Barr an Fheadáin – Dr Niall Comer

Barr an Fheadáin – Dr. Niall Comer

Míníonn Dr Niall Comer, fear as an Iúr ó dhúchas é, an cúlra taobh thiar de na hainmneacha ‘Flagstaff’ agus ‘Fathom’ ar bhaile fearainn in Iúr Cinn Trá.
Newry native Dr. Niall Comer explains the name of Newry’s townland ‘Flagstaff’ and ‘Fathom’.

Tá muid anseo ar áit ar a dtugtar ‘Flagstaff’ insan cheantar anseo ach ní hea sin an t-ainm dúchasach atá leis an chuid seo den cheantar. Ar ndóigh tig an ‘Flagstaff’ ón dóigh a mbíodh bratach in airde anseo dona longa ag teacht isteach, thig leat an loch a fheiceáil anseo agus ansin tá ‘Gleann Rí’, sin abhainn an Iúir ag dul fríd ach an t-ainm dúchasach a bhí air seo ná ‘Barr an Fheadáin’. Ciallaíonn sé sin is dóigh liom, barr, an chuid is airde agus ‘Feadán’, is tagairt é sin don abhainn féin nó don ‘Ghleann Rí’ nó ‘Clanrye’ mar a thugtar air as Béarla. An chiall atá le ‘Feadán’ ná abhainn nó do bhealach tríd gleann. An baile fearainn ina bhfuil muid anseo agus má théann tú síos cois abhainn tugtar ‘Fathom’ air sin as Béarla. Is é an rud atá aisteach faoi sin is dóigh liom go dtuigeann go leor daoine go baint aige sin le fathoms mar a bhíonn i gcúrsaí farraige ach is claochlú agus is Béarlú ar an fhocal ‘Feadán’ atá i gceist cé gur ‘Flagstaff’ a thugtar air go ginéaralta. Thug na cainteoirí dúchais as Ó Méith nach bhfuil i bhfad ar shiúil, bealach an phreacháin mar a deirfeá ón áit ina bhfuil muid. B’shin an t-ainm a bhí ag muintir Uí Méith air seo ‘Feadán’, chomh maith leis sin má théann tú siar tá sean-léarscáileanna ó aimsir na Plandála agus feiceann sibh síos ansin an áit a bhfuil an ‘Narrow Water’ nó an ‘Caol Uisce’ bhíodh caisleán ar a dtugtaí, ar an léarscáil deir sé ‘Castle Fedan’, an ceantar seo ar fad, an ‘Feadán’ a bhí ann agus as sin a tháinig ‘Fathom’. I bhfírinne an focal sin ‘Flagstaff’ is rud an-úr atá ann, b’fhéidir céad caoga bliain , d’aois.

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We’re here at the place known as ‘Flagstaff’, but this isn’t its indigenous name. Of course, the word ‘Flagstaff’ refers to the way that a flag would have been hoisted up to alert ships coming in. The lake is visible from here and then the Clanrye, the river that runs through Newry but its original name was ‘Barr an Fheadáin’. I believe that this means ‘top’, the highest point and ‘Feadán’, this is a reference to the river itself ‘Gleann Rí’ or ‘Clanrye’ as it is known commonly in English. The meaning of ‘Feadán’ is ‘river’ or the way through the glen. The townland where we are right now and down closer to the river itself is known as ‘Fathom’ in English. Coincidentally, it is understood by people to have an association with the word ‘fathoms’ as there is maritime connection. It is in fact a mutation and Anglicisation of the word ‘feadán’ although the area is generally known as ‘Flagstaff’. The native speakers of Omeath which isn’t far from here as the crow flies also knew the area as ‘Feadán’. When referencing some of the old maps of the area from Plantation times it can be noted that at the area known as ‘Narrow Water’ there was a castle which is named on the map as ‘Castle Fedan’. This entire area was known as ‘An Feadán’ and later came the name ‘Fathom’. In truth, the word ‘Flagstaff’ is a very new name which is probably only one hundred and fifty years old.

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