Monday 19 March 2018

Historian gives insight into local place names

Local historian Fr Sean de Val
Local historian Fr Sean de Val

Local historian Fr. Séamas de Vál went digging for nuggets in Wexford's heritage as he gave a fascinating talk on place names in Bunclody public library. His audience learned about the origins and meanings of townland names, with accompanying folklore.

Father Wall reckoned that there are approximately 2,400 townlands in the county, three quarters of their names derived directly from the original Irish language names. The remaining quarter are either translations from the Irish or names in English.

For example, Hollyfort is a translation of a place identified in 1654 as Rahin Cullen (Ráithín or Ráth an Chuilinn). The townland known now as Milltown was named Ballinmulline (Baile an Mhuillinn) in 1654 and the townland known now as Jamestown was named as Ballihemus (Baile Shéamais) in 1654.

The speaker explained how anglicised place name prefixes and suffixes such as baile, buaile, cill, coill, cúl and cúil have changed over the centuries. A great online resource for anyone interested in place names is the place names database of Ireland. Full details of all events in Bunclody Library can be found on

Enniscorthy Guardian