html).
The afore-mentioned journal refers to the iron-works that were located here: "At Woodford there is an iron work in the bottom upon a small river that falls into the Shannon: the town stands on the hill above it." Further information about the iron-works was recorded by Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837), in an entry about Woodford: 'about 60 years since an extensive iron-foundry was carried on here' (see Information resources, logainm.ie). In the relevant Ordnance Survey Parish Namebook (dated 1837), Woodford was recorded as the contemporary English name and Gráig as the Irish name. The Irish name was subsequently recorded as follows from native Irish speakers in East Galway by the Celtic scholar Heinrich Wagner in 1955 in conjunction with his Linguistic Atlas and Survey of Irish Dialects: 'P(a)ráiste na Gráige' (i.e. 'the parish of...') and also, 'bhí me ar an nGráig inné' (i.e. 'I was in Woodford yesterday'). A member of the Placenames Office, while collecting information towards establishing the official Irish names of post-towns in the district in 1958, recorded the Irish name as Gráig from four informants and Gráig na Muilte Iarainn from two informants (both short and long forms of the name were recorded from a further informant).
The Irish name was published as Gráig na Muilte Iarainn in Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge / The Gaelic Journal, volumes XII and XV. Seosamh Laoide, who was also editor of Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge for a time, gave further recognition to Gráig na Muilte Iarainn in his book Post-Sheanchas (1905), which is a gazetteer of post-towns and various other Irish names. Laoide expressly stated his preference for long forms of placenames. Another Irish scholar, Risteárd Ó Foghludha, also published the long form of the placename in a book entitled Log-ainmneacha (1935). The two aforesaid publications exerted a great influence on the spelling of placenames in Irish.
An Ghráig is the official Irish form of Woodford since 1969. That particular form of the name is on record since the 17th century and it continued to be used by native Irish speakers into the 20th century.
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.
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