Place name of the week: Dunabban - Dail an Àbain

Inverness Castle. Rare elements of Gaelic feature in two Inverness street names.
Inverness Castle. Rare elements of Gaelic feature in two Inverness street names.
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Dunabban Road and Abban Street in Inverness both contain a fascinating but rare Gaelic element.

Dunabban Road is situated at a place once called in Gaelic Dail an Àbain ‘the haugh of the backwater’; àban ‘backwater’ denotes a silted-up area in a loch or river. Abban Street is coined directly from the backwater itself and was once An t-Àban. This street was written as Abbey Street on the first Ordnance Survey maps, an error later corrected.

In Petty Bay to the east there is a stone called Clach (Dhubh) an Àbain ‘the (black) stone of the backwater’ which has over time been moved by the tide further out to sea. To the south of Inverness is Abban Water, which is a silted-up section of water at the foot of Loch Ness; likewise, this is in Gaelic An t-Àban. These are the only known occurrences of this element in place-names.

For more information visit Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba