AskDefine | Define clachan

User Contributed Dictionary

Scottish Gaelic


clachan m, gen and pl clachain
  1. A cottage, causeway, churchyard, hamlet, village, hut.

Extensive Definition

A clachán (Irish Gaelic version is pronounced in English as 'cloch-awn' - the 'ch' being like the Scottish 'Loch' and not a 'K' and the Scottish Gaidhlig version 'clach-an or clach-in') is a type of small traditional settlement common in Ireland and highland Scotland up until the middle of the 20th century. It is usually defined as a small village lacking a church, post office, or other formal building. Their origin is unknown, but it is likely that they are of a very ancient root, most likely dating to medieval times. A true clachán would have been a cluster of small single storey cottages of farmers and/or fishermen, invariably found in on poorer land. In some cases, they have evolved into holiday villages, or one or two houses have taken over, turning smaller houses into agricultural outhouses. The remains can be seen in many upland and coastal areas. Sometimes they are clustered in a dip in the landscape, to protect from Atlantic winds, other times they stretch haphazardly along main roads.
Specific examples can be seen in the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, in the Burren in County Clare and at Aughris in County Sligo
In Scotland, clachán can be found in highland Perthshire and in the Highland Council region.

External links

clachan in Galician: Clachan
clachan in Scots: Clachan
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