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Carnamoney, County Derry


Ir. Ceathrú na Móna "the quarterland of the bog"


The current local pronunciation is particularly useful in determining the origin of the final element of this name. The majority of people I spoke to pronounced this part of the name with a long closed o (as in bone), indicating a derivation from móin "bog", rather than from muine "thicket" with which móin is often confused in place-names (see Toner 1991-3). The alternative pronunciation (with a final element sounding like munny) is almost certainly due to the influence of the spelling, although such confusion is at least as old as the 1830s when a local pronunciation was first collected. The heathy land in the north of the townland and on the slopes of Slievemoyle is probably the "bog" to which the name refers (described as "heath" in OSNB).

The first element is also open to a number of interpretations, many of which have been suggested by previous writers. It is perhaps not unlikely, however, that is represents Irish ceathrú "quarterland". A similar shortening of ceathrú is witnessed in the name Carmeen in the parish of Clonallan, Co. Down, and in the name Carnafarn and Carnakilly (Upper and Lower) in the Co. Derry parishes of Clondermot and Faughanvale respectively. Unfortunately, the frequency with which n, r and u are confused in early documents makes it difficult to be sure about the form in the 17th centurym and this makes it correspondingly harder to verify any suggested etymology. There is one spelling (1657) which can only be interpreted as ceathrú, although little weight can be attributed to what is almost certainly a rogue spelling, as other forms in the same document and in related documents remain more ambiguous.

The element ceathrú forms or begins the names of well over 700 townlands throughout Ireland (Joyce i 244). It often signifies a quarter of a ballybetagh which is here equivalent to 16 townlands, but this is hardly its sense here. McErlean (1983, 318) notes that in Derry, the quarter is further divided into three, or more commonly four, parts and so ceathrú here may be more or less equivalent to a townland or a ballyboe (that is, a sixteenth or a ballybetagh). A similar meaning is suggested by the name Carrowmenagh, Irish Ceathrú Mheánach "middle quarter", in the nearby parish of Killelagh.


Toner (1996, 13-14)

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Carramony1609Esch. Co. Map 14
Carn Money1613Lond. Comp. Valuation 309
Corramony1613Charter of Londonderry 391
Carnmane1622Phillips MSS (Maps) Plate 28
Carnemoney1654Civ. Surv. iii 177
Carramony1657Bishop. Der. i 266
Carrowmony, the small proportion of1657Bishop. Der. i 277
Carnemony1659cCensus 1659 137
Carnemoney1661BSDc 63
Carnomoney1663HMR (Ò Doibhlin 2) 67
Carnamoney1813Sampson's Map
~Carn a moiniadh ""mound of stones in the bog""1821MacCloskey's Stat. Report 62
~Cuir na moinead ""the pits in the bog""1821MacCloskey's Stat. Report 62
Carnamoney1830cGrand Jury Pres. (OSNB) No. 16
Car-na-+mun-ny1834cOSNB Pron. No. 16
Carnamoney1834cReceived usage No. 16
Carnamoney1834cTitle Deeds (OSNB) No. 16
~Ceathramha na mona ""bog quarter""1834cJ O'D (OSNB) No. 16
~Ceathramha na muine ""quarter of the brake""1834cJ O'D (OSNB) No. 16
""carn of the shrubbery""1913Joyce iii 168
~Carn-na-muine ""The cairn of the shrubbery""1925Munn's Notes 45
Parish in 1851
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