Thursday 23 November 2017

2,300 Wexford placenames the subject of detailed new book

By Maria Pepper

In-depth analysis of the names of 2,300 townlands in County Wexford is included in a new book published by the Placenames Branch of the Department of Arts, Heritage,Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

The two-volume publication entitled Logainmeacha na hÉireann IV: Townland Names of County Wexford was launched in the National Library by Seán Kyne, Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs.

It's the fourth instalment in a series which has previously included placenames in Limerick and Tipperary, revealing the wealth of historical information that can be gleaned from placenames when they are carefully and systematically researched.

The extent of Norse and Anglo-Norman settlement in Wexford is well known but analysis of the completed research shows that the Irish language became the vernacular among those groups in most of the county and was even strong enough to coin new placenames in pockets among the Anglo-Normans in the very south of the county.

Many apparently Yola placename elements are shown not to be unique in South Wexford as they crop up in other Anglo-Norman placenames elsewhere.

Some characteristics of the local Irish dialect are also observed. There are numerous references to flora and fauna including animals that have since died out.

Hundreds of placenames refer to archaeological features, many of which do not survive. In a number of cases, the names of baileys, mottes etc are accompanied by previously unrecognised Anglo-Norman surnames.

launching the book, Miniser Kyne said it represents the results of years of comprehensive research and the analysis throws new light on a number of areas beyond toponymy. 'It is a fine testament to the ongoing work of the Placenames Branch,' he said.

The two parts (I: Introduction and analysis; Townland names A-F; II: Townland names G-Y; Indexes) are priced at €25 each and are available from Government Publications, from bookshops in Wexford and Dublin or directly from the Placenames Branch at

The Placenames Database of Ireland, a joint venture by the Placenames Branch with Fiontar (DCU), can be accessed at

Wexford People

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