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16 October 2014
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BEGINNERS' BLAS 6
LOGAINMNEACHA/ PLACENAMES

INIS CEITHLEANN or ENNISKILLEN.

This week on Blas na bhfoghlaimeoirí our journey through Ulster placenames takes us to Enniskillen, nó Inis Ceithleann's island, Condae Fhear Meanach. The name of the county Fear Meanach is derived from the tribe called Fir-Meanach, the men of Meanach. Meanach who was the fifth in descent from Cahirmore, King of Ireland from A.D. 120 to 123, settled on the coast of Lough Erne towards the end of the third century, and his desdants eventually spread themselves over the entire county.

The ancient name of Enniskillen was 'Inis Cethleann' called after the Cethleann, who was the warrior wife of the infamous fomorian leader Balor nó Balor na Súile nimhe, Balor of the evil eye.

The fomorians were a rivalling tribe of the Tuatha de Dannan. According to legend Ceithleann swam the River Erne where its course between the two great expanses of lake was almost blocked by 2 islands, one large, the other tiny to escape from the cluthes of the king of the Tuatha De Dannan after the battle at Moytirra Condae Shilgligh. Some say that she rested and took refuge there: others say that she died and was buried: but both islands were named after this formidablwe warrior, Ceithleann, Inis Ceithleann or, as it has become, Enniskillen.

Over next week's programme I'll give you a brief insight into where Coleraine nó Cúil Raithin, Condae Dhoire gets her name...

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