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Leraw, County Fermanagh

Origin

Ir. Leathráth  “half fort”

Background

Leraw lies approximately one mile to the north of Lisnaskea.

The name of the townland clearly goes back to the Irish form Leathráth as previously suggested.  However, its exact significance is not immediately apparent.  The explanation put forward by Donnell Maguire and Joyce respectively that it means “half fort”, “half rath or fort, one half having been cut away” certainly seems plausible.  The prefix leath- can also mean “lopsided, tilted” (Ó Dónaill sv.) and “lopsided or tilted fort” is therefore another possible explanation.  There is now no trace or record of a fort in the townland.

Lishleyrea (1620) appears to suggest that the place-name was at one stage prefixed by the element Lios “fort”.  A similar tendency to prefix Lis- to names containing the element ráth - which also means “fort” - is found in the English documentation of the names of the townlands of Rahack Glebe and Relessy in the Tyrone portion of the parish and in all these cases the presence of Lis- seems best understood as an indication that the place-name refers to a fort, rather than as evidence that lios originally formed an element in the place-name.

The other “alias name” for Leraw, i.e. Skyaghneguerragh (1620), clearly represents Irish Sciath Ghabhra “shield (or fortress) of white horses” (albeit with an intrusive medial –ne-).  Sciath Ghabhra was the original name for the Moate Fort in the neighbouring townland of Cornashee and this raises the possibility that this is the fort referred to in the name Leraw, though it seems more likely that the latter referred to another fort which has now been destroyed. 

 

A similar anglicization of Irish ráth as raw is found in the name of the townland of Raw (<Táite an Rátha “tate of the fort”) which lies in the north-eastern portion of the parish.


References

(info. from McKay, P. (2004): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 8 p. 138)

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
(?)Lereagh1612CPR Jas I 232b
Leyrea al. Lishleyrea al. Skyaghneguerragh1620CPR Jas I 482b
Leghre1630Inq. Ult. (Fermanagh) $24 Car.I
Lyra1659Census 1659 106
Learrawgh1680BSD (Ó Maolagáin) 542
Learaw1817GJM M'stephana (OSNB) B62
Leraw1824HC Sur.& Val.(OSNB) B62
Leiraw1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) B62
Leeraw1833Mr Buck's Letter (OSNB) B62
Leraw1834cSur. & Val. Lisnaskea Est. (OSNB) B62
~Leath Ráth ""Half fort""1834cDonnell Maguire (OSNB) B62
Leraw1862Griffith's Val.
~Leath-rath ""half rath or fort, one half having be1913Joyce iii 469
Barony
Magherastephana
Parish
Aghalurcher
Parish in 1851
Aghalurcher
Townland
None
Place name ID
19463
Place name type
T