This is by no means a concise list, feel free to tell us about more literature or links!


Aalen/Whelan: Fields, in: F.H.A Aalen, Kevin Whelan and Matthew Stout: Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape
Carrigan: The History and Antiquities of Ossory
Coghill Estate maps (for parts of Kilkenny)
Mac Conghail: The Blaskets – A Kerry Island Library
Counihan: Field name Research Handbook
O’Donovan: Ordnance Survey Letters
Doyle: An Historical Survey of St. John’s, Kilkenny
Joyce: Irish Local Names Explained, 1990
O’Kelly: Place names in Co. Kilkenny
Mac Leighim: A Survey of Ancient Things in Lady’s Island District
Rattigan: ‘What’s in a field name’ (Wexford) 

Other Fieldname Projects online
Studies about fieldnames
Media about fieldname projects


F.H.A Aalen and Kevin Whelan: Fields, in: F.H.A Aalen, Kevin Whelan and Matthew Stout (Eds.) Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape, pp. 134-144. ISBN: 1-85918-095-7

This chapter gives an interesting insight into the history, development and characteristics of fields and field systems, and also the layout of field systems in the four provinces of Ireland.

William Carrigan: The History and Antiquities of Ossory, Dublin, 1905 (four volumes)

In the second to forth volumes, Canon Carrigan deals with parishes, including descriptions of townlands and including field names. This book and his unpublished notes were sources for O’Kelly’s book.

Cloghill Estate maps (c.1815)

The Coghill family were landowners around Ballyfoyle, Co. Kilkenny, in the 18th and 19th century. Around 1815, John Coghill produced maps of several townlands in Kilkenny which includes field names. As far as we have ascertained, they are all in English, even though the same fields have the same names in Irish, which stands to reason that the surveyor translated them into English. The library of Kilkenny Archaeological Society keeps some of them.

Muiris Mac Conghail: The Blaskets – A Kerry Island Library, 1987. ISBN: 0-94617-212-9.

Page 47 of this book includes some of the field names (all in Irish) used on the Blasket Islands when they were still inhabited.

Alan Counihan: A Field Name Research Handbook, ISBN: 978-0-9551383-3-1.

Graphic artists Alan published this book to help future researchers and surveyors in their methodology. He gives good guidance to planning your survey. Unfortunately, he does not mention the free mapping resource OpenStreetMap, because he started his project 2 two years before OSM was created.

John O’Donovan: Ordnance Survey Letters

John Doyle: An Historic Survey of St. John’s, Kilkenny, 1990.

Farmer-historian John Doyle in Brownstown collected  a great amount of history for St. John’s parish, including field names and their meanings.

P. W. Joyce: Irish Local Names Explained, 1990 (1st. Ed. 1923). ISBN: 0-7134-6518-2.

A glossary of around 2000 entries which includes a list of Irish placenames, including Irish words which frequently appear in placenames around Ireland. A guide to pronouncing some words is also included.

Owen O’Kelly: Place-names of County Kilkenny, 1969.

This book contains a collection of field names gathered by Owen O’Kelly aka Eoin/ Eoghan O Ceallaigh. Due to its high demand, it was reprinted in in 1985, but has gone out of print since. The Kilkenny Archaeological Society of which O’Kelly was a member, has put scans of the book online.

Mac Leighim: A Survey of Ancient Things in Lady’s Island District, in: Hilary Murphy (Ed.) Our Lady’s Island – Millennium Memories, pp. 81-87.

In this chapter, especially pages 85-87, many minor placenames (mostly fieldnames) are mentioned. The location of many of these fieldnames has been determined and recorded. The article itself first appeared in The Past: The Organ of the Uí Cinsealaigh Historical Society, No. 1 (Nov., 1920), pp. 133-140, which is available on JSTOR.

Seán Rattigan: What’s in a field name, in: Journal of the Wexford Historical Society, No. 18 (2000-2001), pp. 111-124.

Wexford researcher and folklorist Sascha found this book useful for the field names in Bannow Bay. However, Rattigan’s etymologies of the Bannow field names were deemed erroneous. See Conchubhar Ó Crualaoich: What’s in a Field Name? – A Reply, in: Journal of the Wexford Historical Society, No. 20 (2004-2005), pp. 133-144 for corrected etymologies of these field names.

Other Fieldname Projects online (& in book form)

  • Cork Place Names Archive: 131 volume archive of placenames in Cork collected since 1976. Available in the Local Studies section of libraries in Cork.
  • Fingal Fieldnames Project: Ongoing (as of June 2020) project started in 2018.
  • Kilkenny Field Name Recording Project (Kilkenny Heritage Office & County Council): Over 11,700 have been collected by 125 volunteers using Ordnance Survey maps and Aerial photography. The results can be found following this link. Because copyrighted Ordnance Survey maps were used, we as supporters of OpenSource tools like OpenSourceMap cannot use this data for an all-Ireland map.
    Co-ordinator Alan Counihan also published a handbook (see below).
  • Louth Field Names Project The survey lasted from 2013 to 2014 with a result of more than 10,000 field names and associated folklore. The map can be found here. Ordnance Survey maps were used.
  • Meath Field Names Project: This project was started in 2008 and has yielded 24,700 field names to date, according to their website. The map can be found here.
    Again, a great effort, however, for copyright reasons, we cannot use those in OpenStreetMap.

Studies about Fieldnames

Media mentions of fieldname projects