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weepiper Folklore: Name of apartments, condos, townhouses (44) RE: What's in a Name?? 04 Jan 02


Hullo Shonaghlou,
'Plockton' is a kind of mixture of Gaelic and English (the -ton part is just 'town'). In Gaelic it's known as 'Ploc Loch Aillse' or just 'Am Ploc'. A 'ploc' is anything round and lumpy, in this case it refers to the headland or promontory, so it means 'Headland of Lochalsh' just up from the 'Kyle of Lochalsh'(Kyle = Caol, literally 'narrow', here referring to the channel between Skye and the mainland).
The Isle of Skye is 'An t-Eilean Sgiathanach' and it's supposed to mean something like 'Winged Island' from the shape (?) or 'Island affording protection' or similar - there is a modern Gaelic word 'sgiath' which can mean wing or shield or piece of land sticking out into the sea...
If you're interested a really good book about Scottish place names is 'The Celtic Place Names Of Scotland' by W.J. Watson, originally published in the twenties but still available in paperback.


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