Saturday, 5 June 2010

Parliament Buildings, Ballymiscaw, Stormont , Belfast BT4 3XX

David McClarty MLA tells me that Parliament Buildings are located in the townland of Ballymiscaw. It's marvellous to see a resurgence in the use of townland names.

PlacenamesNI: "The name of the townland of Ballymiscaw is recorded as Ballisnekah al. Ballisnesca in the Hamilton Patent of 1620 and the most satisfactory interpretation of the place-name is Baile Lios na Scáth 'townland of the fort of the shadows or spectres'."

I'm told that Lis/Lios relates to a fortification or enclosure of an ecclesiastical nature.

Are there shadowy figures around Stormont? What spectres haunt the house on the hill?

The Dictionary of the Scots Language sheds some light on the verb miscaw - in English miscall.

Meanings: speak ill of, slander, disparage, scold, address abusively .....

So those familiar with the Scots tongue might like to use some of these old quotations in their reports from the House of Miscaw:

They began to misca ane anither like kail-wives.

O dinna misca' him, sir, that never misca'd you!

I'll say nae mair, I'll ne'er again misca' ye.