It seems that half (slight exaggeration) the communities in Ireland begin with "bally". What does it mean?

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"Bally is very common prefix to city names in Ireland, and also is derived from the Gaelic expression 'Baile na', an interpretation 'place of'. That is not quite right to interpret it 'town of', as there to be few, if any, towns in Ireland at the moment these names were formed. For example, Ballyjamesduff (county Cavan), Ballymoney (county Londonderry). The ireland name for the website of present-day Dublin was 'Baile Átha Cliath', which, if anglicised, would certainly be spelt something choose 'Ballycleeagh'. Keep in mind that 'Dublin' is in reality a Viking word."

There room a number of words which are typically used in irish placenames:

Knock = Cnoc which means Hill.

Kill = Cill which means Church.

(Kildare = Cill Dara: Dara's Church; Killaloe = Cill Da Luadh: The Church the the 2 (Da) Luadh's;

Clough = Cloch which means Stone

Glen = Gleann which way Valley.

(Glendalough = Gleann Da Loch: The sink of the 2 lakes)

Tra = Strand or Beach.

(Tramore = Tra Mor: The large Strand)

I am sure Clauds will certainly have an ext examples :o)

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Now everything gave you the idea, Bean?

I'll add just a couple of more:

rath = ring-fort (e.g. Rathcoole, Rathcormack)

inis = island (e.g. Inishmore, Innisfallen)

drom = ridge (e.g. Dromcolliher, Dromore)

ath = ford (e.g. Athboy, Athlone)

Here's one more few;

Cora is wier, together in Corofin = Cora Finn, Wier of Finn

(Newmarket-on Fergus offered to be known as Cora Chaitlin, i beg your pardon is still supplied for ireland translation - a bit confusing.)

Drogh is bridge- as in Drogheda = Drachead Atha, bridge of the ford.

Bun(oddly enough) is bottom (of); eg Bundoran, Bunratty = Bun na Raite (Bottom that Raite river.)