An Ireland Glossary  

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Bailey    The outermost defensive wall of a castle or fort

Beehive Huts    A small stone building, usually circular, shaped like a bee-hive

Blarney Stone    "Sacred rock in Blarney Castle, County Cork.  Kissing it is said to bestow the gift of the gab or a allow you to gain the privilege of telling lies for seven years" - Ireland Lonely Planet

Bronze Age    "Earliest metal-using period, around 2500 BC - 300 BC in Ireland, after the Stone Age and before the Iron Age" - Ireland Lonely Planet


Cairn    "Mound of stones heaped over a prehistoric grave" - Ireland Lonely Planet

Cillín    "Literally a little cell, a hermitage or sometimes a small isolated burial ground" - Ireland Lonely Planet

Craic    "conversation, gossip, fun, good times; also known as crack" - Ireland Lonely Planet

Crannóg    "Artificial Island made in a lake to provide habitation in a good defensive position" - Ireland Lonely Planet

Currach    A traditional wooden framed rowing boat, covered with canvas or calf-skin and then sealed with painted tar


Dolmen    "A dolmen is a tomb chamber or portal tomb made of vertical stones topped by a huge capstone, dating from around 2000 BC" - Ireland Lonely Planet



Fir    Men (e.g. to label toilets!)

Fulacht Fiadh    A bronze-age cooking place, where they have a stone lined pit filled with water, put red hot stones in it to boil the water and then place a side of beef or deer in to cook.


Gaeltacht    A region where Irish Gaelic is the predominant language - most road signs and shop fronts are in Gaelic!

Garda    'An Garda Síochána' is Ireland's National Police Service.  Translated into English this means 'The Guardians of the Peace'.  The plural is Gardai (pronounced Gardee).



Iron Age    "In Ireland this lasted from the end of the Bronze Age, around 300 BC (the arrival of the Celts), to the arrival of Christianity, around the 5th Century AD" - Ireland Lonely Planet



Keep    The main, strongest tower of a castle


Lough    Lake - pronounced like the Scottish Loch


Martello Tower    The Martello Towers are defensive towers which were built between 1804 and 1815 due to a threat of invasion by Napoleon.  They were modelled after a tower at Cape Mortella in Corsica.

Megalithic    Literally, Large Stones

Mná    Women (e.g. to label toilets!)

Motte    "Early Norman fortification consisting of a raised flattened mound with a keep on top".  "Many built in Ireland in early thirteenth century" - Ireland Lonely Planet


Neolithic    "Also known as the new stone age; a period characterised by settled agriculture lasting from about 4000 BC to 2500 BC in Ireland, following by the bronze age" - Ireland Lonely Planet


Ogham Stone    "Ogham (pronounced o-am) was the earliest form of writing in Ireland, using a variety of notched strokes placed above/below or across a key line, usually on a stone" - Ireland Lonely Planet


Passage Grave    A Passage Tomb/Grave is a "Celtic Tomb with a chamber reached by a narrow passage, typically buried in a mound", i.e. covered in layers of earth and stones - quote from Ireland Lonely Planet



Ring Fort    "Circular habitation area surrounded by banks and ditches, used from the bronze age right through to the middle ages" - Ireland Lonely Planet

Romanesque    "Style of architecture seen in twelfth century Irish churches and monasteries; characterised by rounded arches and vaulting" - Ireland Lonely Planet

Round Tower    "Tall circular tower dating from around the 9 - 11th centuries, built as a lookout and sanctury during the period when monasteries were frequently subject to Viking raids" - Ireland Lonely Planet.  Doorway often two or three stories off the ground - needed a ladder to get in.


Souterrain    An "underground chamber usually associated with ring and hill forts; probably provided a hiding place or escape route in times of trouble and/or storage space for goods" - Ireland Lonely Planet

Standing Stone    "Upright stone set in the ground, common across Ireland and dating from a variety of periods; usually the purpose is obscure, though some are burial markers" - Ireland Lonely Planet

Stone Fort    A stone walled fort usually circular, on the top of a hill in a strategic position


Tinkers    Irish Gypsies - i.e. live in caravans, parked wherever they can!








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