English / Irish Street-and Road Names Project in Northern Ireland
In the autumn of 2005, The Northern Ireland Place-Name Project, Irish and Celtic Studies, QUB, commenced a Foras na Gaeilge funded scheme to provide Irish-Language forms for place-names and postal addresses in Northern Ireland. Two additional researchers, Ciarán Dunbar and Paul Tempan, were employed for the scheme, to join the established senior researchers Drs Kay Muhr and Patrick McKay.
The Northern Ireland Place-Name Project, founded in 1987, had already built up a gazetteer of place-names of Northern Ireland, and a database of historical information, particularly on older administrative place-names like townlands, parishes and baronies, as well as towns and villages. The method of work for Foras na Gaeilge used the knowledge already collected, and considerable further research. The new researchers built up a gazetteer of street and road names in the target areas, and collected local opinions and pronunciations. Their written suggestions on the Irish-language version, or origin, of the names in local addresses were reviewed and edited by Pat McKay, and difficult names were discussed in seminar by the whole group including Kay Muhr. Decisions were made on the meaning of the names as well as an agreed Irish-language spelling. The process brought to light the names of many further features of the landscape, which will be added to the Northern Ireland gazetteer.
Funding was secured in autumn 2006 from The Ultach Trust to make the results of this work available here, on the website of the Ulster Place-Name Society.
The information is currently available in PDF format (below) but it is hoped that it will be available as an online database at some point in the future.
Although it is the intention of the Northern Ireland Place-Name Project to complete this scheme in its entirety throughout the North, it was clear from the beginning that there was insufficient time / funding to achieve that at this time. Therefore, areas with the largest number of Irish speakers according to the 2001 census were focused upon.
As a result of this scheme, Irish speakers and anyone else who wishes, are now able to use the Irish form of their postal addresses and be sure that that the Irish is accurate.
In addition, state organisations, and the Royal Mail especially will be able to deal with correspondence in Irish in a much more effective way than they were able hitherto.
As a result of this scheme, much information on Irish Language place-names and on Gaelic surnames has been made available here. Most place names in Northern Ireland have their roots in the Irish Language and our place-name environment is part of the shared heritage of everyone in society.
The information is organised in four columns ...
Much material was consulted in producing this work but the Irish forms available in, and the principles laid down by, the following works were adhered to as far as possible.
DT = direct translation.
PT = partial translation.
It is our intention to continually add to this work, therefore any relevant corrections, information or opinions will be welcomed.
The Northern Ireland Place-Name Project
Irish and Celtic Studies
School of Languages, Literatures and Arts,
Belfast, BT7 1NN