I live near an area in Dublin called Ringsend. A slightly unusual name obviously, but for someone reason I only thought today about how the name doesn’t really make any sense whatsoever.

How can a ring have an end? The whole point of rings is that they don’t have an end. So where does Ringsend come from then?

As I suspected, it’s an anglicisation, a corruption of Rinn-abhann, which in Irish means the end point of the tide.

Another area very close by with an interesting name is Irishtown. That might seem a bit redundant: isn’t all of Dublin an Irish town!? But it does make sense thanks to Ireland’s complex history.

From the 12th century, Dublin was the centre of English control in Ireland, and its citizens long feared attacks from the native Gaelic people. By the 15th century, Gaelic migration had increased, so Irish inhabitants were expelled from the city environs, to Irishtown. It’s always interesting walking around Dublin and noticing placenames: they’re often reminders of history.

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