Déardaoin, Lúnasa 16, 2012

Carrick-a-Rede - there is no mystery

The etymology of Carrick-a-Rede / Carrickarade,  the small island world famous for its rope bridge, situated off the north coast of Antrim is often a subject of discussion, given its profile as a tourist destination.
Carraig Dhroichid (Rock of [the] Bridge), Co. Aontroma

It is often stated, like many other place-names that "nobody know's what it means," again, not true.

It is often claimed that it is derived from the Irish Carraig a' Róid / Ráid,  meaning 'rock of the road'. 

This is somewhat fanciful and it almost certainely incorrect although the anglicised form 'Carrick-a-Rede' is most likely grounded in this belief. 

This is the record on logainm.ie, quoting the 'Place-Names of Northern Ireland volume 7'. 

Carraig an Ráid
gin. Charraig an Ráid
ainm neamhdheimhnithe(Gaeilge)
Carrickarede Island(Béarla)
the rock of the casting?
Pléitear an fhianaise stairiúil in Place-Names of Northern Ireland iml. 7, 85

One must consider however, despite this entry, that the matter is at least academically settled with Professor Greg Toner's article on the subject which concludes that Carrick-a-Rede / Carrickarade is derived from the Irish ...

Carraig Dhroichid, meaning ‘The Rock of (the) Bridge’[1] 

This explanation is of course, completely obvious. 

It is also scientifically grounded in the linguistics of East Ulster Irish.  

Update :

Toner points out in the article that the lack of the an article suggests that Carraig Droichid could be an abbreviated from.

For example (there is no evidence for this form though it makes good sense), the original form could have been something like this  ...

Carraig Dhroichid na mBradán 'Rock of the Salmon's Bridge'

[1] Toner (Gregory): The original Irish name of Carrickarade/Carrick-a-Rede, Co. Antrim.
In Ainm 9 (2008), pp. 65–71.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps I could offer another explanation for Carrick a rede. As a Spanish/Catalan speaker which languages take many words from latin I recognised straight away that rede or more specifically rete is Latin for 'net'. Wouldn't it make more sense to be the "rock of the net"- "Carrick a rete". Regards Ralph Freeman