Where's that? - Moher 1332


The manner in which children address their parents differs from class to class. Today "Ma" is mainly heard from Dublin "working class", with "Mammy/Mam" more commonly used by country people. Among the wealthier classes, especially in the Dublin area, there has been a drifting to "Mummy/Mum", constantly promoted by fashion-conscious radio and television presenters and television advertising.

In the past the children of the wealthy, largely reared by governesses, addressed their parents by the impersonally remote "Mother" and "Father". But what fashion was Mrs Mary O'Connell (wife of the Liberator, Daniel) following when, in the opening sentence of a letter (May 22nd, 1830) to her 14-year-old son, Danny, at Clongowes College, she wrote: "I will not allow you to address by any appellation but that of Mod". On July 3rd she reprimanded him for being ashamed "to call her Mod".

She regularly referred to his father as Fath, which presumably was how she wished him to address his father. Was this the fashion in Merrion Square then? (In a postscript to the first letter she wrote: "John is trying to pick up the English accent.")

Only once have we come across the word "mother" in place names, that being the 1783-foot Mauherslieve, south of the Silvermines in north Co Tipperary, which bears the alias Mother Mountain. Sliabh (mountain) is clearly the second element, and it appears that the first element is the word mothar. According to Ua Duinnin's Focloir Gaedhilge agus Bearla this most agile and flexible word variously means "a clump, tuft or cluster, a loose mass; a grove, thicket or jungle, a wooded swamp, a place overgrown with brushwood; a pile of stones, a ruin, a ruined fort; a field or park; long dry vegetable growth of a fibrous kind; darkness; a cloud, as of dust etc.; a high sea; also a loud noise, a wheeze in the throat or chest." Anglicised Moher this names townlands in counties Cavan (5), Leitrim (4), Tipperary (4), Roscommon (2), Galway (2), Fermanagh, Cork, Kerry and Limerick.

No longer extant is Moher in Co Longford, found in The Irish Fiants of the Tudor Sovereigns (1521-1603). This was the address of Conor Maglawey, piper, pardoned, with others, in 1577. Other places listed in this fiant were Balintobber, Ballymolvey, Doyere, Grenan, and Killingerenbushe - all in Co Longford.

Maglawey derives from the GaelicIrish surname Mac Fhlaithimh (flaith eamh, a ruler, prince), now rendered Claffey and Glavey. The name is also rendered Mac Laithimh, laitheamh being a variant form of flaitheamh. Flaitheamh was a relatively popular first name in the south, especially in the early period. Flaithem mac Maele-Gaimrid, who died in 1058, was entitled "chief poet of Ireland". Also deriving from this is the surname O Flaithimh (Flahive).

Current telephone directories south of the Border list 161 Claffeys, predominantly in the 09 area (north Connacht), followed by the 05 area (south Leinster and Waterford).

Glavey has 32 entries, of which 14 are in the 09 area. It is also rendered Mac Clave, of which all eight telephone entries are in the Phone Book of Northern Ireland.

Returning to the Fiants we find Melaghlan Moile m'Gleve of Longford among the pardoned in 1583, while in 1585 a William and two Brian Maglaughys were among the listed pardoned of Co Leitrim. And finally a fiant of 1601 lists the pardoned Dermott Maglavey, cottier, of Tenneleck. Now spelt Tennalick, this names a townland in the Co Longford parish of Taghshinny.

In an effort to locate Moher we examined the place names in the fiant of 1577. Doyere? Might this be Doory, also in the parish of Taghshinny. Killingerenbushe? Might it be the equally unpronounceable Killoguruble in the Co Longford barony of Moydow, found in the "census" of 1659? Ballymolvey is in the parish of Shrule. All are in the neighbourhood of the town of Ballintober. The townland of Ballintober in the parish of Taghsheenod Glebe.

P. W. Joyce in his Irish Names of Places says that Taghshinny derives from teach sinche, house of the virgin saint Sinech. "No particulars of her life known to me." To the north of Taghshinny is the curiously similar Taghsheenod (Glebe), with only the parish of Killeendowd lying between them.