Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Scottish Islands/Monro's Hebrides

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Re 20/21. Lunga, Firth of Lorn becomes several separate islets with Rubha Fiola to the north, then Fiola Meadhonach, Eilean Ioasal and finally Fiola an Droma closest to Lunga proper. Any idea which might be Fidlavirow or Fidlachaille?

Sgeir Chailleach looks the only likely contender for Fidlachaille. I can't spot anything likely for avirow.

Re No 30 Nagawnwa, the Gaelic derivation sounds quite plausible to me, but isn't Vitulina "isle of the seals"? Does the Gaelic gamhna have the same ambiguity that "cow" could have in English? There is an Eilean Gamhna in Loch Melfort and another near Kerrera, but neither are very close by to Belnahua. Monro has "Hard on the iyle Vyckeran layes ther a small iyland, namit in Erische Ellan Nagaruwa."

No 30, no, unfortunately Gaelic usually invokes dogs when talking about seals i.e. a seal calf is a pup in Gaelic. The second spelling Nagaruwa bothers me though. Let me rethink that one.

Re No 35 Nawissoge, there is an Eilean an Ruisg in Loch Feochan.

Doesn't look right, loosing that R would be hard.

Re no 38 Inchian:

Hm Inchaig doesn't look right. Could these be a local name for Eilean Rìgh (King's Isle) as Inis Thighearna "Lord's isle"?
Eilean Rìgh is surely King’s Iyle at 40. I can't see anything like "Thighearna". Dundee's Thiania would seem to be a spider.
A spider?? ... thinking cap needed.
Sorry, not a "spider", but a genus of spiders, probably not used as a name until well after Dundee's time. Ben MacDui 19:30, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
I was just trying to see if that gives us a clue to ungarbling the Gaelic. Inchaig is so short it's hard to parse. Could be Inch + chaig or Inch + aig for starters and either are open to lots of speculation.

Re no 48 Hasil Iyle, your comments would strongly suggest it is at Craobh Haven, and it being "Narrest the Heddir iyle" this in turns suggests that Heddir Isyle is Fraoch Eilean there too. Eilean Buidhe at Craobh Haven is currently wooded, but there is also Eilean Arsa.

Makes sense.

Monro seems familiar with the little isles off Kildalton, but Eilean an Droighinn is missing. Any idea what this name means? Ditto Sgeir Phlocach.

Eilean an Droighinn is the Isle of the Thorn/Thornbushery (usually brambles or blackthorn), Sgeir Phlocach is either the Skerry of Blocks (of Wood) or of Sods/Clods of Earth. Given it's a skerry, I tend to the latter. Akerbeltz (talk) 14:09, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

Re 172 Ellan Hurte: Does he list St Kilda elsewhere? See 158

It looks like Hiort(a) and Harris was the main hub for going to St Kilda, so the association would make sense (it being next to the Harris names). I have asked the author of the article for clarification.


Re Seuna (Great&Small) Making a (phonetic) link between Seuna and Siollaigh is hard. Very hard. The only thing they share is the /ʃ/ at the start. I'm not a geographer but to me these suggest the Shiant Islands, in Gaelic Na h-Eileanan Seunta. The development of nt > nn is as old as the hills in Gaelic, going back to Old Irish and it may just reflect a local pronunciation. I know it's the other side of where we're looking but it's still off the Sound of Harris and does have a big and a small island. Akerbeltz (talk) 14:55, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Yes - agreed. I'll fix it. Ben MacDui 15:09, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
But, if 174 is Fladda-chuain, then:
Sea cave on Garbh Eilean
175 SENTA. "Northwart fra this ile lyes ther ane ile callit Ellan Senta, that is in English a Saw, ane ile mair than twa myle lang, verey profitable for corne, store, and fishing, perteining to M’Cloyd of the Lewis. On the eist side of this ile ther is a bore, maid like a vylt, mair nore an arrow shot of any man under the eirde, through the quilk vylt we use to row ore saill with our bottis, for fear of the horrible breake of the seas that is on the outwar side thereof, bot na grate ships can saill ther." This could well be Garbh Eilean, which has a natural arch on the east side, and would make:
176 Oldcastle - Eilean Mhuire. H-Smith confirms its fertility and hints that the name may have come from some confusion perpetrated by Martin Martin. St Mary's Chapel might then be a castle - no graveyard was found associated with the ruins. Ben MacDui 17:56, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Sadly we are then still hunting for Great Seuna and Little Seuna. Ben MacDui 17:56, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Ok if that's Sgalpaigh na Hearadh, then going 20 miles (nautical or land) puts you in the ocean somewhere of Kebock Head, nowhere near Fladaigh (as we have it just now).Very odd. Akerbeltz (talk) 18:10, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but Fladda-chuain is just under 20 miles south, south east of Sgalpaigh na Hearadh, I can't see any significant offshore islands other than Fladda-chuain and the Shiants within this distance to the east, the Shiants are certainly not "fladday-like" and whilst this kind of mistake sounds odd to us, our friend Lady Grange reminds us that "no reliable naval charts of the area became available until 1776", more than 200 years later. Ben MacDui 19:28, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
You telling me he might have gotten his compass the wrong way round? LOL let me look at the map again in that case.
His sense of direction is sometimes a bit slipshod. Forgot to mention the Shiants = Na h-Eileanan Seunta connection. Ben MacDui 19:37, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
See image above. Adam Nicolson mentions sailing a 12 footer through it and the appalling seas states north of Garbh Eilean in Sea Room. I wonder if he would have had a compass - they don't seem to have become commonly used in Europe until the 15th century at the earliest. Ben MacDui 10:36, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
In No 176 Monro says eist this ile lyes ane ile, callit Senchastle by the Eriche.... - which must be Eilean Mhuire from the name of southern promontory - and later Nicolson quotes Monro in No 175 as referring to the Shiants. Even if this conclusion could be questioned it is now sourced. Ben MacDui 08:57, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

MacRusgail's comments[edit]

9 - "Cumbray Dais", looks to me like "(a-)deas" meaning "south". I believe Little Cumbrae is to the south.

Yes indeed.

12 - Agree.

20 - "Fidlachaille" - probably containing "caolas" (straits) or "caol" narrow, in some form.

44 - Obviously "high" something "ard-"

Missed one that might solve 44/45

52 - "Eisell" presumably a corruption of "Iosal".

69 - "Lyart" probably means "X liath", although it often refers to being wizened or lichen covered.

71 - Probably "Achadh na/an" (field of), possibly taken from a place nearby.

86 - Agree with your identification, but "dow" can also be a corruption of "dubh", black, which is where the surname comes from.

"Mekle Viridis" - Obviously some kind of "green" isle, possibly translating "glas".

112 - Proper Gaidhlig is "Ratharsair", but sometimes "Ratharsaigh" by folk etymology.

115 - Fladda-Chuain?

Added it as an option

142 - Definitely derived from "acarsaid".

145 & 146 - wrong way round?


160 - Soay Mòr? [I see you have this listed elsewhere.]

166 - Also possibly "MacDhùghaill".

191 - Agree that the last element probably means "mountain".

--MacRusgail (talk) 20:17, 13 March 2011 (UTC)


Based on the comment above, 69 - "Lyart" could be Eilean Liath.

70 Is Tairskeray =Tarsheria = Eilean an Tannais-sgeir credible?

71- Achnarra or Achadh, still a mystery

72 - Eilean Mòr is clearly credible.

73 - The Iyle of the Man’s Figure. The next speck on the map along is Eilean nam Meann, which I realise may mean "isle of the kid" or similar, but I wonder if Monro was just confused and indulged in a spot of folk etymology.

This creates problems lower down, especially if we believe this section is mean to be read clock-wise, but Monro does not always seem to feel the need to avoid sudden leaps from A to B.

Tairskeray =Tarsheria = Eilean an Tannais-sgeir I guess so. Tair-sker-ay would be hard to parse any other way, so we have the sker/sgeir element. Seeing he liberally jumpes between ey/eilean/inis, that deals with the -ay bit. Leaving Tair / Tar / Tanna(is). It's OR without any doubt but let's say the Gaelic was Tairsgeir(eigh). That would invoke the helping vowel, so you get /tarʲaʃgʲerʲ/. To to from /tarʲa/ to /tana/ or /taNə/ is phonologically not impossible. Akerbeltz (talk) 17:36, 10 April 2011 (UTC)


Is anyone still working on this article ? It would be good to have a Wikipedia article based on or incorporating Monro's list of the Hebrides. QuintusPetillius (talk) 13:29, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

To be honest it was not conceived as an article - more of a research tool and record so that suitable quotes from Monro etc could be added to island articles. There is a bit too much of it that is speculative for it to appear in mainspace at present - although there is no reason why sizeable chunks could not be added to Dean Munro or even to a new article Description of the Western Isles of Scotland. Ben MacDui 14:50, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

The acquisition of R. W. Munro from a 2nd hand bookshop probably supplies enough information for the list to end up in mainspace, although this will require a lot of work. I have not yet read the detail it also probably explains the longer Monipennie list as deriving from a different Monro manuscript. Ben MacDui 09:11, 7 November 2012 (UTC)
Description of the Western Isles of Scotland is nearing the point when it can go into mainspace. The question arises, what then to do with this project page? It could become:
A redirect to the new article;
Left in something like its current form as this allows for additional information not in the article;
Be deleted.
The first would be simple and the history will always be there. The third would also be simple but we would lose quite a lot of information. The second would require a little work, and it would need a caveat stating that some of the speculations are not covered by WP:RS's but it would leave in place numerous ideas, especially those relating to possible Gaelic names that can't get into mainspace without a source.
On balance my preference is the second. Ben MacDui 09:10, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Youngson, and Monro nos 37-52[edit]

Thanks for alerting me to this, MacDui. The more I look at the Youngson suggestions for nos 37-52, the less convinced I become. But what the right answers are, heaven knows! Dhmellor (talk) 15:22, 15 September 2013 (UTC)