Township: Ruaig,Ruaig

Map Reference: Ruaig 50

Name Type: shore

Meaning: See Mallachdaig for the Gaelic folk etymology of this reciprocating pair of skerries. After St Columba had cursed Mallachdaig for not securing his boat, he sailed to Ruaig where his boat was anchored safely (MacKinnon 1997, 9; Duncan Grant, Ruaig, 12/2013, oral source). Naomhaig therefore possibly comes from the ScG naomh ‘blessed’ with the ScG locational suffix -ag.

However, a name in ON n?s or nef ‘nose; beak’ (CV, 450) is more likely. ‘Niv is a long jutting out headland. In Icelandic nöf and nöp signify nose’ (Jakobsen 1897, 92). ‘Növ in the Faeroes means ‘promontory’’ (Jakobsen 1936, 86). The generic is ON vík ‘bay’. The Norse name Nef-vík may have been re-semanticised as ScG Naomhag ‘holy place’ and woven into the landscape with its reciprocating pair Mallachdag ‘the accursed place’ by a later cult of St Columba.
There is a Dùn Naomhaig on Islay (Macniven 2015, 83 and 168) and an Ardnave and a Kilnave on Islay derived from nef (Macniven 2015, 288 and 332); a Nevag Bay on South Uist; Nev is a common element in Orkney; there is a Nervadale in Unst, Shetland (SP); there is a Nøvik in Levanger, and Nervik(a) is common in Norway (NG).

Other Forms: Sgeir Naomhaig - ONB p135, "Spiritual rock."

Related Places: Mallachdaig, Gott.


Local Form:

Languages : Norse, Gaelic

Informants: multiple

Informant 2: OS