strathspey Archive: Alltshellach

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Message 3256 · Jane Kingsley · 9 Dec 1995 03:12:41 · Top

A friend and co-teacher of mine has asked me if I could help him track down the
origin of the name "Alltshellach". It's pretty clearly Gaelic, and I know that
"allt" is a burn (or stream). Can anyone help with the rest of it? Do any of
our Scottish members have access to any Gaelic speakers? Any help would be
Jane Kingsley


Message 3257 · Alan Twhigg · 9 Dec 1995 04:19:31 · Top


I looked this up in my Gaelic sources at one point when I was teaching
the dance. The other part of the compound appears to mean "willow tree".
Thus the whole name would translate as "Willow Stream" (if my quests into
Gaelic are correct - I don't claim to be fluent by any means). Where this
particular stream/burn might be located, perhaps one of our native Scots
could help determine.

Cheers, Alan Twhigg.


Message 3258 · Mulligan,Martin;Biochem;s3023a · 9 Dec 1995 17:01:26 · Top


Kent Smith asked me this question several years ago and to answer
it I posed the question on GAELIC-L.

The best reply came from the Gaelic College on the Isle of Skye - I think
it was Caoimhin O Domhnaille - but I cannot find his original reply. What
he said was that Alltshellach means "Stream of the Willow Trees", that it
is certainly a place but probably a very small place since it is not
marked on the Gazeteer that they have at that Institution.

Here are some of the other replies that I received at that time (I'll
remove the authors identities). Note that this list had both Irish and
Scots Gaelic speakers hence the debate about the meaning in both
languages - possibly sparked in part by my use of very rusty Irish to ask
teh question in the first place. It's also intended to ba a mailing list
with minimal use of english. That's also why one of the replies is in


There's a place called "Corrieshalloch" owned by the National Trust
for Scotland I think. This is near Ullapool. Alltshalloch is perhaps
near there - allt = a burn (stream)


Maidir leis an fhocal u/d alltshellach ni/l a fhios agam go d/ireach ca/
bhfuil se/ no./ ce/n chiall iomla/n ata/ leis. Is ionann Allt agus gleann
domhain a bh fuil na taobhanna air beagnach di/reach. Bi/onn abhainn no/
srutha/n ann de ghn a/th. Ta/ focal i nGadhlaig na hAlban seall a
chiallai/onn to see behold look. b'fhe/idir go gciallai/onn an focal an
gleann a bhfuil radharc brea/ uaidh no/ a
leithe/id, ach d;fhe/adfainn a bheith mi/cheart.


>Allt is a burn or stream and is masculine, so I don't know why
>salloch should be aspirated. Salloch *guess* comes from "salach"

No!! That h isn't aspiration, "sh" is how the English write a palatalised
s. "shalloch" = seileach, Alltshellach is Allt Seileach, CorrieShalloch is
Coire Seileach. Seileach is the willow (Salix).

Achnashellach is another name in which it occurs Achadh na Seileach = the
meadow of the willows.


Allt certainly means stream or burn in Scottish Gallic! but in Irish
Gaelic! it generally means a steep sisded valley with a stream at the
bottom. It is likely therefore that this place name is about a valley. I
agree that the 'sh'is an English transliteration of palatalised 's' of
irish si/, seo etc. The possibili ty exists,however, that shalloch is
from seallach or sealladh with the possible meaning of view etc. The
question can only be answered by finding the original Ga/idhlig name and
to see how it is spelt. Saileach 'willow' so common in Iriah and Scottish
placenames has a differnent 'l' type from seallach. Perhaps soeme one out
there knows the original speeling. If so the riddle may be solved.


Hope this helps,

Martin Mulligan
St. John's (Newfoundland) Branch

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