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Horsey Hillnames

Horsey Hillnames

Capall – one of the Irish words for a horse crops up quite frequently in our placenames. No doubt but that in some places, it literally means a place associated with horses which were an important work animal in days of yore throughout Ireland.

However the word also crops up in hill names as in Knocknagappul ~ Cnoc na gCapall or Cruach na gCapaill, literally the hill of the horses or horse hill. Likewise in Lognagappal ~ Log na gCapaill, meaning the hollow of the horses. In these cases it’s better to think of the name figuratively rather than literally.

Picture yourself standing beside a substantial horse, no saddle and wishing to climb up on it’s back. It’s quite a substantial obstacle in front of you, a high level back. This is the characteristic feature of how the name is often applied to on the heights. That of looking up at a long broad flat ridge of a height. So Cnoc na gCapall in this sense is the hill shaped like a horses back and Log na gCapaill is the hollow of or below the horses back.