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Comeragh Placenames Part 3

Comeragh Placenames Part 3

Continuing north from Seefine, Com Duan lies down to the left. The meaning is uncertain, perhaps from ‘duán’ i.e. a kidney shaped coum or possibly ‘damhán’, coum of the oxen. Keeping to the high ground, we drop down into a broad saddle between Com Duan and Com Chnocáin. Canon Power gives the name Béal Bhán – the white mouth and describes it as a saddle like depression in this area.

From here we rise up onto a flat top, Com Tae appears down to the right but only a couple of hundred metres separates this deep coum from the large Com a’ Locha to the left and north. Com Tae contains a number of locháns, some seasonal. These are called the Seven Sisters, a name which also applies to the hills north of The Gap. Tae or Tay is a name that crops up in old placenames, we may think of Lough Tay in Wicklow or the River Tay in Scotland and here also in this instance. Like many old names associated with rivers in particular, the meaning is obscure, in Scotland it’s thought to derive from a word ‘toe’ or ‘tatha’ meaning silent. A river might be said to be silent if it flows deep and steady but then many rivers do this as they reach the lower lands. High up on the rim of Com Tae, the Sundial is found, a large pinnacle that casts a deep shadow.

The meaning of Com a’ Locha is far more obvious, the coum of the lakes and there are three larger lakes and one small in this complex & broad coum. The two adjacent lakes are locally referred to as the Comalochs or Na Comalocha. West of these and tucked away high up we find a smaller coum, Coumfea or Com Fia, which also contains a small lake. The word Fia here probably means ‘wild’, though the coum where deer are found is also possible.

Separating Com Fia from the main Com a’ Locha is a sharply defined spur that soars up to the plateau. Canon Power gives the name Srón Chom Fia – the nose of Com Fia hereabouts and this can only be the location. I could find no local name for the summit at the top of this spur, the OS have labelled it Coumfea, which is somewhat inappropriate as Coumfea is the coum below. On this Comeragh map I’ve applied Power’s name, Srón Chom Fia to the height as that at least makes more sense.