Kilkenny Field Name Recording Project

Public Works Wall built in the 1840's (photo courtesy of Edward Moran)
The Field Over the Wood, The Rotten Field, Molly’s Acre, Pin Cushion?

Do you remember names like these being spoken around your kitchen table, out in the farmyard or at the church gate; the field names of your family farm, your townland or your parish? Some of these names are generations old and tell us as much about ourselves as about our families and communities.

The Kilkenny Fieldname Recording Project is an initiative of the Kilkenny Heritage Office working with communities around County Kilkenny to record and map the old fieldnames before they are lost.  Over 11,700 fieldnames have been collected and mapped by volunteers.

This project developed from the Townlands Project, a collaborative project, led by visual artist Alan Counihan, and co-funded by the Heritage and Arts Offices of Kilkenny County Council. The book ‘Townlands: a habitation, a celebration of an Irish rural landscape’ explores through both word and image, of our place in the world and the meaning of home.

The Rocks, Kilcross, Townland

The Rocks, Kilcross, Townland

Since 2010, the Kilkenny Fieldname Recording Project, funded by Kilkenny County Council and the Heritage Council and involving more than 125 local volunteers has collected and mapped over 11,700 field names and 400 landmark names across 353 townlands. These names are a living record not just of the topography of the land but of the families who farm and have farmed it, of the monuments that occupy it, of plants and animals that inhabit it, of local history and folklore and of the Irish language as it was spoken in this corner of the country.


The publication “Meitheal na bPáirceanna: The Kilkenny Field Name Recording Project” , launched in 2016, provides an overview of the field names recorded, contributions from the project volunteers, and a glossary of the Irish (Gaelic) field names.
The publication, which was featured in “Ear to the Ground” Winter 2016 magazine, and the accompanying database, will be invaluable to local people, students, heritage groups/historical societies, historians, geneaologists, Irish place name specialists, Irish language specialists, academic researchers, and the diaspora.

If you would like a hard copy of the book contact Kilkenny County Council Heritage Office. Email:

Book Launch Picture of Volunteers

Volunteers at the launch of Meitheal na bPáirceanna

Many of the fieldnames collected to date are mapped on the Kilkenny County Council  Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and can be viewed here

Copy of GIS Map

Image of GIS Mapping site

Quotes from Fieldname Volunteers

Quotes from Fieldname Volunteers

“Naming Ground” film launched in Inistioge
“Naming Ground” a short film commissioned by the Heritage Office, with funding from Creative Ireland, as part of our Kilkenny Field Name Project was launched on Tues 5th December 2017 at Cois Abhann, Inistioge. The 8 minute film is a celebration of local heritage and of the relationship between people and place, language and landscape in the Inistioge and Clonamery area. View it here

At the launch of “Naming Ground” film in Inistioge were: Mary Mulholland, Director of Services; Cllr. Michael Doyle, Mayor Kilkenny City; Alan Counihan, Project Co-ordinator; Jack Knox, Field Names volunteer; Shane Hatton, Filmmaker; Carmel Cummins, Field Names volunteer; Dearbhala Ledwidge, Heritage Officer; Nora Brennan, Field Names volunteer; Cllr. Fidelis Doherty.

“The Whispering Fields” film launched in Lisdowney
The Whispering Fields, a new short film commissioned by the Heritage Office, with co-funding by the Heritage Office of Kilkenny County Council, the Heritage Council and Creative Ireland, was launched in Lisdowney on Friday 2nd November 2018 at Lisdowney National School.  This short film is based on field name recording in Clontubrid, Gathabawn and Lisdowney, Co. Kilkenny. To view the film click here

Kilkenny Field Newsletter
The Heritage Office has produced a newsletter called “Field“, written by Alan Counihan, with news and updates from the Kilkenny Field Names Project. It includes essays from volunteers, in Irish and English, and photos from the project. To order a copy of the newsletter, email  or download a copy here

Field newsletter

Field newsletter

Thanks to the Volunteers
Kilkenny County Council wishes to express thanks to all of the people and communities involved in gathering the field names. Without them this project would not be possible.

Get Involved
If you would like to get involved in this project or to find out more, please contact: Regina Fitzpatrick, Heritage Officer, Kilkenny County Council or email  Tel: 056-7794923

The Kilkenny Field Name Recording Project is an action of the County Kilkenny Heritage Plan and is co-funded by the Heritage Office of Kilkenny County Council and the Heritage Council.