Wednesday 1 August 2012

Guide to Belfast's Gaelic place names published

A new booklet, The Gaelic Placenames of Belfast, has been published today by Belfast City Council, in partnership with the Ultach Trust. As its name suggests, the booklet traces the Gaelic origins of many of Belfast`s place names.

It starts in pagan times – from the first mention of the River Lagan and Belfast Lough in the maps of the Greek geographer Ptolemy in the second century AD, through to the creation of the 17th century townlands.

The booklet demonstrates how Gaelic placenames of Belfast and the surrounding area provide a direct link to the oldest strata of the city`s history, shedding light on its past. The names speak of pagan, Cruithin and Ulaidh traditions, as well as the Christian influences of the Dark Ages and medieval times, and also evoke the physical features of the landscape, its hills, rivers and loughs – showing how much that landscape has changed in the intervening years.

As well as exploring the conflicting origins of ancient names for the likes of Belfast Lough and the Lagan, it also traces the meanings of the names for the likes of the Blackstaff River and Cave Hill as well as places and areas such as Stranmillis (An Sruthán Milis), Taughmonagh (Tuath Monach), Ballyhackamore (Baile an Chacamair), Falls (Tuath na bhFál) and Knock (An Cnoe).

Councillor Máire Hendron, Chair of Belfast City Council`s Good Relations Partnership said: “I think this booklet will provide us with a great insight into the origins of the areas where we live. There is a fascination with the historical and mythical roots of placenames and this very informative booklet traces some of the names back to the region`s earliest inhabitants - Gaels, Picts and Normans.”

The booklet is free. Call Belfast City Council's Good Relations team on 02890 270663 to arrange to collect a copy from Reception or to request a copy be sent to your home address. It's not available in digital format.