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date: 02 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

‘Religion’, the way that human beings make sense of their lives, has wider outcomes than are likely to appear in the practical waymarking of place-names. However, belief in a supernatural dimension affecting human behaviour embued the Irish landscape with a sense of the sacred, although the significance of sacred sites changed as one religious system replaced another. For early Ireland, all we know of pagan religion has been filtered through a culture that was Christian, but a different Christianity than the one we know today. Thus this chapter presents some place-name elements from Ireland illustrating the sacredness of water, hills, and burial and assembly sites, from terms hard to define like findabair, temair, and the Otherworld dwelling síd, via the pagan grave fert, and the human house tech, to church terminology borrowed from Latin: domnach, cell, dísert, aireagal, martar, and reilic. The coinage tamlacht[ae] appears to draw on both traditions.

Keywords: religion, water, hill, burial, pagan, Christian, Otherworld, sacred, etymology, boundary

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