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  5. "Baile Átha Cliath."

"Baile Átha Cliath."


August 27, 2014



You might be wondering why Baile Átha Cliath bears no resemblance to Dublin.

The city of Dublin historically had two main settlements: The Viking settlement was known as Dyflin, taken from the Irish Dubh Linn ("Black Pool"), and the Irish settlement further up river was called Áth Cliath ("Ford of Hurdles").

The Viking settlement later became Anglicised to Dublin, but Irish speakers continued to call the city Áth Cliath and still do to this day. Its full name Baile Átha Cliath means "Town of the Ford of Hurdles".

Note that in the audio lesson it is pronounced Bleá Cliath instead of Baile Átha Cliath - this is a common shortening of the name by Irish speakers.


Go raibh maith agat! I'm really appreciating these little details people have added in:-)


That is such a wonderful thing to know. Thank you! It's so nice to learn about Ireland as well as learning Irish :D LINGOT! haha


Go raibh maith agat! I've been wondering about that! I love this nuggets of knowledge. Have a lingot! :)


You deserve a lingot for this chunk of knowledge! Thanks a lot!!


This may be the coolest comment I've ever seen, thank you


It sure looks odd, but it basically means "Town of the hurdle ford". The name Dublin came from "Dubh Linn", meaning "Black Pool"! Often it's shortened to BAC *apologies for any inaccuracies


Road signs BTW normally show just Áth Cliath (lit: "hurdleford") rather than the full Baile Átha Cliath ("hurdlefordtown"), which in speech gets clipped to Bleá Cliath. https://www.limerickleader.ie/resizer/750/563/true/GN4_DAT_10137730.jpg--limerick_hurling_fans_warned_of_speed_restrictions_on_m7_motorway.jpg


I hear (more or less) BANO CLIE . ATHA disappeared completely ! is this normal ? Ha ! I just saw your comment here under. In French BAILE ATHA CLIATH was translated as LE GUE AUX CLAIES. (BAILE was not translated as I see it now).The complete translation would thus be : LA VILLE DU GUE AUX CLAIES, for those of you who are learning French.


It's a common, informal pronunciation, something like Bleáth Cliath. See what liamog said above.


Liamóg is referring to a previous recording of this exercise which used a common pronunciation of "Baile Átha" as a single syllable "blah" or "blaw", instead of the 4 written syllables.

The current recording uses a 2 syllable pronunciation - "bahl aw", allowing the "Á" in "Átha" to consume the "e" in "Baile" and overwhelm the "tha" in "Átha", both of which happen fairly naturally in normal speech (and which usually go further to give the original monosyllabic "blaw").


Shouldn't it literally mean Dublin city?


Literally, it's Dublin town. Baile = town. Cathair = city. The county around Dublin city is referred to as Contae Átha Cliath.


I've always found it odd that Baile was both "home" and "town". And village is "sráidbhaile", which is literally "street town".


That's a pretty evocative name: a village is a town that is just a single street.


'Baile' is better translated as 'settlement' than 'town'.


I've always heard "baile" as "town". "Settlement" is "lonnaíocht"


'lonnaíocht' means 'settlement', but so does 'baile'. Also, consider the following: 'abhaile' (home, homewards), 'sa bhaile' (at home). 'Ionnaíocht' simply has a narrower range of meanings.


Ok. Thanks for clearing that up. All I have to go from is the antiquated dictionaries that they have online. :(


Is it not more correct to use Áth Cliath for Dublin? Is Baile Átha Cliath not only when referring to Dublin City (even though Baile=Town).


'Sea! Tá an ceart agat. Scríobh mé "Dublin City" agus bhí sé mícheart.


I think this is the correct distinction but remember, the name of the capital city in English is 'Dublin', not 'Dublin City'. It's not like, say, 'Carson City', where the word 'city' is integrated into the name.


That's not the issue, the Issue is, that it legally is a Dublin City. The council for Dublin does indeed tack city on. "Comhairle Cathrach Bhaile Átha Cliath", "Cathrach" being city, Comhairle council.


Comhairle Cathrach Bhaile Átha Cliath is "the City Council of Dublin" not "the Council of Dublin City".

Legally, it is very definitely Dublin, not Dublin City.


Wow...so much great info, thanks y'all....Dublin = Dubh Linn. Of course. (So obvious once explained, clearly I am not absorbing any of these bloody lessons, lol.)


It's not quite that obvious - in modern Irish, a Black Pool would be a Linn Dubh, because the adjective usually follows that noun.


I've always wondered why 'Dubh Linn' has that order. Conjectures: Irish used to allow that order, or perhaps the 'wrong' order was used in a Norse-Irish pidgen?


The likeliest explanation is that the name was a compound noun — see section II. of the eDIL entry for dub. (Compare modern compound nouns with dubh-, e.g. dubhfhocal.)


Yeah, it also comes from the Viking language. Old Norse I think, but I could be wrong.


If a town outside of Dublin (or outside of Ireland, really) had the same name, would it have the same translation?


There were two adjacent settlements - the Viking settlement called Dubh Linn went on to be the name used in English, whereas Baile Átha Cliath remained the name used in Irish. Much the same thing happened in Waterford which remained Port Láirge in Irish, Wexford, which remained Loch Garman in Irish and Wicklow which remained Cill Mhantáin in Irish. The name that the Vikings used ended up being used in English.

There is a town in Scotland called Hurlford that is Baile Àtha Cliath in Scottish Gaelic.

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