Long long ago, when Derrymore was just that, a large oak forest and not a bog, the rivers ran rapidly down the hill of Brí Leith in many directions with crystal clear water full of life. The trout jumped high in the air and into the hands of those waiting because of the abundance of them.

Many came to the area because food was plenty and the soil was rich for planting. The hill itself shone in the moonlight with quartz guiding the journey of the faithful who worshipped their gods on it’s top. The top which surveyed the high fields and many prosperous forts on it and around it.

The rivers were used to navigate to the larger Camlin and Inny which too made their way to the Shannon and many boats came up and down while more and more people settled under the watchful eye of their gods.

Soon, some of the invaders who had made their large towns, now cities, along the coast came up the rivers and settled in homesteads along the river Camlin and at the foot of Brí Leith. They brought their new crafts and skills to the area.

A larger settlement was made in the hollow where many of the smaller rivers met the Camlin and it became known as a port for long ships for many a year until it was forgotten.

All the while, the forests were stripped to make more and more homesteads and ships and even roads where none were before and no wise man would put one. Some would say the best of the oak had already been stripped before by a god who made a road in the bog of Corlea.

The forests disappeared into memory and the land slid into the rivers and the rivers rose and took more as they struggled to flow. What were once vibrant, lively passageways for man and beast, full of life and food, became smaller and darker with mud.

It was forgotten that they were as such as the people moved to where more forests grew and more rivers ran so the earth changed her shape to the bogland we now know so well and yet still we call that land Derrymore, An Doire Mór, the big oak forest, in memory of what our forefathers saw long long ago.

(A story imagining what the meaning behind an ancient place name could mean.) Monday 4th November 2019.

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