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Title: Last Old thread from Robert (for today)
Posted by: Davdi Wyse Livingston
Date: 13 October 2007

Hi,  I had to split this letter to make it go through filters.
 
I am trying to make connections between our old family surname, "MacOnlea" (from the 17th, 18th &19th centuries in Argyll, Scotland) to the time of Saint Moluag (the 6th century.)  And I need some help with the etemology of the names I have encountered.
 
Moluag, shown in the Annals as "Lughaidh of Les Mor" (this being Lismore, Scotland not Ireland) died about 592.  Very little is known about him, but it is believed he was a Pict.  The abbey he founded would have been granted by the Pict king, either Cindaeladh who died in 580 or Bruide, son of Maelcon who died in 584. (In my opinion, this is one in the same person).  I take it that Cindaeladh (also spelled Cennalath) was a descriptive title meaning "Head of the race of Ladh or Laigh".  Can anybody support that notion or argue against it?  
 
Any interpretation of the portion, "ladh".  I have been told it might be "a learned person" or a "doctor" or a "teacher" or a "law-giver".  Any other ideas?  In the earliest of annal entries (the myth period of the year 4328) there is a Lughaidh Laighdhe.
 
Next I have two place names found in the region of Lismore Abbey in the late 600s - "Dun Ollaigh" and "Dun Onlaigh".  These were forts or residences that were attacked by the Dal Riata in 684 and 698 and 734.  Skene ignores the difference in spelling and identifies both with present day Dunolly, the residence of the chiefs of Clan MacDougall. Any guesses as to the meaning of the prefixes "Ol" and "On"?  I have seen in the Old-Irish-L archives that "Oino" or "Oin" in relationship to Oengus could mean "one" "gus".  How about the "Ol"?  Is that prefix seen in other ancient names?
 
Please see Part II for a follow-up.
Thanks, Rob

Hi, this is a continuation from the preceeding letter titled, Etemology of Onlaigh, Part I,
 
...Finally, I have an abbot of Lismore who dies about 700 by the name of "Iarnlaigh".  Dennis King has suggested that the "Iarnl" part of this is derived from Norse "jarl" or "earl", but I am more inclined to think that the "Iar" is separated from the "nlaigh" or "onlaigh" and that the "Iar" has a different meaning such as "to the left-hand side" or "west". (Maybe there was "right-hand man" and then a lesser, "left-hand man").  Again, in the early myth part of the Irish Annals there is a "Lughaidh Iardonn" who appears in the year 4328.
 
That brings me back to the 17th 18th and 19th century "MacOnleas" of the Isle of Lismore, Scotland. In 1544 the Earl of Argyll re-grants a small piece of land on the island in recognitions that, as hereditary coarbs of St. Moluag and keepers of his sacrad staff, the land had been in our possession for as long as anyone could remember.  The land and the bachall remain in family hands to this very day.  Historians have attempted to tie the name "MacOnlea" to the name "MacDunsleve" with very little supporting evidence beyond the fact that some of the members of the family had the personal name "Dunslave".  I'm trying to dispell that notion and tie the name back to the time of Moluag.  Any ideas on this?
 
Thanks for bearing with me, Rob
=========================================
From: "Dennis King"
To: 
Sent: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 7:38 AM
Subject: Re: Etemology of Onlaigh, Part I


Rob wrote:

> I take it that Cindaeladh (also spelled Cennalath) was a descriptive
> title meaning "Head of the race of Ladh or Laigh".

If this is truly a Pictish (i.e. Brittonic) name, then "cenn"
would not mean "head", since the Brittonic reflex of CC *kwenno-
is "penn", cf. Welsh "pen", etc.  And if it is Brittonic, I
hereby turn it over to Chris Gwinn to sort out. :-)

> Next I have two place names found in the region of Lismore Abbey
> in the late 600s - "Dun Ollaigh" and "Dun Onlaigh".... Any guesses
> as to the meaning of the prefixes "Ol" and "On"?

First, "Onlaigh/Ollaigh" is a genitive form.  The nominative
would presumably be "Onlach", of which "Ollach" could be a
variant, with the 'n' assimilated to the 'l'.  If it is another
Pictish word, all bets are off.  If Irish, the only thing I
can come up with off hand is "ollach/olnach" (= fleecy, or as
a substantive, the wooly one), which is not immediately
convincing.

> Skene ignores the difference in spelling and identifies both
> with present day Dunolly

I see that Dwelly's dictionary gives Dunolly as "Dun-ollaimh"
(= fortress of the ollamh/chief poet), which doesn't square
too well with the Dún Ollaigh/Onlaigh of the Annals.  I don't
know how secure the Dwelly information is, however.

Dennis
============================================
Subject: Re: Etemology of Onlaigh, Part I 
From: Robert Livingston 
Reply-To: Scholars and students of Old Irish
Date: Sat, 16 Nov 2002 21:19:15 -0800 
Content-Type: text/plain 

Thanks to everyone who was kind enough to respond to my queries regarding
the etemology of "Onlaigh".  I would have said so sooner, but I was called
out of town with a death in the family.

First, a technical question - am I reponding correctly by clicking on the
"reply all" button?  Will this insure that my reply is added to the archive
and that it is part of a thread? Or is there a better way?

Next, I was able to get a fellow named Donald Macdonald to send me a
"Purevoice" file with the modern, native-speaking, Scots Gaelic
pronunciation of MacOnlea as it was known in his village.  He tells me that
MacOnlea is an anglisized pheonetic spelling for MacLaigh or MacLaich.  If
anyone is interested in listening to this file, let me know and I'll send
it.  You must have "Purevoice" which is freeware readily downloaded from the
internet.

Nobody appeared to answer my question regarding the name "Iarnlaigh" or
"Iarnlaith".  He was an abbot of Lismore who died in 700.  The abbey of
Lismore was just about 6 miles from Dun Onlaigh or Dun Ollaigh and that's
why I was wondering if there was a relationship in the names.  My thinking
is that the "Iar" is a modifier of "nlaigh" and I have found several other
examples of the use of "Iar".  In the Annals of the Four Masters there is
"Iarbhainel Faidh" in 2850.1.  In M4320.1 there is a "Lughaidh Iardonn mac
Enna Deirg".  In the Annals of Ulster there is a bishop, "Iarlaithi mc.
Threna"  at Ard Macha (U481.1).  In U643.4 there is a "Iarnnboidbh mc.
Garthnaith"/T643.3 "Iarnbbuidb maic Garthnaith. (whom I assume to be the son
of Gartnaid, King of the Picts who died in U599.2). In U666.2 there is
"Eochaid Iarlaithi", king of the Cruithne.
Any comments are welcomed.

Thanks, Rob Livingston
===============================================
From: "Francine Nicholson"
To: 
Sent: Sunday, November 17, 2002 9:47 AM
Subject: Re: Etemology of Onlaigh, Part I


> >From: Robert Livingston >Nobody appeared to answer my question regarding
> >the name "Iarnlaigh" or "Iarnlaith".
>
> Did you not read my message suggesting this meant "Iron warrior" (iarn
> laech)? Please don't assume that an abbot could not also be a warrior.
Often
> there were lay leaders of monasteries, and often men associated with
> monasteries assumed several roles.
>
> Francine Nicholson
==============================================
Subject: Re: Etemology of Onlaigh, Part I 
From: Robert Livingston
Reply-To: Scholars and students of Old Irish
Date: Sat, 7 Dec 2002 09:55:16 -0800 
Content-Type: text/plain 

>If Irish, the only thing I
can come up with off hand is "ollach/olnach" (= fleecy, or as
a substantive, the wooly one), which is not immediately
convincing.

Dennis, following up with your suggestion that "ollach" could be "the wooly
one", I came across this paragraph in the Rawlinson geneologies which
discusses Ollam Fotla as the mythical progenitor of the Uladh.  I am at a
loss for translating most of the words, but maybe you could take a swing at
it?  Words in quotes are those which my dictionary sources do not cover.
Any recommendation on where I could purchase a dictionary that would cover
these words?

1451> Ollam Fótla m. Fiachach Findscoithe a athair m. Sétna Airtt m. Ébir m.
h-Ír m. Míled. Is ó Ollamain dano "ainmnigtir" Ulaid .i. Ulaid Olleith ó
Ollamain nó "ulchai" liatha léo i cath Óenaich Macha .i. olann liath ro
"chenglad" dia "smechaib" nó Ulaid .i. "ulliu" leth léo sin "chath". Ollam
Fótla dano is "lesi do-rónad" feis Temra prius & Múr n-Ollaman i Temair.

Rob
========================================

** This Thread has ended - Please do NOT attempt to resurrect it! **

Replies

Title:Date:Posted By:
Last Old thread from Robert (for today)13 October 2007Davdi Wyse Livingston
   Last Old thread from Robert (for today)14 October 2007Donald (Livingstone) Clink
   Last Old thread from Robert (for today)16 October 2007Craig McClay Wilson
   Last Old thread from Robert (for today)16 October 2007Young Bachuil

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