Township: Vaul

Map Reference: Vaul 11

Name Type: sliabh

Meaning: The name may be Gaelic, deriving from a possible visit of Saint Bréanainn (Brendan) of Clonfert to Tiree in AD 514, when it was written that he founded a church and village at Bledach (see section The medial /o/ might be a corruption of mo (see Cill Mo Luag in the Gazetteer). Cox derives Cnoc O Dòmod in Carloway as 'the knoll of Uí [the descendants of] Tómod' (Cox 2002, 238). There was said to have been a church at one time on Mithealum nearby (Lachlan MacLean, Lachainn Sheumais, Vaul, 4/1996; Bobby MacLean, Mialum, 11/1999: oral sources). There is a *Cill Bhraenan on Islay (Macniven 2015, 200), and a Cúil Bhrianainn on the Garvelloch Islands (MacDonald 2010, 227). See also Black 2008, 555 and 595.
It more likely, however, that this is a Norse name with the post-positioned bound definite article: ON brennan 'the land cleared by burning' (see Brendo and Brinhyan in Sandnes 2010a, 101 and 171). ON brenna fem. 'denoting heathery or wooded land which has been burnt for agricultural purposes, e.g. Brenja' (Jakobsen 1936, 30). 'The past perfect tense brendr 'burnt' also occurs sometimes in Shetland place-names, e.g. Hulen brenda on Unst' (Jakobsen 1936, 143). The consonant groups /nn/ and /nd/ are interchangeable by the linguistic processes of assimilation and hypercorrection (Sandnes 2010a, 308; and see Kendvay 1541 under Ceann a' Bhàigh). This is topographically appropriate: there is a huge expanse of moorland to the west, ScG An Druim Dearg 'the red ridge', and heathery land was often burned to stimulate new and more nutritious grazing (Dodgshon 2015, 257).
There is a Brannabus on Islay, derived in this way (Macniven 2015, 139); a Gil Briunnd in Uig, a Brenda in Evie and a Brendale in Rousay, Orkney (SP); The Brinnyan on Rousay also has the same derivation (Marwick 1995 (1947), 45); Brennan and Brenden are extremely common place-names in Norway (NG); Brenna and Brennhaug are derived from brenne (NS); Brennan is a settlement name in the Faroe Islands (KO); and Brenna occurs three times as a farm name in Iceland (SAM).

Other Forms: Creag O’ Bhriundainn - MMcK, Seaside

Creag Bhruthainne - ONB p106, significance "Sultry Knoll."

Creag Briùndainn The Gaelic Otherworld by Ronald Black p.594

Creag a' Briundainn - TMcK

Creag O' Briundainn - Tommy MacKinnon, Vaul, 6/2013.

Related Places: See Mithealum nearby, where there was said to be church.

Information:The Gaelic Otherworld, ed Ronald Black, p555 and 595:
In the Hebrides the name St Brendan's eve for the Whitsunday term is entirely unknown. It is told of a Tiree man of the last generation that he was promised a croft by the then chamberlain of the island, who was a native of the mainland and said, "Your name will be put on the rent-roll on St Brendan's day." The Tiree man went home and consulted his godfather (goistidh) as to what day the factor meant. "I really don't know," said his godfather, "unless it be the day of judgement."

Niall M Brownlie has pointed out to me that this does not mean that St Brendan was unknown in Tiree, merely that his feast-day (16 May) had slipped out of traditional memory. MacKinnon tells the story (19992, no11) of how St Brendan, when walking in Tiree saw what is now Balephetrish Hill [in fact the rock is in Vaul - JH] and blessed it so that it became known as St Brendan's Rock... Niall tells me that the correct name is Creag Brinndein.
She suggests the feature was where a preacher stood - MMcK, Seaside.

A preacher preached there "in the days of the Covenanters" - DMcK.

Local Form:

Languages : Gaelic

Informants: Mary MacKinnon, Seaside, 11 and 12/1993

Informant 2: Dorothy MacKinnon, Vaul, 12/1993

Informant 3: OS; Tommy MacKinnon, Vaul, 6/2011