All manner of things have been happening on our smaller island of Ireland, or, as it is better known to our SCA population here as Lough Devnaree. Dun in Mara will be hosting Crown Tournament in April in the lands of Glen Rathlin, so I thought this time might be useful to try to explain a few names of places you’ve probably seen pop up in the digital realm recently and which are probably a bit confusing out of context.
Lough Devnaree is an unregistered name that we apply to the whole Island of Ireland, it is made up of the two Shires of Glen Rathlin and Dun in Mara and the Barony of Eplaheimr.
- Glen Rathlin is the area that covers all of the area of modern Ulster. It is the Shire in which Crawfordsburn scout centre resides, where Crown will be held, and is famously the creator of Flaming Arrow, an excellent archery event that has been hosted all over the Island.
- Dun in Mara is the large area to the East - with strong centres in Dublin, Maynooth, Kilkenny and the South East (notably Sigginstown Castle in Wexford, where Strawberry Raid is held) It is particularly notable for heavy fighter practices on Thursdays and fencing on Tuesdays and monthly A&S Saturdays. Dun in Mara are running Crown in Crawfordsburn and will be having their third Strawberry Raid camping event in Sigginstown Castle in June.
- Eplaheimr is the area of the West, Midlands, Limerick and Cork and the SouthWest. The second Baronial couple - Baroness Rogned Stengrimova and Baroness Adele de Chaddwyke are now on the Baronial thrones. Eplaheimr has decided to support the concept of villages or hamlets, conscious that it can be hard to always make a meeting, event or practice at a one location with such a spread out population but wanting members to be able to meet more regularly to do the things we love with at least our closer neighbours more regularly. For our Irish context we call these local, small groups ‘Tuatha’ rather than hamlets but the idea is the same. This has been working out really well with practices and events happening more regularly around the whole Barony.
A Tuatha (Tu Ha) is an old Irish word for a tribe like collection of peoples in an area. Irish society was once structured into approximately 150 tuatha over the whole country, which in turn were made up of smaller social groups like Septs. Tuathas were expected to govern themselves up to a point, with travelling magistrates (brehons) visiting to settle disputes and issues/ Each tuatha was also obliged to have necessary structures in place to support visitors and leaders from other parts of the world, including a Hostel or bruiden (more modern translations call these simple brú) to provide hospitality to travellers and visiting dignitaries.
Eplaheimr has strong centres of activity in Galway, Limerick, Athlone and Moate, Dromineer and Cloughjordan, Clara, Tullamore and Portarlington and Longford so we have thriving Tuatha in those places
Galway, a large and thriving group frequently mentioned on Facebook, is Cluain Óír, pronounced Clue-an Ore which means golden meadow
Limerick’s is called Báile Ceannan-tSionnan, which means Town at the head of the Shannon. It is pronounced Ball-ya kya-nan tchun-nan so to speak of the people here you say Tuatha de Báile Ceannan-TSionnan.
Tir Chroi (Athlone and surrounds), pronounced Tier Kree means Heart of the Country, an excellent name for the pretty much exactly the centre of the country.
Tuatha de Capall Uisce, Dromineer, pronounced ka-pal ish-ka, means people of the seahorse.
Eiscir Airgead (Clara and surrounds) pronounced Esker Ar-i-Ged means Silver Esker, eskers being a notable part of the landscape in that area.