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Tantybulk, County Fermanagh


Of uncertain origin


The first element place-name might derive from the Irish element tamhnach which is defined as ‘a cultivated or arable spot in a waste; a green field’ (Dinneen); ‘a grassy upland; arable place in mountain’ (Ó Dónaill); ‘a green field which produces fresh sweet grass’ (Joyce i 231). Tamhnach is very common in the place-names of Ulster and Connacht, and it can be anglicized as Tawnagh, Tawny, Tavanagh, Tavnagh, Tauna, Tannagh, Tamna(gh), Tamny etc. The sole historical form Tawnatebolge (1611) appears to suggest tamhnach.

The medial component, appearing as the third syllable -ty- and -te- is best explained with teach ‘house’ (gen. ) which often signifies ‘church’ in early place-names  (Muhr 2001, 12), although not in every case. In Tantybulk, there is no trace of any building of ecclesiastical significance and if correct, in this name probably refers simply to ‘house’ or ‘dwelling’. Note also names such as Corratanty (Corr an tSeantí‘round hill of the old house’) in Co. Monaghan which might suggest the first element is in fact Seantí ’old house’, although the historical forms reveal no element which might cause the appearance of -t on Seantí in first position.

The first element therefore might be Tamhnach Tí ‘field of the house’ or Seantí ‘old house’ although there is no overwhelming evidence in support of either of the two.

The element which appears in final position as -bulk and -bolge is probably the element bolg, the primary meaning of which is ‘belly’ or ‘midriff’ but can also be interpreted in place-names as ‘the inner point’ or ‘the centre’ (Dinneen). According to The Placenames Branch, bolg can also mean ‘gap’ or ‘bulge’ (


FK (2019)

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Tawnatebolge1611CPR Jas I 211b
Parish in 1851
Place name ID
Place name type