Colonsay and Oronsay take their names from the Norse, while natural and agricultural features on the islands mostly carry Gaelic names. Several English names have appeared in recent times – usually for new roads or houses. Such a linguistic variety is typical of the Inner Hebridean islands.
Many of the place-names in this booklet have never before been seen in print. The insights of local people enabled a wealth of lesser-known names to be uncovered and their meaning and history explored. A number of maps were also consulted.
The islands’ place-names are intimately connected with the landscape and the lives of the people who have lived on Colonsay and Oronsay for centuries. Names given to stretches of coastline, islands, rivers, man-made areas and minor features like standing stones reflect stories, past-times and daily routines. Together, they can tell us much about past lives.
All the place-names can be located using the index, which provides grid references as well as a rough guide to pronunciation.