Township: Barrapol,Barrapol

Map Reference: Barrapol 45

Name Type: sub-township

Meaning: This isolated farmstead is in Barrapol today, although on the 1768 Turnbull Map it was part of Kenvar farm township. It names an area on the east side of Loch Phuill containing a medieval mill site. John Gregorson Campbell collected a story in the nineteenth century that mentioned the name: 'Fair Lachlan's sons were taking peats home from Moss to Hynish. There were five of them with seven horses ... On account of Big Dewar of Balemartine, who was so fierce, they could not take the straight way by Balemartine to Hynish, but had to take the more rugged path by Hynish Hill ... At that time there was a mill past Balviceon, with a bridge across the dam which had to be lifted before sundown, and on their way they had to pass across the bridge. It happened on this occasion that the young men, by their own folly, were later than usual of returning, and the bridge was withdrawn; and with the speed with which they were going on they did not observe that the bridge was lifted, and the foremost of the horses went headfirst into the dam and was choked. The lads made their way home and told their father how the miller had taken away the bridge, and what happened to them. He said, ‘If my horse was choked on his account, the same thing will be done to him tonight yet’; and that was what happened. He and his sons went back the same way, step by step, and they caught the poor man while he was asleep and took him with them and hung him on the hillock of the cross opposite Island House' (Campbell 1895, 72).

The name Baile mhic Eòdha is still in common usage on the island, despite its absence from rentals; the maps of Blaeu (1654) or Turnbull (1768)' the censuses of 1776, 1779, and 1841; and from Argyll Estate Instructions (Cregeen 1964). Most Tiree names in baile signify Late Medieval settlement, with the exception of two examples of ScG Am Bail' Ùr 'the new town' in Balephuil and Baugh, both of which date from the clearances of the mid-nineteenth century. Baile mhic Eòdha is likely to have been an independent farm township from the fourteenth or fifteenth century that was subsumed into Kenvar (and later Barrapol) township before the first Crown Rental of 1509.
Baile mhic Eòdha may derive from the medieval Gaelic personal name Aodh, which in turn has its roots in the common Old Irish name Áed, or its (diminutive Àedan). The name was attested on Tiree in the Early Christian period: Áed Dub (recorded in the Latin Aidus Niger, and described as of 'royal lineage') moved to Tiree from Ireland to live for a while at the monastery Artchain, possibly Teampall Phàraig on the Kenavara headland, founded by Findchán (Anderson and Anderson 1961, 280). By the thirteenth century, Àed had generally rounded to Aodh (genitive Aodha: MS); the Irish surname MacAodha 'the son of Aodh' and the modern ScG MacAoidh 'MacKay' both come from this form. Place-names followed: Baile Mhic Aodha occurs five times in Ireland ( accessed 31 January 2019). Vowel affection (see section between mhic and Aodh has generated the palatalised /k/ in the Tiree version: [v??:k' jõ-a]. There is a suggestion from Campbell's Balviceon that the original form may have been the diminutive Aodhan.
Phonologically less likely is the modern Gaelic Eòghann, or the medieval Gaelic name Eóin, which is an adaptation of the Latin Ioannes. This last was probably pronounced [o?-an'] or [e?n'] (MS). There is a Cnoc MhicEoghainn in Kilfinan, Argyll (SP); Baile Mhic Eoin and a Baile Mhic Eoghain are settlement names in Ireland. However, no Tiree source for this well-attested name, apart from Gregorson Campbell, has a terminal /-n/.
Cameron derived this name, and that of Tràigh Bhì in Balephuil, from an Irish saint: 'There were two Irish saints of the name, Mo-Bhi mac Natfraich and Mo-Bhì mac Beoain. The latter is the one evidently pertaining to Tiree, for in the vicinity of Tràigh Bhì and Abhainn Bhì we have the farm of Baile Mhic Bheotha, that is Baile Mhic Bheothain 'town of the son of Beoain'. Mo-Bhì was abbot of Innis Cuscraid in Ireland' (MacDougall 1937, 101). It is hard to say if Cameron's form Baile-Mhic-Bheotha was based on fieldwork, or his later reconstruction. There is no evidence of ecclesiastical activity in the area that would support this theory. Bì is more likely to be from ON býr 'farm' (see Bì below).

Other Forms: Baile-Mhic-Bheotha - Na Baird Thirisdeach, ed. Rev Hector Cameron, An Comunn Thirisdeach, 1932, p405.

Related Places: See Barrapol


Local Form:

Languages : Gaelic

Informants: John MacFadyen, Barrapol, 12/1993

Informant 2: SA1971/90/B8