Placenames Database of Ireland

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Placenames Database of Ireland
Database homepage in March 2009
Type of site
Database, Education, Language
Available in Irish and English
Owner Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
• An Coimisiún Logainmneacha
• Fiontar
Created by Fiontar
An Coimisiún Logainmneacha
Commercial No
Registration None
Launched October 2008
Current status Active

The Placenames Database of Ireland (Irish: Bunachar Logainmneacha na hÉireann), also known as, is a comprehensive management system for data, archival records, and placenames research conducted by the Irish State. It was created by FIONTAR at Dublin City University in collaboration with the Placenames Branch of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

The public website is primarily aimed at journalists and translators, students and teachers, historians and researchers in genealogy. It is a public resource for Irish people and those who appreciate the heritage of Irish placenames.

Placenames Commission and Placenames Branch[edit]

The Placenames Commission (Irish: an Coimisiún Logainmneacha) was established by the Department of Finance in 1946 to advise Ordnance Survey Ireland and the government of what the Irish name of places should be.[1][2] The Placenames Commission ceased on 11 October 2012 and the Placenames Committee (Irish: an Coiste Logainmneacha[3]) took its place on 19 September 2013.[4] The Placenames Branch (Irish: An Brainse Logainmneacha) is a branch of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, established by the Official Languages Act 2003, which supports the Placenames Commission/Committee in investigating the historical Irish-language names of places.[1] Although both the 1922 Constitution of the Irish Free State and the current constitution adopted in 1937 make Irish the national language, the law in regard to placenames was carried over from the 19th-century UK statutes which established the Ordnance Survey and Griffith's Valuation, under which only an English-language name had official status. Irish-language names were adopted in place of some English-language names after 1920 (e.g. King's County became Laois, and Kells, County Meath became Ceannanus Mór) and the Department of Posts and Telegraphs adopted Irish names, but these were ad-hoc and sometimes inconsistent or disputed by locals or Irish-language scholars. In 1973, the Oireachtas passed an act to codify the official assignment of Irish names alongside, rather than instead of, English names;[5] in 1975 the first statutory instrument made under the 1973 gave official Irish names to post towns.[6] The names chosen were on the advice of the Placenames Branch; some differed from those adopted in previous decades, in some cases causing controversy. The 1973 act was replaced by the 2003 act and under its terms the Placenames Committee continues to advise the Minister prior to the issuing of statutory instruments.


Work commenced on Phase I of the project in April 2007 and the Placenames Database of Ireland was launched at the beginning of October 2008. During Phase II (2009–2010), the following resources were added to the site: sound files of placenames; mapping tools; educational resources for primary and third level students; a system to enable simultaneous Irish–English and English–Irish translation of lists of placenames; supplementary aids for the public including explanatory notes on certain features of the placenames; and scanned images of some historical source material (under 'Archival records').

Phase III (2011–2012) is currently in progress and the following outputs are planned:

  • Educational resources for second level students.
  • New and improved mapping features.
  • Export and import facilities.
  • The development of a tool to translate/explain common elements of placenames.
  • Sound files for 8 additional counties.


The Database website,, won the European Language Label in 2010 and was category winner at the 2011 Irish eGovernment Awards.


  1. ^ a b "Priority Questions - Placenames Commission.". Dáil Éireann debates. 3 April 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Website - The Placenames Branch". Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "An Coiste Logainmneacha". Placenames Database of Ireland (in Irish). Retrieved 29 September 2015. 
  4. ^ "The Placenames Committee". Placenames Database of Ireland. Retrieved 29 September 2015. 
  5. ^ "Place-Names (Irish Forms) Act, 1973". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "I.R. Uimh. 133/1975 — An tOrdú Logainmneacha (Foirmeacha Gaeilge) (Uimh. 1) (Postbhailte) 1975.". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 

External links[edit]

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