Saturday, 28 January 2012

Flush Convenience Store

Yesterday afternoon as I was driving down the Springfield Road in West Belfast I noticed a shop called the Flush Convenience Store.  The name caught my attention because the word flush is actually an Ulster-Scots word.

We find it in the Flush Bend, the Flush Field and the Flush River, also on the Springfield Road, and in the Flush Road and Flush River at Ligoniel.

According to the Scottish National Dictionary, flush means (1) a piece of boggy ground, a swampy place, or a pool of water in a field (2) slush and (3) a sluice for turning water off an irrigated meadow.

The dictionary notes that it is found in place-names and that the word comes from the Old Scots flus, which was recorded in 1375, but is of uncertain origin.

The presence of the word in place-names in North and West Belfast recalls the fact that these were once Ulster-Scots speaking areas and that Ulster-Scots lived in these areas.

4 comments:

  1. I am grateful to Fiona McDonald for letting me know about a Flush Hall, which stood at the bottom of Scrabo Hill in Newtownards, where Scrabo estate now stands. It was the scene of a famous murder in 1915.

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    1. Earlier today I met the manager of the Jethro Centre in Lurgan, and noticed that the address of the centre is Flush Place.

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  2. The presence of the word in place-names in North and West Belfast recalls the fact that these were once Ulster-Scots speaking areas and that Ulster-Scots lived in these areas.

    Interesting article Nelson but the use of 'Flush' in this case does not mean that these areas of Belfast were 'Ulster-Scots speaking'.

    A better desciption would be that some communities in these areas were influenced by Scots speakers and it is more likely a loan word. These areas have more features from Ulster English than from the Hamely Tongue.

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  3. I did not say that it proved they were Ulster-Scots speaking areas but rather that it was a reminder. However there is evidence that in the 18th century the people of Belfast spoke Ulster-Scots and this was especially the case in North Belfast. I have written a booklet on this and hope to get it published.

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