President launches mapped archive of Cork placenames


THE PRESIDENT has paid tribute to a Cork toponymist and his team of researchers on their achievement of compiling the first mapped archive of placenames for any county in Ireland.

President Mary McAleese said that work of Dr Eamon Lankford and the 200-plus researchers who helped compile Logainmneacha Chorcaí or the Cork Place Names Survey was truly unique and represented a valuable archive for future generations.

Dr Lankford began the work 33 years ago when he began recording placenames from native Irish speakers on Oileáin Chléire. Yesterday he handed over the 115-volume archive to Cork county librarian Ruth Flanagan.

President McAleese said it must at times have been a lonely task for Dr Lankford but he had shown great vision in getting the project under way. His work brought new life to places by telling the story of how they were named.

“Logainmneacha Chorcaí goes so deep and so wide, capturing names that others overlooked, others who were sent to do the job a hundred odd years ago and didn’t manage to get really into the heart of the matter,” the President added.

“The abundance of local lore and stories that are distilled and buried in each of those names actually is recorded now. Their general absence from the old formal records is rather sad in a way and it’s really important that you brought them to current life again.”

Dr Lankford thanked those who had assisted in the project including Fás, Cork County Council and the Government. He paid tribute to the 200-plus graduates who had worked on the project since it was formally established in 1996.

“It is 33 years since I recorded the first place names in this collection from Irish-speaking old people on Oileáin Chléire. Today is their legacy, their monument, today we salute the hundreds of people since who have supplied names, many of them now gone to their reward.

“Today we salute the creative imagination of those who named our places and left them to us as a repository of knowledge, wisdom, history and language.” Dr Lankford thanked President McAleese for acknowledging the significance of the project.

Earlier President McAleese opened a photographic exhibition at the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart at Western Road depicting the missionaries’ departure. This exhibition is part of the order’s centenary celebrations in Ireland.

“It is good to be in your company, in particular to celebrate 100 years of service by Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in Ireland, and to say ‘thank you’ for all that you have invested in this country and in your outreach missions to so many other countries.’’