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Where is Sheeffry?

Where is Sheeffry?

The Sheefry or Sheeffry Hills is a name heard now for a range of hills in Mayo extending eastwards from Doo Lough towards the wee village of Drummin. Firstly the local pronunciation is Shay-free, Shay as in the name and I’ve used an older spelling of Sheaffrey. The name is used locally for the run of hills but when push comes to shove, Sheaffrey is most associated with the townland of Tawnycrower, the Sheafrey Pass and the 19th century Sheeffry Mines here.

Of the hill names, I can observe the following starting over Doo Lough.

  • Barracloshcame, the top of Closhcame is the first height at 773m and known locally.
  • Tieveummera 760m is not known locally now but appears on 19thC geological mapping. In absence of any local name I’ve used same. Tieveummera would represent Taobh or the side of ummera, it’s tempting to interpret the latter as the Irish word Iomaire, a ridge. However it must be noted that the locals pronounce Glenummera here as Glen-a-mura, which is not consistent with Iomaire.
  • Tievnabinnia 743m is found on current maps of the region and despite searches I have no idea of the provenance of this name. Locally this name would be used for the quite separate Ben Creggan. The ridge is called by those of the south now as the Top of (Loc) Log Cú, where the latter is a hollow below. I could find no other local name but H.C.Hart describes it as Loughty Mountain in his 1895 book and newspaper articles from a few decades ago refer to snow on Laghta and Muilrea etc.
  • Sheaffrey Hill 435m itself overlooks the old mines and the narrow road that winds over Bearna Dearg – an old route.
  • Furmagar and Formanagar, a name recorded by William Bald in early 19thC but not on any map since. But the name is still preserved in the modern local memory and use. Bald applied the name Furmagar to a long section of the ridge from Barracloshcame. Nowadays it’s applied further east, in the general area above Lough Lugachullaway. It may well be the old name applied to this ridge of hills where it could represent Formna Ghéar meaning the sharp or narrow shoulder/ridge.

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