Talk:Townland

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Untitled[edit]

Anyone gonna manage to put together a List of Townlands then?

There are upwards of 60,000 in Ireland, so it's no easy matter! bigpad 08:48, 21 June 2006 (UTC)


Thats a gigantic task! I wonder if there is a digitised list available, there are certainly books available that list them. GyatsoLa 22:20, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Well there's lists here for the townlands of the Six Counties. It's a massive task alright. Also worth pointing out that a lot of townland are spelt wrongly in that link and government records, etc and local spellings are often different. Derry Boi 18:49, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Digital Townlands[edit]

I have obtained a full digital set of townlands together with their names and boundaries from the Ordnance Survey of Ireland.Siomon 10:06, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

A few comments[edit]

A few comments -

  • Again, as in the high king article, Scotland barely merits a mention despite having its own tradition (and its own article merged into a mainly Irish one.
  • I have added a link to township (Scotland).
  • "baile fearainn" is a highly formal term, and as I understand it, "baile"/"balley" is the usual term used in the Gaelic languages.
  • This section here - "10 acres - 1 Gneeve; 2 Gneeves - 1 Sessiagh; 3 Sessiaghs - 1 Tate or Ballyboe; 2 Ballyboes - 1 Ploughland, Seisreagh or Carrow; 4 Ploughlands - 1 Ballybetagh, or Townland; 30 Ballybetaghs - Triocha Céad or Barony.", should really include a gloss into unanglicised Irish.

--MacRusgail 17:40, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

One reason for the emphasis on Ireland is probably that townlands are legally defined here and have their boundaries, names, etc. recorded, whereas in Scotland, as you yourself say, their boundaries and names have been largely lost. Other than this Wikipedia article and mirrors of it, there seem to be relatively few resources on the Internet dealing with townlands in Scotland.
I've made it clearer that baile fearainn is an official term and that baile is a more common equivalent.
The section on land divisions is taken directly from Larcom so I wouldn't be inclined to insert Irish equivalents into it - Irish equivalents would be gníomh (gneeve), seiseach (sessiagh), táite (tate), baile bó (ballyboe), baile biataigh (ballybetagh), seisreach (seisreagh), ceathrú (carrow). I'm not sure what the correct form for "ploughland" would be, or even if there is a single equivalent form for "ploughland". There are also a variety of other local terms which occur in placenames - gallon, pottle, etc.
--User:Paddy Matthews 01:30, 5 April 2007 (UTC)


Is "unit of land" the best way to define a townland? To me this gives the impression that they all have precisly the same area, when in fact they vary considerably in size. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 195.188.254.82 (talk) 16:46, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Various origins?[edit]

Any change of expanding on this claim? This book states that they pre-date the anglo-norman conquest [1]. And this one talks of ancient gaelic orgins (which is the same thing)[2] . What does the reference claim? Bjmullan (talk) 17:17, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

I already expanded upon the statement outside of the lede in the origins sub-section. The lede is meant to summarise with a fuller explaination given within the body of the article. If you look in the Townland#Origin_of_townland_system section you will see this. I directly quote the source (an academic resource published by Oxford University so its more than verifiable and reliable):
This article already details upon the forerunners to townlands, i.e. bailtes, ploughlands and tates etc. many of which would be used as the basis for the English created townlands and the source of many of their (Anglicised) names. The source also clearly states "ancient clan lands" which would naturally pre-date the Anglo-Normans. But not all townlands pre-date the Anglo-Normans or are based on ealier Gaelic versions, especially as already stated in the article before i added anything into it. So they do have various origins, a term i directly quoted from the book. However the second source you provided does more to back up my source than argue against it.
However if you want i could repeat what i inputted into the origins sub-section into the lede just to make it even clearer? Mabuska (talk) 21:46, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Not sure I understand. I cannot see anywhere in your edit where you detailed the origins of townlands, only where you removed refer to the origin being gaelic. Bjmullan (talk) 22:48, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Firstly there was no reference just an assumption believed to be of Gaelic origin. Secondly look at my edit and scroll down to Origins of townland system. That first paragraph there is where i detailed the origins of townlands virtually exactly from the source, which you can see is not in the previous edit. Why it hasn't highlighted in red i don't know but you can clearly see i added it in. Is there a problem with me using a thoroughly researched, verifiable and reliable resource? Mabuska (talk) 10:42, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
Your resource may be published by Oxford University, but that doesn't necessarily make it reliable. Firstly, Mill Tenement isn't in County Armagh; it's in County Antrim (in Carnlough village) http://www.placenamesni.org/placenamesniviewer/map.phtml?me=325643,415388,331643,420388. Secondly, Old Church Yard in Carrickmore is smaller; three-quarters of an acre (http://www.histpop.org/resources/pngs/0241/00200/00132_50.png). Mill Tenement, on the other hand, occupies an acre and a half (http://www.histpop.org/resources/pngs/0241/00200/00124_50.png).(talk) PaddyMatthews (talk) 19:12, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
The issue is actually very confusing to be honest. The sizes of townlands aren't static and some have changed over the years as have their civil parishes as well as some of their names. Some have disappeared altogether whilst new ones have at times been created over the centuries. There are more than a few links on the internet stating the same as the Oxford book, even the University of Portsmouth. This county antrim related article claims Mill Tenement is only a quarter of an acre - that makes it smaller than Old Church Yard - whether its right or wrong it gets the county right at least. Not even sure what year this was originally written but it states it as well. However there are quite a few for Old Church Yard as well.
However the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland state here a Mill Tenement townland in Fermanagh in 1815 - but as its not there now its obvious it has been got rid of which wouldn't be something new. So maybe there was a Mill Tenement in Armagh - i can't currently find any proof other than said sources. However tenements where common for mill workers so a few more may have once existed and since been renamed.
Maybe we should state both (though give county Antrim)?
Mabuska (talk) 23:36, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

The statement that "townlands have various origins" is true, but it's also misleading. The townland system is of Gaelic origin and the vast majority of townlands were created in Gaelic times. Likewise, the vast majority have names derived from Irish Gaelic. I've added sources to back this up and have also added more info about the sizes of townlands. ~Asarlaí 12:31, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

"Townlands have various origins" is hardly misleading as townlands do have various origins. As you have stated the system of townlands is Gaelic. Statement never claimed to mean the system but the individual townlands.
In fact you are making assumptions from the sources that aren't declared:
Neither state that the townland system is of Gaelic origin. One says they are believed to predate the Normans, and that most retain their Gaelic names - but none state that the system (even though we agree that it is) is of Gaelic origin. The other one sounds like a statement on someone elses claims which is hardly academic.
And after all the Gaelic era i assume corresponds to Gaelic Ireland, which lasted long after the Norman era.
Whilst i don't disagree with your unsourced claim of its Gaelic origin - it isn't explicitly backed up by your sources and i have removed the unsourced claim you've made until you provide a source that states it explicitly. The rest of your changes are sourced so they are untouched. Mabuska (talk) 13:14, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
In cases like that, Wikipedia allows us some leeway with the sources. It's universally accepted that Ireland was a Gaelic society before (and after) the Norman invasion. The first source also states that they are a "survival from the Gaelic era". Nevertheless, I've added more sources to back-up the claim. ~Asarlaí 14:09, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia allows us to make assumptions from sources? I was previously quoted a Wikipedia help link on a different matter that showed Wikipedia doesnt allow us to do so as its distortion and original research because it wasn't actually stated in the source. The fact it states "survival from the Gaelic era" alone is not enough to verifiably state they are of Gaelic origin. I'm glad you've finally managed to find sources to back up the claim - after all we shouldn't claim a source backs up a particular addition or wording when it doesn't. Mabuska (talk) 15:22, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Discussion at Ireland Place Names Origins Revisited[edit]

There is a discussion going on at the WikiProject Ireland talkpage (link above) concerning Irish place names and there connection to townlands and how we use this information in articles. People here may wish to take a look and get involved in the discussion. Bjmullan (talk) 12:09, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Not all townlands[edit]

I have removed the calculation of average size as total area divided by number, and replaced it with a cite to a figure given a journal article (which I have not read; maybe it makes the same calculation). The calculation is invalid because not all the area of Ireland is split into townlands, and not all the townlands are listed.

  • The centres of the larger older boroughs were not divided below the level of the parish; any townland-level units that existed at the time the settlement was created in the middle ages are lost to history and of no legal status.
  • As urban areas expanded their municipal boundaries, the townlands engulfed within the borders came to be left off OS maps and census returns, with addresses aggregated by street rather than by townland. However it would seem these hidden townlands were never actually abolished, though no longer listed in the townland indexes.
  • It was also formerly the case, and may still be so, that uninhabited uncultivated islands were not part of any townland: they are listed in italics in the townland indxes up to 1911. However, in the Republic they seem to have acquired townland status subsequently, judging from placename orders and logainm.ie (in which case there are now some extremely tiny townlands).

jnestorius(talk) 09:06, 23 May 2014 (UTC)