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Tory island, Oilean Thorai, Oilean Toraigh. The best explaination of the etymology for the name of Tory Island is in the book of Robin Fox, Tory island, a people of the celtic fringe (for more informations about this book see the section 'Books about Tory'. )

He explained that the druids and the bards called it Tor Inis 'The island of the Tower', but its people called Torach 'the Towery place', and also Oiléan thorài 'the island of Tors'. Of course, far of the mainland and completely stepped in the stone, Tory island is a tower itself. Indeed, Fox explained, but there's a doubt about that, that for its people it was 'The island of the tower' because there was the Tower of a king.

Then after few smoky considerations about real motivations of the islanders of this time, he purposed an other translation of an other way to write it. Oiléan Thorài, 'The island of the Pirates'. Effectively too, the legend of Balor is very strong and many placenames keep the memory of him (Balor's prison/ Priosùn Bailor...). Balor with the evil eye, terrible pirate, cruel and strong, able to kill with the magical strenght in his single eye, killed by his grandson, Lug, celtic god of Light and Art.The matter is not to know if Balor has existed or not, but there were pirates on Tory.


The last possible explaination for Robin Fox, is from 'Thor' the Viking god... And effectively Viking's invasions happended on Tory island.

Jim Hunter in The waves of Tory purposed two others: Torri, The king's rock (this explaination is completely rejected by Robin Fox, he considers it as a wordy joke...) and Oiléan Thorraimh , the funeral island (as a sacred place, in the past people would be buried on Tory Island)

Would it be good to say a very Donegal sentence: 'That depends'? All are good... No or that depends... All those explainations are possible because linked to historical facts.

But if there's different way to write the name of Tory Island, we can take in consideration the 'Failte to Oilean THorai', 'Welcome to Tory Island' as a sign. If it's the THorai version linked to the pirates wich is kept, and not the Toraigh version linked to the Tower, so maybe the etymology from pirates is more interesting. It's important too to noticed that Donegal, Dùn na Gall means nothing less than 'The country, the place of the strangers'.

--Saskia Levy 07:15, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

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