Since 1987 the ‘Northern Ireland Place-Name Project’ has researched the origins and meanings of local place-names, comprising over 30,000 names of settlements and physical features, with approximately 130,000 references in the database. The database (www.placenamesni.org) is maintained and supported within the Department of Finance by Land and Property Services.
Professor Mícheál Ó Mainnín from the Place-Name Project at the Irish and Celtic Studies School of Modern Languages in Queen's University Belfast, and a member of the MEITS Research Team, met with Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, who speaks both Irish and English. After the bilingual interview, the Finance Minister stated:
“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.”
With regard to the continuing collaboration, Professor Mícheál Ó Mainnín also commented:
“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 (www.placenamesni.org). 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.”