Place-Name project is invaluable historical tool – Ó Muilleoir

Date published: 26 October 2016

Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has met with Professor Mícheál Ó Mainnín from the Place-Name Project at the Irish and Celtic Studies School of Modern Languages in Queens University, Belfast.

The ‘Northern Ireland Place-Name Project’ was established in 1987 to research the origins and meanings of local place-names, spanning over 30,000 names of settlements and physical features, with approximately 130,000 references in the database. The database( is maintained and supported within the Department of Finance by Land and Property Services.

Speaking after his visit, the Minister said: “For almost three decades the Place-Name Project has been diligently compiling their incredible database which includes place names that can be traced back more than a millennium.  I am very supportive of this invaluable historical tool and am pleased that my department’s LPS has been a core contributor to their important work.

“Recent collaborations with colleagues across the country (and the recent completion of a formal link between our two datasets) is a positive step toward expanding the benefit of the database to the public.  I want to thank Mícheál for inviting me to hear about the project’s success to date and their ambitious plans to expand the database to cover a further five counties. I look forward to seeing the Place-Name database grow from strength to strength.”

Professor Mícheál Ó Mainnín said: “The Northern Ireland Place-Name Project is concerned with the exploration of our linguistic and cultural heritage as manifested in our place-names. Its corpus of over 30,000 names includes names of Irish, English, Scots (and occasionally Norse and French origin).

Based in Queen’s University, it works in collaboration with Land and Property Services in the Department of Finance in providing a free online database of our local place-names ( This is accompanied by an interactive searchable map of historical names (townlands, parishes, baronies and counties) which is provided by LPS. This collaboration is at the core of our public engagement and we are extremely grateful to the Minister of Finance for his continuing support in this.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Place-Names database can be accessed online at:
  2. The database is currently searchable by map (which facilitates the location of a name in its geographical context) and by place-name or place-name element (which provides the historical profile of the name and further discussion of it, where available). It is also possible to search for an historical form and to establish to what modern name it has been assigned in the database.
  3. This website provides public access to a database produced and maintained by the Northern Ireland Place-Name Project, Queen's Universtiy Belfast in association with Land and Property Services, Department of Finance (Northern Ireland).
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