While nature and the Irish language have had an influence on our placenames, we can also thank the Vikings, the British and even mispronunciations for providing names in our towns, villages and townlands. Cathy Scuffil, historian-in-residence with Dublin City Council, and linguist and folklorist Robbie Sinnott joined the Today With Claire Byrne show on RTÉ Radio 1 to discuss this. (This piece includes excerpts from the conversation which have been edited for length and clarity - you can hear the discussion in full above).

One of the most common words associated with Irish placenames is 'Bally'. "It's definitely an Irish word", says Sinnott, "possibly coming from baile, the centre of a place, but it's definitely a homestead. Any place that starts with the name Bally wasn't named before the 12th century so it just coincided with the time that the Normans were coming to town, so to speak.

"You've got the likes of Ballymoney in Antrim, Ballybay in Monaghan. Ballybunion in Kerry, Ballygar in Galway. Ballymore is a very common one, Ballygar being a short Bally, and Ballymore being a larger one.'

READ: The secrets hidden in Irish townland names

Some of the names in the capital city go back to the arrival of 100,000 Huguenots from France to Ireland in the 1600s. "We've great examples in Dublin of how Dubliners don't speak French very well", explains Scuffil. "Everybody who comes to Irelan leaves something of themselves behind, and the Huguenots, who were French speaking, were no different.

"In Dublin, we have that wonderful lane, Marrowbone Lane, and that conjures of all sorts of images of butcheries and meat production and whatever. But it's got absolutely nothing to do with that and everything to do with the Huguenots. Marrowbone Lane should be Marylebone Lane, but Marylebone in Dublin just became Marrowbone and it's still Marrowbone today."

It's not the only place in Dublin which owes its name to how Dubliners can't speak French. "There's a laneway in the Tenters called Cow Parlour and it has nothing to do with parlours or cows, but everything to do with that French again." says Scuffil. "It's the French word coupeur or the hem cutters, a trade within the weaving industry. Coupeur became Cow-parlour and we still have cow parlour today."

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Sinnott explains that three of the four Irish provinces owe their names to our Norse invaders from many moons ago. "Mumhan is Irish for Munster, but the Norse changed it into moons terr, Moon's country. Laighean is the Irish for Leinster, so they changed into Lionster and Leinster, lion's country. Uladh is the Irish for Ulster, so they changed it into Ulaster, which is Ulas country. Anywhere with 'ford' in it are Norse names, meaning from the Norse shore."

Adds Scuffil, "the Norse word for an island is I-E-Y or A-Y so we have Lambay, A-Y, meaning lamb island. We have Dalkey, E-Y, meaning tarney island. My favourite is Ireland's Eye, the one off Howth, and Howth comes from the Norse word to mean a headland. These words the Norse left behind, we use them then every day and we don't realise we're doing so."

Then, there are the British names. "Every time you say Portobello, we're commemorating the great battle of Panama", says Scuffil. "That was led by Admiral Vernon and we have Vernon Street in Portobello. We have a lot of roads like Trafalgar Road, Northumberland Road and Prince of Wales Terrace which all celebrate great events in British history. Of course, we were part of British history at the time, and they're still reflected in our place names today."

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From RTÉ Radio 1's Today with Claire Byrne, Cathy Scuffil and Robbie Sinnott on the role of the Irish language in placenames

The Easter Rising has also naturally played a part in naming places and locations. Scuffil points to how each of the Ballymun towers in Dublin were named after signatories of the proclamation, but there are also some less obvious examples. "There's a small estate near Rialto and there are a number of roads in that estate called Culberts Fort, Clarks Terrace and Mallin Avenue, which all commemorate people involved in the rising Mallin, of course, being Michael Mallin.

"If we move just to the other side of James' Hospital, for example, there's a beautiful estate tucked into the hospital complex, and it's called Ceannt Fort after Éamonn Ceannt. Every road in that estate is called after a volunteer who lost his life in the South Dublin Union as James' was at the time during the 1916 rising so it's really worth digging and finding these ones out."