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Black Mountain Donard

Black Mountain or Sugarloaf near Donard, Wicklow

When looking into placenames, it often pays to look at the ground – as placenames often relate to the physical appearance or nature of the terrain. Here’s a good wee example. This hill outside Donard in Co.Wicklow would be labelled as the Sugarloaf by the OS. An older name recorded on pre OS mapping is Black Mountain.

This photo snapped in winter from the adjacent N81 main road, shows both characteristics of the hill – the pointy angle to the summit that presumably resembles a pile of sugar but also the dark nature of this particular hill slope. It’s ‘blackness’ stands out clearly against the higher hills behind. These have a touch of snow on them which accentuates the effect but even without this, the effect is still noticeable at other times of the year.