What is this about?
This project was started by a few enthusiastic field name collectors with various backgrounds. The common goal to preserve fieldnames by mapping them unites us.
Fieldnames are used by farmers to differentiate their fields and to be able to refer to them in their daily work. The names can be handed down many generations, depending on how long the family has been on the land. There is an amazing variety of words to refer to different uses or physical characteristics of fields, which we are trying to explain in our dictionary.
Why collect fieldnames?
Fieldnames are a very important part of the heritage of Ireland. They can tell us about hidden or even lost archaeology (“Castle Field”) and historic industries (“Kiln Field”) in a field or about former uses (“Flax Field”, “Orchard”) of a particular field.
Usually, field names are lost when a farm is sold, even though the new owners might come up with new names, or when someone who once used the field names dies. However, the possibly centuries-old knowledge of handing down field names from generation to generation is fast disappearing.
By collecting the field names before it is too late, we try to preserve the heritage which often also includes Irish names whose meaning has already been lost. We will attempt to recover the meaning and thus the history of those fields.
If you want to see our yield so far, have a look on our map.
Who is behind this?
This project is run by volunteers who met through OpenStreetMap and their shared interest in fieldnames, linguistics and history.
OpenStreetMap (or OSM for short) is an OpenSource mapping platform – like a Wikipedia for maps. It can store all kinds of information which is not necessarily all displayed, but fieldnames are. Additional information can be extracted and displayed according to any user’s interests and needs. However, it can only store the information it is fed, so get mapping!
Using OSM means that the information for all the fields for the whole island of Ireland can be found in one place, easily and freely accessible.
How can you help us?
You can help us by adding your own knowledge of field names to OpenStreetMap. We have prepared some tutorials on how to do that. If you feel you are not techy enough, we will try and find a solution.
If you are not a farmer, but a linguist, folklorist or historian, you might be able to help us with your expertise. We are not Gaeilgeoirí, unfortunately, so we need a bit of support with the Irish spelling.
If you like what we are doing, please tell your friends and neighbours and convince them to add their information, too.
How can we help you?
This was all started during lockdown in 2020, so travelling is not really an option, but we will try to help you with information and guidance, if we can. Please write to us using our contact form to get in touch and we will do our best to respond quickly.
We have prepared tutorials, so you can start in the comfort of your own home.