Definitions for clachan

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word clachan

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  1. Clachan(noun)

    a small village containing a church

  2. Origin: [Scot., fr. Gael.]

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  1. Clachan

    A clachan is a type of small traditional settlement common in Ireland and Scotland until the middle of the 20th century. Originally kirktowns, today they are usually defined as small villages 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 clachan would have been a cluster of small single-storey cottages of farmers and/or fishermen, invariably found on poorer land. They were related to the rundale system of farming. According to David Lloyd, The Great Famine in Ireland caused such disruption to the social system that the clachans virtually disappeared. 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.


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