Townland Names in County Wexford: A talk by Dr Conchubhar Ó Crualaoich


Logainmneacha Co. Loch Garman / Townland Names in County Wexford: Language & Identity talk by Dr Conchubhar Ó Crualaoich.

This talk takes place in  Wexford Town Library on Tuesday 18th April from 7pm to 8:30pm.

The talk is FREE and all are welcome.

To book your place, call +353 (0)53 919 6760.

Place-names and their research can provide facinating insights into language, settlement and identity in the county prior to the early 19th century.

This presentation is based on the research behind a recently published two-volume book, Logainmneacha na hÉireann: Townland Names in Co. Wexford, of which the speaker is a co-author with Aindí Mac Giolla Chomhghaill. Both authors work at The Placenames Branch in the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

The subject of the talk is primarily about the information that place-names and their research can provide about language, settlement and identity in the county prior to the early 19th century. It will be seen that it is in fact townland names from the Irish language which tell us most about Anglo-Norman settlement in the baronies of Gorey, Ballaghkeen and Scarawalsh – place-names from the English language tell us almost nothing about Anglo-Norman settlement in these areas. While the same is not true in the more southerly baronies of Bantry, Shelmaliere and Shelburne, it will be seen that quite a number of place-names from Irish also refer to Anglo-Norman settlers here, and interestingly these townland names point to regaelicisation, regardless of continued Anglo-Norman ownership. Remarkably, even in the more southerly and historically most anglicised baronies of Forth and Bargy there is a small body of place-name evidence that points to the survival of Irish speaking communities after initial colonisation. 

On the other hand, the large number of quite old English place-names in the more southerly baronies certainly points to long-term Anglo-Norman settlement and clearly reflects the enduring strength of the English language here. Indeed, a small body of townland names in south Wexford contains elements from Yola, the older English dialect of this area, but notably some features or words identified as belonging to this dialect are actually also found in English place-names elsewhere in the Pale, which indicates that Yola may in reality reflect English as spoken more widespreadly among the early colonists.

As is well known, some place-names in Wexford, as in the English name of the town itself, also reflect Norse settlement, but this is evidently only true for far fewer place-names than has often been opined heretofore. In fact, many place-names understood to be from Norse can be readily ascribed to Anglo-Norman and even later English settlers in some instances.


Tue 18th Apr 2017