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Glengomna, County Derry


Ir. Gleann Gamhna "valley of the calf"


The gleann here is clearly the valley through which the Glengomna Water now runs.  The identity of the second element is slightly more problematic.  O'Donovan (followed by Joyce) opts for  gamhnach  "a stripper or milch cow" but none of the anglicized forms show any sign of a final spirant (Irish ch). While the ch in unstressed - ach  tends to disappear in Ulster, it is generally well-preserved in spellings of the 17th century (see O'Rahilly 1932, 210, and compare Brackagh and Tonaght in this parish).  Munn seems to have gamhain in mind when he translates the Irish as "calf", although historically this word was never declined in the manner that he indicates .  One of the many stories collected by O'Donovan during his visit to Ballynascreen accounts for the name in the following way.  The famous cow called Glasgavlin had a calf in the valley of Glengomna and, having calved, her milk poured forth from her udder in such torrents that the whole valley was flooded by it.  It was in commemoration of this that the local inhabitants called the valley Gleann Gamhna "the glen of the calf" (OSL (Derry) 86).


Toner (1996, 24)

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Glanganny1657cHib. Reg. Loughinsholin
Glangarony1672cHib. Del. Co.Londondery
Glangawny1672cHib. Del. Derry
Glengawna1813Sampson's Map
~Glean gabhanagh ""the close glen""1821MacCloskey's Stat. Report 62
Glengomna1830cGrand Jury Pres. (OSNB) No. 16
~Gleann Gamhna ""the glen of the calf""1834OSL (Derry) 86
Glen-+gom-na1834cOSNB Pron. No.16
Glengomna1834cTitle Deeds (OSNB) No. 16
Glengomna1834cReceived usage No. 16
~Gleann gamhnach ""Glen of the strippers or milch c1834cJ O'D (OSNB) No. 16
Glengavney (x2)1836OSM (Loughrey) 32
~Gleann-gamhnach ""glen of milch cows""1913Joyce iii 367
~Gleann-gamhnach ""The glen of the calf""1925Munn's Notes 47
Parish in 1851
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