Westmeath Field Names Recording Project

The names of fields and other local features are a valuable part of our local heritage and many of them have not been formally recorded; often the names survive only in oral tradition. Field names are being lost as land changes ownership and as members of the older generations pass on. Field names can tell us much about our local area  how people appreciated the physical landscape, its hills and hollows, streams, and bogs; but also its history and traditions, from holy wells, to fairy forts, old settlements, and estates.

A pilot project was undertaken in 2018 to record field names in two parishes in Westmeath (Drumraney and Taghmon), funded by The Heritage Council and Westmeath County Council. Much of the recording was done by local volunteers who collected the names of fields and other features in their area. Where possible, sound recordings of the names were also made, and photographs taken of interesting features in the fields.

A booklet outlining the project methodology and the results from 2018 is available for download below.

Printed copies are available from the Heritage Office: heritage@westmeathcoco.ie

In 2019-20 we have worked with eleven community groups in different parts of the county Fore, Collinstown, Kinnegad, Mount Temple, Rochfortbridge, Ballymore, Loughnavalley, Multyfarnham,Tang, Coole, and Rosemount. Over 100 volunteers have been involved in total, and 1400 field names have been collected from 70 townlands. The two latest phases of the project have been funded by The Heritage Council, Creative Ireland, and Westmeath County Council.

Dr Aengus Finnegan (University of Limerick) is the lead researcher and coordinator of the project, with assistance from Michelle Dunne (DCU) and Justin Ó Gliasáin (DCU).

An eight-page report detailing work on the project in 2019-20 can be downloaded here.

Only the field names themselves will be detailed in any print or web based material generated as a result of this project. Personal details will not be used for any other purpose, they will not be distributed or contained in any information printed or made publicly available as a result of this project.

Historic maps containing field names and other resources can be viewed here.

For more information contact Aengus Finnegan: fieldnames@aengusfinnegan.ie or Heritage Officer Melanie McQuade: heritage@westmeathcoco.ie

If you want to download the field names recording sheet please click on the form below.


Follow the Field Name Project on Twitter