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Lugnaquilla at 925 metres in altitude is the sixth highest mountain in Ireland and the highest point outside of Kerry. The name is thought to come from either Log na Coille – the hollow of the wood or Log na gCoileach – the hollow of the cock (grouse). The former is thought more likely nowadays but either way the hollow referred to is most likely the great gash of the North Prison.

Here the main photo is of Lugnaquilla taken from near Carlow town, some 33 kilometres away as the crow flies. No hollows are visible, just a great swelling of height and it’s clearly the highest point visible from all these districts of north Carlow and Kildare etc. In terms of other hill names, you’d expect a name in keeping with this appearance, perhaps prefixed by Ard, Sliabh, Croaghan, Mullagh etc. rather than the word Lug for a hollow. It’s possible that an older name is preserved in the townland of Baravore which extends from the valley of Glenmalure to the summit ridge, as Baravore likely represents An Barr Mhór – the great height.

There are three hollows or coums on Lugnaquilla and the North Prison is the most striking, particularly from the Imaal side which was settled in ancient times. Lugatroch (hollow of the trench) is a local name for the base of the North Prison The other coums appear to be Lugcoolmeen (hollow of the smooth corner or back) for the South Prison and Lugueer (probably eastern hollow) for the hollow above the Fraughan Rock Glen.