When conquering Englishmen came to Ireland, they wrote down Irish Gaelic place names phonetically for their maps; ‘baile‘ (‘settlement’, ‘place of’) became ‘bally’. Ballycastle, Ballynacarrick, Ballydehob: From bog to metropolis, you’ll hit upon Bally- all over Ireland.
As a child growing up on Dublin’s north-side streets, teeming with kids and stray dogs, we’d often play a ball game to the ditty, “Away up in Holland, the land of the Dutch, there is a fine lady, I love her so much. Her name is Susanna, and where is she now?”
In the early 1990s, I moved to the land of the Dutch and dams. And so, Ballydam.
I’m still looking for those Dutch hills.