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Pilot Placenames Project in County Donegal

Placenames are an important aspect of our cultural heritage. They have the ability to communicate the relationships between people and their landscapes and environments in County Donegal. Placenames have the ability to provide insights into our history, culture, society, folklore, topography, ecology and natural heritage. There are 2,758 townlands in County Donegal and the placenames contained within them reflect the natural, built and cultural heritage of these localities. The placenames of County Donegal have the ability to convey and complement the county’s landscape character. An appreciation of the past and present forces of landscape change is needed in order to better appreciate landscape nomenclature. The names given to cultural and natural features in our landscape give us insights into the attitudes, values, beliefs and aspirations of the people of County Donegal and contribute to landscape identity. The placenames of County Donegal also hold special significance for the county’s diasporas in that they convey meanings, provide links with home and present research opportunities.

As part of the implementation of the County Donegal Heritage Plan, Donegal County Council, Údarás na Gaeltachta and the County Donegal Heritage Forum have commissioned the Department of Geography, National University of Ireland, Maynooth to undertake “A pilot project to collect and map local placenames, fieldnames and townlands” (Action 2.10). The Department of Geography, NUI – Maynooth is working with a small number of groups in County Donegal to produce master copies of placename maps for particular townlands in the county and an accompanying gazetteer of local placenames. 


An Action of the County Donegal Heritage Plan

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