As place names go, this is an unusual one.
‘Carrick’ usually means ‘carraig’, or ‘rock’ in English – not here, however. The original Gaelic name for Carrick-on-Shannon is Cora Droma Rúisc, meaning ‘weir of the ridge of the bark’. ‘Carrick’ in this instance is a corruption of ‘cora’ or ‘carra’, meaning ‘weir’ or ‘dam’. There was formerly a weir across the River Shannon in this place. ‘Rúsc’ means ‘tree-bark’ or ‘bark-like surface’, and in this case could imply a vessel made of bark, if not a boat.
Carrick’s old anglicised name was, in fact, Carrickdrumrusk, properly Carra-Drumrusk, the weir of Drumrusk. In 1611 (according to the Calendar of Patent Rolls of James 1st) there is a reference to ‘Carraghdrumruske’, but by 1680 this had somehow changed to ‘Carrickdrumrusk’.
In 1802 it was being called both Carrick-on-Shannon and Carrick Drumrusk, but by 1836 it was known solely as Carrick-on-Shannon. The place was incorporated by James 1st in 1613 under the title of (quite a mouthful) ‘The Provost, Free Burgesses and Commonalty of the Borough of Carrigdrumruske’.
It has been, and still continues to be, a source of annoyance to Roscommon people when Carrick is referred to as being entirely in county Leitrim. Although the majority of the town is in Leitrim, a sizeable proportion is in County Roscommon. Cortober people are particularly aware of this error. The same geographical problem exists with Athlone and Rooskey, both of which, like Carrick, are divided by the Shannon.
Carrick was once a parliamentary borough, prior to the Act of Union in 1801. It is partly in the parish of Killukin, barony of Boyle, but chiefly in the parish of Kiltoghart in the barony of Leitrim. The old bridge across the Shannon utilised an early version of ‘Toll Charges’, as in 1684 Sir George St. George was granted toll rights in return for keeping the bridge in good repair. The ‘new’ bridge, with its 11 arches, was built in 1718.
In 1837, the population of Carrick was 1,870 and it contained 321 houses. Carrick produced great quantities of butter around that time for the Dublin and Newry markets. It also sold considerable quantities of yarn.
One only has to look at the vast number of boats moored on the Shannon to see how popular a destination Carrick is these days – and not a sign of a toll-charge on the bridge. It welcomes its fair share of tourists from both home and abroad and is well worth a visit whether on land or water, either for a weekend or a week. You can’t leave Carrick without calling into the Costello Memorial Chapel on Main St, reputedly the smallest church in Ireland.
Cúpla Focal – le DC
Questions and Answers – Ceisteanna agus Freagraí
English Gaeilge Pronounced as
Who are you? Cé tusa? Kay tussah?
I am Seán Is mise Seán Iss misha Seán
What does that mean? Cad is brí le sin? Codd iss bree leh shin?
Say that again please Abair é sin arís, led’ thoil Ob-irr ay shin areesh, led hull
Why? Cén fáth? Kane faw?
Tell me Inis dom Innish dumb
I don’t understand Ní thuigim Nee higgim
I understand Tuigim Tiggim
I know Tá a fhios agam Taw a iss aggum
I don’t know Níl a fhios agam Neel a iss aggum