name associated with the harbour was Loch-dá-Chaoích, which he translates as
either the lake of the two blind (ones), or perhaps, breasts. I favour the Lake of the Two Breasts. It suggests, as Power explains, a seafarers view of the harbour from out to sea, and the custom (still employed by fishermen) of taking marks from the land to give a position. The “Breasts” in this case would have been Tory Hill and Sliabh Coiltia.
|Sliabh Coiltia from the Hurthill, looking upriver
At some point I’ve read that the harbour was also known as Cuan-na-dTri-Uisce. The harbour of the three waters or rivers. I can’t locate the reference to this. Too fond of reading, and showing my lack of historical/academic training I’m afraid (poor note taker!)*. Another was Cuan-na-Greinne, the harbour of the Sun. This however I did manage to trace. It, or rather a version of it is located in Rylands work[ii]. Cuan-na-Grioth is the name he associates it with, dating it to the pagan times and offering a very
interesting story of locals proceeding to Tory Hill to worship the sun (pp109-111). I find that a fascinating concept and love the connection to the Power’s thoughts above.
|an old postcard of the meeting of the three sisters
These geographical descriptions of course also inform the Irish language version of the
name, Port Lairge. Port (Loch or lake to some) Lairge (tigh). Again some interesting perspectives, some claiming it to be the port of a chap named Lairge, including some speculations on our national loganim site. Most online sources say it’s a descriptive term of the shape of river and land at the city and its similarity to a persons thigh.
|Down Survey map 1655/56
sourced from Niall Byrne’s Book The Irish Crusade
For online version see the link above
I’m sorry to have lost the Haven. But of course it’s worth reminding ourselves that it might never have been known as it is now at all. Named for the city and its dynamic port, had the intentions of Marshall and his competing project of the port of New Ross bested Waterford,the harbour may have been named for its shipping rival.
History of Waterford City & County.
1990. Mercier Press. Dublin
Ryland. R.H. The History Topography and Antiquities of the County & City of
Waterford. 1982 Wellbrook Press. Kilkenny
Hille. A. The Making of Waterford. Decies #5.
1977. Accessed from Waterford
* Following publication Frank Murphy, a great assistance to me on many levels, passed along the following reference for the name. Collectanea de rebus hibernicis: Volume 5
1 January 1790
“Cumar na tri uisce, the much water of the three rivers, a place so called at the meeting of the rivers rivers Suir, Noir, and Barrow”