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Foremass Lower, County Tyrone


Ir. Formhás ‘outlying hill’ + E. Lower


The element más ‘thigh’ or ‘buttock’ is one of several anatomical terms that feature in place-names. Más typically refers to a long, low hill, and appears anglicised as Maas in Co. Donegal, and as Mace in Cos Galway and Mayo (Flanagan & Flanagan 1994, 120).

Más in this name is preceded by for-, which might be the Irish prefix of the same spelling for- ‘outer, external; great, extreme’, and interpreted as ‘outlying hill’.

Ó Máille (1987, 33) gives farand foras alternative forms of or, which he interprets as ‘border, edge’.  In the earlier language, the word oris attested in the sense of ‘a limit, boundary, extreme’, and also ‘bank (of a river)’ (DIL sv.). 

Alternatively, this component might be an Anglicisation of fuar ‘cold’, which would be supported by the early forms which feature -u- in the position of -o- in the modern form.  Fuar appears as a prefix in Fuarleaca ‘cold flagstone’ (Forelacka) in Co. Offaly, Fuarchoill ‘cold wood’ (anglicised variously across the country).



Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Furufasietra1609Esch. Co. Map
Furnaseightra1611CPR Jas I 211b
Furnosowtra1611CPR Jas I 211b
Furnaseightra1629Inq. Ult. (Tyrone) $7 Car. I
Furnoseightra1629Inq. Ult. (Tyrone) $7 Car. I
Furnosowtra1629Inq. Ult. (Tyrone) $7 Car. I
Formes1655cCiv. Surv. 330
Twofarmases1655cCiv. Surv. 311
formase1655cCiv. Surv. 310
(?)Fermosetra1661Inq. Ult. (Tyrone) $13 Car. II
(?)Finniusytra1661Inq. Ult. (Tyrone) $13 Car. II
Formagh1666HMR Tyr. (2) 222
Formas-Etrh1666HMR Tyr. (2) 222
Foremas (Revd J. McGuirke)1830cClergyman (RC) (OSNB) C34 Tmgk
Formas (Revd J. McGuirke)1830cClergyman (RC) (OSNB) C34 Tmgk
Formass Upper & Lower1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) 129:No.25
Formás ""round thick hill""1830cOSNB: gen. sources C34 Tmgk
Formas - Round Hill1833cJ O'D (OSNB) 129:No.25
Foremas (x 5, Manr Ballygawley, Prop. Col.Verner)1834cOSNB: gen. sources 129:No.25
Foremass1835cOSM xx 57
~for mas - A round hill1920cTNCT 13
Errigal Keerogue
Parish in 1851
Errigal Keerogue
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