Away from matters nautical this week to do a bit of name-calling especially with reference to our own townland hereabouts. The origin of placenames is a particular interest of mine. I think people have a curiosity has to what lies behind local names. I think that most who give it any thought, would agree that names are best linked or rooted to an area, be it historical or topographical. Some relate to an ancient site or settlement such as a rath, lios ,dun, caiseal or later castle others to a religious function such as cill (kill- as in Ballinakill) or eaglais (aglish). But in other places the anglicized ‘kill’ could be a reference to a wooded area – coill. The name could frequently be descriptive of a topographical feature such as Cnoc Bui/Knockboy meaning the yellow hill (from the furze which still blooms in blazes of glory- and long may it do so!). Place names can derive from the name of a long distant townland owner or an estate house/demesne of more recent centuries. Ballygunner is a very ancient one and is said to go back to a Viking named Gonar who settled in this historic area which we previously described in greater detail. Farranshoneen (on which much of Viewmount is built) means ‘Little John’s ‘ or even Jenning’s land. Farran is Irish for an estate of land and has been used to name the nearby Farran Park Mount Pleasant takes its name from the previous estate and house that stood there, indeed this was once known as Flynnsville- a name that now could be used elsewhere. The Irish for a pleasant mount is ard chaoin which in time was anglicized into Ardkeen! So for the most part the local record is good though some estates locally do have some pretentious sounding imports but then again beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And is not the wonderful sounding ULURU a great addition to the local geographical lexicon and by now has been rendered local by dint of Waterfordese/ Deciese- an elongated terminal U following the French flavoured rolling R. And so we move on to consider the role of Grange, a most popular local place name, thus has been used in a whole range of places.
Grange is used as a place name all over the country, but more so in the south, especially the south-east. The usage of the word describes a farm house with sizeable outhouses especially for the storage of grain – from which the word grange itself derives. As I rove around the area recently, I was struck by the considerable usage of the name of Grange in local place names clustered southwards of the Passage Road to the top of the Hill and beyond.
Grange Park could be said to be Grandfather of the lot being the original development dating from the early 30’s and as such probably the city’s first suburban ‘leafy’estate. The developments here had a pre and post wars phases, with the latter commencing in 1955 initiated by what appears to be a cooperative movement called the Waterford Suburban Housing Society. Grange Lawn and Grange Park Avenue were built in this period reaching completion in the early 60’, with further names like Grange Mews and Crescent to finish it off.
Formerly there was a Fennessy’s Nursery laid out on the lands here. This was a company founded in Waterford as far back as 1712 and given the nature of the business in what was then evidently a rural area the likelihood is that this was the original Grange that gave this area its name. Today that name lives on in many contiguous estates and now part of the address of literally thousands of homes. In addition to the Granges mentioned above we have Upper Grange; Grange Heights ( Arda na Grainsi); Grange Manor; The Grange, Catherine’s Grange (good name: the land here formed part of lands owned by St Catherine’s Priory as in Catherine Street/Courthouse location today). At the bottom of the Folly area, we are not forgetting Lower Grange and nearly Grange Terrace. And what about Newgrange- now that takes us back a long way!