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Rossaa, County Fermanagh


Of uncertain origin


The elementros in place-names can refer to either a peninsula or a wood (Joyce i 443) but in the case of this townland on the shore of Lough Nilly, ‘peninsula’ might be a more likely interpretation.

The identity of the second element is less clear. In the form assigned to John O’Donovan, the name is interpreted as Ros Raith ‘fruitful or plentiful promontory’, although this form is not entirely representative of the linguistic forms available.

Dependent on confirmation of stress patterns we might suggest that the second syllable can be attributed to a derivational suffix, perhaps -ach, although there can be little sense made of a form such as Rossach ‘place of the promontory’, or we might be tempted to revert to the secondary meaning ‘wood’ and Rossach ‘place of the wood’. Indeed, Ó Dónaill provides rosach ‘woodied’ or ‘promontoried’, and these might appear in a nominal sense here, as bare elements given the absence of any evidence of truncation.

Alternatively, we might consider the element rosach ‘brushwood, thicket, overgrown site’, which in its oblique form would appear as Rosaigh, which might well be represented in the earlier forms Rosay (1609, 1611) and in the 19th century forms Rossaigh (1817) and Rossoy (1835c).


FK (2019)

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
rosay1609Esch. Co. Map 7
Rosay & Longe 1 tate (Bryan oge Magwire)1611CPR Jas I 211b
~Rossaigh1817GJM M'stephana (OSNB) 54 B160 Clanawl
Rossoy1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) 54 B160
~Ros Raith ""fruitful or plentiful promontory""1834cJ O'D (OSNB) 54 B160
Rossoy1835cOSM xiv 82[?]
Rossoy td 15 acres of plantation1835cOSM xiv 82[?]
Parish in 1851
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