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Altaturk, County Armagh


Ir. Alt Toirc ‘Boar’s Ravine or Glen’


The Irish element alt has been, somewhat confusingly, construed as meaning both ‘mountain’ and ‘ravine’ (Flanagan & Flanagan 1994, 14), following the element ált ‘a ravine, a gully, a deep precipitous narrow glen’ (Dinneen). In place-names, however, alt it is usually translated as ‘height’ and typically appears in the same form in anglicised names. The similar element allt ‘cliff, side of glen’ also appears as alt- in anglicised forms and it is often difficult to confirm which of the two elements alt­- derives from. Allt can also mean ‘brook’, although mainly in Scotland in names such as Allt a' Bhonnaich, Bannockburn (Dinneen). In the absence of any obvious ‘height’ in the area, we have no cause to disagree with the NIPNP proposal of alt ‘ravine or glen’.

While the later forms Alteturke (1664), Altaturk (1830c) and Altaturke (1835) appear to indicate the presence of the definite article an, introducing the qualifying element. The earlier forms contain no evidence of a medial syllable which means the medial syllable of the modern form might have been introduced as a result of epenthesis.

The second element is torc ‘boar’ which is relatively common in Irish place-names (see also Dún Toirc ‘fort of the boar’ in Co. Down), as is the name of the domesticated pig muc.



Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Alturke1609Esch. Co. Map 5.28
Alturke1610CPR Jas I 166b
Alturcke 1 balliboe1637Inq. Ult. (Armagh) $23 Car. I
Alturke1657Inq. Arm. (Paterson) 231
Alturk & Deryne Scopp1659cCensus 1659 39
Altlerke 60 acr''1661Inq. Ult. (Armagh) $6 Car. II
Alturke1661BSD 45
Alteturke1664HMR Murray (1941) 186
Altaturk1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) A154 54
Alt a'' tuirc ""height or glen of the hog or wild bo1835J O'D (OSNB) A154 54
Altaturke1835Land agent (OSNB) A154 54
Oneilland West
Parish in 1851
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